blood and pus in cow milk - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry about the gross title... I've read on some anti-milk sites that there's blood and/or pus in cow milk and I'm wondering how it gets there. Some say it's because the cows are so full of hormones that their udders are swollen and infected, but is the pus actually *in* the milk? Nursing mothers are encouraged to continue nursing through bouts of mastitis and are assured that no yucky stuff will get into their milk. What's different about cows w/ mastitis?

I'm not trying to make an argument for drinking animal milk. I agree that it's not nutritionally necessary for humans. I just want to understand the assertion that it's contaminated.
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#2 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 10:34 AM
 
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Yes, milk is allowed to contain a certain amount of pus, although there is a limit. The amount of pus present in milk is called the 'somatic cell count' - if you do a search for this you should find pro as well as anti milk sites which tell you about pus in milk. In the UK about 40% of cows have mastitis in any given year - the main cause of pus in milk, although other infections can contribute. Hope that helps.
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#3 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 02:57 PM
 
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Any milk one can typically get at the grocery store is not going to be healthy, whether it's from blood and pus, antibiotics, pasturization, homogenation, etc.
I would image the horrible, inhumane dairy farming practices are the cause of the blood and pus in the milk. Those cows are given hormones to boost their milk production to an amount insanely unnatural and then pumped full of antibiotics to prevent infections.

I would definitely encourage anyone interested in dairy to find a small local organic farm. In my opinion that's the ONLY healthy milk you can get.
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#4 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I understand about the dirty, inhumane conditions on factory farms, and that the cows are pumped full of hormones to increase their supply. What I don't get is *how* the pus gets in the milk. If a lactating woman gets mastitis, there's no pus in her milk (at least that's what I've been led to believe). Also, some of the no milk sites make it sound like even organic milk is contaminated.
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#5 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 05:01 PM
 
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I think the point is that this is an induced form of mastitis.

I had mastitis 3 times while bf my daughter.... and also had a cracked nipple (cracked entirely down the center) and when I would pump, it would flap open and shoot streams of PURE blood into my milk. However, I *knew* that my milk was still safe to drink, because my blood and my milk all come from MY body, KWIM? I had some white stuff on the cracks, but it was more milk build-up than pus.

NOW, if I had mastitis, and the cracked nipple (and trust me, if you're a dairy cow, those machines are waaaaaay stronger than my nice, comfy little pump, so I'm guessing cracked doesn't even begin to describe what it feels like!) is never given a chance to heal........ well, it might get truly all-out infected, to where contaminated pus is in the milk.

I treated my nipples with lansinoh and made sure they got fresh air and made sure I was treating my mastitis ASAP.... so it didn't abcess.....

I'm pretty sure those poor cows are not getting the same loving care.

Kimberly
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#6 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 07:39 PM
 
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Pus (white blood cells) gets into the milk mostly due to tiny tears in the inside of the udder. Most dairy cows are now injected with bovine growth hormone-BGH- which causes them to produce about 20 times the milk than they would naturally. Due to this, their udders grow huge-usually to the point where they drag on the ground. So, with an enlarged udder, the tears are not so tiny anymore, and white blood cells (pus) rush to the area to heal the tears and fight the infections they cause. This elevated amount of cells (and blood) goes right into the milk when the cow is milked. So, while all milk, even organic, antibiotic free milk contains pus (because all udders tear a little on the inside) it's the commercial, non organic milk that really contains alot of it. Hope this was helpful!
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#7 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kimberlylibby

I treated my nipples with lansinoh and made sure they got fresh air and made sure I was treating my mastitis ASAP.... so it didn't abcess.....

I'm pretty sure those poor cows are not getting the same loving care.
I'm going to do my song and dance again, so here goes:

I used to work on a small dairy farm that was part of the Cabot collective.

Cows on huge factory dairy farms are probably not getting the same TLC that you (and I) give our boobs when we have plugged ducts or mastitis.

However, keep in mind that cows (just like us) will lose their milk, at least in the affected quarter, if the infection is allowed to continue. No one wants that, least of all the owner, as it means less milk and hence less money.

