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Dairy Facts 2016

On the Farm

Cows in a field

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE - Mad Cow Disease)

The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other major health organizations have affirmed and reaffirmed that milk and milk products do not contain or transmit mad cow disease (BSE). Dairy farmers work with state and federal officials to maintain and monitor the health and well being of dairy cows. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) monitors for BSE to make sure it is detected, and therefore, contained, as soon as possible.

Dairy farmers are vigilant about what they feed cows and strictly follow the protective measures put in place to prevent the spread of BSE in the United States. Throughout the initial and subsequent BSE investigations in the United States since December 2003, the safety of milk and dairy products was never in question. Dairy farmers take care of their herds by providing a nutritious diet, good veterinary care and healthy living conditions.

Proper animal care practices help lead to the production of high quality milk. Dairy products are among the most tested and regulated foods in this country. American dairy products are among the safest in the world.

For more information, visit the International Food Information Council's questions and answers about BSE.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) is an animal health issue, not a human health concern. The United States has been free of FMD since 1929. The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses aggressive surveillance and prevention measures to keep FMD out of the United States.

Farmers, veterinarians and government officials are on alert for any signs of FMD. The U.S. government has learned from the British experience in responding to FMD outbreaks, including ways to prevent the disease from spreading. For more information, visit

FARM Farmers Assuring Responsible Management

The dairy industry follows a comprehensive, science-based animal care program called the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management), The FARM program offers a nationwide, verifiable animal well-being program that demonstrates U.S. milk producers are committed to the highest quality standards. To provide the dairy processor perspective, Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, serves on the FARM advisory panel, along with representatives from Dean Foods Company, Kraft Foods and Safeway.

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