Milk Myths

You deserve to hear the real story about dairy production from those who know it best…America’s dairy farmers. With less than 2 percent of the U.S. population involved in farming today, many people don’t have the opportunity to visit a dairy farm.

Add the fact that most people are three to four generations removed from the farm, and you find a pretty big information gap. The below information from hard-working dairy men and women will help bring dairy farm practices to life.

Myth: All milk contains antibiotics, except organic.

Fact: All milk is carefully tested for antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately, and does not enter into the food supply.

  • Sometimes it’s necessary for farmers to treat cows with antibiotics when they are ill, just as humans sometimes need medication when they are sick.
  • All milk is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and processing plant. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
  • The U.S. dairy industry conducts more than 3.3 million tests each year on all milk entering dairy plants to ensure that antibiotics are kept out of the milk supply. According to the most recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, less than one tanker in 3,000 tests positive for any animal drug residues, including antibiotics. In those rare cases, any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
  • The milk testing system provides dairy farmers strong incentives to keep their milk free of antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive for antibiotics is immediately dumped. In such cases, the farmer responsible for the milk is required to pay for the full tanker of milk.
  • Milk and dairy products are among the most stringently regulated foods in this country.

Myth: Today’s dairy cow is treated like nothing more than a milk machine.

Fact: Dairy cows must be healthy and well cared for in order to produce pure, wholesome milk.

  • Farmers employ professional nutritionists to develop a scientifically formulated, balanced and nutritious diet for their cows. Diets include hay, grains, protein sources, and vitamins and minerals.
  • Dairy cows receive regular veterinary care, including periodic check-ups, preventative vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness.
  • The dairy industry has in place a number of initiatives that demonstrate commitment to animal well-being. The National Dairy FARM Program™ is a nationwide, verifiable program that addresses animal well-being. Third-party verification ensures the validity and the integrity of the program to our customers and consumers.
  • Dairy farmers depend on healthy cows for their livelihood.

Myth: The reason the price of milk is going up in the grocery store is so dairy farmers can get rich.

Fact: Price increases for dairy, and all foods, beverages and other goods, are tied to dramatic increases in energy/fuel, distribution, transportation, feed, and supply costs.

  • Dairy farmers only receive about 30 cents of every dollar.
  • Market forces, like demand, impact the price of milk at the grocery store,
  • Farmers are seeing a lot of cost increases in producing milk, including feed and transportation. These cost increases have left slim margins for dairy farmers in recent years.
  • Want to learn more? Click here to view our fact sheets about life on the farm.

 

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