How does the milk we eat everyday reach our table?
Reader Brendo Lima wrote to the Mega newsroom a few days ago suggesting that we write a text about milk that many people consume daily. After Brendo's contact, we realized that, in fact, we are so used to milk cartons, cheese packages and yogurt cups on supermarket shelves that we don't even question the process behind dairy consumption.
From cow to table
As this Western Dairy Association publication explains, it all starts with land preparation, cultivation techniques, and proper water management. For land, cow manure is prepared, which is turned into compost - these natural fertilizers are ideal for the soil as they require less water and make the land healthier.
Water saving is critical, after all an adult cow is able to drink almost a tub full of water a day. It is expected that the farms have water reuse systems, so that it is possible to satiate the animals, take care of the land and water the crops.
An average dairy cow eats an average of 100 pounds of hay, grains and sharps a day, and it is quite common for their livestock farms to grow some of these products. It takes an average of 50 to 70 hours for each cow to turn all this food into milk - and the digestion is quite curious: this animal has its stomach divided into four parts, each compartment having a function, and the swallowed food comes back. to the mouth to be chewed again.
As with women, cows only produce milk when they have young children, and usually a cow has a calf a year. At two years old, a cow is already considered adult and can begin to reproduce - the gestation lasts nine months and, 100 days after giving birth, the animal can become pregnant again.
During the first seven months of gestation, the cow is already milked - milk is no longer removed during the last two months of gestation so that both the cow and calf are healthy and strong at calving.
The health and welfare of the cow are important factors that influence the final quality of milk - there are breeders who use soundtracks in the farms, including. Many producers already notice that music positively influences the behavior of these animals, which even go to milking voluntarily.
After milking, which takes place at least twice a day, mechanically on medium and large farms, the milk is transported in a storage tank where it is cooled to remain fresh. It is also at this time that the quality of the drink is tested - the product is then transported by trucks that specialize in keeping it cool.
The producer's work ends when the milk finally arrives at the dairy processing plant to which it was sold. In this new company, it is pasteurized and packaged. Because it is a perishable product and serves as the basis for the manufacture of countless other foods, it can be said that supervision is usually high level, so that it becomes one of the safest foods.
Just to give you an idea of the speed of the process, be aware that fresh milk and dairy products usually hit the market shelves an average of two days after they are removed from the cows. So, did you know a little about this process or did you still see milk as a miracle drink that comes from colored boxes?
Unfortunately, not all producers take such care of animals. If this is your concern, it is best to look for information about the branded suppliers you usually buy. For those who want to stop consuming animal products, such as milk, it is essential to have the instructions of a nutrition professional.