Raw Milk Reality: Benefits of Raw Milk

In Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Dangerous?, we took a closer look at the claims made by groups like the FDA and CDC that raw milk is “dangerous”. We found that, though the relative risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk is about 9 times greater than it is from drinking pasteurized milk, the absolute risk of developing a serious illness (i.e. one that would require hospitalization) from drinking raw milk is exceedingly small: about 1 in 6 million.

Nevertheless, as small as the risk of drinking raw milk is, we still need to answer the question: why take the risk? What benefits does raw milk have over pasteurized milk that have convinced nearly 10 million people in the U.S. alone to actively seek it out?

Why drink raw milk in the first place?

There are many reasons one might prefer raw milk over pasteurized milk, ranging from nutritional to ethical to environmental. Different people will resonate with different reasons, depending on their value system, worldview and priorities.

Nutrition

Many consumers believe that raw milk is higher in nutritional content than conventional milk, which may have some merit. Raw milk comes from cows that graze on grass. Some evidence suggests that milk from these cows is likely to have higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients. Cows fed fresh green forage, especially those grazing grass, have been shown to have higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and essential fatty acids in their milk. (1,2)  Cows are natural herbivores and are healthiest when they eat grass, rather than the grain they are fed in confinement dairy operations.

The pasteurization process also reduces the nutritional quality of milk products. Research has shown a decrease in manganese, copper, and iron after heat treatment. (3) The FDA acknowledges that pasteurization destroys a substantial portion of the vitamin C in milk, and sterilization is also known to significantly impair the bioactivity of vitamin B6 contained in milk. (45) Beta-lactoglobulin, a heat-sensitive protein in milk that is destroyed by pasteurization, increases intestinal absorption of vitamin A, so the supplemental vitamin A in conventional milk may be harder to absorb. (6) While pasteurized milk does retain some level of nutritional value, it seems that unpasteurized milk is superior in vitamin and mineral content overall.

Tolerance

Many people experience digestive and other problems when they consume pasteurized milk, but have no trouble with raw milk. It’s not entirely clear why this is the case. The FDA insists that unpasteurized milk has no probiotic effect or any other characteristic that could explain this phenomenon. But the collective experience of raw milk consumers suggests otherwise. The Weston A. Price Foundation conducted an informal survey of over 700 families, and determined that over eighty percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance no longer suffer from symptoms after switching to raw milk. (7)

While this is certainly not rigorous evidence, it matches my own anecdotal experience and that of many of my patients, blog readers and radio show listeners.  I do not feel well when eat pasteurized dairy.  It gives me sinus congestion, headaches and intestinal discomfort.  Yet I thrive on raw dairy, and fermented raw dairy in particular played a substantial role in my own healing journey.

Is it possible that the millions of people that tolerate raw milk but not pasteurized milk are experiencing a massive placebo effect?  Sure.  Anything is possible.  But a likelier explanation is that raw milk has some quality that makes it easier to digest than pasteurized milk.  The fact that this has not been proven in clinical research doesn’t make it untrue.  Lack of proof is not proof against.

Fortunately, we shouldn’t have to wait long for more reliable evidence on this topic. A clinical study is currently being performed at Stanford University to help determine whether raw milk actually reduces the incidence of lactose intolerance. (8) The results have yet to be published, but will provide scientific evidence to support or refute the anecdotal claims of many raw milk drinkers.

Health

There is substantial epidemiological evidence from studies in Europe that consumption of raw milk during childhood may protect against asthma, allergies and other immune-mediated diseases. A large cross-sectional study demonstrated a significant inverse association between “farm milk” consumption and childhood asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, sensitization to pollen and other allergens. (9) While we must always remember that correlation does not prove causation, the findings were consistent across children from farming and non-farming environments, indicating that farm milk consumption may have had an independent effect on allergy development.

This protective effect may be related to the hygiene hypothesis, which I recently wrote about. It is thought that low dose exposure to a variety of commensal bacteria may help regulate immune responses outside the gut. Another hypothesis is that the higher level of omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed dairy, particularly in full-fat dairy products, may help reduce childhood atopy risk. (10)  More research is necessary before a definitive mechanism for a reduction in allergies in children drinking raw milk can be established.

Additionally, some research suggests that unpasteurized milk contains antimicrobial components absent in pasteurized milk. (11121314) These studies found that pathogens grow more slowly or die more quickly when added to raw milk than when added to heat-treated milk. This does not mean that raw milk cannot be contaminated with bacteria, nor does it mean that raw milk “kills pathogens”. Rather, unpasteurized milk may be somewhat less susceptible to contamination than pasteurized milk due to its probiotic bacteria and antimicrobial enzymes. The evidence for this is not conclusive, however, so there is no excuse for subpar hygiene standards when dealing with unpasteurized dairy products.

Flavor

Many people think that raw milk has a superior flavor and texture to pasteurized, homogenized milk. They often use words like “fresh”, “real”, “alive” and “rich” to describe it. They also appreciate the subtle shift in the flavor of the milk through the seasons as the grasses change. Consumer research demonstrates that flavor is one of the top reasons that consumers choose raw milk in states where it is legal to buy. (1516) Emily Weinstein, blogging for The New York Times, describes her first raw milk experience:

“The milk — oh man, the milk! — was creamy and full of flavors, not white like supermarket milk, but yellow-tinged. It was milk with a taste that wasn’t just defined by it texture — it was distinct, satisfying, delicious. All food should be like this, I thought, so natural it seems to redefine the word.”

I’m sure those of you who drink raw milk can attest to the significant flavor differences between raw and conventional milk. While flavor alone is not reason enough for choosing raw milk, it is clearly a driving force in many consumers’ decisions.

Community

Raw milk is almost exclusively produced by local farmers. A growing segment of the population is choosing to support local, family farms and businesses over multi-national conglomerates. There is significant economic potential in the direct sales of milk from small farms, which is often the method of producing and distributing unpasteurized milk in most states. (17) The direct sale of raw milk allows farmers to set a price that allows profit for the farm and equals the fair market value of the product for the consumer. (18) This way, farmers are able to cover their costs while still earning a living to support themselves and their families. Consumers are reconnected with their food supply, and farmers are held accountable for their products, allowing for the stimulation of the local economy and the promotion of sustainable farming practices.

Environment

Similar to above, consuming milk that is produced by local farmers using sustainable methods has far less of an environmental impact than drinking milk produced in large confinement feeding operations thousands of miles away.  Conventional dairy operations are highly destructive to the environment. Air and water pollution from dust and feedlot manure, plus fertilizers and pesticides used in grain production, are damaging to the environment and to the health of farmers, farm workers, and nearby residents. (19) Manure runoff into water can cause the death of aquatic life, as well as contamination of drinking water by nitrate, harmful microorganisms, and antibiotics and hormones.

Raising dairy cows on well-managed pastures decreases soil erosion, increases soil fertility, and improves water quality due to decreased pollution. Cows grazing on pasture reduce the energy needed to grow grains or to mow, bale, and move hay, requiring less fuel consumption. (20) Sustainable small dairy farms that produce raw milk are much more environmentally friendly as compared to typical large-scale dairy farms that are energy intensive.

Ethics

Cows that live on small farms and spend their days on green pasture are are much better off than those that live in overcrowded and inhumane “factory farm” conditions. This is important to those of us that care how animals are treated. When confined in small spaces under stressful conditions, cows often become ill and are treated with large quantities of antibiotics. (21) They are more prone to morbidity and mortality from diseases including dust-related respiratory conditions, metabolic diseases, and other ailments that can be directly attributed to their confined conditions, as well as their unnatural diet of corn, soy, and other grains. Pasture-raised cows have longer lifespans than conventionally raised cows, as corn-based diets contribute to health problems such as liver abscesses, and breeding practices designed to maximize milk production have caused reproductive problems. (22)

There are plenty of horror stories and disturbing videos that portray the inhumane treatment of cows in conventional dairy operations. (2324) By visiting small farms and purchasing raw milk from pastured cows, compassionate consumers can be assured that the animals are properly treated.

A personal decision

Any one of these reasons might be enough justification for choosing raw milk for a given individual or family. But when viewed together, it’s easy to understand why raw milk consumption has increased so significantly over the last two decades. Consuming unpasteurized milk and dairy products has several positive benefits that, for many people, may outweigh the possible risks. You must consider both the positive and negative qualities of raw milk consumption when making the decision for you and your family.

In the next article, I will discuss the important variables to consider when deciding whether raw milk is right for you and offer guidance on how to find a safe source of raw milk and minimize the potential risk, should you choose to consume it.

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Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Adam Landry says

    I’m heading out to a farm tomorrow to pick up some raw milk. I’m interested to see how it is, and we do well with it, my 1 year old will try some as well.

    • cythia says

      Oh Please don’t feed this to your infant. While the risk for adults is “relatively low”, for the immune compromised- such as children- the risk increases dramatically.

      And the diseases you can catch from raw milk are MUCH worse than that you typically get from pasteurized milk.

      • Steven says

        cythia, Please get your facts straight. Good, clean raw milk is fantastic for babies. Myself and my siblings were raised on it!

          • Vera says

            Ester. I and my 11 brothers and sisters were raised on raw milk, as were our children. Raw milk is much better for kids then homogenized milk.

        • ilana Leeds says

          B’H
          Ditto Steve. I get really sick of the hysterical tirades by people who go off half a$$ed about raw milk. I have my own goat and she is healthy and I drink her milk, make yogurt and cheese. I can check her health daily and was pleased to see that she gives over three litres of milk a day and has a butter fat content of 3.92 and it is wonderful healthy milk from a happy healthy goat. Often children drinking the pasteurized milk who have skin problems and eczema find that it clears up within days after starting on raw milk. In Israel it is known that raw goats’ milk clears up foot and mouth disease within 48 hours. Give me raw milk handled appropriately without pasteurization or other fiddlings any time over the white bland liquid being foisted onto an unsuspecting public as milk. I believe a lot of this rubbish about the so called ‘dangers of raw milk’ relate back to the big dairy industries who do not treat their animals well and are after profit, profit over the animal welfare and people’s health.

      • ERB says

        I HAD to be given raw milk as an infant, I was allergic to pasteurized milk. 40 yrs later I STILL don’t tolerate pasteurized milk well. It gets worse, progressively. I can’t even have ice cream anymore. Raw milk, real butter, no issues at all. Take the raw milk and make ice cream, no problems. I grew up on it and now I have to take calcium pills because I can’t buy raw milk where I live. I’m the 5th of 7 children and we NEVER got sick on raw milk.

        • Dom says

          Hi Erb, lots of other foods contain calcium, eg broccoli. The need for dairy to get calcium is overstated. Just Google which foods and no more need for pills! Hope this helps.

      • lance says

        i was raised on whole raw milk and im very thankful to my parents for doing so! pasteurized homogenized milk is no more then poison in my mind

      • Liz says

        Farms that are licensed to sell raw milk are heavily regulated by the state. Samples are taken at least once a month and if the milk does not meet the state’s standards, the farm’s license is suspended. The disease would be worse, but the chance of it happening at all is pretty slim, as long as the farm is licensed by the state. I have been drinking raw milk since I was an infant and have never gotten sick from it.

        • Margo says

          Liz, where is that “land of raw milk and honey”? I’m pretty sure it’s not Canada

          Even raw goatsmilk and its products are only available “on the black market” here.

        • Shell says

          What States have farms that are licensed ? How about in Md ? I heard you can buy a share in a cow and it’s only 100.00 and you get a gal a week from the farm. I have never found a lisc farm where you can buy raw milk.

            • Brenda says

              Yes Liz, that site is awesome! One of the real food bloggers that I follow on FB posted that link some time ago and I was able to locate a raw dairy farmer in my town. Now I enjoy raw milk and raw cream that I use to make my own raw butter. Don’t know how to make raw butter? YouTube has all kinds of instructional videos on the subject.

        • Steve says

          Nothing wrong with the RAW milk but it must be tested very regularly , You could really get sick on Raw if it isn’t done correctly. these test protect you and allow farmers to really watch over the health of their cows. local milk cows not confined grazing on local land are farm better in some regards to a standard dairy produced product. if you want to play it safe bring your Raw milk to a slow boil at around 145 to not more then 165 degree`s for four to five minutes then let slow cool place in refrigerator then enjoy without the risk ………. Steve

          • vmar says

            @Steve, boiling raw milk is basically pasteurization, which turns milk into a dead allergy causing liquid that is no better than the adulterated pathetic disease causing excuse for a nutritious beverage that you buy in grocery stores. The point of consuming raw milk is to reap the benefits of all the healthy bacteria, vitamins, enzymes and nutrition that naturally comes from Jersey or Guernsey A2 cows that are grassfed only and never given any grains, steroids or hormones. I usually ignore the ignorant comments that pop up on here, but I just couldn’t let this one go.

            • says

              Heating milk to 145 degrees is not boiling. Heating the milk to a temperature in that range releases some of the good probiotics. It is similar to you heating your milk before bed time. I’m sure your mom probably did that for you when you were a child.

      • Shawn says

        Cythia: please look further into this topic before you offer your unfounded advice and scare away people who desperately need the wonderful benefits that raw milk can offer.

      • Cherilynne says

        apparently you have not READ this article and the ones that go with it thoroughly. Please read all three again and then think twice before opening your mouth. I grew up on RAW milk in both Germany while my parents were stationed there and still when they were sent back state side and purchased a farm. We made all our own milk based products and even when chicken pox hit our school, I was the last to get them and had the most mild of outbreaks. Only 7 total pox, and only 2 days of any fever what so ever. Then if you still fear RAW milk for children and infants, you need to contact the LaLech League.

        • shelle says

          How can you possibly know that raw milk attributed to your chicken pox experience? Could it also not be a million other things?
          Everyone’s comment is so anecdotal. Thats not convincing. From what I can gather from this article is that pasturised may contain less nutritional value. But nothing else is added during pasturisation, so what makes it bad for you?

        • Erik says

          I grew up on a dairy farm. We never drank raw milk, just store milk and a lot of it. I was rarely sick and the few times it was were short and the fever would burn out in less than a day. Also, I’ve never broken a bone despite doing things I’ve see a good number of other people break bones from. I will admit I did partially tear and ACL and slightly dislocate a rib but neither involved cracked bone and healed relatively quickly without needing anything more than some scans to see what had happened.

          Based on this the factor influencing this would have to be having grown up on a farm rather than consuming raw milk.

          But on a serous note, raw milk is more “dangerous” simply because it spoils more quickly and in large quantities it could have been easily contaminated before leaving the farm. Personally, I view pasteurized milk as little different than cooked meat and the same with raw milk to raw meat.

          Now homogenized milk, that seems to have the potential to cause issues for people with intestinal sensitivities or allergies by breaking up the fats in the milk and releasing more potential allergens that might never be absorbed otherwise.

          • robin says

            Raw milk does not spoil quicker than pasteurized. Once it sours, it is still healthy to eat. Once pasteurized milk sours, it is only good to put down the drain.

            • Shell says

              I second that. Store milk actually rots when spoiledand even the containers smell rotten.

              Raw milk left out of the refrig =sour milk, aka sour cream. Great yogurt.

              I buy fr the Amish and know the milk is pure, know your source. In the summer I add about 10 drops of food grade peroxide to the milk, shake and put in refrig. A half gal lasts a mo. No kidding. Same with the cream. I was raised on engineered milk, Modern, Mom, sickly all the time. As an adult switched to raw milk and much healthier. Don’t let the Govt scare ya. They want your money and don’t care what they sell you too get it. Just like Big Pharma and all the chem drugs. Buyer beware.

