The Quanda(i)ry Pus Dilemma
“Culture is on the horns of this dilemma:
if profound and noble it must remain rare,
if common it must become mean.”
– George Santayana
The final 2012 pus-in-milk numbers are in, and
the results are baffling. In 2001, when Notmilk
began keeping records of the number of pus cells
in one liter of milk, the average liter of cow’s
milk sold in America contained 322 million pus
Now for the quanda(i)ry quandary. Each year for the
past dozen, that pus cell level has been decreasing.
How can that be? Cows do not change. When providing
more milk, they are additionally stressed. Each year
since 2001, the average cow has yielded more milk.
Farms do not get cleaner and there is more disease
and yet, pus cell counts have been decreasing.
In 2012, the average number of pus cells in one
liter of milk was only 200 million.
For Americans who have not yet learned the metric
system and have difficulty converting liters
to gallons to ounces, this means that the
average half-cup measure (8 ounces) of milk
consumed in the United States today contains only
12.5 million pus cells. Now, isn’t that good news?
It gets better! One can still add healthy white
sugar to the mixture and freeze the concoction
and enjoy a healthy pus-filled dessert. It tastes
even better if one adds some freshly whipped pus.
* * * * *
Question From a Reader:
Does thickened Greek Yogurt contain more pus or less pus
than traditional yogurt?
Thickened Greek Yogurt has had the fat and water removed
from traditional yogurt and contains twice as much pus
as traditional yogurt.
* * * * *
Now, for the remarkable part of the pus equation.
The five states with the highest levels of pus cells
in a liter were Alabama, with 391 million, Louisiana
with 347 million, South Carolina with 334 million,
Tennessee with 323 million, and Arkansas with 316
million. Yet, these are the states typical of
being home to family farms, as opposed to factory
farm operations. Each one of these five states
with the highest pus cell counts ranged from
between 96 and 167 cows per herd.
Now, let’s examine the four states best known for
factory farms. The average cow herd size in New
Mexico was over 2,300 cows per herd. In Arizona,
the average farm milked over 1,500 cows. Idaho
averaged just under 1,100 cows per herd, while
California averaged 864 milking cows per herd.
The pus cell counts for these four herds ranged between
159 million per liter and 184 million per liter. I
do not have the solution to explain this dilemma.
In summary: factory farm herds in which the
genetically engineered bovine growth hormone is
usually injected into cows causing more udder stress,
averaged 1,455 cows per herd and averaged pus cell
counts of 167 million cells per liter.
Family farmed herds in which the genetically engineered
bovine growth hormone is not used as often as factory farms
averaged 103 cows per herd and averaged pus cell counts of
343 million per liter of milk.
Got antibiotics? The factory farms use more antibiotics
than smaller family farm operations which keep infection
rates lower which in turn keep pus cell counts lower. Use
of state-of-the- art technology is common at factory farms,
as is antibiotic use.
In 1992, Monsanto, aware that animals injected with their
genetically engineered bovine growth hormone and experience
greater stress and udder infections, sent their top scientist
to work at FDA. Dr. Margaret Miller was given the power to
arbitrarily increase the standard for antibiotics in milk
by increasing the permissible level by a factor of 100 times.
This, then, might be the solution to the pus quandary.
The evidence is in. Factory farm milk is lower in pus
cells than milk from family farms.
“Somewhere in the world there
is an epigram for every dilemma.”
– Hendrik Willem Van Loon