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Why Do Some People Drink Raw Milk?

Despite a multitude of warnings about the dangers of drinking raw milk (milk that hasn’t been pastuerized), why do some people continue to turn a deaf ear to those warnings, even in light of continued food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw milk?

Could it be the “messenger” — typically federal and state agencies and public health officials?

raw-milk-bucket-406x250.jpg

A clue to that possibility surfaced in a recent study, “Motivation for Unpasteurized Milk Consumption in Michigan, 2011,” by Paul Bartlett and Angela Renee Katafiasz, of Michigan State University, which appeared in a recent issue of  ”Food Protection Trends.”

In an email to Food Safety News, Bartlett said that what surprised him the most about the results of the survey of raw-milk drinkers was that such a small percentage of them trusted public health officials regarding what food is safe to eat.

Only 4 (or 7.1 percent) of the 56 raw-milk consumers who responded to the study’s questionnaire agreed with a statement that “in general, they trusted recommendations made by state health officials about what foods are safe to eat.” Another 10 (or 17.9 percent) indicated they didn’t agree with the statement, while another  41 (or 73.2 percent) said they weren’t sure.

“This lack of trust,” says the study, “casts doubt on whether or not consumer education by local or state health departments would be effective in preventing milk-borne disease due to raw-milk consumption.”

None of this surprises Mark McAfee, the outspoken co-owner of  California-based Organic Pastures, the nation’s largest raw-milk producer. 

 

In an email to Food Safety News, McAfee said he has always thought that any area where raw milk is sold should have a huge ultra-red pink sign that says something like:  ”The FDA says raw milk is dangerous because it has not been processed.”

“If that were the case,” he said, “sales would skyrocket. No one trusts the Food and Drug Administration or its propaganda.” 

McAfee said the problem is that “state and federal agencies have cried wolf so many times against raw milk that now any cries that might be an honest attempt to warn of the rare incidence of illness is ignored as hatred against all things FDA.”

FDA comes into the picture because the agency doesn’t allow raw milk sold for human consumption to be transported across state lines.

That same skepticism about what public health officials and agencies have to say about raw milk kept surfacing in the recent Michigan study. When asked if raw milk should be regulated by the government to ensure quality standards, 27 (or 48.2 percent) of the respondents disagreed, while only 9 (or 16.1 percent) agreed.  Another 17 (or 30.4 percent) said they weren’t sure.

Along those same lines, some of the raw milk consumers in the study said they generally believe that their producers maintain a higher standard of animal care and cleanliness than does the mainstream dairy industry.

The respondents also took issue with some of the survey’s other statements, once again revealing sharp differences of opinion with official government views on the potential health hazards of drinking raw milk.  For example, when asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “Drinking raw milk increases your risk of getting a foodborne disease,” an average of 44 (or 78.6 percent) disagreed. Only 6 respondents agreed with the statement, and another 5 (or 8.9 percent) of the respondents said they weren’t sure.

  

In Februrary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study showing that the rate of disease outbreaks linked to raw milk was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

 In 2010, Michigan had two Campylobacter foodborne outbreaks associated with raw milk. And last year, 3 probable cases of Q-fever were reported in people who participated in raw-milk cow-share arrangements, which according to the report, were presumably caused by drinking raw milk.

 

Back in 1947, Michigan became the first state to require that all milk for sale be pasteurized. As such, the sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in that state. However cow- and goat-share agreements in which people buy a share of a herd and are therefore considered owners of the milk from the herd are permitted through an informal agreement on the part of the state.

Profile of a raw-milk drinker

The Michigan study starts off by acknowledging that “it is largely unknown why some consumers prefer raw milk over pasteurized milk.”

As such, one of the goals of the peer-reviewed study was to come up with a some sort of profile of raw-milk drinkers in Michigan and from there, to summarize their reasons for preferring raw milk to pasteurized milk.

The profile that emerged was a well-educated adult in his/her late 20s who typically lives in a rural area. Overall, the ages of the raw-milk drinkers, which included family members, ranged from less than one year to 75.

