Six Things You Didn’t Know About Organic Butter
If you’ve ever stood in front of the overcrowded butter section of the grocery store and not known what to pick, you’re not alone. Yes, there are so many brands and varieties to choose from, so how do you choose? Consider organic. There’s more behind that organic label than you might realize and we are here to breakdown the facts about organic butter. Here are a few things you should know to help you make a “butter” decision:
- Certified Organic means at least 95% organic ingredients. This rule excludes salt and water, but the cream used to make the butter is required to come from an organic farm. Just 5% or less of ingredients can be non-organic, but still have to meet specific standards as set by the USDA. Products that have a label of “100% Organic” must have completely organic ingredients and the label “Made with Organic….” should contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
- Organic dairy cows also eat organic. To meet the USDA organic guidelines, cows that produce organic milk must eat food with all organic ingredients. This means that the grain and corn that they consume (in addition to grass) cannot be contaminated with any pesticide usage or antibiotics.
- Organic cows feed on grass for at least 20% of the year. An organic dairy farm is required to allot a minimum of 120 days per year as a grazing season. During this time, the cows get to eat grasses and roam in an open area. The grazing season does not have to be continuous and may be at different times depending on the geographical region. Plus, a grass-fed diet gives butter a more golden color! And why else is grazing important? Well...
- Cattle grazing benefits the land itself. We might be more familiar with the benefits of grass-feeding for the cows themselves and us as human consumers. But recent research has shown that grazing is beneficial for the land and environment as well. Grazing can be an important factor in conserving wildlife habitat and restoring ecosystemic balance.
- Organic butter has no GMOs. Genetically modified organisms have become a hot topic in the last few years with differing opinions and research. If you’re unsure about the safety of GMO products, then buy organic. USDA organic regulations prohibit the use of GMOs in food production. How could these enter into butter production? Grass and crops are planted to feed the cows and it’s not uncommon for genetically modified seeds or other materials to be used at conventional farms. However, an organic farm must not use any GMO seeds to plant grass or crops for their cattle to consume.
- Organic dairy has the nutritional advantage. Because the cattle are required to graze on grass for some portion of the year, organic dairy products (and organic beef) have more omega-3 fatty acids and a more desirable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The ideal ratio is higher in omega-3s than omega-6s and the reverse could have negative effects on your cardiovascular health, immune system and inflammation. Organic milk is slightly higher in healthy fats, vitamin E, and iron than conventionally produced milk.
And if you haven’t heard yet, Majestic’s new Organic Butter has hit the shelves at a Whole Foods Market near you!