The CDC and FDA warns us about the dangers of raw milk and other raw dairy items. They say by consuming raw dairy, you are at risk of ingesting harmful bacteria that can cause you sever illness or even death. These harmful bacteria include Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Shigella, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica and are all things no one wants to experience.
The pasteurizing process uses heat high enough and long enough to kill this harmful bacteria. The CDC Website states “It was invented in a time when millions of people became sick and died of diseases like tuberculosis, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, and other infections that were transmitted through raw milk”. Later it claims that even with pasteurizing, occasionally there were outbreaks and was due to mishandling of the product after it was pasteurized.
While their data is true, we find a greater number of food born illnesses from seafood and produce. The Center for Science in the Public Interest released a report in 2008 indicating just what those numbers were. When the CDC reports that 148 outbreaks were reported from 1998 – 2011, it’s nothing compared to 1140 outbreaks due to seafood and 768 due to Produce. In fact, raw dairy isn’t even listed in their top 5.
Why we should eat raw dairy? I’m talking more specifically about pasture-fed full-fat unhomogenized raw milk. Grass/pasture fed cows graze on the green grass or stored dry hay, silage, hay and root vegetables in Winter. The cow is able to roam the fields, breath in the outside air, and soak in the sun – all things God intended for these animals. Unfortunately, even “Organic” labeled milk may have cows confined to a stall most of their life. If their farming practices aren’t printed on the cartoon, there is no way of knowing without researching their farming practices.
Full-fat milk is just as how it comes. Years ago, to fix our weight epidemic, we started removing the fat out of our food. My friend, that was a BIG mistake! Not only does full fat milk contain high levels of vitamin A and D which protects against disease and promotes and healthy immune system. There are also high levels of vitamin K2 which aids in the absorption of calcium that is also found in milk. Full-fat milk is high in Saturated Fat, which if you haven’t heard, new research shows that it actually helps reduce cardiovascular issues and has other positive results. Lastly, full-fat milk helps you feel fuller and for longer, gives you more sustainable energy, and evens out your blood sugar to avoid crashes.
For those who show negative affects when consuming dairy may not have adverse affects when consuming raw dairy. A Campaign for Real Milk explains it nicely.
Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity. Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk. Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection. And pasteurization does not always kill the bacteria for Johne’s disease suspected of causing Crohn’s disease in humans with which most confinement cows are infected. Much commercial milk is now ultra-pasteurized to get rid of heat-resistant bacteria and give it a longer shelf life. Ultra-pasteurization is a violent process that takes milk from a chilled temperature to above the boiling point in less than two seconds. Clean raw milk from certified healthy cows is available commercially in several states and may be bought directly from the farm in many more. (All sources are listed on their site)
If you’re still iffy about risk of disease, the reason I said “unhomogenized” is because it’s from one cow. The problem with ground beef and why it’s recommended to cook thoroughly opposed to a good steak is because it’s from multiple cows. If one cow was sick, we now have an outbreak on our hands. The same concept applies to raw dairy and will decrease your risk of illness.
When searching for raw dairy or raw milk, find a reputable farmer. One who keeps a clean production area. These farmers are generally family farms and are relying on consumers like you and me. Family farmers can provide better quality crops and meat and are continuing to be squeezed out by large industrialized operations.
In conclusion, the CDC’s and FDA’s warnings is that it’s overstated and we are all at risk of food born illnesses of some kind – even with pasteurized milk. Whatever the food, we can avoid risk by eating fresh and clean foods that are stored properly. For more information, please visit Campaign for Real Milk! From there you will be able to search for farmers who provide raw milk and other dairy products.