Please think before you drink Milk.
“Ingredients” Added to Cow’s Milk
- A Veritable Hormone Cocktail: including pituitary, steroid, hypothalamic, and thyroid hormones (remember most cows are extremely stressed)
- Gastrointestinal Peptides:
Nerve and epidermal growth factors, and the growth inhibitors MDGI and MAF
- rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone): a genetically engineered hormone directly linked to breast, colon and prostrate cancer. This is injected into cows to increase milk production. 
- Pus: National averages show at least 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass!  This is well-above the human limit for pus-intake, and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, as well as Crohn’s disease. The pus comes from infected udders on the cows known as mastitis.
- Blood Cells: The USDA allows up to 1.5 million white blood cells per milliliter of commonly-sold milk. Yes, you are drinking cows blood in the milk and the USDA allows this!
- Antibiotics: Currently, cows are in such a state of disease and mistreatment that they are continually being injected with antibiotic medicines, and rubbed down with chemical-laden ointments to deal with their chronic infections. Currently, regulating committees only test for 4 of the 85 drugs in dairy cows. This means that the other 81 drugs in cow’s milk are coming directly into your glasses and bodies. Estimates show that 38% of milk in the U.S. is “contaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics,” according to a study by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and published in the Wall Street Journal on December 29, 1989. A study from the FDA data showed that over half of all milk was laden with traces of pharmaceuticals yet nothing has been done to control this.
Please check out the rest of this enlightening article !!!
As a veterinary student, I feel that addressing this misconception is important. While technically accurate, many of these statements are emotionally loaded to make you feel something and not look into what it actually means. Let’s walk through these one by one:
“Hormone cocktail”—This one demonstrates the most common problem I have with these “truth about milk” type articles.es, guys, milk has hormones. Why? Because milk, even if it’s gross to think about, is a secretion from a living animal. That means it’s going to have things that can be made by an animal in it—fats, proteins, sugars, etc. That’s what’s in milk.
As a science primer—and this is relevant, I promise—let’s talk a little bit about proteins. Proteins are compounds composed of strings of amino acids, in a specific order, folded into specific shapes. It’s the order and the shape that give protein function in an animal, and they do not function without help from receptors (special proteins) or other molecules. Proteins are very picky. They only function and maintain their shape in a very small range of temperatures, pH, conditions, etc. Proteins are EASY to destroy. In fact, our body is very good at it—it likes to recycle those building blocks (the amino acids) to make new proteins. Our stomach is VERY acidic (pH of about 2—proteins function very specifically from around pH of 7.2-7.4) and will completely destroy proteins, taking away their biological action. Also, milk goes through pasteurization, which is a high, high temperature process to kill bacteria. Proteins only keep their shape at about body temperature, so pasteurization is pretty darn good at wiping out the action of proteins too. Basically, no proteins will survive the combination of pasteurization and digestion, so milk should be perfectly free of biologically active proteins..
So what are hormones? I don’t blame you if you don’t know. There are lots of people trying to make hormones to be some foreign chemical that are bad for you. However, the truth is, they are made of specialized fats and proteins (mostly proteins). Hormones are amino acid derivatives, cholesterol deriviatives, and specialized proteins. When you consume them, they are no different from other fats, proteins, and amino acids in food. Your digestive system is very good at tearing things apart, and that’s exactly what it does indiscriminately with hormones. It breaks them into their cholesterol skeleton, carbon skeletons, and amino acid parts. Guys, it is impossible for hormones to survive the digestive process and enter the bloodstream unmodified. Proteins literally cannot survive the low acidic pH in your stomach, and any nutrients that are absorbed must A) be picked up by a specialized carrier in the GI tract wall and B) pass through the liver, which detoxifies dangerous things. “But, Beverly! What about poisons???” Yes, there are things that our GI tract picks up that are dangerous and that cannot be detoxified by the liver. However, hormones are not toxins. While they are structurally different from dietary proteins when produced in the body, when they are consumed as part of food, they are not treated differently. They are broken down so our body can make our own hormones, products, etcetera.
Okay, so what if, by some chance, some hormones survive the GI tract and enter our bloodstream in their original “active” form. Chances are, nothing much will happen. While all mammals have very similar hormones, they do show species variation. Most of the time, our receptors (which are what make hormones “do things”) have a very high specificity, meaning they react only to very specific hormones. Even if cow hormones resemble ours, the affinity of our receptors to them will be low. (In English, please, science nerd? “Cow hormones won’t bind strongly to our receptors, meaning they will have very low effects, if any at all.”)
