A Toronto Star special feature examining organic milk production included interviews with U of G professors Andreas Boecker and David Kelton.
The investigative report, called Milked, looked at how milk is produced and tested for things such as pesticides to find out whether organic milk is healthier than conventional milk and whether the added cost of buying organic is really worth it.
A professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Boecker talked about the history of biodynamic farming in Europe. He explained that biodynamic farmers believed they could harness cosmic rays to heal the soil through practices such as planting according to lunar phases. He said farmers from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands brought biodynamic farming practices to Ontario in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
A professor in the Department of Population Medicine, Kelton addressed common concerns about consuming unwanted hormones in conventional milk. He said all milk contains naturally occurring hormones. He also explained that it’s illegal for dairy farmers in Canada to inject cows with growth hormone to increase milk yield but that conventional farmers might add hormones to make their cows go into heat. This, he said, wouldn’t alter the milk because the dose given is minute.
Boecker studies food production practices, communication about agricultural technologies and food marketing.
Kelton studies disease surveillance, economics of replacing dairy cows and mastitis in animals.