Friday, April 25, 2014

Milk Testing...If it's not perfect, we pitch it!

What's up with these things?  Little known fact....EVERY tank of milk that is shipped from US dairy farms is tested for antibiotics.  I bet you didn't know that each dairy farmer is required to keep ANY cows treated with antibiotics separate from the other cows that are not treated with antibiotics.  The milk from all treat cows is usually disposed of and does not enter the human food supply.  If it's not perfect, we pitch it, every time, everyday! So if we have a sick cow...and we treat her with antibiotics to help her heal and feel better, we first move her to a separate pen to assure that her milk will also be kept separate.  Secondly, she is marked with 2 red colored leg bands to let everyone on our dairy know that she is treated with antibiotics. 
When our cows finish their complete treatment, we then wait the recommended time, also called the withdrawal time.  This withdrawal time is determined by veterinarians.  We follow the directions for each antibiotic that we use and each of those antibiotics are prescribed to our cows.  Even though we know that we waited the required time of withdrawal we take precautions.  One of those precautions is that we collect a milk sample from each treated cow.  That individual sample is tested with an on-farm testing kit that we own.  The photo above is an example of 2 such samples.  The yellow sample is a cow that is negative for antibiotics however the purple colored sample is a positive cow.  Milk from the purple sample cow will continue to be discarded until her  sample test turns yellow in a few more days.  We take antibiotics very seriously.  They are an important tool to help us keep our cows healthy when they get sick, but we also know that it is critical that NO antibiotics enter the milk tank.  The safety of our milk is one of the most important goals on our farm.  Every employee is trained to know and understand this rest assured that every glass of milk you enjoy is safe, wholesome, and nutritious.....and also free of antibiotics!