Feed The World, Save The Planet

Feed The World, Save The Planet

The Thing About Milk, Part 3


He causeth grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man:  that he may bring forth food out of the earth…” Psalm 104:14


Raw milk could be the answer to our world’s hunger and environmental problems.


Remember Heifer International, the non-profit group who gives cows to impoverished families?  In 53 countries Heifer International is not only feeding the starved, they are also teaching proper animal husbandry and land management.  These families are suddenly empowered in many ways:  they immediately have a clean, safe food source; a source of income; and high quality fertilizer for their crops, which soon begin abundant growth.  At harvest, the family has even more nutritious food and additional income.  And they develop pride, self-confidence, and increased family unity as they work hard together, growing in health and knowledge.  In turn, the families agree to give away their animal’s offspring to another needy family and thus keep the cycle going. 


What a great paradigm!


 The hungry are fed…


 the sick are nourished…


 the poor prosper…


 the family is strengthened…


 and the people are joyful.


What does this have to do with raw milk?  Everything!  All of the great things mentioned in the previous paragraph are the product of one healthy cow and her raw milk. 




Properly managed cows and their raw dairy products are not just feeding the world; they could save the planet!


The way a cow is cared for has a lot to do with whether or not the cow will produce safe, healthy raw milk.  Just like a breastfeeding mother, a lactating cow must have the right diet and right care or she will not only produce poor milk but will also develop chronic mastitis (an infection in the mammary gland) and become susceptible to other diseases. 


In America, the majority of dairy cows live in factory farms where they are rarely outside and never graze on lush pasture.

   Instead they are kept in a small stall or crowded feedlot, fed a constant diet of grains (mostly genetically modified, including large amounts of soy) and other unpleasant waste items, and milked almost constantly.  Because the cows suffer from chronic mastitis, their feed is laced with antibiotics.  They are also given hormones to increase production.  Although milk from “organic” cows cannot be used if the cow has been on antibiotics, and no hormones are allowed, the living conditions for “organic” cows are much the same.  Factory feedlots are home to thousands of cows, serving up pasteurized and even organic milk in concentration-camp-style.  These farms produce an abundance of contaminated manure, and much of it finds its way into our streams, rivers, lakes, and eventually the ocean, where it contaminates fish, water, wildlife, and even other crops (like spinach, or tomatoes….). 

This manure is laden with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and any number of sickening bacteria.  These factory farms have a hefty environmental footprint; in addition to the immediate environmental issues, there are also big trucks hauling in grain for feed, transporting cows, and transporting milk to the plant and on to the stores.


The cost for keeping these cows is high.

  Many dairy farms do not receive government subsidies. Feed is expensive.  Veterinary bills and medications are expensive.  New cows must be regularly purchased to replace those that have died (and the dead cows have been known to wind up in hamburger meat).  And don’t forget the costs to our environment that I mentioned above.  A conventional dairy farmer does not get paid a living wage.  His family suffers.  The consumers are sick.  And the cycle continues.


For a real-life, eye-opening glimpse into the world of the factory farm, you need to see the movie, FOOD, INC.


In direct contrast, a raw milk farm keeps small herds, and the cows live outside on green pastures where they eat grass in the sunshine and fresh air. 

As the cows graze, their manure fertilizes the pasture.  The manure benefits the environment because it is not laden with pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.  This healthy manure is a vital part of the cycle of life that God set in motion.  Because these cows are eating the right diet in the right setting they aren’t sick and don’t need medications or hormones.  As these cows provide offspring year after year, this natural, idyllic cycle continues.  These cows produce rich, nutritious milk, butter, and cheese.  The farmer, in control of his herd and his prices, makes a living wage.  His costs are very low; he doesn’t need to pay for medications, veterinary bills, replacement cows, or shipping.  The raw milk farm has a very small environmental footprint.  These farms and cows are a blessing, not a burden, to their environment.


Ed Shank, fourth generation owner of The Family Cow farm in Pennsylvania, agrees with me.  The Family Cow used to be a confinement dairy farm but about 4 years ago Ed Shank saw the light and transitioned his farm to an organic system where his 275 cows now graze outside on 120 acres of pasture, followed around by about a thousand chickens.  Ed’s old way of farming, which focused on productivity, is history.  Today Ed’s methods are all about being ecologically sustainable.  Instead of hauling in feed and hauling out manure, Ed simply moves his cows from pasture to pasture.  They eat the growing grass.  The chickens follow; as they eat the pesky bugs they also spread the manure; the manure fertilizes the pasture and helps the grass to grow; the cycle continues.  Ed describes it this way:  “This green grass is a solar panel.  The cow is the harvester.  She is powered by solar energy…The harvesting and hauling of feed is done by the cows and the hauling of manure is done by the cows.”  As Ed says, “This is a cycle that is so repeatable.  We can feed the world.” (emphasis mine)


Funny, this is what all farms were like for hundreds, even thousands, of years.  Earlier societies would be aghast and offended at what we have allowed to happen to our world, our farms, our animals, and our food.  Among other things, they would call us fools.  Would that really be too far from the truth?

