Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Raw milk bad for you?

posted by Rod Dreher

Yes, says Deborah Blum, who says food faddists who go for raw milk are really putting themselves in danger for no good reason. Excerpt:

But the subject of raw milk just makes people irrational. The doctor’s snit about his preferred dairy product is part of a grand theatrical tradition, a century’s worth of contention, lawsuits, accusations, counter-accusations, profanity, career damage, threats, and a certain amount of pure melodrama: “Pasteurized milk is dead milk which will rot on standing,” one of the New York physician’s intellectual descendents declared during hearings preceding the FDA’s 1987 ban on interstate shipping of raw milk. “One of nature’s most perfect foods has been murdered.”
Worshippers at the milk shrine–to indulge in yet more hyperbole–stand before only one image of that perfect food. It’s golden, creamy, foamy, fresh from grass-fed, family-farm cows. It doesn’t cause but cures illness. Raw milk, with its legion of followers, has become a poster child of the food rights movement, giving emotional power to the idea that all of us deserve access to untainted, unprocessed, healthy food.
And it’s in this incarnation–the one that draws a cultlike following–that the raw-milk ideal becomes dangerous.

Blum says that the incidents of sickness related to drinking unpasteurized milk has doubled recently. I have never understood the raw milk thing, even though I generally share the culture of people who drink it. I like to eat raw milk cheese from time to time, and feel comfortable with the element of risk I assume in so doing. I also eat raw oysters on occasion, knowing full well that I’m taking a chance on foodborne illness in so doing. But drinking raw milk? Why take a chance on it? I have never been convinced of the health benefits of drinking raw milk, and given the amount of milk we consume in our house — mine mostly as an additive to coffee, but my kids drink a lot more — the risk of sickness from it seems far too great. And what are the benefits that compensate for the risk?
Remember Asbury, people!
UPDATE: This post has apparently been linked by a pro-raw milk site. Folks, before you jump to conclusions, understand that I support the legal sale of raw milk, but I don’t wish to drink it myself.



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Cecelia

posted July 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm


I am with you on this – I listened to my Grandmother’s stories about the good old days (she didn’t think they were so good). Her baby sister died of diphtheria – a disease that is transmitted through raw milk. I think the anti pasteurization crowd is typical of a common phenomena nowadays – Pasteurization of milk was so effective at solving the problem of disease transmission from raw milk that we now do not remember how dangerous raw milk could be and hence will happily advocate for getting rid of pasteurized milk.
I generally avoid milk which comes from cows with the hormone in it and I do have concerns about some modern dairy farming practices but drinking raw milk is downright dangerous – the only reason we haven’t seen widespread consequences is because of immunization.



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Rich

posted July 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm


Raw anything contains a risk of bacterial infection. I saw a news report last week saying that one of the single biggest sources of food-borne illness is locally made salsa. That is because it contains raw peppers, onions, and tomatoes and often isn’t heated enough to kill bacteria.
Raw milk is probably reasonably safe as long as the dairy is meticulous in their handling of basic sanitation. The majority of raw milk illness outbreaks, like most other food related illnesses, are caused by human error. Somebody gets too sloppy or too cheap. Usually it’s by failing to properly clean equipment and contact surfaces or (as in the Jalapeno case a year or two ago) using sewage for irrigation or fertilizer.
I really like the taste of raw milk. It is noticeably creamier and sweeter than most pasteurized milk (at least to me but I grew up on a farm.) I buy raw milk once or twice a month from a local dairy that I trust and so far have had no problems.
But I don’t mind taking some risks in order to enjoy something. Two years ago I survived a bout of Cholera while in south India. I’m a lot more careful about contamination when I go there now, but I still eat at local restaurants and some street vendors. I mean, if you are going to avoid a really good meal because you might be taking a risk, then why even bother leaving you house? Life is fatal. Go out and have some fun, including drinking some really good milk once in a while.



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Rich

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm


Cecelia
One of the big problems with raw milk (and it’s mentioned in the Slate article) isn’t the milk itself – it’s manure. Cows kick up a lot of manure when they are wandering around a pasture or feedlot. Dairy cows will sometimes have their udders covered with caked-on manure.
When I was a kid our farm only had beef cattle, but my aunt had a few dairy cows. I spent a lot of time at her house every summer and always had two chores there – getting milk and eggs first thing in the morning. Before milking any of her cows, we had to spray down their udders and belly with a water hose, then wash down the udder by hand with water containing soap and bleach. Then rinse with the hose. The cleaning took longer than the milking.
A lot of these outbreaks probably wouldn’t happen if the dairies involved spent the kind of time and effort on sanitation that my aunt’s little farm did.



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bd_rucker

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm


Blum says that the incidents of sickness related to drinking unpasteurized milk has doubled recently.
It’s hard to assess how serious that number is without maybe some stats on other food-borne illnesses, like the incidences of salmonella and e coli in factory-farmed meat and produce. As I recall, most salmonella comes from produce like bagged spinach that you can get in the supermarket but no one suggests making that illegal. Is that because bagged, supermarket spinach comes to us courtesy of Big Agro?
I drink raw milk because it is incredibly delicious. I get it from a local farm. I know the farmers, I’ve met the cows. Camphylobacter infection means in most cases that you basically get diarrhea and cramps for a few days. Like the flu, it goes away by itself. I’m willing to take that risk in order to enjoy the pleasure of fresh, organic, raw milk. And I agree what Rich said how the business of living life includes taking risks every single day. Americans seem to want to legislate risk out of existence.



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Matthew in Alaska

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm


I grew up drinking raw milk occasionally from a dairy across from my dad’s place that was part of a co-op. But I would not advocate it for children or as a regular practice. I have always been sceptical of raw milk health claims. But since becoming involved in food safety from a laboratory POV, I am even more wary of it. Pasteurization works, and is one of the things that revolutionized public health in the USA. Brucella, listeria, diptheria, e-coli, these are things you don’t want in your milk.
captcha :gruelling discipline



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Elizabeth Anne

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm


This has been a BIG controversy here in Wisconsin, for fairly obvious reasons. I don’t understand the desire myself: one of the definite upsides of living in the twenty first century is pasteurization. That and vaccinations. The overlap in people who don’t take advantage of both is significant.
I tend to think that while *I* think drinking raw milk is absolutely stupid, people should be allowed to be stupid. Here in WI they’ve raided dairies who provide people with raw milk, which seems to be rather a stretch. (No other crimes to pursue, are there?) I don’t think it should be sold in grocery stores, where it may be purchased by people who don’t know what they’re getting. But if people are willing to sell it, and people want to buy it, and both parties are informed of the risks, I’m not sure it should be a priority for law enforcement.



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Broken Yogi

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm


I happen to buy and drink raw goat milk quite regularly. I get it from an old lady who used to run a whole goat dairy farm. She keeps just a few goats and milks them herself, and is very scrupulous with cleanliness and the health of her goats. It’s incredibly delicious, especially made into chocolate milk sweetened with honey, or used to make sourdough bread. I find no health problems with it, and far less than the problems which come from pasteurization and, even worse, from homogenization (goat milk doesn’t need homogenization because its cream is so much smaller than cow’s milk).
I will drink pasteurized milk when I have to, but I notice a lot of differences in both taste and healthiness. Raw foods are really the best, and I wish I could eat them more, but I do like my cooked things. There’s certainly reason to be careful in drinking raw milk, especially from large dairies that might try to cut corners or just can’t keep track of everything. But in general raw milk is definitely healthier, and if you can’t get it raw, at least get in unhomogenized, with the cream separating. That’s the unhealthiest thing about milk – homogenized fats are really, really bad.
Anyway, I’m a big advocate of goat milk over cows milk for all kinds of reasons. More of the world drinks goat milk than cows milk for good reasons – it’s far more digestible and healthier for virtually everyone. The closest thing to human mother’s milk is goat’s milk.



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Rich

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm


Elizabeth Anne said:
I don’t understand the desire myself: one of the definite upsides of living in the twenty first century is pasteurization. That and vaccinations.
I’m with you on vaccinations – I’ve been vaccinated for everything and my son gets all of his shots. And pasteurization is a good idea on a macro level for safety reasons. But it does affect quality and flavor.
Here’s a non-milk example. Back in January a buddy and I went on a Budweiser factory tour in St. Louis. Late in the tour they took us into a room full of giant tanks and let us taste several of what they called “fresh” beers. They were really great! We asked the tour guide what the difference was between what we tasted and the final bottled beer. She said “This beer will be pasteurized before it’s bottled”.
My buddy and I have both taken up an interest in homebrewing in the last few months. I have a tank of Hefeweizen fermenting under my stairs right now.



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Hector

posted July 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm


I heard this story on NPR the other day. It really annoys me that a bunch of cultural-elite hippie whackjobs are endangering the public health and safety, including the safety of their own children, because they think that raw milk is ‘natural’ and groovy, man. Evidently they don’t believe what people who actually know about these things (i.e. doctors, animal scientists and public health experts) have to say on the subject. I think this is very much of a piece with the anti-authority, anarchistic sentiment in modern America that you talked about the other day, Rod. Just as these people don’t want to trust priests when it comes to theology, they don’t want to trust doctors (i mean real doctors, not homeopathic quacks) when it comes to medicine. Just as they want every man to be his own pope, they want every man to be his own doctor.
There’s a place and time for individual judgment, but there’s also a place and time for listening to what the experts have to say, and in this matter what the experts are saying is that any flaky suburbanite who drinks raw milk is a fool. A farmer of my acquaintance once said that _he_ could probably drink raw milk from his own cows, since he’s around them all the time and is probably tolerant to a lot of the microbes associated with them, but that anyone who doesn’t live on a farm would be crazy to drink raw milk. He got visibly angry when talking about flaky hippies who want to illegally buy raw milk- if one of them bought raw milk from him and got sick, then _he_ would be considered responsible for their stupidity.
I don’t drink milk, but if I did I sure as h*ll would make sure it was pasteurized first.



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MikeW

posted July 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm


Milk. Ugh.
We’re a milk-free family, and have watched all sorts of allergies clear up as a result of going that route.



