Is there Pus in Milk?

Is there Pus in Milk?


There is no pus in milk

One of the biggest misconceptions I read about milk online today is that milk has pus in it. It’s a common myth that is nearly always pushed by people who want you to stop drinking milk. It’s used to scare people, and play on their emotional fears to get them to stop drinking milk. It plants a very disturbing picture into your mind. After all, who wants to drink milk if it has pus in it!

So you might be thinking – If milk doesn’t have pus in it, how did this myth get started. I mean there must be some truth to it right? Well I will just let you decide.

Update: I continue this conversation about pus in milk in my article called “The pus in milk paradigm.” Don’t get trapped in the false reality, read more here

Where the myth originated

bacteriaBelieve it or not, cows sometimes get sick! For example (just like people), sometimes they get pneumonia, and sometimes they get mastitis, a infection in the mammary glands of the cow. It’s always in our best interest at the dairy to prevent cows from getting ill, but it inevitably does happen.

Mastitis is actually a disease that afflicts most mammals, including humans. Mastitis is basically an infection the cow gets in her mammary system. Mastitis occurs when the white blood cells are released in the cows udder to fight the invading bacteria. According to Wikipedia:

 Mastitis occurs when white blood cells (leucocytes), are released into the mammary gland, usually in response to an invasion of bacteria of the teat canal. Milk-secreting tissue, and various ducts throughout the mammary gland are damaged due to toxins by the bacteria. Mastitis can also occur as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury. The mammary gland does not produce any milk. The udder sac is hard, tight, and firm.

This disease can be identified by abnormalities in the udder such as swelling, heat, redness, hardness or pain. Other indications of mastitis may be abnormalities in milk such as a watery appearance, flakes, or clots. 

So pus is not actually a symptom of mastitis. Mastitis will only cause the milk to be watery, or have flakes or clots.

The key to curing mastitis is advanced detection. So every time the cow is milked, each quarter of the cows udder is checked by hand before the machine is attached.

When detected, these cows are separated from the main herd and sent to the “hospital” pen so they can get the help they need. Their milk is not sold, and does not leave the dairy. The cow is milked in the hospital pen, where she can be cared for, and be separate from the rest of the herd until she is better. No mastitic milk ever leaves the dairy.

Checking milk

**The milk is checked every day to make sure the cow is healthy**


Mastitis is caused by a variety of different bacteria so the severity of the illness can really vary. Some cows that get mastitis will get over the infection naturally without any help. All they need is some rest. But some cows can get a very severe case, and the infection can get out of control. The cow could actually die if she doesn’t get help to fight the infection. So some cows that get mastitis are treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics are used responsibly though, and no antibiotics ever get in the milk. It’s actually illegal for dairies to sell milk with antibiotics. You can read more about it here. After treatment, most cows experience a prompt and speedy recovery.

On our farm, we also use some other methods though, besides antibiotics, to fight infections. We use a natural remedy with vitamins that helps boost the cows immune system so they can fight the infection naturally. You can read about how we use alternatives to antibiotics at the dairy here.


All in all though, prevention is always the best solution. In fact, because mastitis can hamper a cows productivity so much, most dairies make it their priority to prevent mastitis. In fact, there are 3 ways at our dairy that we use to try to prevent mastitis.

Dry, comfortable bedding

At the dairy, it is our goal to make sure the cows have a dry and comfortable bed. The bedding in the stalls is routinely added to make sure their beds are nice and full. We also use a tractor to till each bed each day to make sure the bedding is nice and fluffy. Dry comfortable bedding makes sure that there is less of a change of the cow getting an infection.

The cows beds   Milk doesnt have pus

**A cow enjoying her dry, comfortable bedding**

Showers every day

The cows also have the luxury of taking a shower before every milking. This ensures that the cow is nice and clean before every milking. A clean udder means less chance of bacteria getting in the cow’s udder. (more here)

Teat Lotion

Every time the cow is milked, her udder is first cleaned with an antimicrobial lotion. The lotion makes sure to kill any bacteria. It also softens and moisturizes the teats to make sure they do not get too dry. After the cow is milked, the lotion is applied a second time to make sure the cows udder stays bacteria free. It’s really like a protective shield that is used to fight off any potential infection from happening.

Milk does not have pus!

Milk doesn't have pusI think once you understand mastitis, you can understand how the pus myth originated. While cows do get infections in their mammary system that causes flakes and clots, it is a bit of a stretch to call these symptoms pus. Especially since pus is usually a thick greenish liquid. Mastitic milk is never green!