Small Farms Under Attack


Currently there is legislation underway that would severely restrict and burden these small farms in America.  It is called The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.  HR 2749 has passed the House and is now in committee in the Senate.  This legislation is supposed to make food safer, but what it really does is regulate small farms to such a degree that most of them would not be able to survive.  One alarming provision of this bill empowers the FDA to make warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers.  Why is this even necessary?


 There are definitely problems with America’s industrial food system, but forcing all farms into a “one size fits all” piece of legislation is not the answer.  All farms are not the same. In fact, our country’s food safety issues do not stem from the small farm.  The salmonella spinach problem didn’t come from a small farm, and neither did the salmonella tomatoes or onions or peanuts.  Contaminated raw milk doesn’t come from the small farm either.  These problems came from big, conventional farms.  In fact, those big farms that have so harmed our food and environment will benefit from this legislation while the small farms that are so good to us will just about be shut down.  Small scale food producers, such as those baking artisan breads, will also be negatively affected. 


Another version of this bill is in the Senate, S-510.  This bill is even more invasive, burdening the small farmer with even more paperwork and requirements than HR 2749.  Basically, both legislations would profit the big conventional farms and harm the small family farms, all in the name of “FOOD SAFETY.” 


For much more information, and to learn how you can help fight this legislation, visit the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund website.


Are you wondering again what this has to do with raw milk?


I could easily go buy a gun, or drugs.  I could buy cigarettes and expose my family to second-hand smoke all day.  I could drink beer at a sporting event then drive home.  But if I want to buy raw milk, I have to go to great lengths and expense to do it.  If I really wanted to get crazy, I could sell raw milk and in no time at all SWAT teams would show up at my house, seize my property, wave guns in my face, interrogate my children, call children’s services, and haul me off to court.  Seriously.

Right here in America, and just across the border in Canada, raw milk farmers are being staked out, monitored, threatened, and arrested.  Their products are being destroyed, their equipment seized, their children interrogated, their computers searched, and more.  These aren’t people who deal drugs on the side, or head up prostitution rings, or harbor illegal aliens.  These are law-abiding, family-oriented citizens who provide many beneficial services to their communities.

Michael Schmidt is the owner of Glencolton Farms in Ontario, Canada.  He has provided rich, nourishing raw milk to citizens of his community for the last twenty years.  No one has ever been sick from his milk.  In fact, Schmidt’s milk saved the life of a baby who was failure-to-thrive when the parents learned about a special raw milk baby formula which they made using his safe, nutritious raw milk.  He has obeyed local laws in operating his raw milk dairy.  However Michael Schmidt has been harassed by local authorities for the last several years and currently faces 20 criminal counts against him.  His court hearings are ongoing.  But get this:  the authorities accusing Schmidt have never once tested his milk.

Here is a brief listing of farmers in the United States who have been or are faced with similar situations.  If you would like to read more about what is happening to these beneficial farms, visit www.thecompletepatient.com.

2005:  Arlie Stultzman, an Amish farmer from Millersburg, Ohio

2006:  Richard Hebron of Ann Arbor, Michigan

2007:  Barb and Steve Smith of Meadowsweet Farm in New York

2008:  *Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) in California

*Mark Nolt of Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania

            *Glenn Wise, Mennonite dairy farmer and father of 9 in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Raw milk is not crack, folks.  These farmers are not gang members.  There is no money-laundering ring, no prostitution, nothing!  No one is dying!  Yet these farmers and their healthful raw dairy products are being treated as if this were the source of a biological terrorist act!

Why am I telling you this?  Because you need to understand that the big hoop-la about raw milk is not completely about food safety.  That is what we are supposed to believe, and a lot of well-meaning, wonderful people have been deceived.  Please review part 2 where I explained that there are two milks.  And review part 1 where I explained how pasteurization gives milk a longer shelf-life and takes the burden of responsibility away from the farmer.   And how homogenization keeps the customer from seeing how little cream is in the milk, while big companies are getting rich from selling the cream.  An awful lot of money is tied up into this business of pasteurization and homogenization.

Remember the innocent little boy who died from e-coli in his Jack in the Box burger?  There were several people who died.  Did that chain get shut down?  Remember when Oprah spoke out against the beef industry, and how she was immediately sued?  Her wealth made it possible for her to successfully fight that lawsuit.  Most people don’t have that kind of money at their disposal.   In the past year or two we have seen major outbreaks of salmonella – where people have died – traced back to spinach, tomatoes, cookie dough, peanuts, ground beef, and yes pasteurized milk.  But are these foods illegal to sell for human consumption?  Of course not.

Just think about it.


The Hunt for Real Milk


My very first raw milk source involved meeting a man I didn’t know in a parking lot in the dark on a Friday night. It was awfully exciting!  What an adrenaline rush!  I really felt like I was getting away with something big! On the other hand, even though I did not break the law, I felt like a criminal dealing drugs.  It would be funny if it weren’t such a cryin’ shame that I had to go to all that trouble just for a glass of milk!  Really – I’m just trying to nurture my family here!

