I am currently milking three of my goats: Millie, Cinnamon and Haley. They give me about a quart of milk a day now. Earlier this summer I was getting about a gallon and an half. I filled my freezer with milk for any bottle kids we might have next year. I’ve frozen a lot in cubes for making soap. I’ve made yogurt and mozzarella cheese, and I drink it. I love my girls and their milk.
This summer when I was going to the farmer’s market, every single time I was there, I had people ask about buying milk from me, and I had to turn them down. I’m not approved as a dairy to sell my milk for human consumption. I would like to be at some point, but I need to put up a real milking barn before that can happen.
When I do sell my milk, it will be pasteurized. Don’t get me wrong, I drink my goat’s milk raw. It’s never made me sick because I do use the best handling procedures I can with my makeshift milking. However, I think it would be irresponsible (not to mention illegal in my state) to sell raw milk for human consumption.
It pains me when I see blog articles and facebook pictures touting the wonders of raw milk. Sadly these are the only sources many people have for their information. I’ve listed one website used as a source for a facebook post I saw recently in the sources for this post. Sadly, every study it cites is from the 1940′s or earlier, and if you dig deep into it’s pages, you’ll find a disclaimer about not being responsible for the accuracy of information on their website. So don’t go to the Real Milk site for Real Information. It’s not easy to find good reliable sources unless you have access to an academic search engine. Luckily, as a teacher I do.
The facts are:
*There is no real nutritional difference between raw and pasteurized milk.
*Pasteurization is necessary to kill bacteria found naturally in milk as well as picked up through the handling process.
*There are no health benefits to drinking raw milk.
*The group for whom it is most dangerous to drink raw milk is, unfortunately, sometimes the one most likely to consume it~infants. They are more susceptible to the bacteria in raw milk because they haven’t fully developed their immune systems yet. Elderly and sick people would also be at greater risk from raw milk.
I understand part of the faulty logic, the claim is that people have safely drunk raw milk for thousands of years since pasteurization only became widespread after Louis Pasteur developed the process in 1862. It wasn’t until 1948 when Michigan became the first state to require pasteurization. However, most of the time people were like me, drinking milk that they had milked themselves on the farm, and most of the time the milk was used to make other food products or cooked rather than consumed as a beverage. Milk would not have been widely drunk unless it was from your own animals.
My mom remembers drinking a cup of milk straight from the cow, still warm. If it cured allergies, my mother wouldn’t have serious allergies/asthma. Her mom would skim off the cream to make butter, which they sold. They had all the milk they wanted for themselves, and any excess was fed to the pigs. Twelve hours later, they had another fresh batch. It was not stored.
Any milk that was not consumed right away was turned into cheese or buttermilk. When I make my buttermilk (or yogurt), the first thing I do is pasteurize the milk to make sure only the bacteria I add as a culture is going to grow. Clabbered (sour) milk from raw milk is still dangerous because you don’t know what other bacteria have also been reproducing.
Times have changed. Most people are not milking their own animals. They go to the store to buy milk, and it’s hard to tell how old it is. The longer raw milk sits, the more likely it is to have dangerous levels of bacteria. Add to that the transport and handling between animal to consumer, and it’s amazing more people don’t become ill from raw milk.
Linking to Homestead Barn Hop.
Edited: Please do not put links in the comments because I do not have time to go read all the articles and explain how the research is flawed.
Adams, Damian C., et al. “Udder nonsense? The emerging issue of raw milk sales in Florida: regulation.” Florida Bar JournalOct. 2008: 75+. General OneFile. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
Angulo, Frederick J., et al. “Nonpasteurized dairy products, disease outbreaks, and state laws–United States, 1993-2006.”Emerging Infectious Diseases 18.3 (2012): 385+. General OneFile. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.
Boor, Kathryn J., et al. “Food safety hazards associated with consumption of raw milk.” Foodborne Pathogens and Disease6.7 (2009): 793+. Academic OneFile. Web. 18 Oct. 2012.