By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has
published year 2000 data for the amount of pus cells found
in milk, broken down by state.

According to Duane Norman and R.H. Miller, two USDA
investigators, the average liter (about one quart) of milk
sold in America in 2000 contained 316 million pus cells.

What state holds title to the greatest amount of pus? Look
to the Sunshine State, Florida,  home to the Magic Kingdom.
The average liter of milk in Florida contained 504 million
pus cells.

In Europe and Canada, regulators are aware that the higher
the pus cell count, the less healthy is the milk. Milk in
Europe and Canada cannot legally be sold if the level of pus
cells per liter exceeds 400 million.

By applying European and Canadian safety standards, USDA
officials would also have to dump milk in the following

Alabama (441 million pus cells per liter), Arkansas (427
million pus cells per liter), Georgia (409 million pus cells
per liter), Kansas (428 million pus cells per liter),
Louisiana (476 million pus cells per liter), Mississippi
(448 million pus cells per liter), South Dakota (409 million
pus cells per liter), and Tennessee (420 million pus cells
per liter).  Puerto Rico's average liter of milk contained
475 million pus cells.  (I like to be in America, ok by me
in America, everything free in America, less pus in milk in

Which states enjoy the "healthiest milk?"

First place is awarded to Rhode Island.  Milk from Rhode
Island's cows averages out to only 218 million pus cells per
liter.  Second place goes to New Mexico at 255 million pus
cells per liter, and Montana is a close third at 257 million
pus cells per liter.

Honorable mention to those additional states with pus cell
counts under 300 million per liter:

California, Colorodo, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Utah,
Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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