Is Raw Milk Safe and Healthier for You?
Americans have now been drinking pasteurized milk for over a century. Prior to the industrial revolution, human beings had always consumed milk straight from the cow. For the most part rural farmers allowed their cows to graze on grass outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Healthy cows produce healthy milk.
In the late 19th century, however, the infamous Milk Wars waged in urban areas where children were dying from dirty “swill” milk. Cows were crammed into tight spaces indoors and fed poorly, resulting in unhealthy milk.
Pasteurization was the solution to this problem. Heating the milk kills harmful pathogens, but also impacts the nutritional value of raw milk.
Sally Fallon Morrell, founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, has been advocating for raw milk access for nearly two decades. She argues that raw milk from healthy cows is far superior to pasteurized milk. In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Morrell writes:
Raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. […]
But that’s not all that pasteurization does to milk. Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed. Pasteurization alters milk’s mineral components such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as many trace minerals, making them less available. […]
Last but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk— in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium.
In recent years, Americans have begun realizing these health benefits of raw milk and seeking to find places to purchase raw milk since it is rarely sold in mainline grocery stories. But how can they be sure the quality is good?
Over the past decade, the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) has helped elevate standards for raw milk by teaching well-established scientific principles and good manufacturing methods to assist farmers to produce hygienic safe raw milk.
“In this search the consumers are confused, and most farmers lack training and education, and have little guidance from nonexistent or conflicting standards,” RAWMI’s website states. “People have begun to rediscover that clean delicious raw milk is a powerful immune rebuilder which helps prevent asthma and treats Crohns, IBS and other gut and digestive issues. It is rarely associated with lactose intolerance and builds bone density quickly. Pasteurized milk does none of these things.”