Furthermore when cows do come down with this illness, we move them out of the milking string to a separate “hospital” pen where they can receive treatment and rest. So this milk is doesn’t enter the bulk tank, or leave the dairy.

With so many other articles online loudly proclaiming that milk has pus in it, I hope this article gives you some insight from someone who works with cows every day. Milk is one of natures most healthy beverages, so don’t let others tell you otherwise.

If you agree or disagree, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Milk does not have pus!


I continue this conversation about pus in milk in my article called “The pus in milk paradigm.”

Read more about measuring milk quality with somatic cell count and how it should not be confused to be pus in milk. 


    • Clearly this website is BS. It is a WELL ESTABLISHED FACT that the hormones put in cows make ALL of them sick HENCE WHY ANTIBIOTICS ARE USED in 100% of them. Non-organic milk is TOXIC DO NOT DRINK IT.

      • I am actually just a real dairy farmer explaining reality. Why would we make our cows sick so we can give 100% of them antibiotics? Antibiotics cost $$$. We only treat the animals when they are sick not when they are healthy. In that way, organic farming is cruel to animals as you cannot give them anything to help them when they are sick. Other than that, organic and non-organic are virtually the same. It just depends if you like to pay more for you milk

    • “When a cow is infected (Mastitis), greater than 90% of the somatic cells in her milk are neutrophils, the inflammatory immune cells that form pus. The average somatic cell count in U.S. milk per spoonful is 1,120,000.” USDA reports 1 in 6 American Dairy cows are infected.


      • I can argue those facts, but the simple point is that white blood cells are cells, and not puss. You eat them trillions of them in meat and nobody is complaining about them. Why, because they don’t measure the number of cells in meat. You also eat ligaments, red blood cells, arteries, ect. when eating meat. Is consuming these things gross,it just depends on how you want to spin things

  1. “…myth that is nearly always pushed by people who want you to stop drinking milk” .
    Would you please elaborate on who those people are ?
    Water supply companies ? Tea manufacturers ? coffee growers ? :) Or maybe something even more far fetched ?
    There is no hidden benefit in telling people to stop drinking milk. The only reason is: milk is not healthy.
    On the other hand, why dairy industry tells us that milks is good and safe – that is very clear.

    And those clots and flakes you refer in mastitis milk… what do they consist of ? Leucocytes. Dead leucocytes used to fight infection. Well, that is pus !

    Pus is very rarely green, it is usually white or yellow. Even if pus was green, when diluted in milk it wouldn’t turn the milk green.

    • worst thing is, people keep thinking milk is good because some a-hole with a degree says it’s so.
      humans are the only stupid animal who drink another species’ milk after they have weaned off mommy’s breast.
      even if it’s proven to have detrimental effects on health, but since it’s more important to keep on sustaining fat men in suits who don’t give a rat’s behind about health issues, we keep on contributing to the death and slavery of millions of cows.
      just so we can keep on drinking pus.

      how stupid are we, really?

    • The anti-milk pushers are usually the same as the anti-meat, anti-leather, anti-hunting, anti-honey, etc. pushers: vegans and animal rights extremists (i.e. PETA).

      • Thumbs up to AbbyJ. Gosh I just wish they would all go away. I mean honestly people have been drink milk for God know how long. If there were any credible health risks involved, we would definatly know about them. It wouldn’t just be some fanatics claiming milk isn’t healthy when they have never seen or studied mastitis. The dairy guy is a cow farmer… Cows are his living. As in: how he makes it through his life…. I think he knows what he is talking alittleeeee bit more than the fanatics making their claims.

  2. Hi, Thanks, for commenting! Of course your comment will appear!! I’m not a dictator, but want this to be a place where real discussion can take place.
    Unfortunately there are people who don’t want you to drink milk. They aren’t tea manufacturers or tea growers, but are instead animal activists. You can search the web and find these groups. Animal activists hate dairy farms, and want to force everyone to believe what they do. These activists will not rest until the family farm goes out of business. The sad part about this is that while these activists claim to be acting in the best interest of animals, they often end up causing real suffering for animals.
    Cows that have mastitis are separated from the milking herd so their milk is separated from the milk that leaves the dairy. The milk from these cows does not go into the bulk tank, so there is no pus in milk.

