Is RAW DAIRY Safe?
Is raw milk safe for human consumption?
It's a fair question. You've seen the headlines: "Raw milk poses serious health risk". So should we consume pasteurized or raw dairy products?
Let's talk about pasteurization first. In the 1800's, United States and Europe were becoming more industrialized. The distance between dairy farmers and city folks was increasing. This created two problems. The increase in demand put pressure on farmers to produce more milk. This meant sacrificing safety standards and more harmful bacteria in milk. This "dirty" milk was then sitting out longer as it traveled from farm to city. People started getting sick from milk in record numbers. Something had to change.
Pasteurization was born.
By superheating milk, it killed harmful bacteria. But this process was not without consequence. During pasteurization, the enzymes and healthy bacteria are super-heated and destroyed. This eliminates most of the health benefits of dairy products. I'll be the first to admit that decreasing the health benefits of milk is a fair price to pay for not getting sick. But what if we could have all the health benefits of raw dairy with a 0% risk of getting sick?
Today we can.
21st century Farmers now use advanced sanitation and testing protocols. They can ensure that raw milk is devoid of harmful bacteria before sending it out. Companies like Raw Farms in Fresno test their milk twice before deeming it safe. If there are any harmful pathogens, they scrap the whole batch. They have not had an outbreak linked to their farm ever. Not a single one.
So Raw Milk today is safe. But is it any healthier than regular milk?
Lactose Intolerance Begone!
Many of our clients and staff consider themselves “intolerant” to dairy products. Yet when they drink or consume raw dairy, they don’t have any issues. That's because raw milk has the necessary digestive enzymes so our body knows what to do with it.
What About Safety?
All dairy products pose a low risk of illness compared to other animal products, such as deli meat. In fact, deli meats were 10X more likely to cause illness than dairy products in a recent study put out by the FDA.
Raw dairy products have natural antibodies within them to fight infectious compounds. This keeps the milk, cheese, cream, and kefir free from the diseases people fear like E-Coli. In fact, raw milk has the ability to transfer these immune-boosting properties to us. This fortifies and strengthens our immune systems. Our world has become sterile. In a bad way. Antibiotics and antibacterial soaps are running rampant. This means having a healthy gut flora is essential.
Cows that produce dairy intended for raw consumption have to be well taken care of. They cannot be sick. They cannot be dirty. They cannot be crowded. This is in stark contrast to the average dairy cow which is, well, sick, dirty and crowded. Dairy farmers blanket their mistreatment with antibiotics and pasteurization. Antibiotics prevent dirty cows from dropping dead before they lose their economic value. Pasteurization kills pathogens present in milk due to suboptimal conditions. But wouldn’t it be better to just have healthy cows and healthy milk?
Raw milk contains billions of beneficial bacterial colonies (probiotics). This helps prevent indigestion, improve nutrient absorption, and boosts the immune system. It can even help our gut synthesize vitamins like B12 and feel good hormones like serotonin. Pasteurization kills these bacteria!
Raw milk contains enzymes that help us actually digest it. How many people do you know who are lactose intolerant? You might be one of them!
Products from a grass-fed animal such as dairy or meat contain a balanced 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats. This is important for optimizing cellular integrity, immune function, and reducing inflammation. throughout the body. When those fatty acids interact with high temperatures (pasteurization), they mutate. They lose their health-giving properties and can actually become harmful trans-fats. Yikes! Even expensive, grass-fed dairy products (like Strauss or Nancy’s) degrade with pasteurization.
Nobody looks at an idyllic, green pasture land with scattered cows grazing and thinks, “Yeah that’s disgusting. That should be a dusty, industrial ranch complex.” People drive out of their way to take the “scenic route” through pasture lands! There's something about it that is good for the soul, and we recognize it even if we can’t explain why. When we buy and consume raw, grass fed dairy products, we promote the preservation and stewardship of these wide open spaces. But it's not only us and the cows that it benefits. These environments are mini-ecosystems that play host to hundreds of other creatures. The alternative industrial ranch complex? Not so much.
Dairy is big business. Government lobbyists ensure the people at the top are making massive salaries. It's the farmer's that suffer. They work in less than ideal conditions for minimal pay. This pushes away talented and passionate farmers. It leaves the work to less skilled hands. Instead of an artisanal craft, dairy becomes one more cog in the economic wheel. The wheel steamrolls over the livelihood of farmers and well-being of consumers. If you pay $3 for a gallon of milk, you may need to rethink the true cost. While raw dairy is more expensive, it is not an apples to apples comparison!
Mark, the owner of Raw Farms LOVES to educate the community. In fact, you can check out his FULL talk to our clients and staff that he did for us last year.