          • Ben says

            I don’t believe you. You must have been a commercial farm and did not let your cows roam and feed on grass. I know of not one true dairy farmer that would not drink there milk raw. If you leave a glass of raw milk sit on the counter for a day it is still edible. If you do the same with pasturised it will be rancid.

            • Amanda says

              This is absolutely right. I’ve never had my raw milk “go bad”, it will sometimes separate… but we just shake it up and drink it anyway. Store milk, on the other hand… yuck.

          • mac1319 says

            You must have been raised on a dairy CAFO. I consider my small local dairy farmer an essential part of my life. I will never give up my raw milk. Raw milk sours when you leave it out on the counter. I deliberately do this each day and consume it regularly. The bacteria in soured milk is extremely beneficial for good health.

          • jim says

            You should not be posting your FEELINGS about things you know nothing about. That is what they are, simply your feelings with no facts involved. Raw grass fed milk does not go rancid when left out.

        • says

          Just drinking raw milk had nothing to do with contracting the Zoster virus. If you had only one bump you caught it and your immune system is compromised. Anyone who had chicken pox as a child has an 80% chance of getting shingles later in life. The two are unrelated. If it works for you, good. Discussion is an exchange of ideas not accusations.

      • Rachel says

        My children and I consume raw milk, yogurt, cream and cheese when we are able to get out to our local dairy. They love the taste. My 4 year old son especially loves the cheeses made from it. I trust this dairy. I’ve personally toured their family owned facilities. Wonderful people who put a lot of love and care into their farm. After tasting the amazing raw cream in my coffee, it’s hard to drink my coffee without it!

      • Monika Robinski says

        Hi, I drank raw milk when I was a toddler, each year, I spent summers on a farm and helped milk the cows and had their milk straight afterwards, rich and foamy, and I never got sick, I know that I will forever be grateful to my mother for breastfeeding me for so long and then making sure I get raw milk, fresh vegetables, and grow up to love all the natural foods. Raw milk is not dangerous at all, I’m puzzled why it’s so hard to buy in USA, I lived in Europe most my life and you always had a choice if you want pasteruized or non pasteurized. The non pasteurized tastes heavenly and has good bacteria in it, helpful not harmful. As with everything, there are risks, but it’s much worse to consume processed foods which cause the population to get all sorts of cancers, than have a big cup of foamy fresh milk.

      • Michelle says

        1. You don’t get different diseases when you get sick from raw milk vs. pasteurized milk. It’s the same illness, and it’s potentially awful either way.

        2. The only risk that “increases dramatically” in the immune compromised is just how serious the sickness would be once infected. It does *not* make you more likely to become infected.

        3. As Chris mentioned in his article on the actual risks of raw milk, you are more likely to be hospitalized and DIE from food-borne illness caused by other foods than you are to be hospitalized from drinking raw milk. Furthermore, the risk of dying in a car accident is FAR greater than it is for the risk of getting sick from raw milk, and I don’t see recommendations stating, “oh please don’t drive your infant around in an automobile.”

      • Naser says

        The risk of getting sick from raw milk is the same in adults and children which only happens if the milk is contaminated with pathogens (the risk is very very very low though), but young children will get more serious illness because their immune system is not as strong, the whole idea is NOT to consume a contaminated food (milk or none-milk) to start with.

      • says

        The Crave Bros. Cheese was pasteurized in this outbreak where six ill persons were hospitalized. One death was reported and one illness in a pregnant woman resulted in a miscarriage.
        http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/cheese-07-13/index.html There have been no deaths from raw milk in the last ten years. The milk produced and sold at the turn of the 20th c. was of very poor quality. Also, raw milk sold directly to the public must pass higher standards than milk sent for pasteurization. http://www.twelvearound1.com/files/5_1_addt_l_McAfee_The_15Things_that_Pasteurization_Kills__2_1.pdf

      • shell says

        Bet you can’t catch autism , or ADD fr raw milk, but I”m sure you have a greater risk of getting autisim and ADD from the Govt innoculations . Our Public schools have the highest rates of ADD from pasturization. Good luck.

      • Vew573 says

        Dr. Mercola’s comment.

        Milk is thought of as a wholesome food, which is why so many parents give it to their children with every meal. And the truth is, it is wholesome when it’s in its raw form and sourced from cows fed non-contaminated grass and raised in clean conditions.

        Unfortunately, the milk that winds up in most Americans’ glasses is far from this unadulterated state and, as the study above revealed, instead may be a veritable chemical cocktail.

        Excerp from study.
        (A single glass of milk can contain a mixture of as many as 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. The highest quantities of medicines were found in cow’s milk.) Sorry, but give me good old raw unadulterated cow’s milk for me and my family.

        The Daily Mail reports:

        “Researchers believe some of the drugs and growth promoters were given to the cattle, or got into milk through cattle feed or contamination on the farm … [The] breakdown … revealed that cow’s milk contained traces of anti-inflammatory drugs niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen … It also contained the hormone 17-beta-estradiol”.)

        For instance, did you know that every year U.S. inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in dairy cows? And that when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made plans to test milk from cows that had shown high levels of drug residues repeatedly, the dairy industry protested … and the FDA backed down and postponed the testing?

        It’s true.

        And now, instead of looking out for Americans’ health and taking action against what could be dangerously high levels of antibiotics in milk (not to mention contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant disease), they are planning to “confer with the industry before deciding how to proceed,” the New York Times reported. Dairy cows raised on CAFOs also eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals that are transferred to the milk.

        Hormone-treated milk is different from non-treated milk because:
        1.It contains increased levels of the hormone IGF-1, which promotes (cancer tumors). According to Dr. Epstein, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as major causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
        2.Hormone use “induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow’s “negative energy phase.” Milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins, an Ohio court, which ruled that milk in Ohio can still bear an “rbGH-free” label, stated.
        3.It contains increased somatic cell counts (SCC’s). This means the milk contains more (pus), which makes it turn sour more quickly. Increased SCC count also affects the milk’s taste, smell, texture and color. Raised SCC levels is typically caused by the high incidence of mastitis in rBGH-injected cows

        Further, Dr. Epstein has pointed out several additional differences between rBGH milk and untreated milk and all of these factors can cause or contribute to health problems:
        1.Contamination of the milk by the GM hormone rBGH
        2.Contamination of the milk with illegal antibiotics and drugs used to treat mastitis and other rBGH-induced disease
        3.Increased concentration of the thyroid hormone enzyme thyroxin-5′-monodeiodinase
        4.Increased concentration of long-chain and decreased concentration of short-chain fatty acids
        5.A reduction in levels of the milk protein casein

        Want Better Milk? This Option is Even Superior to Organic

        You may be thinking that the solution to purer milk is to buy organic. Organic milk is clearly better as organic dairy cows will not be given rBGH or routine antibiotics … but it will still have been pasteurized, and this seriously compromises the quality of the milk.

        A better option is (grass-fed RAW milk), which is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic, but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk raw is the superior choice. Milk from grass-fed cows, unlike grain-fed cows, will be high in CLA that is loaded with many health benefits including helping you lose weight.

        I and my 10 brothers and sisters were raised from infancy on RAW milk. I continue to use raw milk and raised my 3 children on it.

        Pasteurization also destroys part of the vitamin C in raw milk, encourages the growth of harmful bacteria, and turns milk’s naturally occurring sugar (lactose) into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is rapidly absorbed in the human body, with the result that hunger can return quickly after a glass of milk — especially in children. The pasteurization process also makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk. This can lead to a host of health problems in children, among them rickets and bad teeth. And then there’s the destruction of about 20 percent of the iodine available in raw milk, which can cause constipation.

        When pasteurized milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body.

        Raw milk, on the other hand, contains good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, and offers protection against disease-causing bacteria … so I don’t recommend you waste a penny on pasteurized organic milk — seek out milk (and other dairy products) from a reputable raw dairy instead.

        • Malin says

          I dont trust anything from the daily mail. Its commonly known as the daily fail for a reason. If they cant find a story they make it up.

      • April says

        Cynthia,

        Please don’t believe the brainwashing you’ve received by the fda and cdc etc.,

        I am English born and raised, grew up drinking raw milk, and grew up to be a very healthy individual. My children were born in this country and after weaning then from the best,I originally have them the milk available to me at the time, two of my children were diagnosed with asthma, one was diagnosed with allergies, and finally my last child was diagnosed with ADHD, which is why I started researching the diet we were eating in this country. As a result of this my family and I started drinking raw milk, and low and behold no more asthma, no more allergies and no more ADHD, and my husband’s skin eczema and allergies, which he has had since childhood have also disappeared. So please research for yourself and don’t believe the lies, just because they come from an agency that is supposed to ensure our health, but actually works for big business.

        Be blessed in life and health!

        • Gale says

          Hmmm…. Your husband has allergies and eczema and now multiple children he has fathered have similar autoimmune disorders. The logical conclusion here would be that your children have inherited the same genetic defect as your husband. Although diet may play a role, allergy issues are most strongly influenced by genetics, not diet. Blame yourself and your husband for repeated poor gene combinations. Not the pasteurized milk.

          • Sean says

            First, ADHD is not an autoimmune disorder, and that is beside the point.

            You could be completely correct that a weak aspect in the fathers genes caused allergies and asthma. However, instead of being insulting…like you were trying to be…you really just highlighted that the raw milk was used to overcome this genetic issue (if one actually does exists).

            So, April’s entire post is valid, and you just appear said and angry.

      • jim says

        My little girl was raised on raw milk and especially colostrum from the grass fed cows. She is extremely healthy. Please please do not feed your babies pasteurized milk as it is dangerous to their health!!!

        • says

          Don’t go from one extreme to another. There are millions of healthy children raised on pasteurized milk. Pasteur was a hero when he figured out the dangers. If you like raw milk. Good. Don’t attribute any positive or negative effects thst are not related to the milk. Diseases like Asthma and ADD are unrelated. Children usually grow out of Asthma, while adults who are stricken don’t. Probiotics affect the symptoms not the cause. ADD is a modern phenomena. Studies point to the genes and environment rather than anything else.

    • Dragonbluemoon says

      I started drinking raw milk two months ago and my endometriosis pain has dramatically gone away. I’d say by at least 90%. I also no longer get reoccurant large ovarian cysts that would burst every month. This raw milk is gold to someone like me! I would go out and buy cows if I was told I could no longer buy it! If anyone with girl pain is debating on trying raw milk, try a glass a day for a month and see how it does you :)

  2. Amely Greeven says

    Chris, thanks for writing and sharing. Question: When I have my (delicious) raw milk in my (Paleo) diet, I occasionally test body pH using those urine strips and my pH seems significantly more acidic than without. I’ll keep testing to check if it is consistent; but this area confuses me. Any thoughts on pH, milk, animal protein as it relates to long term health would be so helpful to me! Thank you!

    • Vera says

      Amely I don’t know how raw milk affects the P.H. balance, because I have Celiac and can’t tolerate any milk or milk products except a fermented milk called kefir. I make my own from raw milk. I test both urine and saliva for P.H. and mine is fine….very alkaline. However, I do have a fermented green drink that I drink each morning. Vitality Super Green by Body Ecology. (recommended by my N.P.) and that seems to have a positive effect on my P.H.

      • Robin says

        Any way I can get the little pearls to make the kefir?
        Does anyone have any I can purchase? Not sure what they are called.

      • says

        Do you have to ferment this yourself, or is it already fermented? I have fermented my own veggies before and made homemade raw milk kifir. I have the “Idiot’s guide to fermenting food” – great education tool on probiotics and enzymes!

    • Vera says

      Chris. I have been recovering from a severe fungal infection. It has been a long hard battle. Keeping my system alkaline has been a significant part of my recovery. By the time I found someone who would help me, I was in stage four and not expected to recover. Now some 5 years later I am feeling pretty good and continuing to improve. I only drink kefir, which I make from raw milk, because I have Celiac & cannot tolerate milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. It’s my understanding that diseases cannot survive in an alkaline environment.

      • PJ (RightNOW) says

        There is debate about that, and the acid vs. alkaline is probably the most misunderstood and hence worst internet meme ever.

        Unsweetened diluted lemon juice; and apple cider vinegar; and unsweetened cranberry juice; all highly recommended for helping with the liver and kidneys and body in general, are very acidic, and are prone to make the urine more acidic. Many vitamins are acids in their natural form. So acidic is not necessarily a bad thing.

        Also note that the pH of many different parts inside the body varies. Your saliva is likely to differ from your urine even during a water fast, as one easily measurable example.

        The body will self-regulate the pH as needed for health or ‘healing’ if you give it ‘real’ food to include all the spectrum of nutrients (aminos, lipids, enzymes, minerals) it needs and clean water.

        • vera says

          Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this. It’s a citrus fruit.

          Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of the blood (pH above 7 is alkaline). Please notice the difference.

        • vera says

          Even though vinegar is acidic, when we take apple cider vinegar it has an alkaline effect in our bodies. The fact that apple cider vinegar causes our pH levels to become more alkaline could play a large part in it’s curative properties.

          Please get your facts straight.

        • Vera says

          There is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body
          Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this. It’s a citrus fruit.

          Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of the body (pH above 7 is alkaline).

          Raw Apple Cider is one of those amazing healing foods that has lived up to its health benefits for almost 2,000 years. I always say, look at the ‘tried and true’ if you are looking to add better staple foods to your diet. I’d say a 2,000 year success rate is pretty good, don’t you think?

          Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. is the only vinegar that is alkaline-forming to the body. All other vinegars (white, balsamic, red wine, etc) are acid-forming. For a health balanced pH, raw apple cider vinegar is one of the best things to add to your diet.

  3. greg says

    In the large European cross-sectional study on ‘farm milk’ you cited, the authors tested and controlled for fat levels as well as bacteria levels and found no correlation, eliminating the hygiene hypothesis or some magic property in the fat. Instead, they state in their conclusion that raw milk whey is the protective element.

  4. says

    Chris, this is a fantastic article on Raw Milk.

    I love that you don’t try to convince either way. Just laying out the facts or at least what we think to be true given the studies and anecdotal evidence we have today.

    I know that Undenatured Whey is believed to increase Glutathione levels in the body. I’m assuming since Pasteurized milk is heated it destroys the properties in Whey that increase Glutathione. Have you found that to be true?

    • PJ (RightNOW) says

      Ascorbic Acid recycles Glutathione up to 50%. (And reduces Cortisol output up to 20%.) Just a note, if people were pointedly interested in the whey protein for the sake of the Glutathione.

  5. Joe says

    Chris wrote: “the absolute risk of getting sick from raw milk is exceedingly small: about 1 in 94,000.”

    Once again Chris, this is simply not true. There are no statistics that measure the absolute risk of getting sick from raw milk. The vast majority of foodborne illnesses (98% by the best estimate put forth by scientists) go unreported. I implore anyone who reads this article to first read Part 1 and especially the comments section before believing any of his bogus numbers. You also continue to ignore the well-known fact that children are immensely more susceptible to suffering debilitating illnesses from raw milk than adults.

    The fact that you continue to put out these false claims shows your lack of character and credibility. Please don’t insult the intelligence of the reader any more by claiming to be unbiased. This is the most biased fluff piece I have ever read on the subject of raw milk.

