For this National Farmers Day, I want you to take a serious look at your raw milk farmers.
I'm often asked about our choice to drink raw milk. Many wonder how we can feel safe without fearing for our health and particularly our children’s health.
With a smile I proudly answer - Not only do we drink it, but I've spent thousands of dollars and hours of energy acquiring it for other folks who are in our herd share.
Most people are aware of the nutrition inside raw milk, and also the harmful effects of processing it. But they also know that they have been told raw milk is extremely dangerous! This makes some people look at us as some kind of rouge "black market dealers" who are venturing away from the FDA’s regulations. Lol How is it that we can drink a product that is not fit for human consumption without processing? It's illegal in a few states and was sold only as "for pet consumption" in others. What most are usually very surprised to hear is that since 2017 raw milk is consumed legally in 47 states. You can buy it right off the shelf at the grocery in a few states. Not to mention all the other countries worldwide that are consuming raw milk.
So is this a product that is really that dangerous?
So dangerous, in fact, that it requires homogenization, pasteurization, and the proper government label to make it safe?
Well, my answer to this is Yes and No...
Yes, there most certainly is a raw milk that needs to be pasteurized and processed. It is the raw milk that's produced under and regulated according to the standards in the FDA’s Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). This set of standards does not include any requirements for testing the milk for pathogens. PMO raw milk is permitted to contain high levels of bacteria. This is because this milk will be pasteurized by heat treatment. Milk produced under the PMO is collected from many dairies and combined together at the processing plant for pasteurizing and the production of final processed dairy products. It's the raw milk that is produced in unsanitary conditions, by cows that are not required to be well and healthy, where the operators do not have to take the proper precautions and measures that one must take when harvesting their own clean milk for raw consumption.
Hence the other part of my answer... NO,
No, it's not so dangerous! and nowadays we have the science and recorded data at our raw milk dairies to prove it. Raw milk that is produced for direct human consumption is controlled by regulations established by each individual state. There are no national regulations for human consumption raw milk. There are established Common Standards for all farmers that produce human consumption raw milk and serve consumers. These standards set a benchmark for national raw milk production and safety. Raw milk for human consumption always comes from one dairy that works very hard to assure that the milk they produce is safe and clean. This raw milk is never combined with other dairies’ raw milk.
Pasteurization is really the excuse for filth.
Raw milk is not something to be handled with a loose operation and half-hearted efforts. It’s something to be valued, appreciated, and properly cared for. Safety and Sanitation do not come in a way that requires little effort or sacrifice. Your raw milk farmer should not have to be cutting corners to make things cheaper for you. So beware of "cheap milk"... Ask if your raw milk farmer is up to speed on testing for pathogens and bacteria etc. If they are not, they most certainly should be adding these tools into the toolbox. Lastly, You need to go out and support your local raw milk farmer and pay the price to keep them in a sustainable and profitable business or better yet go out every day and milk your own cow or goat! Lol
Either is so rewarding because you get the miraculous gift of this amazing superfood!
**Please note** that there is a risk factor involved in drinking milk in general "raw or pasteurized". The same with everything else in this life there is a risk. As I assume a risk in everyday choices- that never stopped me from driving a car, flying, eating sushi, or spinach. The benefit factor of drinking raw milk far outweigh the risk.
A1- Today, raw milk refers to unprocessed, untreated milk straight from the cow. The milk you buy from the local supermarket nowadays is a different substance altogether. It has been pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, or homogenized. This liquid is not really milk. It is a chemically altered substance, heated to remove pathogens and bacteria and to prolong its shelf life. The resultant low-enzyme activity makes it difficult to digest, the altered fat content renders the vitamins and minerals difficult to absorb, and the residual drugs and antibiotics pose a threat to human health. On top of this, the naturally occurring beneficial bacteria have been destroyed. The real issue is not whether raw milk obtained from grass-fed cows is safe. Rather, it’s that milk from commercially raised cows is actually dangerous to consume unless it is pasteurized. Factory-farmed animals are routinely fed an unnatural, high-protein soy- and corn-based diet and given shots of BGH (bovine growth hormone) to artificially increase milk production. This diet is so contrary to their biology that it causes severe illnesses that can only be combated by continually injecting the cows with antibiotics. These animals, kept in inhumane conditions far from their natural environment, are subject to enormous stresses. Drinking raw milk from these cows would be an exercise in stupidity. Raw milk from healthy, grass-fed, and pasture-raised cows is in a league of its own. Organically raised cows are happy, fed on their natural diet of grass and other cow-friendly foods. They enjoy access to sunshine and pasture grazing in summer, and in winter they feast on nutritious hay or silage. A1- Dr. Deborah Gordon, MD