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All About Milk - Does milk have hormones or antibiotics? What is the difference between milk in Canada and U.S.? Is milk nutritious and safe to drink? - Elaine Vancouver Dietitian

Do you know milk is actually quite nutritious? Nutrition value of milk:

1 cup of milk:

9 grams of protein,

300 to 350 mg of calcium,

1.2 mg of vitamin B12,

And other micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, vitamin B2 riboflavin, and etc.

Does milk contain hormones?

It depends which country you are buying the milk from. Canadian cows are not allowed to be injected with growth hormones to increase milk supply. In the United States, rBST artificial hormones can be used to increase milk production in dairy cows. Of course, cows naturally has this hormone in the body. Additional growth hormone can be used in milking cows in US.

The FDA's position is that this growth hormone is safe. Similar to other proteins in the diet, BST is broken down by digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract after ingestion. This growth hormone has no biological activity in the human body, so FDA considers it is safe. The Canadian Safety Agency did not approve the use of growth hormone in 1999 due to animal health concerns.

Does milk contain antibiotics?

Milk in Canada does not have antibiotics. Milk needs to go through testing to make sure there is no antibiotic residue before going on the market for sales. If the tests reveal antibiotic residue, the entire batch of milk will be rejected and properly discarded.

Sometimes cows are treated with antibiotics for infections when they are sick. The milk they produce when taking antibiotics can not be sold. In addition, cows cannot be given antibiotics when they are healthy. When veterinarians prescribe antibiotics to a cow that needs treatment, the milk produced by that cow will need to be separated from the milk produced by the rest of the herd and discarded until the cow becomes healthy.

Do you know another difference between Canadian milk and U.S. milk?

Maximum somatic cell count (SCC) standard is different for Canada and America. What is maximum Somatic Cell Count SCC? It is the total number of cells per milliliter of milk. For example, white blood cells are produced by the cow's immune system to fight inflammation. This is one way to measure the quality of milk. For example, a lower SCC numbers are associated with better milk quality. Usually, if the count is high, it means the cow may be sick. The maximum number is 400,000. In Canada, every batch of milk is tested to ensure it falls below this standard. The national standard in the United States is 750,000, but the export standard is 400,000.


Elaine Vancouver Dietitian

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