Milk, cheese and yogurt are some of the freshest and simplest foods we can include in our everyday eating habits. All three take just a few steps and a few hours to bring to life.
Fresh & Local
Some foods are only grown in certain areas of the country, but dairy is local and based in all 50 states. There are more than 50,000 dairy farms in the United States, including more than 9,100 right here in the Midwest. In fact, milk’s journey from the farm to the grocery store takes only about two days! Not only is this journey fast and efficient, it enhances milk safety and quality. In these same two days, milk also makes its way to nearby school cafeterias, fueling kids with nutritious food and the local economy. October is National Farm to School Month, and many schools provide fun and educational activities for students to learn more about how food gets from the farm to their lunch tray. Through Farm to School programs, everybody wins!
Take 48 seconds to watch the journey your milk makes — whether it’s to your grocery store or school — in 48 hours.
While milk is on its way to schools, you can also make your way to where it all begins. Dairy farmers are passionate about sharing with their community just how exactly they get milk from their farm to your glass, and many visit classrooms or offer tours of their dairy farm for you to see their business first-hand. Join this virtual field trip, and find out from a farm family near you how it all happens!
Real & Safe
There are countless choices in the dairy case, but with claims such as organic and antibiotic-free, how do you know what to choose? Good news — all milk, as long as it is pasteurized, is wholesome, safe and nutritious. That’s because all dairy farmers, regardless of their farms’ size or ownership, follow strict regulations and best practices for the health of their families, their cows, their neighbors and you!
You can see milk’s safety journey for yourself. Join Dr. Lloyd Metzger, a professor from South Dakota State University, as he walks through the rigorous steps farmers and dairy processors take to keep bacteria, antibiotics and other potential contaminants out of the milk supply.
Safety First: Say No to Raw Milk
Producing a safe product is the No. 1 priority for dairy farmers, and that’s why dairy farmers, like Susan Anglin, do not sell or drink raw milk. The word “raw milk” might sound natural and good, but raw milk is not safe. Why? Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria potentially found in raw milk by heating milk until it reaches 161 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 15 seconds and then rapidly cooled. This simple process is extremely effective at killing bacteria, while maintaining milk’s nutritional value. Pasteurization is just one step dairy farmers take to ensure the dairy foods you love are safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recommend pasteurized milk and dairy products as the safe choice, especially for infants, children and pregnant women.