What’s in my Milk? The Truth about Antibiotics and Hormones
A day’s work at Eastview Farm begins with two goals in mind – caring for healthy, comfortable cows and producing safe, wholesome milk. Most of our day is spent caring for our cows because healthy, comfortable cows are the key to producing safe, wholesome milk. So, really, our goals are one in the same.
Our veterinarian makes well-visits to our farm every two weeks to check the entire herd. We work with a dairy nutritionist to make sure our cows are eating a well-balanced diet. We also provide constant access to fresh water and a clean, comfortable barn where they can relax. An average dairy cow consumes approximately 100 pounds of feed and 50 gallons of water per day!
All of these practices assure good health, but occasionally, a cow on our farm will get sick. When this happens, we consult with our veterinarian to determine the best method to treat the sick cow. Sometimes, an antibiotic is prescribed to get a cow back to good health. While a cow is being treated, her milk is tested and dumped until it is completely free of antibiotics.
A tanker truck picks up our milk, along with the milk of several other farms, every two days. Before loading milk into the truck, the driver takes a sample of milk from each farm’s tank. When the truck arrives at the processing facility, another sample is taken from the truck. These samples are tested before the truck is unloaded to make sure there are no traces of antibiotics in the truckload of milk. The test is so sensitive it can detect antibiotics in a single drop of milk. If a farm’s sample tests positive for antibiotics, the milk is dumped. Not only does that farm not receive payment for its milk, it is also responsible for the cost of the entire truckload.
No matter what type of milk you purchase – regular or organic – you can be assured that it never, ever contains traces of antibiotics. In fact, there’s no nutritional difference between organic milk and regular milk. Both not only taste great, but they also contain the same vitamins and minerals.
But, you may also be wondering: What about hormones in milk? All milk, just like most animal and plant byproducts, contains naturally occurring hormones. Dairy Herd Management magazine reports that, with the exception of a few small areas in the Midwest, very few dairy processors will accept milk produced with rBST by the end of 2017. However, the safety of rBST has been affirmed and reaffirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Drug Administration and other leading health organizations.
When we buy milk for our family at the grocery store, we’re confident that it’s a safe and wholesome product. Milk is one of the most highly regulated products in the U.S. All milk, regardless of type, must meet the same rigorous standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.