USDA did a series of tests following conerns raised by dairy farmers.
Dairy farmers and milk lovers don't have to worry about stinkbugs.
Since they first made an appearance in the area a few years ago, farmers were concerned about feeding their cows corn that was infested with Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs. In particular, whether the odor from these insects would enter into the milk that cows produce.
"So we initiated some studies, where we sampled milk from three farms that had high levels of stinkbugs, and three farms that had low levels of stinkbugs. We tested both the feed and the milk coming from those farms, and we were not able to detect any of the odor compound coming from the silage or the milk supply," says Stan Fultz, Frederick County Dairy Science Extension Agent.
What that means is that milk lovers can continue to enjoy their favorite beverage without worrying about stinkbugs. "It's perfectly safe for human consumption, or any consumption at that point," says Fultz.
He says when farmers harvest their feed corn in the fall, they may encounter stinkbugs attached to the crop. But the odor will go away after the farmers cut up their corn and store it in their silos. The process is known as fermentation. "What happens during the fermentation process, some gases escape, the volatile fatty acids will escape. And the odor compounds is one of these chemicals that will be driven off during this fermentation process," Fultz says.
So when it come to milk, Fultz says consumers should drink up. "They can drink as much milk as they absolutely want because there will be no affect from the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug odor in that milk supply," he says.
There are little over 100 dairy farms in Frederick County, says Fultz.
The tests were conducted by the USDA at its laboratories in Beltsville, Maryland and Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
The results will be published in the Proceedings of the American Dairy Science Association's annual meeting that will be held in Indianapolis in July.