I come from a small island where all the cows are grass-fed and where raw milk was always available. (As was pasteurized and homogenized.) Now I live in Virginia where it’s easier to buy a gun than a pint of raw milk.
So, I love the taste of raw milk. I can’t attest to its properties regarding allergies or overall health, I just like the taste. It reminds me of home. Here, in Virginia, you can’t buy raw milk unless you own the cow (or part of it) so there’s a bit of an underground network, where owners sell to friends. It’s a short supply chain and they know the farm. The people involved know whether the herd is tuberculin tested and how the dairy farmer feeds his cows and treats the milking process.
The big risks from raw milk are e.coli and tuberculosis, which are potential killers. And that’s why the milk industry is adamant that all milk should be pasteurized and homogenized. These are heat treatments that kill all microbes and breakdown all proteins in the milk. They also like this method because most dairy farmers feed their cows grain or corn as it’s easier than letting them graze as they would in their natural state and grain-fed cows have an acidic “rumen*” which encourages bacteria to grow. Naturally fed cattle have a neutral rumen.
Raw milk is only as good as the farmer and the supply chain. You need cleanliness in the milking parlor and a chilled delivery system.
Watch this video. This farmer is a thoughtful and informed man. You will come away knowing more than you did before. For balance I’m also including an anti-raw milk video.
This guy says people who drink raw milk are stupid and tells you why he believes this.
So, is it worth it? Would you drink raw milk?
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*The rumen, also known as a paunch, forms the larger part of the reticulorumen, which is the first chamber in the alimentary canal of ruminant animals. It serves as the primary site for microbial fermentation of ingested feed. The smaller part of the reticulorumen is the reticulum, which is fully continuous with the rumen, but differs from it with regard to the texture of its lining.
The Squirrel says, pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis. Of course, it also kills beneficial bacteria.