Is there pus in milk?

56

March 5, 2013 by Carrie Mess

fire cow meme

So recently I have received messages from several people about some very wrong information that is floating around the internet. Of course I feel the need to get the correct information out there. As you can guess by my blog post, it has to do with the idea that there is pus in milk.

Is there pus in regular milk? NO!  Is there pus in Organic milk?  NO! 

Just like the idea that chocolate milk is made out of bloody milk, this one is way wrong.

I debated about including this. I don't want to spread the manure that notmilk.com is but I want to show just how vile the propaganda is from the anti milk activists.

I debated about including this. I don’t want to spread the manure that notmilk.com is trying to sell, but I want to show just how vile the propaganda is from the anti milk activists.

So let’s look at some basic science here. What is a “pus cell”? Pus is made up of dead white blood cells, bacteria and dead skin cells. Gross right? That’s what the anti milk people want you to think about when they spout their bologna. So, there really isn’t a single “pus cell” like this charming infographic would like you to believe, instead pus is a combination of things. A white blood cell is a normal part of blood. White blood cells are not pus. There are white blood cells in milk, In the dairy industry we closely monitor what we call the somatic cell count (SCC) of our cows and our milk. Somatic cell count (SCC) is a measurement of how many white blood cells are present in the milk. White blood cells are the infection fighters in our body and so an elevated white blood cell presence or on a dairy farm an elevated SCC is a signal that there may be an infection that the cow is fighting.

Dairy farmers are paid more money for milk that has a low SCC, if our cell count raises above normal levels they will dock the amount we get paid for our milk, if it raises even higher they stop taking our milk and we can’t sell it. So not only do we not want our cows to be sick, it would cost us a lot of money and could cost us our farms if we were to ignore a high SCC. Recently the dairy industry lowered the acceptable SCC level from 750 to 400. Most dairy farms aim for a SCC under 200. So does this mean that we are allowing some pus into your milk? No. All milk is going to have some white blood cells in it, that’s the nature of a product that comes from an animal, cells happen. It does’t matter if it’s organic milk or regular milk. The presence of some white blood cells in milk certainly doesn’t mean that the animal is sick or the milk is of poor quality. Again, white blood cells are normal. Additionally when you buy milk from the store it has been pasteurized which kills off any white blood cells or bacteria that are present in the raw milk.

So the anti milk folks want to you to be grossed out by milk, but think about this… A steak has white blood cells in it, because it has blood and white blood cells are a part of that. The anti milk people aren’t going around saying that your steak has pus in it because we can see with our own eyes that it doesn’t. However, since we can’t see into our milk like we can see a steak, anti milk activists use bad science to scare you into believing their view point and that’s just not right!

Instead of using facts to persuade people to not drink milk they are literally trying to make you terrified to eat or drink anything beyond what they feel you should be eating and drinking. It’s time to take back our food from the activists and let them know that it is not ok to use false information to slander a food they don’t agree with. My cows are mad and so am I!

As far as the casein goes in the photo above, a human’s breast milk’s protein is 20-45% casein. If it’s so toxic I think there would be a lot less people in this world because we wouldn’t have survived infancy with all that toxic milk around.

Help me spread the word. Share this post with your friends and let’s get this lie exposed for what it is, bad science used by people with an agenda.

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56 thoughts on “Is there pus in milk?

  1. Carrie! I love this post. Thanks for telling us the truth about what is REALLY in milk.

    My daughter had some chocolate milk this morning. Its good to know that I am still a good mother. ;)

  2. It’s a shame you have to take your valuable time to defend against lies…. but thank you for defending this product. I am reblogging so others can be informed.

  3. Reblogged this on retiredruth – Life in the 50's and beyond and commented:
    I am reblogging so the truth about milk is not overpowered by propaganda and lies. Carrie tells it like it is…..

  4. Michelle says:

    Do you know where I can find a chart about hormones in our food? I have been talking to some people and they think that milk has so many hormones in it and don’t want to drink it. Yet those same people are not opposed to birth control pills, etc. I know there is more estrogen in lettuce than in milk, but I cannnot find the info (link, etc.).

  5. beebeesworld says:

    I remember having a breast infection when one of my babies was very small-the dr told me to squeeze out any pus at the beginning and nurse the baby like crazy-it wouldnt hurt him and would heal me-it worked. he said the baby would get antibiotics I was taking through my milk-the cow story brought that back-ive always thought of the “PPM” aspect of canned foods-the parts of insects per million grains of food or something like that…yum beebeesworld

  6. oregongreen says:

    This is what I did during college, tested & pastuerized milk for the award winning Cougar Gold Cheese. My nose was even part of the quality control as I made sure to smell the milk each morning for an “off” smell before I picked it up. Yes I was a milk truck driver too. One morning I smelled a heavy bleach smell, they had used to much sanitizer to clean out tank or not waited long enough prior to the milk being put in there. Just example of quality controls along the way.

