Milk

The History of Milk

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Milk has been a part of our nutrition since time immemorial. Rich in nutrients, milk in its various forms has a long, long history...

  • Around 10 000 BC, the “agricultural revolution” occurred changing societies from nomadic tribes to those who settled in communities. With this came domesticated animals and the ingenuity for people to use by-products such as milk.
  • In ancient Egypt, milk and other dairy products were reserved for royalty, priests and the very wealthy.
  • By the 5th century AD, cows and sheep in Europe were prized for their milk.
  • By the 14th century, cow’s milk became more popular than sheep’s milk.
  • European dairy cows were brought to North America in the early 1600s.
  • Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist, conducted the first pasteurization tests in 1862. Pasteur is credited with revolutionizing the safety of milk and, in turn, the ability to store and distribute milk well beyond the farm. Commercial pasteurization machines were introduced in 1895.
  • In 1884, the first milk bottle was invented in New York state.
  • In the 1930s, milk cans were replaced with large on-farm storage tanks, and plastic coated paper milk cartons were invented, which allowed for wider distribution of fresh milk.

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