Since you cannot buy raw milk at the grocery store in a majority of states, and since it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption most everywhere, you will have to find another way to obtain it.

Acquaint yourself with the laws regarding the sale of raw milk in your state.   Visit www.realmilk.com for updated listings of the law regarding purchase and sale of raw milk, and current legislation for each state.  Next, click on the “where” tab for a comprehensive state-by-state listing of raw milk sources.  But remember that there are likely more sources than what is posted. Ask around.  When you do find a farm, ask if you can visit in person; find out what the cows are fed; ask about their milking process and storage facilities.  Make an informed decision – this is your family we’re talking about.

In many states it is actually illegal to sell raw milk intended for human consumption.  But it is not illegal to drink raw milk from your own cow.  If keeping a cow in your backyard doesn’t quite fit with your suburban lifestyle, you can join a cow share program.  This is where you actually buy a portion of the ownership of a cow.  The farmer cares for and milks the cow, and delivers her milk to you regularly.  In Tennessee, a law was passed this year actually protecting our constitutional right to cow-shares.  It was a great victory for the small farmer, our environment, and the health of our citizens!

Another perfectly legal way to purchase raw milk is if it is labeled, “Pet Food.”  It is not illegal to eat your pet’s food.  Farmers who do not want the responsibility of a cow-share program can sell their raw milk direct to the consumer if it is clearly labeled as pet food.  In some states you can even buy raw milk with a pet food label at the grocery store.

Raw milk is delicious.  Once you have some, you will want more and more.  But go easy at first.  Remember, raw milk has a lot of beneficial bacteria that your gut is probably not used to.  If you are taking immuno-suppressant medication then you especially need to be careful because these drugs affect your immunity to such a degree that your system will not react normally to raw milks’ good bacteria.  Too much too early, for anyone, can put your digestive system under some initial strain, if you know what I mean.  If you guzzle a bunch of raw milk several days in a row, with your first gallon, you will get a stomach ache and you may say the milk is bad.  I’ve heard several “old-timers” tell me they used to sell their cow’s milk to friends, and the friends would come back and say, “That milk made me sick but it shore was good!”  No, the milk didn’t make anyone sick; the milk was working.  Continue to drink some every day, but slow down a bit and give your digestive system some time to get used to it.


Nothing in this blog or 3 part series about milk is intended for or given as medical advice; don’t take my word for it; always do your own research and consult your own medical professional before making any health or nutritional choices




You Decide


From the beginning of time until the late 1800s raw milk was the most natural and normal of foods.  Yet the “industrial food system” and government health officials rely upon one brief period of history, and milk from today’s sick and malnourished cattle, as the foundation for their argument.  Listening to them I am just astounded that the human race managed to survive like it did.  How could people have relied on it for centuries to nourish them if it were so very dangerous?

I know people who have seen cavities healed, and crowded dental palates widen, just from adding raw milk to their diet.  I know people who drank raw milk throughout their pregnancy and delivered healthy babies.  I know people whose children get sick from pasteurized milk but thrive on raw milk.  I am well aware of the research out there that vilifies raw milk, but for every negative claim and study I have discovered major problems, such as a lack of testing the accused milk and a lack of thorough questioning of supposed victims.  Raw milk is immediately assumed to be the culprit and the research often stops right there.  You do the research and see for yourself.  What I witness and experience, and what I have read, just doesn’t match up.   My family drinks 4 or more gallons of raw milk every week.  We also enjoy fresh raw butter, and raw cheese.  I make sure that my children have raw dairy every day; I make sure I have some too.

I believe my God is a great giver, and I want to take advantage of the great things he has given.

What kinds of gifts does God give?  And what happens to God’s creation when Man takes over?  When it comes to industrialized foods, has Man proven himself worthy?

 Now you know just how extremely nutritious raw milk really is, and how pasteurization kills and alters milk turning it into an allergenic product.  You know how beneficial small farms are across the world, and how damaging these factory farms are to the animals, the environment, the consumer, and the planet.

You are no longer ignorant.  Now what will you do about it?

I have done my very best to give you clear and correct information.  Don’t take my word for it.  Don’t run off and buy raw milk just because I said so.  Do your own research.  There is still more to tell.  These websites and books, all of which I used in researching this series of three articles, are each hot-linked below and can give you much more information:

Organic Pastures Dairy

Weston A Price Foundation

Real Milk  (good info and a state-by-state listing of raw milk availability)

Dr. Joseph Mercola


Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Tennesseans for Raw Milk

Cornucopia Institute (their Dairy Report Scorecard is a must read)


The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, D.D.S.


 Genesis 1:31 “And God saw all that he created, and behold, it was good.



Pasteurization: What’s REALLY in Your Milk?