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bd_rucker

posted July 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm


I heard this story on NPR the other day. It really annoys me that a bunch of cultural-elite hippie whackjobs are endangering the public health and safety, including the safety of their own children, because they think that raw milk is ‘natural’ and groovy, man
The people who buy milk at the farm where I get my raw milk are hardly “culturally elite hippie whackjobs.” They are actually rural, blue collar white people who just like fresh food. They have American flags and yellow ribbons on the backs of their pickup trucks. They wear Carharrt work clothes and have the roughened hands of people who do physical labor all day. And on Friday afternoons, they are buying raw milk by the gallon. So guess what? Whatever you heard on that NPR broadcast, that’s not the whole story.



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David

posted July 19, 2010 at 7:51 pm


Raw milk by itself is not dangerous. It is the process of pumping it through hoses and valves and pump impellers into storage tanks, then trucks, then storage tanks at the dairy, that makes it risky, as each transfer point and each piece of apparatus introduces a risk of contamination. Passing raw milk through the industrial dairy supply chain to consumers would be an act of insanity – this is what necessitated the use of pasteurization. Even after that requirement, milk still gets contaminated post-pasteurization and causes illness and death (google massachussetts 2008 listeria milk for an example). However, if you acquire raw milk directly from a dairy that properly sanitizes the animals and the equipment, and the only transfer point is from the cow to your jug, the risk of contamination is extremely low.
As to “experts”- yes, some people spend years researching and discovering new ideas, and many, many more train themselves in conventional wisdom groupthink and call themselves experts. There was an article in the NYT over the weekend pointing out that nutrition scientists are only now beginning to categorize the billions of beneficial flora that colonize our gut. They have at this point no idea where they come from. The body of research that promotes pasteurization completely ignores supply chain issues and other factors, opting for the one-size-fits-all thou-shalt-pasteurize hammer instead.
As to my stake in this, we are not hippies in search of a fad. I’m an aeronautical engineer and my wife is in nuclear medicine, and we do our research. Our autistic child has been making huge steps towards recovery, and each massive leap in her development has been shortly following a program of intentional introduction of sources of beneficial flora, first from probiotic supplements, then from raw fruit juices (made at home of course), then fermented foods, and lately raw dairy products. As a result, we have changed our diets to include primarily raw and fermented foods, and my own health has never been better. Our experience in this is far from unique. Not only that, but we, and our friends, are also fully aware of the risks, are fully informed of the consequences, and carefully monitor the factors to minimize our exposure to those risks. I would love for somebody to inform us that we should have this right taken from us by the government because “we don’t know what we’re doing.”



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Rawlins Gilliland

posted July 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm


I first began drinking raw milk 41 years ago. The truth is, raw milk is as good or bad as whtever is being given the donating cow. (I.E. antibiotics like gummy bears.) Raw milk was critical when making one’s own yogurt (a comodity so rare in 1968 USA supermarkets as to be dismissed/classified as ‘Eastern European communist block’) So this debate seems about as timely as an analysis of what brought ‘Laugh In’ to a rating halt. PS: A whole lotta ‘counterculture’ (‘hippies’?) were ahead of their organic-only time. As I pointed out the the neighbor kids an hour ago…when they were talking to me about recycling. When I pointed out that I began recycling before their 40 year old parents (who are just now beginning to use a blue barrell…hint hint…) were born. Wanta talk tahini, whole grains, whole protein amino acids, brown rice, miso? I’m your guy. PS: Steam, don’t boil those vegetables.
1000 or BUST!



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Tuck

posted July 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm


One of the benefits of raw milk is that lots of people who are “lactose intolerant” can drink it. The problem is not the lactose, it’s that the pasteurization process destroys lactase, the enzyme that will allow you to digest the lactose. This enzyme is naturally present in the milk. So really the problem is pasteurized milk. People who drink pastured milk (most raw milk) also have much lower rates of heart disease.
The campaign against pasteurized milk is part of the FDA’s campaign to make themselves indespensible, and us, the consumers, their clients. This risks of raw milk are therefore overstated, the benefits understated, and lots of food-borne illnesses from the FDA supervised system are ignored, or covered up, to make them look better.
The FDA and USDA have been waging a campaign against healthy diets for decades now. Unfortunately most people give them the benefit of the doubt, but this has been a huge mistake. Their interests are not our interests. The product of their supervision of our food supply has been a nation of obese, cancer-ridden, heart-diseased diabetics. All of these diseases are known in the scientific literature as the Diseases of Civiliation. More accurately they are the diseases of the Industrial American Diet, as supervised by the FDA and USDA. People move to the US and get sick; the science behind this is quite clear, and decades old. 30% of children are now obese, and that’s because they’re eating the diet recommended to us by the USDA.
So if you’re willing to continue giving these proven failures a veto over your health, that’s your choice. But those of us who are not should have a choice.



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David

posted July 19, 2010 at 8:31 pm


Rawlins – laughing at your “Eastern European commie” comment – I’m married to a Ukrainian who finds our food restrictions both funny and frustrating. When her family comes here to visit, the first question they all ask is, “why is the food so bland here?” We told her friends that it was illegal to sell raw milk in our state and they didn’t stop laughing for five minutes. I think they actually thought it was a joke at first. Like much of Europe, they happily eat raw foods of all kinds, leave eggs out on the counter at room temperature, and all kinds of things that would make the antimicrobial nazis here go into a conniption fit.



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Lubeltri

posted July 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm


Rod, if unpasteurized milk is so obviously unsafe, why do the big dairy corporations spend money lobbying state legislatures to ban/restrict it?
Small farms which have to go through so many hoops to even sell the stuff from their farms would greatly benefit from being able to offer it at local groceries. Florida is one of the few states to allow the retail sale of raw milk, and I’ve missed it since moving away (here in Massachusetts, only a few remote farms are allowed to sell it on their premises).
I’m no hippy. I’m a working-class white person who grew up in rural New York State. I grew up drinking raw milk, picking it up from the dairy farmer in our small town.
Raw milk has no equal for taste—and health. There are many beneficial bacteria in raw milk which are destroyed in pasteurization. With proper hygienic standards, there is no reason why raw milk should be unsafe.
The big dairy corporations, on the other hand, have horrific standards in their industrial milk production lines—after all, it’s going to be pasteurized anyway, right?



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bd_rucker

posted July 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm


One of the benefits of raw milk is that lots of people who are “lactose intolerant” can drink it
Yep. I stopped drinking milk years ago because it made me wheeze (I have asthma). Then I heard that a lot of people who are allergic to regular pasteurized milk don’t have the same reaction to raw milk. So I tried it, and sure enough, I had no symptoms. Pretty cool for someone who loved milk as a child but stopped drinking it in the late 80s due to the allergy thing. I can’t vouch for any other health benefits of raw milk though. I make yogurt and kefir out of it too.



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cooliehawk

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm


I’m skeptical about the health claims made for raw milk (the more extreme ones anyway). And, truth be told, I’m not much of a milk drinker.
But what I’d really like access to, for purely epicurean reasons, is raw milk butter!



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MH

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm


Given the tainted beef e-coli outbreaks I wouldn’t drink raw milk if you paid me.



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LutheranChik

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm


Living on a dairy farm, we always had farm-fresh milk…but my parents always pasturized it, in quart jars in a small stovetop home pasturizer. That’s what I grew up drinking. That milk still tasted exponentially better than supermarket milk.
I really don’t have a dog in this fight other than a very occasional foray into the world of raw-milk cheese — but I do resent the calculated “expertization,” by government and commerce alike, of so many aspects of everyday life. Why shouldn’t I be able to buy fresh milk right from one of our farmer friends and pasturize it on a small scale, for my own use, like my parents did? (Or not, as far as that goes.) To what lengths is some Authority Figure going to protect me from myself? I honestly think that, in their hard, tiny hearts, both government and business would love nothing better than to frighten the public into abandoning even today’s usually modest attempts to procure local unprocessed food and scratch-cook it. So even though raw milk isn’t my choice…I support the people for whom it is.



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kevin s.

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:27 pm


This conversation tends to flesh out a number of unhelpful talking points.
On the raw-milk side
1) Salsa (and/or spinach) is the leading cause of e.coli (or insert disease).
2) Germs are everywhere. Only a neurotic creep would worry about this.
3) Raw milk cures myriad ailments.
On the anti-side
1) Pasteurization is the only barrier between us and babies dying of (malaria/diphtheria/dysentery). Everyone who disagree probably opposes vaccination.
2) Science says it’s bad. So it’s bad.
3) OMG! Look at what happened to so-and-so on (insert website here).
Based on the statistics, the illnesses owing to raw milk are very rare relative to consumption. On my blog, I estimated that, were raw milk consumption to entirely supplant pasteurized milk consumption, the cases of campylobacter (diarrhea) in-state would increase by only 20%, with no measurable impact on salmonella and e.coli cases. The latter two are extraordinarily rare.
Aesthetically, raw milk tastes better. I am not lactose intolerant, but I found it much easier to digest, and I find the anecdotal evidence regarding allergies and tolerance to be persuasive.
As such, I don’t see any reason why it should be illegal. The opposition to its legality has been framed almost entirely by state bureaucracies with the help of a single trial lawyer, Bill Marler, who clearly has found an ambulance to chase here.
I prefer freedom to the profiteering of a vocal minority.



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Your NameStephanie

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm


I grew up on a farm drinking raw milk from Molly, our guernsey. Not for health reasons; my dad had a rural background and it never occurred to us to pasteurize. We weren’t particularly obsessive about sterilizing etc, and yet we never got sick from the milk. Neither did any of the many families with whom we shared. It was delicious and I miss it. If were going to obsess about health dangers, let’s go after Nabisco and get them to stop making twinkles. That’s a far greater public health risk than the handful of people who enjoy raw milk.



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Your NameStephanie

posted July 19, 2010 at 9:42 pm


Twinkies, not twinkles. And I don’t really know–does Nabisco make them? The point’s the same regardless. Oh the hazards of posting from my iPod.



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Nate W

posted July 19, 2010 at 10:53 pm


Anyone worried about or not able to procure raw milk should try to get their hands on the next best thing: low-heat VAT-pasteurized milk, preferably non-homogenized. It’s leaps and bounds beyond standard supermarket milk in taste and nutrition.



