Milk Safety

Dairy Farmers Provide Safe and Wholesome Milk

Child with a glass of milk

Dairy farmers follow strict standards, such as testing their milk before it leaves the farm, to ensure milk is safe and wholesome. The milk they produce is their badge of honor and their reputation. It’s also the same milk their family drinks. So, with all that in mind, rest assured milk is safe for you and your family.

Within the dairy case, there are countless choices with claims, such as organic and antibiotic-free. The good news is that all milk, as long as it is pasteurized, is wholesome, safe and nutritious. Any additional claims seen in the supermarket are a result of milk companies’ response to consumer requests for choices in the dairy aisle. Learn more about these claims:

Antibiotics: Milk and dairy products are among the most stringently regulated foods in this country. Some cows need antibiotics when sick, but the milk from those cows is not allowed to enter the milk supply until the antibiotics have cleared their system. Any milk that tests positive for antibiotics is immediately discarded and does not enter the retail milk supply.

Milk Hormones: All milk, even organic, naturally contains very small amounts of hormones. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded there is no significant difference between the milk from cows that are supplemented with growth hormone (rbST) and milk from cows that are not treated with rbST. Milk hormone levels from cows that are given rbST are within the normal range.

Organic Milk: Strict government standards ensure that both conventionally produced and organic milk are equally safe and nutritious. The USDA and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agree – organic milk and regular milk contain the same unique package of nutrients. Plus, most consumers say there is little to no taste difference between organic milk vs regular milk.

Keep Dairy Products Safe

While dairy farmers work hard to ensure they provide safe, high quality milk, consumers must do their part, too. This includes correctly decoding date labels and properly storing dairy products at home, both of which can also help reduce food waste.

Raw Milk Safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about one in six Americans (that’s 48 million people) get sick because of foodborne illness each year. When it comes to dairy products, the CDC warns that when consumed raw, “milk and products made from milk (including certain cheeses, ice cream and yogurt) can pose severe health risks.” That’s why milk products go through pasteurization and homogenization before arriving in the dairy case.

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria potentially found in raw milk by heating milk to a temperature which kills bacteria and then is rapidly cooled. Don’t fret, however, because “pasteurization does not significantly change the nutritional value of milk,” according to the CDC. It is still nutrient-rich and contains protein and carbohydrates. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC recommend drinking only pasteurized milk. All processed milk also undergoes homogenization, which keeps the cream from separating from the milk and creates a more consistent product. Visit the CDC’s recently updated Food Safety and Raw Milk site for more information on raw milk.

To further address the complex issues surrounding raw milk science and policy, visit Real Raw Milk Facts. This website addresses the complex issues surrounding raw milk science and policy. The website serves as a clearinghouse for evidence-based studies, presentations, commentaries, regulations, and position statements on raw milk to provide consumers with a better understanding of key health and safety issues associated with the consumption of unpasteurized dairy products. The site content was developed and reviewed by scientists and health educators in universities, government, industry, and professional organizations.

Share this page!