The profile, which, co-author Bartlett readily says is limited due to the small number of raw-milk drinkers surveyed, contrasts starkly with a profile of raw-milk drinkers in California that emerged in an earlier report, “Profile of Raw Milk Consumers.”

Authored primarily by scientists then at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the report analyzed responses to questions in the 1994 California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey that asked respondents about whether they drank raw milk, the amount consumed, the reason for drinking raw milk, and where raw milk was most often obtained.

 The researchers found that among the 3,999 survey respondents, 128 (about 3.2 percent) reported drinking raw milk the previous year. These raw-milk consumers were more likely that those who didn’t drink raw milk to be younger than 40, male, Hispanic and to have less than a high school education. 

However, these survey results included any responder who had drunk raw milk in the previous year no matter how much or how little.

One of the conclusions of the California report was that additional research is needed to further refine the profile of raw milk drinkers and determine their risk of adverse effects from drinking raw milk.

The report also said that “Although the role of raw milk as a vehicle in disease transmission has been well-documented, information regarding the prevalence of raw-milk consumption in sparse.”

Estimates of the percentage of milk drinkers who drink raw milk range from 1 to 3 percent of the U.S. population, although no one knows for sure since it’s too difficult to track the information.

Organic Pastures McAfee was happy to share some information about his raw-milk customers, based on informal studies and polls conducted by the dairy. What surfaces is that 50 percent of the dairy’s raw-milk customers are well-educated moms between 20 and 45 years old. The rest of the dairy’s raw-milk customers are what McAfee describes as “being all over the place” and can be anyone: young, old, fat, skinny, gay, straigh
t, religious, agnostic, healthy, sick, abandoned by doctors, not wanting to go to doctors, Eastern Bloc immigrants, left wingers, right wingers, no wingers, Tea Party members, and homeschoolers.

“It is everyone,” he said.

Why raw milk? 

Supporting local farms topped the list of the reasons the Michigan raw-milk survey respondents gave for preferring raw milk, with 48 (or 85.7) of them citing that as a reason. Next came taste, with 47 (or 83.9 percent) giving that as a reason. “Holistic health benefits” were cited by 43 (or 76.8 percent) of the respondents. Thirty-two respondents (or 57.1 percent) said they don’t feel processed milk is safe.

 

A majority of the study’s raw-milk drinkers shared their beliefs that raw milk was beneficial for relieving  digestive problems, intestinal diseases and allergies. Some said they believe raw milk is beneficial for heart disease, neurologic disease, acne, and cancer. Others shared anecdotal claims that when they drink pasteurized milk, they experience symptoms of lactose intolerance, which they said doesn’t happen when they drink unpasteurized milk.

  

People with lactose intolerance have a hard time digesting lactose, which is a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. The intolerance occurs when the small intestine doesn’t make enough of the enzyme, lactase, which is needed to break down or digest lactose.  Symptoms include gas, belly pain, and bloating.

However, a study out of Stanford Medical School (financed by raw milk advocates) not only raised questions about how widespread lactose intolerance really is, but found that raw milk did not confer any benefit over pasteurized milk in relieving symptoms of lactose intolerance.

 

Health authorities say that no matter what benefits might be associated anecdotally with raw milk, the risk of contracting a foodborne disease such as E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter or Listeria infection outweighs any of the unproven benefits.  They point out that if harmful microorganisms from cow excrement contaminates the raw milk, those drinking it can come down with serious digestive problems, kidney failure, or even death.

In California, labels on raw-milk containers must say:  ”Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing micro-organisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity.” 

 

The Michigan study also revealed that the average number of years the respondents have been drinking raw milk is 6.1 and that 92 percent of the milk the respondents’ families drink is raw milk.

A commitment to purchasing raw milk can be seen in the average number of miles a respondent travels out of his or her way to buy raw milk: 24.2 miles. The average number of  pickups of raw milk each month was 4.1.

The study

Questionnaires were sent out to raw-milk producers, 20 of whom agreed to participate in the study. The producers, in turn, were sent survey questions, which they forwarded on to their cow- or goat-share members. Of the 160 questionnaires sent out, 56 were returned.

