Its very normal to rely on labels in grocery stores these days. Because these seem to provide a sense of assurance that your products are high quality and produced ethically. We all want to do the right thing. We want our products to impact the environment minimally, come from animals that are treated well and be safe. That’s not too much to ask. Today we’re going to take a closer look at DairyPure milk in comparison with other brands of milk to identify if it’s worth the premium price.
DairyPure milk commercials very commonly have talking cows in wigs. Most people find them humorous. and I would too if many of the marketing claims in their 5-Point Purity Promise weren’t quite so silly.
When DairyPure first began it was heralded by many as a way to make milk relevant again. It was supposed to be beneficial to the dairy industry in this way. However I personally find most of the labels misleading and confusing.
DairyPure 5-Point Purity Promise
1. “All Milk Is Tested for Antibiotics”
I know that the internet has made many people believe that there are antibiotics in all products not labeled “antibiotic-free”. But here’s the thing – that’s not accurate. You will never consume antibiotics in any product. You can learn more about the truth about antibiotics in meat here. If you purchase DairyPure milk because you’re happy it’s antibiotic free you should know that all milk is antibiotic free. We discuss more about where milk comes from in this post if you’re curious about the general process.
Antibiotics are a tool. They are used to help sick animals regain superior health. The most minimal effective dose is utilized.
How do Dairy Farmers Keep Antibiotics Out of Their Milk?
You’re probably wondering how antibiotics don’t end up in your milk if the cattle are being treated? Each dairy has a system to ensure that cattle that are sick are milked at a specific time during the rotation. Some cattle may even by physically identified by a specific colored band near the top of a hoove.
Dairy cattle that are being treated with antibiotics can be milked into an individual bucket or a different area so the milk never travels to the central pipeline into the bulk tank. A bulk tank is where all of the raw cooled milk that will be processed for human consumption will live until it’s picked up by a milk tanker to travel to a processor.
But of course farmers are human beings which means that they can be prone to error. So what other steps are taken to ensure milk is antibiotic-free?
- Milk is tested before it is ever picked up by the tanker to ensure that there is no antibiotic residue.
- Milk is again tested before any processors will ever allow it into their plant.
If milk tests positive for antibiotics in the bulk tank farmers must dump the whole tank. Because it is illegal for humans to consume milk containing antibiotics. Discarding milk feels heartbreakingly wasteful for farmers and is also very expensive.
2. “Only from cows fed a healthy diet”
I took my first livestock nutrition class at NMSU. When describing putting together a diet (ration) for dairy cattle our professor said that essentially you’re feeding an extreme athlete. Producing milk (lactation) is one of the biggest energy expenditures on the body. If you don’t feed them a healthy ration they will not be near as productive. On top of farmers honestly caring for the welfare of their cattle if they want them to produce high quality milk in larger quantities they need to ensure they are getting a healthy diet. There’s a giant book with all of the energy expenditures in it for all species of livestock at different stages of life.
There are people that go to graduate school to get a master’s in livestock nutrition. To formulate rations to feed all kinds of animals (including cattle) in healthy and cost effective way.
I can tell you that I’m no nutritionist. That class was one of the hardest I ever had to take. All the cattle you receive milk from are getting a balanced diet with plenty of roughage, grains, vitamins and minerals. Not just those who have their milk sent to be bottled by DairyPure.
3. “Cold Shipped From Your Trusted Dairy”
You can read more about the process in which milk is collected and cooled in our post Where Does Milk Come From? if you’re hungry for more information. However once milk is collected and cooled it must stay cool before and after processing to remain safe. The only exception here is a specific type of pasteurization known as UHT (Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization) in which the product doesn’t have to be refrigerated until after opened and has a significantly longer shelf life.
So all of the milk that you consume is going to be cold shipped every time it travels.
The milk tankers that carry it from the dairy to the processing plant are often so well insulated that it could travel up to twenty-four hours and still be safe to be processed! (It’s important to note the majority of the time the processing plants are much closer.)
But after it goes through all the processes to be recognized as the product we see on the shelf it is again cold shipped to the grocery store. All of your milk will travel in a refrigerated truck to keep it at a temperature of no more than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t have to buy a specific brand of milk to have this assurance.
4. “No Artificial Growth Hormones”
The great thing about living in the United States is that consumers have access to diverse food products. Our food source is one of the safest and most affordable in the world. We also have great freedom of consumer choice. If you want to learn more about hormones in milk, specifically artificial growth hormones we have a great post about it here. However, just to give you a recap of our findings:
- Milk from animals treated with rBST is not significantly different.
- Less than 20% of dairy cattle in the United States have rBST used in production.
- rBST does not function in your body like it would in a dairy cows body.
- Most rBST is destroyed during digestion even if it was able to be absorbed and utilized by the human body.
So while you are absolutely welcome to buy DairyPure, most milk is not from cows treated with rBST. Even if your milk was from cows treated with rBST this doesn’t have a negative impact upon you or the cow who produced it. The milk is also the same product.
5. “Continually Quality Tested to Ensure Purity”
DairyPure mentions that their milk is tested 18 times before you ever have access to it while it is being processed. Tests are a great way to guarantee safety and compare the results with benchmarks. But one thing to consider is that all of the milk you purchase is tested.
There are a variety of levels of verification that milk samples must pass before we can enjoy it. We mentioned that all milk must be tested to ensure antibiotic residue – but what about other tests?
For all milk to legally be grade A it also must be healthy to consume. This means that a sample will always be tested for quality to make sure it doesn’t contain anything that could be harmful for you or me.
In addition to this most dairy farmers are also going to have regular samples of milk sent in to be evaluated for another reason. When I attended the United States Dairy Consortium a few years ago we were able to visit a milk testing lab. Milk can be sold for a variety of products. For instance there are some markets that work to produce liquid milk and others focus on producing milk for other purposes (ex: cheese, butter, yogurt). Regardless of what you are purchasing milk to become it has a few different components. These are important benchmarks that help dairy farmers further ensure they are producing for and striving for even better milk.
Is DairyPure Milk Worth the Price Markup?
Now I want to make it very clear that nearly all milk is produced from family farms. All dairy farms are committed to animal welfare. So any milk that you purchase (that is a dairy product, not almond milk) is supporting the dairy industry and the families that make it possible. Whether you choose DairyPure Milk or another brand you can feel confident in it’s quality and safety because at the end of the day – it’s milk.
For me because it is essentially the same product so I’m not willing to pay the price difference. In fact as far as white milk goes we actually tend to purchase the most affordable option, which for us tends to be Great Value whole milk. Why would I pay nearly double for a product that is no different? There are so many labels I just can’t.
You might mention that the milks pictured are different in composition (one is 2% one is whole) but the Dairypure’s whole milk is priced the same as their 2%.
However, I am willing to pay a premium for Fairlife milk which has been filtered differently and is a different product to me. (I love the chocolate flavor). Fairlife milk has more protein, more calcium, less sugars and no lactose. I’m not lactose intolerant but this is a great brand to try for those who are! If you want to see inside one of the farms Fairlife sources it’s milk from you can see photos in my post about where milk comes from.
As I’ve said before we are very blessed to have an incredible degree of consumer freedom in the United States. So if DairyPure floats your boat, Fairlife is a top choice or you prefer the most economical option that’s your call. Just don’t be duped into paying more by letting an emotionally charged label hold you hostage!
Thanks for reading!