    By the way, have you considered that there are local small farmers who sell pasteurized milk? Yes, there are even those who raise grass-fed cows. The Community, Environment, and Ethics arguments are LOL-worthy, they have nothing to do with raw milk.

    • Josh says

      Joe you’ve made one or two valid points in the comments, but why not make them without coming off as a condescending dick and a hater?

      And as for if Community, Environment, and Ethics have anything to do with raw milk – why not let people decide that for themselves, alright.

    • says

      why not start your own blog Joe, you seem to have opinions aplenty, you have made your comments time and again here, and have been heard, now it is just unecessary. thank you.

    • Mario Vachon says

      Joe. How often do you have to try to make the same point? Chris has addressed it in spades in the prior piece. Do you just enjoy being a condescending jerk who needs to be acknowledged?

      • _J_o_e_ says

        @alix, Mario: Well, in case you haven’t noticed, Chris edited the article to fix the incorrect comparison that I pointed out, after I made this last comment. So yeah, I had to keep making the same point until it was corrected. I was not pointing out subjective interpretations but rather what was factually incorrect. The reason for my tone and for being a “condescending dick”, “jerk” and “hater” is because Chris wrote several times that this is an unbiased look at the subject, absent hyperbole. In fact, it is far from unbiased in the content and analysis. It has been corrected some, but as Sarah points out, it still has several shortcomings and it’s disingenuous to claim that it’s an unbiased look at the subject.

        @Josh: Not alright, friend. The point I was trying to make is that the arguments in the article put forth about Community, Environment, and Ethics are really just the benefits of selecting a small local farmer for your milk supply instead of big agriculture. These arguments apply whether or not the local farmer pasteurizes his milk or not, so these points are inconsequential to the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate.

        • Kenny says

          @Joe “The point I was trying to make is that the arguments in the article put forth about Community, Environment, and Ethics are really just the benefits of selecting a small local farmer for your milk supply instead of big agriculture. These arguments apply whether or not the local farmer pasteurizes his milk or not, so these points are inconsequential to the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate.”

          Well Joe,your point is taken,but unfortunately it’s false. If I lived next door to a large factory dairy, then it WOULD be local to me, but still missing all the quality benefits of a small grass fed dairy delivering raw milk. If I have a feedlot dairy featuring antibiotics and grain feed, suddenly the pasteurization becomes mandatory to protect the user from an inferior product. Furthermore, why would a local dairy want to incur the expense of pasteurization only to lower the value of their product to that of the factory farm?

          It’s clear you miss the point entirely when it comes to the marketing of quality food and I’m ok with that. Keep eating your 6 to 11 servings of grain a day and never mind the tap water; The politicians assure us it’s safe.

    • says

      Children may well be more susceptible to food borne illness than adults, but I am even more susceptible than children. I am the recipient of a full intestinal transplant (both small and large) and am on immunosuppressant medication. If anyone was going to drop dead from raw milk, it would be I. But I have been consuming raw dairy for nearly 2 years since my transplant and consider it a large part of my unique recovery. No other recipient I met has made a swifter and more complete recovery than I have, and all of the other recipients I befriended have been back in the hospital several times for systemic infections and I have not. All of them drink no milk, because we were told that all intestinal and multivisceral tranplant recipients become lactose intolerant, which is erroneous. Doctors always consider that any indigestion of milk is lactose related – I have proven that isn’t the case.

      After my transplant I attempted to drink pasteurized milk and was unable to digest it. It gave me severe diarrhea and cramps and I lost nearly 10 pounds, because everything was being flushed out with the milk. I am not lactose intolerant (never was before and I digest the raw milk just fine). Because my transplanted bowels seem to be more sensitive than a native bowel (to many foods – including wheat), there is something wrong with the processed milk that my intestines wants to flush out. I personally believe it is denatured proteins, both whey and casein, that is not recognized nor digestible any longer.

      But a transplanted bowel works at a much lower rate of absorption than a native bowel, so it is imperative to consume foods as nutrient dense as possible to regenerate from such a traumatic surgery and few foods are as nutrient rich as raw dairy. I also ferment raw dairy into kefir, which I believe has been very critical in the healing process.

      The doctors would certainly not like the idea of me consuming raw dairy, but it is hard to argue with the results as I am the only recipient NOT to have a sepsis since being initially released from the hospital. BTW, I do get my raw dairy from and extremely reputable dairy where all of the cows are certified A2 protein, are grass fed and all the milk is handled with sterile conditions, far beyond what milk slated for pasteurization would be. I do not recommend anyone get raw dairy from a commercial dairy where the milk is scheduled to be pasteurized.

      But your opinion that somehow a small family dairy having superior pasteurized milk to commercial dairies makes little sense and the heat from the pasteurization process would still render unnatural proteins that would cause stress on my grafted bowels. If raw milk was inherently as dirty as you suggest, I’d be the first to die from it. So far, so good. Sure there are risks, but I could just as easily die from an infection from a salad or raw fruits. Milk handled properly is not naturally dirtier than any other raw food, somehow people have been brow-beaten into believing it is. If I could not drink raw milk, I wouldn’t be able to drink milk at all, like all the other patients, because processed milk stresses my intestines. I agree with Chris, in my case, the benefits outweigh the risks, given the risks are so small and I have a special need for very high nutrition.

      All minor infections may not be reported, but on the flip side, you have not considered that many illness attributed to raw milk consumption was proven not to be or undetermined. There was one case where raw milk was blamed and it turned out to be infected chickens and another where it was found to be from an imported cheese from Mexico, and yet the CDC still reports these as infections from raw milk, and these were the ones that had deaths involved. If I were to become ill from any other raw food I may eat (like the recently tainted cantaloupes) the doctors would immediately report it as the raw dairy being the root of the infection, with no further investigation.

      So as arrogant and cocky as you come across, you’re really not very observant and want to believe that thousands of infections are under-reported, but every incident reported is the gospel truth that raw milk was the instigator. This has been proven not to be true. The FDA and CDC look for any way to blame raw dairy as a scare tactic and will blame any infection immediately on raw milk consumption without further investigation – the exact opposite of what your erroneous point was. And even when proven that raw milk was not responsible, the CDC refuses to change or retract their original statement – so yes, there are ethics involved and your reply is the only LOL-worthy essay going on here.

      • Joe says

        Wolverine, come on dude, read my post. Here is what I said:

        “I’m not discounting the idea that raw milk numbers are skewed. In fact, as I stated earlier, if you believe the numbers are skewed against raw milk, then you can’t use any of the data. If they are skewed, then you can’t use the reported statistics!”

        I’m arguing for consistency. You can’t use statistics only when it’s convenient. You either trust them or you don’t. That’s it!

        Wolverine said: “But your opinion that somehow a small family dairy having superior pasteurized milk to commercial dairies makes little sense…”

        Well, I don’t know where you got that from. I never said anything about that. Pot, kettle, black. Who’s the unobservant one?

        • Chris Kresser says

          You either trust them or you don’t. That’s it!

          This assumes that all statistics, and the studies reporting on them, are equally reliable. They’re not. Ascertainment bias, which is what Wolverine was referring to, is one of the most common problems in research. Part of good science is determining the quality of the underlying data, and whether it can be taken at face value.

          • Joe says

            I agree that ascertainment bias is one of the common problems with science. That is precisely the point. Biased data can not be used in any capacity. Since you chose to accept this data and included it in your analysis, that implies that you ascertained that it is reliable. You can’t pick and choose when to use it or to call it questionable when it doesn’t support your argument. It’s all-or-nothing. I have not called into question the reliablility of the data, but you and Wolverine have implied that it’s skewed. If it’s skewed, take it out. That’s the only scientific thing to do.

            • Cherilynne says

              I didn’t get that from the article, I got that based on their own cited statistics, they had reported incorrectly. Isn’t that using their own words against them?

          • Vera says

            I find it interesting that we hear so much about the “supposed” dangers of raw milk, but not about the dangers associated with so many other foods that people consume every day. We never hear about the many illnesses and deaths associated with pasturized milk or , for example, processed meats.

            BMC Medicine published their study on the link between processed meat and premature death.

            It confirmed what we’ve been saying all along…even if it shocked the researchers.

            Their findings? Processed meats are dangerous stuff. But here’s the rub…
            The researchers first concluded that eating “junk” meat was strongly associated with other bad choices—excessive drinking, smoking, not eating enough fruits and veggies. So of course people who ate this garbage died sooner. But then they dug a bit deeper.

            You see, they studied almost half a million people. That let them really look at processed meat consumption without any of the other factors added in. And what did they find?

            An even higher correlation between processed meat and early death!

            Here’s the conclusion…directly from BMC Medicine:

            The results of our analyses suggest that men and women with a high consumption of processed meat are at increased risk of early death, in particular due to cardiovascular diseases but also to cancer.

            Note, they said processed meat. Not all meat. In fact, eating red meat—fresh—didn’t show an increase in mortality at all. Just meat with “bad stuff” added to it.

            It’s no surprise why…

            Beef jerky…bacon…hot dogs…deli meats…sausage…they are usually manufactured with sodium nitrite. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite results in the formation of cancer-causing compounds.

            Another study, this one from 2005 out of the University of Hawaii, found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. And yet another study indicated that if you eat just 50 grams of processed meat every day, your risk of colorectal cancer jumps 21 percent. For reference, that’s about how much deli meat you’d put on a sandwich…if you don’t like a whole lot of meat on your sandwich.

            But if sodium nitrite is so dangerous, why do the FDA and USDA continue to allow this cancer-causing chemical to be used?

            The answer is obvious. Food industry interests now dominate U.S. government regulators. The USDA, for example, actually tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970s. But the meat industry overrode them. It insisted the chemical was safe and accused the USDA of trying to “ban bacon.”

            Today, the corporations that dominate American food and agricultural interests hold tremendous influence over the FDA and USDA. The scary truth is, nobody is looking out for us. And it’s putting your health in serious jeopardy.

            Here’s another example…

            “Diet” Drinks For Everyone…Whether or Not You Want It

            People usually think of both these drinks as healthy. One definitely is… the other, not so much. And the one that’s secretly not good for you? Well, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

            Low-fat, low-calorie diets are all the rage these days. As a result, people are drinking less and of this popular drink. So Big Business has cooked up a way to compete.

            They want to dump aspartame and artificial sweeteners into it to rival Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi. And they want to do it without adding it to the label. It’s outrageous! Worst of all…

            This beverage is especially popular with kids. In an FDA issued notice, the industry behind this movement states that offering a low-calorie, artificial sweetened version would help reduce childhood obesity. That it will be better for kids with chemicals added to it.

            Here’s hoping the FDA makes the right decision (we’re not holding our breath).

            In the meantime, what about that other “healthy” drink I mentioned earlier? It should be good for you…if no one had ever tinkered with it. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. So it could be quietly chipping away at your health each and every day. Yet it’s so common your kids, grandkids—or even you—most likely drink it.

            The WWI Poison You Nad No Clue You Were Drinking.

            You know by now that artificial sweeteners like Sweet-n-Low and Equal are nothing more than little packets of poison.

            But a recent report shows that as many as 28 million Americans unknowingly drink artificial sweeteners every day. That includes a chemical that’s used in bleach, disinfectants, and insecticides. It was even used in a WWI poison gas!

            Dr. James Bowen from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine went so far as to say, “In terms of long-term human toxicity we should regard [this substance] with its chemical cousin DDT, the insecticide now outlawed.”

            Studies show it can attack the nervous system and make your liver swell and your kidneys calcify. And here you thought you were safe when you threw away those packets of Splenda.

            Safest to just stick to bottled water, right? Well that’s what you’ll find out in our newly published report—Why These “Healthy” Foods Aren’t Healthy Anymore. In a moment, I’ll show you how to claim a copy for free. But first let me tell you about another natural food the FDA had no problem compromising…

            • PJ (RightNOW) says

              Copying your own entire blog posts in as a comment along with your ad at the end is kind of silly. And I might add that all the research on ‘processed meats’ seems to ignore that almost nobody eats processed meats without hamburger and hot dog bugs and sandwich bread and transfats often with soy mayo, not to mention the requisite fries or chips and drink.

        • says

          Joe,

          You’re quite a pro at the “straw man fallacy” aren’t you? I was quite observant. Here is your quote, “By the way, have you considered that there are local small farmers who sell pasteurized milk? Yes, there are even those who raise grass-fed cows.”. Why would someone pay more money for locally raised pasteurized milk, if they didn’t believe that it was somehow superior to commercial pasteurized milk? Why would you even make mention of local farms with grass-fed cattle if you weren’t suggesting that it was superior to commercial milk? Now, you try to deny what you have said by more of your crass insults.

          Just because the cows were grass-fed would not make the denatured proteins any easier to digest. I wasn’t making any argument concerning statistics, because statistics can be skewed to fit the desired out come of the one reporting – both in favor of and against raw dairy. I was pointing out the fact that you (and the CDC) are the ones cherry-picking the data that supports your belief.

          Again, you pull out your trusty straw man by accusing me of arguing with statistics when I never sighted any statistics in favor of raw milk, but only pointed out the bogus negative numbers touted by the CDC that you place so much trust in. I could care less about your precious statistics. I look at the many people I know who have consumed raw milk for decades with no ill effects. A straw man argument is a pretty weak defense and sort of makes you seem desperate and confused. Hopefully you can learn better debating techniques in the future.

          • Joe says

            On the contrary Wolverine, you are the one attacking the “straw man” by failing to comprehend what I have written. I’ll address your post point-by-point.

            [quote=Wolverine] Here is your quote, “By the way, have you considered that there are local small farmers who sell pasteurized milk? Yes, there are even those who raise grass-fed cows.”. Why would someone pay more money for locally raised pasteurized milk, if they didn’t believe that it was somehow superior to commercial pasteurized milk? Why would you even make mention of local farms with grass-fed cattle if you weren’t suggesting that it was superior to commercial milk? Now, you try to deny what you have said by more of your crass insults.[/quote]

            The point I was trying to make and which I have coninued to reiterate is that by choosing a local, small farmer the same arguments in the Community, Environment, and Ethics paragraphs of the article still apply whether the small, local farmer pasteurizes his milk or not. This is why I made mention of local farms with grass-fed cattle. Because you CAN get pasteurized milk from local farms with grass-fed cattle! I do believe that pasteurized milk from grass-fed cattle is more nutritious than that from conventional dairy, but that’s not the point. It’s obvious why people would pay more money for pasteurized milk from grass-fed cattle, just as people pay more for steak from grass-fed cattle, because it’s better! This has nothing to do with raw milk!!

            [quote=Wolverine] Just because the cows were grass-fed would not make the denatured proteins any easier to digest. I wasn’t making any argument concerning statistics, because statistics can be skewed to fit the desired out come of the one reporting – both in favor of and against raw dairy. I was pointing out the fact that you (and the CDC) are the ones cherry-picking the data that supports your belief.[/quote]

            Please find me a quote where I mentioned anything about digestion. With regards to statistics, I have not cherry picked anything. The statistics are not mine. I have pointed out the bias in the analysis by Chris. You claim that the statistics are skewed by the CDC against raw milk. I have no reason to defend the CDC and I have not done so. I have pointed out the fact that if you believe the statistics are skewed, then they are invalid and Chris cannot use them in a scientific argument which was the basis of the ENTIRE first article. You are blinded by your raw milk fanaticism and cannot see the logic of the scientific method.