The Thing About Milk, part 2

You likely learned about Francis Pottenger, MD, a well known 20th century researcher, in high school science class.  Potter’s most famous studies involved thousands of cats, known as the Pottenger Cat Study, around 1940.  One of these studies compared the effects of raw vs. pasteurized milk.  One group of cats received raw milk, another pasteurized, and another received either evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk (this is canned milk that has an almost indefinite shelf-life).  The group on raw milk not only thrived, but produced many generations of healthy cats.  The other groups became diseased, experienced skeletal changes, were unable to reproduce, and were highly susceptible to infection and chronic disease.  The cats on the condensed milk experienced these negative effects to an even greater degree. 


If pasteurization does not affect milk’s nutritional qualities, as many would have you believe, then why did the cats drinking it get so terribly sick?

Pasteurization with a Purpose?


The entire purpose of pasteurization is to kill things; and pasteurization kills milk.  In fact, the test for successful pasteurization is the absence of enzymes.  This means that pasteurization kills all of the beneficial enzymes in raw milk; the very enzymes needed to digest it.  What once was a nourishing, living food is now a dead, allergenic substance.


Because pasteurization kills enzymes, it destroys the safety net God built into milk to provide protection.  Without enzymes and good bacteria, milk can no longer heal itself or your gut.  Basically, when you drink pasteurized milk, you are drinking a sterile, lifeless substance that, if contaminated, provides the perfect environment for bad bacteria to flourish.  You’re drinking a substance that can no longer expand its nutritional and digestive qualities by gently souring after about a week, but instead suddenly putrefies and rots after several weeks in your refrigerator.  So you not only have a substance that causes allergic reactions due to its indigestibility, you also have the perfect carrier for food-borne illness.  Once you contaminate a sterile substance, bacteria will thrive.  If you are one of the lucky few who can so far drink pasteurized milk without problems, then just hope your gut is healthy enough to fight off what else may be lurking inside the milk.

Safety Standards?


According to RealMilk.com, for milk headed for pasteurization, federal standards allow 50,000 bacteria per ml.  After pasteurization, the milk is allowed to have up to 15,000 injured or living bacteria (www.organicpastures.com/faq.html), which may include pathogens (disease-causing bacteria and organisms) such as listeria, salmonella, campylobacter, and e coli 0157H7, and up to 25,000 bacteria per ml in cream.   While the purpose of pasteurization is to kill things, it doesn’t always get the bad stuff.  I repeat:  pasteurization doesn’t always work.  One such bad bacterium, which infects most confinement cows (cows kept in cramped facilities inside rather than outside on a sunny pasture), survives pasteurization and has been linked to Crohn’s disease in humans.  This is why more and more milk is now ultra-pasteurized; this is like pasteurization on steroids.  It violently heats the milk up much faster and much hotter, killing more of these feisty rascals, yet altering the milk even more than regular pasteurization.  This milk is labeled as such:  the label will often say “UHT.”  When you see milk that doesn’t require refrigeration, such as those cute little single serve cartons that fit so well in a lunchbox, it has been treated with extremely high temperatures either by canning or UHT pasteurization.  (Remember Pottenger’s cats who consumed condensed milk…)


Now consider that while pasteurization kills (most but not all) bacteria, it does not remove the bacteria from the milk.  So when you drink pasteurized milk, you are drinking all kinds of dead bacteria.  Click here for pictures of cows at an organic dairy, serving up “certified organic milk” that is headed for pasteurization.  Notice image #20, the very last picture on page one — this cow is in the actual milking parlor.  While you look at this picture, think about what you’ve just read.


There are also safety standards for raw milk that is intended for human consumption.  In California, where the sale of raw milk for human consumption is legal, safety standards require that there must be fewer than 10,000 live bacteria per ml for both certified raw milk and cream (www.RealMilk.com/whichchoose.html).


Did you catch that?  Compare those two sets of standards and you will see that federal standards for raw milk are tighter than those for pasteurized milk. 


If fewer bacteria and pathogens are allowed in raw milk than pasteurized milk, you tell me which milk is safer to drink?


Visual imagery always helps me understand things better.  Maybe it does for you too:


 Here again are the pictures of cows at the organic dairy , serving up “certified organic milk” that is headed for pasteurization.  Notice image #20.


And two more:

And here are several pictures of cows serving up fresh milk, intended for human consumption:

The above pictures remind me of my first raw milk farmer.  Each gallon jar of milk was labeled with the date of the milking and the name of the cow.  I had jars in my fridge labeled, “Thursday a.m. — Flossie” or “Thursday p.m. — Maggie.”  Now that’s knowing where your food comes from!  I knew exactly how and when each milking was done, and the sanitary measures the farmer used to insure the integrity of every gallon.  I had the email, phone number, and address for the farmer.  He was especially careful because he knew the names of the children who were drinking his milk; a responsibility that he took very seriously. When you buy a jug of pasteurized milk, did it come from one cow near where you live, or is it a mixture of milk from who knows how many cows trucked from across the country?

What Vitamins?


