9

votes

Raw Milk vs Pasteurized Milk - The Fiery Debate!

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 25, 2011 at 6:51 PM

David Csonka put out a question about the safety of drinking raw milk in another thread, but a recent comment from another thread has led me to want to open the door to the Paleo community to discuss the differences and get some real perspectives about raw and pasteurized milk.

Of course, this is a very controversial topic, with people sitting on both sides of the fence, seemingly ready to defend their viewpoint with their very life. Advocates for pasteurized milk claim that there are very harmful bacteria strands present in raw milk that can literally kill you. The FDA has an article out that sternly warns against pregnant women drinking raw milk for risk of harming the unborn baby. In fact, it's illegal for retailers to sell raw milk to consumers in most states, leaving many people with only one option to obtain it, which is to purchase a 'cow share' from a local farm to legally circumvent the law.

But supportors of raw milk have their own strong points, claiming that unpasteurized milk from grass fed cows is a very safe and time tested whole food, so long as the farming practices and milk handling is clean and carefully controlled. The WAPF is by far the loudest trumpetier of the "Raw Milk Movement", championing a campaign website called RealMilk.com. They believe that the beneficial bacteria in the raw milk is very healthy for both maintaining and even healing the gut and immune system, and has been used for thousands of years before a few people in the early 1900's practiced poor handling standards that resulted in several fatal outbreaks, spreading undue panic and fear, allowing Louis Pasteur to create fame on his concept of pasteurization.

My personal take: If scores of generations thrived on raw milk for centuries prior, why in the world did we feel the need to start killing this whole food because of the ridiculous incompetence of a handful of people? And so now I only drink fresh, raw, organic, grass fed milk from local source here in Socal (Organic Pastures). I have never had an adverse reaction of any kind. It tastes perfectly pure, and I find it's best consumed with 3-5 days of opening. If we don't finish it, we just make homemade raw whey from it, and use it for fermenting foods.

I would love for some of you seasoned folk to weigh in on this and contribute any additional info you might like to share.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on June 19, 2013
at 11:30 AM

Raw cheese is widely available in the EU but no supermarket in Britain stocks raw milk - you can only get it at a farm shop or farmer's market. Raw milk producing farms are also subject to a lot more hygiene tests than regular ones

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 20, 2013
at 04:32 PM

CMM - every industry and every trade has some that operate with excellent standards, and some not. one farmer dipping a nozzle into cow poo doesn't represent the entire industry. drinking raw milk vs not is a personal choice for everyone. i have surely drank my share in the past couple of years and did quite well. lately I have been drinking more of the cream top from Trader Joes (Strauss Creamery). Here in Cali, we have OrganicPastures. In Penn, you are fortunate to have yourfamilycow.com. It's up to you.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 11, 2013
at 08:00 PM

Thanks for posting the debate up top, I think the government and the general public's stance on raw milk can be summed up at 1:06.26. I agree raw milk is a very healthy food, perhaps the healthiest especially the fats.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:14 AM

+1. good read. look forward to the rest of the series.

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on May 12, 2012
at 08:24 PM

I get huffy when people talk about relative risk. What is the absolute risk. 4 x 0.000001 just ain't that much.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 26, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Cows have a tendency to poo while they are being milked and this does tend to splatter.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically. – Primordial 0 secs ago

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/… Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:09 PM

Ok, I found it out. Apparantly WAPF-Propaganda. http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Humans don't lie down in grassy fields littered with cow shit but cows do. As long as proper cleaning of the udder takes place before milking and the cow is not sick, the raw milk will be safe.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:54 PM

why is low-fat milk oxidized?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:39 PM

You might risk having your head kicked in though...

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:38 PM

I expect it is quite safe if you suck it straight out of the cows udder :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I expect it is quite sake if you suck it straight out of the cows udder :)

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 24, 2012
at 08:56 PM

very good answer Lady Arwen! You really came at this from a lot of angles because of your personal experiences. thanks :)

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on February 24, 2012
at 02:41 PM

RAW MILK DEBATE AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL Watch the archived 90 min debate with Sally Fallon Morell and David Gumpert vs. USDA and a lawyer representing food illnesses See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLRdihFi6gw&context=C3280be7ADOEgsToPDskKldOT0LgeJ9pGStYY2P77G

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:38 PM

a little rationality? uh. ok. welcome to PaleoHacks? why don't you have a look around for a while and then start commenting.

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I think the dialogue between Edward and Scabadaska shows that "500 odd million EU residents drink raw milk " is untrue.

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 06:57 PM

If the evidence supports you it's right an if it disagrees with your opinion it's a conspiracy?

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 06:53 PM

": If scores of generations thrived on raw milk for centuries prior, why in the world did we feel the need to start killing this whole food because of the ridiculous incompetence of a handful of people? " -- Yes and vaccines cause autism and washing your hands makes you weak and sickly. A little rationality would be good.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 04, 2012
at 08:22 PM

thanks for your answer Jenny J!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 01:13 AM

We raised our own cows for most of my childhood, but my parents never let us drink raw milk. Listeria is a natural part of bacterial flora in lots of cows, and my parents/grandparents had seen a lot of kids get sick during their many generations farming. Our cows were organic, you could see them out the back window, and my parents drank the milk raw, but we had our own container "just kids" milk. My mom would heat it up to the temperature required to kill listeria, then let it cool and we'd be allowed to drink it then.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 01:11 AM

"more likely to die before childbirth"- you mean if they were sickly they would abort? Because really the main risky time for listeria infection is during pregnancy.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 12:56 AM

It's a large misconception that if you can see the cows you can tell if they have a healthy or "unhealthy" bacterial flora- there is a big difference between what is healthy for a cow (lysteria is perfectly normal for them) and what is health for use (lysteria can cause spontaneous abortion in women infected during pregnancy). It was really shush-shush, but in our community a local woman aborted a 6 month pregnancy after a lysteria infection by drinking raw milk from a friends farm...really too bad!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Actually, lysteria is part of the natural bacterial flora of many cows udders- not just the outside of the udders, but the inside. Being able to see the cow and the farmers hand does not reduce this risk in the slightest, as lysteria is not dangerous to cows and has no effect on their milk, however it is dangerous to us.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 03, 2012
at 08:52 PM

yes, and even if you're gonna go for lightly pasteurized, it's probably better to go with a cream top option like that from Trader Joes or Whole Foods, which is VAT pasteurized and not homogenized.

Bc3fd048801a984147b8970277037cdf

(180)

on August 10, 2011
at 04:45 PM

While I will agree that it's more uncommon in the cities here in Germany, it's certainly findable. In fact, I just placed an order for 6x bottles here in Berlin. You have to ask for Vorzugsmilch (not Rohmilch). This carries the Demeter stamp. They "can" order it for you, it's just a matter of them knowing that it is even possible. Took me a while to find a shop that would actually order it for me.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Actually, raw milk tends to be from cows that produce predominantly A2 casein. Thus it's possible that the health benefits of raw milk primarily comes from the switch from A1 to A2.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 09:07 PM

I totally agree and had the same experience with my son's digestion and my own. He won't even drink the stuff that's only been vat past. but he asks for fresh and drinks it like water. Past., homog. milk is a dead food IMHO.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Something that needs to be taken into consideration is, HOW would raw milk be contaminated with lysteria? It's not something that would naturally occur within the milk. Same as it's not something that would naturally occur on spinach or peanuts..... I wouldn't think twice about consuming the fresh milk I've been drinking for the past few years if I were pregnant. It's not a no name no face product to me. I don't buy it in a store, I get it directly from the farmer that hand milks his small family herd. I could watch or help if I wanted. Thier farm isn't even anywhere near a CAFO.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 08:56 PM

I'm curious about the traditional cultures you speak of. Can you share more info please?

