Antibiotics and Milk
Many people today are worried about the use of antibiotics in livestock and the food supply. It is important to know that dairy farmers care very much about making sure your milk is safe and antibiotic-free. But, just like humans, cows sometimes get sick and need medicine.
When a cow gets an infection and needs treatment, a veterinarian prescribes the right medication for the type of issue the cow is having. Then the antibiotics are given to the cow for only as long as is necessary to make her better. During that time, she still needs to be milked, but she is kept in a “sick pen” area, milked separately from the rest of the herd and her milk is safely disposed of to ensure it is not consumed by people.
You may have heard that 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in America are used for livestock – that is because cows weigh 1,500 pounds and need a lot more medicine for an infection to go away than a human does! Dairy farmers and their veterinarians are very careful not to over-use antibiotics and always follow the instructions. Dairy farmers are subject to large fees if antibiotics found in the milk they send off the farm. In fact, most of them will test the milk of a cow that has been on antibiotics themselves to make sure she is clear before re-entering the milk supply. Milk is one of the most heavily tested animal food products we buy. Rest assured, milk testing is done numerous times before it ever enters the food chain – by farmers, by transporters and by processors.