In part one of this series you learned about the amazing health benefits of raw milk.  In addition to those great enzymes and healthy bacteria, there are a plethora of vitamins and minerals, in ready to absorb forms.  Milk’s saturated fat is also important in nourishing our bodies.  But milk is probably most famous for its calcium.  “Big dairy” would have you believe that pasteurization does not alter any of these important qualities in milk.  But that is not true.  In fact, pasteurization makes it so all of the nutritive qualities in milk are less available.  The test for successful pasteurization is the absence of enzymes, specifically Phosphatase, the enzyme needed for calcium absorption.  Without enzymes, our bodies have much more difficulty assimilating vitamins and minerals.  If a body has to strain to digest it, how does this milk do a body good?


Additionally, pasteurization promotes rancidity of those great fatty acids you learned about earlier, and completely destroys vitamin C, B12, and B6.


Not only are milk’s important nutrients destroyed or altered by pasteurization, but chemicals may be added in order to suppress odor and restore taste.  And, synthetic vitamins are added; synthetic vitamin D2, which is linked with heart disease, and synthetic vitamin D3, which is difficult to absorb.

Pasteurized milk, void of all life-giving and healing properties, wreaks havoc with our bodies.  For some it is unbearable gas, bloating, and constipation.  For others it may be eczema or asthma.  But for many its manifestations may be more subtle, such as tooth decay, nutritional deficiencies, auto-immune disease, heart trouble, or cancer.  These are health issues with causes difficult to pin down, but their beginnings in our society began to show up soon after the majority of milk was pasteurized.




TB is another hot button topic for raw milk.  “Big dairy” tells us that milk needs to be pasteurized in order to kill this terrible pathogen.  Many health-conscious consumers agree.  The truth is no one has ever fully confirmed, without a doubt, that people can contract the bovine form of TB by drinking raw milk.  In fact some studies have shown that it is impossible for humans to contract bovine TB.  Still, there are those who know people who were supposedly infected with TB after drinking raw milk.


In researching this article I read about Marion Snydegaard of Iowa who was voted healthiest woman in America back in the 1930’s.  She drank a lot of raw milk every day from cows that tested positive for TB.  Yet she was never infected.  Studies have shown that children who drink raw milk are actually more resistant to TB than children who drink pasteurized milk.  During the 1920’s, the Mayo Foundation was actually using raw milk to cure TB.


There is no doubt, however, that TB was a leading cause of death in America in the early 1900s, and that many people got very sick from drinking raw milk.  Tuberculosis can definitely spread through contaminated milk.  The question is, how does the milk become contaminated in the first place?


Ted Beals, MS, MD, is not only a leading raw milk advocate but he is also a respected pathologist.  According to his article, “The Risk of Bovine Tb from Raw Milk Consumption with a Focus on Michigan,” there are only 2 studies that show transmission of bovine TB from infected cow to the milk, and in both of these studies the cows were visibly infected; the cows were emaciated, had low milk production, diarrhea, etc.  According to Beals, there are two ways in which milk can become contaminated with bovine TB.  One is when the cow that is being milked actually has ulcerated lesions on its teats (which isn’t going to happen, because the handler would know the cow had TB by that point and have her put down).  The second is by handlers with active bovine TB.   The handler is not getting TB from the milk in the first place, however.  He acquires it by inhaling cough droplets from the cow, or by direct contact with materials contaminated directly by the infected cattle.


The type of TB I am talking about is bovine TB.  According to Beals, it is extremely unlikely for bovine TB to be passed via raw milk. However the human form of TB can definitely spread via raw milk.  You learned about that in part one of this series; milk became contaminated when the handlers, infected with TB, coughed directly into the open pails of milk.  It isn’t the milk that is contaminated, it is the entire process: from poorly cared for and sick cows, to infected dairymen, to unsanitary conditions.  Through the use of closed-system milking machines, the contamination of milk by TB in the 1920s was reduced to nearly zero.


TB is not a threat to cows today and most raw milk farmers will have their herds tested to confirm they are free of TB even though bovine TB has been almost eradicated due to the testing and slaughter of affected animals.


If you are concerned that you will be infected with TB if you drink raw milk, I strongly recommend that you read Dr. Beals’ complete article.

Back to Those Safety Standards…


Now that you know that milk can become contaminated by unsanitary conditions, sick herds, and sick dairymen, there are a few more safety standards you need to know about.


In California, where it is legal to sell raw milk for human consumption, there are special standards for the milking herd as well as employees.  There are also special standards for herds and employees involved with pasteurized milk.  The standards are not the same.  In fact, the standards for herds and employees involved with pasteurized milk are again not as strict as those for herds and employees involved with raw milk.


All dairy cows, for both pasteurized and certified raw milk, are vaccinated early on for both TB and Brucellosis.  All dairy cows are inspected regularly, and the milk is also tested several times a year.  However, certified raw milk dairies are visited at least weekly, sometimes more frequently, by inspectors while conventional dairies are visited monthly.  Also, testing of certified raw dairies is stricter than for conventional dairies.


Regarding employees, raw milk dairy employees receive monthly health exams, including strep tests.  Additionally, they have annual TB tests and bi-annual stool specimen tests.  There are other tests required of employees through the year.  In contrast, employees working at conventional dairies undergo a physical at the time of employment and then no further health exams are required.


