Farm To Fridge

From Farm to Fridge!

Have you ever wondered how milk arrives from the cow to the grocery store in just two days?

1) From our Farms

Dairy farmers feed and care for their cows. They provide regular veterinary care to ensure the cows are healthy and happy so they may live long and productive lives. Nutritionists design a specially formulated diet for the cows.

2) Milking

The farmer often wakes before sunrise to do the first milking. Farmers milk cows twice daily, by machine — milk is never touched by human hands as it travels from the cow to the consumer. Dairy farmers use strict on-farm milking protocols to maintain the sanitary collection of milk from cows. The people who milk the cows wear gloves to prevent any transfer of possible pathogens from cow to cow. A sanitizing solution is put on each cow’s teats to reduce the presence of any bacteria, thus reducing the possibility of its transfer to the milk. The cow’s teats are then dried and the milking unit attached. After only five to 10 minutes, the cow is done being milked and the equipment is removed. The cow’s teats are cleaned again with a sanitizer containing skin conditioners. Following milking, equipment is washed and sanitized.

3) Cooling

Milk comes out of the cow at 100 degrees Fahrenheit and is quickly cooled within two hours to 38 degrees to ensure quality and freshness. The cow’s milk is stored in the bulk tank where it is kept cool and fresh.

4) Transportation

Milk is transported from the farm to the dairy processing plant by insulated stainless steel trucks to keep the milk cold and follow sanitation standards. The bulk tankers are sealed to prevent tampering or contamination from an outside source.

5) Quality Control

Is your milk safe and clean? You can be sure that it is! Milk is tested again and again to ensure it is of the highest quality. This commitment starts on the farm with top-notch animal care and extends across the supply chain -- from the milk tanker trucks to the processing plant to the grocery store -- to ensure that the dairy foods you enjoy each day are as wholesome and pure as nature intended.

6) Pasteurization

This safety process begins once milk has passed all the quality and safety tests. Pasteurization involves heating the milk to destroy any harmful microorganisms that may exist, followed by rapid cooling.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control recommend drinking onlypasteurized milk, because raw milk — even from healthy cows and sanitary conditions — may contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157:H7, Listeria and Salmonella that can cause life-threatening illnesses. This recommendation has been affirmed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s a violation of federal law to sell raw milk across state lines even if it has been packaged for consumer use. However, raw milk regulations vary by state, and some states allow the sale of raw milk within their borders.

After pasteurization, milk is homogenized and packaged before it is distributed to various retail stores, schools and households.

7) Processing

The milk is tested and packaged at the milk processing plant. Once the milk passes inspection, it is pumped into large insulated vats. The milk is then processed through a number of steps

8) Grocery Store

From the milk processing plant, milk and other dairy products are moved to grocery stores where you may purchase them.

When purchasing milk or other dairy products, it’s wise to examine the containers for leaks or other damage. Also check the “sell by” or “use by” date on product containers. The “sell by” date refers to how long the grocery store can offer the product for sale. When properly cared for, milk generally stays fresh for two to three days after this date. The “use by” date indicates how long the product’s quality should be optimum.

Pick up milk and other perishable dairy foods just before checking out of the store, especially in hot weather.

9) To YOU!

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