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praesta

posted July 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm


Sure, let people drink raw milk. They’ll sue the dairy if they get food poisoning or one of their kids gets a neurological infection. Dairies that decide to give away or sell raw milk better be prepared with stellar insurance coverage.
The anti-vaccination movement, which shares some parallels with the raw milk movement, scares me much more than the raw milk foodies. Like Cecilia noted, disinhibition rises with a decline in mortality. While I am unconvinced that there is a direct and unambiguous link between vaccination (and particularly thimerosal concentrations in vaccinations), a possibility remains. Nevertheless, the past two or so decades have witnessed an incredible rise in parental self-interest. All compounds carry the risk of impairment. Nevertheless, many parents refuse to vaccinate out of a fear of autism. They have never seen rubella or tended a child very sick with measles. I recognize that no parents would want to live with the knowledge that a shot caused irreversible neurological damage to their child. Even so, should herd immunity suffer out of the self-interest of a relative (and growing) few?
captcha: Carter splaying



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praesta

posted July 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm


While I am unconvinced that there is a direct and unambiguous link between vaccination (and particularly thimerosal concentrations in vaccinations) and autism [...]
sorry ’bout that.



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elizabeth

posted July 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm


The safety of raw depends on the practices at a given farm.
I know of a grass-pasture farm within 45 minutes of town. The farmers lead the cows to fresh tall grass every 12 hours. Instead of standing on dusty, manure-filled dirt or feedlots they are in fresh pastures that they do not visit again for 6 weeks after they graze it ans the manure is broken down by then. The animals are fed no corn, just a few oats while being milked twice a day.
Their raw milk tests at about one-quarter or less of the allowed post-pasteurization bacteria count. I’d drink their milk raw if they sold it that way.
But a wacko-fringe uber-libertarian farm in our state sickened a number of persons with the nasty e.coli. Unless you have visited a farm personally to observe conditions and practices, stay away from raw milk.
Raw milk cheese is another matter altogether, unless you mean the fresh raw milk cheeses, in which case you take the same risk as drinking raw milk. Raw milk cheeses properly aged for at least 60 days are fine. Minnesota dairy law specifies the 60 days.



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ratiocination

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:16 am


I don’t know of any raw milk advocates that would in a million years suggest drinking the same grade of milk you buy in a grocery store raw. That would be tantamount to suggesting you walk over to the meat department and pick up a mouthful of ground beef off the floor. Yechhh.
But when you obtain raw milk from a certified dairy that actually takes good care of their cows, there’s hardly a better, healthier, safer food.
Think about it this way, for mothers who have breastfed:
1) They tell you that it is safe to leave freshly pumped milk at room temperature if you’re going to use it the same day. Why? Because the properties of the milk itself actually inhibit bacteria growth.
2) They tell you never to overheat it because it destroys nutrients. They’ve done studies where they gave pasteurized breastmilk to infants, and they suffered failure to thrive.
Clean milk from healthy cows has been drunk for millennia before the industrial revolution came along and created an imbalance between urban and rural populations. Raising cattle near urban areas (in order to have a source of milk close to the population) introduced a whole new can of worms–less fresh air, grass and exercise for the cows, more grain and hay and tubercular milkmaids coughing into the milk pail…Pasteurization makes sense in such an environment.
My family has been drinking raw milk for 5 years, and none of us has ever been ill from drinking it. (Nor did we turn into crazed hippies…) On the contrary, it has helped all of us overcome illnesses at one time or another. I too was unable to drink regular milk for many years; I have no trouble at all with the raw milk. Our last two children, who were born after we started drinking the raw milk, have been so much more robust than their older siblings that my three year old is only half an inch shorter than her 5 year old brother…and he’s tall for his age. She is also extremely precocious, so most people assume she’s 4 or even 5 years old.
Those of you who insist that we shouldn’t question what doctors and scientists tell us: what about smoking? My uncle was a doctor and he died of lung cancer from chain smoking. What about climate change? The East Anglia scientists did a great job with that one. Scientists and Doctors don’t always get it right. What about Thalidomide? What about the oral Polio vaccine?
Oh yeah, and what about twinkies? :)
Last but not least: to the commenter who suggested that raw milk drinkers cause a health hazard to their neighbors…what a lot of garbage! The very few established cases of illness from raw milk have been bacterial infections, not tuberculosis. E.coli is transmitted through fecal matter, dude. Unless you’re sneaking into my house and drinking out of the toilet bowl, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Besides, regular E.coli aren’t dangerous–anyone who digests their food has them–it’s only the mutated strains that are life threatening. And gee, I wonder how they got mutated in the first place? It wouldn’t have anything to do with how many antibiotics they pump into the average cow, would it?
Do your own reading and your own thinking. Accepting what “they” tell you is a good way of getting cider in your ear, as Sky Masterson would say.



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Richard

posted July 20, 2010 at 7:17 am


One of my students comes from a big dairy farm family, and when I vists them (which is fairly frequent – we hunt together) I drink raw milk from their tank. I don’t go buy it because it’s illegal to sell it here in Maryland and I don’t know any dairy farmers in neraby PA well enough to know how long it’s been on the shelf and whatnot. The taste is, as noted above, much creamier and fuller than regular milk. I have no clue about health benefits.
What bugs me about the whole thing, as Blum points out, is the food-rights aspect. If I want to buy it and take the risk, why shouldn’t I be able to? Sort of like raw oysters, which have a MUCH higher incidence of sickness.
But I don’t make a stink about it because if someone drank raw milk, then got sick, then expected free medical coverage, I’d be annoyed at that. Like motorcycle riders who don’t want to wear helmets (fine) but then expect the medics to move heaven and earth when their uninsured broken bodies need help (not as fine).
Back on this thread, here in Maryland this debate is held almost every year in the legislature because there is a real tension between the crunchy types (who abound here) and the innate desire of the generally centrist Democrats who run the state to regulate everything.



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Matthew

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:46 am


I have no problem with those who want to drink raw milk or even not vaccinate their children. As with most things in life their are trade-offs whether you choose to consume raw foods or not. That’s a choice and a preference I want people to have, and hope that they would take into account a bit of common sense in reaching their decision.
What I do have an issue with is when people turn raw/organic/anti-vaccination/whatever into a religion, or at the very least a religious dogma tacked onto their religion.



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Naturalmom

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:47 am


If I had commented on this thread 5 years ago, I would have been one of the people castigating raw-milk drinkers as crazy whackos. The first time I read a recommendation that people drink raw milk, it actually made me angry.
But then I did my homework. Others here have already made the points that convinced me that raw milk from a clean, grass-fed dairy was safe enough. I had a lactose intolerant daughter who was starting to have poor health effects from the ultra-processed soy substitutes we were giving her, so we gave it a try. It not only worked for her, but the taste and versatility of the milk is amazing (buttermilk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.), but we also saw a significant decrease in our family’s visits to the doctors office for illness.
I’m still well aware of the risks, and I would absolutely not drink raw milk from a source I did not know and trust. I’m highly doubtful that raw milk can be scaled up to provide milk for everyone in the country. People getting their milk in urban distribution centers (grocery stores) will probably always benefit from pasteurization. That’s why it became widely used in the first place — by the time raw milk got to the cities it was highly contaminated and made many, many people sick. (This was back in early 20th century; a time of notorious lack of regulation of food handling standards.)
I’ve seen the cows at our dairy being milked. They do not have manure caked on their udders (because they spend each day in a new pasture that has been ungrazed for about 3 weeks.) Still, their udders are washed down, each teat is sterilized and the milk from each teat is tested for the beginning stages of infection before milking begins. In addition, the milk is given more thorough tests periodically during the year to monitor it’s safety. I feel comfortable with this. I am totally sympathetic with those who don’t, but just because milk from any-old-farm isn’t safe doesn’t mean milk from the farm I go to isn’t as safe as any other raw food.



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Naturalmom

posted July 20, 2010 at 9:42 am


Apropos of I-don’t-know-what, take a whiff of pasteurized milk that has been left unrefrigerated for 24 hours. Gagging yet? Now take a whiff of raw milk that has been left on the counter for 24 hours (or more). It will smell pleasantly tangy, like buttermilk. You can drink it if you don’t mind the sour taste. Or make biscuits out if it, like I did last night. Yum. Full of bacteria, yes — good ones! :o)



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Rod Dreher

posted July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am


I should add that I’m all in favor of the legal sale of raw milk, for the same reason I back the legal sale of raw oysters. But I don’t want to drink it.



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Dan Berger

posted July 20, 2010 at 10:32 am


@MH: Given the tainted beef e-coli outbreaks I wouldn’t drink raw milk if you paid me.
I’m skeptical about this whole thing. But tainted beef has nothing whatever to do with raw milk. You don’t get milk by cutting up a dead animal (and possibly perforating the colon while doing so).
I’ve no problem with raw milk; it should be subject to at least the same level of scrutiny as conventional milk production and sale, for safety. My understanding (from what I’ve learned in this thread) is that the regulations might need to be slightly different, but what I’ve seen of properly-conducted, well-regulated large conventional dairy operations are that they are pretty darned clean.



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Neighbor

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:13 am


In answer to your questions at the end: do your homework! Read Weston A. Price. Read the section on dairy in the Nourishing Traditions book on your shelf! :)



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 11:51 am


Love to hear hippies being blamed for one more crime against humanity. As a proud hippie, raw goat-milk drinking socialist freakazoid, let me just say that raw milk from healthy, naturally raised cows and goats is very, very safe, especially as compared to the industrial pasteurized, homogenized product you find at the store.
The real problem with raw milk comes from the way cows are raised in our industrial dairy universe, which is about as unhealthy as you can make it. The cows are fed badly, lots of grains and corn rather than pasturefed, and this produces lots of illness and infections in them that they wouldn’t have normally. And that requires lots of antibiotics that also kills off the beneficial bacteria and makes the cows and the milk susceptible to bad bacteria that cause disease. Good bacteria is very healthy and necessary, but when you disrupt the natural cycle you also create a pathway for pathogens to dominate. Hence, pasteurization is used to cover up for all the bad practices of the dairy industry, and they still end up with a lot of diseases and infections, not to mention all the hormones used and God knows what that fucks up our world.
So sure, switching our current dairy industry over to raw milk without actually changing the whole system would be nuts. And healthy raw milk would be more expensive. But that’s true of our entire food supply. We pay far too little for food, and we get what we pay for – poisonous, unhealthy crap that makes us sick and fat and toxic. We need to start growing food that’s optimally healthy, rather than food that the cheapest and shoddiest possible, and that can survive a long time on the shelf because it’s been over-treated and over-processed.
Hippies know better than FDA doctors and industry lobbyists. Real science backs up the hippie gospel when it comes to food.
Btw, in my state it’s illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption, but fine to do so for pets. So when I go buy my raw goat milk, it’s for my dogs. And cats. And chickens and geese and ducks. And even my goats!



