Got Milk? From Cow to cup

Have you ever wondered how the milk you buy at the store got there?

In order for the milk to get to the store for you to buy it, it most go through many steps.
To start producing milk a dairy cow needs to freshen(A milk cow freshens after she has calved) .

Once a cow starts producing milk, she will get milked 2-3 times a day with a machine called a milker  The milk is then pumped to a big cooler that will keep the milk cool until it is picked up by the milk man.

On most farms the milk gets picked up every other day by an insulated transport tanker that will take the milk to a dairy processing plant. The milk is tested before it is loaded on to the truck and again at the processing plant to make sure it meets strict quality and sanitation regulations. If  the quality of the milk does not meet proper quality standards the farmer will face heavy penalties and/or fines.

Once at the dairy processing plant milk undergoes pasteurization, homogenization, separation and further processing.

Pasteurization machine

Pasteurization: The act or process of heating a food, especially a beverage such as milk or beer, to a specific temperature for a specific period of time in order to kill microorganisms that could cause disease, spoilage, or undesired fermentation. 

Homogenization machine

Homogenization: Involves pushing the raw milk through an atomizer to form tiny particles so that the fat is dispersed evenly throughout the milk, stopping the fat from floating to the top of the container.

Separation: Involves spinning milk through a centrifuge to separate the cream from the milk. After separation, the cream and remaining milk are remixed to provide the desired fat content for the different types of milk being produced.
For “whole milk,” the cream is reintroduced until the fat content reaches 3.25%. For “low fat milk,” the fat content is 1%. For “skim milk” (sometimes called nonfat milk) the fat content is .05%.
Machine for filtering and further processing

Further processing: Includes micro-filtration, increasing the storage life by ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment, and  mixing or culturing milk for flavored and yogurt products.

Once the milk has gone through all its processing it is ready to be packaged and shipped to the store, the milk is kept in a big cooler at the store until you buy it and take it home to enjoy.