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on May 24, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Religions tend to encourage irrationality.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on March 26, 2011
at 09:33 PM

In Germany there is a organization called "Bioland" it's stamp signifies very high quality products, the only milk with the Bioland stamp that I've seen that comes close to raw is a non-homogenized one, but I've never seen an unpasteurized one. It could be the case it is available but for certain it is not common nor popular.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on March 26, 2011
at 09:22 PM

While I agree with you in principle, I live in Germany which is part of the EU, I have never come across raw milk anywhere, I've come across raw cheese, but NEVER raw milk. I shop at the "Reformhaus" which is essentially a German health food store, I've asked several times at different locations and different times to different people about raw milk availability and every time I get a deer in the headlights look. So as far as I'm concerned at least in Germany drinking raw milk is not common. On another note German milk is of very high quality I drink a liter a day.

3ebfff2d8debb23640e9487b91c45e23

(0)

on February 28, 2011
at 08:10 AM

I agree with Matthew, especially after my first sip of raw, organic cream. Soooooo gooooooood.......

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Ok...I said that to provoke you, and it worked. But the decision to eat dairy or not is a personal one and can't be answered on any but personal terms. Some of us come from areas of the world where dairy has be eaten for long enough for us be adapted to it. I, personally, cannot base my decision on what other animals may or may not do. I can only base it on what works or doesn't work for me. *My* instincts tell me that its ok *for me* to eat dairy. Your instincts may tell you something different.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 27, 2011
at 10:50 AM

Helen, a typical "Planet Of The Apes" response. We are the only animals who have forgotten how to trust our instincts.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on February 27, 2011
at 03:59 AM

"[B]oiling... is better than the pasteurization process which does a lots of things to the constituents of raw milk." Huh? You realize standard pasteurization (not to be confused with ultra-pasteurization) is far below boiling temperature, and is immediately followed by active cooling?

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Yup...the public always gets screwed. No doubt about it.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 10:57 PM

ah! i see. well... with that, i agree. those people couldn't possibly know. i was more talking about that it was poor decisions on the part of any farmers who raised malnourished cows in the name of short cutting the tried and true ways. those poor decision begot additional poor decisions and a domino effect commenced. who ultimately pays the price? the public masses.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I bet that alot of other animals would continue to drink milk...from their own or other species...after weaning *if they were smart enough to be able to get it.*

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Pasteurization isn't a good thing in the absolute sense, true. But were *those people*...early 18th century, inner-city, no education, extremely poor, immigrant, non-english-speaking to a large degree...in any position to know that? *To them* pasteurization was a god-send because most of their children were dying before the age of 5. Yes, they could have survived without milk, but if they were in any position to *know* that is another matter.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 05:49 PM

"It isn't the rawness of the milk that is the issue, but the condition of the farms." Um. That about sums it up folks. We can all go home.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 05:46 PM

yes keep in mind that they are trying with all their might to shut down organic pastures. anything they can find, they will use to skew against them. just because its in an 'official' report doesn't mean it's a true representation of the facts. we all know that enforcement agencies skew 'facts' in their favor. imagine if non-raw commercial dairies were investigated as tightly as OP. i bet OP is one of the cleanest and best run dairies in operation today. and remember mark mcafee is the one that created that 20-cow portable milker. they roll it right out onto the pastures. nobody else has that.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:29 PM

No, it is not the case that ALL 500 million people in the EU drink raw milk. But it is the case that the EU, filled with more nanny state bureaucrats than even the US government, has ruled that raw milk is safe for human consumption (under certain production guidelines) and that raw milk is, so far as I can tell, widely available in the EU. I could add that 1+ billion people in India drink raw milk or I could post about the Masai, or, I don't know, probably yak herders in Tibet drink raw yak's milk, goat herders drink raw goats milk, etc. All food, handled poorly, can make you sick.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:01 PM

@damaged jutice - thanks for the link. @GPS - I am canadian, so I don't have a good comment on anything that the US gov't is doing or not doing - marijuana is de-criminalized where I live and hemp is legal. I feel in Canada our regulators are here to protect us, and I am very sorry that you live in a country where you feel yours are not.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 26, 2011
at 03:09 PM

RG73, it's not really the case that 500million people drink raw milk in the EU; unpasteurised cheese is relatively freely available (as a speciality) but I've only seen raw milk once in my life (and it was in a farmer's market, not a mainstream shop).

Bcc4479de4f16939076e0a00e2db1261

(94)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Bree, the fed government is not here to protect us. They are bought and paid for and use protection as their reasoning. Why so many feel that fed government should protect us from everything is from years of conditioning. National Defense, ok, everything else, leave to the individual. I'm curious why you think Hemp is illegal?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 26, 2011
at 09:42 AM

N many species do many thing that we don't or can not. However, I specifically asked "after weaning". Helen, the Govs power lies in belief and illusion. Be devoid of both.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Bravo, RG73...well said.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on February 26, 2011
at 03:08 AM

Bree: David Gumpert's blog, The Complete Patient (already linked elsewhere in this post) is an excellent source for raw milk related news and the state's escalating "war" on those who consume and trade it: http://www.thecompletepatient.com/

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:21 AM

My main worry about Organic Pastures is that their response to these findings is denial and claims of persecution. People who believe strongly enough in raw milk can perfer trying to diprove the science of microbiology rather than changing production practices causing the contaimination.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 12:18 AM

For Organic Pastures' take see item 9 about halfway down the page here: http://www.organicpastures.com/faq.html

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 25, 2011
at 11:59 PM

Wow, ok... thanks Matthew. The 3 links Matthew put up all concern incidents of pathogens in Organic Pastures products. They all occurred after the 2004 letter I quoted above, so while Organic Pastures may have had a clean record up til then, it looks like they've had problems since.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:53 PM

It *is* a very personal choice and that's why people object to having the choice of which milk they can buy (pasteurized or raw) taken out of their hands by gov't fiat. If I were pregnant, I would err on the side of caution and go with the pasteurized stuff, too. The whole subject has been needlessly politisized because of *compulsory* pasteurization.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:53 PM

Raw Milk is becoming the worlds first dairy product based religion.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:22 PM

http://www.campylobacterblog.com/campylobacter-watch/organic-pastures-hit-with-quarantine-order-campylobacter-bacteria-with-your-cream/ it is a good thing that the goverment does monitor raw milk suppliers.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:17 PM

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ArchiveRecalls/2005/ucm112271.htm and this http://www.foodpoisoningrecall.com/ecoli-organic-pastures.html

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:34 PM

I assume that you live in the US? I don't know much about what is going on there re: shutting down and fining small dairies and I would appreciate some more information or a link

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:33 PM

i suppose, but it's a bandaid to a problem. it's still not a good thing. i get what you are saying, really. i still think though, that since pasteurized milk is not a healthy thing to consume, that pasteurizing milk for consumption could never be a good thing. the 'gooder' thing to do in the time period that you are referring to would have been to not drink that milk. those people, for a time, could have survived just fine without milk. anyone can.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:12 PM

yah and besides what other animal seasons and marinates a steak and cooks it over a fire? what other animal makes butter? what other animal squeezes the oils out of a coconut and uses it for cooking? what other animals put blueberries, heavy cream and pecans in a bowl and calls it a snack? humans do a lot of things differently than other species, because we can. so all we have to figure out then, is should we?

