CommonGround Volunteers Share Holiday Cheer, Ease Dairy Fear this Holiday Season

(Posted Fri. Dec 21st, 2012)

Dec. 21: While many people enjoy time relaxing over the holidays, CommonGround volunteers know that consumers’ food anxieties never take a day off, particularly as concerned moms prepare holiday meals for their families.

To help ease dairy anxieties, CommonGround New York volunteer Beth Chittenden, a dairy farmer, stepped up her efforts to address common concerns many have over the milk they will offer alongside their Christmas cookies. In an open letter she shared earlier this week, Chittenden gave the gift of her own personal knowledge on these issues.

Furthering the mission of all CommonGround volunteers, starting a conversation about food between the women who buy it and the women who grow it, Chittenden offers insight into why Santa doesn’t fear milk and cookies this Christmas. Her holiday message rings like a bell; enjoy food without fear.

Why Santa (and You) Shouldn’t Fear Milk and Cookies This Christmas

Dairy Farmers Are Proud to Serve Mr. Claus and American Families

While it seems like the holidays come earlier and earlier every year, one time-honored tradition always waits until Christmas Eve. Each December 24, just before heading off to bed, millions of children participate in the ritual of leaving cookies and milk for Santa to snack on. As a dairy farmer, my family and I are proud to serve not only Mr. Claus, but millions of American families, with safe and healthy milk. We work hard each and every day to make sure ALL of our consumers, not just the jolly ones, can enjoy milk without any need to worry about safety.

As a farmer and a mom, I know that between Christmas lists and grocery lists, December can be especially tricky to coordinate. And with all of the added labeling and information found on milk products, the dairy aisle can be particularly confusing. This Christmas, I want to give all moms the gift of peace of mind, because they have absolutely nothing to fear at the dairy case. Here are the facts:

Hormones occur naturally in farm animals like dairy cows and even some produce, like cabbage. They are present in our food even when animals haven’t been given supplemental hormones – it’s a natural part of life. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says there is no need to worry about hormones in milk.

According to the World Health Organization and the FDA, pasteurization destroys 90 percent of hormones in milk and the rest are broken down during digestion. Pasteurization also destroys harmful bacteria that may be present, including salmonella and E. coli.

All milk, whether organic or conventional, is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and at the processing plant. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public.

No research shows that milk or other dairy products play a role in early puberty. In fact, girls today drink less milk than their mothers did. Some scientists believe that childhood obesity may lead to earlier onset of puberty, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Happy Holidays!
Beth Chittenden, Dairy Farmer
Schodack Landing, N.Y.