    • I love milk. I grew up on it. But I no longer drink it often in exchange for almond or soy milk because of issues like these. I am certain you are the best of dairy farmers, but I don’t know all the different dairies whose milk is combined with yours. If they aren’t as high in their integrity as you, that’s a real problem. So any stick cow is sent to the hospital. I’m sure at your farm they are. The other guy just wipes off the udder with a dirty rag and keeps milking. Then there are the pesticides & antibiotics in the milk. We don’t need that. I love milk a lot. But I loved smoking too, till it just wasn’t worth it anymore.

      • Thanks for your comment. I’m sure there are other people with the same concerns. I can assure you though that our dairy is really no exception. Other dairies do a really good job on milk quality too. It’s a really tough business to be in, and if you’re not producing top quality milk, the creameries will not take your milk.

        Plus then there are also a lot of regulations monitoring milk quality, and cleanliness. We have the state milk inspector come to our dairy regularly to inspect our facilities to make sure everything’s top notch. You have to score over 90 points out of 100 so there’s no room for sloppiness. If you fail 3 times, you will be shut down and will lose your license to produce milk. So there’s definitely some encouragement to do the best jobs possible

    • I grew up on milk. You are obviously paid to keep people ignorant, and all warm and fuzzy inside when it comes to drinking NON-ORGANIC milk. The industry should be ashamed of itself putting profits over humans. By the way, I’m NOT AN ACTIVIST. I’m an active duty US ARMY GREEN BERET that thinks its wrong of you to lie to people.

      • First, I’d like to thank you for your service to our county. It’s insulting that you say I lie though. I am not being paid by anyone to write this blog, I do it because I want to spread truth about what we really do on the farm. When you are sick you consult your doctor, when you need legal help you consult your lawyer, when you want to build a house, you consult an architect so why should it be any different when you want to know about your food. Why not consult the one who actually worked to produce it.

        Many people claim they know more than a doctors, lawyers, and architects, but do they. Its your choice to choose who you believe. I just want to share my perspective as a dairy farmer

        • Dairy Guy, I’m not sure about the milk-pus, but just the idea of it has scared me (almost) milkless over the last few years. I just wanted to tell you: thank you for taking all the name-calling and internet-yelling (typing in all-caps) so nicely. Some of the commenters here: RUDENESS. We can disagree, debate the merits, fact check, and so on. But there’s no need to “talk” to each other online in a way we would never talk face-to-face. I’m glad you take care of your cows, but I believe you may be in the minority. And your point is well-taken about organic milk and not being able to treat mastitis in those cows with anti-biotics. 3% of organic-milk-producing dairy cows die compared to 1% of conventional-milk-producing cows, who are able to take anti-biotics. But organic farmers do have other treatment methods to use besides anti-biotics, and their cure rates are about the same.

    • This is completely idiotic and is completely manipulated. Animal Rights activists do all they can not to harm animals in ANY way. They don’t gain a profit, like you do, and vegans are not the same as health nuts, always. People want organic because its healthy, animal rights people want big farms to go out of business, not family farms. Unless you’re abusing your animals. It seems to me that you are extremely opinionated on things that hold much more evidence against your cause than for it. Milk may or may not have pus, but it is not healthy for adult human consumption, and that’s fact. Big farms DO have blood and puss due to machine milking. This leads to infections, which is, by definition, staph and thus pus. Spread facts but you’re wrong about animal rights, so maybe keep your opinions to yourself, ya?

      • I don’t even know where to start, but i will encourage you to do more research. I’m probably not going to convince you, but talk to a dairy farmer, even visit a farm if you can. Be open minded enough to consider that your facts may not actually be facts

  3. I have read many facts and arguments pertaining to this article, and it is very clear milk is harmful for us. We as humans have no business ingesting any form of animal protein. Period!

  4. I urge anyone to purchase organic or nonorganic milk and bring a sample to a laboratory of your choice, and if the test results come back with 0% pus I will personally eat a steak and cheese sandwich… gross
    guaranteed every test will have pus in it. Florida has seen results as high as 19% pus content.

    • My family has been in the dairy business for over 50 years and our milks been tested. We’ve never gotten any results back with pus. You should test some milk, and let me know your results. I can’t wait for you to tell me how delicious your steak and cheese sandwich was haha

  5. Thank you for your perspective. Your critic above not only gets her facts wrong about pus but her statement about milk not being a healthy drink flies in the face of decades of research (and, no, not all of it is “milk industry” funded). In short, populations that drink milk are healthier on essentially every relevant index than people who don’t. It is one of the most persistent findings in all of nutritional research. Those who deny this invariably fall back on cliches (“only calves should drink cow’s milk”) or rely on falsehoods like the pus myth.

