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Why does our raw milk last longer than most? It's our cleanliness and safety standards.

written by

Aaron Miller

posted on

January 12, 2024

milk-safety-milking-cows.jpg

Back in the day, nearly 10 years ago when I first became a customer, things were a lot different at Miller's Bio Farm. The barn was old and outdated, the packing facility was in a garage, we had a shipping container as a cooler and freezer, the equipment was older, and there were no firmly set processes. And, the milk would start souring after just a few days in the fridge.

Since then, Aaron the owner has changed things A LOT. It seems like it happened overnight, but it took a few years. He updated the barn and facilities and equipment (if you've visited then you know how oddly sparkly it is... at least for a farm). And, he created procedures to ensure the quality and safety of his milk. He's always improving.

Aaron's goal is for Miller's Bio Farm to produce the best natural dairy that's yummy, highly nutritious, and also ultra low risk. 

We take cleanliness and milk safety very seriously. It's the reason why our RAW A2/A2 MILK lasts up to 2 weeks before it becomes too sour to palate, which is at least 25% longer than raw milk for most other farms.

You see, raw milk sours because of the living microbiology within. The bacteria naturally present in milk are lactic acid bacteria. This means they eat lactose (milk sugar, which is sweet) and produce lactic acid (which is sour). The more lactose they eat, the more the milk sours. 

You can't stop the souring process, but you can slow it down. The cold fridge slows it down, and the freezer almost stops it. And, controlling and limiting general bacteria counts (especially bacteria from outside of the cow) slows it down, too. 

Naturally occurring healthy microorganisms are present in raw milk. They are a good thing and a big reason why raw milk is touted for its health benefits. But, not all microorganisms in raw milk are good. 

We don't want manure in the milk! We don't want potentially harmful pathogens in the milk! And, in the rare chance a cow falls ill, we don't want that in the milk, either! Controlling and limiting bad or extra bacteria is the key to making milk safer and last longer.

How do we ensure an ultra low risk product that lasts such a long time? We do this in so many ways, for both our RAW A2/A2 MILK for humans in PA as well as our raw milk for cats & dogs everywhere else! Here are the most important things we do:

  • We are certified by the State of Pennsylvania for raw milk production. That requires regular farm inspections every 2 months as well as periodic testing for: 
    • General bacteria counts (2x per month - within set limits)
    • Salmonella (2x per year - zero tolerance)
    • e.Coli (2x per year - zero tolerance)
    • Listeria (2x per year - zero tolerance)
    • Campylobacter (2x per year - zero tolerance)
    • Brucellosis (1x per year - zero tolerance)
    • Tuberculosis (1x per year - zero tolerance)
  • We test every batch of milk on site for general bacteria counts. This is above and beyond required testing, and our counts are always well below what's required for pasteurized milk! This means that we can catch any slack in cleaning (or the rare case of a sickness) immediately. You can view the test results since 2018 here.
  • We have meticulous sanitation practices for milking and bottling. This involves A LOT of cleaning of the cows, the barn, and the equipment (other farmers think we're crazy for this). You can read the details about the process here. And, here are things we do that most farms don't:
    • Clean the udders and teats with great care, and that includes removing all manure from small divots on the teats.
    • Spread gypsum under and around the cows to effectively keep the milking environment free of urine, manure, and the moisture it may leave behind.
    • The milk is cooled to 38-42F in under 10 minutes.
    • Wash equipment with water that's at least 180F. The high temp helps the cleaning process significantly, and we know this because of the on site testing.
  • When delivering your order, we keep the frozen frozen and the fresh fresh. We maintain optimal temps for the best quality products. We have worked hard to figure out how to pack milk for mail shipping, delivery in our refrigerated vans, and pickup at our locations.

Why? Why do we put this extra effort in? Why are we so serious about milk safety? There are 2 big reasons:

  1. Your safety is our priority. 
  2. We want to be a reliable source for real food.

Do you value milk safety? What practices do you look for when shopping for milk? Or are the government regulations enough to make you feel comfortable?

I'd love to hear from you. Comment below (no account required - start typing for the guest option to appear) orcontact us.

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