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Oh, I agree with you about the path, Jack! But the way I see it, pasteurization *per se* isn't the problem...it's *compulsary* pasteurization the is the problem. At first, pasteurization was a good thing because it really did save lives, especially of children, amoung inner-city people...who were very poor and had few options. But when pasteurization was made manditory, then we started down that path you are refering to. You have to picture inner-city life in the early 19th century to understand how pasteurization was a god-send, like pennicillin was in the 20th century.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:59 PM

I guess its a 'know your source' issue. But when the life of my unborn child is in question I always erred on the side of caution, I did a lot of research when I was pregnant regarding the main-stream safe vs avoided foods list, and no matter what the arguement for unpasturized the arguement against was more powerful FOR ME (very personal choice I think). Cow's milk isn't the best for babies under one, goats milk is much preffered.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I think you should re-read Dana's answer, Bree. The gov't is busting small operations that produce clean, healthy raw milk right and left. The gov't freely admits that *there is nothing wrong with the milk*...that it is clean and healthy and that the cows from the raw dairies are healthy and disease-free. So why are they doing it? Because they are acting as henchmen for the dairy industry. If anyone else did what the gov't does, they'd be charged with racketeering.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:43 PM

many people, especially WAPF, advise drinking raw milk while pregnant, and even feeding raw milk to babies as a substitute for soy based formula with all kinds of garbage in it.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:39 PM

"At first, pasteurization was actually a good thing"... I dunno bout that. I agree with much of your comment, but just because pasteurization remedied that particluar problem with tuberculosis doesn't mean it was a 'good thing'. If city people has no access to grass-fed raw milk and chose to drink milk from poorly run dairies, that sounds to me like a poor decision. It doesn't make any of it a good path. How about this path? The milk is contaminated = don't drink any milk from those dairies. period.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:15 PM

I think the large problem with big dairy producers or any major food producers is that they supply so many people, and by the time they realize there has been a 'tainted' batch of any product it can be too late (see Maple Leaf Farms Listeria Outbreak) and people get sick. The FDA or in Canada CFIA is there to protect the population, not suppress us.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:07 PM

The question isn't a matter of "should a person eat or not eat dairy" but "should the government have the power to outlaw raw dairy or not?"

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

@ Dana:"The problem is the state and federal governments driving these raw dairies out of business with arrests and extremem fines." That's exactly right, Dana, and they do it because the laws are bought and paid for by the dairy industry. It has nothing to do with science and/or public health and everything to do with bribes, euphamistically know as "lobbying".

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Precisley, Dana. But that evidence you speak of...that raw dairy is *not* harmful...is the greatest fear of the dairy industry. Never forget that the tacit motto of big business is "competition is a sin".

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:44 PM

If people like you weren't so anti-lawsuit-happy, we could get to the actual cause of the problem instead of blaming people whose only avenue for relief when they are wronged is to take money away from the guilty party, since it is possible to cause harm without actually breaking the law. Lawsuits can be dismissed. They are not the problem. The problem is the state and federal governments driving these raw dairies out of business with arrests and extreme fines.

  • Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

    asked by

    (18472)
  • Views
    12.5K
  • Last Activity
    1408D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

27 Answers

best answer

16
A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 25, 2011
at 10:57 PM

I am not well informed enough to have an opinion on this, and have been trying to find out about it myself. So thanks Jack for posting this (from a fellow San Diegan).

I did want to reply, however, because I went to the realmilk.com site and it quickly became clear that it's very biased. On their overview page they say:

USDA/FDA STATISTICS: 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).

I thought it was weird that they compared raw milk to deli meats on a per-serving basis, but only compared it to pasteurized milk on an overall basis. So I checked the source document and sure enough, it looks like on a per-serving basis, there were 7 times more illness incidents with raw milk than pasteurized milk.

Please don't take this as a criticism of raw milk... as I said, I really don't have an opinion on it. And I understand the issue of farm hygiene and that an overall higher incidence of disease from raw milk doesn't invalidate the idea of drinking raw milk from good farms.

However, the cherry-picked data on realmilk.com unfortunately makes it clear that the site is not a good resource for people who are trying to find an even-handed analysis of the raw-vs-pasteurized issue.

The good news is that the site contains the text of a 2004 letter from the CEO of Organic Pastures -- the dairy that you order from -- stating the following:

I have been requested to share with you our commercial organic raw milk production and sales experience. For the last four years, Organic Pastures Dairy has produced a full line of raw organic dairy products for retail sale ( 300 stores including Wholefoods) and consumption here in California. The state of California (CDFA) monitors and tests all of our raw dairy products multiple times per month. The state has never found one pathogen (salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 or listeria) in any of our products. Even more interesting is the fact that not one human pathogen has ever been found in the hundreds of environmental swabs that have been taken in our plant facility.

Since this is pretty easily verifiable I am giving the benefit of the doubt that it's not fabricated. A sufficiently motivated person could probably verify it.

I must admit that when people say, "I've drunk it for a year with no problems," I think that it doesn't necessarily prove anything about the safety of raw milk -- they could just have gotten lucky! But if the entire dairy shipping to 300 stores went four years without a single incident or even the presence of a human pathogen found anywhere onsite... that is a lot more convincing.

So I am a total paleo noob but here is what I've learned in nerding out on this topic:

  • Take what you read on realmilk.com with a grain of salt... there is doubtless some useful info on there, but there is a clear editorial bias.
  • Organic Pastures looks pretty safe (making the assumption that the CEO's letter is legit).

Thanks all for the great website... I have become totally hooked.

Rich

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:17 PM

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ArchiveRecalls/2005/ucm112271.htm and this http://www.foodpoisoningrecall.com/ecoli-organic-pastures.html

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:21 AM

My main worry about Organic Pastures is that their response to these findings is denial and claims of persecution. People who believe strongly enough in raw milk can perfer trying to diprove the science of microbiology rather than changing production practices causing the contaimination.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 25, 2011
at 11:59 PM

Wow, ok... thanks Matthew. The 3 links Matthew put up all concern incidents of pathogens in Organic Pastures products. They all occurred after the 2004 letter I quoted above, so while Organic Pastures may have had a clean record up til then, it looks like they've had problems since.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on February 26, 2011
at 12:18 AM

For Organic Pastures' take see item 9 about halfway down the page here: http://www.organicpastures.com/faq.html

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:22 PM

http://www.campylobacterblog.com/campylobacter-watch/organic-pastures-hit-with-quarantine-order-campylobacter-bacteria-with-your-cream/ it is a good thing that the goverment does monitor raw milk suppliers.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 05:46 PM

yes keep in mind that they are trying with all their might to shut down organic pastures. anything they can find, they will use to skew against them. just because its in an 'official' report doesn't mean it's a true representation of the facts. we all know that enforcement agencies skew 'facts' in their favor. imagine if non-raw commercial dairies were investigated as tightly as OP. i bet OP is one of the cleanest and best run dairies in operation today. and remember mark mcafee is the one that created that 20-cow portable milker. they roll it right out onto the pastures. nobody else has that.

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 06:57 PM

If the evidence supports you it's right an if it disagrees with your opinion it's a conspiracy?