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Leta

posted July 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm


My mom drank raw milk as a kid. When my folks went to Mexico, she could drink the water.
Here’s the thing: I just want the choice to buy raw milk. I live in Michigan, where you can’t buy raw milk legally, no way no how. Way to infantilize me, Michigan Government! Even if it was only legal to buy directly from farms, or sign a release form, that’d be fine with me.
If you make raw milk illegal, only criminals will buy raw milk.
captcha: scabs for
Ewww.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Raw milk should be made available, but only direct from the dairy, absolutely no comingling with other milk, legal protection for the dairy is in place, and a warning sign akin to raw oyster eating (or maybe even a signed waiver) to inform the buyer of potential health risks.
Or you could just retail and comingle it and have lots of women miscarrying from listeria.



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Hector

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm


Leta,
What’s really infantile is that the hippies on this thread are behaving like five year olds. Baby wants what baby wants, even when it risks the public health and safety, and the five year olds throw a tempter tantrum whenever they aren’t allowed to do what they want to do. Sensible and mature people realise that sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us, whether those things be raw milk, Twinkies, promiscuous hookups, or doing lines of coke at the nightclub, and when that happens our task is to listen to the people telling us ‘No.’ Only five year olds and fools think they should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. Unfortunately, modern American society is all about the untrammeled right of the individual to do whatever they want, never mind the concerns of health, decency, or morality.
I don’t really have a dog in this fight, since I don’t drink milk, but if you get sick from raw milk, and you will, then everyone is going to have to pay for it. The fact that the hippies are trying to reverse the revolution of modern science and modern medicine, and take us back to the good old days of homeopathy and the four humours, makes them a serious threat to public health and safety, and so I’m going to call you out on it whether you like it or not.



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Vesper

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm


It’s absolutely great for you! Small-scale, non-industrialized, pastured cows are far healthier and make better milk that is living with helpful bacteria and enzymes. I’ve *met* the cows from which my family’s milk comes–milked the day I get it, not weeks sitting on a supermarket shelf.



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Agnes

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm


I would rather drink raw milk from a well cared for cow, that eats grass, sleeps in a clean barn and isn’t injected with hormones than drink the pasteurised milk from an animal housed in it’s own filth.



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Bebe

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm


Anybody who thinks that raw milk is bad for you has no experience with raw milk. I know tea baggers and hippies that drink it, produce it, and advocate it. It’s not a Republican/Democrat thing, it’s simply a choice of intelligence. All of the info for raw milk is documented, just use Google to search and read the data.



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Ronita

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Raw milk is only dangerous to the usda/fda/government supported dairy industry, they are losing business to honest clean farmers who are responding to public demand. If the government would be honest, balanced, & fair we would have no debate except what to do with all the gmo corn fed antibiotic laden cows that are producing empty white milk calories & health problems for people.



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Pam

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm


Raw milk is a lot less hazardous to your health than, say, a Twinkie or hot food that’s been sitting out in a Chinese buffet. And in fact, it packs lots of nutrition, too! The naturally occurring enzymes help digestion, not make you sick. I’ve been drinking raw goat and cow milk for the past several years and LOVE it … had only skim milk as a kid, and this stuff rocks.
You know, people didn’t die of raw milk poisoning back before pasteurization. And IMO, pasteurization conveys a false sense of security. Know your farmer!



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Deborah

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm


Raw milk is better tolerated by folks with lactose intolerance. Raw milk suppresses the growth of introduced bacteria with its competing healthy bacteria. It’s incredible to me that the FDA doesn’t have the “person power” to adequately and promptly test and oversee new pharmaceutical products and meanwhile they’re raiding small scale goat farmers. Do you believe you have the right to EAT what you want to EAT?
Do you believe you should have that right?



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Chad

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm


If raw milk is really so bad and dangerous then most of us wouldn’t be here. Our ancestors didn’t pasteurized the milk they consumed. So what has changed? The way we raise our cows. I would never drink raw milk from a commercial dairy either! But I feel completely comfortable drinking it from a small farm that actually raises cows as they were meant to be raised, on grassy fields. I have drank nothing but raw milk from my own or other family member’s cows for the past few years. I have yet to get sick from doing so. In fact I have rarely, if ever, been sick in the past few years since consuming raw milk.



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Lisa

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm


“Sensible and mature people realise that sometimes we want things that aren’t good for us…”
Such as pasturized, homogenized milk.
“but if you get sick from raw milk, and you will…”
Oddly enough based on data in a 2003 USDA/FDA report: Compared to raw milk there are 515 times more illnesses from L-mono due to deli meats and 29 times more illness from L-mono due to pasteurized milk. On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely than raw milk to cause illness (Intrepretive Summary – Listeria Monocytogenes Risk Assessment, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Sept. 2003, page 17). See Realmilk.com for more information
Perhaps ban deli meats?



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Melanie A.

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm


My family has been drinking raw milk for 4 years and have experienced health benefits in doing so. It has greatly improved asthma and allergies, and even helped eliminate acid-reflux. I became lactose intolerant and can drink raw milk with no problems whatsoever. We have never been sick from drinking it, and we even make our own butter from time to time.
If you get your milk from a farm where cows are able to roam free in sunshine and fresh air, then it’s safe. If you are talking about cows that are crammed in a stall, unable to move, or lay down, standing in their own feces all day, then no don’t drink that raw -and why would you want to drink it pateurized?? YUCK!!



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Plinks

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm


I’m living in England now and was actually quite baffled about all the regulations concerning the selling of raw milk, and how hard it is to get here.
I was born and raised in Germany, and I remember going down to the farm in our little village as a kid with the milk can and getting fresh unpasteurized milk, right after the cows were brought in from the pastures.
I grew up on that stuff. So did the people in that village and a lot of other little villages all over Germany.
Now I have to mail order milk that never did me or anyone I know any harm. I simply don’t get it.
Leaving all the health benefits and personal food philosophies aside- I’m legally allowed to poison my body with alcohol or tobacco, eat junk food etc.
I don’t quite see why there’s such a fuss made about raw milk?
Don’t like it, don’t drink it!
But don’t tell me I’m not supposed to when I can make up my own mind, thank you very much.



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Designed by Nature

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm


I didn’t really get the whole RAW milk thing until my 6 month old baby’s whole body broke out in red ozing rashes from head to toe. She had been sick her whole 6 month life. I took her to the doctor everyday for a week straight and all they could tell me was she had a food allergy. After researching our commerical baby formula I was sickened that we are feeding our babies this junk. I would even take it a step further and call it posion. I started looking at making my own baby formula and came across a raw milk receipt. Within two days of feeding my baby this she started “glowing”. I could just see her body was finally getting the food it needed. She is now 12 months old and has not been sick once since I have been feeding her raw milk formula. It has been a God send. I am a total believer!



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Coralee Funaro

posted July 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm


Fear about clean raw milk is overblown and downright silly. Raw milk farms are held to higher standards for cleanliness and health for their livestock, and the milk has definite health benefits.
I raised my kids on raw milk, never a problem or an illness due to the milk, but many benefits to having it.
The “nanny-state” mentality that would prevent sales of raw milk smacks of big-brother government and diminished freedom. It also seems to favor big factory farms and big money, not the small farmer and producer of safe, healthier foods.
Maybe this entire thing is just a big money issue, not a health issue at its root.



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kevin s.

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm


“I don’t really have a dog in this fight, since I don’t drink milk, but if you get sick from raw milk, and you will, then everyone is going to have to pay for it.”
The stats don’t bear out your assertion that you “will” get sick from raw milk. You might, and if you do, it will most likely come in the form of travelers diarrhea, which has a negligible impact on overall health costs.



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Ann Rein

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:02 pm


There is nothing irrational about wanting to drink raw milk. What’s irrational is letting industrial bottom lines come before good nutrition. Of course care needs to be taken so no one gets sick. But the true purpose of pasteurization is to allow the amalgamation of milk from many sources to a central supply and then to disseminate far and wide – all with an eye to profit. Profit is fine, but when it’s gained at the expense of food quality, it becomes a problem. There’s no room here to go into the reasons why pasteurized milk is rendered pretty useless as a food, google for more info, or go to Rawmilk.org, linked above, to start your own education.



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Stacie

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm


My family owns a small farm and we milk cows and goats. We have never, ever, EVER been sick from raw milk. My husband did get sick from bagged spinach salad he ate at a barbecue once. When we went to the doctor’s office the first thing the nurse asked was, “Do you drink raw milk?” Not being liars, we said yes. They immediately wrote “e. Coli from raw milk” on his chart and that was that. So there’s another illness chalked up to raw milk consumption.
No one else in the family got sick, by the way. We had all heard the news reports at the time and opted to skip the spinach salad.



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Steven

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm


Pasteurization enables farmers to feed their cows pig swill and pass of the end product as “wholesome” even though it’s full of dead puss.
I’ve been drinking raw milk for over a year and have never been healthier.



