How healthy is milk in Serbia?

When buying milk from farmers, Serbian dairies are not testing it for hormones, heavy metals, or aflatoxins because these analyses are too expensive.

After all, the milk should be analyzed by the National Reference Laboratory, but it is not. Additionally, cattle breeders, geneticists and dairy companies are forcing cows to give as much milk as possible, that they are pushing cows’ biological boundaries and jeopardizing their health.

This is what Professor Denis Kucevic from the Novi Sad Faculty of Agriculture says, commenting on the current situation in the Serbian dairy industry. On average, the Holstein Friesian breed of cows gives around 6,500 litres of milk annually, while Simmental cows give around 5,800 litres. The same breed of cows, that are not bred by dairy companies, usually give around 2,000 litres of milk less annually.

Professor Kucevic adds is that Serbia desperately needs an independent national laboratory that would test milk produced in our country.

“Currently, only dairy companies control the quality of milk, i.e. they analyze only the things that affect the price of milk like the percentage of milk fat, proteins, somatic cells and micro-organisms. Dairies also analyze the level of antibiotics in milk, but not hormones or aflatoxins”, Kucevic explains.

For instance, if a cow is injected with growth hormone, it can give up to 20% more milk.

“Nowadays, cows are being pushed to give more milk than ever before, and the situation is same everywhere in the world. In Serbia, 20% of cows are bred by dairy companies, while the rest are bred on dairy farms. Compared to the EU, where cows give between 7,500 and 8,000 litres annually, our country has some catching up to do”, the professor says.

“Cows are having an increasingly hard time being forced to give at least 50 litres of milk a day. In order for a cow to express a litre of milk, up to 700 litres of blood needs to circulate through its udders. This is a huge burden for their bodies and metabolism. Back in the day, cows used to give between 12 and 15 litres of milk a day” – Professor Kucevic says.

(Vecernje Novosti, 24.10.2017)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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