Organic Milk Is Off The Menu At Starbucks Starting Feb. 26

Starbucks made the switch to recombinant bovine growth hormone-free milk and are taking organic milk off the menu in all of their stores, effective Feb. 26.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks added organic milk to the menu in order to cater to customers who didn’t want to drink milk from animals that were given the artificial growth hormone, which helps cows produce more milk.

“Far and away, the No. 1 reason people are purchasing organic milk is because [it lacks] the growth hormone,” Michelle Gass, the company’s senior vice president of global strategy, told the WSJ.

Do you care about this?

Starbucks Less Organic [WSJ via Starbucks Gossip]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Toof_75_75 says:

    That’s a really cool picture!

  2. RenardRouge says:


  3. gamehendge2000 says:

    Did the Mitchell report list players who tested positive for rBGH?

  4. AD8BC says:


  5. Narb copied that floppy says:

    Normies: 1 Nutjobs: 0

  6. algormortis says:

    Eh, it means i can get precious rBGH-free milk without paying .30 extra. Good on them.

    I’m starting to notice that the more time i spend fixing problems at Starbucks, the more the manager comps me my drinks, though. Working mostly in places with coffeehouses has its perks; i get free drip when dealing with issues at a Borders, and half the time they remember me and give me free drip anyways.

    Free uppers. I love my job.

  7. 92BuickLeSabre says:

    @Toof_75_75: Check this one from Seoul…By all accounts I’ve heard, the only Starbucks where the name is written in the local characters. Loosely pronounced “Seuh Ta Pbuhk Seuh Kuh Pi.” (“P/B” is often used as a substitute for “F”.)

    I’d prefer grass-fed and organic, but I think they are right, the hormones are my first issue.

  8. Terek Kincaid says:

    Sigh, do we have to start this argument all over again? BGH won’t do anything to you. Period. Look it up. Watch this switchover to rBGH-free milk result in a 10 to cent cent increase in prices across the board.

    Next thing people will complain is that the milk comes from cloned cows…

  9. SuffolkHouse says:

    I care about this. I’m sick of the corporate farmers fighting to keep the local, small time organic farmers from being able to list their milk as hormone free. Didn’t that just happen in Pennsylvania? I’m just rooting against the industry.

  10. DallasDMD says:

    @terekkincaid: I’ve found the organic milk to taste better. Whaddya say to that holmes?

    Hormones? Seems like a non-issue if you believe the research. But if you look at the squalid conditions those cows live in, you’d freak out and spit the milk out of your mouth. Cows that are on hormones don’t make the same quality milk.

    Not all organic milk is created equal either. Horizon Organics is one of the brands to avoid, I hear. Whole Food’s organic milk (which I drink) gets some of the better ratings.

  11. bkpatt says:

    10 Internet Reputation Points to the first person to nail down a good reason to sue Starbucks for this.

  12. Monkey4Sale says:

    rBGH does not effect the quality of milk, or the taste, nor does it add any health concerns. It doesn’t even get into the milk to begin with. The only reason I buy organic milk from my Co-op instead of the grocery store is because I want to support local farms.

  13. DallasDMD says:

    @Monkey4Sale: The hormones do not directly affect the quality or taste, however, the hormones CAUSE the cow to produce more milk and work harder than nature intended.

    I swear I can tell a difference between the Kroger RBGH milk and the Whole Foods organic milk. Maybe its in my mind…

    Anybody with me here?

  14. Terek Kincaid says:


    More power to you. You have cited one of the two valid reason to choose “organic” milk over “regular” milk. Personal taste preference. The other is moral choice, and you touched on that as well. Economics are not as good a reason, since you can support a local farmer that uses rBGH and rBST.

    Scientifically, it is safe. Flavor-wise, I don’t know, I don’t really drink milk.

  15. zyodei says:

    True, there isn’t a solid body of evidence that rBGH is dangerous. However, there also isn’t a solid body of evidence that it is safe, especially in the long term.

    Similar to GMO foods, there has been a rush to market by politically powerful corporations without any comprehensive, independent, health studies being done. Nothing in the way of long term safety tests have been performed.

