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Moo Facts!

Milk Q & A

Q: To make a gallon of milk, a cow needs to drink how much water?

A: To make 9 gallons of milk a day, a cow must drink 18 gallons of fresh, clean water (2 gallons of water for every gallon of milk).

Q: How much blood needs to pass through the udder to produce one gallon of milk?

A: 500 gallons of blood need to pass through the udder to make one gallon of milk.

Q: How long is a cow's gestation period, and how much does a calf weigh at birth?

A: The gestation period for a cow is the same as humans - 9 months. A newborn calf weighs approximately 80-100 pounds.

Q: How many hours a day does a cow chew her cud?

A: A cow chews her cud from 6 to 8 hours each day.

Q: How much broccoli or turnip greens would I have to eat to meet the equivalent calcium intake of two servings of dairy products?

A: You would have to eat 2.5 cups of broccoli or 1 cup of turnip greens.

Q: What kinds of cows produce milk?

A: There are more than 800,000 cows producing milk in California. The large black & white Holstein (the same breed as Lani Moo) is the most common. Other breeds include Guernseys, Jerseys, Brown Swiss, Aryshires, and Milking Shorthorns.

Q: What does a cow weigh?

A: When a Holstein cow is milking, she weighs between 1,100 and 1,500 pounds. A Jersey cow weighs between 700 and 1,000 pounds.

Q: How can you tell cows apart?

A: A Holstein's spots are like a fingerprint or a snowflake. No two cows have exactly the same pattern of spots.

Q: Can all cows make milk?

A: The cow must be a mother before she will produce milk. A newborn Holstein calf weighs about 100 pounds and can walk within one hour after birth!

Q: Why do some cows look like the have earrings?

A: Milk cows usually have their ears pierced with I.D. tags. Each cow has a different number that allows the dairy farmer to track her activities by computer. The cow's milk weight is recorded in the computer as well as any medications she receives.

Q: Do cows have special teeth for eating grass?

A: Cow's teeth are different from ours. On the top front, cows have a tough pad of skin instead of teeth. They have 8 incisors on the bottom front and 6 strong molars on the top and bottom of each side to grind their food. Cows have a total of 32 teeth.

Q: How many stomachs does a cow have?

A: Some people say that a cow has four stomachs. Actually, a cow has one stomach with four compartments.

Q: What's all this about chewing cud?

A: Ruminants regurgitate their food and chew cud. (Cows are ruminants.) It helps them get the most out of difficult-to-digest foods like grass. A cow spends a lot of time eating - up to 8 hours a day.

Q: How many glasses of milk are produced each day by an average cow?

A: The average cow produces 90 glasses of milk a day.

Q: What two ingredients of milk make it so healthy?

A: Two ingredients found in milk that make it so healthy: Calcium, a major nutrient for humans that is necessary for strong bones and teeth and Vitamin D, a nutrient required by humans to produce healthy bones.

Q: How did ice cream evolve, and when was the month of July designated as a time to honor America's favorite dessert?

A: Historians estimate that ice cream evolved sometime during the 16th century in Italy, perhaps from a recipe Marco Polo brought from the Orient. In 1984, Ronald Reagan designated July as a time to honor America's favorite dessert.

Q: Why is milk so good for you?

A: Milk is rich in protein and calcium which help build the muscles you need to throw a ball or climb a tree.

Q: Who should drink milk?

A: Milk is good for everyone. If you're between 1 and 12 years old, you should have 3 servings of milk every day. Teenagers need even more and should have 4 or more servings of dairy foods each day.

Q: Why is milk white?

A: Milk contains Casein. It's milk protein that is rich in calcium and it is white. The cream in milk has some fat which is also white. It's presence in the milk makes the milk whiter. Low and non-fat milk has less cream and may appear less white.

Our eyes see white because some objects do not absorb very much light. They reflect light. Objects that are blue, for instance, reflect only blue light and absorb the other colors of light in the spectrum. The molecules that make up Casein and cream reflect light. That's why milk is white.

Q: Why is most milk homogenized, pasteurized and fortified?

A: Almost all milk is pasteurized, homogenized and fortified. Pasteurized milk has been treated with heat to kill any germs. Homogenized milks are mixed so cream and water don't separate. Milk is fortified with vitamin D (and vitamin A for lowfat and skim milk) to make it even more healthful. Everyone needs these vitamins, and since almost everyone drinks milk, it's a great way for kids to get them.