While the study has been criticized for being self-selecting in that it only questioned people who drink raw milk and biased because it started out with the assumption that it’s potentially harmful to your health to drink raw milk, co-author Bartlett told Food Safety News that it was done “for the cost of postage” as a project for a 3-credit course. And, yes, he definitely would have liked to have had a higher response rate and a larger study.

He also pointed out that the hypothesized health benefits of raw milk are difficult to study because it would be unethical to randomly assign people to drink raw milk and others to drink pasteurized milk. Besides which, such a study could not be done blindly because the study subjects would certainly know if they were drinking raw or pasteurized milk (although the Stanford study effectively masked the taste differences with an added flavoring.)

 More information about raw milk can be found here

© Food Safety News
  • BB

    I think the question should just be “why drink cow’s milk?”
    It’s not like we need it (don’t tell the dairy lobbyist that though!).

  • Richard

    In light of recent food infections, could also ask: Why do some people eat raw leafy greens, cantaloupe, ground beef or turkey, any processed raw fruit or veggie, at Taco Bell, etc.
    All of these risks could be lessened by informed dietary choice.
    Perhaps if we compared relative risk of unpasteurized milk to each of the above, would help consumers make wiser choices. Also, if as FSN reports today, 2/3 of retail meats are positive for fecal bacteria, this is a common source of fecal pathogens entering our kitchens, lingering in around our sinks, etc.
    We all assume risks each day. Knowing the relative risk of raw milk vs. handling or eating these other common foods could inform consumer choice.
    BTW, your pic is misleading. Folks like us with a family cow milk into closed, sanitized stainless, smooth containers, or at worst, partially open, smooth stainless buckets. Not the rough buckets, including seams, that harbor microbes. Please feature a real milking pail next time; there’s a reason why its sides are so smooth and shiny, and have been so for decades or more.

  • Terry Kurzynski

    Let’s be frank, only uneducated people in denial favor raw milk.
    Unfortunately, in some cases their innocent children will suffer from their parents ignorance. How many verified outbreaks will it take to convince people that milk has to be pasteurized in order to be safe?

  • Sara

    The fact is, no one should trust the FDA or any other agency about raw milk, because the agency is under the thumb of huge food and drug industries, including huge dairy associations. Why would anyone who is educated and not in denial trust those whose interests are driven by politics and profits? The FDA and the industries they represent are absolutely NOT motivated by the pursuit of public health nor are their “scientific” studies. Truthfully most people are motivated by health in their food choices either, but by convenience, taste and cost.
    This article is more mumbo jumbo we’ve all heard before. Why is it always those advocating a new idea that threatens the industrial food system whose motives and theories are always spotlighted as faulty?
    Why doesn’t FSN write a new kind of article and research some of the “health” claims and recommendations made in the past by the FDA and how those were proven false and harmful after wide public adoption? Foods like margarine or chemicals like DDT that were shown to have serious health consequences, and the FDA couldn’t backpedal fast enough to slow the snowball they created. I’m sure many drugs and foods have they advocated have caused great public harm and continue to do so.
    Be brave, FSN, crawl out of the pocket of the food and drug industry, I mean administration, and do some innovative research on how ineffective the FDA has been in protecting people historically, or in fact how harmful some of their recommendations have been in the past.
    Or is that even legal in our country?

  • BB

    Why do people still eat raw fruit and vegtables??? Because they want to. Why is raw milk villified more than raw fruits and vegtables? You don’t hear health officials telling you to never eat raw fruits or vegtables…do you? We should have a choice to drink raw milk, but the government doesn’t want us to have a choice b/c it would take profits away from the dairy industry. They want to scare us into thinking that raw milk will kill you if you drink it. I know plenty of people that grew up drinking raw milk and never got sick from it. The bottom line is that we should have a choice. I don’t drink milk so I don’t have to worry about it. Why is somebody a terrible parent if they give their kid raw milk, but it’s OK to give them canteloupe???
    I think sometimes the FDA has good intentions, but their is too much influence from corporate interests (like Sara was talking about).

