(POSTED: August 8, 2008)
Dairy Facts & Fallacies
Antibiotics and Hormones in Milk
Is the addition of growth hormones in milk authorized in Canada?
Absolutely not! Growth hormones such as rbST are not permitted for use in Canada to increase milk production and therefore are not found in any Canadian Milk Products. Here, we maximize milk production the old-fashioned way – by ensuring that our cows are healthy and well nourished, and by using state-of-the-science breeding practices. It works exceptionally well. The superiority of the Canadian dairy herd is famous around the world.
Can milk contain antibiotics?
No. Milk is one of the most tested foods in Canada. A sample is taken from every load of raw milk picked up at each farm. At the dairy, before milk is accepted, it is tested for antibiotics. If antibiotic residue is found, the entire load of milk is destroyed. The farmer who contaminated the load is identified from samples taken at the farm and is severely penalized
Are there effective control mechanisms in place?
According to law1, only products approved under the Food and Drugs Act may be used with dairy animals. Absence of antibiotics must be confirmed by official methods set out by Health Canada. If antibiotics are found in a load of milk, the entire load must be discarded.
When milk must be discarded, it is done in accordance with provincial waste management legislation to ensure environmental safety.
Farmers take part in very successful quality production programs to prevent the need for antibiotics in the first place, and manage antibiotic treatment to avoid problems. Cows receiving antibiotic treatment are clearly identified by the dairy farmer. Milk from treated cows is destroyed at the farm and is not sent to the processing plant. To ensure that antibiotics have cleared the cow's system, farmers must allow for appropriate withdrawal periods for each drug before the milk can enter the collection system.
Intensive testing, heavy fines and ultimately the loss of one's farm licence have virtually eliminated contaminated milk from reaching the dairy.
Enjoy milk with the confidence that Canada's testing system ensures its purity.
Witness these high standards in person by visiting a dairy farm. Contact your provincial dairy association to find out where to go.
Natural Trans Fats and Health
Did you know that certain trans fats may be good for your health?
Naturally occurring trans fats found in in small amount in dairy products are not associated with health problems.
Dairy products contain a very small amount of naturally-occurring trans fat. These trans fats are produced in the rumen (stomach) of cows. They are also present in small amounts in the meat of ruminant animals such as beef and lamb.
Natural trans fats have not been associated with health problems in the scientific literature. In fact, several studies suggest that a good number of them, namely CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), may even be beneficial to health and protect us from some types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
On the contrary, artificially-produced trans fats are considered the worst type of fat for the heart. Indeed, they lower the good cholesterol (HDL) and raise the bad cholesterol (LDL), which greatly increases the risk of heart disease.
These artificially trans fats are produced during a process called "partial hydrogenation" (or commonly known as "hydrogenation"). Through this process, a vegetable oil is transformed into a solid fat at room temperature. Artificially-produced trans fats are found in many margarines and all vegetable shortenings, as well as in the foods made with them, including many commercial snacks, baked goods and fried foods.
Nutrition and Cow's Milk
Is Drinking the Milk of Another Species Unnatural?
Some people consider drinking milk "unnatural," since no other animal consumes the milk of another species. By the same logic, growing food, wearing clothes, and eating tofu, etc., are equally "unnatural." We are also the only species to plant and harvest crops and grind wheat. The fact is, we have depended on milk products from cows, camels, yaks, etc., for their unique nutritional advantages since prehistoric times. If common sense prevails, we always will.