Q: Do children after the age of two need whole milk?

A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents not feed fat-modified foods to children 1-2 years of age (Pediatric Nutrition Handbook, fourth edition, AAP, 1998), including 2%, 1% or fat-free milk. Children this age need foods with a high calorie density for growth.

After age of 2 years, the 1995 Dietary Guidelines recommend that children gradually adopt a diet that by about five years of age, contains no more than 30% of calories from fat. So between the years of 2 and 5 it is up to the child's parent and pediatrician what type of milk is best for that particular child, depending on how well the child is eating and growing and which type of milk they prefer, rather than risk having them drink less or none at all.

Q: How long after purchase will milk keep in the refrigerator?

A: The shelf life of milk is affected by several factors including how the product was handled before it reaches the consumer. When stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and not left unrefrigerated for an extended periods, it should last approximately 7 days past the sell-by date on the container.

Q: What's the difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance?

A: Milk allergies are an abnormal response by the body to milk protein. Lactose intolerance is the body's inability to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. Allergies to milk are rare, while lactose intolerance is not.

A food allergy is an abnormal response of the body's immune system to ordinary harmless foods or ingredients - in this case, milk protein. An estimated 1-3% of infants and young children have milk allergy, but usually outgrow it by 2 or 3 years of age.

If milk allergy is suspected, consult a board-certified allergist for diagnosis. Those diagnosed with milk allergy should avoid consuming dairy foods, and should consult with a registered dietician about how to get adequate calcium in the diet. Dairy food consumption can resume when and if the allergy is outgrown.

Lactose intolerance refers to the symptoms experienced by individuals who have low levels of the enzyme (lactase) necessary to break down lactose, or milk sugar. Some who have low levels of lactase are unaware of it and never experience any symptoms. It is most prevalent in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. Fewer Caucasians have a problem in digesting milk sugar. Infants are born with lactase, enabling them to digest the lactose in human milk or formula.

Q: Can I freeze milk?

A: It is not recommended to freeze milk because the quality of milk is affected. The milk protein is destabilized and particles may appear floating in the milk. A better solution is to purchase only the amount of milk you can use within a week.

Q: Can I get enough calcium in my diet without dairy products?

A: Yes, but it will be difficult. Dairy foods are the richest source of calcium and contributes 73% of the calcium in the U.S. food supply. Other foods contain smaller amounts of calcium and may contain components (such as phytates and oxalate) that reduce calcium absorption. For example, a person would need to eat 8 cups of spinach, 2 cups of broccoli, 7 cups of red beans, or 6 ounces of dry roasted almonds to get the amount of calcium absorbed from an 8 ounce glass of milk.

Q: How long does milk last after the "sell by" or "pull dates"?

A: The "sell by" or "pull dates" indicate when the product should be withdrawn from retail sale. These dates are used by the industry to reflect the age of individual packages. Generally, he product will remain fresh or usable for a few days after the "pull date" or "Sell by date".

Q: What's the difference between the different kinds of milk?

A: Whole milk is 3.5% milkfat, which is why it tastes so delicious and has a rich, creamy texture. After babies stop drinking mother's milk, they usually drink whole milk until they are at least 2 years old. The fatty acids in whole milk are important to the development of the brain and the nervous system.

2% Lowfat Milk has the benefits of less milkfat, but tastes great. It is fortified with skim milk and has 10 grams of protein per cup. Two percent milk is almost as popular as whole milk.

1% Lowfat Milk is made by reducing the milkfat content even more. Like two percent milk, it is fortified with skim milk, making it vitamin and mineral rich. One percent milk is great for people on diets and women and girls who want a concentrated source of calcium in a delicious drink.

Skim Milk, also called nonfat milk, is one of the most-nutrient dense foods of all. It has as much fat as possible removed, less than gram per serving. Yet skim milk supplies all of the nutrients as whole milk.

Buttermilk, despite its name, is typically made from nonfat or lowfat milk. It is cultured sour milk made by adding certain organisms to sweet milk. It is very popular in cooking.

Chocolate Milk is milk plus cocoa and sweeteners. It is usually made from lowfat or nonfat milk. The chocolate doesn't add any fat, just calories (about 60) and a little caffeine (about 5 mg per cup, the same amount in a cup of decaf coffee).

Acidophilus Milk is made by adding live bacterial culture to milk after pasteurization. It is easier to digest for some people who are lactose intolerant.