    Also similar to GMO, there is the question..if it is safe, why isn’t it labelled? Doesn’t the consumer have a right no know the background of the product? If it’s safe, they should proudly label the products GMO and rBGH because that means you’re saving money. However, right now, your local supermarket is full of GMO produce and rBGH milk, and none of it is labeled in any way. It may well be safe, sure. It may not be. We really don’t know.

    If you start to look around, you realize that these products have not been independently tested and are not being labeled. I think it’s worth five minutes of my time to go talk to the manager of my local grocery store or coffee shop and politely state that I do not trust these products, go out of my way to avoid buying them, and that my confidence in their store would be boosted if they labeled products containing genetically modified food and rBGH milk. This is also something I sometimes bring up when talking with parents of young children.

    I’ll pay 10% more on a gallon to avoid even a 1% chance of getting cancer down the line, yes. Cancer is an expensive thing to get in this country.

    This sums it up succinctly:


    From that short article:

    It’s known that rBGH also increases the level of another powerful growth hormone, IGF-1, which regulates cell growth and division. IGF-1 occurs naturally in cows and humans to some degree.

    But hundreds of studies have associated excess levels of IGF-1 with increases in breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers in people. For instance, a report by the Nurses Health Study at Harvard Medical School concluded that consumption of rBGH milk could influence cancer risk by a mechanism involving IGF-1.

  16. SadSam says:

    I want my milk to come from happy cows not druged up overworked cows. I happy to pay more for organic, local, small-farer, co-op milk.

    I don’t drink that god awful Starbucks coffee unless I’m stuck in an airport so this most likely doesn’t matter to me.

  17. banmojo says:

    @terekkincaid: dude, you want to check something out for yourself? just do a simple milk taste test – buy a small box of all the brands available to you, even go as far as buying full, 2%, 1%, and skim as well. Have someone help you set it up and do a taste test. I guarantee you, organic milk tastes 110% better than the cheaper shit. In all forms. Try this, and if you find I’m wrong, let me know as I’ll be very very surprised. “You get what you pay for” often plays true, and definitely does regarding milk.

  18. youbastid says:

    @DallasDMD: In my experience Horizon is the tastiest! Although their other products are kind of bland. It has a long-ass shelf life too.

    Everyone saying the rBGH is safe, where are you getting this info? No one remembers the huge whistleblowing story that 2 TampaFox reporters broke on rBGH back in 1998, because Fox KILLED THE STORY after Monsanto threatened to sue.

    “Scientists who oppose the use of BGH argue that while the drug is said to shorten the life of the cow by speeding up its metabolism and causing certain infections, it also leads to changes in the cows’ milk. Dr. Samuel Epstein at the University of Illinois says, “There are highly suggestive if not persuasive lines of evidence showing that human consumption of milk from treated cows poses unnecessary risks of breast and colon cancer.”

    Epstein, an acknowledged expert on the environmental causes of cancer, has three medical degrees, is the author of nine books, and is frequently called to testify as an expert before Congress. Other respected experts share his position. Some like Dr. William von Meyer have stated further concerns about whether BGH milk may cause other long-term health problems in humans. All the critics and even some BGH supporters agree the possibility has never been thoroughly investigated.”

    (Waiting to be called a tree-hugging hippie one more goddamn time.)

  19. jesuismoi says:


    Picture is, from my memory, outside of this: []

    I have an almost identical picture somewhere in my digital photos from a vacation.

    It’s almost as surreal as all the pepsi signs lit up at night.

  20. DallasDMD says:

    @youbastid: Here is where I was getting my information about Horizon: []


  21. quiksilver says:

    @terekkincaid: I’m with you about BGH causing anything. It’s exactly like a person taking a vitamin. Don’t want to start a lengthy discussion though…

    As for organic milk, I never noticed the difference and I PERSONALLY didn’t see it being worth the extra money (please note I’m not discouraging organic milk). While there are small organic farms, a lot of them are large farms due to keeping all the cows “organic”, which the cows end up producing less milk. Farming costs are very high currently (a lot of it due to corn-based ethanol), requiring more cows to practically “break even.”

  22. lukobe says:

    If you want organic milk why are you in Starbucks in the first place?

  23. youbastid says:

    @DallasDMD: Interesting re: Horizon. Also: Dammit!

  24. quiksilver says:

    @banmojo: Me and some of fellow farm boys have done the blind test using multiple brands, none of us couldn’t tell. Maybe you have shitty non-organic milk where you live.