  • PB

    I don’t think that the question as to “why people drink raw milk” is germane. People are going to drink raw milk despite warnings about possible health problems. People continue to smoke and there is little doubt about the health problems with tobacco. The question is how can we provide the safest possible raw milk? Most companies do not do what is right because they feel morally responsible. Companies provide a good product because they are looking to make money. Remember the history of prohitition, when alcohol was illegal. Safe suppliers of alcohol were put out of buisness and organized crime was supplying bathtub gin that you hoped didn’t kill or blind you. Simple economics, provide a safe product and stay in buisness. Make people sick and go out of buisness or to jail. Transparency is the only way to provide healthy food.

  • Michael Bulger

    Ah, PB. Raw milk producers like Mark McAfee make people sick and don’t go out of business. The same with conventional producers like Jack DeCoster. There is no such thing as “simple economics”. All of economics is complicated.

  • Cam Aujuard, REHS

    As I stated awhile back, perhaps a law needs to be created so that those who continue to drink raw milk have the total medical responsibilty themselves. When that time comes (and it will come, believe me) when they get ill or hopefully one of their “darling little children” or grandma / pa die, and they want “a fist full of dollars” from the seller of the product they purchased, let it be that they’re on there own. Let them pay for their “drug of choise” the hard way, instead of trying to sue the milk owner…..because they would rather
    trust the milk seller than someone at the local, state or federal level who has spent six to seven years on the university level studing microbiology / medicine.

  • http://www.AuburnMeadowFarm.com Jackie @Auburn Meadow Farm

    For some reason, people seem to think farming practices are irrelevant to the carton of milk they buy at the store. I prefer to buy raw milk from a local farm. Why? Not because I am uneducated or because I consider it to be medicine. In fact, I often pasteurize it myself at home. It’s no big laboratory secret.
    I buy raw milk because the Dairy Industry is crushing farmers and encouraging poor dairy practices. I want to support farmers who are doing a good job as stewards of their land and giving their cows a good life. When I buy raw milk, I buy it at the farm. I see the cows, the milk room and I see for myself how the farm is run. I also know that the farmer I choose is paid what his/her milk is worth, not the crazy arbitrary price set by the federal government.
    Licensed raw milk is required to meet standards much higher than those required by pasteurized milk. Your pasteurized milk is picked up from many farms and combined into one large tank so the milk from the cleanest farm is thrown right in with milk from the filthiest, thereby averaging the quality.
    There are more types of education than those found in college textbooks… get out and see some of the dairy farms (if you’d even be allowed to) producing your store bought milk and tell me how you feel about your intellectually superior milk then…

  • Mitch Eisenstein

    How about ubiquitous homogenization . What are the health benefits of that? None. It just makes the fat globules small enough to cause allergies obesity

  • Chena

    I’d like to weigh in with some personal experience.
    When our family of 7 moved to a rural area in the 1970′s, my mother took me with her to visit the local farmer who sold raw milk. They “visited” awhile (allowing her to discern this individual’s general character, education and level of intelligence). When they had established a rapport, she eagerly asked if she could watch his evening milking.
    Mr. Anderson was proud to show us his routine, removing a sterilized stainless steel bucket from his clean and well-organized supply room, demonstrating hand-washing the cow’s udder and his own hands with warm soapy water before milking, straining the warm milk through a sterile filter, and placing the entire bucket in a specially-dedicated cooling refrigerator (nothing in it but that bucket of milk). It would be portioned into sterile glass gallon jars and sold the next morning.
    While he milked, he told us about his care of the animals, their feed, and assured us that he never sold milk from an ill cow. We enjoyed Mr. Anderson’s raw milk for many years, until we moved away, and no one ever became ill from it. Note that a gallon of milk at our house never got to be more than a couple of days old.
    It wasn’t until recent years, with all the hoopla over food safety, that I analyzed my own attitude toward raw milk and realized that Mom had actually interviewed Mr. Anderson – and that if she hadn’t been satisfied with his careful handling of the product, she would have thanked him cordially and found another source for her family’s milk.
    Commercial dairies can’t provide the same face-to-face, hands-on attention to each cow’s welfare that a small farmer does. Do you believe that commercial milk producers discard the milk from ill cows? Uh, no. I’ve seen 400 cows lined up for the automatic milking machines, and let me tell you, a cow would have had to drop to the floor before going unmilked. It was mooove ‘em in, moove ‘em out; udders were washed from about 10 feet away with a high-pressure spray of plain water (looked painful, by the way). ALL milk went into the same 10,000 gallon tank – which would sit there for 3 or 4 days until the truck came to empty the tank. No wonder it’s germy stuff.
    Pasteurization is necessary when dealing with thousands of cows, millions of gallons of milk, e-Coli, long shelf life, and consumers who will sue if they possibly can.
    REALISTICALLY, the worst thing that’s likely to happen to you from drinking raw milk from your reputable local farmer might be a mild and temporary case of diarrhea (though, in 40 years, we’ve never had even that bad experience).
    Heat kills vitamins and enzymes, we know this. I choose to drink raw milk because I wish to retain the fully active enzymatic and nutritional qualities of unprocessed food. For me, the benefits of consuming highest quality food day-in-and-day-out outweigh slim concerns about bacterial activity.
    The best choice for a person – pasteurized or raw – likely depends on what is safely available to you. If you have access to fresh, clean, raw milk, I recommend it. If you can’t personally go pat the cow, I’d buy pasteurized.

