Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Controversy Over Raw Milk

Raw dairy products have received unnecessary criticism. The government, medical communities, scientists, and the press alike have directed a wealth of false information to the public consumer audience. It is time to put these myths to rest and find out the truth about consuming raw milk and related products.

Originally, dairies began pasteurizing back in the late 1800's due to unsanitary conditions. Over the years, dairy industry practices became increasingly industrialized in nature as the population and demand for products grew. Pasteurization remained a requirement for these operations to remain in business in order to "keep harmful bacteria and germs" at bay.

During pasteurization, the milk is heated and destroys harmful as well as healthful enzymes and bacteria important to digestion and immune system function. According to Natural Health News, "Pasteurization's worst offense is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk. This frequently leads to rickets, bad teeth, and nervous system troubles. This is because sufficient calcium content is vital to children; and with the loss of phosphorus also associated with the calcium loss, bone and brain formation suffer serious setbacks.Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk, causes constipation, and generally robs the milk of its most vital qualities."

What is seldom mentioned is the lack of accountability toward cleanliness and sanitation by the majority of farming outfits, and the fact that government regulations are lax in requiring them to maintain a real standard of health on the premises of business operations. What has resulted over the years is that farms which used to be small, naturally operated, and family-owned were being wiped out by conglomerate companies concerned with maximizing profits and not with humane or healthy living conditions for animals.

Routinely in such environments, you will find animals shoved into tight quarters in closed feedlots without open space and proper healthful grazing room, waste lagoons (accounting for the odor you smell when you drive past a dairy), inhumane treatment of the animals, and administration of antibiotics, steroids, hormones, and even pesticides to feed. The ultimate purpose of such confinement is to produce the highest possible output at the lowest cost, thereby maximizing profit. Ultimately, they produce end products unfit for human consumption. It is clear that the risks outweigh the benefits of factory farming. Milk and meat coming out of industrial farms is produced under the most horrific and unnatural conditions. This standard of conducting business is unfortunately normal occurrence in most farm environments today.

Pasteurized milk is actually responsible for causing and exacerbating many health issues, besides the obvious, such as asthma, allergies, sinus congestion, heart disease, and digestive issues such as Crohn's Disease and IBS. For more information and evidence about the risks of consuming pasteurized dairy products, visit Willow Hills.

Raw milk is beneficial and healthful to consume when purchased from a reputable, sanitary farm operation practicing healthy methods of raising animals such as being certified organic, providing open pasture for grazing, and clean water. Although raw milk does sour quickly, there are also benefits to the consumption of sour milk that cannot be claimed for the pasteurized variety once it goes past its date. According to the Real Milk web site: "With regards to the prevention of souring; sour raw milk is very widely used. It is given to invalids, being easily digested, laxative in its properties, and not unpleasant to take. But, after pasteurization, the lactic acid bacilli are killed. The milk, in consequence, cannot become sour and quickly decomposes, while undesirable germs multiply very quickly." Good bacteria in raw milk actually prevents unhealthy bacteria from growing out of control, thus rendering it a fantastic health food.

No doubt, care in selection of raw milk and raw milk products should always be taken. Locating a reputable and sanitary dairy should be highest priority when looking to purchase raw dairy because it is possible to stumble upon operations claiming to sell healthy raw milk that are in fact quite the opposite. Many areas have small farm operations that are reliable and safe, it just takes a bit of research. Organic Pastures in Fresno, California is the largest raw dairy in the United States. They provide healthy raw milk and milk products in a grade-A facility which batch tests their milk and maintains the highest standards of animal treatment and health, thus guaranteeing a superior product for consumption. OP ships products anywhere, but is required by federal law to label all shipments out of the state of California as "pet food".

It is important to stay educated about important issues which affect the health of ourselves, our children, and the planet. The raw milk issue is no exception. Don't believe all the negative, incorrect information you hear and read. Find out for yourself the real reasons why most milk is pasteurized and you may just change your mind about raw milk. To read the latest story on the government's sneaky attempt to limit the sales of raw milk, go to

For additional information on raw milk, read Agriculture Society's article.

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