Lastly, milk is not the only thing that has hormones. ANYTHING we eat will have hormones. Yep, meat has hormones naturally. Yep, even plants have hormones. The big secret that these activists are keeping from you is that hormones are naturally occurring. Even if we do absolutely nothing to cows (or plants or whatever) there will still be hormones in their products. Even if they’re perfectly happy, never experienced one iota of stress, never got sick, they’ll still have hormones. It’s a fact of life. Yep, even plant life.
Also, are cows extremely stressed? Not if they are kept properly, which 90+% of dairies do. The fact is, cows are not upset by milking parlors, feeding stalls, etc. If you ever get the chance, go to a dairy and see the cows. If not, try to watch a cow for a while. They don’t “do” much—they stand up, graze, lay down, ruminate, stand up, graze, lay down, ruminate. Yep. That’s all they do. All day. They ruminate for HOURS (4-8 hours a day, at least.) What is ruminanting? A lot like napping. They chew cud, swallow, regurgitate, chew cud, etc. The only times they ever move any distance is to move a few feet over for greener grass or a few feet over for the shade. Cows on acres of pasture will be in the same small area for DAYS. What does this mean? It means the dairy cows don’t care. The shade is always in the same place, so they don’t have to move for it. The food comes to them, so they don’t have to move for it. And, they have a nice comfy place to ruminate, with some form of climate control! And they can get out of the rain! It’s like a Hilton Hotel for cows! If you’d like more discussion about cruelty/animal welfare and dairies, I’ll be happy to do so, but not here. Let me know in the inbox and I’ll do a special post about it.
Gastrointestinal Peptides: I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. Yes, there are peptides/proteins in milk. But, the growth factors listed are NOT GI peptides. They are things produced by an animal to maintain nerve and epidermal health. They are produced for healing by the animal. Yes, they may be present in milk, but when they hit your stomach they are no longer biologically active as growth factors, for the reasons presented above (peptide is just a fancy word for small protein). The growth inhibitors are the same thing as the growth factors. Peptides.
rBGH: The fact is, there’s not enough evidence to link this to cancer. There have been no studies proving adverse effects of rGBH, and the hormone was studied for many years before being proved by the FDA and USDA. In fact, the hormone is biologically inactive in humans, present in VERY LOW concentrations in fresh milk, destroyed by the pasteurization process, and destroyed by protein digestion in the human GI tract. So rBGH is perfectly safe in terms of human consumption, if any is actually present in the milk you get at the store.
Pus: Well isn’t that a gross word? It just sounds icky, and that’s the reason this article uses this word. What is pus, though? Put simply, it’s protein and dead cells. Yep, still kind of gross, but that’s pretty much what lots of things are. Hair, skin, fingernails are all protein and dead cells. Even if you don’t intend to eat those things, I can guarantee you do. And the idea of a human limit for pus intake? Not a thing. The only references to such a thing are in this article. Truth is, pus is the same thing as the following bullet point, blood cells, when we’re talking about consumption. That’s why his concentration is in cell-counts. You can’t actually measure pus. You can only measure blood cells. Using the word pus is just a way to make it sound grosser, which is emotionally manipulative. AND then he lists blood cells separately to make it seem twice as bad. (Also, no one knows what causes Crohn’s Disease.)
Blood cells: Let’s talk about blood cells for a minute. For starters, it’s absolutely impossible to have an animal product free of blood cells. If you eat meat, you consume LOTS of blood cells. Yep, white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc. are all present in meat, milk, ice cream, etc. Are you grossed out by this? Not to be rude, but why? What is the difference between muscle tissue (made of muscle cells) and blood cells? To your GI tract, there isn’t one, except that the amino acid/fat/sugar compositions are slightly different. If you are okay eating a steak but are not okay with the idea of drinking a few white blood cells, it’s in your head (not that that means it’s not real, but that it doesn’t have a basis in science). Every bit of animal tissue is made of cells, and will contain blood cells (blood goes EVERYWHERE in your or a cow’s body). White blood cells are present in every bit of blood, just like red blood cells, and yep, some will get into the milk. That’s on purpose, from the cow’s perspective. After all, milk is meant for young animals with weaker immune systems. White blood cells are immune cells. Mom’s immune cells help protect the baby from getting sick. White blood cells are not “contamination” at all. They are a component, of healthy, nutritious milk for a calf (and a human baby—yep human milk contains white blood cells too). If you don’t want white blood cells, you shouldn’t be dabbling in animal products. And yeah, that’s totally your choice, but they are perfectly safe for consumption.