  25. clevershark says:

    Those of you wondering about the picture — it’s the Starbucks in Old Shanghai.

  26. quiksilver says:

    @clevershark: Sweet! Thanks! I was wondering where that was from

  27. DCvision says:

    Clevershark is correct… it was taken near the Yuyuan Garden (豫园) (Garden of Contentment) in old Shanghai…
    Thanks to consumerist for showing the love for my photostream!

  28. Terek Kincaid says:


    Yes, excess IGF-1 does cause all kinds of problems. And BGH does increase IGF levels… in cows. It has no effect on humans, and that’s even if it survives the pasteurization process and your own digestive enzymes. An injection of BGH probably won’t do anything to you – drinking it certainly won’t.

    Yeah, you always get what you pay for. But why develop a taste for $1,000 bottles of wine when the $7 box does it for me now? ;)

  29. ancientsociety says:

    @zyodei: I agree completely. Nice summation.

  30. smitty1123 says:

    Hormones… pfffft. It’s the fluoride that’ll get ya.

  31. tamoko says:

    My weekend job is at a specialty grocery market, which shall remain anonymous. Organic milk flies off the shelves, especially the whole milk. I’ve watched this phenomena for over three years; trendier, more affluent area have already swallowed the BGH issue hook, line, and sinker.

    Regardless whether BGH is really a threat to human health ( an issue I’m still undecided about), it’s already been turned into a marketing tool – “Look, we’re BGH free…” buy us!

  32. SuperJdynamite says:

    I can’t get a bead on you, Internet. Yesterday everybody was all, like, “milk from cloned cows is going to kill you,” but today everybody is all, like, “when you inject cows with hormones there’s now way it’s going to hurt you.”

  33. AD8BC says:

    @terekkincaid: I agree.

    However, I doubt you could taste the difference between milks in a Grande Caramal Mocha

  34. AD8BC says:

    @SuperJdynamite: It’s all in the evidence. And how the media twists it.

    Cloned meat is good for you or bad for you? It sounds bad, so it must be bad, even though the copy is the same as the original.

    Giving cows hormones can cause the milk to be harmful? It sounds bad so it must be bad, even lacking scientific proof that there is actually hormone remains in the milk.

    Global warming is caused by humans? All the scientific evidence is still in the air on this one, but a layman named Al Gore says it’s bad, and the media loves democrats, and it sounds bad so it must be so.

    Gotta sort through the facts to form your own opinion. Don’t listen to the media, it’s all designed to sell papers and ads.

  35. youbastid says:

    @ad8bc: Like I said above, there is some pretty solid scientific evidence that shows the hormone has cancer causing potential. From respected scientists. That like, totally have multiple degrees in science and talk to Congress about science and stuff.

    And Al Gore is a layman? Really? So in your eyes, exactly how many years of studying a subject does it take for you to be considered an expert? It takes 4 years to become an engineer; 8 to become a Doctor. Gore’s been studying global warming for 40 years. Layman???

  36. zenpoet says:

    If my bovines haven’t been recombinated, I send them back until they have been.

    I think it just tastes better that way.

  37. AD8BC says:

    Gore has been spending 40 years studying lots of stuff.

    I don’t think he is good at any of it.

    Just sayin’

    Sure he may have been studying global warming but he is depending on lots of other scientists theories and weeding out the ones that he wants to believe.

  38. igj says:

    I sat in a teahouse in the Yuyuan Bazaar that overlooked that Starbucks. The Starbucks: completely mobbed with people and a line out the door. The teahouse: not so much. My group of 3 was the only sign of life in the teahouse. So it goes…

  39. legerdemain says:

    Meh. I prefer the soymilk.

  40. Yay! That’s good news. Of course, I don’t drink milk myself, so I actually don’t really care what they carry. Americano baby Americano.

  41. csdiego says:

    I care about it. I don’t trust rBGH and I go out of my way and pay extra for milk that is produced without it. Grass-fed would be nice, but I can’t always afford that. rBGH-free is my biggest priority.

    Not that I ever go to Starbucks more than once every year or two, but if I did, I’d be happy with what they’ve done here.

