With the help of our veterinarian we have a vaccination program to prevent disease. If you're a dairy farmer you have to have a good relationship with your veterinarian. If one cow gets sick they can make the whole herd sick pretty quickly so you really have to watch for that. We don't put antibiotics into the feed of our cows. We only give our cows antibiotics if they are sick and that's all supervised by a veterinarian. If a cow is sick and on antibiotics we have to observe a withdrawal period after treatment with that antibiotic ends. Milk cannot be sold until after the withdrawal period. We also do a snap test of our milk before it's loaded onto the tanker. This insures that there's no antibiotics present in the milk. The last thing you want is for your milk to get to MILKCO where they do more tests . If my milk was to test positive for antibiotics it would be a big mess...the Department of Agriculture shows up, inspectors show up, I'd be fined and I might lose my contract to supply milk to Piedmont Milk Sales temporarily or permanently. The state will take away the permit to sell milk after repeat offenses. I would lose a lot of money so we are very, very careful about that.
What about hormones in milk?
Bart: Cows have to have their own hormones in order to produce milk. It's just like lactating women who produce milk. MILKCO has us sign an affidavit that we don't administer artificial growth hormones and we wouldn't give our cows any artificial hormones.
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian