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No, milk doesn’t contain pus.

Milk from healthy animals contains cells, called somatic cells.  The dairy industry uses somatic cell counts as an indicator of quality. If the milk has a higher somatic cell count, it’s a sign the cow is fighting an infection. Herd health is managed so well in British Columbia that somatic cell counts are typically less than half the acceptable limit.

Somatic cells are not pus.

What is pus? Pus is dead white blood cells, dead skin cells and bacteria, not the live somatic cells you’ll find in milk from healthy cows. Somatic cell count is just one of many tests done on each and every batch of milk to ensure high quality milk.

Check out more about all the quality checks on every dairy farm and dairy plant.

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  • Hi Jan, Somatic cells are not pus. Pus is dead white blood cells, dead skin cells and bacteria, not the live white cells you’ll find in milk from healthy cows. When the somatic cell count rises, it’s an ... more
    Hi Jan, Somatic cells are not pus. Pus is dead white blood cells, dead skin cells and bacteria, not the live white cells you’ll find in milk from healthy cows. When the somatic cell count rises, it’s an indication the cow is fighting an infection, not that there is pus present. There is no pus in milk. Please let us know if you have further questions or if you would like to discuss further. Thank you. Melissa less
  • Wait - So, the somatic cells found in increased numbers in milk from cows with mastitis are not white blood cells? Isn't that pus? The discharge from teats of cows with mastitis that gets into milk. Isn't tha... more
    Wait - So, the somatic cells found in increased numbers in milk from cows with mastitis are not white blood cells? Isn't that pus? The discharge from teats of cows with mastitis that gets into milk. Isn't that why we set limits for somatic cell counts in milk? less

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