With the rise of modern technology and farmers changing the way they produce dairy, many milk myths have been floating around. It can be hard to tell what’s accurate. We went to straight to the source – dairy farmers – to get the facts.
SEE MORE: Milk and Dairy Fun Facts
Myth: Milk sometimes contains harmful antibiotics and can be unsafe to drink.
Fact: Both milk and dairy foods undergo rigorous testing before they ever reach a grocery store. In fact, milk and dairy products are among the most strictly regulated foods in this country. Occasionally, it is necessary for farmers to use antibiotics when cows become sick. However a cow being treated for illness is separated from the rest of the milking herd to ensure her milk does not go into the supply. All milk is strictly tested for antibiotics on both the farm and processing plant before it is used for any food item. This testing system pushes farmers to keep their milk antibiotic-free. The farmer is required to pay for the loss of the full tanker of milk.
READ MORE: Do You Know Your Milk? Milk is the top source of calcium in Americans’ diets. It would take 7 cups of raw broccoli (a typical serving is 1 cup) to get as much calcium as you get in just one 8-ounce glass of milk.
Myth: Cows on modern farms are treated like nothing more than milk-producing “machines.”
Fact: Farmers care for their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Dairy cows have to be healthy in order to produce nutritious milk. In fact, they receive regular check-ups, vaccinations and prompt treatment of illnesses. Dairy cows are generally kept in barns and similar housing. Housing protects the animals from predators, disease and poor weather conditions. Modern dairy farm housing is well-ventilated, kept at comfortable temperatures, clean and designed to meet an animal’s specific needs.
Myth: Modern dairy farms are bad for the environment and don’t practice sustainable agriculture.
Fact: Dairy farmers usually live on or near the land they farm, so they work exceptionally hard to protect their natural resources. The latest research shows that the U.S. dairy industry accounts for only about 2 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy is one of the most regulated industries in agriculture. Government agencies continuously continuously inspect these sites, and water is reused numerous times for cleaning and cooling. Farmers also work with industry manufacturers, university experts and others to improve overall air quality. Dairy farmers invest a great amount of money each year to enhance the ways they manage manure and protect the environment. Nutrient management plans guide the amount source, placement and timing of manure on fields. Farmers are deeply committed to providing the nutritious dairy products for consumers in a way that makes the environment better.
Source: Dairy Business Association