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In the United States Low fat milk contains 2%, 1% or 0% milk fat as opposed to 3.25% in regular milk but in the process of removing milk fat, vitamins are also removed from milk. In order to compensate for the loss of vitamins low fat milk is refortified with vitamin A palmitate.

Vitamin A palmitate can come from either an animal source or from plant source so some Sikhs refrain from having low fat milk as a result. Others will have products that contain low fat milk including vitamin a palmitate if the product is kosher dairy as kosher restrictions generally prevent the mixing of milk and meat (note the kosher definition of meat is different from the Sikh definition) but even this may be a risk. The Palmitic acid in Vitamin A "Palmitate" is usually sourced from Palm trees.

Please note, besides the usual Vitamin A and D, some milk brands also contain Vitamin B or Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can also be from meat sources.

EatBibek has created an easy reference table for US Milk Brands.

USA Brands Reference Table

Milk Brand Suitable for Sikhs? Vitamin D Vitamin A
Bayview Farms Milk Whole Milk Only! Lanolin Awaiting Reply
Berkeley Farms Milk Yes Synthetic Corn Oil
Garelick Farms Milk Yes Lanolin Synthetic
Golden Guernsey Dairy Milk Yes Lanolin Synthetic
Great Value Milk Yes Lanolin Synthetic
Hood Milk Yes Fermentation/Lanolin Synthetic
Horizon Organic Milk Yes Synthetic Corn Oil
Kirkland Signature Milk (Call your Costco) Yes (NorCal) Lanolin or Yeast Beta Ionine
Lucerne Milk (USA) Yes Lanolin Derived organically from non-meat sources
Member's Mark Milk (Sam's Club/Walmart) No Fish Oil Organic Chemicals
Morning Glory Milk Yes Lanolin Synthetic
Sunnyside Farms Milk Yes Lanolin Plant Based

Please visit the Milk category to view other Milk brands not listed above.

Vegetarian Sources

Dean Foods was kind enough to send us details about the manufacturing process of Vitamins A and D in milk.

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Vitamin D3 is formed naturally in human skin where 7-dehydrocholesterol, a steroid alcohol, is irradiated by sunlight and assimilated slowly into the body. It is converted to its active form (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) in the kidney and released into the bloodstream. Vitamin D3 is produced commercially by irradiating 7-dehydrocholesterol, the same found in human skin, only commercially it is extracted from lanolin. When ingested by humans, the synthetic D3 is also converted to its active form in the kidney. Although lanolin is obtained by sheep, Vitamin D3 is considered Kosher and Pareve because the sheep are not slaughtered to obtain the wool, from which lanolin is extracted.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble, long chain alcohol which occurs in nature only in the animal organism. Vitamin A precursors (provitamins), widely distributed in the vegetable kingdom as carotenoid, can be transformed within the intestinal wall into Vitamin A. Vitamin A in an esterified form is preferred for nutritional use. Vitamin A is produced commercially by reacting calcium carbonate with water until twenty carbon atoms are connected to a water molecule. This is the alcohol, Vitamin A, which is esterified with palmitic acid to form the ester, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Vitamin A Palmitate is considered Kosher and Pareve.
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