by | Jun 14, 2016 | Healthy Living

Beyond “Fortified” Vitamin D Milk

You know how nice it is to see the golden cream rising to the top of your milk these days? Well, that golden color indicates the milk contains nutrients from the grass the cows are eating.

We all know raw milk is nutritious, but can we actually figure out how nutritious it is? The answer is yes!

Here at Bartlett Farms we routinely test our raw milk at a dairy lab in Minnesota for bacteria levels and pathogens. So far, everything has come back clean with a good report.

We recently found out that the lab now offers a vitamin test for dairy products to test for Vitamins A and D. We did the test.

What did we find out? 

Bartlett Farms raw milk contains 1044 IU of Vitamin A, and 411 IU of Vitamin D per quart of milk (tested during the month of June).

The lab reports indicate that Bartlett Farms raw milk contains slightly higher levels of Vitamin D than store bought “fortified” Vitamin D milk!

Store bought milk generally contains 400 IU of added synthetic Vitamin D per quart. (Here is a manual from the state of Maryland regarding the rules and dangers of fortifying milk with synthetic vitamins).

That’s right, the Vitamin D in the milk you’re drinking from Bartlett Farms actually exceeds the levels of Vitamin D in milk labeled “Vitamin D Milk” at the store!

According to this reference, it’s standard practice for dairy processors to add up to 400 IU/quart of synthetic Vitamin D to milk. Why? Because apparently the milk being provided by local dairies is deficient in natural Vitamin D.

Cattle in the sunshine eating grass at Bartlett Farms are producing naturally rich Vitamin D laden milk with no synthetic vitamins added.

Synthetic vitamins are not the same as naturally occurring vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are chemical compounds that mimic the action of naturally occurring vitamins, but that have been isolated from their natural carriers (Read: The Differences Between Synthetic and Natural Vitamins).

That means that it’s possible to overdose or experience side effects from synthetic vitamins, which you would never need to worry about in nutrient-dense foods like raw milk from pastured cows.


You can be proud of the fact that the vitamins in your glass of Bartlett Farms raw milk meet or exceed the levels found in synthetic forms in pasteurized milk, at least during the month of June. You can also appreciate the fact that the quality of the vitamins, because they are in their natural state, is higher and this means they’re doing a better job at things like:

So enjoy that glass of golden Jersey milk! You have the confidence it’s doing its job.




  1. Maryland Vitamin Fortification Standards:….
  2. Animal sources of Vitamin A:
  3. US Government on Vitmain D:
  4. US Government on Vitamin A:


Written by:

Bartlett Farms

Not only are we passionate about growing the best foods, but our mission is to educate and inspire so that together we can create healthier families and thriving homes that impact generations to come.


  1. Amanda Buchmann

    That’s so great! It’s wonderful you guys elected to test the milk and are able to provide more education in the importance of your grass fed milk! Now its hard to be patient waiting for Hailey to get done with her dry period!

    • Peter

      Thanks, Amanda! We’re very pleased to provide you with the milk! Hailey is getting closer, and her udder is “bagging up,” so it should be within a few weeks.


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