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Question: I’ve seen some worrisome claims about milk safety on social media. What are the facts?

Drink milk

Milk is the one of the most rigorously tested, regulated and controlled foods in the United States, says Alyson Fendrick, a registered dietitian with Midwest Dairy in Ankeny.

Every tanker truck of milk that arrives at the processing plant is tested for safety to ensure it’s free of antibiotics or chemicals, she says.

“Whether it’s conventional or organic (milk), it’s tested three times from the farm to the processing facility, and there are never any antibiotics in the milk that comes to the store,” Fendrick says.

Another myth is that milk is highly processed, she says. In fact, milk only has three simple ingredients: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D. In comparison, plant-based beverages often have 10 or more ingredients and go through more rigorous processing than milk, she says.

Milk is pasteurized for food safety and homogenized to maintain its quality. “Pasteurization is so important,” Fendrick says. “There are a lot of people wanting to try raw milk, but we definitely know that pasteurization kills off any harmful bacteria and is super important.”

In addition, almost all the milk in your grocery store is local. Milk travels from the farm to the store within 48 hours, Fendrick says.

“Most people don’t realize that (milk) is usually coming from your state or a local dairy farm close to home,” she explains.

And contrary to activists’ claims that we aren’t made to drink cows milk, Fendrick notes that humans have been drinking animal milk for hundreds of thousands of years. “People have always been milk drinkers. It’s never been a harmful thing ... It’s been part of a healthful diet for a long time.”

For more information about milk’s nutritional benefits, visit the Milk Life website.

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