The other day I had someone ask me why I only purchase Organic or European cheeses. I responded by asking them back if they have ever read the ingredients on the cheese label?

Do you know where the milk “ingredients” in your cheese is coming from? If you haven’t noticed, on many milk products there seems to be a mysterious ingredient that everyone keeps overlooking. Modified milk ingredients. Since when does milk need to be “modified” to be in something as simple as ice cream or yogurt? Here’s what you need to know about modified milk ingredients:

What are Modified Milk Ingredients?

“Modified milk ingredients: any of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form, namely, calcium-reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion-exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultra-filtered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is found in milk.” – Food & Drug Regulations

Why are they used?

The driving force here is economy. By using specific modified milk ingredients, manufacturers can make cheese or ice cream products more cheaply and with longer shelf life. Taste usually suffers.

It is cheaper for manufacturers to make dairy products with imported modified ingredients than with Canadian milk.

So What is Wrong with Modified Milk ingredients in your “Canadian” cheese ?

When “modified milk ingredients” appear on a processed food label, the geographical origin is unspecified.

So What does that Mean?

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That means although real local Canadian milk may be used in making your cheese, other ingredients made from milk that have been imported from different countries such as the US, are also used in making your cheese.

So What is Wrong with Imported Milk Ingredients?

In Canada it is illegal for farmers to use growth hormones on their dairy cows, specifically Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) however it is legal for the United States to use growth hormones in their dairy cows. Most modified milk ingredients come from the United States.

Most notably, it’s illegal in Canada to administer bovine growth hormone (rBST) to boost milk production in dairy cattle. But there’s no such restriction in the U.S.

Those hormones are banned in Canadian cows but still perfectly legal to import in, say, modified milk ingredients.

Hmmmm as one Canadian Dairy Farmer put it…

“It seems incoherent to restrict the use of rBST in Canada, when products made with the hormone can still enter the Canadian market,”

What is this Hormone that has been banned in Canada and other countries but is allowed to be imported and used in milk products within Canada?

Bovine Growth Hormone

Monsanto decided to change the name of BGH to bovine somatotropin (rBST) which was created to avoid using the word ‘hormone’.

Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring growth hormone somatotropin. It is approved for use in the US to increase the production of milk in dairy cattle. However, it is not approved for sale in Canada.

What Health Effects Does BGH or rBST Have on Cows and Humans?

HEALTH EFFECTS ON COWS Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) whose brand name is Posilac, is a genetically engineered hormone produced by the giant Monsanto chemical company.

Posilac increases milk production by up to 30% but shortens cows’ lives by about two years. Twenty potential troubles are listed on the product-warning label. If untreated, the infection can get into the cow’s milk, so farmers try to cure it by giving the cow shots of antibiotics, more drugs that can find their way into the milk on your table which could make your own body more resistant to antibiotics.

When we inject a hormone into an animal or a human, it affects other hormones and it can have a whole cascade of effects which no one really knows.


-the biggest concern is what effect the drug might have on us and our children when they drink milk from treated cows. The growth hormone was approved by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine as an animal drug, but many scientists say that since BGH affects the milk we drink, it should be tested as if it were a human drug.

A human drug requires two years of carcinogenicity testing and extensive birth defect testing. BGH milk was tested 90 days on 30 rats before it was approved. And even that study was not available to the scientists.

Only Monsantos Upper level management and paid scientists were allowed to perform and review the study…

However, within the last year, the scientists at Health Canada were able to obtain the whole study. Research on the animals showed that BGH does pass through the gut, the animals had increased antibody levels, and at the same time there was damage to various organs such as cysts in the thyroid and inflammation of the prostate and other glands.

Not to mention other side effects of the drug…

the side effects of the growth hormone include udder infections, pus in the milk and higher levels of a hormone called ‘insulin-like growth factor’ in milk. In turn, IGF-1 in high levels in some people is blamed for causing certain types of cancers of the breast, prostate and colon.

Its important to note, this hormone is not used in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

BHG isn’t just used for cheese, many well known ice cream brands use modified milk ingredients imported  from the states so make sure you check where your ice cream has been made:

Breyers still hasn’t banned the use of dairy from cows given genetically modified growth hormones that boost milk production.

We will save for another day, the synthetic fillers, thickeners and mono and diglycerides that are also used in similar dairy products.

What Can You do about it? Here is what to look for when buying dairy products.

Dairy Farmers of Canada have come up with a voluntary symbol system for food processors and manufacturers who use 100 percent Canadian milk in their products.

European cheeses are always a safer bet since they have much higher dairy processing standards, most importantly, check the labels.

BUT wait, there’s more…Modified Milk Ingredients aren’t the only thing you should be worried about when it comes to dairy products…

A couple more things  you might want to consider, is what those dairy cows are eating:

A cow that is milking eats about 100 pounds each day of feed, which is a combination of hay, grain, silage and proteins (such as soybean meal), plus vitamins and minerals.

Many commercialized farmers prefer to use a main ingredient called corn silage.

What’s corn silage? Corn silage is when a farmer takes the corn and its stalk and ferments it as a high-moisture feed.

The problem with corn silage is that it can become rancid and moldy quickly which can cause the ingestion of mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins affect dairy cows by reducing feed consumption, reducing nutrient utilization, altering rumen fermentation, suppressing immunity, altering reproduction, irritating tissues, and causing cellular death.

As well as the Corn they are using is Genetically modified…

Currently, up to 92% of U.S. corn is genetically engineered (GE),

Then there is the dyes added to your cheese… Bright orange cheese is just not natural.

It’s an artificial dye called Tartrazine, or ‘Yellow Number 5’. It’s banned in countries such as Norway and Austria because government bodies there believe it can cause hyperactivity in children, excess salt and is linked to asthma, skin rashes and migraines.

These are all things you may want to consider before purchasing your dairy products the next time you are at the grocery store. As mentioned above, check the labels, look for Canadian or European made products and if you can, choose Organic.

Article Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,

Photo Sources: Here


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