On the farm, how is the safety of milk guaranteed?
Farmers feed their cows a healthy, well-balanced diet to ensure the production of high quality milk. Cows are given fresh bedding every day to ensure cleanliness. Farmers and veterinarians regularly check the herd for health, the volume of milk produced, the amount of feed eaten, and the overall appearance of the cows. Before milking, the cow’s teats are washed with a disinfectant solution. The milking process uses sanitized milking machines that take the milk from the cow, send it through a sterile pipeline, and filter it into a large refrigerated holding tank that quickly cools the milk to 4°C. Each batch of milk from each producer is tested for a number of milk quality factors like antibiotic inhibitors, protein, and fat content. Inhibitors are substances (other than bacteria) that do not naturally occur in milk. They inhibit the growth of both good and bad bacteria in milk. If inhibitors are detected, it could mean the cow was on antibiotics. The use of milk from a cow on antibiotics is prohibited in Canada.