  • Tracey Sigle

    I think it is funny that this even needs discussion. I know a man…now in his nineties who has been drinking raw milk since I used to work for him back the 80′s (and beyond that). He sired a son in his 80′s. As I mentioned – he is in his 90′s now…rougly 93 ish, and raw milk has never been a problem.

  • JC

    It is highly irresponsible to suggest that if you drink milk from your local farmer, the worst that would happen to you is to get temporary mild diarrhea. I could care less if an adult wants to drink milk and take the risks. In the same light, I don’t care if an adult decides it is healthy to drink anti-freeze or lighter fluid. What does bother me is giving it to children, whose immune systems are highly vulnerable. Maybe you and your family didn’t get sick back in the day when you drank raw milk, but many, many people used to die from raw milk. There is a reason pastuerization came about. Louis Pasteur’s intentions were not to gain a profit from his new found method of reducing pathogen numbers in food products. Pasteurization is here for SAFETY. You can go to CDC’s website and watch videos of parents who went to local farmers dairy operations, talked with the farmer, were told that the milk was routinely tested for pathogens (and it was), saw the operations themselves.. and their kids became deathly ill. The bacteria isolated in their diarrhea was matched to that in milk samples. And some of the children are on dialysis for the rest of their lives because the E. coli infection caused complications like hemolytic uremic syndrome. Their little organs failed. Even healthy children with good numbers of beneficial bacteria in their gut have immune systems that are weaker than adults because they are not fullly developed yet.
    So, adults: do as you please. But don’t risk your children.

