Raw Milk is Safe and Good for You!

By Dr. Mercola

Story at-a-glance

As you're probably aware of by now, there's a war being waged against raw milk. It's nothing less than an unconstitutional assault on one of your most basic rights, i.e. your right to choose what you want to eat and drink, and one of the excuses used to defend the violent persecution of those who dare sell this healthful food is that unpasteurized (raw) milk endangers human health.
But is raw milk really a major source of foodborne illness?

NOT according to the US government's own data! Food safety chief and former Monsanto lawyer Michael Taylor has defended the FDA's gun-toting tactics against raw milk producers, calling the campaign "a public health duty." Furthermore, the new Food Safety Modernization Act, which was enacted earlier this year, grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extraordinary new powers to detain any food the agency suspects to be unsafe, whether there are good grounds for suspicion or not. Taylor himself has stated that the new agency focus will be on preventing food poisoning outbreaks rather than responding to them after the fact.


Government Data Proves Safety of Raw Milk

Research by Dr. Ted Beals, MD, featured in the summer 2011 issue of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, shows that you are about 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk! Statistically, you're also more likely to get injured driving to the farm to pick up your raw milk than becoming ill from drinking it.
Dr. Beals' research shows that between 1999 and 2010, there was an average of 42 cases of illness per year attributed to raw milk, and that includes both "confirmed" and "presumed" cases. Meanwhile, an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses occur each year from all foods.

The Weston A. Price Foundation writes:
"At last we have access to the numbers we need to determine the risk of consuming raw milk on a per-person basis"… The key figure that permits a calculation of raw milk illnesses on a per-person basis comes from a 2007 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) FoodNet survey, which found that 3.04 percent of the population consumes raw milk, or about 9.4 million people, based on the 2010 census. This number may in fact be larger in 2011 as raw milk is growing in popularity. For example, sales of raw milk increased 25 percent in California in 2010, while sales of pasteurized milk declined 3 percent."

In his report, Dr. Beals writes:
"From the perspective of a national public health professional looking at an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses each year [from all foods]… there is no rational justification to focus national attention on raw milk, which may be associated with an average of 42 illnesses maximum among the more than nine million people (about 0.0005 percent) who have chosen to drink milk in its fresh unprocessed form.
… Consumption of any food has some risk of illness or adverse reaction. And the consequence of basing public policy on horrific personal experiences is that all foods will ultimately be banned, and we will not be able to participate in any activity."
If this isn't food for thought, I don't know what is. These statistics are the smoking gun proving that the war on raw milk cannot be based on food safety or protecting your health from an even remotely real threat…


The Differences Between Raw Milk and Pasteurized Milk

The FDA would have you believe pasteurization of milk protects you from deadly pathogens contained in raw milk. The fact is however, that if cows are raised as nature intended (free-range and grass-fed), there is no need to process the milk these healthy animals produce.
However, cows raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are NOT raised in a manner that makes their milk suitable for drinking raw.
CAFO cows are typically raised on high-protein, soy-based feeds instead of fresh green grass, and instead of free range grazing, they stand in cramped, manure-covered feed lots all day. These conditions are perfect for the proliferation of disease, and yes, this milk MUST be pasteurized in order for it to be safe to drink. These cows also need antibiotics to keep them well, and some are also given genetically modified growth hormones (rBGH) to increase milk production. Needless to say, these hormones and antibiotics also wind up in the milk.
Aside from the manner in which the cows are raised, which significantly alters the milk they produce to begin with, pasteurization has its own problems as it:

Raw milk from clean, healthy, grass-fed cows bears NO comparison to pasteurized CAFO milk. It's full of nutrients that your body thrives on, including:

Healthy beneficial bacteria

Valuable enzymes, such as phosphatase, which aids the absorption of calcium in your bones, and lipase enzyme, which helps to hydrolyze and absorb fats

Natural butterfat, without which your body cannot effectively utilize the vitamins and minerals in the milk. It's also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.

Cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Healthy unoxidized cholesterol

High omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios, which is the beneficial ratio between these two essential fats

Buying Raw Milk Straight from the Farm
It's not uncommon for people who drink raw milk to report improvement or disappearance of troubling health issues – everything from allergies to digestive troubles to skin problems like eczema. However, it's important to understand that the milk you drink will only be as healthy as the cow that produced it. So make sure to source your raw milk from a clean, well-run farm that gives its cows access to pasture.
To locate a local farm or raw milk source near you, visit RealMilk.com. If you're thinking about purchasing milk from a small farmer, it would be wise to visit the farm in person. Look around and ask questions, such as:

If a cow is covered in filth and manure and stinks, and is wet and cold and doesn't look particularly comfortable, that could be a warning sign that her milk is less than ideal for raw consumption. Also keep in mind that fresh grasses for foraging will not be available year-round in many areas of the US, so it's also important to take a look at what the cows are being fed during winter months. According to Mark McAfee (founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States and one of the leaders in this industry), acceptable winter feed includes:


Raw Milk Safety Standards Often EXCEED Those of Pasteurized Milk

The dairy cows used to produce most of the pasteurized dairy sold in the United States are raised in deplorable conditions, which is why the milk has to be pasteurized in order to make it safe for human consumption. But high-quality raw dairy farmers march to an entirely different drummer. California, specifically, (where raw milk is legal) has its own special set of standards for raw milk for human consumption, in which farmers must meet or exceed pasteurized milk standards, without pasteurizing.

The conventional dairy industry, realizing that increasing numbers of consumers are recognizing the safety and health benefits of raw milk, are now redoubling their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales cannot expand. If raw dairy really caught on, you might think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible with the way their overcrowded farms are run. Their business depends on pasteurization, and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.

And this is why you keep seeing armed raids taking place on farms and organic co-ops.
One such case is that of Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer, who was caught in an FDA sting operation earlier this summer, after the FDA planted a spy in local buying club he supplies with raw milk. His farm was raided at gun point, and the Department of Justice, at the behest of the FDA, filed suit in Federal District Court to obtain an injunction prohibiting him from transporting and selling raw milk across state lines.

Allgyer's case caught the attention of Congressman Ron Paul (TX), who in response introduced House Bill HR 1830: To authorize the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.

While the fight currently revolves around farmer's rights to sell and transport raw milk across state lines, the FDA claims to have the power to restrict your access to any kind of food it deems harmful, because you have no fundamental right to obtain and eat any particular food whatsoever! It's also been insinuated that consumers crossing state lines to obtain raw milk may be charged with committing a crime...
So please understand that this issue has the potential to go far beyond raw milk. Now is the time to put on the breaks, before it goes any further, because there's no telling what food the FDA might target next.

The Farm-to-Consumer Defense Fund has created a petition page for HR 1830 that also automatically faxes your message to your US Senators and House Representative. You can even choose to send your message to your nearest daily newspaper. I urge you to take a moment to sign the petition to support HR 1830 right now!

You might also consider getting involved with organizations like the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund who are working toward true freedom of choice for American consumers.

Related Links:
http://media.mercola.com/themes/mercola/images/bullet.gifFDA Says: Drinking This Natural Food is a Crime
http://media.mercola.com/themes/mercola/images/bullet.gifDemonized Since the 1950s – Yet Still One of Healthiest Foods Available
http://media.mercola.com/themes/mercola/images/bullet.gifThe Despicable Reason Behind Raw Milk Bans