  7. Maxi says:

    This is ludicrous. Common sense tells me that there are standards in place for milk production. Besides, I have been drinking milk all my life … ain’t sick yet.

    Thank you for sharing the truth. There is always misinformation floating around the Internet and those who accept fiction without checking out the facts.

    blessings ~ maxi

  8. Another great post Carrie! Thanks for sharing the truth.

  9. Diane says:

    Great explanation and article! Thanks for what you do!

  10. Thanks Carrie. Great blog.

  11. Thank you for posting this! I just had this conversation the other day with a woman that was telling me that she would never drink “pus milk”. She didn’t realize I was a dairy farmer & I set your straight… on her facts. Too late though… the damage was already done. Sad that people make choices based on false info. Keep up the good work! Love your page & follow it even if I am not doing mine anymore. :)

  12. Tracee Carroll says:

    I think you need to read the book, “Whitewashed: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health” by. Joseph Keon. “Pus” aside, please do further research about the effects of human beings drinking the milk designed for a calf as an adult human being. Research what is needed to digest milk and why is unhealthy in many ways. Also, compare the bone health of the U.S., and other countries which consume cow’s milk with countries who don’t… there is current scientific research that shows that drinking cow’s milk is actually detrimental to your health unless you are a baby cow.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Tracee, I think further research is needed into Joseph Keon and his bias. If you’re anti milk why are you here?

      • Christy says:

        Didn’t stay long, did she?

      • Kelly says:

        Did you actually read the book, or dismiss it outright? If you dismissed it outright, and discourage any challenge to your opinion, how are you so certain you are right and not biased yourself?

        • Adam says:

          Kelly, there’s only one thing you need to know about Keon to know he’s full of bull (no pun intended): He’s an anti-vaccer (and goes into detail on this in the book) despite scientific evidence showing vaccines do nothing but save lives. He’s selling fear, and there are groups of people who will pour money into anything if Dr. So-and-so wrote a book or has a TV show about it. Doesn’t mean its good information.

  13. Lani Sohn says:

    Carrie, I’m so glad there are people like you in this world making a difference and educating people about the dairy industry. There is so much false and misleading things out there about us and sometimes it’s so frustrating because people believe them. Reading your blog gives me some hope about getting the truth out there. PETA = giant headache

  14. keeton says:

    Thank you for clarifying. I was thinking that there was a play on words going on. I have felt nauseated drinking milk the past two days and was considering stopping, but it didn’t make sense. I always loved milk as a kid and still do, and now I am going to make a glass of chocolate milk.

  15. Tahirah A,Goldamith says:

    In my religion Islam, milk is spoken of in the Holy Quran as a miracle, it is a food and a drink and it has been created for us in an amazing and wonderful way. I love my milk and pray it is not being damaged in the mass market. which milk do you buy ?

  16. Dear Dairy Carrie. Lots of good info here. Thank you. But you speak only about the white blood cells in pus and leave out the skin cells and bacteria.

    I can deal with skin cells. I shed them everywhere myself! LOL! But what types of bacteria are we talking about, or is that considered a non-issue with pasteurization?

    A lot of people are on the raw milk bandwagon, feeling we are missing out on GOOD bacteria from such milk. Personally I prefer yogurt cultures, beer, sauerkraut, miso or just a probiotic pill. But I think raw milk people really need a better understanding of the bacteria types that come with that pus, or milk sans pus.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Good questions!

      There are many different types of bacteria that could cause mastitis. Fortunately pasteurization does take care of those issues. Personally I don’t drink raw milk. I don’t see the risk being worth any supposed reward.

  17. Peep says:

    this whole thing is a joke, of course people who are pro-dairy are going to defend it! I eat dairy (minimal) but realize there IS pus in your milk. Don’t deny it and know where it comes from and how it’s produced.

  18. Sam says:

    dairycarrie, there is pus in milk according to
    Frank A Oski (in his book “Don’t Drink Your Milk”)

    And regarding your comment on J Keon – bias has nothing to do with scientific facts.

