Kenya’s dairy farmers are committed to providing you and your family with wholesome milk and dairy products and getting milk from cow to you efficiently and safely. This commitment starts with top-notch animal care. Farmers provide comfortable housing, nutritious feed, preventative health care programs and sanitary milk procedures to keep cows healthy.
Milk Is Collected and Cooled in a Bulk Tank
Cows respond best to patient, kind handling and regular routine procedures. Farmers milk their cows two or three times a day. The first step in providing you with safe and wholesome milk is by cleaning the cow’s udder and teats to keep the milk clean. The milking machine is attached to the cow’s teats, and the vacuum of the machine gently squeezes the milk out of the cow’s udder.
The milk from the cows flows through sanitized pipelines directly to the bulk milk tank. Here, the milk is quickly cooled to 45°F or lower to keep it fresh. It is then transported to the processing plant in an insulated tanker truck. At this point, the process of getting fresh, wholesome milk from cow to you has only just begun.
Milk Is Tested, Then Tested Again
Milk and dairy products undergo a number of safety, quality and sanitation procedures, including pasteurization (heating the milk to a high temperature for a short time), making dairy the most highly regulated and safest food available to you.
The dairy industry works with state and county regulators to monitor and test dairy production, processing and marketing to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of milk and dairy products. Every load of milk shipped from every dairy farm in the Kenya is tested for quality. Any milk that does not meet federal quality standards is discarded — never to reach your family. These processes ensure only the best milk makes it from the cow to your family.
Handling Milk at Home
Once we get milk from cow to you, there are steps you can take to help keep it pure and safe at home. Just follow the three “Cs”:
- Keep milk CLEAN
- Keep milk COVERED
- Keep milk COLD
Did You Know?
- Cows eat about 90 pounds of nutritious food each day, which includes approximately 40 pounds of feed and hay and 50 pounds of silage.
- Cows drink 25 to 50 gallons of water each day — nearly a bathtub full of water!
- It takes from five to 10 minutes to milk a cow using a milking machine.
- On many large commercial farms, computers are used to keep track of how much milk a cow produces each time she is milked.
- Milk and dairy products are among the safest foods you can eat.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MILK
It’s a fact—dairy delivers great taste and good nutrition! It’s also a fact that many safeguards and regulations are in place to ensure the delicious dairy foods you buy are safe, wholesome and nutritious. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about milk.
Question: Why do farmers treat cows with antibiotics?
Answer: Sometimes cows get sick, just as humans do. Without proper medical care, they could become seriously ill or may die. Like humans, cows are only given antibiotics when they are sick. The milk from a cow treated with
Antibiotics is discarded and does not reach the food supply.
Question: Are there antibiotics in milk?
Answer: All milk is tested for the most commonly used antibiotics upon delivery at the dairy plant. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public. Strict government standards and industry protocols ensure that pasteurized milk is wholesome, safe and nutritious.
Question: Are there hormones added to milk?
Answer: Some farmers treat their cows with a synthetic form of the naturally occurring hormone bovine somatotropin, known as rBST or rBGH, as a method to help with more efficient milk production. All milk naturally contains very small amounts of hormones, and studies show that there are no significant differences in hormone levels between milk from treated or untreated cows.
Question: Is it safe to serve my family raw or unpasteurized milk?
Answer: Health experts recommend that you and your family consume only pasteurized dairy foods. Consuming unpasteurized or “raw” milk presents severe food safety risks, which is why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly support pasteurization. Pasteurization is a simple, effective method to kill harmful pathogens, such as E. coli and salmonella, without affecting the taste or nutritional value of milk.
Question: What is “rBST-free” milk?
Answer: Some dairy processors label milk from cows not treated with supplemental hormones such as bovine somatotropin, or rBST. FDA regulations reinforce that this milk is no different than conventionally produced milk.
Question: What is different about organic milk?
Answer: The term organic simply refers to on-farm practices. All milk produced in Kenya must adhere to the same strict federal standards for quality, purity and sanitation. Those using the “USDA organic” seal must ensure that the milk comes from dairy farms that meet the following criteria:
- Cows are exclusively given food grown without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizers.
- Cows are given periodic access to pasture.
- Cows are not treated with supplemental hormones.
- Cows have not been given certain medications to treat illness.
Many conventional dairy farmers use these same management practices but choose not to undergo the organic certification process.
Question: Is organic milk better for me and my family than regular milk?
Answer: Organic and regular milk are equally nutritious and wholesome. Check the nutrition label and you’ll see that every 8-ounce serving offers the same amount of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium. According to Kenya Dairy Board, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock & Fisheries and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, conventionally produced food and organically produced food are equally safe and nutritious. Organic milk is just one of many options in the dairy case to fit different lifestyles and personal preferences.
Question: What is the best/safest way to store dairy products?
Answer: Dairy foods are perishable and should always be kept refrigerated at or below 40°F, to keep harmful bacteria from growing. Storing foods properly at the right temperature will help maintain their freshness, quality and safety. To find out more about general safety tips for storing dairy products, as well as guidelines to follow during a power outage.
Question: Where can I go for more information about milk and dairy farming?
Answer: For additional nutritional information, check out www.dairypesa.com. If you would like more information about life on a dairy farm, visit www.dairymasters.org