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Paul Drowns

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:09 pm


Far more people become sick from consuming regulated, inspected, processed food than from raw milk.
The case against raw milk is paranoid, ridiculous and unfounded, and if you want to put the whole argument into perspective, click on this link to the CDC and take a peek at the bigger picture… http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol5no5/mead.htm



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WVgal

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm


I wonder if you consider the risk of eating lettuce, or driving a car, too great?
The health benefits are definitely significant. Raw milk from grassfed cows contains beneficial bacteria; enzymes which make the nutrients more bioavailable; and more iron, Omega-3’s, CLA, vitamins A, C, D, and K than that white junk they sell in the store. Billions of people for thousands of years have drank raw milk in quantity and have fewer cavities, dental malformations, and chronic disease than the average American. Foodborne illness definitively attributed to raw milk is relatively rare compared to most other foods, and even when it happens it is usually milk from a bulk tank from industrial milk intended for pasteurization. Which is a completely different animal.
If you don’t want to drink it, that’s your choice; but please, don’t discuss something you obviously know nothing about.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm


Oddly enough based on data in a 2003 USDA/FDA report: Compared to raw milk there are 515 times more illnesses from L-mono due to deli meats and 29 times more illness from L-mono due to pasteurized milk. On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely than raw milk to cause illness (Intrepretive Summary – Listeria Monocytogenes Risk Assessment, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Sept. 2003, page 17). See Realmilk.com for more information
Oddly enough, raw milk according to the PER-SERVING BASIS of teh same study, is still in the high risk category with a rank of 4 out of 23 and 7 times more likely than pasteurized milk to deliver some nice listeria bacteria to you.



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Martha

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm


We have a Jersey cow on pasture and we consume raw milk, cream, and butter. It is very healthy and we never get sick from it. We don’t want to prohibit folks from choosing pasteurized, homogenized milk. And we don’t want anyone to prohibit folks from choosing raw milk.



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M.Robin

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm


My father was allergic to milk for years. When visiting some friends who had their own cow he tried the raw milk and wasn’t sick in the bathroom in less than 30 minutes as usual. Obviously, Ms. Blum has not done her research because dad is not a rare case. He and my mother have been drinking raw milk for nearly 10 years from a local dairy as have I and the dozen grandchildren five children and their spouses that land at their house from time to time. No one has ever become sick and my dad has never been healthier! Now many in our community go to buy milk from the same dairy and I have never heard a report of anyone getting sick. The benefits include a food as it was intended to be consumed and that our bodies know how to digest and use. Read some real research at this link.



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Deb

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm


Let me get this straight…. you are OK with eating raw oysters, but not OK with drinking raw milk? I really do not get that; it’s a total disconnect. Any raw food has its risk, and some cooked foods as well, and pretty much every raw milk drinker I know goes in with their eyes wide open, the same as you do with raw oysters. I’m OK with both milk and shellfish raw, for the record, as well as occasional raw meat – generally speaking, a good steak tartare is far safer than, say, spinach or peanuts that have been through the food processing system and come out very much the worse for wear.
I don’t think a single raw milk supporter would insist that the American public at large shouldn’t have access to pasteurized if they desire it, although plenty of pasteurized-milk-only believers feel the opposite, so I suppose it’s nice to know that you support the legal sale of raw milk while you ridicule anyone you deem idiotic enough to drink it. But I agree, if it’s not something you personally have experience with, even though raw shellfish are apparently just fine, you really have no place to rail against it.



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ShaLaLA

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm


For anyone who would like to enjoy raw milk or any other food that might be contaminated with e coli or salmonella and take the worry out, here’s a site where you can buy a home test kit: http://www.exit15.com/instant-food-test-strip-kit-for-salmonella-and-ecoli-p-1360.html. Now … can we please move on gov people who have nothing better to do than harass dairy and other farmers???? Bloggers, too … people who choose to eat foods grown or raised or produced by people they know and trust are much better informed, healthier and less likely to become ill from food borne illness precisely because they are aware and take the time to learn.



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Melissa

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm


I wouldn’t call raw milk a “food fad”. After all, people have been drinking raw milk for thousands of years. On the other hand, pasteurization of milk has only been around since the late 19th century. My brothers and sisters and I grew up on it and my family and I still drink it today.
I don’t think a credible argument can be made on either side unless you remove the emotional aspect and understand exactly what the process of pasteurization and homogenization does to milk. You then have to understand how the body processes both.
You also have to understand how the body processes synthetic vitamin D, etc., compared to natural vitamin D. You’ll need to know how pasteurization and homogenization alter calcium and how the body process it. Also, a good understanding of how a cow’s diet and living conditions effects their milk is essential.
These are just a few considerations; do some independent research and you just might be surprised.



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Rod Dreher

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm


This will come as a surprise to many of you recent commenters, but I don’t lie awake at night thinking about raw milk. I don’t want to drink it. So sue me! I think you should have the right to purchase it, but if you are so devoted to its consumption that you have to get on your high, er, heifer, about someone like me, who doesn’t want to drink it, then you take it way too seriously.



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ohplease

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm


“Those of you who insist that we shouldn’t question what doctors and scientists tell us: what about smoking? My uncle was a doctor and he died of lung cancer from chain smoking.”
Sounds like your uncle shouldn’t have been smoking.
“What about climate change? The East Anglia scientists did a great job with that one.”
That was a complete non-controversy manufactured by the GOP.
“Scientists and Doctors don’t always get it right. What about Thalidomide?”
“What about the oral Polio vaccine?”
What about them? What do they have to do with the efficacy of pasteurization and its health consequences vis a vis raw dairy products?
“Oh yeah, and what about twinkies? :)”
What about bacon? Or the health effects of carbonized food that comes off a grill?
“The very few established cases of illness from raw milk have been bacterial infections, not tuberculosis.”
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection.
“E.coli is transmitted through fecal matter, dude. Unless you’re sneaking into my house and drinking out of the toilet bowl, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
As others have noted, fecal matter getting into milk is the problem, something that has been abrogated by pasteurization.
“Besides, regular E.coli aren’t dangerous–anyone who digests their food has them–it’s only the mutated strains that are life threatening.”
Not quite true, but I appreciate the passion.
“And gee, I wonder how they got mutated in the first place? It wouldn’t have anything to do with how many antibiotics they pump into the average cow, would it?”
Probably not. O 157:H 7 has nothing to do with antibiotic resistance, which is what you’re referencing. Nor does the existence of shiga-like toxin in E. coli. I don’t disagree with most of what you’ve said, especially with your sensible attitude re: raw milk in grocery stores, but it appears you’re emotionally invested in the issue and are therefore susceptible to the sort of “epistemic closure” seen among true believers of x, y, or z.
Bottom line: for raw milk, which I am sure is theoretically no more dangerous as a whole than the aforementioned raw oysters or sushi (I once got quite ill from eating sushi), to be safely consumed by the masses, it will have to be regulated and sold much differently than most milk is today. Every raw milk supporter on this thread has emphasized knowing the source of the product well and getting it very fresh, which indicates to me that they’re aware of the possible adverse health consequences of the stuff. Conversely, their arguments against pasteurized milk are centered around its inferiority with regards to taste, nutrition, digestibility, etc. That leads me to believe that they understand that raw milk is inherently more dangerous than pasteurized milk, even if it’s otherwise superior. So, if raw milk is the way to go, in a country with what is probably several hundred million regular milk consumers, then the product will necessarily become more scarce and more expensive.



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Patty

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm


Why drink raw milk when you can really roll the dice and eat raw bagged salad?
I drank raw milk for half of my last pregnancy. My farmer decided to quit and I couldn’t find another source. I immediately felt much worse and had to double my calcium supplement intake (didn’t change my milk drinking) to make up for it. That was my first experience in feeling better on raw milk. Well that isn’t true, when I first started drinking raw milk I hadn’t been able to drink milk w/o stomach upset for several years. It was wonderful to drink it and feel fine.
If you don’t want to drink it fine. I don’t eat most seafood anymore because I think it is too risky. Should all seafood with anything more than trace mercury be banned and the fisherman raided and questioned? Or can I take responsibility for my own health in this issue. Can we regulate them and keep it reasonable instead of just knee jerk banning it. Some people eat tuna daily. They have a right to do that. I have a right to drink raw milk.



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Melissa

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm


…also, I find it interesting, if not a bit peculiar, that every article I’ve read in the past couple of years bemoaning raw milk refers to those who prefer raw milk as, “crazies”, “faddists”, “idiots”, “cultists”…the list goes on.
In my opinion, anytime someone defends their position by belittling and otherwise bashing their opposition, or name-calling in place of facts and research, they lose credibility.



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Nancy

posted July 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm


I have been drinking raw milk from healthy grass fed cows for 3 years now…NO PROBLEMS! I also eat raw beef and raw chicken…NO problems! All from organically raised animals…the only way! No growth hormones, no anti-biotics, animals on pasture! The problem comes in to play when you have CAFO or CFO animals raised in confinement standing in shit all day every day! This is what our government allows! You are more likely to get sick from pasteurized milk from these animals…pasteurization does not kill all pathogens. In fact, if you did your homework properly, you would have found that more people get sick from pasteurized milk than from raw milk from responsible small farms raising animals how they were meant to be raised!
You are also more likely to get sick and possibly die from: taking pharmaceuticals, flu shots and other vaccines!
STOP the NONSENSE FEAR MONGERING AND DO RESPONSIBLE REPORTING!
IT IS THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE WHAT THEY CONSUME! NOT BIG GOVERNMENT’S!



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Ryan

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm


Let’s try to keep this short:
1) Raw milk tastes better, and I can drink any amount without lactose issues. I can only drink so much pasteurized milk at once.
2) The grand majority of food borne milk illnesses are from post-processing contamination, not from the cow.
3) The nutrition IS impaired to some degree. We can argue over how much, but the difference is there.
4) The FDA’s or USDA’s numbers (can’t remember which) actually indicated less risk to raw milk (1.1 per 100k servings for raw, 1.3 for pasteurized). Deli meat was like 10 per 100k servings.
5) There’s a lot of bias when handling raw milk. Whenever there’s an outbreak and raw milk as involved, they instantly pin it on that. Even if not all of them were drinking it. Even if there were other more likely causes, like deli meat.
6) I know the risks. All food has some risk, and I’m willing to accept raw milk’s risk. The government’s ban on it is completely unacceptable. Warn me all you like; just stay out of my way.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm


I also eat…raw chicken
But why?



