Real Raw Milk Facts

Cavorting About The Raw Milk Debacle

Cory Brunson, cow share member and blogger, provides an analysis of the controversy surrounding raw milk consumption. Below are some excerpts from the piece:

There seems to be no contemporary statistical study suggesting that raw milk is healthier than pasteurized milk, with the exception of an inverse correlation between farm milk and asthma and allergies. The loss in nutrients during the pasteurization process maxes out at around 10%, for biotin. The more sophisticated claim that the enzymes destroyed in the pasteurization process are necessary for humans to process milk, and the related claim that these enzymes allow lactose-intolerant people to digest raw milk, appear to be unsubstantiated. (Self-misdiagnosis for lactose intolerance, on the other hand, may be common, and a means by which the latter myth is perpetuated.)

The still more sophisticated claim that the “good” bacteria (probiotics) naturally occurring in raw milk protect it from “bad” bacteria (pathogens) is essentially without merit; some probiotics may kill some pathogens at varying rates, while trace amounts of said pathogens (like e. coli) are enough to cause illness. (This sounds to me a lot like offsetting sex from ovulation as a means of birth control, given the availability of an effective and harmless, though less natural, alternative.) In itself, that’s not to say that raw milk is necessarily riskier than pasteurized milk, but rather that we must take the threat of pathogens in raw milk seriously.

Looking back, there seem to be no reasons to assume that pasteurization reduces health benefits, that raw milk is safer, that lactose intolerance is due to pasteurization, that raw milk can’t be legitimately regulated, that raw milk is more sustainable, or that raw milk sales require that people drink it straight. The remaining question, then, is how serious a threat is posed by ingesting raw milk (relative to pasteurized milk). Without even considering the threat, having brushed aside the preceding obfuscation leads me to posit that an informed personal decision to consume raw milk involves taste and risk. That seems to be it.

Read the whole article here.

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