Dairy Carrie answers, ‘What’s really in milk?’

posted Dec. 19, 2016 9:05 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Carrie Mess, also known as Dairy Carrie

It seems that one of the newest things spreading around the Internet like wildfire are photos and videos making claims about what is and isn’t in milk. Most of the wild claims that there is pus or blood or other disgusting stuff comes from vegan activists who have an agenda to get you to stop drinking milk. Some claims, like sugar or aspartame being added to milk, are just people misunderstanding what milk is. I thought I’d do a quick Internet roundup on what is and isn’t in your milk.

Do they bleach milk to make it white?

No. Milk is milk colored all on its own. Sometimes milk from grass-fed cows can have a slight yellow tint to it. Skim milk might have a tint of blue, but unless it’s a flavored milk, nothing is being added that changes milk’s color.

Is there pus in milk?

No. There is no pus in milk.

Is there blood in milk?

Again, the answer is no. A few years ago some asked me if chocolate milk was made from bloody milk and I wrote a post to answer that question. The post applies to white milk too.

Do they add water to skim milk?

No. Skim milk looks thinner than 2% or whole milk because of what they take out, not what is added. Skim milk is called skim, because it has all the cream skimmed off of it. No cream means no fat.

What is added to milk?

Obviously chocolate or strawberry flavored milk has added ingredients but most plain white milk also has vitamin D added to it and sometimes vitamin A.

Vitamin D is naturally found in milk and more is added because generally people don’t get enough vitamin D from other food sources. Vitamin D also helps with calcium absorption.

Vitamin A is added to milk to replace the vitamin A that is naturally in milk but is removed when the cream is skimmed. So whole milk doesn’t have added vitamin A but lower-fat milk does.

Anything that is added to milk must be listed on the ingredient list.

Is there sugar in white milk?

Yes. If you look at the nutrition information on a container of milk, you will see that there is an amount of sugar in milk, however, the sugar in white milk is naturally occurring and comes from lactose. Flavored milks may have some sugar added to them but plain milk does not.

Is there aspartame in milk?

No. If it’s called milk, it can’t have aspartame in it. The federal rules are so strict about what can be added to milk that if aspartame was added to chocolate milk instead of using sugar, it would have to be labeled something like “Chocolate Drink.”

Are there hormones in milk?

Yes and no. Milk does have naturally occurring hormones in it. But before you get worried, understand that everything we eat has some level of hormones in it. Hormones are natural and aren’t automatically scary. When most people ask this question they usually want to know about “bovine growth hormones,” also known as rBST/​rBGH.

Is there rBST/​rBGH in milk?

Probably not. When you go to the grocery store and grab a gallon of milk, you would have a hard time finding a gallon that doesn’t have a label on it that says the milk is rBGH/​rBST or hormone free. Any gallon that makes a claim about rBST/​rBGH is also required by law to include a statement that no significant difference has been found between milk from cows given rBST and cows not given rBST. That information is usually in super small writing, though.

Is milk tested for antibiotics?

Yes. Every single load of milk from every single dairy farm is tested for antibiotics every single time it is picked up from the farm. The test used is so sensitive it can detect antibiotics in a single drop of milk. If milk is found to have the presence of antibiotics in it, the milk is thrown away. If a farmer sends a load of milk that has antibiotics in it to the milk plant, that farmer will not only lose the money for his or her milk, but will also be responsible for paying for all of the milk from all of the farms that are also on the truck.

I hope this helps answer a few of your questions about milk

Carrie Mess is a dairy farmer between Lake Mills and Watertown in southern Wisconsin. She has been writing a blog with a pen name Dairy Carrie since 2011. Visit it at http://www.dairycarrie.com.

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