            [quote=Wolverine]Again, you pull out your trusty straw man by accusing me of arguing with statistics when I never sighted any statistics in favor of raw milk, but only pointed out the bogus negative numbers touted by the CDC that you place so much trust in. I could care less about your precious statistics. I look at the many people I know who have consumed raw milk for decades with no ill effects. A straw man argument is a pretty weak defense and sort of makes you seem desperate and confused. Hopefully you can learn better debating techniques in the future.[/quote]

            Again, please find me a quote where I have supported the CDC’s numbers or placed any trust in them. I have never said that they are reliable. I am arguing for impartiality of the statistics being presented, unlike you who is arguing without rational thought. I don’t care how many people you know who have consumed raw milk. If you lived in Clackamas County Oregon, your personal experience would be very different. That is why people use statistics, to avoid generalizations from small sample sizes like you and your circle of friends.

            In closing, please go back and read what I have written (a few times). Perhaps if your reading comprehension was better, you wouldn’t be falsely accusing me of straw hat arguments.

            • Nathan says

              Joe, I am glad to have your voice in this discussion. Wolverine, I’m glad to have yours too. The biggest obstacle any group advocating a nutritional ideology can face is a lack of “Joe’s”. Joe’s are needed because it’s that critical, analytical, and methodical, accepted type of process that is going to get the right ears listening. The Wolverines are important too, our personal experiences and anecdotal evidence is what can spark the Joe’s with the means to make a real study happen to do so. If you really believe in your diet choices and you really want the average person to be privy to good nutritional information, you should hope like hell for thinkers like Joe to find reason to join the cause because that’s the way to making the biggest impact. There are charlatans out there, and these nutritional debates get so dogmatic it’s like arguing that one religion is the true path while a thousand others argue the same. Think about all the ideas out there, just about health, and all of them have someone speaking with passion and conviction that it is THE way. Wolverines should embrace the Joes for their commitment to empirical evidence on a journey to truth. Joes should embrace the wolverines for raising new questions and challenges to consider on the journey.

              As for myself, I’m proudly a sceptic by nature. But I’m curious, and passionate about learning and discovering, I believe there is a great deal of mystery and I’m grateful for always having more to learn. I’ve explored many groups and ideas, had many amazing and intriguing experiences. With diet it’s the same. It’s been a journey for me. I’ve got close friends and aquaintences who have healed themselves by choosing diets that no conventional Doctor or nutritionist would consider safe or correct. Some of them have been at deaths door at the end of the best of what medicine and many alternative diets could offer, only to defy all we’re told about food and not only survive, but completely thrive. I have a friend who is very intolerant to lactose in pasteurized dairy yet feels great with raw dairy. But there are so many variables. The only constant thread I see is the less processed food someone eats the more radiant and robust they are. My journey with health is going down a raw vegetable based path for now. Don’t assume I’m against anything, or haven’t tried other paths before this. You’d probably be mistaken. It’s a journey and an experiment. I’ve found that my body seems to be building muscle and recovering from activity more quickly than I have experienced in the past with a more conventional diet, a more paleo diet, a diet containing raw animal products, yet I have friends on a raw animal diet experiencing the same thing. Who knows why, I hope good scientist can get behind these questions with some good science to answer. Science is the quest for quantifiable truth. It is only limited because we are, corrupt because we are.

              Kind of losing my train of thought here as it gets late and I write this with big hands on my small phone in bed. I’m sure that last bit starting about me is evidence enough.

              Anyway, a few questions I’d love to have data on.

              Casein, some good studies show an increase In casein having a positive connection to an increase in cancers. Usually the isolated protein seems to be tested. Is the protein raw or heated? How is it isolated and what differences might there be from casein found in raw animal products?

              Some studies showing a decrease in heart disease being connected with a decrease in animal products, but also using the blanket term of processed foods and also suggests the animal products are replaced with whole plant foods, may be making a conclusion using too many variables. For one might the excess use of oils that can be found in processed foods being reduced need to be considered as a factor of reducing heart disease?Studies have shown that heart disease is more prevalent in people consuming more oils and fewer animal products.

              Ok, this is getting worse. Goodnight. Arguing is good, fighting is not. Please don’t fight.

          • Karie says

            I totally see Joes point, and think you’re so caught up in trying to make your argument that you argue just to argue. Our local grocery stores now carry glass milk bottles from local dairy farms. Our local farm stands do too. I can buy local pasteurized milk in many places. It sells a lot. So obviously people are willing to pay more for local milk even if its pasteurized, because it IS happening every day.

      • Kenny says

        @Wolverine “I do not recommend anyone get raw dairy from a commercial dairy where the milk is scheduled to be pasteurized.”

        Funny you’d mention that. I had a roommate many years ago who was working at a factory dairy and bringing raw milk home. It didn’t have a pleasant smell, left an odd, waxy buildup in the container and didn’t have the light custard color of the raw milk I purchase locally. It looked a little more like whitewash for a fence. Within a week or so he developed bleeding from his lower intestine. Don’t know how he got cured but he did stop drinking the raw milk that was slated for pasteurization.

        I have to admit I would probably have started on raw milk sooner if it wasn’t for my memory of his uncomfortable condition.

      • Shell says

        How do you ferment raw dairy into Keifer? Are you talking yogurt? Loved your story. The CDC would love to hang the little farmer with the best milk around, to make more room for the Engineered poison milk.

        I read there are licensed raw milk farms, I have never come across one, would like to know if there are any in the state of Md or Va.

        • Storm says

          Google kefir. Kefir is a bacteria which feeds on lactose. It is a probiotic, similar to yogurt, in the form of a “grain,” which is a soft, roundish object. It can be obtained from various places online, like this site: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ for the cost of & shipping.

          Regarding raw milk in MD or VA, try looking through the sources at http://www.realmilk.com. I suspect there will be some source, as MD is an agriculturally abundant state, unless raw milk is illegal in the two states you mention.

          • Vera says

            I was diagnosed with Celiac about 5 years ago. I was told by my doctor that I probably wouldn’t be able to tolerate any milk or milk products. I tried cottage cheese and it made me sick. I tried yogurt and it made me sick. I made my own yogurt out of raw milk and it still made me sick. So, I got some kefir grains online and made me some kefir from raw milk. Wow! Finally, a milk product that my system will tolerate. I make a smoothie each morning with my kefir. Frozen fruit, organic peanut or almond butter, stevia, kefir and 2 raw farm raised eggs. My diet is very restricted but this is one thing that I look forward to each day. I don’t get tired of it because I can change the taste by changing the fruit I use.

            Since both yogurt and kefir are fermented forms of milk, I wondered why I could tolerate one and not the other. It seems that the probiotics in kefir are stronger than the ones in yogurt.

            • says

              Kefir might be essentially lactose-free, whereas yogurt, cheese, and other milk products still have enough lactose in them to make you sick.

              • vew573 says

                I have since had two doctors tell me that I can tolerate the kefir because of the stronger probiotics it contains. The other milk products were doing damage to my intestines. When I first told my doctor I was making and drinking kefir, he got very quiet. Then at the end of our session he gave me a stool test he wanted me to do. After he got the results back from the stool test, he said: “keep doing what your doing, I can find no evidence that it is harming you. what a blessing.

                • vew573 says

                  correction to above comment. It was a spit test that my doctor gave me, not a stool test. (:>

      • says

        Well said Wolverine. I too am recovering from a health issue that doctors say is usually fatal. I have a smoothie made of raw milk kefir, frozen fruit, an organic nut butter and 2 raw (free range, grass fed, local) chicken eggs.

        When I told my doctor about my breakfast smoothie, (on the phone) he got very quiet for a minute. Then he sent me a spit test. (I’m now out of state). When I got the test, I immediately checked the diagnoses codes to see what he was testing me for. Sure enough, it was for the results of the milk that I was consuming. (He had earlier told me NO milk or milk products.) When he got the results back from the test, he said: “I can find no indication that the milk is hurting you, continue doing what your doing. BTW, He is both a licensed MD and NP.

      • says

        I have a reconstructed rectum. I have been hospitalized for about 7 days for blocked bowels or diverticulitious. they are not sure. Finally got bowels moving. I have had extremely high diahrea for days since they got the bowels working. For two weeks before being hospitalized i was drinking raw milk because i have been on so many intervenious antibiotics for so long I didn’t want anymore anticiotics in my body. Is there any chance that the raw milk caused this blockage or diverticulitious. if my source of milk was bad wouldn’t everyone drinking it be sick. Is there any chance that the raw milk could have caused my problems. I am afraid to tell the hospital. I was drinking raw milk they would just say thats the cause. have always had problems but not like this. I haven’t been able to eat for many days (7) and am very weak. I need to sleep but bowels won’t let me they are no stop. Any help out there

        • Sal says

          Virginia -
          I think I know what you mean:
          When I first started drinking raw milk, I loved it so much I quickly worked up to a gallon per day! Then I stayed overnight in a crowded house, so had limited bathroom time & skipped my nightly magnesium supplement. After that, had a large, painful bm which caused bleeding. Also, bloating & fever. (So this was like diverticulitis.)
          The next week, same problem only worse, so I began using chamomile enemas to pass the stool. Straining can be very dangerous!
          Now, I drink no more than 1-2 quarts of raw milk per day, drink aloe vera, take double my magnesium / potassium supplement, and use the warm enema if I go a day without eliminating.
          I’ve also just been eating a lot less fiber to allow my guts a rest (see ‘Fiber Menace’).
          I think my colon was a bit compromised to start with, so this has made me extra careful & aware of the need to protect it.
          The raw milk has stabilized my blood sugar, eliminated sugar cravings & depression, improved my formerly dry skin – just so many signs of better digestion & endocrine function. It’s been a lifesaver; though now I am also committed to healing my colon.

    • Vera says

      A single glass of milk can contain a mixture of as many as 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. Using a highly sensitive test, scientists found the chemicals in samples of cow, goat milk.

      The Daily Mail reports:
      “Researchers believe some of the drugs and growth promoters were given to the cattle, or got into milk through cattle feed or contamination on the farm … [The] breakdown … revealed that cow’s milk contained traces of anti-inflammatory drugs niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen … It also contained the hormone 17-beta-estradiol”.

      Milk is thought of as a wholesome food, which is why so many parents give it to their children with every meal. And the truth is, it is wholesome when it’s in its raw form and sourced from cows fed non-contaminated grass and raised in clean conditions.

      Unfortunately, the milk that winds up in most Americans’ glasses is far from this unadulterated state and, as the study above revealed, instead may be a veritable chemical cocktail.

    • shell says

      Those sm farmers haveto according to the govt regs, heat the milk or big Unk will come in and take the farm.

      By the way, if raw is so dangerous, don’t you think the CDC and CNN would blast it all over our tv’s that raw milk hurt a child.?? They would love a chance to do that but they can’t because, it isn’t so. Wake up people. Quit letting the Gov kill you, little by little.

  6. Robert Jacobs says

    Chris –

    I have been adding unpasturized (raw milk) cheese to my diet. Do you think the fermentation process has any significant deleterious impact on the potential benefits of raw milk?

      • Robert Jacobs says

        Yeah, this was my assumption. I might proffer that the fermentation process could result in a marginally “safer” product, given the chance of purchasing a poorly stored/handled or inadequately refrigerated raw milk. So why purchase raw milk when I can readily buy (raw milk) cheese?

          • Robert Jacobs says

            Thank you Beth. So it may or may not be “raw”. Clearly, a lower temperature is preferable to a higher one, but 98degrees is far superior to 145degrees or higher. I will check and discover exactly what their “raw” terminology really means. Appreciated.

            • Robert Jacobs says

              Follow up –

              After checking, the store which sold the cheese as “raw” was actually selling a product which had been exposed to 130degrees of heat for 10 seconds. While 130degrees is better than 161degrees, and 10 sec. sure beats 15 seconds, it is, as you say, not really what one would normally call “raw”.

              Thanks.

              • Shell says

                Speaking of using low heat to make cheese, or too ferment raw milk, I buy a Bovine Colosterum, as I have Gerd real bad, as well as I can’t tolerate wheat, esp Franken wheat by Monsonto the GMO Bastards. Chris’s diet, as well as raw milk and products and the Bovine colosterum to help my immunity system, was a chemo victim in 97. This lifestyle and diet change has put me on the road to recovery. The pain at one time from Gerd knocked me off my feet. It crippled me but no more. We are what we eat.

        • Chris Kresser says

          No reason, unless you want to be able to drink fluid milk or make stuff with it, like kefir or yogurt.

          • Cristiano K says

            “No reason” ??? Apart from the fact that you just agreed that part (if not most) of the benefits are in the whey, which cheese is devoid of.

  7. Glenn Atkisson says

    Good article, Chris. On the nutrition issue, it is unfortunate that we talk only of “raw” milk nutrition. Clouding the issue is the fact that our raw milk, especially coming from the smallest, family owned herds (or even a single cow) are likely is likely to be coming from a free-range animal, with less exposure to grains and commercial feed. While I have studies on file that show the superior nutrition of free-range beef as well as eggs laid by free-range hens, I’ve seen nothing on the superiority of milk from free ranging cattle. I just assume it is superior. So while it may be difficult to show statistics on the nutritional gains from drinking raw milk, I am inclined to feel the extra nutrition is there, depending on the amount of forage the cows are able to gain for themselves, and the absence of GMO grains and grain products from their feed. It’s hard to imagine any large commercial (pasteurizing-type) dairy herd getting the quality nutrition of even the average raw milk dairy herd.
    I have to admit I am one of those who still got sinus congestion from ingesting even just home-made yogurt from locally obtained raw milk. For that reason, I quit using any kind of dairy except butter and occasional cheese long ago. But for the rest of my family, when the kids were still at home, raw milk and yogurt was always a very healthy part of our diet and we enjoyed making our own yogurt and butter.
    I learned a lot from the “Is Raw Milk Dangerous” article, and because of its information, would take a few new precautions now if I were to be in a family that wanted to purchase raw milk. But I still think it is worth the minuscule risk to drink it instead of less nutritious, and possibly more toxic, pasteurized milk from large dairies.
    Your article was all positive on raw milk, without being negative on pasteurized milk. It refrained from mentioning that by drinking only raw milk, one can avoid possible toxins and other questionable substances (more drugs?) that will more likely be in milk from pasteurizing producers. I would be open to hearing also about the negative nutritional aspects of milk from dairies that never allow their cattle to range freely, and are kept constantly in dirt (mud) lots, if anyone has information on this.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Glenn,

      There’s still one more article in the series. In the next article I’ll discuss pasteurized milk as an alternative to raw, although I don’t plan to go into great detail on it.

      • Glenn Atkisson says

        Thanks, and woopsie, I had an old screen up and didn’t see this reply when I put in my latest on homogenization. I’ll wait for your (and others’) input on that also.

  8. Cynthia says

    With regards to your questions about why raw milk may be better tolerated by people, Catherine Shanahan, MD, in “Deep Nutrition,” talks about how processed milk’s micro-structure becomes disrupted through heat (pasteurization) and homogenization. Most, but not all, pasteurized milk is also homogenized for stability, and the homogenization process basically squeezes the large casein micelle complexes through small pores to break them up. Here is a quick image of raw, intact casein micelles for reference: http://www.dairyscience.info/forum/uploads/public/casein.gif. The micelles are held together by calcium phosphate, so when the micelles are broken up in homogenization, this exposes the nicely held together fats to the calcium, which forms calcium soaps (“saponification”). The calcium soaps not only cause a lot of irritation to the gut, but also make calcium much less bio-available.