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on May 12, 2012
at 08:24 PM

I get huffy when people talk about relative risk. What is the absolute risk. 4 x 0.000001 just ain't that much.

best answer

17
9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:25 AM

Here is the thing about raw milk: it is perfectly legal and considered safe by the EU. So 500 odd million EU residents drink raw milk and consume raw milk cheeses and they're having any higher incidence of food borne illnesses in the EU nations than in the US to the best of my knowledge.

This leaves us with 2, not mutually exclusive, hypotheses: either the US government is hysterical or there is something very different about dairy farming in the US.

Well we pretty much know US government agencies are prone to hysterics and theatrics and power grabbing. And we also know for all their supposed hypersensitivity about food safety, we have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of cases of foodborne illnesses in the US every year. The vast majority of these do not come from raw milk. They come from, oh, raw veggies, raw fruit, and, of course, poorly handled meats. Oh yeah, and peanut butter. Raw milk is like any other raw food--it is prone to spoilage and/or contamination by microbes. On a well run farm, with a well run distribution chain, the risk of disease ought to be minimal (like we see in the EU). On a poorly run farm with a poor distribution chain, E. coli happens (and Mycobacterium, and Listeria, etc, etc).

I don't find it implausible that the conditions of many dairies in the US are not at all conducive to producing good, clean milk--pasteurized or not. But that means the USDA et al. are focused on the wrong thing. It isn't the rawness of the milk that is the issue, but the condition of the farms.

Of course, the real issues are that government raw milk hysteria is part of their greater hysteria about saturated fats, their hysteria over small, independent farms, and their fear that individuals might make decisions for themselves and thus not need a government bureaucrat to tell them how to live. And the EU loves bureaucrats and they're not even this bad. I mean think about how irrational the governments position is regarding raw milk--they're perfectly content to let industrial dairies produce milk filled with growth hormones and anti-biotics and let that enter into the foodchain, but if there is an outbreak of a bacterial infection involving a few dozen people from raw milk, OMG!

The government should stick to things that it is good at like spending our tax dollars killing strangers in foreign countries for no discernable reason. I mean if we're going to fight to "protect our freedom" then that freedom ought to include the freedom to suckle from the teat of a cow if I so choose.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 05:49 PM

"It isn't the rawness of the milk that is the issue, but the condition of the farms." Um. That about sums it up folks. We can all go home.

9f9fa49265e03ddd2bf2bba5477a556b

(3184)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:29 PM

No, it is not the case that ALL 500 million people in the EU drink raw milk. But it is the case that the EU, filled with more nanny state bureaucrats than even the US government, has ruled that raw milk is safe for human consumption (under certain production guidelines) and that raw milk is, so far as I can tell, widely available in the EU. I could add that 1+ billion people in India drink raw milk or I could post about the Masai, or, I don't know, probably yak herders in Tibet drink raw yak's milk, goat herders drink raw goats milk, etc. All food, handled poorly, can make you sick.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:46 AM

Bravo, RG73...well said.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 26, 2011
at 03:09 PM

RG73, it's not really the case that 500million people drink raw milk in the EU; unpasteurised cheese is relatively freely available (as a speciality) but I've only seen raw milk once in my life (and it was in a farmer's market, not a mainstream shop).

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on March 26, 2011
at 09:33 PM

In Germany there is a organization called "Bioland" it's stamp signifies very high quality products, the only milk with the Bioland stamp that I've seen that comes close to raw is a non-homogenized one, but I've never seen an unpasteurized one. It could be the case it is available but for certain it is not common nor popular.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on March 26, 2011
at 09:22 PM

While I agree with you in principle, I live in Germany which is part of the EU, I have never come across raw milk anywhere, I've come across raw cheese, but NEVER raw milk. I shop at the "Reformhaus" which is essentially a German health food store, I've asked several times at different locations and different times to different people about raw milk availability and every time I get a deer in the headlights look. So as far as I'm concerned at least in Germany drinking raw milk is not common. On another note German milk is of very high quality I drink a liter a day.

Bc3fd048801a984147b8970277037cdf

(180)

on August 10, 2011
at 04:45 PM

While I will agree that it's more uncommon in the cities here in Germany, it's certainly findable. In fact, I just placed an order for 6x bottles here in Berlin. You have to ask for Vorzugsmilch (not Rohmilch). This carries the Demeter stamp. They "can" order it for you, it's just a matter of them knowing that it is even possible. Took me a while to find a shop that would actually order it for me.

67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I think the dialogue between Edward and Scabadaska shows that "500 odd million EU residents drink raw milk " is untrue.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on June 19, 2013
at 11:30 AM

Raw cheese is widely available in the EU but no supermarket in Britain stocks raw milk - you can only get it at a farm shop or farmer's market. Raw milk producing farms are also subject to a lot more hygiene tests than regular ones

5
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on February 24, 2012
at 02:53 PM

The best article on raw milk I've seen so far! http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-dangerous

Books:

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights by David E. Gumpert and Joel F. Salatin

The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows by Dr. Ron Schmid, ND

The Raw Truth About Milk by Dr. William Campbell Douglass II, MD

I used to be terrified of raw milk until November 2011 when I started to drink it regularly.

Background: My mother was unable to nurse me due to severe medical issues, and cow's milk was hard to digest, so my first food was goat's milk. I drank pasteurized cow dairy later (sadly mostly low fat) products from an early age until age 26 and suffered gas. From age 11-26, I had acne which showed no improvement on various creams and antibiotics (now know the worst choice). Doctors said it "couldn't be dietary!"

At age 26,I self-diagnosed myself with lactose intolerance and switched to almond milk and using Lactaid (lactase enzyme supplement) for the occasional dairy. My acne disappeared and friends and family noticed. I never had issues with butter so ate it my entire life because all fake butters and margarines disgusted me.

I started low-carb reducing grains at age 31, then Paleo at age 32. My eczema went away on Paleo. 1 month after dairy elimination while supporting my husband on Paleo (he was going through a very rough time with gluten and autoimmune issues), we both reintroduced dairy - this time 100% whole pastured grass-fed but pasteurized. We had no issues with any amount of heavy cream, butter, and ghee. Other dairy products such as sour cream, cheese and yogurt no more then 1 serving a day would be fine but any more amounts of these products caused slight acne.

After the Weston Price Foundation conference meeting nearly 1000+ people consuming raw dairy their entire life extolling it's virtues, reading the literature, and visiting the raw dairy farms we decided n=1000 was too big to ignore. We realized raw milk was more natural then almond milk.

We have been consuming raw pastured whole fat grass-fed butter, heavy cream, milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, egg nog, creme fraiche (NOT all in 1 day) with NO symptoms - in fact we feel better then ever! We slowly increased the quantity to about 4 servings a day - we've never eaten that much dairy, and I don't think we would consume more because it's too filling and satiating.

Unlike in the past, as a child when I ate processed ice cream and felt addicted (perhaps opiate receptors, sugar, and gluten), the raw dairy I don't feel addicted to it. Whether I have 1-3 servings a day, I don't want anymore. When we travel and limit dairy (because it's pasteurized) we miss 2 things the most - raw dairy and fermented veggies!

We learned a lot WAPF, and Natasha Campbell-McBride whose GAPS diet is quite similar to Paleo recommending reintroducing raw dairy in small amounts once the gut was sealed and healed. We have come to believe the more probiotic species the better for the immune system and the best way to collect a wide variety is through raw dairy since fermented vegetables don't have that diversity. Even here on PH, kefir is acknowledge to have the most species! http://paleohacks.com/questions/73151/which-has-a-greater-number-of-species-and-quantity-of-probiotics-fermented-vegg#axzz1m8YbEQOt

Since raw dairy helps with allergies, which is an overreaction of the immune system - perhaps it might help with autoimmune issues too?