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Courtney

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm


I respect your decision to not drink raw milk and also appreciate that you are not proposing that the government legislate the sale of raw milk. Our family has chosen to drink raw milk and we LOVE it. I’m sure another commenter has pointed this out already, but raw milk isn’t itself dangerous. It’s the manner in which the cows are raised that creates the riskiness. Much of the bad bacteria, e.coli, etc only grow in the guts of cows that are fed diets of corn. Cows were never meant to eat corn. They are ruminants created to graze on grass. Grass fed cows do not get sick, therefore the bad bacteria levels in the milk(and meat) of a grass fed cow are vastly lower than those of a corn fed cow. It’s important to know your source, but if you do your research and find a good clean organic grass fed dairy the “risks” of raw milk are quite nonexistent and the benefits are boundless.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm


4) The FDA’s or USDA’s numbers (can’t remember which) actually indicated less risk to raw milk (1.1 per 100k servings for raw, 1.3 for pasteurized). Deli meat was like 10 per 100k servings.
You’ll have to put that number in some sort of context, see the listeria report above.



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Tracie Drake

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm


My youngest son was always ill. His bowel movements were always runny, pale, foamy, etc… I never knew what was next. He was always complaining of stomach pains so bad he would lie down on the floor and scream. He was never gaining weight and the Doctor wanted to see if he had worms.
He has been on Raw Milk about 3 years now. He has gained weight and looks healthy. Rarely is he sick. His bowel movements are normal. He Never complains about his tummy, unless of course he gets store milk.
I have no fear about whole raw milk. It took my sickly boy and turned him into a stocky healthy little man.
We all drink farm fresh milk. I drink goat and the rest drink cow. After years of hormones and God knows what else in cows milk I am literally allergic to the cow proteins.
Don’t bad mouth raw milk. You are simply ignorant and are listening to corporate paid hype! How did so many farmers survive if it was soooo bad? In Europe you can buy it in vending machines.
I want to drink what God intended, not boiled dead milk but fresh healthy milk!



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm


but if you do your research and find a good clean organic grass fed dairy the “risks” of raw milk are quite nonexistent and the benefits are boundless.
So raw milk shouldn’t be available at the grocery store with all that transportation, handling, and comingling right?



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Dana

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm


You are so right. While we’re at it, let’s also ban raw spinach and only let people buy it in cans. Raw meat? Naw. It has to all be boiled first before sale. Heck, let’s just not make any more raw food available at all. It might have scary germs on it. And we all know people are too stupid to make their own purchasing decisions anyway, and that only the end consumer is responsible for foodborne infection, not the idiots selling the stuff who cut corners on sanitation practices–which, while I’m on the subject, is what caused pasteurization laws to be enacted in the first place.
Seriously. Do anti-raw-milk faddists really THINK about their position on this subject or do they need medication for restless leg syndrome?



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm


Seriously. Do anti-raw-milk faddists really THINK about their position on this subject or do they need medication for restless leg syndrome?
Only a Truebeliever(TM) tries to win people to their side by first belittling them. Good job!



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Judith Parker

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm


My family has been drinking raw milk from grass fed cows for over 9 years. I was diagnosed with a “dairy” allergy and used to have sever problems digesting milk. Not since we changed to REAL RAW milk! We have very little illness and if we do catch something it doesn’t last long. No behavioral issues or developmental problems in our children. Now we seldom see a doctor because we are never seriously ill. Dead foods cannot maintain health…..people are loosing out on the health benefits of REAL FOOD because of the food marketers propensity towards profits, shelf life and convenience.
Naturally nutritious RAW MILK is loaded with undamaged calcium, vitamins and probiotics.
If it wasn’t food a hundred years ago….. It’s not food now ;0)
Keep FOOD REAL!



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Crystal Palmer Bull

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:14 pm


Well I am so glad that you are so healthy and at ease that you do not have to stay up all night thinking about raw milk.. I HAVE to . I live in upstate NY and fighting my community who is trying to take away my nigerian dwarf goats.
Why are these goats so important to me? Why has this MickyD’s girl turned raw milk real food fanatic.. because I have an autistic son whom I have damm near recovered (see links he is the tall blonde boy in the center with the crew cut) and raw milk(goat in particular) has been the single biggest part of his recovery. When you own child develops normally and says I love you grandpa..(15m old) and then doesn’t talk again for over 2 years you know you have a sick child. where do you go, back… sometimes you have to go back to go forward.. I went back to basic nutrition.. and the way we ate a few generations ago, and that meas raw goat milk.
I have my son back and you will have to take my raw goat milk from my cold dead fingers. You can pretend it is a safety problem and you may be fooled into thinking so, but for us who are sick or have loved ones who are … the proof is in the pudding. I am very careful when I chose a path for my family .. the wrong answers will only waste my time and do not heal my child.. so this thought that people do strange and desperate things when they are sick is not true.. at least in my case.. if I truly want to help my child it has to be right!
I don’t have to make you belive but maybe this platform will .. at the very least get my success story .. with real food and autism inspire other moms to be brave and take a step back in time… to move forward with their children
thank you
Crystal Palmer Bull -on Facebook to
cpalmerbull@crystalimagingstudio.net



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Jay

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Folks, let’s get real. Who are the faddists? People have been drinking only one kind of milk for milennia (that’s thousands of years). Only in the past 100 years have we begun processing the milk, and why is this? Read “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid, ND. Modern farming methods have produced unhealthy cattle, producing unhealthy milk requiring modification in order to protect the public. The insidious part of this is, big industry and governments have been part of deceptive practices and legislation that perpetuates the problem, instead of treating it at its source – the mass-production farms (CAFOs or Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations).
By the way, my family has been drinking grassfed milk for 7 years now, and not only no problems, but it has healed us of many ailments (including my addiction to Tums).



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Crystal Palmer Bull

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm


Louis Pasteur’s death bed confession: “…The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.”



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Crystal Palmer Bull

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm


Science religon markets and morals lol what a joke
No science behind you
religon???
lets look at the bible Isaiah
10)Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11)Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12)But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13) And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16)For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
amen



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Kari

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:26 pm


I am a Chemist and my husband a Physicist. We are raw milk advocates also. Looking at the SCIENCE, we are convienced of the benefits of it. If you drink milk from poorly raised cows then yes there is a danger. The cows weren’t meant to be raised that way. Know your farm!!! If you look at the statistics, the incidents of illness from pasturized milk far outweighs those of raw milk. People are being cured of SOO many diseases because of this real food. Milk intolerances are even being done away with. Please before you state things like this do real research on it.



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Harry

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:29 pm


I’m a farmers son and i have drank raw milk my whole entire life. I was even fed it as a baby instead of formula. All the other kids at school had asthma, hayfever, allergic to this allergic to that and i’ve never had any of that. They all broke bones really easily, i played contact sport for 12 years of my life, fell out of trees, crashed my motorbike mutiple times when i was 10 years old, usual kids stuff and not once have i broken a bone. I’m 24 now and have NEVER been sick from drinking raw milk. Even when the cows had suspected samonella, i still drank it and never became ill off of it. Raw milk protects itself any farmer knows that aslong as it doesnt become too fouled up with muck.
I’m not the exception either. If you went round any dairy farm in the world and looked at there children you would see a similar story. Drink Raw milk, its good for you.



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Broken Yogi

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm


Actually, industrial produced, pasteurized milk is actually more dangerous than properly produced raw milk. When people here make it clear that they are aware of the dangers of raw milk, they are talking about the dangers of industrialized milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. Such milk would be more dangerous than industrialized, pasteurized milk, but that’s a false comparison. Even pasteurized milk that has been produced industrially is not safe from infections and contamination, and it’s definitely not safe in other ways as well. Pasteurization is dangerous not only because it degrades the health and nutritional character of milk, but because it creates a false sense of safety that isn’t actually warranted.
And Rod, I haven’t heard any on the pro-raw milk side here disparaging those, like you, who don’t want to drink raw milk. So stop being so paranoid or painting yourself the victim of the righteous. You might want to rethink that attitude if you can get ahold of some fresh, locally produced raw milk, but if not, that’s you business. It just seems that in your general crunchy desire for healthy, natural, local foods, this might be something you’d want to check out at some point.



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Rae Bruce

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm


Our family’s personal experience from drinking raw milk is as follows:
1. My acid reflux went away and I am no longer on Zantac or Propulsid. Furthermore, my hypothyroidism is in check without the use of medication.
2. My son’s eczema and ear infections have disappeared entirely. ENTIRELY!
3. My lactose intolerant husband can now drink milk.
4. My nephew, who is on the autism spectrum, has made great strides in terms of social behavior and development since my sister introduced raw milk into his diet.
5. My grandmother has been drinking raw milk for the last 12 months and her bone density scan showed vast improvement from the one done a year ago.
6. My sister’s irritable bowel syndrome has all but disappeared.
I could go on and on…
There are two kinds of people who are against the legal sale of raw milk: those who have not taken the time to educate themselves about the benefits, and those who have a vested economic interest in making sure raw milk producers are put out of business.



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Julia Martin

posted July 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm


Life is a risk. Any food you put in your mouth has the risk of making you sick. More people get sick from produce and lunch meat than raw milk. Why not take the risk with nutrient dense raw milk from healthy grass-fed cows, with all the enzymes intact. You are missing out on one of the great pleasures of life. You can choose pasteurized milk from CAFO cows but I choose unpasteurized, non- homogenized whole cream on the top milk from grass-fed cows. We should be allowed to make the choice. Don’t pasteurized it, don’t homogenize it, just legalize it!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Delicia

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm


I am a Chemist. Looking at the SCIENCE, I am convienced of the benefits of raw milk. If you drink milk from poorly raised cows then yes there is a danger. The cows weren’t meant to be raised that way. Know your farm!!! If you look at the statistics, the incidents of illness from pasturized milk far outweighs those of raw milk. People are being cured of many diseases because of this real food. Milk intolerances are even being done away with. Please before you state things like this do real research on it.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/roddreher/2010/07/raw-milk-bad-for-you.html#ixzz0uFrgNWJ9



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THollis

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:07 pm


Milk has been consumed “fresh from the cow” since the beginning of time and it has only been in these past few years the so-called experts tell us it is now dangerous. Gee, these are the same experts telling us that pharmaceuticals are safe, soy-laden foods are healthy and the food pyramid should guide our daily food choices. As an RN, married to an MD, who raised 3 extremely healthy, very bright sons, your experts are wrong. Let me decide what my family will eat and let the government get out of our lives. This is not about safety or health – it’s about control, power and money.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm


I am a Chemist. Looking at the SCIENCE, I am convienced of the benefits of raw milk. … If you look at the statistics, the incidents of illness from pasturized milk far outweighs those of raw milk.
Satistically speaking, is that a matter of the scale of consumption?
People are being cured of many diseases because of this real food.
Scientifically and statistically speaking, you’ve controlled for variables and as a chemist your not just going to cite anecdotes right?