  • MO

    I was raised on a dairy that sold raw Guernsey milk outside of Philadelphia. The milk was wonderful, rich, full of flavor and highly sought after. Now 55 years old, “highly educated” and a Certified Executive Chef and Food Service Director in a public school system, I again purchase raw milk locally from a certified farm after years of using the pasteurized, homoginized bland milk from the food stores. I could not be happier shaking the bottle to mix the cream into the milk and enjoying this product as it is meant to be. Of all the comments above, I find the most pertinent to be the one that points out that there are foodbourne illness risks in many foods with the same causitive organizims as might be found in raw milk. Food, by its very nature is a dangerous risk we take every time we eat. Leafy green vegetables and melons are classified as potentially hazardous foods, yet we are encouraged to give more of them to students than ever before. In essence, the USDA is requiring schools to increase the risk to a high risk population. we are being pushed to increase the use of salad bars in schools, yet in my experience, salad bars and any other kind of self serve buffets are the worst culprits in the spread of foodbourne illness due to the unsanitary conditions of people using the serving utensiles (and their hands) one after another creating a high inceidence of cross contamination. I refuse to so endanger the students in my schools. While I advocate for raw milk, I am not allowed to offer it in schools and I know there would be parental protests if I could and did. I would make it an option for those inclined to consume it, but it will never happen. The worst thing going on is the removal of whole and 2% milk from our schools. We are allowed to serve foods that are 30% total fat or less for school lunch, but milk now has to be 1% or skim and next year all flavored milk will have to be fat free. Milk fat, low as it is to begin with, is being bashed by those nutrition advocates who feel it is their job to foist their constantly changing nutritional beliefs on all of us. Most students are used to drinking 2% milk at home because that is about as far as you can cut the fat without making milk into tasteless chalk water. Now we cannot even serve the same milk in schools that the majority drink at home. On the one hand we encourage the consumption of milk for the calcium and other nutrients and on the other hand, we make it as far from real as we can and insist that students consume it. Milk is a whole food and should be enjoyed whole. The bottom line is the variety of people in the world eat a vast variety of different things and what makes you gag may be something another person thoroughly enjoys. Be it “pink slime” in beef, vegemite in Australia, Insects and grubs in various cultures, corn smut in Mexico, rocky mt. oysters in CO or walrus blubber in Nunavut, there are things out there that various people prefer. They raise their children on these foods and those children come to prefer them. If a family chooses raw milk, that is their business and they should be able to make that choice. We are lucky to have the food safety and inspection services we have in this country, spotty as their effectiveness is, but they do help keep us safer than the average human elsewhere on the planet. that said, we should still be allowed to make informed choices of what we ultimately consume. Considering how the price of milk is kept generally below what it costs to produce it at the family farm level, I am more concerned that we will continue to bleed these small and valuably diversified operations and end up with nothing but BIG Agribusiness for our food supplier. Then we will have nothing but what they choose to produce and sell to us for our food – how much corn and soy in all their dirivitives do we need?

  • Granddaughter of a dairyman

    I will add my two cents about my own personal raw milk consumption. My grandfather and uncle used to dairy in southern IN until my grandfather passed away a few years back and my uncle sold off the cows. Some of those cows were in their teens. I have had withdrawl from my visits to the farm when we would get to drink milk straight from the cooling tank – that was sweet nectar. I also enjoyed getting to help in the milking parlor by cleaning the teats and attaching the milking machine. They could milk 8 cows at a time which is very few compared to the large dairies that have thousands of cows. They only kept around 50 milkers and had an exceptional rolling heard average. I have a degree from Purdue in animal science. One of my classes was dairy management. I enjoyed that class since I had an interest in learning more about the dairy industry. We toured several farms including Purdue’s dairy. However, the class that is relevant to this discussion was my microbiology class. The professor was lecturing one day about pastuerization. He asked if anyone had consumed unpastuerized milk. I was the only one to raise their hand in a lecture hall of 200+. He asked me why and all I could say was that it tasted wonderful. He then proceeded to explain how dangerous that was. Needless to say, I didn’t believe him since I knew how healthy the cows were and how diligent my uncle was in cleaning the udder before milking. I haven’t made it a priority to find another source of raw milk, but I am tempted to buy my own cow! Yes, raw milk is that good.

  • http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com opit

    I’m not feeling charitable. This is a lazy puff piece presenting no exploration of why raw milk drinkers prefer milk with the nutrition left in it.

  • Shiral

    I think common sense is called for here. I was raised on a farm and helped milk the cows, and helped process the milk in my mothers kitchen. I also helped care for the cows. You only consume the milk from a HEALTHY cow, that is kept on good clean feed and in clean and good pastures. You inspect the pastures to make sure nothing is growing that is harmful to your herd. Keep the milking facility very clean. Our cow was placed on a freshly cleaned surface before milking after she had been cleaned and special attention payed to the utters and the sack. The stool we sat on was disinfected our hands washed and the bucket the milk went into was VERY clean. We covered the bucket with clean cloth and carried to moms kitchen. She let it set long enough for the cream to come to the top and separated the cream from the milk, she strained all the milk several times, every thing in the kitchen had been sanitized before she did anything. So there.. common sense, cleanliness is most important with raw milk and knowing who is milking the cow and how. And the cows are HEALTHY, other wise, get your milk from the store.

