Is the milk we get from our animals always safe to drink?  The answer, unfortunately, is no.  Milk spoils easily.  And sometimes milk can carry diseases.

There are two steps in making sure the milk you get from your animals is wholesome.  One is to keep the milking process absolutely clean.  The second way is to treat it immediately after milking.  The treatment is to heat it to boiling and then cool it quickly and keep it cool.  This is a vital part of making milk healthy.

Clean milking: Clean milking is an important way to make sure your milk is healthy.  That is because the bacteria that turn milk bad and the germs that cause disease are carried in dust and dirt, and by flies and humans too.

Of course, dust, dirt and flies are everywhere, so keeping everything clean is an uphill battle.  But here are some pointers to help you.

Choose a dust-free place for milking.

Make sure your milking utensils and straining cloth are absolutely clean.  The best time to clean them is just after your last milking.  Rinse them thoroughly first in clean COLD water.  You can use hot water later, but only after the milk residue has been rinsed away with cold water.  Another good thing to do after rinsing is to place the milk utensils in direct sunlight.

You should strain the milk right after milking.  The cloth you use to strain your milk should not have any holes in it.  Otherwise it will not do its job of filtering out any dust or dirt that happened to get into the milk.

Once you have a clean place to milk and clean milking utensils, you have to clean yourself and your animal.  Brush off loose dust or dirt from your animal’s hair and from the clothes you are wearing.  Wear a hat or something else to cover your head.  Keep your fingernails short and clean them before milking because the dirt under your nails can carry germs.  Wash your hands with soap and water.  Finally, wash and disinfect the animal’s udder and teats and wipe them dry them with a clean cloth.

You should also be concerned about flies.  Flies are the worst carriers of the germs that cause disease.  One minute they can be walking around in filth and the next they are walking in your milk or on your milking utensils.  Either way they are spreading germs.

The solution is to keep your milk containers and utensils properly covered.  The only time a container of milk should not be covered is when you are bringing the milk to a boil over the fire right after milking.

 Treating milk with heat: Milk is a perfect home for the germs that cause disease and the harmful bacteria that cause food to spoil.  But heating and then cooling milk kills most of the tiny germs and keeps your milk safe.

As soon after milking as possible, heat the container of milk over a fire until the milk just begins to boil.  Then cool it immediately to destroy any surviving germs.  For instance, you could cool it by placing the hot container of milk in running water.  But if you cannot do it that way you should use the best means you have.  The important thing is to cool it quickly.  And the lower the temperature, the longer the milk will last before it goes bad.

After you have treated the milk it is very important to keep it cool and covered.  This is the way to prevent germs from getting into the milk and making it unhealthy to drink.

 To sum up, here are the things to remember in making sure your milk is healthy:

  • Do not let dust and dirt get into your milk.  The bacteria that gets in with the dust and dirt can turn the milk bad.
  • Never milk your animal in a dirty place.
  • Clean up your animal and yourself before milking, including cleaning under your fingernails.
  • Use only milk straining cloths and containers that have been properly cleaned.
  • Strain your milk immediately after milking.
  • To kill harmful bacteria, heat the milk up to the boiling point, then cool it right away and keep it cool.

Always keep the milk container covered to keep out flies and prevent recontamination.


This script is based on a previous Network script, “Fewer Bacteria in Your Milk,” Package 4, Script 3.