Antibiotics: Okay, this one is just so not true. I’m in veterinary school. Cows are not in a state of chronic disease and infection. Most cattle diseases have decreased so much in prevalence with increased regulations and modern medicine, not the opposite. After all, how often do people get tuberculosis from milk in the US? Thanks to pasteurization, vaccination, and antibiotics, it’s basically unheard of in modern society. There are SO MANY laws about antibiotic use in livestock animals used for food production (trust me, I have to learn them!). They only test for 4 antibiotics in cattle because there are only 4 antibiotics that are legally used in food animals. That means that livestock owners can only legally obtain those 4 antibiotics. If they’re breaking that law, no offense, but we’ve got much bigger problems than the presence of a few antibiotics.
So why these four antibiotics? Put simply, because they’re safe. They’re approved because even if residues are present in our food, they won’t hurt us. Antibiotics are not evil. They keep us and our animals safe and healthy. Personally, I’d much rather drink traces of antibiotics than the bacteria the cow was being treated for. After all, the bacteria might make me sick, but the antibiotics won’t. They’ve been tested to ensure that even if traces are present in the end product, they’re still safe.
If you’re unwilling to take this amount of antibiotics, I would like to take antibiotics away from you next time you have a bacterial infection. Not treating cattle for treatable infections is cruelty and neglect. If you’re so worried about how stressed and miserable cows are, why aren’t you more worried about treating them?
And, just to be extra clear, we’re not treating, slaughtering, milking sick cows on antibiotics. There’s a withdrawal period that says you have to wait until this many days after administration of the drug to harvest them (whether milk or meat), meaning that the drug has been cleared to a sufficient level to not be dangerous if present in the product.
Breaking any of these laws has very serious consequences, and they are enforced strongly with inspections of both the premises, the animals, the facility of harvest, and the final product. Trust me, most problems are found early before they hit the consumer. The only reason we think it’s a bigger problem is because the media sensationalizes problems and glosses over what we’re doing right. You’ll never hear a story about the millions of people who ate perfectly safe cheese, just the 10 or so who got sick.
Lastly, I’d like to talk a little bit about valid sources. Firstly, the author is primarily a chiropractor. Yes, he has some other certifications, but the most important fact remains: he is not a medical doctor. While to become a chiropractor, he has received some medical training, it is not to the same extent as a medical doctor. While they can be great sources for other things, chiropractors are not experts in food safety.
Yes, he is a certified nutritionist. This can be a good source, but does not mean he knows enough about food safety, animal health, and agriculture to make statements about the safety of milk. If he were talking about health benefits (or lack thereof) of milk, then I would put more stock in this certification.
What about his sources? Let’s see. First of all, his newest source is 2001. Relevant to 2014? Hardly. So many practices and laws have changed since then. His study for drug residues? 1989. Think things have changed since then? I guarantee it. For the better.
Citing PETA is wrong. PETA is clearly a biased source, whether you agree with them or not. Research 101 is to avoid biased sources.
Also, the Merck Veterinary Manual chapter on mastitis? Uh, I use that book all the time. It has nothing to do with dairy safety. It tells you what the clinical signs of mastitis are and how to treat them. It’s a quick reference for vets to look up common causes of a disease and how to treat them. Citing it is totally irrelevant. Yes, mastitis exists. Yes, it is a disease of the cow udder. Yes, some cows get mastitis. What does that have to do with the milk industry? Basically nothing.
****ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE: ORGANIC, UNPASTEURIZED MILK IS A HUGE HEALTH RISK. DO NOT CHOOSE UNPASTEURIZED MILK OVER OTHER MILKS. IF YOU WISH TO EAT AN ORGANIC DIET, LEAVING OUT DAIRY ENTIRELY IS MUCH, MUCH SAFER THAN CHOOSING UNPASTEURIZED PRODUCTS****
Oh I do love it when people educated and trained in their field correct pseudoscience and misconceptions.
Side Note: Raw dairy and milk products pose a HUGE RISK of bacterial contamination… especially Listeria. You know, that lovely little bacterium which can cause miscarriage, stillborn, premature birth, and life threatening infections? (x, x) About 60% of pregnant women who contract Listeriosis miscarry. (x) Something which can be easily prevented by cooking or pasturization.