  • FDACorruption

    “In 2010, Michigan had two Campylobacter foodborne outbreaks associated with raw milk. And last year, 3 probable cases of Q-fever were reported in people who participated in raw-milk cow-share arrangements, which according to the report, were presumably caused by drinking raw milk.”
    So… 5 people got sick? This is the horrible danger Raw Milk presents LMAO. 50,000 people plus die in car accidents a year. 150,000 people die in hospitals from staph and other bacterial infections…. And our great saviors in government feel the need to show up at small farmers farms with swat teams to shut them down. How can anybody take our government seriously. They don’t care about saving lives. They care about power and control over our lives. If they cared about saving lives they would be directing government resources to the statistically relevant dangers to the population. 5 people got sick in Michigan? No deaths? Oh the horrors. Where does raw milk lie on the scale of dangers to the public? Why is it even an issue? How many people got sick from an unclean buffet line? Something tells me this site is a shill for the government.

  • Health-minded

    JC, regarding your comment that it is ‘irresponsible’ to give raw milk to children, that is the fear-driven attitude that keeps this nation UNhealthy. Of the 3 choices: Raw vs. Pasteurized vs. Homogenized, only raw maintains its health-giving qualities. Homogenized is toxic, yet it is the most prevalent. Nearly 100% of milk available for sale in the supermarkets is homogenized. THAT is irresponsible to give to our children. Read on…
    Homogenized Dairy
    From Well Being Journal Vol. 12, No. 5 ~ September…/October 2003
    Homogenized Dairy, the Dependable Cardiotoxin
    By Rodney Julian
    “When the “Father of Modern Cardiology,” the eminent physician Dr. Paul Dudley White, graduated from Harvard medical school in 1911, he had never encountered coronary thrombosis.
    As a practicing physician in Boston, on those rare occasions when a hospital had such a case, he and other physicians from the Boston area would gather to see this rare disease. Today, however, it has become so prevalent, it threatens almost all of us, young and old. So the question is “What happened between 1911 and now to facilitate this change?”
    Many studies show evidence that cholesterol is the major contributor. Autopsy studies show that in American soldiers from the Vietnam War, 75% had evidence of atherosclerosis and high cholesterol buildup. The average age was 22 years old. It was natural to assume that since cholesterol was almost always present, it must be the leading cause of atherosclerosis. This assumption has continued to today. Many diets prescribed today by physicians or by diet specialists completely eliminate cholesterol.
    Cholesterol is manufactured in our bodies. It is so important to the integrity of the body that all cells contain it. It is found in high concentrations in the brain. In addition to its role in the conduction of nerve impulses, cholesterol has an important structural role, as well as a biochemical role in endocrine production. Cholesterol synthesizes male and female hormones. Without cholesterol, vitamin D, which is required for calcium absorption, would not be synthesized. Bile originates in the liver from used or spent cholesterol and is essential for proper fat digestion. With all this evidence indicating the physiological importance of cholesterol, why would the body keep producing it throughout our evolution if it were eventually going to destroy us? It would seem that the human system takes adequate care of itself. Perhaps, we are not taking care of the system.
    The answer to the discrepancy between needing cholesterol for survival and finding it in heart disease victims comes from Dr. Kurt A. Oster, cardiologist. After suffering from two heart attacks, he was inspired to research how the atherosclerotic process worked. He discovered that the enzyme xanthine oxidase (Xo), which is present in cow’s milk (as well as the milk of sheep and goats), can be very destructive to heart and arterial tissue when the milk is homogenized. In raw milk, both the fat and Xo are digested in the stomach and small intestines. They are either used or excreted. Xo is found in the liver of many animals, where it breaks down compounds into uric acid waste products. Humans have a natural reservoir of Xo in the liver. One of its chief functions is to destroy used plasmalogen (in the liver only). And there are barriers, which prevent Xo from entering the bloodstream.
