All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Got Milk? Is it raw?

If you live in Wisconsin, more likely than not, that question is answered, no, ...unless you live on a dairy farm. If you don't live on a dairy farm, a consumer must go through ridiculous contortions to procure raw milk.

Some years back, it was legal to get raw milk if you were part owner of a dairy cow. Then that was deemed unacceptable. Some creative consumers and farmers then entered into a I know nothing relationship of just come into the cooler room, pick up the milk, leave the money in the secret spot.

All of that subterfuge is about to change. The Wisconsin legislature is entertaining allowing the sale of raw milk once again in our state: Modified raw milk legislation moves ahead: "The legislation [Senate Bill 434] is expected to be voted on by the full Assembly and Senate before the session ends in April." I am amazed that in this Nanny State environment the bill is moving forward.

I grew up drinking raw milk even though I did not live on a farm--I was a city girl. The Golden Guernsey dairyman delivered it to our house every week. (Remember milk chutes?) The certified milk came in glass quart bottles and was not homogenized*. It was delicious. The Golden Guernsey Dairy Barns that produced our raw milk were VERY clean and subject to a rigorous testing schedule.

Raw milk advocates cite it is a healthier choice because it is a living food. Conditions such as asthma, allergies, eczema and even Autism are said to improve if raw milk is consumed. Those conditions are certainly prevalent today. Raw milk opponents say it is dangerous because it can carry bacteria such as listeria, E. coli, and salmonella. I don't know if that was the case in the 1950s and 60s. Back then I just remember brucellosis being mentioned as a risk factor.

But is pasteurization a guarantee of safety? If you remember what we learned from the debate on whether to irradiate beef against E. coli, irradiation did not prevent post irradiation contamination. The same is true for pasteurization. Pasteurizing milk does not and cannot prevent post-pasteurization contamination, as evidenced by the periodic recalls of listeria and other bacterial contaminated pasteurized dairy products on the news.

The Real Milk website had an interesting paper on Raw vs. Pasteurized milk. I confess I did not read all 70 pages, but if this is a subject that interests you, take a look. Response to the FDA Anti-Raw Milk Point-by-Point Presentation "Between 1980 and 2005, 41 outbreaks were reported to the CDC attributing 19,531 illnesses to the consumption of pasteurized milk and milk products. This is 10.7 times the number of illnesses attributed to raw milk during the same period."

The key to raw milk safety is the cleanliness and quality of the dairy farm you are purchasing the milk from. The cows should be grass fed. The barn should be very clean (as was the case with Golden Guernsey). A smaller operation is probably better than bigger. The focus of their dairy should be selling milk raw. (I would not consume raw milk from a traditional dairy farm because their cleanliness standards are not the same.)

Are there risks involved? Yes. Are there benefits? Yes. Are there risks to consuming pasteurized milk products? Yes. Everything we do carries risk.

So, do some research and decide for yourself. I doubt any mainstream doctor would advocate consuming raw milk, but there are many D.O.s and Holistic type Doctors and Dentists who do. Interestingly, many of the voices I hear advocating raw milk do not approve of consuming pasteurized milk!

If this issue is important to you, contact your State Legislators: Assembly, Senate. We allow drug sales that carry benefit and risk; we allow selling cigarettes and alcohol that pretty much only carry risk. Shouldn't we be allowed to decide for ourselves on raw milk?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor am I in the health field. Outside of a college nutrition, physiology and anatomy, and genetics class, I have had no formal training in the health field. I do however use holistic and natural medicine practices for myself and family.

More reading
Look at California, where raw milk is legal: "Except for a brief hiatus in 1990, raw milk has always been for sale commercially in California, usually in health food stores, although I can remember a period when it was even sold in grocery stores. Millions of people consumed commercial raw milk during that period and although the health department kept an eagle eye open for any possible evidence of harm, not a single incidence was reported. During the same period, there were many instances of contamination in pasteurized milk, some of which resulted in death."
Real Milk Website
Raw Milk Is Gaining Fans, but the Science Says It's Dangerous

*Homogenization is thought to contribute to heart disease because the process makes the fat molecule so small, it passed directly through the gut into the blood stream.

Links: Practically Speaking, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna, The Right View Wisconsin, CNS News, Mark Levin, Breitbart BigGovernment, The Heritage Foundation

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