Food Science | Dairy | the dairy, what is dairy, dairy milk, dairy free, dairy farm - Dairy is defined as a building, room, or establishment for the storage, processing, and distribution of milk and milk products. A dairy is a building used for the harvesting of animal milk - mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels - for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned with the harvesting of milk.
The terminology of diary varies by country. For example, the United States is a farm building where milk is harvested often called a living room. In New Zealand such a building is historically known as the milking shed - but in recent years have seen a gradual change to convene such a construction, a dairy farm.
In some countries, especially those with small numbers of animals being milked, as well as harvesting the milk from an animal, the dairy may also process the milk into butter, cheese and yoghurt, for example. This is a traditional method of producing specialist milk products, especially in Europe. In the United States a dairy can also be a place that processes, distributes and sells dairy products, or a room, building or establishment where milk is stored and processed into milk products, such as butter or cheese. In New Zealand English the singular use of the word dairy almost exclusively refers to the corner convenience store, or superette. This usage is historical as such stores were a common place for the public to buy milk products.
As an attributive, the word dairy refers to milk-based products, derivatives and processes, and the animals and workers involved in their production: for example dairy cattle, dairy goat. A dairy farm produces milk and a dairy factory processes it into a variety of dairy products. These establishments constitute the dairy industry, a component of the food industry.
Milk producing animals have been domesticated for thousands of years. Initially, they were part of the subsistence farming that nomads engaged in. As the community moved about the country, their animals accompanied them. Protecting and feeding the animals were a big part of the symbiotic relationship between the animals and the herders.
In the more recent past, people in agricultural societies owned dairy animals that they milked for domestic and local (village) consumption, a typical example of a cottage industry. The animals might serve multiple purposes (for example, as a draught animal for pulling a plough as a youngster, and at the end of its useful life as meat). In this case the animals were normally milked by hand and the herd size was quite small, so that all of the animals could be milked in less than an hour—about 10 per milker. These tasks were performed by a dairymaid (dairywoman) or dairyman. The word dairy harkens back to Middle English dayerie, deyerie, from deye (female servant or dairymaid) and further back to Old English dæge (kneader of bread).
With industrialisation and urbanisation, the supply of milk became a commercial industry, with specialised breeds of cattle being developed for dairy, as distinct from beef or draught animals. Initially, more people were employed as milkers, but it soon turned to mechanisation with machines designed to do the milking.
Historically, the milking and the processing took place close together in space and time: on a dairy farm. People milked the animals by hand; on farms where only small numbers are kept, hand-milking may still be practiced. Hand-milking is accomplished by grasping the teats (often pronounced tit or tits) in the hand and expressing milk either by squeezing the fingers progressively, from the udder end to the tip, or by squeezing the teat between thumb and index finger, then moving the hand downward from udder towards the end of the teat. The action of the hand or fingers is designed to close off the milk duct at the udder (upper) end and, by the movement of the fingers, close the duct progressively to the tip to express the trapped milk. Each half or quarter of the udder is emptied one milk-duct capacity at a time.
The stripping action is repeated, using both hands for speed. Both methods result in the milk that was trapped in the milk duct being squirted out the end into a bucket that is supported between the knees (or rests on the ground) of the milker, who usually sits on a low stool.
Traditionally the cow, or cows, would stand in the field or paddock while being milked. Young stock, heifers, would have to be trained to remain still to be milked. In many countries, the cows were tethered to a post and milked. The problem with this method is that it relies on quiet, tractable beasts, because the hind end of the cow is not restrained.
In 1937, it was found that bovine somatotropin (bST or bovine growth hormone) would increase the yield of milk. Monsanto Company developed a synthetic (recombinant) version of this hormone (rBST). In February 1994, rBST was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the U.S. It has become common in the U.S., but not elsewhere, to inject it into milch kine dairy cows to increase their production by up to 15%.
However, there are claims that this practice may have negative effects on the animals themselves. Scientific Commission of the European Union has been asked to report on the incidence of mastitis and other disorders of dairy cows and other aspects of the welfare of dairy cows. The opinion of the Commission subsequently adopted by the European Union, said that the use of rBST in dairy cows have health problems, including foot problems, mastitis and injection site reactions, it seems, is the welfare animals and caused reproductive disorders. The report found that on the basis of health and welfare of the animals, rBST should not be used. Ministry of Health Canada banned the sale of rBST in 1999, recommendations to the committee was that, even if it is a significant health risk to humans, the drug presented a threat to animal health, and therefore could not be sold in Canada.
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