For many years milk was called the perfect food by many nutritionists. Recently, raw milk has been re-introduced into the American diet. There is much debate as to whether this perfect food will be a welcome addition to our diets or whether it will bring back the bad old days when drinking a glass of raw milk was like playing Russian roulette at breakfast.
Pasteurization was introduced in the 1920’s to combat the outbreaks of various diseases caused by drinking raw milk. The raw milk movement, being promoted by the proliferation of farmers markets, is convinced that the problem was hygiene in the dairies. Urban dairies sprung up during the industrial revolution and fed cows things like whiskey mash left over from distilleries, instead of grass. Cows were milked under filthy conditions, producing contaminated milk. In typical government fashion, the powers that be opted for pasteurization rather than cleaning up the dairies. The argument for pasteurization now, is that perfectly healthy cows can have pathogens in their systems. Pasteurization kills all pathogens.
That’s true, raw milk supporters say, but it also kills the perfect blend of complex, heat sensitive enzymes, probiotics, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that have tremendous health benefits. Pasteurization is throwing the baby out with the bath water. The advocates say people are healthier when they have access to food raised the way it is supposed to be raised. The farmers like it because it cuts out the middleman.
Despite concerns, consumption is definitely on the rise, not just of raw milk, but of cultured foods made from it such as cheeses, crème fraiche, sour cream, kefir, and yogurt. If you live in one of the thirty-nine states where raw milk is legal, you can choose for yourself. I think I will look for a farmer who drinks his own milk.
Are you going to try raw milk?