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Rod Dreher

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm


RaeBruce:
There are two kinds of people who are against the legal sale of raw milk: those who have not taken the time to educate themselves about the benefits, and those who have a vested economic interest in making sure raw milk producers are put out of business.
Shorter RaeBruce: if you don’t agree with me, it’s because you’re either lazy or evil.



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Heather

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm


I do believe that there is some risk involved when drinking raw milk. But the same can be said of many other foods. Raw milk can come from dairies where the milk has been tested for e-coli etc… To me this is the best of both worlds and a fact that is often times ignored in the debate. I would love to see raw milk legalized and more health department tested milk readily available so that those who wish to consume it don’t have to continue to fight this. Those who choose to buy from a family farm should visit and assure themselves that it is from a clean environment (an excellent way to support small well tended family farms).



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Kimberly Hartke

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm


Hi Rod–I am the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, and I am the one that shared your link to our 11,000+ fans in facebook.
I would love to add you to our press list, as we work on many nutrition issues other than raw milk. Please provide your email address!
PS–don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. My hubbie watched me drink raw milk for a week before he would try it, now he swears he would buy his own cow if the government takes his unprocessed, farm fresh milk away!



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Jennifer

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm


Ummm, we’ve had one century of pasteurization, less of homogenization. How did humanity manage to survive for millenia on raw milk? Raw milk is not ‘inherently dangerous’ as mentioned above – it is inherently less dangerous. Conventional milk farmers rely on bleach, high heat, and dairies that collect from multiple farms to ensure their own ‘safety’ – protection from liability. My local farmer is personally responsible to me and the state of Pennsylvania for his own product, and as a result has cows that are healthy and a milking process that is exceptionally clean. If his bacteria count gets high, he won’t sell me milk. He won’t sell me milk for a few day s after it gets better, either, because he wants to be sure that the anti-bacterial chemicals are out of his milk tank. If a cow’s health is in question, her milk is dumped. The milk itself? Pasteurized milk goes rancid, raw milk turns into whey and cheese. Most issues of food-borne illnesses from milk products are from PASTEURIZED milk, where the contamination goes undetected – check the statistics. Raw milk is full of good bacteria (lactobacillus) that helps protect from such contamination.



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm


How did humanity manage to survive for millenia on raw milk?
By not comingling, transporting long distances, and consuming it relatively fresh? Just a hunch.



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Peter

posted July 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm


Everyone who drank raw milk millennia ago is now dead. I think this debunks the supposed magical health properties of raw milk.
captcha : be denials



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Allison

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm


It should be no different that selling cigarrettes, which sell legally everywhere. Just pu t a warning label on it!!! *Drink at your own risk* I would, in fact, take that risk myself. I know my farmer and the care of his cows is impecable.



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Rod Dreher

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm


Kimberly, I appreciate you sharing this link with the Price Foundation’s readers. I support the foundation, and in fact included a favorable interview with Kathy O’Brien, who at the time worked for WAPF, in my 2006 book “Crunchy Cons.” I’m pleased to help the Foundation’s work. What I don’t like, though, is the attitude some of the commenters bring to this debate, which is that if you don’t agree with them, you’re a stupid or evil person. That’s no way to win converts to the cause.



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Cindy Lacy

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:18 pm


Raw milk from a clean dairy with pastured, grass-fed cows is extremely healthy, in stark constrast to milk from confinement dairies using grain-fed cows. Cows were not meant to eat grain,or live their lives in confinement. When they do, they get sick. When they’re fed restaurant waste, they get sick. When they’re fed distillery waste, they get sick! When they’re sick, they give bad milk. Bad milk need to be pasteurized. Healthy milk does not.
I have been drinking raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy here in California for a year. I also use it in cooking. I’m not sick. My allergies have disappeared. My teeth are healthier. My emotions and mood swings have stabilized. My former pre-diabetic state is no more. My daughter’s underactive thyroid has returned to normal function.
Raw milk is not a fad. It’s the way milk was meant to be drunk.



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Brenda G.

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm


I started drinking raw milk almost two years ago and I am so much healthier than I was before. Granted, it is part of a whole new approach to my diet, and the entire change is why I am so much better off. For the informed consumer who knows their farmer and where the milk comes from, it can be a healthy choice. Milk, just like other foods, mishandled, can cause us to be sick.
I do think that I should be able to buy raw milk just as easily as I could buy cigarettes, coke, pepsi, chips, candy, etc… It is America, and we have a right to choose the foods we consume.



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kmillecam

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm


Raw milk is milk in it’s natural form. When you drink raw milk from a healthy cow eating green grass (which is what cows evolved to eat BTW!) you can rest assured that the milk is full of benefits that store-bought milk cannot dream to replicate. Think vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes, not to mention good, naturally-occurring fat, protein, and carbohydrates nicely balanced in a whole food.
Don’t drink any raw milk: raw milk from a sick cow, or a cow fed grains, or a cow kept in close quarters and given antibiotics, will produce milk that will make you sick. When cows are sick from how we treat them, we need to return them to their natural habitat: green, grassy open areas. Instead of realizing that we were/are treating cows badly enough to where their milk becomes harmful, we see Big Ag trying to put a bandage on it with pasteurization to kill the pathogens in the milk. There wouldn’t be pathogens in the milk if the cows were healthy to being with!



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Peter

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm


I’m not convinced raw cows milk is much more natural for me to drink than pasteurized cows milk. Convenient as they are cows didn’t evolve to help Rod enjoy his coffee in the morning.



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Gitte Gonzalez

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm


There are so many other foods worth being scared of, responsibly obtained, clean, raw milk should not be one of them.



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Ariela Friedman

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:44 pm


Drinking raw ‘real’ milk and kefir, full of beneficial gut bacteria has restored both my bowl movements and sense of faith in milk. Like my comrades before me mentioned, it is good to know your source, talk to your farmer and even visit a farm when consuming raw milk. Once you are confident that you are drinking truly wholesome milk from grass fed cows on pasture then the risk is significantly lowered. This is to say that with any food there is a health risk, we should not put real milk to a higher stander. The fact that we do is exhibited in, ie: California department of health and agriculture and food health and safety services doing inspections of raw milk just shows that the raw milk industry is also regulated which should give us even more confidence to consume this healthful product. There’s a reason they call it liquid sunshine!



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Linda

posted July 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm


It’s crazy to say ‘yes’ if you look at the Europeans:
http://thebovine.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/europe-envy-at-raw-milk-symposium/



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm


I started drinking raw milk almost two years ago and I am so much healthier than I was before. Granted, it is part of a whole new approach to my diet, and the entire change is why I am so much better off.
Bravo Brenda, you stated what’s implicit in most of the advocacy posts here, that it’s not necessarily raw milk working alone, but in tandem with a lifestyle change. I wonder how much that factors into the anecdotes recounted here by the raw milk advocates?
The other meta-theme among the advocates is that of an educated consumer, know your dairy, observe their sanitation, pasture raised is preferred, no hormones, organic only, don’t homogenize the milk, etc. So, as I keep asking, does this mean raw milk advocates generally frown upon buying from unvisited dairies, are against comingling of milk from various dairies, trasnporting the milk long distances with multiple handlers, and generally anything else that involves modern logistics?
Rod, I think you can have a good discussion here in line with your traditional crunchy con readership and ask that you either reformulate your initial thoughts in a new raw milk post, or don’t let this thread die.



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FrPhil

posted July 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm


When you see what junk they are feeding cows these days – down here amongst other things it is truckloads of leftover bread ! – this processed glug isn’t fit for kids let-alone cows. The milk that comes out is a foul smelling off white muck that needs rapidly boiling to liquidfy let-alone make palatable !!!
Give me what I enjoyed as a kid – wholesome rich white liquid that tasted ever so good – and the cream – the cream ….



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Hector

posted July 20, 2010 at 6:58 pm


Actually, we don’t have the right to eat anything we want. We don’t have the right to eat tabs of acid, or marijuana brownies, for example.



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Barb

posted July 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm


As a RN I have long held the idea that raw milk was dangerous and stupid for anyone to drink, let alone give to a child. Bordering on child abuse I always thought. However, age and time temper many of us idealists, on both sides of the fence. I had kids, I studied alternative health extensively. And I watched as over the course of my 26 year professional career as people got sicker and sicker on our American diet. I’ve always had a small spot of land and moved into major gardening and chickens for egg production as well as meat raising, then a friend got a dairy cow and then I was given two dairy goats. Serendipity! I drink raw milk, my family drinks raw milk. It is so good and the lactose intolerant among my family can drink it. I am not a blind raw milk follower however. It can and does make people sick. But then again, so does ground meat from factory fed cattle and even spinach and other greens from large organic farms. Life is inherently risky, and I’ll fight for my right to consume real food, food that I feel is good for my health. That being said, my main mantra is “clean animals, clean hands, clean milk” and with my own quality control by doing it at my small farm, I feel confident in consuming raw, healthy milk.



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A. O.

posted July 20, 2010 at 7:35 pm


If it was SO DANGEROUS why didn’t all our ancestors die off from drinking it?



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Gretchen

posted July 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm


Feed the baby cows that pasteurized milk. That boiled, burned up dead food is good for nothing.



