Santa wants milk, cookies and no dairy worries

By Ellie Gore Waggoner
Dairy Farmer at LeCows Dairy
While it seems like the holidays come earlier and earlier every year, one time-honored tradition always waits until Christmas Eve. Just before heading off to bed, millions of children participate in the ritual of leaving cookies and milk for Santa.
As a dairy farmer, my family and I are proud to serve not only Mr. Claus on Christmas Eve but millions of American families with safe and healthy milk all yearlong. We work hard each and every day to make sure all of our consumers — not just the jolly ones — can enjoy milk without any need to worry about safety.
As a farmer and a mom, I know that between Christmas lists and grocery lists,
December can be especially tricky to coordinate. And with all of the added labeling and information found on milk products, the dairy aisle can be particularly confusing.
Here are the facts: Hormones occur naturally in farm animals, like dairy cows, and even some produce, like cabbage. They are present in our food even when animals haven’t been given supplemental hormones — it’s a natural part of life.
The Food and Drug Administration says there is no need to worry about hormones in milk. The food that cows eat is safe, as it is comprised mostly of soybeans and corn. Animal agriculture (including our beloved dairy cows) is the number one consumer of domestic soybean meal, consuming 97 percent of that protein-rich food source. More than 81 million bushels of soybeans were produced in Kentucky in 2013.
According to the World Health Organization and the FDA, pasteurization destroys 90 percent of hormones in milk and the rest are broken down during digestion. Pasteurization destroys harmful bacteria that may be present, including salmonella and E. coli.
All milk, whether organic or conventional, is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and at processing plants. Any milk that tests positive cannot be sold to the public.
No research shows that milk or other dairy products play a role in early puberty. In fact, girls today drink less milk than their mothers did. Some scientists believe that childhood obesity may lead to earlier onset of puberty, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic
This Christmas, I want to give all moms the gift of peace of mind because they have absolutely nothing to fear at the dairy case.

Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup soybean oil (vegetable oil)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
Additional sugar for topping
Colored sugar, icing, decorations
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In large bowl, mix 3⁄4 cup sugar, soybean oil (commonly sold as vegetable oil), baking powder, vanilla, salt and eggs with spoon. Stir in flour. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1-3 hours.
Roll dough to 1⁄4” thickness on lightly floured surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet, bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown.
Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, decorate as desired. Enjoy with family and friends.
— Recipe by Rae Wagoner, Kentucky Soybean Board


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