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Raw Milk  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Yipee I've found a source (actually two sources) for raw milk and both within 1/2 a mile of my house    Apparently lots of folk round here drink it!  They've said it's safe because of all the controls that are in place and all the vaccines that the farmers have to administer to the cows.  Oh dear, does that make my supply contaminated with chemicals

My husband is absolutely against it and won't let me give any to the children.  Maybe time will soften him.
 
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good for you!!!

look at it this way. any other source of milk is likely going to have the same vaccines given to the animals. the carriers and preservatives in vaccines are of debatable relevance in comparison to the other benefits of a good clean source of milk. I would be happy that they appear to care for and follow guidlines for the prevention of disease in their herd and not concern myself too much with the vaccine issue.

does your husband have a particular concern that we could help you address with factual information? is it just "disease" that he is concerned about? is he the sort of guy that responds to statistics and studies or is this more of an emotional reaction?

 
Alison Thomas
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Ok that's cool about the vaccines - yes they'll all have had them.

Hubby is from a VERY scientific family - both mother and father are professors in science based stuff (like crop research etc) and hubby himself is a big skeptic.  he thinks that science makes progress to help us not to hinder us and that's why we live to such a ripe old age these days generally free from the horrors of yesteryear.  It's tough living with this at times 
 
gardener
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I would so your husband the facts on fermenting, maybe start by seeing if he would allow yogurt....

Check out the West A. Price Foundation for scientific info in this regard.  And even though Marcola.com is a bit commercial, and can't be trusted on everything, he has some good studies and such on this subject.
 
Leah Sattler
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good! much easier to talk with people that appreciate stats and studies. of course it is still easy to only look at information that backs up what one already believes. he should be familiar with that concept. and it certainly is no cut and dry topic. there are some real potential concerns. just like with anything the risks and benefits must be weighed and the tolerance for risk is different for everyone. some people would rather choose the known risks for the unknown risks. you can argue with incorrect information but you can't argue with choices. choices are choices.

I think I know at least somewhat the position he is coming from. I generally also start with the idea that "there is a reason why we do things a certain way" and "science is the truth" however through my life experiences and having come to the understanding that science is only as good as those conducting the thinking and experiments and studies and interpreting the data, and realizing that those people are just as human and subject to the same biases, blinders and agendas as anybody else; I realize that some scrutiny, even by us lay people is justified and useful.

I have found that those "reasons" why we as society/doctors/governments/scientists do things or reccomend things may have been long ago mitigated by other practices, are only applicable and justifiable in certain situations or to the majority of people, or they started off with a faulty premise to begin with and the bad apples at the beginning have spoiled the data and interpretations that have been piled on top of it.

you might be totally upfront with him and explain that raw milk is somewhat of a fad right now. and because of that it can be difficult to look for info without finding a bunch of easily discredited information from those caught up in the fad. I have seen sites that tout raw milk as a miracle cure for everything. anytime you see the long list of either cures or ailments caused by a food or supplement you can pretty well turn away confidently knowing that you are unlikely to find any good concise info there. and it (IMO) is a waste of time trying to sift through and sort out the bull from the few real tidbits at those places. but that doesnt change the fact there is some credible information out there to be had.

note: you can always pasteurize the milk and feel better in that you found a non homogenized source (assuming that it is). I pasteurized all my milk the first year. it was a big step for me just to have homegrown milk. to see and feel and know my source and to see the reality first hand. it can take some adjustment.

somethings you might approach with him are. the history of milk production and why it started getting pasteurized adn regulated. TB was a big one as well as adulteration.

the present state of typical milk production and the hazards it truly would present if that milk was marketed raw. very real imo.

the difference between a small or home dairy operation and a large producer. the first hand caretaking of the animals especially.

next I would find a list of the potential problems with raw milk. TB, listeriosis come to mind right off hand. having a good understanding of how these infectious diseases come to be, proliferate, make animals and people sick as well as their prevalance in the population and how it is monitored and mitigated, is key to putting the risk into perspective. sometimes pointing out the risks someone is already taking but are simply accustomed to helps. listeriosis and lunch meat is often sited. or ground meat from the store and fecal contamination.  some things you really don't want to know!!! but it is the truth and it is useful in that regard in making informed decisions about those particular things as well as for comparison to others.

if I get a bit of time I will try to track down some of the links that have convinced me. its easy to find stuff about raw milk.... its hard to find real data that is acceptable to suspicious minds sometimes. it is very off putting, for me at least, to accept info from places that have obvious discredible information or heresay along side the good stuff and I suspect he will feel the same way.

 
Alison Thomas
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Yes Leah, you are right - he does feel the same way that you do and indeed he logged on and found all the craptrap and laughed me out of the room.  HOWEVER...

He'd prohibited the children from having any at first but then allowed them to do a taste test (as I was blown out by the difference) and they loved it, said it was like melted icecream and.... he tasted some    And he did scoff loads of egg custard made with it last night.  I think we can slowly eek it in though he did struggle through the snow to go and buy another 6 litres of UHT.

But there's snow.  This means that the cows are all indoors and being fed ground up maize, wheat, hay and luzerne (a grass).  Does this count as grass-fed?  We got to meet the 'girls' and add to our French vocabulary about milk things.  That was nice.
 
pollinator
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Sounds like you are making progress there, Hen!  Luzerne, or lucerne as it's spelled in England, isn't a grass, though, it's a legume (we call it alfalfa over here).  Hay is still good feed for the animals -- not quite as good as fresh green grass, but when there's deep snow on the ground, they've got to eat something.  It's probably better than the dried-out washed-out dead grass they'd be eating if they were out wild, since it was cut and cured in it's prime.