    • Wrong. Populations that can afford to purchase milk are generally healthier. Guess what? I bet you that you could make the same claim about people who can afford to buy tuxedos and those who can’t.

    • Actually China traditionally didn’t consume milk and they were healthy and lived long. Now Chona drinks milk together with adopting other Western thing and it gets sicker by the day. Diabetes, obesity, depression etc…
      I m not attributing those effects directly to milk, just want to point out that your statement ” populations drinking mill are healthier” is wrong

      • your spelling is wrong in so many ways and that leads me to think any statement of yours will be the statement of an uneducated follower of whatever “fact” he’s told first.

  6. If there is no pus in milk why is there the need to have it regulated? “one cubic centimeter (cc) of commercial cow’s milk is allowed to have up to 750,000 somatic cells”

    • Somatic cells are not pus, there’s no such thing as a puss cell. Somatic cell count is a measure of white blood cells that are present in the milk. It’s basically a measurement of the cow’s immune system. Keep in mind that white blood cells are in all animal products. Meat has white blood cells in it because there’s blood, and white blood cells are in blood. It’s nothing to be grossed out about.

      • Welllllll there goes your whole argument, white blood cells ARE pus, doh! I’m curious if you’ve ever taken a science class? What do you think pus is if not white blood cells lol. And to say research hasn’t indicated milk is unhealthy is false, just because you don’t stay up to date on scientific studies doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I consume dairy, but you are totally off base and not very educated on the facts. Anecdotes =/= data

        • I don’t mean to sound like a smarty, but with that logic, wouldn’t that mean that your body is full of puss! gross :)

          • The dairy guy. I truly appreciate your logical and thoughtful responses. Watching people make such egregious accusations and personal attacks is telling.

            As I’ve often said, “An assertion is not a fact. It’s not even an argument.”

            Your humor and willingness to engage is beautiful to behold.

            And “white blood cells are pus”.. with the added “doh” – is an amazing comment! Too funny!

          • Thanks Matt for the positive comment. You don’t know what it means to have a positive responses every now and then. Even if you disagree, no need to be routy. I really appreciate it

  7. and the link that you provided for the burning of trucks.. there were no animals aboard. Why would you post that to support the idea of animal activists causing suffering? Yes PETA does euthanize… But just like David Koresh was an extremist, it doesn’t mean all Christians are bad…
    I think its great if you provide a better environment for animals.. for something (milk) that world is not ready to give up. Baby steps are good… and the fact that you guys are supporting separating cows with mastitis and not using hormones.. that insinuates that you, even within the industry realize that there are some major things going on that are not good. Kudos.

    • If you destroy the feed trucks, you can’t feed any animals. And that’s just not right.. I’m not insinuating anything though, just letting you know what all dairies do :)

  8. Milk does have pus in it. I’m sorry, but the blog of a dairy farmer, if that’s what you actually are, is not a non-biased source of information when it comes to this issue. Of course you don’t want anyone to think badly of milk, if you are a dairy farmer. Unfortunately for you, I’ve been in factory farms. I’ve seen how disgusting it is. And to correct you, if milk is so good for you, ten why do countries that regularly consume dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis? That doesn’t quite add up. Also, those same countries usually consume the most meat, and likewise have higher rates of heart disease and diabetes. Some connections should be made her by intelligent people. Human milk is tailored to humans for a reason. Let Bessie feed her kids with hers.

    • I am a dairy farmer, did you read my about me page! I don’t know what farm you visited, but on our farm and every other farm I’ve visited the cows are given the best care, and treated with respect. The farms work hard to make sure the milk is clean and safe for human consumption. Our families drink the milk too so that’s why we understand that it matters.

      Countries that consume large amounts of dairy products are among the healthiest in the world. Cultures like the Massai practically exist on milk, and heart disease and osteoporosis are non-existent. Milk has even been scientifically shown to reduce incidence of osteoporosis. I don’t think you can blame milk for these health problems. These health problems are caused by our whole diet. You can read my previous article on fat to learn about the nutrition misconceptions that have caused the health epidemic today

        • What??? Yes they do, Se! AND they will sometimes mix it with cow’s blood from a nicked vein. Pick up a back-issue of National Geographic, for gosh’s sake.
          Dairy Guy, you’re fighting a losing battle, I’m afraid. Many of these people could have the evidence presented to them on a platter and they’ll still rather believe the myths “cuz ah red it on the Facebook!”.