    The high heat of pasteurization can alter amino acids found in milk and transform them into more allergenic proteins that are less recognized by our immune cells, which could explain why some people can develop sinus congestion and/or increased phlegm to modern dairy.

    I’m sure there are many additional explanations at the molecular level as to why unprocessed dairy is better tolerated.

    • vmarq says

      Cynthia, Its finally good to hear from someone who presents valid facts instead of lukewarm info or ignorance! Bravo! Raw Milk has nourished humans for centuries and the bible speaks of “a land flowing with MILK and HONEY!!!! It was definately NOT PASTEURIZED, HOMOGENIZED, OR FULL OF ANITBIOTICS, STEROIDS, OR NASTY GMO GRAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just amazes me how people are so easily decieved by government regulators and big businesses, just like sheep being led to slaughter. Even with all the evidence before them, they will follow satan every time!

  9. Glenn Atkisson says

    Isn’t another benefit of raw milk the fact that, except in some rare case, it will also not be homogenized? As I understand it, when pasteurized milk is homogenized, something called xanthine oxidase is formed, which has a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body. Does anyone have any other drawbacks to list that come with homogenization?

  10. Sarah says

    I have to say, I’ve been anticipating this post in hopes of finding some convincing reason to take on the risks of raw milk, especially for small children. But I just don’t see anything in this post that illustrates anything beyond theoretical benefit.

    From the PARSIFAL study you mentioned:
    “The present study does not allow evaluating the effect of pasteurized vs. raw milk consumption because no objective confirmation of the raw milk status of the farm milk samples was available. Parental answers to a question on consumption of boiled vs. raw farm milk are likely to be biased due to the social desirability of responses because raw milk consumption is not recommended especially for young children. About half of the parents indicated that they usually did not boil the milk before consumption but no differential effects were observed between those boiling and those not boiling the milk. This might be a result of biased parental answers or may indicate that pasteurization is not of key importance because compounds other than microbes may play a role.”

    As you mentioned, the authors speculate that observed differences could be due to pathogenic make-up, but could also be due to nutritional differences in the milk, which are not related to pasteurization but more to how the cows are raised and fed. They also specifically state that “At this stage, consumption of raw farm milk cannot be recommended as a preventive measure.”

    I agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but we DO have evidence that raw milk causes more infectious disease than pasteurized milk. Even when you reevaluate the numbers as you have done, this is still the case.

    The argument about community, ethics and environment does not really apply to the raw vs. pasteurized debate. There are plenty of small, local, sustainable dairy farms that offer pasteurized milk products, both in the grocery store and direct to consumer.

    To me, it still sounds like drinking raw milk is taking on known risk with no proven benefit. I am not one to write off anecdote completely, and if you or your patients feel it has helped you, the relatively small risk may be worth it to you. But you seem to be really partial to evidence, which I truly respect, and from what I’ve seen, the evidence is just not there. And I am particularly worried about parents who make the decision to give their small children raw milk daily, exposing them to increased risk of serious illness with only theoretical benefit.

    • Chris Kresser says

      The benefits of raw milk are not theoretical if you’ve experienced them first hand. They’re simply unproven by randomized, clinical trials. I can’t tolerate pasteurized milk. I can not only tolerate raw milk products, I thrive on them. It’s as simple as that for me. I am interested in further research to elucidate the differences, but if it never happens it won’t change my experience.

      As I’ve said all along, it’s a personal choice. You’ve weighed the risks and benefits and you’ve chosen not to drink raw milk. That’s your prerogative. Many other individuals have concluded otherwise, for themselves and their children.

      The risk you’re concerned about (a child developing a serious illness) is about 1 in 6 million, according to this dataset. People put their children in cars every day, at a much, much higher risk of injury and death. People are willing to take such a substantial risk every day of their lives because the benefits of driving are so great. Most don’t even think about it anymore – possibly because if they did, they’d be a lot more reluctant to strap their child into the car seat and drive somewhere.

      Of course the safest option for someone that doesn’t tolerate pasteurized dairy is to avoid dairy entirely. That is a perfectly valid choice, and I’ll discuss that in Part 3 of this series. But for those that can’t tolerate pasteurized milk and still want to enjoy dairy, this is more than an academic question. Personal experience matters.

      • Sarah says

        Chris,

        I’m glad that raw milk has helped you, and I would never want to make your decision for you or anyone else. However, this article is written in such a way that it implies that there is good evidence that raw milk has “several positive benefits” with only “possible risks.” In fact, there are actual risks associated with raw milk and the evidence of benefit at this point is speculative or anecdotal.

        You cite the PARSIFAL study as potential support for raw milk’s benefit. You do mention that the findings are correlative and there was speculation about fatty acid content of grass-fed cow’s milk providing the benefit. However, you omit the fact that the authors explicitly state that this study cannot be used to evaluate benefits of raw vs. pasteurized milk, because in-home boiling of farm milk was self-reported and there was no difference in health outcomes for those who claimed to boil their milk vs. those who did not, meaning either pasteurization is not the issue or the self-reported data is flawed. You also fail to mention that the authors explicitly state that they do not recommend consuming raw milk as a preventive measure. Your readers deserve to know this.

        In terms of lactose intolerance, the preliminary findings of the Stanford study are readily available online (though they are still unpublished), and they thus far show no benefit of raw milk for consumers who are lactose intolerant. You don’t mention this. Instead you mention the WAPF survey, which is extremely flawed by confirmation bias. Even if you qualify it by saying it’s not “rigorous evidence,” you are only giving part of the picture, to people who may be willing to accept the part of the picture that they already agree with.

        The argument about environment and community concerns does not apply only to raw milk. There is plenty of local, sustainable, pasteurized milk to be had. And in the case of vitamins and minerals content reduced by pasteurization, many studies show either the reduction is minor or milk is not a good dietary source of the nutrient in question to begin with (e.g. vitamin C).

        I can’t really argue with you about the flavor.

        If you feel you benefited personally from raw milk, then it is reasonable that you would form a hypothesis that posits there is proven benefit. However, when the data do not show this, you seem to retreat to an argument of anecdote and appeal to ignorance. One of your greatest strengths is your use of evidence, but if you live by the numbers, you must die by them, too. The way this post is presented now, it is misleading to readers, many of whom already want to have their pre-existing beliefs in the benefits of raw milk confirmed by someone who knows the science.

        • Chris Kresser says

          Where did I imply that raw milk has only “possible risks”? I outlined the data clearly in the first article. There were 12 hospitalizations from 2000 – 2007, and according to the reported illness data during that period there was a 1 in 94,000 chance of becoming ill from drinking it. All foodborne illness estimates for a particular food vehicle employ data from reported illnesses, so this is what I used. I did not suggest that those risks are imaginary in any way. 12 hospitalizations are 12 hospitalizations, and hospitalizations for raw milk can be serious – especially in children. I will discuss this further in Part 3.

          What I did suggest is simply that, statistically speaking, the risk of becoming hospitalized from drinking raw milk is very, very low (1 in 6 million, according to the 2000 – 2007 data). Neither you nor Joe seems willing to acknowledge this.

          Furthermore, I did not make any claims in this article that aren’t supported by the available data. I pointed out that epidemiological data doesn’t prove causation. But nor does your objection to the PARSIFAL study, or the authors own interpretation of their data, dismiss the possibility that that raw milk has some protective benefit.

          I’m not particularly concerned with the results of the Stanford study. Once again, many people cannot tolerate pasteurized milk, but they thrive on raw milk. You can posit some kind of widespread placebo effect, or you can accept that there is some as yet undiscovered characteristic of raw milk that allows people who can’t drink pasteurized milk to drink it without symptoms. It doesn’t matter to me whether that has anything to do with lactose intolerance. On a practical level, that’s inconsequential. If someone wants to consume dairy, but cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy, the only choice left to them is raw dairy – regardless of what the science says.

          Those people deserve to know that the risk of developing an illness serious enough to require hospitalization from drinking raw milk is extremely small.

          • Ceejay says

            My 13-month-old drinks raw milk daily with no problem, but any time he has a small amount of pasteurized, uncultured dairy, he spits up within a few hours. And he doesn’t know what he’s eating, so it can’t be placebo. I know one person’s experience is not very convincing to a skeptic, but it’s pretty convincing when you’re the one who experiences it!

          • Sarah says

            Chris, I don’t want my argument with you to detract from your attention to others’ questions. Let me sum up my frustrations and be out of your hair.

            The phrase “possible risks” is a direct quote from this post. The available data does not support the claim of “several positive benefits,” which is also a quote from this post. The only benefit shown thus far is the anecdotal perceived benefit of some raw milk drinkers. You cite a study that according to its own authors does not address the benefits of raw vs. pasteurized milk, and you neglect to mention that they explicitly state this. You mention the Stanford study, but neglect to mention that it also doesn’t support your assertion, and now you are saying that it doesn’t matter what it says. You cite several benefits that are not specific to raw milk. This piece has several shortcomings and it is disappointing that you are not willing to admit to any of them.

            As for risk, I have acknowledged several times that the absolute risk is small. I find your individual analysis of the raw data compelling and a good challenge to the CDC’s assertions, but I don’t necessarily except it at face value, especially because it has not been corroborated, and you have a known bias in that you believe you have benefited from raw milk and favor its consumption. There are many ways to manipulate raw data.

            I wasn’t put on this earth to argue against raw milk. There are far more pressing health issues in the world. We agree on far more than we disagree, and I respect the work you do. I only object to the way this information is presented; I find it disingenuous.

            • shell says

              I’m sure you agree with Obama Care health ins. I’m quite sure you haven’t read the health care law.

              Ms self annointed raw milk expert, your lack of intellegence shows that you never had a drop of raw breast milk as a child. Bottle fed and educated by our Govt in Pub Schools.

            • PJ (RightNOW) says

              And should he, the person writing the article, completely discount his own real life repeated/replicated experience, as well as that of many people he knows, in favor of merely a dry recitation of someone else’s statistics? Why shouldn’t he say several positive benefits, when he has hands-on eye-witness experience of this? He did not claim some research study found that.

              Science begins with observation and experience. It is a full spectrum of human endeavor. The idea that anything without a formal doubleblind study is inherently unscientific is inaccurate.

              Any human being writing a blog post about something they have direct and indirect personal experience with, I would hope would have a post that in some regard reflects that real life experience. If I merely wanted CDC statistics, I would go to their website, and not Chris Kresser’s.

        • says

          Sarah, I research and write around the subject of health, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t read a study or 10… so I love a good study as much as anyone. I developed a severe intolerance to lactose when I was about 24. I’ve always loved milk and one summer I just couldn’t get enough of it. I’ll bet I drank close to a gallon a day for a couple months. It was hot, I was thirsty… what can I say? Then, I just lost the taste for it and drank almost no milk for a couple months. When I started drinking milk again… bam. Cheese… bam. From that point on, I consumed very little dairy and carried lactase pills for when I did. Fast forward about 9 years. After researching raw milk, I decided to give it a go. No issues! None! I’m 41 years old and can still only have raw milk.

          In this case, I don’t need a white coat from Stanford to tell me what’s going on. If you ever need proof, you are welcome to bring a gallon of milk to my house. My youngest son (5 yrs) and I will give you all the proof you need. We will blindly drink 4 ounces of raw or pasteurized milk… ok maybe just 2 for him. Just for the record, I could easy drink a quart of raw milk with zero issues. Over 8 years drinking raw milk now with no issues.

          Studies are great and I can’t have enough of them, but they are often used as an excuse to ignore good anecdotal evidence. Getting punched in the face hurts… “I couldn’t find a study to back that up, so we don’t know that for sure”.

      • Mary McGonigle-Martin says

        Chris, have you ever tried buying raw milk and pasteurizing it at home and seeing how your respond to that type of heated milk?

        • shell says

          I havveto heat my raw milk just below boiling to make real yougurt. Try it sometime, it’s yummy and oh, so good for you.

      • says

        Dr. Mercola also has some good articles on the benefits of raw milk.
        “Millions of Americans get sick every year from eating contaminated foods. Among them, at least 325,000 will be hospitalized and 5,000 will die, according to FDA statistics.

        Many foods are responsible for these illnesses. Most recently, romaine lettuce sold to wholesalers was recalled in multiple states after concerns of E. coli contamination, and a few weeks later romaine lettuce-based, ready-to-eat salads were recalled due to possible Salmonella bacteria.

        Americans are no strangers to such recalls.

        One of the most memorable occurred in 2006, when all spinach was pulled from store shelves. Alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, beef and jalapeno peppers have also been recalled in recent years after serious illnesses have been reported.

        Yet, only one food — raw milk — has been unfairly singled out and targeted by the FDA, the USDA and even the FBI as a “health risk” worthy of armed raids and crackdowns — a food that also happens to be so low on the food-borne illness risk scale it’s hardly measurable.”

        http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/14/the-war-over-raw-milk-heats-up.aspx

        • shell says

          Remember Pink Floyd’s song, about trusting the govt. The Govt is protecting Engineered farming trying to squeeze the little guy. I thought the Libs were for the little guy. Ha.

          This is all political, so make your choices wisely. The Libs and Dems are for huge Govt, which is job security, and big business. Where’s OWS when it comes to all the lies big Govt is telling us, taking away our choices and stealing our money.

    • Glenn Atkisson says

      Sarah, to expound a little further on what Chris explains is the risk:
      Even if we take Joe’s number (which adjusts reported illness with the “unreported” 97.7%, thus raising the chance of getting ill to 1 in 2800, consider that they are saying a child or adult has 1 chance in 2800 to come down ill in any given YEAR. That means they might become ill the first year, or they might become ill the 2800th year (37 lifetimes mind you, using 75 years as a lifespan). That means on average, the average child might take over 18 lifetimes to get ill from drinking raw milk at this rate. But remember, they will be an ADULT most of that time, so their chances of getting seriously ill as a child are not really even that great.
      And this doesn’t take into consideration that people can take matters into their own hands and inspect and question the prospective dairies, and safeguard the sanity of the milk once it is in the home better than the average case.
      Risks, remember, can be adjusted by your day-to-day behavior and the intelligence you apply to the “problem”. If you don’t use an ATM after dark, and you don’t drive drunk, why would you assume careless behavior regarding contamination of your food supply. Anyone can improve on any of their statistics. You don’t have to assume you are just a member of the herd, and have to accept the herd’s statistics.
      I may not convince you that there is any benefit to drinking raw milk. I’m not trying. I’m just trying for myself, and for others, to put some more perspective on the risk side of the issue.

      • Sarah says

        Glenn, I don’t agree with how you’ve presented the statistics here. If we were to accept 1 in 2800, that is a very high risk for foodborne illness. This does not mean one child will have to drink raw milk for 18 lifetimes to get sick. More accurately, it means among 9.4 million milk drinkers, which would mean as many as 2.3 million children, every year about 840 children will become ill, and up to 58 (based on 2-7% HUS complication rate overall, probably higher in children) of those will experience acute renal failure. (I don’t think Chris accepts that figure, but I’m going based on the number you mentioned.) That’s up to 58 children on dialysis for something that might not even be beneficial.

        I appreciate that the absolute risk of getting sick might still be low. My point is, why should I assume that additional risk, and why should I impose that risk on my child, when there is no proven benefit? My child rides in the car because that is necessary in order for us to live where we live, carry out our daily lives and assure our livelihood. The benefit is considerable. In my mind, if I am going to knowingly expose my child to an increased risk of serious illness, when it is perfectly easy for me to dramatically reduce that risk (i.e. by giving her pasteurized milk), there’d better be some proven benefit involved in assuming that risk. In this case, there is not.