On our farm (with about 40 head actively milking at any given time), we jumped right on the first signs of mastitis. We stripped the heck out of the affected teat(s), applied ointment and, where indicated, gave antibiotics. We also never, EVER milked a cow with suspected or confirmed mastitis into the tank. Holy moly, we'd be goners if we did. The boss would've had our hides.

FYI, I have NO clue what PETA and other organizations of its ilk could possibly have in mind when they talk about blood in the milk. Huh? Like, maybe if there's some raging infection and someone milks into the tank, some blood platelets get in, but please refer to the above if you have any question about how much pus-infected milk gets into the milk supply.

Oh, BTW, cows with mastitis can have the most disgusting, huge clots of pus I've ever seen. Nothing like what I experienced, myself, when I had plugged ducts. But even one little clot meant no tank for that cow's milk, and set the whole mastitis treatment machine in motion.

And as one more BTW, if you're concerned about this issue, then buy only organic or small collective dairy products.
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#8 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 09:08 PM
 
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For it/against it.... Puss/no puss... blood/no blood.... It all comes down to this one FACT : it's breast milk from a cow. Most people wouldn't drink breast milk from a cat, dog, horse,rat, hippo, etc..... why is it looked upon so differently ?
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#9 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 10:12 PM
 
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Ha. So true.

In fact, I recall, when I was pumping for my daughter, a few NASTY remarks about how GROSS it was that I was joking about putting MY milk in our lasagna.

WHY? It's HUMAN milk? Why is HUMAN milk creepy? WHY is the milk of a cow's udder somehow "okay" and "normal" but another human's milk is "creepy"?

I don't get it. It is SO SO SO SO SO disgusting for me to think about nursing off of a cow (yes, just for a second, appease me, close your eyes and imagine how nice it would be to wrap your lips around the udder of a cow and slurp away).

I'm betting $10 you thought THAT was gross! OF COURSE IT IS!! It's a COW!!! We weren't MADE to drink off of a cow's udder or we would have been born as baby calves!!!

Gotta go, I think I see a goat coming down the street... maybe I can get it to stop so I can get a quick drink (that's a joke!).

Kimberly
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#10 of 69 Old 01-07-2004, 11:35 PM
 
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Yeah, it seems so unnatural to me too! Imagine a cat nursing off of a dog, or a rat nursing off of a pig.....the word weird comes to mind! That's how I feel about humans drinking the milk from a cow. Humans are the only species that not only consume the milk of another animal, but drinks it beyond the nursing phase. Besides, cows have three stomachs to digest their milk-we obviously only have one stomach, and also, the milk of a cow is meant to make the calf grow hundreds of pounds in a very short time- it seems completely unsuitable for humans to me. I think the only milk we where meant to drink is that of our mother's breast, not from another animal with completely different anatomy and needs!
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#11 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 12:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kimberlylibby


WHY? It's HUMAN milk? Why is HUMAN milk creepy? WHY is the milk of a cow's udder somehow "okay" and "normal" but another human's milk is "creepy"?
I love this comment! What a good point! Now, if someone could give me some recipes for mamma's milk yogurt and cheese, I'll be all set.
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#12 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 12:33 PM
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I don't get it. It is SO SO SO SO SO disgusting for me to think about nursing off of a cow (yes, just for a second, appease me, close your eyes and imagine how nice it would be to wrap your lips around the udder of a cow and slurp away).
Nah. Most of us at the source used a thumb and two fingers and shot a jet of warm, fresh milk into our mouth. Yum!

I wouldn't put my mouth on a cow's udder, either, even after it's been disinfected (you spray iodine solution on it before milking and wipe the teats down till they're clean), just because of the "ew, this is gross and kinda weird" factor.

...the same "ew, this is gross and kinda weird" factor that many folks cite in opposition to breastfeeding and in opposition to using human milk in cooking.

Think about that.
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#13 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 12:51 PM
 
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Yeah, It's all a case of conditioning. Like sushi---ewww, raw fish!? Um, yeah, its yummy.