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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liek she said they have to eat something. there is quite a bit of research about how the milk componants and quality changes with the season, I am sure largely due to available feed as well as partly due to stage of lactation. well cured hay or alfalfa cut in its prime is likley better then what they could scrounge up in the winter on pasture. supposedly feeding silage is more risky then good dry hay as far as spoilage goes (listeria especially), which makes an awful lot of sense to me. some grain is often considered neccessary for dairy animals but their natural diets (of their ancestors) would consist of mainly forage products so you might start thinking in terms of ratio of concentrate(grains) vs. forage products (hay, lucerne etc) in the diet. the higher the concentration of forage products they can get away with, the better as long as the animals are maintaining good condition. interestingly (and in general terms) the quantity of milk produced can increase with increasing grains to a limit, but this also reduces butterfat, so with a high grain diet they produce more milk but less fat in the milk.....in my opinion, less quality and richness in the milk. but, large producers for mainstream marketing of course want quantity. just another tidbit of info.
 
Alison Thomas
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That was interesting Leah about the fat content because our farmer's wife was berating the milk in the shops for having less cream - they pride themselves on a high butterfat content 
 
Alison Thomas
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Oh, and what is silage?  I've seen the tanks but I've no idea what's actually in them  ops:
 
Leah Sattler
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silage - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silage it isnt' neccesarily bad but because it is purposely fermented it seems like there would be more room for error and ending up with bad feed. I dont' have any personal experience with it though so I am not speaking from a position of authority on it! just conjecture on my part.

some interesting sites/articles and abstracts......

this following one is useful in my mind because it basically points out that cleanliness is the #1 factor in preventing milk contamination. (and milk can of course be contaminated when its raw or after its pastuerized) this should be a "duh" sort of thing but the point really needs to be driven home that the problem isn't "raw" milk the problem is dirty milk.

a fairly recent outbreak involving spinach in the US lends credence to the proposed bias against raw milk in regulatory agencies. they never proposed banning the sale raw spinach and there is no blanket warning to never eat raw spinach, they just said "hey, we need to improve sanitation in our fields to prevent such contamination". 

http://jds.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/76/10/2891?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=raw+milk+dairy&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT

as I have stated before I am most comfortable with my own home grown source of milk insofar as drinking it raw, mostly because of the sanitation issues in commercial dairies related to the animals themselves, with bulk tanks, milking equipment, milk transfer and storage and packaging in a commercial situation etc....and their potential problems. ie one sick cow or poorly cleaned portion of milk equipment can contaminate the milk of one hundred others. but this is jsut as true with pastuerized milk and argued by some is that pasteurization is used to cover up dirty milk, sloppy managment and sick dairy animals. there are more opportunities for contamination in a dairy. its just the reality. the more you handle a food the more likely it is to get contaminated somewhere along the way. 

I think it is of the utmost important for people to make an informed decision about where they get their milk and of course take responsiblity for that decision.

if you scroll way down on this link you can see where I got the following figures.
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss4901.pdf

in 1997 in the US....

there were 719 reported cases of food borne illness from fruits and vegetables

there were 23 from milk.

"chinese food" was the only one for 1997 (that was listed) as having a lower number then milk of cases of foodborne illness attributed to it at 16.

eggs 91

salad 1,104

eating has risks!!!

we don't know whether the milk stat was for pasteurized or raw  (and there are stats out there showing that there is more illness statistically associated with raw milk then pasteurized milk) but either way, it appears milk is pretty low on the list of foods that are making people sick (with pathogens).

I still contend that the alteration of the fat in commercial milk through homogenization has more likely deleterious health impacts then pasteurization though 





 
Jami McBride
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Passionate video on raw milk, from We Are What We Eat.com -

http://wearewhatweeatthemovie.com/wawwe_mcafee.htm
 
steward
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Way back in the day when I was a kid we would go to a farm to get milk.  It was always an adventure.  Got to see the cows and how milk was produced.  We got it from the tank which was filled with houses from the milking parlor.  It was about as fresh as it could get without nursing from the cow.  We'd load the car with a few gallons each week.  When we got it home my mother would put it on the stove, a gallon at a time then straight into the freezer for a while to pasteurize it.  This was 30+ years ago so I don't recall the details of her efforts.  By the time I was 10, the farm had shut down.  There is a gas station and Blockbuster Video there now.

This summer I got my milk from the amish family over the hill.  From the cow to the jug then over the hill.  There were no drugs in those cows, no growth hormones, no pesticides in their feed.  Good clean milk from healthy cows grazed on clean fields.  Give the jug a shake and add it to my coffee.  That milk was so good, if you threw it up in the air it would come down as sunshine.

They sent up some butter a couple of times.  Delicious for sure.  The color was a deep rich yellow from the high beta carotene levels in the natural pasture.

Give me the raw milk.

 
Leah Sattler
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it should be a personal choice for everyone. the law has no business in it except in making some basic regs to be followed as far as sanitation etc...goes, just as with any product. there are a myriad of ways for our foods to become contaminated, any food. and I think one must judge their risk for themselves. but that might the be idealism in me. I have met an awful lot of people who I didn't think capable of judging appropriate risk and would prefer to blindly follow someones advice, which is only particularly disturbing to me when it involves choices for their children.  people should have access to a good clean SAFE (est) source of raw milk if they so desire one. and no one should be hassled or fined or sent to jail unless they are being neglectful.
 
Alison Thomas
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Ken Peavey wrote:
That milk was so good, if you threw it up in the air it would come down as sunshine.



Ken , what a wonderful thought 
 
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