It is my understanding almost all the milk, dairy studies were done with pasteurized forms (often lowfat which is oxidized), so to use that data to say dairy is problematic maybe as scientific as saying coconut oil is problematic because they used hydrogenated versions in some studies.

I know raw dairy is a pain to find depending on where you live so that is why many have just written it off - but is that throwing out the baby with the bathwater? According to 23andme DNA results I'm supposed to be lactose intolerant and my husband is lactose tolerant but we are doing great on raw dairy. I have a physician aunt who cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy except for butter and ghee, but is fine with raw milk.

Another controversy is insulin and cancer with dairy. The Maasai are drinking LITERS per day and don't have insulin resistance and cancer (which are alleged for dairy) and what about babies who drink milk- are they insulin resistant? Now I know some have said that babies are growing and milk is appropriate for them but that doesn't change the fact that some ancestral populations have consumed fermented dairy products - milk, yogurt, etc.

Of course milk is not Paleolithic, but then neither are nightshades and possibly not even coconut. Yet there are intolerances and allergies to all of the above. Not everyone has a tropical genetic ancestry, those from cold climates or from an inland route would not have had access to coconut. http://paleohacks.com/questions/1405/why-are-coconuts-considered-paleo#axzz1m8YbEQOt

My point is that the story of raw milk is not over, and there are still a lot of aspects we don't understand.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 24, 2012
at 08:56 PM

very good answer Lady Arwen! You really came at this from a lot of angles because of your personal experiences. thanks :)

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically. – Primordial 0 secs ago

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:11 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/… Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 26, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Ok, I found it out. It's oxidized because Sally Fallon says so: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Only some WAPF hysteria. Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:54 PM

why is low-fat milk oxidized?

Ec7cb2a7a68655954a01f03e95be1383

(1453)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:09 PM

Ok, I found it out. Apparantly WAPF-Propaganda. http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/06/23/the-real-story-of-homogenized-milk-powdered-milk-skim-milk-and-oxidized-cholesterol/ Pasteurized low-fat milk can't be oxidized anyway, because the fat is only poured off the top mechanically.

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on January 11, 2013
at 08:00 PM

Thanks for posting the debate up top, I think the government and the general public's stance on raw milk can be summed up at 1:06.26. I agree raw milk is a very healthy food, perhaps the healthiest especially the fats.

5
F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:45 PM

All I want is the right to decide for myself whether I will ingest a certain food. Go ahead and police the dairies, bust the ones who aren't being clean up to standard, and give me all the information you want either way but I reserve the right to eat or drink something if I want to eat or drink it. If we could at least get to that point, then we'd have lots and lots of evidence to look over concerning the healthfulness or dangers of raw dairy consumption.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:34 PM

I assume that you live in the US? I don't know much about what is going on there re: shutting down and fining small dairies and I would appreciate some more information or a link

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 26, 2011
at 04:01 PM

@damaged jutice - thanks for the link. @GPS - I am canadian, so I don't have a good comment on anything that the US gov't is doing or not doing - marijuana is de-criminalized where I live and hemp is legal. I feel in Canada our regulators are here to protect us, and I am very sorry that you live in a country where you feel yours are not.

Bcc4479de4f16939076e0a00e2db1261

(94)

on February 26, 2011
at 12:00 PM

Bree, the fed government is not here to protect us. They are bought and paid for and use protection as their reasoning. Why so many feel that fed government should protect us from everything is from years of conditioning. National Defense, ok, everything else, leave to the individual. I'm curious why you think Hemp is illegal?

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Precisley, Dana. But that evidence you speak of...that raw dairy is *not* harmful...is the greatest fear of the dairy industry. Never forget that the tacit motto of big business is "competition is a sin".

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:15 PM

I think the large problem with big dairy producers or any major food producers is that they supply so many people, and by the time they realize there has been a 'tainted' batch of any product it can be too late (see Maple Leaf Farms Listeria Outbreak) and people get sick. The FDA or in Canada CFIA is there to protect the population, not suppress us.

9cfa1ab909f6f89544be665d4ef6e3ea

on February 26, 2011
at 03:08 AM

Bree: David Gumpert's blog, The Complete Patient (already linked elsewhere in this post) is an excellent source for raw milk related news and the state's escalating "war" on those who consume and trade it: http://www.thecompletepatient.com/

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:46 PM

I think you should re-read Dana's answer, Bree. The gov't is busting small operations that produce clean, healthy raw milk right and left. The gov't freely admits that *there is nothing wrong with the milk*...that it is clean and healthy and that the cows from the raw dairies are healthy and disease-free. So why are they doing it? Because they are acting as henchmen for the dairy industry. If anyone else did what the gov't does, they'd be charged with racketeering.

5
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on February 25, 2011
at 07:31 PM

One can approach this logically:

How much additional illness is expected from drinking raw versus pasturized milk?

How much additional health benefit is derived from drinking raw versus pasturized milk?

I personally don't have the answers, even if I have my guesses. I think those who do have facts should make this a quantitative discussion. Just taking one side's cons and ignoring the other's won't do. I suspect I know on which side the preponderance of health promotion would go, but it's still just a guess.

4
A089b683ee0498f2b21b7edfa300e405

on February 26, 2011
at 08:11 AM

Traditional cultures have been consuming ruminant milk, after boiling it once, for centuries. The boiling destroys listeria, tuberculosis and other pathogens and is better than the pasteurization process which does a lots of things to the constituents of raw milk.

In any case, personal health should be left in the hand of the individual - the only thing expected of Governments is information, not regulation. I should know that pathogens 'may' be present in milk - it is up to me to boil it and use it or have it tested for pathogens and consume it raw.

It is the heavy handedness, whether it is milk regulations or the food pyramid that is the root of the problem.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on February 27, 2011
at 03:59 AM

"[B]oiling... is better than the pasteurization process which does a lots of things to the constituents of raw milk." Huh? You realize standard pasteurization (not to be confused with ultra-pasteurization) is far below boiling temperature, and is immediately followed by active cooling?

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 08:56 PM

I'm curious about the traditional cultures you speak of. Can you share more info please?

4
Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:09 PM

So as far as I know - raw milk can be dangerous for pregnant women because of the presence of listeria. Listeria is a bacteria that can cross the placental barrier which can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery, infection to the baby, and possibly death to the newborn. Listeria sickness (listeriosis) in people is very rare; however pregnant women are more susceptable.

While I was pregnant I stayed away from unpasturized milk products - I mean the chance of getting sick is remote - but with the list of things that can happen if you are one of the rare cases to get sick was enough for me to steer clear for 10 months. But now I will eat raw milk products and definitely give them to my son (and I did while I was breastfeeding also). Although I don't consume much dairy, my son does!