I have had raw warm milk at a farm in Wisconson when I was a little kid. Not from the teat, but in a cup.


I have seen pix of inter-species nursing too. Cats/ dogs /rabbits. It works when there is no better alternative.

Of course, we almost always have the better alternative, it is hanging off our chests. Functioning mammary glands. For those whose mammary glands do not function properly (whether from primary lactation failure, severely inverted nipples, adoption, or etc), and we have several on this board, use the alternative--either another human mom's donated milk, if you can get it, or ABM.
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#14 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 01:36 PM
 
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See, I buy your "conditioning" thing.... but I think we've just been societally conditioned to think of cow's milk as normal.

Very few people think about cow's milk as being a cow's milk, made for it's baby. In fact, when I tell my friends to think about it being a cow's breastmilk, they're like "ewwwwww, gross! just don't talk about it that way!!" What? Talk about it like it really is?

Sorry, I refuse to lie in ignorance and deny that the drinking the milk of a cow is abnormal for any species except our twisted "must dominate at all costs" human species.

Kimberly
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#15 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 01:37 PM
 
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here is a link of on going documentation ( NOT FROM PETA) that follows trends in pus. pus allowed in milk
Quote:
Stress in general is thought to cause elevated somatic cell counts. University of Florida scientists2 suggest heat stress and high humidity as reasons for somatic cell counts to increase during the summer months. First, heat stress may amplify the cow's susceptibility to infection by decreasing her resistance to mastitis-causing pathogens. Secondly, warm, humid weather favors the growth of mastitis-causing pathogens which increases the chances of pathogens entering the cow's udder.
yep, just like humans.
Just do a search on dairy mastitis management and you will see it is a HUGE business-
I have also read in my travels that amount of pus is a direct influence of dairy shelf life. The lesser amounts means a longer shelf life for the product.pictures and study
Marlena- I have heard you praise Cabot before, and have read about Cabot too. I am glad they are committed to a family-oriented style of dairy production. Now if they can share that committment with the rest of the factory farms
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#16 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The poor, poor cows Thank you for all the info. on both sides of the issue. I, too, have had mastitis and was quite ill (104 temp, felt like I'd been hit by a truck), but I never could have imagined the scenario of the cows w/ huge pus clots and cracked, bleeding udders. Now it makes sense how the milk gets contaminated. I appreciate the info. about the sick cows that were treated kindly.

As far as our society's attitude toward human milk, yeah that's messed up. I grew up drinking tons of cow milk and so did almost everyone I know, so most people just accept it as normal. Only as an adult did I start to think about the source and get a little grossed out. I only buy organic, but recently have been thinking of issues beyond hormones/antibiotics/cruelty. I don't drink milk, but I use it in stuff and I sometimes eat yogurt and cheese. I've often thought about giving it all up, so I want to learn as much as I can whether pro or con. As far as I can see, the only pro is that ice-cream and cheese taste so yummy!

Any way, thanks everyone!
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#17 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 05:31 PM
 
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Mmmm, ice cream and cheese ARE yummy.

I love sorbet though! And a can of frozen peaches, thrown in the blender.... YUM!

For cheese, I make a gorgeous nutritional yeast sauce that is great for dipping tortilla chips in YUM YUM

Kimberly
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#18 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 05:36 PM
 
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Non-dairy ice cream and cheese taste good too. I thought I would miss cheese and ice cream when I went vegan, but there are great subs now.

Soy Delicious purely decadent is a great ice cream line.

And Vegan Gourmet Cheese alternative is a great non-dairy cheese.

