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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 15

by Olivia Furlow

Day 15-Controversy about Raw Milk


If you aren’t aware there is a HUGE controversy of raw milk vs. pasteurized milk.

When pasteurization first became a requirement in America, there had been a huge tuberculosis outbreak in New York. The tuberculosis was thought to be spread by milk. It’s hard to compare the knowledge of germs and sanitary conditions of the 1930’s to now. Compared to 80 years ago, dairy farmers today can take advantage of many advancements that contribute to a dramatically safer product including pasture grazing, herd testing, effective cleaning systems, and refrigeration. And again, source is so important. Shouldn’t our concern be the source of the food, not the food itself? The more mass produced something is, the higher the risks for contamination. Mass produced milk has to be pasteurized.

It is illegal to buy or sell raw milk in many states. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is shutting down farms and arresting farmers who are producing raw milk. In my opinion that is just flat out weird! There have been numerous instances of commercially prepared food causing illness and death but the batch is recalled and the manufacturer continues. Pretty much anything can have risks but raw milk is at the top of the FDA’s sh*t list.

Raw milk can be a carrier of dangerous bacteria including salmonella and E. coli. This is why the FDA and CDC (Center for Disease control) believe that it is necessary to pasteurize milk before the consumer can buy it. Instead of requiring dairies to clean up there act, they turned to heat treatment of milk. Milk producers are clinging to out-dated methods. In an age of sophisticated sanitation the milk industry leans heavily on heat treatment of milk and milk products to cover up sloppy production methods. We have been thoroughly convinced through massive advertising over the years that we are being protected from rampant diseases from the pasteurization process. Why are we programmed to fear raw milk? Money answers that question. Pasteurization increases the shelf life of milk, making it much easier to mass-market, maximizing profits for the dairy industry.

Am I advocating that every person drink raw milk? Nope. I believe that if you think it is dangerous then you absolutely have the right to choose to not take the risk. I also believe that I should have the right to drink whatever milk I choose to drink. Our health, our food choices should be our own. Allowing the government to dictate the milk we drink is in a lot of ways opening the door for other things. Raw milk or pasteurized milk, it should come down to our right to choose.

As with nearly all food, the closer you consume it to its natural state, the better. And this is also true for milk.






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