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« Fact for the Day | Main | Elsewhere »

May 26, 2008

More Raw Milk

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Reason's Jacob Grier wonders why the guvmint should be preventing those who want raw milk from buying it.

* Culinate's Cindy Burke writes about how yucky it is to come down sick from contaminated raw milk, but thinks the product should be available anyway.

* Harper's' Nathanael Johnson writes about something that's often overlooked in these discussions, namely how awful conditions sometimes are on conventional milk-producers' farms. After all, if the milk is going to be sterilized at the end of the process, what reason does the farmer have for keeping the farm clean?

Memorable passage:


Pasteurization gave farmers license to be unsanitary. They knew that if fecal bacteria got in the milk, the heating process would eventually take care of it ...

After a century of pasteurization, modern dairies, to put it bluntly, are covered in shit. Most have a viscous lagoon full of it. Cows lie in it. Wastewater is recycled to flush out their stalls. Farmers do dip cows’ teats in iodine, but standards mandate only that the number of germs swimming around their bulk tanks be below 100,000 per milliliter.

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at May 26, 2008




Comments

Michael,

Here's an odd one.

In the Philippines, people drink whole milk, and eat free range, antibiotic free meat... because they are poor!

The feedlot approach just isn't economically viable in such a poor country. All over, you will see cows, goats, chickens and pigs just wandering around grazing, often not even tethered.

And raw goat and cow milk is readily available for the same reason. The costly processing of the U.S. system is cost prohibitive for a poor farming country.

The weirdest part is that whole milk and free range meat is extremely cheap in the Philippines. You buy them in a farmer's market. So, unlike the U.S. where you pay an extraordinary premium for whole milk and free range meat, in the Philippines these products are sold in the town market by farmers at incredibly cheap prices.

And, I have to say that the product is better than what we get here in the U.S. Real chicken from the back yard is far superior to factory raised chicken. Free range beef and goat is very lean and has a deep flavor that is just missing in the feed lot product in the U.S.

So, that antibiotic free, free range steak that goes for $25 a pound at Dean & DeLuca is $4 a pound at the farmer's market in Cebu.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on May 27, 2008 8:00 AM



Someone pointed this out on her site, but, more people get sick from Produce (Fruits and Vegetables) than Beef and Poultry COMBINED.

More people get sick from Pasteurized Milk than Raw Milk (granted, I do not remember the percentage per drinker, though).

The fact that Produce (and, more specifically, pre-washed produce) causes more illness, BY FAR, than anything else never gets talked about.

I think that is damn near criminal.

Pasteurization gave farmers license to be unsanitary.

I belong to a wonderful organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation and this is something that gets talked about all the time.

To put it in a slightly different way:
Why worry to much about how nutrient dense your cabbage or Lamb is if you are taking synthetic vitamins?

Posted by: Ian Lewis on May 27, 2008 11:28 AM



I worked on a dairy farm as a teenager and the paragraph that was quoted was true. I cite the same information when I have to explain to people why I don't drink milk. The farm that I worked on was not a Grade A farm. It was a lower grade and could only sell the milk produced there to cheese factories or other places that further processed the milk. This farm did pasteurize the milk though. I think that if a farm lives up to Grade A standards of cleanliness then people will not have to worry about whether the milk is raw or not. In that case there should not be contaminants in the milk.

Posted by: Robert on May 27, 2008 12:04 PM



I grew up on a dairy farm in the 80's and early 90's. There are many incentives to keep the place sanitary - the cleaner your milk, the higher the grade, and the more you will get paid for it. Also, you can be fined if your milk has contamination above a certain level, and even at that level you get fined at, the contamination is so minuscule that it will not have any effect on a person. All food has a certain minor level of contaminants in it, there is no way to prevent this.

Further, all farmers and their familys that I know drink raw, non-pasteurized milk. A farmer is not going to knowingly skimp on the safety of milk that he and his wife and children drink.

I drank raw milk the first 18 years of my life. My farming relatives and farming neighbors have drunk it all their lives. We sold raw milk from our farm for decades. I've never heard of someone becoming sick from raw milk.

Posted by: Jason on May 27, 2008 4:39 PM



Reminds me of the Flannery O'Connor short story, The Enduring Chill. Seems one of those too smart for his own good college educated children that tend to populate all her stories decides he's going to show his solidarity with the working man by drinking raw milk. The result is Undulant Fever. A good read if you have a copy o f her short stories.

Posted by: Al w on May 27, 2008 9:40 PM



Raw goat's milk...ambrosia! Not just in the cheese, mind you. The milk, just the milk, is heaven. I'm thinking of using some to seduce a woman. Never mind that red wine crap.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 27, 2008 10:39 PM






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