    Somatic cell counts are correlated to udder infections according to multiple extremely reliable sources including the abovementioned Oski who was a head of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    According to the The National Mastitis Council
    http://www.nmconline.org/articles/USQuality.htm
    “Bulk tank somatic cell count reflects the levels of infection and resultant inflammation in the mammary gland of dairy cows and provides an indirect measure of the processing quality of milk”

    According to
    Dr. Donald E. Pritchard. Dairy Extension Specialist
    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/dairy/newsletters/0901nlet.PDF
    “By using bulk tank milk somatic cell count (BTMSCC) information, producers can get an
    estimation of the percentage of both cows and quarters in the herd that have udder
    infections.”

    So are these people also just biased? The US has a maximum allowance of 750000 cells per ml in their milk (almost double the amount in Europe), according to http://www.nmpf.org/washington_watch/labeling/SCC

    Therefore, by definition, somatic cell count implies that the milk that you are drinking comes from cows with udder infections.

    • WordPress.com Support says:

      So according to Frank Oskri (who wrote an anti milk book) there is pus in milk. Sounds like he is a person that doesn’t have an agenda!

      Go back and read the part where I talk about what somatic cell count is. Is it pus? No.
      A cow completely free of any udder infection will still have somatic cells present. While the US Allowance of is higher than some other countries, individual processors have capped those limits at a much lower number.
      Overall you seem to be missing the point that somatic cell is not the same as pus.

      • MilkLuv says:

        Does somatic cell presence = pus? No. All milk contains white blood cells.
        Is high somatic cell presence correlated with udder infections, and therefore mean some pus is likely to be present in the milk? Yes.

        For purposes of reducing the gross-out factor, Dairy Carrie has helpfully broken pus down into its components: white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It was still pus when it left the cow.

        Pasteurization renders whatever small amount of pus makes it into your milk harmless. But it begs the question, is this the best way to do business? In the interest of selling more milk, some farmers use hormones to increase milk production beyond what a cow can manage naturally. Cows can develop persistent mastitis (very painful, by the way), which is treated with antibiotics. So depending on where your milk comes from, there may be low levels of hormones and antibiotics in your milk.

        I am not anti-milk. I understand that many farmers do not use hormones, they treat their animals ethically, and if their cows need antibiotics they do not sell their milk. That is why I buy my milk from a single (mid-sized) farm where I know their practices. BOTH SIDES of this battle would do well to understand the concerns of the other side and truly address them, not just discredit. I assume Dairy Carrie treats her cows well and is frustrated with the bad rap dairy farmers get from the anti-everything groups. However, consumers have real concerns stemming from reports of mistreated animals, dirty conditions because pasteurizing kills everything, use of hormones, and so forth. Telling us pus isn’t pus and it’s not enough to matter, doesn’t help me feel better about those bigger issues.

  19. Maqui says:

    Good for you!! Keep the blog and the education on the city people. We have a Dairy Barn down in Uruguay and we just love it! GO GIRL GO!

  20. Nemi says:

    You have explained and defended the idea of pus in milk (I’m not convinced given that SCC is still suggestive of infections),but can you defend or explain the ethics of dairy farming? separation of mother and child? the veal industry and the beef industry? Your defense of milk seems rather flimsy in the reality of the situation, don’t you think?

    • dairycarrie says:

      I’m not sure what you are looking for here. If you want to learn about why we separate cows and calves on dairy farms, please read this post- http://dairycarrie.com/2012/04/16/newbaby/

      If you’re looking to tell me that I need to defend the ethics of what I do, please tell me first if you are my customer? If you aren’t a consumer of dairy then you aren’t my customer and ultimately it is up to my customers to decide if they feel what dairy farmers do is ethical or not. This blog’s intent is to show them what we do so they can make an educated decision.

  21. Stephanie says:

    “My cows”????? Ha!

  22. JoAnne Davis says:

    I had no idea there was even an anti-milk movement out there. I unfortunately cannot drink milk because I am severely dairy intolerant, but when I was younger I drank milk all the time. Loved it! And ice cream… Mmmm. I lived on a goat farm and we actually raised milk goats. I loved goats milk too. It’s so much harder to find, though, because of all the weird regulations on it. Thanks for the info! I’ll hold onto it for when one of my crazy Facebook friends/relatives posts this nonsense. ;)

  23. jbandsma says:

    Thank peta for that pile of nonsense. They’ve been touting the ‘pus milk’ meme for several years.

    • jbandsma,

      Sure sounds like it! Read further down, to my other comments about a “celebrity herbalist” who took the name of an Egyptian sun god and calls milk liquefied cow snot…but on every blog post he pushes his detoxification product.

      Then you have the fringe that calls the dairy industry “cruel.” We have several dairy farms in our area and all I see are healthy cows out grazing in their pastures during the day…doesn’t look very cruel to me.

