All Milk Is Antibiotic Free!

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.

All milk

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.

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3 Responses to "All Milk Is Antibiotic Free!"

  1. Interesting, thanks for setting the record straight.

    We’re now hearing about growth hormones (bovine growth hormone, rBST) in US milk that will be imported to Canada under the TPP. What’s your take on that?

    • Hi Terry! Honestly, I’m not familiar with TPP, because I just haven’t had time to follow it. That being said, I don’t necessarily think that we need to be concerned about the safety of rBST. In fact, milk has hormones in it naturally. That being said, I would refer you to my friend Krista’s website (her and her husband are dairy farmers): I understand that many cooperatives do not allow the use of rBST currently, though I am sure there are still some that do.

    • Terry, since I first responded, my friend Sarah at Nurse Loves Farmer also wrote up this post that is exactly on point here. I think you’ll find it helpful and interesting:

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