        Knowing the supplier and keeping tabs on their inspection policies helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Some of the suppliers involved in recent outbreaks regularly checked their supply for contamination.

        In reality, I am generally less risk averse than my writing may imply. Life is full of risks and we as autonomous individuals choose to take on some and avoid others, based on the perceived benefits. I don’t object to people making subjective decisions that go against compiled evidence (except maybe in issues of public health), based on the power of their personal, lived experience. I only object to presenting that subjective decision as if it is supported by evidence.

        • Joe_ says

          I think you have a great point Sarah.

          In keeping up with the car analogies:
          If we could modify our car and reduce the likelihood of getting into an accident by 10-150 times, would we still drive our unmodified car because it (possibly) has better performance? Keep in mind if we got into an accident, our children are more likely to be the ones injured.

        • Sally JPA says

          Sarah makes a number of good points in her comments. Having some extra time this weekend, I came to read the raw milk set of posts, and I’m disappointed by them.

          Perhaps what bothers me the most is that this post sets up a false dichotomy between raw milk from small, family farms and pasteurized milk from factory farms. In fact, some raw milk comes from farms that are not close to 100% pasturing and/or are large operations (look up non-marketing videos of Organic Pastures’ operation, as one example), and some pasteurized milk comes from small, family farms with entirely pastured/grass-fed cattle.

          I’m nearly always wowed by Chris’s posts, but this raw milk set isn’t compelling like they usually are. And in the comments, Chris comes off as far more defensive than he usually is, which surprises me, because he usually seems rather more objective about what he’s reporting on.

          • shell says

            Don’t forget engineered farms give hormones and antibiotics to the cows. Poor creatures are tortured on their feet making twice as much milk as normal. Then the milk is boiled to oblivion and coloring and vitamins are added back. Why would you want to drink that ?????

            If you like raw, know your farmer, visit the farm and look around. I wouldn’t by govt milk from a dirty store. You don’t haveto purchase the milk, it’s your choice. I don’t like the govt getting involved and telling me to drink engineered milk. All you people out there who want choice, well I want choice of what iI put in my body without big Bro getting involved..

    • Stan says

      Why eat dairy at all? I stopped all dairy (supermarket type) 8 years ago and got rid of nose congestion, headaches, pimples on the back, and so on. I started to eat butter 2 years ago with no bad effect at all. I will be hard pressed to start dairy again (apart from butter), especially conventional. So if worried about the risk of raw milk why not stop all together. Various negative effect from conventional milk products including cancer potential.

      • Glenn Atkisson says

        Hi Stan,
        Not to answer for anyone but myself, but I assume this article is addressed to those who can drink milk in most any form, and are just weighing the benefits vs risks of using raw milk, as they consider milk and it’s byproducts a valuable part of their diet.
        I agree with you for my personal case. Sinus problems made me consider forgetting about milk. Once in the non-milk state of mind, I don’t miss it and I’m sure I can get complete nutrition without it.
        There are arguments that say it’s only for calves and there are those which say it isn’t paleolithic. I’d love to get into those discussions, as I think they are relevant to humankind, but I’m sure I don’t want to add any substance to that expansion of this current discussion.
        Maybe Chris can take that angle up as an additional article though? I would like that.

    • Vew573 says

      Besides destroying part of the vitamin C contained in raw milk and encouraging growth of harmful bacteria, pasteurization turns the sugar of milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose, which is far more soluble and therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, with the result that the child soon becomes hungry again.

      Probably pasteurization’s worst offence is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk. This frequently leads to rickets, bad teeth and nervous troubles, for sufficient calcium content is vital to children; and with the loss of phosphorus also associated with calcium, bone and brain formation suffer serious setbacks.

      Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk, causes constipation and generally takes from the milk its most vital qualities.

      • Vew573 says

        There is no substitute for clean, raw milk as a food, so far as children are concerned. Science has not yet succeeded in providing, in the pasteurized variety, those essential qualities that are the only real foundation for a healthy child.
        Unfortunately, many grossly distorted statements are current regarding our milk supply. If we are to believe the protagonists of the Pasteurization-of-all-milk-at-all costs Party, raw milk is as good, or rather as bad, as rat poison–although as the Minister of Agriculture recently stated, “the human race existed long before Pasteur was heard of.”

        I and my large family were raised on raw cow milk. I use raw milk to make kefir which I consume daily.

  11. says

    We raised our kid’s on raw milk, and also use it to make yogurt, yogurt cheese, and kefir. You can use the whey from the yogurt for lactofermentation (kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.).

    If you can get access to a clean farm, I highly recommend. Good article Chris.

  12. says

    I could not have written a better response myself. Especially the conclusion, which needs to be repeated:
    “And I am particularly worried about parents who make the decision to give their small children raw milk daily, exposing them to increased risk of serious illness with only theoretical benefit.”

  13. Kerry says

    I was worried about raw milk and whether or not to even give it to my 9 year old son. Although it’s not easily purchased in NY and so expensive it cannot be a part of my son’s daily intake, I’d heard of many of the positive benefits yet didn’t even consider it out of fear. But now your articles have given me the information I need to make my OWN decision. The federal, state, and local governments are making more and more decisions for me that I would prefer to make myself. I can’t afford to filter/ro my water so my son bathes in fluoride and Monsanto is successfully pressuring state goverments to not require labeling of GMO foods; at least here I can make my own choice using the real statistics and reports and not skewed and manipulated interpretations of the data.

    Thank you, Chris for giving me the tools to make up my own mind.

  14. Vlad says

    Chris, 2-3 years ago the ‘root of all diseases’ was insulin resistance, and milk was the worst offender. Dr Cordain is still saying that milk creates a massive insulin response. What are your take on this?

  15. Margot says

    Thank you for this most informative article about the raw milk.
    I am very much looking forward to your next article, telling us about sorces where to obtain it.
    Will you include Canada, specifically Ontario as well?
    For people who can not tolerate raw cows milk might want to try goats milk or sheep milk.

  16. Lpjohnson says

    For those whom feel the risk of raw milk is too high:
    do you have asthma? Does your child have asthma? 9% of US children have it and according to the CDC, 1.75 million ER visits in 2007 were asthma related.
    One of my children has (had) asthma, however, he would have never had so much as a wheeze if I hadn’t consumed ice cream while nursing him. I have been nearly dairy free my entire life due to intolerance. My sweet baby developed asthma & eczema at about 3 months old. Drawing on my own childhood experience with abdominal pain & allergies directly related to cow’s milk (I was switched to goat and did fine) I eliminated dairy from our home. Asthma & eczema both cleared. 5 months later, I ate ice cream. Both symptoms returned acutely in baby the following day. Dr. Convinced me it was a coincidence, but we stayed without dairy. Whoops! I did it again! Ice cream at a special occasion, baby to the ER with bronchospasm 12 hrs later (very scary if you have never experienced it). Good bye, milk.
    My boy is now 4 1/2 and has had no wheezing since that ER visit. I started making homemade yogurt recently, no asthma symptoms but the eczema is creeping back up his legs (I’ve only given him about 4 oz once/week.)
    My point is this: don’t we deserve a study to see if our bodies react differently to supermarket dairy than farm- fresh? Is it the pasteurization or the diet of the cow? The argument for the cow’s diet being the primary factor in reactions is very plausible to me (because of my knowledge of how my diet while nursing affected my babies). Is the risk of food borne illness so intimidating that we are willing to risk asthma?
    We have never tried raw milk ( State law) but I would know how it affects my child in 3 days or less, and I would like the government to butt out so we could give it a try.

  17. Chris says

    Not all raw milk is 100% grass fed. Organic Pastures, the biggest raw milk operation here in California, supplement their cows’ pasture with corn. Disappointingly true. See their FAQ.

    • says

      Chris,

      I, too, was surprised to learn this as they say their cows are 100% grass-fed on their label. I even wrote a blog post about it: http://farmmuckraker.blogspot.com/2011/12/californians-whats-in-your-raw-milk.html (this was back when I was drinking raw milk)

      These videos came out showing that OPDC cows eat a substantial amount of grain, amongst other questionable practices:
      http://healthytraditions.com/blog/post.cfm/certified-raw-milk-in-california-visits-to-the-two-raw-milk-dairies.

      Of course, I was also angry from a consumer standpoint because saying your cows are 100% grass-fed on your label when they are not is not honest marketing. The last comment from an experienced dairyman on the blog post of the videos above is very telling.

      As Chris Kresser has said, he will be writing about what to look for in a raw milk dairy in part 3, so maybe he will cover this issue.

      Kristen

      • Aubrey Williams says

        Where I am in Santa Barbara, CA, I can also get Claravale dairy milk, which comes from Jersey cows and is delicious. They also partially grain feed and address this on their FAQ, stating that dairy cows, unlike beef cows, need pasture, hay, and grain to thrive due to the breed differences and the demands of producing milk.

        http://claravaledairy.com/

        I’d be intereste to know if there are dairies producing solely on pasture, what breeds they use, and how they manage their herd?

        Aubrey

        • Lpjohnson says

          There is a lady in New Mexico with mini-Jerseys that are pasture only.
          Shalali Infante of PintsizedFarm.com
          I do think you will have to look for a very small scale farm. Basically, the reason for grain is consistency in the amount and quality of the milk (and it increases yields, a pro if you’re in the milk selling business). This is a highly interesting thread on pasturing dairy animals http://www.permies.com/t/2355/critter-care/milk-cows-grass-fed
          Believe it or not, cows have had less time to adapt to grains than humans have.

    • shell says

      The Amish haveto do that, because druing the Winter, grass doesn’t grow in cold states. During the warm weather their milk is such a pretty light yellow, and in the Winter the cows are fed hay and straw to supplement. I still love raw milk any time of yr. Besides the milk is hormone and pesticide free. No gmo, gluten or Monsanto involved.

  18. Ira Edwarfds says

    I buy raw milk and let it sour for a good source of probiotics.
    Pasteurizded milk does not sour; it rots, because the natural bacteria are gone, and other bacteria get into it.
    I grew up on a small Iowa farm in the 30′s. We had two cows. Later, we had goats. If a cow put its foot in the bucket, we strained the milk through cheesecloth, and never worried about disease, and never heard of anyone getting sick from milk. It happened, of course, but it was not so common that any of us thought of it being a problem. Then, with less hygeine, as now with very well controlled sanitary facitities, raw milk was and is among the safest of foods.

  19. Conrad says

    Great article, Chris! Do you think it likely that clabbered milk would be safer than fresh raw milk? Would the probiotic bacteria multiply and crowd out any pathogens? Or does it depend on the balance of bacteria already present in the milk?

    Many thanks

  20. Catherine says

    I’ve been living in Norway for the past 3 years and whenever we go to our mountain cabin, we make a point of getting a bucket of raw milk from the local milk farmer. It just tastes better. I feed it to my little children and they love it. We’ve never had any problems with it and people around Norway feed their children raw milk every chance they get. So far, I’ve never heard anyone having problems with it. I use it to make yogurt, cream cheese and ricotta cheese. It’s delicious! My husband and I’ve noticed that it lasts longer than the milk we buy at the store. Perhaps because the ones at the store have been sitting in storage longer? Whatever it is, we think bacteria grows slower in raw milk (and my husband is a scientist/engineer).

  21. colleen says

    Does raw cheese have to be bought from a farm or made at home? Can it be found in stores, please?

  22. Lynn says

    There are many aged (60+ days), hard cheeses imported from Europe that are truly raw and have been artisanally made the same way for centuries. On the label look for “milk” or “fresh milk.” A good source in the U.S. are the Amish, if you are lucky enough to live nearby. Otherwise contact the Weston A. Price Foundation and order their Shopping Guide. There are pages of cheese sources in the Guide. I buy Sierra Nevada Cheese Company’s raw cheddar and jack, though not in stores, but via Azure Standard. Or find the best specialty / gourmet / cheese store in your area and start asking questions!

  23. Leane says

    I’ve been around the animal industry (factory farms) a long time, not that it provides credentials in itself. I’ve always been taught that poorly treated animals do not keep a facility running smoothly. Many farms generate revenue based on animal production, and mistreating said animals does not make money. I realize that some farms concentrate on the bottom line to the point of seeming like a unfeeling business, but almost all of the farmers, managers, and students in the animal industry I have interacted with seem to actually care about the animals upon which they found a business. As in all businesses, efficiency leads the way to increased profits. This has led to streamlined farms with lots of animals, however, animal welfare is going to be the first priority of any farm that wants to stay afloat and not incur the wrath of fines and bad publicity from the government and animal rights movements. Every action revolving around the treatment and production of an animal has a logical foundation that makes “sense” to the industry. Some methods have been weeded out or replaced as humane handling has been increasingly explored, and room for improvement is always present in any industry. There are bad apples in every bunch, and farms who grew beyond small-scale production shouldn’t be blamed for growth. Beating cows/calves with crowbars, stabbing them with pitchforks, and stomping on their heads is not standard production, and I have to wonder from a production standpoint why an animal who a farm has invested money in would be treated in such a way…unless the video was staged or meant to be a forceful message. Dehorning is real, though not in the rough manner seen in the reference. N=1, and I care about both animal welfare and making money to feed families on a large scale. I agree that factory farms are too dependent on grains, which I hate. Also, as farms get larger and products feed/ are distributed to more people, food safety becomes an issue not only of quality but accountability. It’s much easier to sue a farm with more money than a small farmer who got manure in a milking bucket by accident. Otherwise, great post. I’m always willing to assess my views and evolve; I’ve just grown up on the other side of the fence (am working up the courage to try raw milk, though my factory farm dairy friends claim it is delicious).

    • shell says

      What about all those froz hamburgers, chicken, lettuce, green onions with ecoli ? Its not just raw milk. Most of the above come from Engineered farms, not sm local farmers. Get your head out of the sand and start living.

  24. Charlene says

    Thank god for the heroic Minnesota dairy farmers who provide us with unprocessed milk in the face of oppressive harassment by the MN Dept. of Agric. My daughter has almost completely recovered her health – was bedridden for most of 2011 with severe pains from rheumatoid arthritis – drinking raw milk 3 quarts daily and WAPF diet. She is out of pain, back at school full time, no medications, and ready to fight for her right to access this healing food.

    Those of you who fear the risk of getting sick: Good news. No one is forcing you to eat raw dairy. The choice is yours. The choice should be ours.

  25. Robin AKA GoatMom says

    I’ve been drinking raw home produced goats milk and cow’s milk from friends for 26 years. I practice good animal husbandry, aseptic utter cleaning and chilling my milk to high grade B standards. I have experienced one 24 hour GI illness over those same 26 years. I’m an RN by Profession, so I have lots of occupational exposure on a daily basis. I’ve called in for personal illness 4X over my career. I initally got into drinking raw goats milk when my daughter stopped breast feeding and was unab;e to tolerate any type of milk, formula and an older Pediatrician suggested raw gots milk as a possible solution. I lived in a rural area and actually had a coworker who raised and milked goats. Daughter tolerated and we changed to raw milk eventually getting a herd start from the coworker who became a close friend. My personal experience is prrof enough for me on the benefits of raw milk.

    • Mike F says

      My uncle Johnny passed away last year at the age of 82. At his funeral a family member gave an account of how he was born.