Once again we see that federal safety standards are stricter for raw milk intended for human consumption than for pasteurized milk.


A Real Killer


Pasteurization has done much more than just kill the milk.  According to Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy, pasteurization has killed personal responsibility.  No longer does the conventional dairy farmer need to concern himself, too much, with the proper care and cleanliness of his cows.  Pasteurization takes care of that problem for him.


Two Milks


To be honest, there are dairies out there that pasteurize their milk that have beautiful, healthy herds and truly fresh, clean milk.  I know of one such dairy right here.  They work with the utmost ethics; the cows receive the best of care.  The herd grazes outside on pasture, there are no hormones or antibiotics, no grains.  Farms such as this are good for communities.  While these farmers pasteurize their milk, they really don’t have to because their cows are healthy and their facilities are clean. 

 There are other such dairies across the country, but they are the exception rather than the rule.  Many of them would go raw if the laws were different.  Instead they low-heat pasteurize their milk, and offer non-homogenized milk.  These are good dairies, and they are definitely an option for people who cannot locate clean, raw milk.  The nutrients are still altered, the enzymes are still destroyed, but not to the same extent as regular and UHT pasteurization.  HOWEVER — if these dairies aren’t selling their milk under their own label, then you will have great difficulty finding their milk in stores because it likely winds up getting dumped into a bulk tank with milk from thousands of other cows who received low quality care.


The bottom line is this:  there are two milks.  There is raw milk that is intended for pasteurization; and there is raw milk that is intended for human consumption.  These two milks are drastically different.   Both are raw; one is not fit for humans to consume, the other is extremely beneficial for humans to consume.  It all has to do with the care and handling of the cow. 

We’ll talk about that in part 3: Feed the World, Save the Planet, the conclusion to this series on milk.  I will also talk to you about how to obtain this wonderful treasure for yourself. 


Until then, here is a point to ponder:


Remember the California raw milk dairy that injected deadly pathogens into its milk? Organic Pastures Dairy in California actually added Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and e coli 0157H7 to their milk and none survived (see #9).   In fact, Organic Pastures raw milk averages approximately 1500 beneficial bacteria per ml and in all their years of existence they have never found a human pathogen in their raw milk.  Not only that, but even tests on the manure of their cows have never turned up one human pathogen.


Can the same be said for the dairy that produces your expensive, pasteurized, organic milk?


The Thing About Milk ….. Raw Milk is GOOD

“The food industry actually believes that feeding your children Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs, and Mountain Dew is safe, but drinking raw milk and eating compost grown tomatoes is dangerous.” – Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm, Inc.


When it comes to real foods, milk is one of the hottest topics around.  Nothing else seems to draw controversy like raw milk.  Some are sure it is life-threatening while others know it is life-giving.  Wars are being waged in capitols across America between those who want raw milk banned forever, and those who have been healed by it.  Meanwhile, milk allergies are on the rise, and concentration-camp-style feedlots are growing; while the small farm, once so critical to the American way of life, is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In Genesis 1:31, the Bible tells us that God saw all that he created and it was good.  When I hear about a natural food being vilified, I remember this verse.  God created good things for us to eat; foods that will nourish and bring health.  Repeatedly, throughout the Bible, milk is referenced in good ways.  The Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey, and heaven will be too.  If milk were dangerous, then it wouldn’t make a good description for heaven, would it?

But  there is no denying that many people have become sick, and even died, from drinking raw milk.  On the other hand, it is also well documented that many cultures have not only thrived on raw milk, but many people have been cured of disease by simply drinking raw milk.  How could this be?  The obvious conclusion here is that there is more to this story than most people know.

Milk Primer

Raw Milk refers to milk that has come straight from the cow without having anything done to it.  Raw milk is considered a “whole” food; it is in its original state, nothing is missing, nothing has been added.

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high temperature in order to kill any bacteria or pathogens that may be in the milk.  This is a picture of a milk pasteurization plant with its miles of stainless steel tubes and tanks:

  Homogenization is the process of using extreme pressure to break apart the fat cells of the cream into such tiny globules that they can no longer re-form and rise to the top of the milk.  This is a picture of a milk homogenizer:

Most milk sold in grocery stores has been pasteurized and homogenized.  This milk is not a whole food because it has been dramatically changed from its original state.  Some milk sold in health food stores has been pasteurized but not homogenized, so this milk will show a “cream line” where the cream has separated from the milk and raised to the top of the jug.

Milk History 101

From the beginning of time until the 1900s all milk was raw milk.  Milk was considered necessary for survival, and cultures world-wide depended on it.  In fact, it was shipments of heifers that kept both the Jamestown and Plymouth colonies from starving.  The fresh milk, butter and cheese were not only nourishing but economical. For nearly 200 years dairying was a way of life in America.  Small, homestead farms, where the cows and other animals grazed on pasture, dotted the landscape.