  24. Susan foresta says:

    There is no defense for your ethics, that is why you can’t defend them. The dairy industry is not only cruel, but the product is unhealthy, unless you are a calf. The calves are removed from their mothers within 1 to 2 days so HUMANS can drink the milk. The male calves become veal, the females are destined to become milk producers like their mothers. PS there is pus in milk. This is partly why i choose almond milk….. I would not support any cruel animal industry.

  25. I drink raw milk and use raw milk products like cheese, kumis and butter. Pasteurizing kills all the good, beneficial bacteria in milk. Could you comment on this?

    • Nicole says:

      I have only ever drank raw milk, as my father did before me and his father, and so on. You do realise that it is highly likely that all of your grand parents, and great-grandparents, and great-grandparents, drank raw milk there’s entire lives. If it was good enough for them…

  26. KBH says:

    Pus or not… Our dairy consumption habits are not healthy. Walter Willet (Harvard medical researcher) has been fighting the influence of industry on public health for years. If you have concerns about the control of the food lobby over public health, read his work. Carrie is heiress to a large dairy farm. She’s much less interested in your health and much more interested in promoting the consumption of dairy products. Carrie, besides working for the dairy industry, what are your public health credentials?

    • dairycarrie says:

      My public health credentials? Well as an heiress to a large dairy farm I find work repulsive.

    • If you have to follow a blogger just to find a way to weasel yourself into an argument you seriously need to reevaluate a good use of your time. Carrie explained why some people would assume there is pus in milk and backed it up by facts. End of story. For every rebuttal you make there is some other Ivy League medical researcher that is PRO dairy consumption.

      As for being an heiress, that is not how things work on the farm. Which just shows your lack of education regarding the dairy industry. Most farms are not just passed along to the next of kin. They are earned- blood, sweat, tears, and a mortgage payment.

  27. Ello Vieye says:

    Pus or no, how is drinking bovine breast milk any less gross than drinking the breast milk of other animals (dog, horse, cat,), or humans for that matter? Adult animals do not need breast milk, and it’s frankly rather disturbing that we integrate it into so many meals. I feel much better since going off it last year (clearer sinuses, less sluggish), and now the odd time I taste dairy, it has a sour, dirty taste.

  28. I suffer from sarcoidosis, and a while back, another member from my online support group posted a link from a self-avowed “herbalist” quack who calls himself Djehuty Ma’at-Ra (not his real name) refers to milk as “liquified cow snot.” I just rolled my eyes.

    And sarcoidosis as merely a “skin disease.” When it occurs inside your body, where most of the damage is done, he says it’s on your “inner skin.”

    Did you ever hear such nonsense?

  29. Mark says:

    I’m as suspicious of your take on pus as I am the anti milk people. Your conclusions sound like you are a rep for the Milk People. Anybody can blog about something. Quote some scientific research not associated with the Milk Lobby and it might carry more weight

    • So, you take the stance as the guy who took an Egyptian Sun God as his name? The same guy, who has zero medical training and calls your internal organs the “inner skin.”

      Human females (as well as all female mammals) also produce milk…is that pus or “liquefied snot” too?

      Well, allrighty then….

    • dairycarrie says:

      You do realize that I am a dairy farmer right? My posts are based off of my own experience and that thing called science that you may have heard about.

  30. Sarah says:

    What is funny to me is that of all the hundreds of articles published evidence in regards to blood and puss and mucus in milk…people are going to believe in one random blogger girl. Either way… the most important point is missed in this article. The dairy industry is evil. The abuse and torture these animals go through is horrific. For that sake no one should support it.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Hundreds of articles? Can you tell me where these articles get their information from? How about studies, can you provide links to peer reviewed studies that have this information? I may be a”random blogger girl” but I am also a dairy farmer, as close to the milk as you can get without being a cow. Tell me how it is that the random article writers that wrote the hundreds of articles you have read on this subject are more aware of what is in milk than I am? I’d also love to hear how those random people are more believable to you than someone that actually has experience with cows.

    • Sarah,

      You have nothing legitimate to add to the conversation so you go right for one of the oldest logical fallacies in the book…the red herring.

      When you make sweeping comments, you had better have evidence to back up your claims, otherwise you come off as a fringe nut from PETA.

  31. Jon says:

    Hi Carrie, great article. I hear so much from vegans on this, and it has duped me in the past, so thank you for providing some balance!

    Sidebar: Surely the arguments against consuming dairy can be supported with better arguments than “ew there’s cells in my milk!” – too much bad science tied up with veganism for my liking sometimes.

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