    When homogenized milk was introduced in 1932, we started to see increased atherosclerotic damage on a regular basis. Under pressure of 2500 pounds per square inch, at a speed of 600 feet per second, milk is passed through pipes and fine filters. This breaks up the fat particles and puts them in suspension like a foggy mist. The homogenized process encapsulates Xo into tiny fatty substances called liposomes. This protects Xo from stomach acids and allows it to pass through the intestinal walls and into the circulatory system.
    At this point, while the liposomes are circulating in the blood, they are slowly burned up as energy fuel, only to expose the hidden core, which is in fact the enzyme xanthine oxidase. This dangerous situation is taking place outside the protection of the liver. Xo and plasmalogen cannot co-exist in one location. The liver, therefore, cannot store plasmalogen. It can only process or destroy it. So now this freshly exposed Xo circulating in the bloodstream, with nothing to stop it, starts to destroy plasmalogen, which makes up 30% of the membrane system in human heart muscle cells. In autopsies of people who died from heart and circulatory disease, plasmalogen was completely missing. Xo was in its place. Arterial inner linings were completely eaten away. The resulting lesions had become hardened by the deposition of minerals. Fatty streaks and cholesterol had surrounded the newly formed plaque by this time.
    The appearance of cholesterol created widespread speculation that it was the cause of heart disease and not the result. The Xo process is slow and effectively destructive. Most 10-year-old children who have consumed homogenized milk have some form of atherosclerosis. In the case of American soldiers autopsied after combat fatalities, some had arteries as brittle as clay pipes.
    There is a very high correlation between countries that drink homogenized milk and atherosclerosis. In countries where milk is boiled for safety reasons before drinking, Xo is destroyed in the process. However, boiling will rob the milk of vitamins, change its organic structure and convert it to a putrefied mess in the bowel. In children especially, it can lead to constipation, chronic sniffles and colds, and tonsillitis.
    It has become trendy for health-conscious people to consume skim or low fat milk, but that only slows down the Xo process slightly. Besides that, low fat milk products will cause someone to gain weight. Farmers feed their pigs skim milk to fatten them up before the slaughter. If you look at commercially prepared homogenized milk in supermarkets, most brands state that vitamin D has been added. Unfortunately, vitamin D enhances Xo activity. Xo is not the only source of atherosclerosis, but it is a major contributor. People looking to improve their diet in a truly healthful manner would be wise to avoid all dairy products, except for those that are raw or cultured without homogenization.
    Author’s note: Dr. Paul Dudley White helped President Dwight D. Eisenhower recover from a heart attack, which allowed Eisenhower to continue his term in office. Years later, while still practicing medicine in his 80s, Dr. White became my father’s cardiologist.
    Rodney Julian has been a writer and researcher for over twenty years on the topic of natural health and healing. He is trained in Neuro-kinesiology. His practice in Qi Energy Medicine is based in Dallas and he travels extensively for consultations and house calls.
    Recommended Reading
    My Life and Medicine, by Paul Dudley White, M.D., 1971
    Food Is Your Best Medicine, by Henry G. Bieler, M.D., 1965
    Homogenized! Homogenized Milk Exposed, by Nicholas Sampsidis, 1983

  • SP

    Do not trust the USDA or the FDA. These are the same people that say eating GMO bT Corn is O.K for you. They get paid a lot of money to feed you the bullcrap you unquestionably swallow with pride. I am so happy I started eating raw milk cheeses and drinking raw milk. The benefits far outweigh the consequences, seeing you can get “food poisoning” from a variety of other sources, nonfood stuffs included.

  • Shari Peterson

    Immune systems are destroyed because everything everyone consumes is either cooked and killed or raw and coated with pesticides and herbicides. GET REAL. Nature is not evil. The ENZYMES found in raw uncooked foods and dairy are not evil. I am 45 years old and as fit as I was at 18 and a size 10 at 5’11″. I eat as much raw food as I can including raw milk/cheese. I just finished a nice tall chocolate whey protein drink made with raw milk and it’s delicious. I had bloating and gas all day and within 10 minutes of starting to drink this drink I am burping up a storm and the discomfort is almost entirely gone now.

    Believe who you want but don’t dismiss something because you took it upon yourself to destroy your own immune system and then blame natural food for it!