The Truth Behind Whether Cow Milk Really Contains Pus & Blood

Moments after finishing my first article of the day, my editor sends me a message.

Assuming it was nothing out of the ordinary, I read it as per normal.

And then I realised it’s the title of this article.

Image: knowyourmeme

My editor went, “Wait you’ve never heard of it?”

Heck no! Even the rest of my office seemed slightly confused. 

I stared on at the topic and knew I had to finish it regardless.

And so my research began.

Got Milk?

Or rather: got an understanding of what’s in there?

As an avid milk drinker myself, I never really cared too much past the first time someone told kid-me that ‘it is full of calcium’.

Image: The List

So I immediately assumed nothing else and went on with life.

However, if you’re like me and raised your eyebrows after reading the title then do stick around.

So let’s begin.

By right, milk should not contain blood and pus according to this source.

At least, well, if the processes go right and the good milk is separated from the infected ones.

Image: Imgflip

But by left, milk is also packaged in huge bulks and sometimes things do get overlooked or slip pass machine detections.

The Unfortunate Truth

Let me get straight to the point then.

It is very likely that the milk we drink sometimes has pus and blood in it. The former being more common than the other.

Image: Nutrition Facts

Let me explain the gruesome reality.

An udder infection called mastitis is very common in dairy cows and causes pus to leach into milk.

As mentioned earlier, milk is also packed in large tanks or in bulk.

So basically, virtually almost all dairy milk has some form of pus in it.

Probably feeling a little bit scared now, right?

Luckily for us, there is a certain threshold of pus milk can have before it is considered bad to drink.

Somatic Cell Count

Or SCC for short.

This is basically the main indicator of milk quality.

Warning: getting a bit scientific now.

Image: lparchive

The majority of somatic cells are white blood cells which become present in increasing numbers in milk usually as an immune response to a mastitis-causing pathogen.

A small number of epithelial cells, which are milk-producing cells, shed from inside of the udder when an infection occurs.

Now, for a few numbers.

An individual cow SCC of 100,000 or less indicates an ‘uninfected’ cow.

Image: crv

Around 200,000 would determine whether a cow is infected with mastitis.

Cows with a result of greater than 200,000 are highly likely to be infected on at least one quarter. This is still generally safe-ish.

300,000 is where it gets spooky as the cow is likely infected with significant pathogens now.

If it hits 400,000 per litre then that’s a nope from me.

Image: Giphy

I think I probably learned about all of this new info today as much as you readers did.

Sadly or luckily, I’m too much of a milk lover to let this stop me from drinking milk.

Just know that the pus in the milk shouldn’t really affect you too much. Carry on doing what it is you do and drink away.

Not going to fault you if you stop, of course. It does sound really spooky.