But by the 1800s, as people left the farms to take jobs in the cities, dairy cows were moved from the farm to the city, where they were kept crowded together in small lots.  The people wanted their fresh milk, but had no means of keeping or caring for a cow.  Thus began the conventional feedlot:  many cows kept in one small area, overseen by a few people, and fed as cheaply as possible.  These cows were often housed next to the local distillery and fed run-off from the grain fermentation process.  While this was economical and convenient, the cows were sick, malnourished, and dying because they were not receiving proper care or feed.  They were still producing large quantities of milk, but it was thin and watery.  In some places, the dairymen were adding chalk and other thickeners to the milk to make it look healthier.  In addition, the people handling these cows were also sick with highly contagious diseases such as TB.  As they milked, they coughed into the pails, spreading their disease through the milk. There was no sanitation, no proper cleaning, no stainless steel equipment, no refrigeration, and no proper sewage control for the animals or humans.  This was the milk being fed to the masses.  Is it any surprise that people were sick and dying?  The infant mortality rate back then was about 50%!  Sanitation conditions were already poor, especially in cities; combine poor sanitation with contaminated foods and you have a major health crisis.

Pasteurization was the answer to this real problem. It killed the pathogens in the filthy milk so people could drink it without dying.  The dairy industry quickly realized another benefit to pasteurization:  pasteurized milk lasted longer.  Un-pasteurized milk would sour in about a week but pasteurized milk would last several weeks.  Big businesses began investing money in facilities designed to pasteurize milk, and created a lobby to push for mandatory pasteurization of all milk.  Some of these people, having experienced great losses of loved ones themselves, were truly concerned for the people’s welfare.  Others saw profits.  A type of “smear campaign” against raw milk was developed.  It was apparently quite successful, considering the controversy going on today regarding milk.  In fact, it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in nearly half of all 50 states today.

Homogenization goes hand in hand with pasteurization.  There are no health benefits to homogenization; it began simply as a convenience.  Healthy, nutritious milk is loaded with cream which naturally rises to the top.


The milk must be shaken in order to mix the cream back in.  When the milk man traveled long distances, he was repeatedly shaking the milk so each customer would receive rich, creamy milk.  If he didn’t keep it mixed, one customer would receive all cream while the rest would receive skimmed milk.  In addition, when the milk began to sour, the cream would become clumpy.  Homogenization, which began around 1899, solved this problem. However, it took a long time for customers to accept homogenized milk because they liked seeing how much cream was in their milk.  The quality of milk was determined by the amount of cream on top.  A lot of cream meant high quality milk; clumpy cream meant older milk; little cream meant low quality milk.  Smart consumers knew better than to spend their hard-earned money on low quality, watery milk.  But the producers were persistent.  Homogenization was much more convenient for them.  And, they realized that they could make even more money by skimming off a majority of that cream, selling it for a high profit to be made into butter and cheese (and later ice cream), and homogenizing what was left and selling it to the consumer who was none the wiser.  Whole milk from the store today is really partially skimmed milk, but thanks to homogenization the consumer has no way of knowing they are not getting the real thing.  So pasteurization and homogenization became inseparable buddies; the producers could now make lower quality milk appear fresher, last longer, and make more money.  In the good name of Public Health, of course.

Country Milk


While people in the cities were dying from drinking raw milk, others were thriving on raw milk.  Country farmers were still keeping their cows on pasture, in the sunshine, eating fresh grass.  These cows were producing rich, creamy milk.  This milk was not only nourishing the farmer and his family, but it was also healing the sick.  In Rochester, Minnesota, in 1929 raw milk was actively and successfully used by physicians at the Mayo Foundation (pre-cursor to the Mayo Clinic) to treat tuberculosis, cardiac disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and many other diseases.  The patients started with about 4 quarts of rich, raw milk per day and gradually increased to as much as ten quarts per day.  This work is documented by J.E. Crewe, MD, one of the founders of the Mayo Foundation.  Many city people were going to great lengths to buy this wonderful milk.   This good quality, nourishing, and delicious milk became known as “country milk.”  It was simply fresh, raw milk from healthy cows. 


Life-Giving, Living, and Active

Have you heard about Heifer International, the non-profit organization that helps people in poverty-stricken countries around the globe?  They give impoverished families cows, teaching the families to care for and milk them.  They aren’t sending the milk away to processing plants for pasteurization; they are drinking it raw and it is making them healthy.

On the website you can see a video testimonial from Alice, who has AIDS, and says that drinking the milk eliminates the side effects of her medications and makes her feel better.  She says the milk is keeping her family healthy, and they are also making money by selling milk to others.

Raw milk is nourishing people today just like it has throughout history.  Doctors from the earliest times, including Pliny and Hippocrates, have documented the importance of milk in healing disease. Raw milk didn’t make people sick, people weren’t allergic to it, and nobody died from drinking it.  In fact, in his article titled, “Raw Milk Heals Many Diseases,” Dr. Crewe describes milk as having “…an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance.”  This is the milk that has nourished humanity for generations:  raw milk, from healthy cows. 


