Where Does Your Milk Come From? How to Find Out


It seems that there are two kinds of milk cartons: the ones that hit you over the head with scenes of happy cows living Disney lives in beautiful pastures, and the ones that give you no information at all other than the word “˜MILK’ stamped across the front. Rarely does either provide any real indication of where the milk actually comes from – yet often, both might be from the very same farm or even the very same cows!

Every carton of milk, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy products has a code printed on it that gives us the city, state and dairy where the product was produced, but that code has never meant much to most people since looking it up was an arduous process.

Note the word was. A site called Where is My Milk From? now makes it easy to look up the origins of your dairy products. Just type in the code, found near the top of the carton or on the lid, and the site pulls up the exact plant where it was produced on a Google map, along with a list of other dairy products packaged there. Ah, technology.

Another handy function lets you see a list of dairies and processing plants in your state or even your town. It’s interesting to see how milk that’s produced locally isn’t necessarily bottled locally, and despite having a packaging plant right down the street, you’re often getting products packaged halfway across the country.

Isn’t it funny how the modern world has produced such a confusing web of food distribution, and yet technology is what’s helping us untangle it? Hurray, internets!

Photo: tauress/Flickr

Stephanie Rogers

Stephanie Rogers currently resides in North Carolina where she covers a variety of green topics, from sustainability to food.