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:43 PM

many people, especially WAPF, advise drinking raw milk while pregnant, and even feeding raw milk to babies as a substitute for soy based formula with all kinds of garbage in it.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 11:53 PM

It *is* a very personal choice and that's why people object to having the choice of which milk they can buy (pasteurized or raw) taken out of their hands by gov't fiat. If I were pregnant, I would err on the side of caution and go with the pasteurized stuff, too. The whole subject has been needlessly politisized because of *compulsory* pasteurization.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:59 PM

I guess its a 'know your source' issue. But when the life of my unborn child is in question I always erred on the side of caution, I did a lot of research when I was pregnant regarding the main-stream safe vs avoided foods list, and no matter what the arguement for unpasturized the arguement against was more powerful FOR ME (very personal choice I think). Cow's milk isn't the best for babies under one, goats milk is much preffered.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 09:03 PM

Something that needs to be taken into consideration is, HOW would raw milk be contaminated with lysteria? It's not something that would naturally occur within the milk. Same as it's not something that would naturally occur on spinach or peanuts..... I wouldn't think twice about consuming the fresh milk I've been drinking for the past few years if I were pregnant. It's not a no name no face product to me. I don't buy it in a store, I get it directly from the farmer that hand milks his small family herd. I could watch or help if I wanted. Thier farm isn't even anywhere near a CAFO.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 12:56 AM

It's a large misconception that if you can see the cows you can tell if they have a healthy or "unhealthy" bacterial flora- there is a big difference between what is healthy for a cow (lysteria is perfectly normal for them) and what is health for use (lysteria can cause spontaneous abortion in women infected during pregnancy). It was really shush-shush, but in our community a local woman aborted a 6 month pregnancy after a lysteria infection by drinking raw milk from a friends farm...really too bad!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 12:54 AM

Actually, lysteria is part of the natural bacterial flora of many cows udders- not just the outside of the udders, but the inside. Being able to see the cow and the farmers hand does not reduce this risk in the slightest, as lysteria is not dangerous to cows and has no effect on their milk, however it is dangerous to us.

4
1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:50 PM

The answer to your question can be found in the book The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND. Basically, the War of 1812 gave rise to what were known as "swill dairies" in the cities, as distilleries sought to get rid of "swill"...the spent grain from distilling. The malnourished cows gave poor-quality milk, resulting in malnourished people. Malnourished humans became suspetable to tuberculosis and tuberculosis-infected dairy workers infected the milk, causing rampant disease. At first, pasteurization was actually a good thing and did help prevent the spread of tuberculosis since city people had no access to country, grass-fed milk. But then the larger dairies caught on to the fact that if they paid the lawmakers to mandate the pasterization of ALL milk, whether from swill dairies or not, that they could put their competition out of business. And the rest, as they say, is history.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 06:13 PM

Pasteurization isn't a good thing in the absolute sense, true. But were *those people*...early 18th century, inner-city, no education, extremely poor, immigrant, non-english-speaking to a large degree...in any position to know that? *To them* pasteurization was a god-send because most of their children were dying before the age of 5. Yes, they could have survived without milk, but if they were in any position to *know* that is another matter.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:33 PM

i suppose, but it's a bandaid to a problem. it's still not a good thing. i get what you are saying, really. i still think though, that since pasteurized milk is not a healthy thing to consume, that pasteurizing milk for consumption could never be a good thing. the 'gooder' thing to do in the time period that you are referring to would have been to not drink that milk. those people, for a time, could have survived just fine without milk. anyone can.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:09 PM

Oh, I agree with you about the path, Jack! But the way I see it, pasteurization *per se* isn't the problem...it's *compulsary* pasteurization the is the problem. At first, pasteurization was a good thing because it really did save lives, especially of children, amoung inner-city people...who were very poor and had few options. But when pasteurization was made manditory, then we started down that path you are refering to. You have to picture inner-city life in the early 19th century to understand how pasteurization was a god-send, like pennicillin was in the 20th century.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 26, 2011
at 10:57 PM

ah! i see. well... with that, i agree. those people couldn't possibly know. i was more talking about that it was poor decisions on the part of any farmers who raised malnourished cows in the name of short cutting the tried and true ways. those poor decision begot additional poor decisions and a domino effect commenced. who ultimately pays the price? the public masses.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:39 PM

"At first, pasteurization was actually a good thing"... I dunno bout that. I agree with much of your comment, but just because pasteurization remedied that particluar problem with tuberculosis doesn't mean it was a 'good thing'. If city people has no access to grass-fed raw milk and chose to drink milk from poorly run dairies, that sounds to me like a poor decision. It doesn't make any of it a good path. How about this path? The milk is contaminated = don't drink any milk from those dairies. period.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 11:19 PM

Yup...the public always gets screwed. No doubt about it.

3
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 01:05 AM

It is a large misconception that if you can see the cow and the farmers hands, and they look healthy, then there will be no listeria present in the milk. Listeria is not an unhealthy bacteria for a cow to have- it liked to colonize udders (inside and out), and has no negative effect on the cow. It can be part of a natural bacterial flora of the udder in a perfectly healthy cow. That doesn't mean it is fine for us- if you have a good immune system and everything, chances are a listeria infection won't be the end of the world. However, if you are pregnant, listeria infections are very dangerous to the unborn child.

This is completely anecdotal, but we had a wonderful local farm that sold raw milk. I've had it before, many times, and it was delicious, they also did raw cheeses. A visiting woman from US came up and had the raw milk while she was pregnant. She miscarried a 6 month pregnancy, tragically, and then sued the heck out of the farm. It has taken the family years to recover their farm from this scandal, had to change locations, name, and brand. They now have warning all over their store and won't sell any products to pregnant women. I know this is only one case, but it is a pretty good example of how a perfectly good looking organic farm can have healthy cows that have lysteria in their natural udder flora.

Also, my family has had farms for generations, and my grandmother always heated up our milk to X temperature (different for goat and cow) before feeding it to us. She would drink it raw herself, as would the other adults, but they never gave it to us raw as kids. We even had our own little container in the fridge that said "kids milk" in it. When my grandmother was a kid on a sheep farm, they used to get milk from the neighbor, and I guess she remembers kids getting sick often enough to enforce this strict rule on not drinking our own cows milk raw as kids.

I have had raw milk now that I am an adult many times, but it is important to remember that there is some farm culture behind preparing milk specially for pregnant women and young children.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 04, 2012
at 08:22 PM

thanks for your answer Jenny J!

3
C2502365891cbcc8af2d1cf1d7b0e9fc

(2437)

on February 26, 2011
at 01:31 AM

I think the distinction between A1 and A2 is far more important. I'd rather drink pasteurized A2 than raw A1.

776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on August 04, 2011
at 03:17 AM

Actually, raw milk tends to be from cows that produce predominantly A2 casein. Thus it's possible that the health benefits of raw milk primarily comes from the switch from A1 to A2.

3
645e52a5238b494126b8dcaececf99ee

(50)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:29 PM

Our kids drink it EVERYDAY for the last year and a half with no adverce reactions! Will NEVER go back to pasteuized!

~Rob

3
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on February 25, 2011
at 06:57 PM

Raw Milk, cheese, butter or none at all. Our government is ridiculous. Why they allow us to poison ourselves with crap (toxins, foods, etc), but target something natural is beyond me. WAPF had an interesting post today:

http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2011/2/24/how-dangerous-is-raw-milk-vs-common-pharmaceuticals-obesity.html

Raw milk can be very healing to many people and others don't tolerate any dairy, but why someone would want to drink a processed milk is beyong my comprehension. Might as well just eat a bowl of sugar!