      He was born at just under 6 months gestation (on October 31, 1928 of all days) and Va, my great grandma, was told by the doctors that he wouldn’t survive and that they could keep him at the hospital in an incubator until he passes. Va told the doctor that if he was going to die then he was going to die at home. They fashioned a bed for him out of a shoe box and kept him by the stove for warmth. He was too young to breast feed so he was given goats milk (presumably raw) and obviously survived against all odds.

      Milk, regardless of what animal it comes from, is a life giving substance. There is much more to this food than we know.

  26. James Garb M.D. FAAP says

    I have seen 3 children ages 17 months to 10 years old in the last 2 months with E. Coli 0157-H7 gastroenteritis all of whom drank raw milk. The two youngest had the complication of HUS which is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. This causes renal failure and other life threatening complications. One child is still in the hospital going on 2 months now. I would not recommend drinking unpasturized milk for anyone under the age of 3 or 4 years old. It is simply not worth the risk regardless of statistics as mentioned previously. If it is your child the incidence is 100%!

    • Chris Kresser says

      I agree that statistics become a lot less compelling when your child is the 1 in 6 million or whatever the numbers are. That said, I still think they’re important in terms of evaluating overall risk. I’m going to discuss the fact that children, the elderly and pregnant women are more vulnerable in my last post (Friday) about determining whether raw milk is worth the risk on an individual level.

      Out of curiosity, were these cases related to the Oregon outbreak?

      • says

        If you google his name he is a prominent pediatrician from Columbus, Missouri which had an outbreak of e.coli from raw milk earlier this year right before Oregon.

  27. Lynn says

    Thanks Charlene for posting your daughter’s story and your very important comments on our freedom to choose our food. We must educate consumers who care about what they eat that this freedom is fragile. If we don’t remain vigilant, our only choices will be Kraft, Cargill, and the like. We must support and protect those who bring us life-giving foods; the small farmers and ranchers who sell direct. I own a herd share and told my dairywoman I’d lay down in her farm’s driveway to stop anyone coming to harass her. Join the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, together we have strength!

  28. Mary McGonigle-Martin says

    Dr. Garb,
    Thank you so much for your input. In the first part of this series, Chris points out that milk has as a food group has the lowest numbers for foodborne illness compared to the rest of the foods listed. The very reason being is that we have had mandatory pasteurization of milk for over 60 years. When pasteurized milk does become contaminated, there was faulty pasteurization or post pasteurization contamination. For example, an incident happened years back where many people were sickened by eating ice-cream that came from pasteurized milk/and or cream. Unfortunately, the truck used to transport the milk/and or cream had previously shipped raw eggs and somehow it hadn’t been cleaned out. Thousands of people became ill from this freak accident.

    Another aspect of the statistics we don’t know about is how many of those illnesses for vegetables, fruit eggs, poultry and meat were caused by crossed contamination in the home (sharing the same cutting board used for raw poultry or meat and then later used again for vegetables or fruit) or people not using a meat thermometer when cooking to make sure the temperature of the meat was high enough to kill the pathogens, or rinsing their poultry in the sink, or eating their eggs sunny-side-up. With a little education, people can be taught how to prevent foodborne illnesses.

    In this argument about foodborne illnesses, what seems to be left out is that FOODBORNE ILLNESSES ARE PREVENTABLE. We now have a group of people advocating for the use of raw milk and pregnant women, infants and children are the target group for consumption. This group wants to turn back the clock on foodborne illness prevention. If you want to support your local farmer and also want milk that is free from hormones, antibiotics and homogenization buy raw milk and pasteurize it at home. Raw milk is not worth risking your child’s life over.

    Dr. Garb, here is our story and how we found our way to raw milk. My son had HUS and was in the hospital for 2 months. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/04/is-the-foundation-of-good-health-found-in-a-bottle-of-raw-milk/

    I share my son’s story with the hope that it prevents other parents from making the same mistake we did. My motto is: If you can’t name all the pathogens that can be found in raw milk, along with naming the illnesses these pathogens can cause, you can’t make an informed decision about raw milk consumption.

    I am also a member of the working group for Real Raw Milk Facts. It is an attempt to present both sides of the story on milk. http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/ .

    • Charlene says

      @Mary – I appreciate your passion in warning people in the hope they will not experience the trauma that your son went through. My question is: could you be misplacing blame on raw milk for your son’s illness? Is it possible that the “the microbes are nothing; the terrain is everything”? Our bodies are 90% microbes, 10% human. Was your son a victim of unhealthy microbiome? Were you taking antibiotics before or during pregnancy? Were you on NSAIDs? Hormonal birth control? Steroids? Was he born c-section? Were you under a lot of stress? All these factors would impact his microbiome at birth and possibly make him more vulnerable to infection from any source. Did he himself receive any antibiotic treatments or any other medications? We can sterilize our foods and environment to the utmost – maybe avoid food-borne illness – but make ourselves more vulnerable to that errant tick-borne infection, or nasty virus someone sneezes on the door handle we touch. More and more it seems our compulsive hygiene as a society is wreaking havoc on our health, with devastating auto-immune and chronic diseases esp. among young people at epidemic levels. Those of us trying to heal without medications and their unacceptable side-effects are finding that sometimes we NEED the bacteria and enzymes and heat-sensitive vitamins that only raw milk can provide.

      • Mary McGonigle-Martin says

        Charlene, the blame for my son’s illness is owned by E.coli 0157:H7. The vehicle for its transmission was raw milk. Cows harbor E.coli 0157:H7 in their intestinal track. In the hot summer months they shed Ecoli. Contaminated cow poop found its way into the raw milk. E.coli 0157:H7 is an extremely virulent pathogen. It can take as few as 10-50 cells to make someone ill. 250,000 can fit on the head of a pin. Raw milk is a great medium for pathogens to grow. Also, if the milk is not chilled properly and a pathogen is in the milk, it grows like a wildfire. My son became ill because the milk he drank was extremely contaminated.

        As for the list of “blame the victim” reasons you give as to why my son became ill, are you not aware that children with autism, ADD, allergies, & asthma are encouraged to drink raw milk? All of these children have “gut issues” and are at a high risk of becoming ill if a pathogen is in the milk. Children in general are at risk do to an underdeveloped immune system.

        As for my pregnancy, my son is adopted. I guess I should call his birth mother and blame her for his illness.

  29. says

    Wow lots of great insight here. I’ve been making my own kefir with raw milk lately. I bought some nice kefir grains online and really enjoy the milk after it’s been fermented. My tummy loves it! :P

  30. ReneeAnn says

    I wonder if you would consider writing or podcasting about Yin and Yang foods and exercises and the diseases associated with too much Yin or Yang. If I remember right, milk is fairly yin, but raw milk is more yang than processed milk. I am especially interested in how the concept of Yin and Yang foods relates to gut health and bacterial and fungus (especially candida) balance in the body. I ran across this website which brought up all of these questions. Thanks, as always for all you do to guide us in our health journeys. :)

    DrLWilson (.com)

    http://drlwilson.com/Articles/yin%20yang%20healing.htm
    http://drlwilson.com/articles/candida.htm

  31. Blakely says

    Chris,

    I’m working on gut healing for acne and have been grain free, dairy free for about 2 months now. I’d really like to add the nutritional benefits of raw milk. If I’m still having minor breakouts, do you think it’s a bad idea to add back in raw dairy or should I just try it and see? I’m taking HCL and probiotics and starting more fermented foods.

    Thanks!

  32. Ted says

    Chris, just wanted to say thanks for all the information.
    The way I see it all this fear of raw milk stems from the fact that people want to have a safe, cheap product. The only way to do that is to pack the animals in confined spaces spreading disease, handle the milk on a massive scale that combines the milk from thousands of animals, and then heat it in an attempt to undo all the potential contamination that has been done.
    The reality is that if you have a healthy animal, and the famer handles the milk like he himself is going to drink it, and then refridgerate it, the chances of getting a pathagen are slim.
    I would bet that everyone on this post has gotten some sort of food poisening at some point in their life, I have. It’s kind of part of the human experience, the fact of the matter is ‘life will find a way” and food will get contaminated, cooked or not.

    Looking forward to next article and podcast.

    Ted Z.

  33. Brian says

    Chris – Have you looked into the A1 vs A2 milk debate? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it. Many people discussing this mention the book, “The Devil in the Milk” by Keith Woodford.

  34. says

    I’ve found that I can drink raw milk without getting painful GI results, but I fart a lot, which is unfortunate– otherwise I really like raw milk. Are there any solutions?

  35. John says

    Hey Chris,

    I know there are various lactobacillus bacteria as well as yeasts in kefir made using kefir grains and raw milk, but what about bifidobacterium? Should someone consider supplementing bifidobacterium in small amounts along with fermented dairy or is it already present (or are there any natural food sources)?

  36. says

    I grew up on a dairy farm during the 1940′s. Drank raw milk every day; everyone in our farming community drank raw milk. I was very healthy during my childhood years. My husband was a “town” boy and had asthma. For many years we did not have a source for raw cow’s milk; however found one about 5 years ago with a wonderful dairy farm in Pa. My husband was on drugs for colitis and asthma. Since drinking the raw milk and raw milk kefir, he has been able to get off all drugs, and the colitis and asthma have disappeared. We are both in our 70′s and drug-free.

    Check out this website http://www.realmilk.com/milkcure.html

    Thanks Chris for your wonderful articles.

  37. says

    I am really enjoying these articles. I jumped wholeheartedly into raw milk when I realized that it didn’t cause the horrible stomach aches that pasteurized milk does. There is ABSOLUTELY a difference in the way it affects my body. There is nothing placebo about it – the differences are striking.

    However, I did contract campylobacter last winter from raw milk. The results were confirmed both by my doctor and the farm where I buy the milk. All 3 of my kids had the runs for a few days, but I got extremely sick, almost to the point of going to the ER, with cold chills and fever and sweats and feeling almost out of my head. It brought on severe IBS attacks in addition to the cramping and diarrhea that the whole family experienced. I’ve struggled with IBS my whole life, and I definitely have a weak gut. All that to say, I was scared into not buying the raw milk anymore. I miss it, but I fear going back, because of the severity of my symptoms.

    I guess I just think as wonderful as raw milk is, it wasn’t really intended for mass consumption. (Of course, no food is.) I’d rather not drink milk at all than drink pasteurized milk, but my kids love milk so I buy pasteurized from a local farm that grazes their cows on grass for them.

    I still debate the wisdom of that choice almost daily, which is why I have been enjoying your series. I am always open to new information that might change my mind. Thanks for doing this research and compiling the data in such a thorough and methodical way.

  38. says

    You indicated that “Raw milk comes from cows that graze on grass.” I wish that were always true. Unfortunately, it is not a guarantee that because the milk is raw that it came from a quality source. Each consumer needs to do their own research to decide if they approve of the practices on the farm where they purchase raw milk. In our area there is a large confinement dairy that sells raw milk, probably the most in the area, and many consumers believe that because the product is “raw” it must be from a small farm with grass-fed cows, and that is not always the case. The state agriculture department does not regulate diet or living conditions of cows that produce raw milk, that is up to the consumer to research. the Weston A Price Foundation has a great list of producers in all states to help assist with this, but all raw milk consumers should visit the farm they purchase milk from to be sure they approve of practices! Cows that graze and are not pushed to maximum production with grain-feeding produce less milk than cows on a confinement dairy, perhaps even a third of the quantity. The difference is largely higher water content in the highest milk producing cows, which translates into dilution of vitamins and possibly missing components that are derived from green food (such as CLA and Omega 3s). Beware, not all raw milk is created equal! The best raw milk is primarily grassfed, is nutritionally dense, and is worth paying for! There is a great article on eatwild.com that is reposted on our website at http://www.purefoodco.org that discusses the nutritional changes in raw milk based on level of grain feeding used.

  39. Neil_T says

    An extremely interesting article Chris. I think too many people miss the underlying point – rather like an investment Risk has to be juxtaposed with Reward. If it is accepted as a general observation that the risk of drinking raw milk is small, particularly when compared with other foodstuffs (and I don’t see anyone here disputing that) then the argument rests on Reward.

    Reward is both subjective and objective – if it works for YOU then ignore the naysayers and get on and do it – it matters little whether you can measure the outcome – lifestyle choices contribute at least as much to one’s happiness and well-being as diet….

    Just sayin :)

  40. says

    I’m glad to see a pro-Paleo standing up for raw milk. I just finished Robb’s The Paleo Solution, and as much as I appreciate the scientific explanations, it annoyed me that he demonized milk across the board. Fermented raw milk products esp. seem to not have the casein issue that is the main Paleo anti-milk concern.

    Thanks, Chris!

    • Lynn says

      I so agree Emily! I sent a question to Robb a few months back asking for evidence that pastured, unprocessed and fermented dairy is not a good food for human consumption if well-tolerated. I believe all the damning evidence re. dairy is from tests/studies on that swill found in supermarkets. Just because Paleo-man did not have ropes, buckets and had yet to stay in one place long enough to domesticate animals, doesn’t mean we should not eat this highly nutritious food when produced correctly and drank either fresh from the farm or fermented. Robb did not answer my “Dairy bashing” question….

  41. Amy says

    I am not sure if someone pointed this out already or not since there are quite a few comments. Just fyi, the author states in this article that raw milk only comes from grass fed cows, that is incorrect. Raw milk can come from any farm, it just means that it is direct from the cow, without any other processing. My husband and I run a dairy farm in NJ where raw milk is illegal, although we of course drink our own milk. I would urge anyone that is interested in raw milk to do their homework before they purchase. Check out the farm yourself, make sure it looks clean, and the cows look clean and cared for. Ask to see their milk records, what their somatic cell count is, PI count, and bacteria count. These numbers are serious indicators of milk quality. Educate yourself before you purchase, and I would not recommend giving to young children, the rewards do out outweigh the risks.

  42. peace says

    raw milk is beneficial l but it contain some bacteria which is harmful .if we are using Pasteurization, irradiation, boiling or homogenization processes its work but. All of these processes destroy or damage the wonderful nutrients in raw milk.so the question is that how will we isolate microbes from raw milk without destroys of nutrients .. if any one know then kindly tell me i m working on research plan{Isolation
    of Bacteria from Raw Milk?
    thanks

  43. says

    Hello Chris
    Does heating myself raw goat milk at low temperature will affect its digestibility ? I guess it will destroy some enzymes in the same way pasteurisation does. I am asking because I am thinking about doing a recipe called “lait de poule” in French ( milk + egg yolks) . What are your thoughts ?

  44. says

    It is too easy to discard the CDC and say they are in the pocket of the dairy market, but let’s look at the body of research that is there. Here is the link, please take your time and read. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/MilkSafety/ConsumerInformationAboutMilkSafety/ucm247991.htm
    To me it doesn’t matter if you drink raw or pasteurized milk, but you need to know that you are probably wasting your money if it cost more than “regular milk”. It is kinda like the line from the commercial to use baking soda to make your drain smell fresh! (check your p-trap and just rinse it out!)
    The farmer may be the best and cleanest milker in the world, but once that milk leaves the cow and enters the world, every bacterium is doing its best to get into that milk and drink it too. You must learn to handle it in a sanitary way or you may pay the price. It is not like buying milk at the store. The regs on handling milk are onerous and were written the hard way-one sickness at a time, which is why comparing illness from raw and pasteurized milk is not very effective. Both producers need (and probably) to know the safe handling practices of milk production. But do you now how to store it and handle it? Are the jars clean? Are the hands clean? What about air quality?
    Now are they any benefits? Not really much to crow about.
    Are you lactose intolerant? Then no milk is for you.
    Do you have digestive issues? Then no milk of any kind will help you. Probiotics have to be added to dairy. (Think, if ‘good’ bacteria are growing in milk, then what else is??)
    Again, it is your choice, but the reasons really don’t stand up. Just enjoy the ability to have a choice.