Dr. Crewe’s description of raw milk is right on.  Let me say it again:  raw milk has “…an excess of vitamins and all the elements necessary to growth and maintenance.”  Mothers, this should catch your attention.  Are you responsible for nurturing growing children, who depend on you to help them grow up strong?  This is information you need to know.

Raw milk is a living and active food:


  • it is loaded with enzymes that kill pathogens
  • it is loaded with beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help your digestion
  • it forms the specific enzymes your body needs to digest it
  • it is loaded with the critical fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • it contains the entire B complex of vitamins, and vitamin C
  • it contains many minerals, including calcium, in forms that are ready-to-absorb so that your body does not have to work hard to assimilate them
  • it contains Phosphatase, the key enzyme for calcium absorption


As you mull over the above list, consider our God, our Creator, who uniquely designed raw milk to have so many life-giving and healing properties.  These properties work together, one relying on the other, to nourish us and our children.  It does no good to consume calcium if we can’t absorb it, yet God included the living enzyme Phosphatase in raw milk to do that work.  If we can’t digest raw milk, then it will make us sick; yet God designed raw milk with living enzymes to aid our digestion.  And as we digest this amazing food, we are quietly nourished with vitamins and minerals critical to good health.  God is good!


Another point that needs emphasizing is that raw milk is loaded with enzymes that kill pathogens.  This is very important because “big dairy”, most physicians, most nutritionists, and most lawmakers will tell you that milk must be pasteurized to kill pathogens that are in it.  That is the whole reason for pasteurization.  First of all, healthy milk doesn’t have pathogens!   Consider Organic Pastures Dairy in California.  In an effort to prove the safety of raw milk, owner Mark McAfee had deadly pathogens such as e-coli injected into samples of their milk, then at the end of the day had the samples tested.  You can read the documentation on their website, and I have heard him tell about it in person.  The results:  no pathogens remained.  The milk was clean; it healed itself!  God created milk with its own safety net. If raw milk kills pathogens, imagine what good things it can do inside your gut.


Fabulous FAT


Contrary to what you’ve heard from conventional science, saturated fat is actually good for you.  This is not the same thing as trans fats, which are very dangerous to your health.  Saturated fat performs many functions in your body, such as:  maintaining a strong cardiovascular system, maintaining strong bones, maintaining healthy lungs, assisting in liver function and protection, proper brain function, strengthening immunities, proper nerve stimulation that affects metabolism and insulin production, cancer prevention, and proper cholesterol levels.

 Milk is full of saturated fat and it assists your body in all the ways mentioned above.  In addition, God designed the saturated fat in milk to aid your body in metabolizing and assimilating the vitamins and minerals in the other foods we eat.  Remember the fat-soluble vitamins mentioned earlier?  Your body cannot absorb them without healthy fat.  And milk-fat is specially designed just for that.  If you are drinking skim milk, then your body is having trouble digesting most everything you eat.  Your body needs animal fats.  Fresh, raw butter is an excellent way to enjoy the health benefits of milk’s saturated fat.

Have you heard of fatty-acids?  There are omega 6 fatty acids, and omega 3 fatty acids.  Our bodies need a special balance of each.  When a cow grazes on pasture, then her milk will have exceptional fatty acid ratios.  This means that raw milk helps prevent obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, and more. 


Raw milk also has high CLA values.  Conjugated Linoleic Acid is a healthy fat that, among other things, is a potent cancer fighter.  Raw milk from a pastured cow has 3 to 5 times more CLA’s than a grain-fed cow, and a cow kept in confinement (as most conventional dairy cows are) will have zero CLA’s.  Raw milk from a pastured cow who grazed when the grass was actively growing, such as in the spring, is so healthy it is considered a “super food.”  You can even see the difference, as this milk is actually a darker cream color.


There are many important health benefits just in the fat of raw milk.  The fat is in the cream.  Remember, in the days prior to homogenization, consumers judged the quality of milk by the amount of cream on top.  People innately knew, without having the science to back it up, that they needed this important fat for good health.

But Wait, There’s More!                 


  • children who drink raw milk have healthier immune systems and are less susceptible to the flu
  • raw milk prevents tooth decay
  • raw milk promotes proper palate formation and tooth development

  • children who drink raw milk have less asthma than those who drink pasteurized milk
  • children who drink raw milk have fewer skin problems than those who drink pasteurized milk
  • raw milk promotes calcium absorption and prevents arthritis

  • raw milk has successfully cured TB, edema, heart failure, high blood pressure, prostate disease, urinary tract infections, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic fatigue, and obesity.

The Great Provider

People are in awe over the way our God forms a baby in a mother’s womb, and gives her alone the ability to sustain it; people are struck with the complexity and vastness of the solar system, and the ocean.  When will people praise God for the way he made ordinary things totally extraordinary?  Don’t you see that his awesome power, might, and love for you is also evidenced in the way he provides your food?  He created us, and he uniquely created food to nurture us…good, safe food.

“And God saw all that he created, and, behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31

**This is part one of a three part series about raw milk…Coming soon:  Pasteurization — What’s REALLY in the Milk?**