As National Dairy Month draws to a close today, here’s another one of my favorite facts about dairy! If a dairy cow gets sick on a conventional farm, it will be given antibiotics as treatment until it gets all better. However, the antibiotics do not end up in the milk supply. Rather, treated dairy cows are kept separate until the proper withdrawal time has expired.
As Milk Facts explains:
Every tank truck of milk in the US is tested for the presence of common antibiotic residues. Specifically, milk is pumped from the tank on the farm into a tanker trunk for delivery to the processing plant. The tank truck driver takes a sample each farm’s milk before the milk is pumped into the truck. Before the milk can be unloaded at the processing plant, each load is tested for antibiotic residues. If the milk shows no evidence of antibiotics, it is pumped into the plant’s holding tanks for further processing. If the milk does not pass antibiotic testing, the entire truck load of milk is discarded and the farm samples are tested to find the source of the antibiotic residues. Regulatory action is taken against the farm with the positive antibiotic test.