I don't frequent Starbucks very often, but when I do I order a latte with organic milk. The last time I did so, I noticed the barista pouring milk from a small square container, like the kind soy milk comes in. So yesterday I ordered a latte and paid attention and noticed that yes, the barista was pouring milk from a Parmalat organic milk carton. Parmalat is what's known as "shelf-stable" milk, meaning it doesn't need to be refrigerated. That's because it's been ultra-pasteurized, or heated to a higher temperature higher than normal pasteurization (280°F vs. 145°F). There are many people that believe ultra-pasteurized milk not only has no nutritional value, but also may be harder to digest because of changes in the protein structures of the milk itself. Needless to say, I try not to drink ultra-pasteurized milk.
Stabucks recently announced they'd be moving to rBGH-free milk in all their US stores. I drink organic milk because I don't want rBGH milk. But in the order of rBGH vs. organic vs. ultra-pasteurized, I wasn't sure which way to go. No more lattes started to seem like the best bet. I called Starbucks to confirm their organic milk was ultra-pasteurized, and to find out the time frame for the rBGH-free milk roll-out.
37% of Starbucks now use rBGH-free milk. I was told the process could still take a few more years to complete, but you can always ask at your local Starbucks to see the milk label. So possibly I could drink rBGH-free milk, if my local Starbucks have made the change. But if the haven't switched to rBGH-free, then organic is my only alternative. But my call confirmed their organic milk is ultra-pasteurized. I suppose this is for ease of shipping and storage, since there's probably less demand for organic. Regardless, I'm bummed. For now, my plan is no more lattes.