  9. I’m not a dairy farmer, nor is anyone is my family, but I did raise dairy cows in 4-H as a youth. I have visited almost every dairy farm in Florida as well as several in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin and New York. In all of those visits I saw only ONE dairy that farmed without integrity–out of hundreds. It saddens me to see such hatred towards dairies–especially when I know from years of experience on these dairies that farmers work so hard to raise happy, healthy cows.

    I’ve never known a dairy farmer use growth hormones, it wouldn’t make sense to now that creameries label whether or not milk contains rBGH. It’s simply a bad idea economically. And I can confirm that sick cows are separated from the herd and that their milk is flushed. In Florida, milk is tested for antibiotics and high somatic cell counts before it is even put on the truck to go to the creamery. If anything is detected, its flushed immediately and never leaves the farm. That’s a pretty high incentive to make sure farms are in compliance. Also, I think any woman who has ever breast-fed can tell you that poor health, poor diet and stress will result is lessened milk production. The same applies with dairy cows; if they aren’t healthy they aren’t producing as much milk as they could be. It would be bad business for farmers not to treat them well. And finally, almost all text that I have read about dairy and meat consumption causing health issues and cancers are in comparison to developing countries that are too poor to consume them. Unfortunately the life expectancy in those countries is so young that people never grow old enough to get cancer/heart disease/osteoporosis. So it doesn’t make sense to compare the two when the age populations are not the same.

    I grew up in agriculture and I am the first person to admit there are problems. We do need reform and change in some areas. However I think dairy farms are unfairly lumped in with poor practices other livestock industries. Thank you for being brave enough to write this blog.

  10. @The Dairy Guy. I have lots of respect for Dairy farmers. It’s hard work and Cows don’t take the Weekends off, so it’s a 24/7 , 365 days a year job.

    I used to love my Cafe Lattes, Hard and Soft cheeses, Greek Yogurts and what not, but as part of turning Vegan for a brief period of 4 weeks a few months ago, I unfortunately became aware of the negative long-time effects of Dairy consumption on our Health (e.g. increasing bad Cholesterol, antibiotics intake and more) as well as aesthetic aspects of Somatic/pus cells in milk, and have not been able to make myself consume Dairy again since (really unfortunate because I loved everything about it).

    Here is an Article on the Subject from a Doctor who (I should ‘warn’) is a fanatic Vegan advocate:

    Anything you can say in addition to the article above, to mitigate my fears/distaste will be welcomed. I would love to add Dairy back to my Diet but articles like the above really put me off.

  11. I’m sure your dairy farm is as you say it is, however, I have seen many videos where the cows are treated horribly – kicked, stomped, hit with bats, jabbed with pitch forks, and calves drug away from their bawling mothers!!! These dairy farms do exist!! The workers on some of these farms have no feelings or concerns for the cows and I find it disturbing the way cows are brutalized. You sound like you are very dedicated to the well being of your cows, unfortunately, not all dairy farmers are.

    • You’re right, like in everything, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch. But I can assure you that abusing cows is not the norm. I’m friends with many other dairy farmers and they love their cows just like I do, plus they are family farms also. Activists want you to believe that farmers are abusing their cows, but its not common at all. They flood the internet with staged videos of abuse which I also find disgusting. They just want to to fall for fallacious thinking, in this case an availability heuristic which meaning that media prevalence doesn’t equal actual prevalence. Think about it farmers are just like you, they have a heart. My heart cries every time I see one of those videos..

      • You mention that you are friends with people who own family farms, and while I can understand that you and your friends may treat your cows as respectfully as possible in the circumstance, have you managed or tried to visit any factory farms? I was also wondering what the average size is your operation and those of your friends.
        If you do respond, thank you for your time!

        • Yes our farm and my friends family farms are all sizes, they range anywhere from 100 to 5,000 cows. It doesn’t matter the size, dairy farms are not factories. The quality of care is equal or greater on larger farms. I am hoping to discuss farm size in a future post

    • Milk produced on larger farms has been proven to be cleaner and higher quality. I will prove in a future article

  12. I knew it couldn’t be true when I heard it from a friend who seened it on u-tube. Thank’s for the info.

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