“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. It is illegal for any milk that has antibiotic to be sold. If you choose to buy milk that claims to be antibiotic-free on the label that is your choice to spend more money.” This is the message I share with consumers when they visit our farm or I am given the opportunity to speak about dairy.
As a dairy farmer, I have the responsibility to care for our cattle and produce a product that is healthy and safe for consumers. All medications that are used on the farm are used under the guidance and prescription of our veterinarian. We have procedures and protocols that are scientifically based and approved by animal experts that guide our use of all medications.
Keeping Milk Safe
On our farm any cow that is being treated for an illness or has just had a calf will be milked separately and the milk discarded until the milk from that cow is sampled, and tested by our dairy cooperative lab and proven antibiotic free. We use an on farm test for antibiotics to test our tank of milk before it’s taken to the plant for processing. Our milk truck driver will test the milk before loading it onto his truck. Once the milk arrives at the plant, it is tested again before the driver unloads it, and it is further tested by the milk processing plant before it is processed. If milk is found to have antibiotics at the plant, the milk is destroyed and the farmer will pay for the entire tanker truck of milk.
Milk is one of the safest and most highly regulated foods. In 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, more than four million tests were conducted on milk samples to detect antibiotic or other drug residues, with less than 0.1% positive. Any milk testing positive was destroyed-never reaching the consumer market.
Would you as a consumer like to read “Antibiotic Free” on every milk container? I would really be interested in your response. Knowing how we produce milk, I never think twice when I reach for milk from the grocery shelf because I know the procedures we follow on the farm. Furthermore, I know as Americans we have the safest and most affordable food supply in the world.
About Guest Expert Susan Anglin
I now consider myself a dairy farmer. At first, I was married to the dairy farmer. After 25 years of marriage, raising two sons on the farm, learning to do all sorts of jobs around the farm and being involved in the everyday operation – I have arrived! Our farm is located just six miles from the Wal-Mart Corporate Office. Although our rural area is being eaten up by urban sprawl, we’re hanging on as only 13 dairies remain in our county.
I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s of science in nursing and am a registered nurse. Although I am not practicing as a nurse, I use my education every day. One of my main jobs on the farm is raising the baby calves. I love to share information about our farm because I believe consumers need to know how their food is produced.