2
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

If "raw milk" is dangerous, shouldn't mothers boil their own breast milk before giving to their own babies? Seems like that would be a silly thing to do, doesn't it? The heat would destroy many of the health benefits of the fresh milk.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:13 PM

Cows have a tendency to poo while they are being milked and this does tend to splatter.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I expect it is quite sake if you suck it straight out of the cows udder :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 25, 2012
at 08:04 PM

Humans don't lie down in grassy fields littered with cow shit but cows do. As long as proper cleaning of the udder takes place before milking and the cow is not sick, the raw milk will be safe.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:39 PM

You might risk having your head kicked in though...

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 25, 2012
at 07:38 PM

I expect it is quite safe if you suck it straight out of the cows udder :)

2
2e6e673ce3eb647407d260d4d57a731b

(1021)

on February 20, 2013
at 09:36 PM

there is no legitimate controversy here. it's all a clusterfuck of insecure losers who can't leave people alone and let them eat whatever they want, unless it gives an industry lots of money, of course. there are lots of things that increase a person's risk of harm or death, such as oysters, McDonald's, running, hiking, smoking, drinking, driving, biking, pharmaceuticals, and swimming. and yet raw milk is singled out, why? if it is true that nobody has died directly from raw milk in all these years, then raw milk is most certainly safe enough for informed consumers to drink. banning it outright even from people who know the risks is not a way of showing concern, especially since regulators hypocritically ignore other parts of society that kill thousands of people every year and ruin people's mental and physical well being.

so basically it's stupid for people to try to convince others that raw milk should be legalized because it's healthier than pasteurized milk, even though i agree with that. just as with marijuana and magic mushrooms, raw milk should be legalized because there was no good reason to ban it in the first place.

1
Medium avatar

(19479)

on May 12, 2012
at 09:35 PM

I remember going to a farmer's market during my college years in Gainesville Fl, and, after seeing the same farmer week in and week out (and after buying quite a bit of pasteurized grass-fed cows milk) I decided to ask him for sip of the raw milk that was labeled "for pets". Drinking it was a revelation. The raw milk was sweet and smooth, without leaving the strange film in my mouth or "thirsty" feeling that I got from regular store bought milk. A few weeks later, my mom came to visit, and she tried the raw milk too. Her comment was, "Wow! This milk makes me feel happy!"

Fast forward almost a decade, and, thanks to Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain, I have basically eliminated all dairy. Even though I wasn't consuming though, my stance on the raw milk debate was clear. I had nothing but appreciation for well-produced raw milk and was outraged at the idea of Swat Team raids on raw milk co-ops and dairies. I felt strongly that the right to raw milk access should be supported and it should be sold without restriction.

A few weeks ago, however, I was asked by the editor of Paleo Magazine to interview Mary McGonigle-Martin. She had written an article on FoodSafetyNews.com that described her experience with raw milk, namely, that her son had infected with a near-fatal case of food poisoning from consuming it.

After hearing her story, and conducting some research on my own, I can no longer recommend that anyone drink raw milk without full understanding of the risks inherent in even the best product. No amount of "knowing your farmer" or "grass feeding" prevents bacteria from occurring in raw milk. Cows defecate without reservation and fecal matter can and will make it into the final product.

Citing personal examples of "growing up drinking raw milk" or "people drank raw milk with no ill effects for generations" ignores the fact that living in close contact with an animal confers immunity that most modern city dwellers lack. This is not a trivial detail, as resistance, or susceptibility to disease has broken empires (see "Guns, Germs, & Steel") as well as epidemics ("Milkmaids held the key to the cure").

As Matthew commented on the original question, "Raw Milk is becoming the worlds first dairy product based religion", and the fervency with which both raw milk proponents and detractors approach the matter confirms the accuracy of this statement. Restaurants clearly indicate on their menus that "Consuming raw or undercooked meat, fish shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions" and Mary's call to label raw milk similarly is perfectly reasonable as the consumption of raw milk carries the same risks as other raw foods.

To be sure, I don't think that raw milk should be singled out, and I don't think that its purchase should be restricted by adults who are well aware of the potential consequences, but those who make blanket statements proclaiming raw milk as a miracle food are just as misled as those who say it should be outlawed.

It is also important to emphasize that urging caution with regards to raw milk does not in any way detract from the good being done by farmer's who raise their animals to be healthy and happy, and who sell those products to the public. Adequate safety information about raw milk could go a long ways towards protecting farmers from lawsuits and other liabilities that threaten their businesses and livelihoods.

You can check out my interview with Mary here... http://www.paleomagonline.com/2012/05/11/raw-milk-interview-with-mary-mcgonigle-martin/

1
321631b2e3931f601d2e9b1918b18ab4

on May 12, 2012
at 09:06 PM

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on May 13, 2012
at 05:14 AM

+1. good read. look forward to the rest of the series.

1
F9c172df4c32f7efb16ed586d142bdad

on February 25, 2012
at 09:47 PM

I think it's important to distinguish three (sets of) questions:

(1) How safe is raw milk? What are the odds of becoming ill due to it? How do these odds compare to the odds of becoming ill by pasteurized milk or bagged spinach or ground beef, etc.

(2) How healthful is raw milk? Can or should it be part of a diet aimed at optimal health?

(3) Should raw milk be legally banned, i.e. should the State threaten or imprison those who attempt to sell it?

The point I want to make is that there's a very high burden on those who want to ban raw milk to establish its actual danger. I don't see that burden being met.

Advocates of banning--esp. the lawyers and State bureaucrats involved in pushing the FDA/USDA line--will often ask the following kind of question: Do the potential health benefits of raw--as opposed to pasteurized--milk consumption outweigh the dangers? They then answer 'no'. But this answer is completely insufficient to justify banning.

In a free society, individuals are allowed to take risks, e.g. by bungee jumping or eating unhealthful foods or..., even if, by the lights of The Authorities in Charge, the potential downsides outweighs the potential upsides.

Notice also: Even if you don't think raw milk is all that great, you should not acquiesce to the principle that The Authorities may ban something so long as they deem it not worth the risk. If you do, then, by your own logic, you may not consistently object to bans or heavy taxes on "artery-clogging saturated fats", "dangerous cholesterol-laden foods", etc. etc.

This is what internet debaters the world over like to refer to as 'the slippery slope'.

1
67f3387f0308b570c61944addedd183e

(112)

on February 06, 2012
at 07:03 PM

It's worth noting the confusion surrounding pasteurization. I've read people, many people, talking about making "Raw Yogurt" which they start by scalding. If you boil it you just pasteurized it yourself. Same goes for cooking with it. Unless you think milk is healthy and suddenly becomes unhealthy in cream sauce, coffee, or chowder this whole thing is a bit of a red herring.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 03, 2012
at 05:30 PM

The problem with statistics is they can be tweaked in so many ways to look like so many seemingly opposite things. In truth, you have to look at both benefits and costs. What is the real percentage of danger from drinking any milk? How many get sick from Listeria from contaminated pasturized milk? Maybe it's 1 persons out of jillions per year. So if raw milk is 7 times more dangerous, that could mean 7 people out of jillions get sick. You could still be more likely to get hit by lightening than sick from raw milk. You have to really look at the raw statistics to understand the situation. ON the reverse, could be that they are not looking at a per capita basis and the chances of getting sick on raw milk are very very much higher because few people drink it but still there are 7 whole cases out of maybe only 10,000 drinkers whereas the pasturized milk number may be coming from a population that is most of the country. "Seven times more likely" means very little unless we know how they chose their numbers in the first place.

Maybe the best solution would be to lightly treat the milk for bacteria but have it come from healthy grassfed cows too. It could be that the masai do sometimes get sick from their milk, but that they are generally strong and healthy and get over it and build immunity and those that couldnt' do that were more likely to die before childbirth. Evolution never stops.

