Breaking the law as a matter of course!
By Robert Cohen


Your state may be in violation of a federal ordinance by allowing too many pus cells in milk sold at your supermarkets. One cup of wholesome milk cannot contain more than 50 million pus cells. That's 200 million pus cells per quart (liter). At the end of this column you will find a chart comparing the average number of pus cells in milk sold in your state to other American states.

Pus in milk? A dairy cow filters ten-thousand quarts of blood through her udder each day and uses dead white blood cells (somatic cells) to manufacture her milk. These dead cells are puscells. Dairy scientists are aware that when one quart of milk is tainted with 400 million or more pus cells, some 35% of the milking cows in the herd are infected with mastitis. Udders bleed, discharges, including bacteria and blood drip into the milk.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Public Health Service and Food and Drug Administration, has established a 280 page set of protocols thatis collectively referred to as: The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (P.M.O.) The foreword of this all-inclusive set ofrules and regulations governing every quart of milk sold in America says:

"Occasional milkborne outbreaks still occur, emphasizing the need for continued vigilance at every stage of production, processing, pasteurization and distribution of milk and milk products."

It is a breath of fresh air to read an occasional governmental truism regarding milk:

"Milk has the potential to serve as a vehicle of disease and has, in the past, been associated with disease outbreaks of major proportions."

This document is more than a guideline for milk producers. It's the law. In the preface, the purpose of the P.M.O. is summarized:

"The Grade 'A' Pasteurized Milk Ordinance is incorporated by reference in Federal specifications for procurement of milk and milk products; is used as the sanitary regulation for milk and milk products served on interstate carriers; and is recognized by the public health agencies, the milk industry, and many others as a national standard for milk sanitation."

Many dairy producers have challenged the laws contained within the all-powerful P.M.O. Courts have clearly maintained the integrity of these sets of laws when asked to do so. On page vi of the preface, the P.M.O. states:

"The Ordinance has been widely adopted for many years and has been upheld by court actions. One of the most comprehensive decisions upholding the various provisions of the Ordinance was that of the District Court, Reno County, Kansas, in the case of Billings et al v. City of Hutchinson et al., decided May 1, 1934. In this action, the plaintiffs unsuccessfully sought to enjoin the enforcement of the Hutchinson ordinance on the grounds that it was unreasonable..."

The courts have repeatedly upheld the sanctity of this set of laws. The dairy industry continues to ignore the spirit of the laws so enacted. To date, no individual or group has challenged national enforcement of these statutes. There is a first time for all things. The table of contents (page vii of the preface) lists the standards for Grade A milk, and defines "Abnormal Milk" on page 20. The standards for Grade "A" raw milk for pasteurization define abnormal milk this way:

"Lactating animals which show evidence of the secretion of abnormal milk in one or more quarters (the udder is divided into four quarters), based upon bacteriological, chemical, or physical examination, shall be milked last or with separate equipment and the milk shall be discarded."

The above is further explained ("Public Health Reason"): "The health of lactating animals is a very important consideration because a number of diseases of lactating animals, including salmonellosis, staphloccal infection and streptococcal infection, may be transmitted to man through the medium of milk. The organisms of most of these diseases may get into the milk either directly from the udder or indirectly through infected body discharges which may drop, splash, or be blown into the milk."

What is "abnormal milk?"

The April 25, 2002 issue of Hoard's Dairyman, the dairy farmer's magazine, addresses that question. Veterinarian Dave Linn testifies on page 341:

"According to the PMO, all milk from cows producing 'abnormal' milk should be dumped."

Linn compares "wholesome" milk to "abnormal" milk, and reveals insider industry standards shared by the National Mastitis Council, United States Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration. If cows are infected, milk is abnormal. This is a dirty secret that government agencies conspire to keep from the dairy-eating public. Dr. Linn writes:

"Research has shown that, with a herd cell count of 200,000, there may be as many as 15 percent of the cows infected. In herds with a 300,000 count, this figure may be as high as 25%." ("Cell count" refers to the number of somatic cells, dead white blood cells per milliter of milk). So, if 25% of the cows in your state are sick and producing abnormal milk which should be dumped, and that milk is not dumped, something is seriously wrong with the system. It is clear that some states in violation of these rigorous milk standards.

Is your state in violation? If the cell count is over 200,000 in your state, please send a formal complaint to your Department of Agriculture. Start with a phone call. The number should be in your telephone book.

How do you learn the average cell count of milk sold in your state? That's easy. The April 25, 2002 issue of Hoard's Dairyman lists every state in America on page 342.

ADVICE: If the count is over 200,000 in your state, the milk is unfit to drink (by THEIR standards!).

File a complaint today. Average Cell Count Per State (48 continental) in 2001:

(The following list contains the number of pus cells expressed per milliliter of milk... about the size of a thimbleful. To obtain the number of pus cells per LITER of milk [about one quart] please add three zeros to the following numbers)

AL - 444,000

AZ - 360,000

AR - 486,000

CA - 298,000

CO - 312,000

CT - 310,000

DE - 386,000

FL - 548,000

GA - 407,000

ID - 320,000

IL - 322,000

IN - 343,000

IA - 333,000

KS - 476,000

KY - 413,000

LA - 479,000

ME - 290,000

MD - 351,000

MA - 308,000

MI - 287,000

MN - 420,000

MS - 442,000

MO - 437,000

MT - 248,000

NE - 443,000

NV - 330,000

NH - 299,000

NJ - 339,000

NM - 311,000

NY - 280,000

NC - 364,000

ND - 344,000

OH - 327,000

OK - 483,000

OR - 286,000

PA - 317,000

RI - 206,000

SC - 404,000

SD - 459,000

TN - 413,000

TX - 342,000

UT - 284,000

VT - 302,000

VA - 333,000

WA - 275,000

WV - 422,000

WI - 297,000

WY - 341,000

Robert Cohen author of: MILK A-Z


Executive Director (

Dairy Education Board


Back to articles/index