From Farm to Market
Where Milk Comes From
Here's the milk on the road to the processing facility. At the processing facility it may be combined with more batches of milk, but not before it passes testing. Preparing milk for general consumption involves a process of clarification to clean the milk fluid, pasteurization (heating) to kill any bacteria (pathogens) harmful to humans, and separation to remove the fat from the skim. Factory processing allows recombining of fat with skim to standardize fat content in milk products. That's why milk companies can offer us 1% fat or 2% fat and so on. Those of us who use raw milk on the farm are quite familiar with the way cream rises to the top of the milk jugs in our refrigerators. Factory processed milk doesn't do that because it either has a low fat content or has been homogenized. Homogenization sort of just changes the shape and number of fat globules to even things out so the fat doesn't rise to the top. Then it is packaged and put back on trucks to go to the market! Of course, everyone involved in handling milk along the trail from farm to market has strict rules and regulations to follow which are administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). That's just a necessity of mass food production.

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Copyright 1997 Kathleen A. O'Connell and Sean P. O'Connell