  42. Odwalla says:

    That’s the Starbucks in the Yuan Garden district of Shanghai, China. There’s a Hagen Daz and a Dairy Queen right around the corner.

  43. dieman says:

    Hey, I’d be buying non-organic milk if I could get it UHT style. UHT makes it all shelf-stable for stupid amounts of time, its nice to buy a stock of half-gallons that you open up every few days (and last over a month unopened) instead of a gallon that you never quite finish before it tastes nasty.

  44. Odwalla says:

    That isn’t the Jade Budha temple. The Starbucks picture is from an area over by the river, just a bit SW from The Bund.

  45. shanaynay says:

    Coincidence that the average age of puberty in girls is inversely proportional to the use of hormones in dairy cows? Methinks not. Give me organic. (Technically, give me organic soy.)

  46. VnlaThndr775 says:

    I don’t care if rBGH is harmful to me or not, I don’t want to ingest it so I buy milk without it. If you’re fine with ingesting things you don’t need even though you could easily do without them, how ’bout letting me blow my load in your Mocha every day?

  47. @algormortis: Eh, they increased the prices a while back to reflect the milk prices.

  48. Vicky says:

    It just exhausts me to think of the time and effort some people spend avoiding rGBH while still smoking cigarettes with their morning mochas.

  49. shanaynay says:

    @Vicky: what of those of us who avoid rBGH AND cigarettes? Oy.

  50. kostia says:

    I don’t know what the difference is (or that there was one) between “organic” and “bgh-free.” Who cares?

  51. teapartys_over says:

    I’m more concerned about the antibiotics the cows are getting, which isn’t addressed by this move. I buy local milk. It’s insanely expensive. It’s just one of those things I’m willing to spend on.

  52. cerbie says:

    @DallasDMD: no, you’re not losing your mind. Others think you should just go, “la la la,” with your fingers in your ears, like they do. Same with organic produce (that tastes better, that I can eat some of it raw, and it lasts longer in the fridge—but oh, there’s no benefit).

    Also, that research is not too cut and dry. There are *gasp* conflicting views on the studies, whether you’re looking at the ones showing higher cancer rates, or the ones showing it’s all good.

    My joints hurt more if I drink Food Lion’s (45-017) milk, Kroger’s seems OK (13-250), and Publix milk (13-205, hormone-free) tastes better, and has yet to be more than 15% higher in cost (when Kroger’s is on sale).

    I’ll pay over 15% more for something that tastes better alone. Anyone who thinks there’s no difference can keep drinking what they do.

    @lukobe: see, organic milk balances out whatever they use to sweeten the syrup/icing, and the obvious nastiness of the non-dairy whipped topping. Right?

  53. picardia says:

    I am a fairly new organic convert, and admittedly an uninformed one. But my “health nut” sister-in-law pressed me to switch eating habits when I was very sick last fall, and I went nearly-all-organic more out of desperation than anything else. Four months later, and I feel better and lost 7 lbs. without trying. Even my skin is clear. I’m going to get stricter about this in future.

    Probably I’d need to give up Starbucks fairly soon anyway, but still, it’s disappointing.

  54. picardia says:

    Speaking of which, do any of you know how to find organic lactose-free milk? Is there such a thing?

  55. CorruptKitten says:

    Organic Valley makes Organic Lactose Free Milk

  56. Squeegoth says:

    @SuperJdynamite: Holy CRAP! Milk from cloned cows… that’ll be like… the same milk!!! How do you track the expiration dates on that?!

  57. BrianDinDC says:

    TEREKKINCAID: Milk with rBST WILL do something to you. I have the scars to prove it from the surgery I had to have to fix what it did to me. I’ll be happy to share them with you if you’d like. Think about this: the people telling you rBGH is safe and harmless are the same people who told us Thalidomide was safe and harmless.

  58. BrianDinDC says:

    Milk with rBST WILL do something to you. I have the scars to prove it from the surgery I had to have to fix what it did to me. I’ll be happy to share them with you if you’d like. Think about this: the people telling you rBGH is safe and harmless are the same people who told us Thalidomide was safe and harmless. @terekkincaid:

  59. Anonymous says:

    As a barista, It was to much hassle. Im glad its going….going…already gone from our store. Only one person comes in and asks for it…and she only comes in once every 2 weeks. :)