Your organic milk might contain algae and fish oil

Organic milkMillions and millions of gallons of organic milk contain industrial-brewed ingredients to beef up nutritional values.

When you buy a carton of organic milk, chances are you think you’re getting a carton of pure organic milk. And if you’re splurging on organic milk with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids to support brain health – and who doesn't want their brain health supported? – chances are you think that those healthy bits are coming courtesy of healthy grass-fed cows. But as Peter Whoriskey points out in the Washington Post, you might be wrong on both accounts – much of the nation's organic milk can thank algal oil (and fish oil) for its brain-boosting boasts.

Whoriskey describes a setting in a South Carolina factory that sounds a tad less charming than Horizon’s cartoon cow leaping across the planet's grassy fields might suggest. He writes:

Inside a South Carolina factory, in industrial vats that stand five stories high, batches of algae are carefully tended, kept warm and fed corn syrup. There the algae, known as schizochytrium, multiply quickly. The payoff, which comes after processing, is a substance that resembles corn oil. It tastes faintly fishy.

The oil is added to milk, in this case Horizon’s DHA Omega-3 version, allowing the company to advertise its added benefits and attach a higher price tag. Consumers bought more than 26 million gallons of Horizon’s algae-goop milk last year, according to the company; that accounts for 14 percent of all organic milk gallons sold.

Read more here.