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Erin

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm


My two cents: I’ve always hated milk. Horrible, nasty, watery white filth was my opinion on it for years. Then one day, about 18 months ago, one of my friends offered me a glass of raw milk. I’d heard about it for a long while and had friends who swore by it – I’m a naturopath – but never encountered it so I could try it myself. I was dubious, but thought I’d give it a go anyway. And you know? It’s absolutely delicious! It felt alive, and whole, and good for you… it was like nothing I’ve had before. It was still milk, but it wasn’t nasty, if that makes sense.
I’ve never worried about the bacteria thing (hey, I eat raw meat on occasion [from organic grass-fed cows I know, of course], and raw eggs never bothered me, so why would I worry about raw milk?!). If I get food poisoning from it then that’s my own fault and I know the risks – I just don’t think they’re as high as they’re made out to be, provided you source it from a healthy cow raised on good food and the equipment used is kept sterile etc. Which in my experience tends to be the case when farmers are providing it, as they know the risks. I’ve had food poisoning before – never from anything raw, ironically! – so I know how horrible it is. But I keep myself healthy and have a strong immune system, so if it happens it happens I s’pose. I hope not, but…
I think it’s just about personal responsibility, and freedoms like you say. If people don’t want it, that’s fine, that’s their choice. I know the risks and I accept them.
Anyway, give it a go sometime – you might be very pleasantly surprised. I’m a convert and I thought I’d never drink straight milk in my life!! :)



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Nanny Goat Farmer

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:03 pm


So the number of incidents doubled. Well, is that from “one” to “two”?
How to Lie With Statistics 101. How many was it, actually? Not as a percentage of anything. Ooh, I just get so excited when a statistic doubles!! Honestly. How manipulable do they think readers are?



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aaron

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm


How manipulable[sic] do they think readers are?
I see you didn’t read all the comments. Over a hunnerd posts and you think your observation may not have been addressed or a specific statistical example brought up no?



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Courtney

posted July 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm


@Aaron – I appreciate your comments and questions in this dialog. In response to my above comment, you asked, ” So raw milk shouldn’t be available at the grocery store with all that transportation, handling, and comingling right?”
I obviously can’t speak for everyone else, but my personal response would be to the affirmative. If raw milk were sold in stores, I would not drink it or give it to my family. It is my belief through much research that the only safe raw milk is milk from healthy, well fed cows. Once milk has been transported and mixed with the milk from 100s of other dairies there is no telling if it came from healthy cows. Not to mention the multiple times it would have been handled and moved from tank to truck to bottling factory. As with any food I consume, I’d just as soon it touched as few hands as possible before making it’s way to my mouth.
I personally drive to the small dairy that we chose and fill my own cleaned and sanitized glass jars with milk direct from the bulk tank. Posted on the wall next to the tank are the numbers from the farm’s latest bacteria counts. They are very diligent in having their milk tested and completely transparent in disclosing all the findings. I respect that greatly. I also love that my family knows “our” cows. There is no confinement, we can go right to the pasture and visit them. It’s the next best thing to owning our own cow. :)



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Concerned Foodie

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:03 am


Hi there..for the sake of beating a “Dead Cow ” on The Raw Milk issue quite frankly DO YOUR HOMEWORK and actually research reasons why people are taking “This Risk”! I give you the Award for most the uneducated Article of the month! I refuse to post research to do the work for you unless you are trying to get attention-then you have achieved your purpose you have lots of negative comments, now what are you going to do Sherlock???



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Isaac Rivera

posted July 21, 2010 at 3:13 am


To keep stating that commercial milk is safe and raw milk is dangerous. Processed foods in general account for thousands of food poisoning cases every year. This usually stems from the processing itself and its conditions. Anyone who studies food processing (I study enology) knows that sterile food is open game for germs. Naturally inoculated food is way safer, because, as my microbiology teacher says, in the microbial world, where one eats, another can’t. The safest way to keep food safe is to have a diverse microbial culture on it… which is the natural state of most food when the production conditions are as close as possible to how they would grow in their natural environment. Even industrial strawberries are potentially poisonous! But it would be rare for wild strawberries to kill anyone. Milk is naturally a culturally diverse food that is highly digestible and nutritions BECAUSE of its cultures. Sterilize it and you are drinking undigestible liquid snot. In Europe raw milk products are normal, and I have yet to hear of a single case of food poisoning that was directly related to the milk having been raw. Raw milk from healthy cows pastured on organic grass is safer than industrial milk.



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MM

posted July 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm


We’ve been drinking raw milk for 10 years. We’ve never gotten sick from it. I’ll take the chance because raw grass fed milk is an incredibly healthy nutrient dense food. And quite frankly I care about feeding my family nutrient dense food. I’d never waste money on the “organic” pasteurized homogenized grain fed slop sold at the grocery store. I also don’t want to give up dairy because of that.
Raw grass fed milk from Jersey cows is just delicious. Why would I actually be any more worried about it than feeding my children lettuce or raw tomatoes from our garden? I mean a bird might have taken a dump while flying over the lettuce patch, right? Where is the paranoia about the people who take the risks of eating ANY raw produce from the grocery store or who eat out at restaurants? Life is full of risks, some are greater than others. I don’t consider our raw milk very risky at all.
I’ve used it as a formula for some of my infants and ,yes, I mean infants. My kids were healthy as horses on it never getting sick. I consider it a greater risk to leave the house in our car! The only winter my kids really got sick and got colds was the one winter we could not afford raw milk. We go through like 5 gallons of raw milk a week in our house. Though having risked my children’s lives like this for the past 10 years it’s a wonder I haven’t lost a number of them to some milk borne pathogen, isn’t it?



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Deb

posted July 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm


Sorry, having a VERY hard time posting today!
—————————————————————————————————
Sorry if this is a double post: my first attempt was going nowhere fast.
—————————————————————————————————
Rod Sez: “This will come as a surprise to many of you recent commenters, but I don’t lie awake at night thinking about raw milk. I don’t want to drink it. So sue me! I think you should have the right to purchase it, but if you are so devoted to its consumption that you have to get on your high, er, heifer, about someone like me, who doesn’t want to drink it, then you take it way too seriously.”
“What I don’t like, though, is the attitude some of the commenters bring to this debate, which is that if you don’t agree with them, you’re a stupid or evil person. That’s no way to win converts to the cause.”
In your original article, the doctor and article you were quoting had this tone, with which you’re taking issue in the comments. MOST of the pro-raw-milk commenters have been pretty dignified. In 117 comments, I can count on my fingers the ones who stooped to what might be considered an obnoxious tone, and these two by the author are included. Yes, there are plenty of what you might consider “fringe elements” who consume things you might not agree with, but quoting only one article that calls people looking for better health “food faddists” in a pejorative tone – I read Blum’s original article and wow, can that lady put a one-sided spin on a story! – and then knocking the tone of a small minority of responses, many of which have given very personal experiences and suggested that you research the facts first, and to do so in that tone? Not makin’ your case, Sir. Just sayin’.
It would be nice if you WOULD research BOTH sides of the issue, get past your discomfort with the raw milk issue – apparently raw seafood isn’t so risky to you? – to the point where you honestly read up on both sides of the issue, from multiple sources on each side instead of one extremely biased doctor with whose viewpoint you happen to agree, and THEN write about it. I personally would like to see the article that would result from such an open-minded journalistic endeavor.



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ratiocination

posted July 21, 2010 at 9:42 pm


Rod,
I want to offer you an apology on behalf of many of the commenters here. I re-read my post and I can see how it is that it seemed like we were directing our comments toward you. That was not at all my intention, but was rather a reaction to some of the nasty and dismissive comments in the earlier part of the thread. We raw milk “faddists” have developed quite a chip on our shoulders about raw milk, specifically because we have been persecuted by so many for it–often including our own loved ones. As a result, we tend to take umbrage when people, who know little to nothing about it, start calling us idiots and hippies.
Now, having read your book and followed your blog for years, I know your position on it and respect you for bringing up the topic. I don’t think you presented it in a bad light (well, the title is not the nicest, but then again, you aren’t an advocate, so…) and I most certainly did not intend to place pressure on you personally. I think a lot of the people who filled the combox later on did so at the urging of others, to make their presence felt, without knowing anything about you or your book, etc. So I apologize for them, too, whether they want me to or not.
In fact, I purposely avoided forwarding any links to my friends because I didn’t want to see the sort of dogpiling that happened.
Please understand that the reason we are so very passionate about our right to drink it is based on the fact that, for many of us, our health and the health of our children is very heavily dependent on it–like the poster whose child had autism–and the fact that we have suffered the loss of this crucial source of nutrients at times due to raids and arrests and harassment by gov’t officials makes us very touchy. Imagine your child was on some sort of medication and you had to go for weeks without it, and watch him suffer from the effects of that…it really is that crucial to some of us.
This is what we’re up against, so when we have a forum in which to attempt to make our case known, well, we have a tendency to cling to that with all our might. It’s not personal. ;)
God Bless and good luck with your new blog.
Captcha: sneers appointed HAH!!!



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ratiocination

posted July 21, 2010 at 9:55 pm


Rod,
I want to offer you an apology on behalf of many of the commenters here. I re-read my post and I can see how it is that it seemed like we were directing our comments toward you. That was not at all my intention, but was rather a reaction to some of the nasty and dismissive comments in the earlier part of the thread. We raw milk “faddists” have developed quite a chip on our shoulders about raw milk, specifically because we have been persecuted by so many for it–often including our own loved ones. As a result, we tend to take umbrage when people, who know little to nothing about it, start calling us idiots and hippies.
Now, having read your book and followed your blog for years, I know your position on it and respect you for bringing up the topic. I don’t think you presented it in a bad light (well, the title is not the nicest, but then again, you aren’t an advocate, so…) and I most certainly did not intend to place pressure on you personally. I think a lot of the people who filled the combox later on did so at the urging of others, to make their presence felt, without knowing anything about you or your book, etc. So I apologize for them, too, whether they want me to or not.
In fact, I purposely avoided forwarding any links to my friends because I didn’t want to see the sort of dogpiling that happened.
Please understand that the reason we are so very passionate about our right to drink it is based on the fact that, for many of us, our health and the health of our children is very heavily dependent on it–like the poster whose child had autism–and the fact that we have suffered the loss of this crucial source of nutrients at times due to raids and arrests and harassment by gov’t officials makes us very touchy. Imagine your child was on some sort of medication and you had to go for weeks without it, and watch him suffer from the effects of that…it really is that crucial to some of us.
This is what we’re up against, so when we have a forum in which to attempt to make our case known, well, we have a tendency to cling to that with all our might. It’s not personal. ;)
God Bless and good luck with your new blog.
Captcha: sneers appointed HAH!!!



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