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What does the farmer do to verify his milk is safe?

May 31, 2019

The farmer is a raw milk farmer, and safety is a top priority.

According to the CDC and FDA, drinking raw milk puts you at risk of exposure to a wide range of bacteria including Brucella, Campylobacter, Tuberculosis, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.

Where would these harmful bacteria come from?

If a cow is sick, those bacteria or viruses can make their way into the milk.

If the milking equipment is not clean, it may harbor harmful microorganisms.

Or, let’s say the farm staff are not careful, the milk can be exposed to dirt or other contaminants.

So, what does the farmer do to verify that his milk is safe?

First, he makes sure his cows are healthy. This means feeding them a natural diet of 100% grass and allowing them to live an active lifestyle at pasture. This also means knowing his cows and caring for them if they become ill.

Second, he makes sure his cows’ teats and udders and the milking equipment are spotlessly clean.

Third, he makes sure his staff are properly trained on safe handling of milk.

Fourth, he is certified by the PA Department of Agriculture for raw milk production and bottling. They are responsible for inspecting his facility and testing his cows and milk bi-annually for harmful bacteria.

But, if you know our farmer, you know he goes above and beyond. This is why he also tests every batch of milk on site.

The farmer invested in on site testing supplies last year. He test every batch of both the bulk tank milk and bottled milk.. This is not required and certainly not the norm for raw milk farmers.

The on site testing measures TCC (total coliform count) and SPC (standard plate count). These tests show the general bacteria count of the milk, not specific pathogens. However, it does give a good measure of how “clean” the milk is.

If a test comes back higher than normal, the farmer can immediately diagnose the issue and resolve it for the following week.

You can find the farmer’s average test results along with more details about PA Department of Agriculture tests on our Milk Safety page:

Enjoy the milk!

Marie Reedell

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