Go here to see a list of other great products to use instead.
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#19 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 05:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by kimberlylibby
For cheese, I make a gorgeous nutritional yeast sauce that is great for dipping tortilla chips in
That sounds great! Would you be willing to share the recipe?
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#20 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 07:36 PM
 
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Erin is right- the non dairy stuff also tasts great. When my husband went vegan for health reasons, he thought he would miss cheese and ice cream, but was pleasantly surprised by the great non dairy ice creams (soy delicious is our favorite- I served it at my dd's b-day party, and all of the dairy eaters said it was better than cow milk ice cream, and were scrambling for pens to write down where they could get it!) and the non dairy cheeses. I use them on pizzas (I even bring a bag of grated non dairy cheese to the pizza place, and they put it on for me instead of their stuff) and I make lasagna, casseroles, scalloped potatoes....all the same things, just non dairy.
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#21 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 10:59 PM
 
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Arwen-

Would you mind sharing what type of cheese you have found to work well on pizzas? All I've found locally are Mellissa's and Veggie Slice. VS has no taste IMO and Mellissa's shreds don't really melt. The slices do, but they leave an odd coating on my teeth. Anyway- I'd love to start making pizzas again.

Thanks
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#22 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 11:17 PM
 
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Cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and definitely ice cream.... I have ONE word for all of you.....
Tofutti !
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#23 of 69 Old 01-08-2004, 11:31 PM
 
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Tofutti !
I completely agree! I love the sour cream, ice cream sandwiches, cream cheese spread, all of it. Good product, never disappointed. And no pus that I am aware of
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#24 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 12:14 AM
 
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I used to eat tofutto better than cream cheese all the time...that is until I read the label and realized that it has hydrogenated oil in it
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#25 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 12:42 AM
 
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I use vegan gourmet, by follow your heart. You can order it from their web site, which I don't remember what it is, but you can do a search for vegan gourmet cheese and will probably find it. It melts, a little thinner than cow cheese, but if you place it under the broiler for a couple minuts once it's melted, it helps alot!
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#26 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 01:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally posted by mama2annabelle
I used to eat tofutto better than cream cheese all the time...that is until I read the label and realized that it has hydrogenated oil in it
Yes, that's the problem w/ a lot of the meat/dairy substitutes. They're highly processed and/or full of unhealthy, unnatural ingredients. Cream cheese or Tofutti. Pus or plastic. What a choice!
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#27 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 11:21 AM
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Sure, and your veggies are also potentially contaminated with bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The world is full of life forms, and a huge number of those life forms are bacteria. Get over it, already! Criminey, haven't most of us allowed our babies to nurse when we've had plugged ducts or mastitis? Or another type of infection? Not to get too graphic, but do any of you ever have oral sex? I mean, come on, folks!

/rant

FWIW, I think it's much healthier to eat minimally-processed foods, including foodstuffs that we've been eating for millennia, such as dairy products. I have no idea why anyone would think that a highly-processed soy product containing trans-fats would be a superior choice over, say, ice cream made with about 4 or 5 otherwise unprocessed or minimally-processed items, total.
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#28 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 01:42 PM
 
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Yes, hydrogenated oil (trans fats) is a real problem. I refuse to eat it, so luckily, there are now non dairy products that are free of it. I use a non hydrogenated, trans fat free butter substitute, which is full of essential fatty acids that are still usable because they have not been destroyed by hydrogenation. But, I think the main issue for those of us that don't eat dairy is ethical. Alot of people would rather consume hydrogenated oil than contribute to the cruelty of the dairy industry, which also supports the veal trade, among other things. Pus or no pus, for me not eating dairy is about my morals, and it just happens to also gross me out, but the gross out is not the motivating factor for me.
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#29 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 03:03 PM
 
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You know, humans are the only animals who eat soy-based dairy substitutes. Besides, the nutrients in soybeans were intended to nourish little soybean seedlings, not feed humans.
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#30 of 69 Old 01-09-2004, 03:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Marlena
And as one more BTW, if you're concerned about this issue, then buy only organic or small collective dairy products.
Right you are, and that's exactly what I do.

Milk from a small dairy has a kind of nutty flavor, not that kind of off/sour flavor I don't like. Also, the small dairy sells cream that lists one ingrediant-- cream. No carageenan or geletin or whatever it is they use to thicken grocery store "cream".

I also get goat milk yogurt from a local goat dairy and it has a lovely sort of goat-cheese flavor to it.

I will not even buy grocery store milk any more because the quality is so inferior to milk from small dairies.

--AmyB
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