But here in the Unites States, we may often be less healthy and less adapted and less genetically prepared.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 03, 2012
at 08:52 PM

yes, and even if you're gonna go for lightly pasteurized, it's probably better to go with a cream top option like that from Trader Joes or Whole Foods, which is VAT pasteurized and not homogenized.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 01:11 AM

"more likely to die before childbirth"- you mean if they were sickly they would abort? Because really the main risky time for listeria infection is during pregnancy.

1
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on February 25, 2011
at 07:20 PM

If the public was not so lawsuit happy, more farmers would be able to sell unpasteurized milk products.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:57 PM

@ Dana:"The problem is the state and federal governments driving these raw dairies out of business with arrests and extremem fines." That's exactly right, Dana, and they do it because the laws are bought and paid for by the dairy industry. It has nothing to do with science and/or public health and everything to do with bribes, euphamistically know as "lobbying".

F9a0b72f38860d7601afd5a45bb53394

(3618)

on February 25, 2011
at 07:44 PM

If people like you weren't so anti-lawsuit-happy, we could get to the actual cause of the problem instead of blaming people whose only avenue for relief when they are wronged is to take money away from the guilty party, since it is possible to cause harm without actually breaking the law. Lawsuits can be dismissed. They are not the problem. The problem is the state and federal governments driving these raw dairies out of business with arrests and extreme fines.

1
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on February 25, 2011
at 06:59 PM

I strongly believe in Raw over pasteurized as my two sons drink 2-3 cups a day for the past year or so. Not only has their digestion gotten better, they don't get sick as often and when they do it doesn't last long. Could there be other factors, maybe, but the biggest change is the addition of raw milk.

I think the fear of raw milk and cheese comes from specific incidents where the cows were not fed properly or taken care off. I visit the milk farm at least once a month to make sure everything is on the up and up and the farmers actually encourage it. I wouldn't buy raw milk from a farm I had not visited or do not trust completely.

The problem with pasteurization is the heating process that strips the milk of all it's vitamins and minerals along with an abundant amount of natural probiotics and enzymes.

I don't personally drink it because I am lactose intolerant, but if you can handle dairy, I high suggest raw milk and cheese. It's also worth mentioning that raw milk is MUCH sweeter in taste than regular milk and taste MUCH better in my opinion. Yes I take a sip from time to time because it's so good....it's worth the short period of gas...lol.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on May 24, 2011
at 09:07 PM

I totally agree and had the same experience with my son's digestion and my own. He won't even drink the stuff that's only been vat past. but he asks for fresh and drinks it like water. Past., homog. milk is a dead food IMHO.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 04, 2012
at 01:13 AM

We raised our own cows for most of my childhood, but my parents never let us drink raw milk. Listeria is a natural part of bacterial flora in lots of cows, and my parents/grandparents had seen a lot of kids get sick during their many generations farming. Our cows were organic, you could see them out the back window, and my parents drank the milk raw, but we had our own container "just kids" milk. My mom would heat it up to the temperature required to kill listeria, then let it cool and we'd be allowed to drink it then.

0
7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a

(2040)

on June 19, 2013
at 05:19 AM

I know this is an older thread but thought I'd add this here. It's a step in the right direction anyways. No matter your stance on the subject it shouldn't be illegal.

0
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on February 20, 2013
at 03:51 PM

After watching the RAW MILK DEBATE AT HARVARD LAW SCHOOL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLRdihFi6gw&context=C3280be7ADOEgsToPDskKldOT0LgeJ9pGStYY2P77G

I don't think I will to incorporate raw milk into my life (even though it is legal here in Pennsylvania).

The part of the debate that got me was the anecdote of the cow crapping, it splashing into the farmer's face, him dropping the nozzle into the manure, hosing it off, then continuing.

And, the pictures of the guy who became a paraplegic and on a respirator after a raw milk infection were particularly effective.

I'm not sure exactly what health benefits I might derive from raw milk, but there certainly seem to be some scary risks.

Am I reacting too emotionally? Are there greater risks of E Coli and food borne illness from simply eating out, with a food handler not properly washing his hands after going to the bathroom? Am I more at risk by driving my car on a Friday night?

I'll confess I'm a bit sad because I only discovered Raw Milk was legal here a few days ago; I was anxious to hack my health to the next level by introducing it, but now I'm not sure.

Thoughts?

Thx Mike

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 20, 2013
at 04:32 PM

CMM - every industry and every trade has some that operate with excellent standards, and some not. one farmer dipping a nozzle into cow poo doesn't represent the entire industry. drinking raw milk vs not is a personal choice for everyone. i have surely drank my share in the past couple of years and did quite well. lately I have been drinking more of the cream top from Trader Joes (Strauss Creamery). Here in Cali, we have OrganicPastures. In Penn, you are fortunate to have yourfamilycow.com. It's up to you.

0
5cd8441bd01fc10816085bfc092477c4

(925)

on May 12, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I can only speak for myself and what I do. I raise dairy goats and have been for 5 years now. Prior to that I was a vegetarian that drank soy milk (i know, I know). I generally dont' drink a glass of milk, per se, but I do put it in my coffee, make cheese out of it (both soft and hard) and yogurt. However, i would have no qualms about drinking a glass full, I just don't need to do that. I practice safe handling procedures including making sure all my receptacles are clean, washing my hands prior to milking (and using sanitizer in between does) and thoroughly wiping the does teats with a fresh wipe for each teat every time. To make yogurt successfully you have to bring the milk up to 180 (you don't have to hold it there) to open up the proteins a bit so the culture has an easier time working. To pasteurize you have to bring it to 145 for 30 minutes.

0
9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

on May 24, 2011
at 03:26 PM

You know when in primary school you made milk paste in class by boiling milk? Yeah, you can't do that with raw milk. Pasteurization turns milk into glue.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:00 PM

What other animal on the planet drinks milk after being weaned....or from another species?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 27, 2011
at 10:50 AM

Helen, a typical "Planet Of The Apes" response. We are the only animals who have forgotten how to trust our instincts.

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 26, 2011
at 06:37 PM

I bet that alot of other animals would continue to drink milk...from their own or other species...after weaning *if they were smart enough to be able to get it.*

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 25, 2011
at 08:07 PM

The question isn't a matter of "should a person eat or not eat dairy" but "should the government have the power to outlaw raw dairy or not?"

1acc4ee9381d9a8d998b59915b3f997e

(2099)

on February 27, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Ok...I said that to provoke you, and it worked. But the decision to eat dairy or not is a personal one and can't be answered on any but personal terms. Some of us come from areas of the world where dairy has be eaten for long enough for us be adapted to it. I, personally, cannot base my decision on what other animals may or may not do. I can only base it on what works or doesn't work for me. *My* instincts tell me that its ok *for me* to eat dairy. Your instincts may tell you something different.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 26, 2011
at 09:42 AM

N many species do many thing that we don't or can not. However, I specifically asked "after weaning". Helen, the Govs power lies in belief and illusion. Be devoid of both.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on February 25, 2011
at 09:12 PM

yah and besides what other animal seasons and marinates a steak and cooks it over a fire? what other animal makes butter? what other animal squeezes the oils out of a coconut and uses it for cooking? what other animals put blueberries, heavy cream and pecans in a bowl and calls it a snack? humans do a lot of things differently than other species, because we can. so all we have to figure out then, is should we?

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!