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Learn More About Milk & Ice Cream

Learn More About Milk  |  Learn More About Ice Cream

Milk Facts

Milk is comprised of 87 percent water and 13 percent solids. Directly from the cow, the solids portion of milk contains about 3.7 percent fat and 9 percent solids-not-fat.

Milkfat includes the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The solids-not-fat portion consists of protein (mainly casein and lactalbumin), carbohydrates (primarily lactose), and minerals (including calcium and phosphorus). Milk also contains significant amounts of riboflavin and other water-soluble vitamins.

Milk History

3,000 BC The earliest record suggesting man's use of animal milk as a food source. An archaeologist unearthed a mosaic frieze dating back to 3,000 BC in a temple in the Euphrates Valley near Babylon.
400 AD Milk and foods made from milk were mentioned in the Bible, and in early Hindu writings and hymns.
12th Century Genghis Khan's warriors created powdered milk.
13th Century Italian explorer Marco Polo wrote that the Tartar (Mongolian) armies enjoyed a fermented form of mare's milk.
1611 Cows arrived in what is now the United States for the Jamestown Colony in Virginia.
1624 Cows reached the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.
1856 French chemist Louis Pasteur began his experiments that would lead to his development of pasteurization, the process that destroys harmful microbes found in perishable food products without damaging the food itself. In the same year, Gail Borden of Texas received the first patent to condense milk, a method he developed, from both the United States and England.
1878 Dr. Gustav De Laval of Sweden invented the continuous centrifugal cream separator that was used by large dairies around the world.
1884 Dr. Hervey D. Thatcher of Potsdam, New York invented the milk bottle.
1886 The automatic bottle filler and capper was patented in the United States.
1890 Tuberculin testing of dairy herds was introduced, and the test to determine the fat content of milk and cream was perfected by Dr. S.M. Babcock.
1892 Dr. Henry L. Coit of Essex County, New Jersey originated certified milk.
1895 Commercial pasteurizing machines were introduced, and the thistle milking machine introduced intermittent pulsation.
1911 The automatic rotary bottle filler and capper was perfected.
1913 Dr. Gustav De Laval of Sweden perfected the vacuum milking machine.
1914 Tank trucks first rolled out to transport milk.
1919 Homogenized milk was first successfully sold in Torrington, Connecticut.
1932 The first plastic coated paper milk cartons are introduced commercially.
1938 The first farm bulk milk tanks began to replace milk cans.
1942 Every-other-day milk delivery began as a war conservation measure.
1946 The vacuum pasteurization method was perfected.

President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act, which established a federally assisted meal program providing nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. Congress created the program after an investigation into the health of young men rejected from the World War II draft uncovered a connection between physical deficiencies and childhood malnutrition. The National School Lunch Act was passed as a "measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation's children."

1948 Ultra-high temperature pasteurization is introduced.
1950 Milk vending machines begin distribution.
1955 Flavor control equipment for milk is introduced commercially.
1964 The plastic milk container is launched.
1968 Electronic testing for milk is introduced commercially, marking the official acceptance of the process.
1974 Nutrition labeling of fluid (liquid) milk products began.


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