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Monday, January 22, 2007

Got Raw Milk ?

Fifteen years ago I choose to stop drinking milk. Battle lines were waged strong over the issue of using rBGH an untested growth hormone on milk producing cows. I for one saw the influence of the large scale dairy industry peddling its influence on the Food and Drug Administration and it appeared to me and many others that their motives where to maximize profits instead of looking out for the interests of the public or to assist the needs of farmers. At the time, living in New Jersey there was little or no choice on what options to take. Farm fresh milk was not there, nor was the presence of any organic dairy supply available, so I chose not to drink milk.

I have been so accustomed to not drinking milk that I barely ever missed it, for years I have substituted soy-milk and lived a milk free life. Just a clarification, I still eat cheese and have enjoyed many great locally produce cheeses here in Vermont, including Neighborly Farms in Randolph. This past Saturday I attended the Vermont Grazing Conference and I was enlightened about many issues related to farming and especially the dairy industry. The conference was composed of a diversified group of farmers interested in learning about ways to increase their productivity of their farm while maintaining an environmentally sustainable farm.

Keynote speaker Mark McAfee of the Organic Pastures Dairy Company passionately addressed the attendees about his farms commitment to supplying not only organic milk but raw milk, which is milk that has not been pasteurized. “If you are conscious you seek a desire for sustainability…” so “are we conscious enough,” he questioned the crowd. “Raw milk means managing the entire food chain from pasture to the consumers,” and by that he elaborated by stating that using all natural pastures the cows produce the highest quality milk and then by selling raw milk locally the whole means of production is retained in a locally contained environment. Due to the shelf life of raw milk, it is impossible to orchestrate large scale shipping; consequently the market for raw milk is exclusive local. This means that consumers are then much more closely connected to the farmer instead of the present model where everyone is disconnected from the food supply.

Scientific data has shown that raw milk contains natural nutrients and enzymes that dramatically improve the quality of life. Higher concentrations of enzymes and minerals that are essential in strengthening the human immune system are prevalent in raw milk. These enzymes are attributed to having great healing affects for those suffering of asthma, allergies and depression, as well as assisting in weight loss. Unfortunately, the process of pasteurization removes most of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients, so pasteurized milk does not have its inherent value as marketed by the large scale dairy industry. He stated there are no pathogens in raw milk but “that the only assurance I can give you is that it increases your enzymes,” and there is “no one-hundred percent guarantee there are not any pathogens.” Usage of natural grazing for food source and rigorous testing insures the highest quality milk product. To refute the claims of the safety of pasteurization he stated the fact that in California thirty-one percent of all tested pasteurized milk contains human pathogens. Unlike conventional milk, his raw milk has never tested positive for pathogens.

So you would figure raw milk would be readily accessible to the public, but that is not the case. Raw milk in most states is illegal to sell except in very small quantities. In Vermont, a mere six gallons a day is the legal parameters set. Sales across state lines can only be done if labeled “pet food.” How come these strict measures are set on farmers who are struggling to survive and sell their product? Vermont’s health restrictions forbid the practice as a means of protecting the public health. Contrary to that rational, the case with rBGH shows a pattern that government regulators are not looking out for the interests of consumers by approving an untested hormone, as with the case or raw milk, scientific data has been ignored instead the false claims of consumer protection are propagated. Farmers are prevented from selling their fresh raw product to the public while the interests of the large scale dairy corporations are enforced. The smaller scale farmers are struggling to maintain their farms while the commoditization of conventional milk strangles their needs.

Just a word of advice, due to the richness of enzymes raw milk can not be consumed at first in large quantities. So if you are able to acquire raw milk drink only small amounts at first. The movement for organic milk has enlightened the populace on the dangers of untested ingredients (rBGH) and now the demands for purely natural ingredients are on the rise. Mother Nature intended milk to be a certain way and humans had survived many years without man’s alterations to it. With that in mind, do you GOT RAWMILK?


Robb Kidd

“We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves."

Statement by 24 leading African agriculturalists and environmental scientists representing their countries at the UN in 1998 testifying against Monsanto.


At January 22, 2007 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I commented on you last article and spoke of Angel Eckhardt, she did an article on raw milk last year, ant the following month several people here died from drinking raw milk, Angela was pelted with rocks and garbage.

The conditions to produce raw milk must be so clean that it is really hard to achieve a safe product. Having spent some time working at an organic dairy, I can tell you it is nearly impossible, not totally, but nearly. As clean as my brother's goat dairy is, the last time I drank his goatr milk I was sick for two months with intestinal problems.


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