Are there antibiotics in your milk?

Are there antibiotics in your milk?

It’s no secret, antibiotics have gotten a bad reputation in the minds of some people. It’s a question I get from many people and I feel it always should be answered with some context and not just a yes or no. So here’s my take on antibiotics. Hopefully it will shed some light on the topic and maybe bring some calm to your soul if this is a concern you have.

The short answer is ‘no’…there is not antibiotics in the milk that we sell or any milk that is bottled for human consumption.

Penicillin, which was developed in the 1940’s, was the forerunner of the ‘antibiotic age’. Over the years many other antibiotics have been introduced for a number of reasons. One being that over time a resistance is built up to an antibiotic and it becomes necessary to use something different. It’s an interesting history and discussion and I certainly am not an authority on antibiotics. But this is what I do know.

Many people and animals have been cured/saved by the use of antibiotics. Bacterial infections that would at one time take your life…are now cleared up with the use of antibiotics. It’s true that antibiotics can wreak havoc on your digestive system and perhaps other body functions but the alternative may not always be as favorable.

I will admit that sometimes it seems doctors will prescribe an antibiotic for almost any ache or pain and that this may not be in your best interest. Bottom line I think most people would use antibiotic for themselves and/or their kids to help cure what ales them.

So back to milk:)

All milk that is bottled for human consumption is antibiotic free. It is unlawful to process milk that has antibiotics present. This goes for organic and conventional dairies alike. So antibiotic free milk is basically a buzz word that is designed to catch the attention of the consumer.

The difference between an organic and a conventional dairy cow

Organic Certification excludes the use of antibiotics period. If an organic cow gets an infection that it cannot recover from on its own the farmer has a few options:
  • Let the cow continue ‘fighting’ the infection on its own and hope for the best. Worst case scenario here is that the cow will die.
  • Treat the cow with antibiotics and restore its health…yeah!
    • Sell the cow to a conventional farmer
    • Sell the cow for slaugther

Bottom line here is that if the cow cannot recover on it’s own it will never contribute to the milk herd again.

Conventional dairy farmers are allowed to administrate antibiotics to a cow that needs assistance fighting.

So what are the benefits here:

  • A majority of the time the cow is restored to health
  • The milk from this cow must be disposed of until the antibiotics have had time to pass through it’s body
  • The cow gets to live another day and continue to contribute to the milking herd

So in conclusion

  • antibiotics have cured/save countless people and animal
  • milk sold for human consumption has no antibiotic present
  • organic standards in my opinion are a bit harsh and borderline cruel when it comes to animal welfare

I know this is a controversial subject. I also know that we as humans are prone to surround ourselves with people and info that aligns with our preferences and beliefs. I hope this info is helpful and if nothing else maybe it will spur you to dive deeper into the subject and learn more.


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