Want to know more about dairy in BC? Check out more of our answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Look for the blue cow symbol!
To find Canadian milk products at the grocery store, look for the blue cow logo, which guarantees that the product is made from 100% Canadian milk.
While the administration of growth hormones known as BST or rBGH to dairy cows is allowed in the US, it is illegal in Canada, and therefore not permitted for use with any dairy cows.
BC dairy farmers do not routinely treat their cows with antibiotics; instead, they rely on good farming practices to keep their animals healthy.
When cows get sick, just like humans, they may require treatment with antibiotics. In those instances, medication is given following veterinary guidelines and strict food safety protocols are followed.
While on antibiotics, a cow’s milk must be diverted to a separate container and properly disposed of for a regulated period of time. Milk from a cow who has been given antibiotics can only start re-entering our food supply after a withdrawal period longer than the time it takes the antibiotics to be fully out of their system. Health Canada studies and publishes the “withdrawal period” for each antibiotic that is licensed for use in dairy cattle.
All milk is tested for antibiotic residues before it is shipped to be bottled.
Every truckload of milk is tested before being unloaded at the processing plant. If antibiotics are found, the entire load is discarded and the farmer who contaminated the load is heavily penalized.
Milk quality testing happens at all points along the production chain, starting with the individual cows.Keep Reading
Pasteurization is a gentle heat treatment aimed solely at eliminating harmful bacteria that can be found in raw milk. It also deactivates the enzymes that can lead to early milk spoilage. In Canada, both federal and provincial regulations require that all milk sold to consumers be pasteurized, for the public’s safety.
Because raw milk creates a high risk for developing or spreading illness, its sale in Canada is strictly prohibited and Health Canada requires that all milk available for sale in Canada be pasteurized. In addition, BC law specifies that dairy products cannot be sold or supplied unless the milk has been pasteurized.
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There is currently no way to identify whether conventional milk products come from cows who are fed palm products as part of their diet. When this type of feed supplement is used, it is in very small quantities in the form of a by-product approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk enough that any bacteria present are eliminated, making milk safe to drink. Pasteurization is important for food safety and is one of the most beneficial measures to protect the health of consumers. Milk is pasteurized through the simple process of gently heating milk to 72° C for 16 seconds to destroy possible pathogens (disease-causing organisms). It is then rapidly cooled and refrigerated. This is similar to the process carried out to ensure the safety of many foods and beverages such as honey, apple cider and apple juice.
Raw milk is any milk (such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk) that is unpasteurized.