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Nov 3, 2008 09:02 AM

Organic Homo Milk - Spoilage Issues

I buy the bags of Organic Meadow homo milk for my toddlers. In the past, I've often found that organic milk goes off before the expiry date but in the last 2 weeks, one bag went off about a week before the expiry date and now I'm questioning another bag that seems to have gone off 12 days before the expiry date!! In both cases, the milk still tasted fine but I noticed some clumps sticking to the sides of the bag/bottle and the last time, one of my kids had an off tummy.

Has anyone had any better experience with other brands of organic milk (Harmony, PC)? And in the world of smart choices, does the organic label on milk make that much of a difference in Canada or is all of our milk from drug-free cows (I appreciate that organic also means organic feed for the cows)? Thanks.

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  1. We're just bought organic meadow for the first time and noticed about 5 days before expiry the same clumbs you mention. We were slightly annoyed and probably won't buy again. Our normal brand is Harmony, which we've never had this problem before.

    1. Yep, I've noticed that too. And we were buying the milk for the same reason as you - to feed to a toddler.

      1. I cannot speak specifically to the Homo milk as I buy the Organic Meadow Skim in the bags. I find that the Skim is good even after the expiry date so I don't think that it is the fact that it is organic that makes it go off so quickly. What has been your experience with non-organic Homo? Does it also go off quickly? As far as whether you need to feed yourself and your kids organic milk, or organic anything for that matter, if you can afford it, I say do it. It can only be better for all of you. Cheers and Happy Lattes.

        1. In response...

          Wil - interesting, maybe I'll try Harmony to see if I can have a better experience. It's funny how I had come to accept the "5 day before due date" expiry problem but 12 days is ridiculous. I go through 8 litres a week!

          thought for food - did you come up with a better solution?

          Attknee - I don't buy that much non-organic milk but in general, whether it's the 1% for us adults or the homo for the kids, I have found recurring problems with early off dates on the organic stuff. Like you, I generally tend to think that organic is better (and I'm particularly focused on this with my kids), even though I'm less fussed about some things (eg. bananas). In any event, while organic may be better, organic "off" milk definitely is not.

          2 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate

            Is it 'off' as in sour / bad, or are the clumps just the Butterfat separating out of solution?
            If the milk is bad it will definitely taste sour and you'll smell it before you can get the glass to your lips - or your toddlers.
            I've noticed the separation issue even on run of the mill 2% only days from bringing it home... but then I'm not in hyper sensitive protective parent with toddler mode.

            In the end take it back and complain, not just to the grocer or the kid behind the counter, but to the dairy. Let them know that you have a problem; if you don't tell them, well nothing will ever get fixed.


            1. re: legourmettv

              Hmm, the milk definitely didn't smell or taste "off" on either occasion but the bits of solids seemed more like the clumps you see when you stir bad cream into your coffee - would it look like that if it was the butterfat separating?

              Also, the last time this happened, one of my little guys (I have twins) definitely had a bad stomach, which I suppose could have been a coincidence but I chose to connect the dots. I have definitely followed up with the grocer, who replaced the total package of 3 bags at no cost, but now that it's happened again, I should also follow up with the dairy.

          2. The lack of emulsifiers in Organic Meadow dairy products may account for the butterfat separation. A while back, I exchanged e-mails with a representative from the dairy regarding clumping of the fat in their 35% whipping cream cartons. The person told me that because they do not add any emulsifiers, the products tend to separate. In my case, the whipping cream did not go bad, but it wasn't completely liquid anymore.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gnuf

              And that probably explains why it does not happen in the Skim, which has little fat.

              1. re: gnuf

                While this might explain the situation, it sure isn't certain and I have major doubts. Dairy products that are not UHT do not generally contain any additives. This is true whether the product is "organic" or not.

                For example, very few brands of conventional mass market milk in Canada contain any additives at all. Hewitt's cream products, including their whipping cream, while not organic, are not UHT and contain no additives. None of these conventional dairy products separate into clumps. Neither, apparently, do other brands of organic dairy products.

                I tried a container of Organic Meadow Homo milk a couple of months ago. On opening, about a week prior to it's best before date, it was both clumped and foul. Frankly, I think Organic Meadow has a problem. Non-homogenized milk might show fat separation. It should never happen to homogenized milk. Emulsifiers have nothing to do with it. While fat separation could happen to non-UHT whipping cream, it doesn't seem to happen to Hewitt's until the product has obviously spoiled.

                Looking at the other end of the processed food spectrum, I experienced this with the refrigerated PC eggnog offered just before Thanksgiving. This product, which is the most natural of all the supermarket eggnogs, still contains a bunch of emulsifiers. It was also clumped well before its expiry date. In this case, the product had not spoiled, but it was weird and not drinkable. Interestingly, all supplies of this have disappeared from Loblaws' shelves just when they are usually arriving en masse for the holiday season.