Does milk contain blood and pus?

Regular milk does not contain blood or pus. Blood and pus may be present in the milk when the cow’s udder is infected with bacteria (mastitis) but this milk is discarded by the farmer and is not sent to the factory.

Last updated 04/04/2024

Ensuring top-quality milk starts on the farm. Dairy farmers carefully monitor their cows at every milking session, tracking for any signs of issues like mastitis. If they detect any abnormal milk, it's collected separately and safely disposed of. 

Before the milk makes its way to the collection vat, it passes through a special filter. This handy gadget catches any tiny bits that might be in there, like milk clots or organic material, making sure only the best goes forward.

Next up, a sensory check happens before the milk heads to the tanker. This step helps spot any discolouration, unusual smells, or foreign material. If it doesn't pass this test, it's a no-go.

Once at the factory, the milk gets another round of filtering and quality tests. One of these is the Bulk Milk Cell Count, which is performed on every farmer’s vat, and looks at the number of white blood cells in the milk to detect mastitis. There are also regular checks for bacteria and bacterial cells. These tests help make sure everything from the milking process to the milk cooling setup is hygienic and up to the highest standard of production. Farmers always aim for top-notch quality, as they receive lower payments if these tests don't meet the mark.

Every Australian dairy farmer has to follow a government-approved food safety plan. This is a condition of supply to the milk factory. Farms get checked every one to two years (depending on the state) to make sure they're following their safety plan. The dairy factories also have support teams in place to help farmers meet these crucial food safety and quality standards - including making sure there's no blood or pus in the milk.

For those in Victoria, where most of Australia's milk comes from, Dairy Food Safety Victoria keeps a watchful eye on on-farm food safety. If you'd like to dive deeper into food safety regulations, you can find more information here.

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