    • Dottie says

      Your comments at the end show you have not considered raw milk as a living food or taken into account that pasturized milk has none of the enzymes that raw milk does. It’s NOT about ‘good bacteria’ or ‘probiotics’ when digesting dairy. It’s the enzymes that make a difference.

      “Are you lactose intolerant? Then no milk is for you” is just flat out incorrect. Why do you suppose so many can tolerate raw dairy (milk or cheese) when pasturized creates illness? The enzyme lactase found only in unpasturized dairy.

      The raw dairy that is found at my local Sprouts market is very safe- even more so as raw dairies are subject to more regulation/scrutiny. It may not matter to you and you think it’s a waste of money, but I prefer to know the truth and not misinformation. I can then vote with my money everytime I go to the store.

  45. Michael says

    i switched to raw grade A Jersey almost a years ago.. i also gave up wheat and the two together completely healed my leaky gut syndrome in just a few weeks.. very thankful to live in a state (SC) where raw milk sales is perfectly legal and accepted widely.. also thankful to be able to purchase my milk fresh at the farm just minutes from my home.. the sweet taste and creamy texture of Jersey milk has no rival.. they are without question, the queen of quality.. my health has improved dramatically since making the switch.. as you swallow your first mouth full, you’ll feel the raw milk difference..

  46. Caroline says

    I appreciate Chris’s article and everyone’s comments and opinions. I have decided that the statistic of one, namely myself, is what is important to me. I have been lactose intolerant for 20 years and 2 years ago I discovered I have Celiac disease. The question was, what do I eat and maintain my weight? Well, I eat a modified Paleo diet but still have a hard time keeping my weight. Unlike most people, I have a hard time gaining weight.

    Then, a miracle happened. By accident I ate some cheddar cheese at a restaurant and I didn’t have a reaction. I was amazed! I did some research and discovered that some lactose intolerant people can eat cultured cheeses and Greek yogurt. Well, the next day I tried a tablespoon of yogurt and I was fine. Being able to eat cheese & yogurt was like heaven to my taste buds. I have since added Kefir which is a developed taste and I now enjoy it.

    But the biggest surprise to me was trying raw milk. I tried 1/2 glass and I had no reaction. I was very happy. I had a quart but didn’t want to overload my system so I had the bright idea to freeze it. bad mistake! after I drank the frozen milk I had a major intestinal distress! It was a while before I was brave enough to try it again. A few days ago I took the plunge, bought a pint and tried it again. I didn’t have any bad reaction so I know I can drink it and be OK. But I have to be careful not to freeze it (like make ice cream) or heat it. Buy it raw, drink it raw.

    I find answers to my questions by being my own guinnea pig (within reason, of course). I found I am lactose intolerant to pasturized milk but not to raw milk. For me, being able to add a nutritrous food to my diet really adds quality to my life. After saying NO to so many foods, now I can say YES!

    • Lynn says

      I like how Mark McAfee switches the words from “lactose intolerance” to “pasteurization intolerance.” Certainly a better description!

    • Katy says

      Argh! Gutted. I just bought 12 bottles of raw milk and froze 11 of them. I have to drive an hr round trip to pick up my raw milk, and was trying to limit my trips to once a month….bummer.

  47. Becca says

    What should one do if raw milk sales are illegal in their state? It is also my understanding that a herd share is also illegal (per state law). A neighboring state where raw milk sales are legal is too far away to make a weekly trip to purchase dairy impractical and I would be worried that crossing state lines would also be illegal.

    • CCM says

      “What should one do if raw milk sales are illegal in their state?” Easy. One should defy bad laws. The more we capitulate to government tyranny, the more we will find ourselves strangled by their death grip. Seems that we as a people need to remember that if we are not damaging or injuring others, then we should be free to make our own choices. These are ‘”unalienable rights” granted by our Creator, guaranteed by the Constitution. Government officials have obviously forgotten that, and we need to remind them their place. THEY exist to serve us. WE do not exist to serve them.

      • Lynn says

        I couldn’t agree more with CCM! I break federal law every month when I cross the state line to bring raw dairy home from the herd share my husband and I own in a neighboring state. We can all be Rosa Parks in our own way by standing up to laws that are unjust and harm no one. I feel very strongly in my right to choose the foods I eat!

  48. vmarq says

    Chris you should add “Like this” or a thumbs up & thumbs down under these comments. Would also like to see more research and dialogue on A1 vs A2 Cows milk. My research has shown there is a significant difference in these and I ONLY use A2 raw milk now.

  49. vmarq says

    CCM & Lynn’s comments have us wondering now??! We live in a state where all RMS(I’m starting the acronym here for Raw Milk Sales) are illegal and we go to a neighboring state to purchase. We have always made jokes on our 2 hr round trip home, that we might get busted when we cross the state line with our purchase, however now we’re wondering if there really is a law concerning this????? I would’nt be surprised if there is given the way they send in SWAT teams to bust dairy farmers! I am so sick and tired of this kind of gov. control! This is soooo rediculous!

    • Lynn says

      vmarq: Yes, there is a federal ban on interstate transport of raw milk. I take my milk through an ag station that is state operated and doubt the workers have any clue of the illegal nature of my “milk run.” Funny thing is the state in which our herd share is does not allow retail raw milk sales but I bring it in to a state in which retail sales are legal. Doesn’t matter, crossing state lines with it is illegal. Our herd share is in a state where on-farm sales are possible but heavily regulated (i.e. no more than three lactating cows, consumer brings own container and has to buy at the farm, farmer cannot advertise, etc.). In this state herd shares are in a gray area and mostly left alone. I chuckle at the border ag station when asked if I have any live plants or fruit and I have coolers full of raw dairy.
      This interstate ban needs to be taken off the books. I urge all raw milk drinkers concerned with this issue to join the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund as they are challenging this law. From the FTCLDF web site:
      “The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its members against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) challenging the legality of FDA’s ban on the interstate distribution of raw milk for human consumption.”

      Read more here: http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/case-updates-092210.htm

      You might also want to check this out, a group of raw milk drinkers (mostly moms) who publicly announce when and where they will be illegally transporting raw milk across state lines in defiance of the ban:
      http://rawmilkfreedomriders.wordpress.com/about/

      From the above page:
      “The Raw Milk Freedom Riders evolved out of the frustration many consumers and raw milk advocates have regarding the FDA’s policy to investigate, spy and raid farmers across the Nation who are delivering fresh, raw milk across state lines. The Farm Food Freedom Coalition organized the first Freedom Riders event on November 1, 2011 which transported fresh milk from Pennsylvania into Maryland this caravan of moms then proceeded to join the Rally in front of the FDA headquarters in Silver Spring Maryland where they distributed and drank the milk along with cookies. The FDA released a statement the same day, which states ” The FDA has never taken, nor does it intend to take, enforcement action against an individual who purchased and transported raw milk across state lines solely for his or her own personal consumption.”

      So the FDA has publicly said they won’t come after us if we are drinking it ourselves. What about if we are “distributing” it to our children? If we bring it across for friends and neighbors, even if they also own a herd share? Then we can be thrown in jail?

      Stand up for your constitutional rights!

  50. K.Lee says

    I switched to organic milk after finding that it tastes MUCH BETTER (even though it’s still pasturized/homogenized) than “conventional” milk. “Conventional” milk tastes watered down in comparison to raw milk. I have no idea why this is, but it’s just…not right.

    I recently rediscovered raw milk (I used to drink it as a child, my mom would buy it for me). It tastes even better than the organic milk and much to my surprise, I don’t get a stuffy nose when I drink it!!! I can’t get enough of the stuff. I have no idea why that would be, either, and I found your article while trying to research why this might be.

    They say that there’s no nutritional difference between raw milk and “conventional”, processed milk, but I can’t imagine that something that tastes so watered down and…weak…has the same amount of nutrients as it’s rich, creamy, flavorful raw counterpart!

    Any idea why organic milk tastes so much better though? The difference is striking, but it’s still processed, so what makes the difference?

    • Ben Friesen says

      Organic milk is usually pasteurized in a different way than normal milk, a process called “Ultra-high temperature” (UHT) pasteurization. About 80% of organic milk uses UHT. This causes a Maillard reaction, which makes the milk taste better (to some people; others describe it as burnt tasting). That might be what you’re experiencing.

  51. Dottie says

    “Many people experience digestive and other problems when they consume pasteurized milk, but have no trouble with raw milk. It’s not entirely clear why this is the case. The FDA insists that unpasteurized milk has no probiotic effect or any other characteristic that could explain this phenomenon.” – C. Kresser

    But it does!!!
    It’s a living enzyme called lactase, which is NOT in pasturized milk because the process KILLS IT.

    “…the collective experience of raw milk consumers suggests otherwise…over 80% of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance no longer suffer from symptoms after switching to raw milk.”

    That result is a no-brainer outcome considering they are now drinking raw milk with living enzymes.

    Raw milk is an enzyme-rich living food. Unpasturized, it’s rich with enzymes, most importanly lactase, which helps digest the lactose people have issues with. Raw milk with lactase digests itself and for many, it doesn’t cause the digestive problems pasteurized milk does. Hence, those who are lactose intolerant find raw milk is OK.

    Raw milk also comes with its own defense system: One of the biggest criticisms and fears about raw milk is that it’s dangerous because we haven’t killed all the bad bacteria in there. Unfortunately, when we kill the bad stuff (pasturization), we kill the good stuff – pasteurization doesn’t just target the things we don’t want. This good stuff – beneficial bacteria (those great probiotics we’re all trying to get more of in our diet) – acts as a defense against any pathogenic bacteria introduced into the milk. Yes, that means raw milk comes with its own defense mechanism – a mechanism completely destroyed by pasteurization.

  52. Stephen Miller says

    Hi Chris,

    I loved the articles. First-hand experience, although anecdotal, cannot be overlooked in any debate about raw milk. Truly rigorous scientific studies are very hard to perform because no two batches of milk are ever the same, but I agree that better studies are ahead of us.

    Still, there was one point about probiotics that I felt went under-represented in this article (though it is not entirely absent, and you do touch upon it in multiple places). In my experience all properly produced raw milk clabbers (ferments) naturally. This technically starts from the moment the milk leaves the teat, as it comes into contact with lactic acid bacteria inhabiting the skin of the cow’s teat canal. My understanding is that these bacteria basically get here because of the cow’s contact with grass, where the organisms initially reside. I don’t think there is any real debate that grass-fed raw milk has natural probiotic properties–after all, this is the stuff that’s being imitated with artificially innoculated probiotic dairy products such as yoghurt, modern buttermilk, and “sweet acidophilus.”

    Now I agree wih you that the presence of lactic acid bacteria, or the clabbering process, is not enough to guarantee pathogen-free or entirely safe milk, but the fact that lactic acid (which is produced by these bacteria as by-product of their consumption of lactose) has antimicrobial properties is a matter of scientific record. That these organisms eat milk sugar is plain evidence for at least one reason why raw milk can be better tolerated by those with lactase deficiency–these organisms produce lactase and “eat” milk sugar, thus reducing the lactose content. Anybody who has clabbered milk knows this from the sour taste. That sourness comes from the milk sugar that has been converted to milk acid. Now milk acid (lactic acid) is an organic acid, so it has calorific value as well. If I am not mistaken, lactic acid bacteria also produce B vitamins.

    Pasteurization of course kills these organisms before they can multiply too greatly and sour the milk.

    Obviously clabbering also has effects on the convenience of preparing various products from milk (cottage cheese/clabber, sour cream, butter, etc.), which I felt was another topic a little under-represented in this article. You can’t really make anything from store-bought milk.

    So, it is very hard to tease the nutritional/health/tolerance/convenience aspects apart on this issue–but it’s “plain as day” to anyone who’s watched a jar of milk clabber over a few days, and then eaten it, that nutritionally speaking, properly produced raw milk cannot be the same as pasteurized milk–this single difference is responsible for so many other differences! And even if you introduce one or two strains of bacteria artificially, how does that compare to the number of wild strains that would be in the milk otherwise?

    Although significant research has been done into these organisms and their role in milk (mostly before pasteurization became so common), I think further research into this aspect of raw milk is going to go a long way toward explaining its wholesomeness and why so many people can tolerate it so well.

    Again, I really appreciate the wonderful article. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write them.

    Just another fan of the ‘good stuff’…

  53. Audrey says

    Thanks Chris Kresser you helped me write an essay about raw milk! Ill let you know on what kind of grade i get on it. By the way im in 7th grade and did a oaoer about this and it was really fun!

  54. vollanja says

    Hello! Thank you for this great article. I myself have switched to raw milk and as a collegiate athlete have found it as a great source of protein and fat. I am actually doing an undergraduate research project on the benefits of raw milk and was wondering if you could direct me to the primary research articles you base your reviews on. This would be very much appreciated!

  55. VEW says

    There are a few people who cannot tolerate milk period. There are people that cannot tolerate pasturized milk but do well on raw milk. Personally, I was raised on raw milk and thrived on it all my life until I developed celiacs disease. Now I can only tolerate Kefir made from raw milk, which I enjoy daily.

    If a person wants to drink pasturized “dead” milk, that’s their preoragitive. However, those who choose to consume raw, grass food milk should have the same choice. However, big government will spread all sorts of lies to try to discredit the small farmer when they start cutting into their profits.

    It really upsets me that the FDA allows damaging junk food, but prevents people from making an educated, informed food choice in purchasing raw grass-fed milk.

    This isn’t the first time the FDA has spent US tax dollars to violently clamp down on “illegal interstate commerce,” by raw milk farmers, all under the guise of doing their job and protecting the public’s health…

    Any level-headed person would argue that this is a poorly shrouded sham, seeing how the FDA has continuously allowed known toxins into the food supply, and those who willingly choose to harm their health are free to do so by consuming too much sugar, artificial non-food-based items, alcohol, and toxic cigarettes.

    Allgyer taking on the FDA in court is a classic case of David vs. Goliath. At stake is the issue of consumer choice and food freedom — something most people would agree is an absolute, basic, and unalienable right

    “The ban on raw milk crossing state lines is an economic regulation disguised as a health regulation,” Pete Kennedy points out. For those who cannot understand what this has to do with economics, you must understand that Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) simply cannot compete with grassfed raw milk farms, and therefore stand to lose a lot of money as raw milk becomes increasingly popular.

    They cannot compete because in order for milk to be safely consumed raw, it should come from cows fed a forage based diet that includes pasture. CAFO-derived milk should not be consumed raw given the elevated risk of hazardous pathogens in the milk—an inevitable side effect of the environment in which these cows are raised.

    The reason why they’re trying to shut down raw milk farmers is because so many people consume raw milk and raw milk dairy products, and the numbers are growing every year. One 2008 survey conducted by the CDC found there were over nine million raw milk drinkers in the US, and today, the number of raw milk consumers is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 12-13 million. When you consider that each family can consume a few gallons of milk per week, it all starts adding up, and Big Dairy is losing business.

    Additionally, Kennedy stated that raw milk can be a “gateway to small farm prosperity”. Families who initially set foot on the farm to obtain raw milk typically end up purchasing other farm products such as produce, eggs, poultry and meat.

    The CDC’s study also highlights the error of the claim that raw milk poses a significant health risk. With that many millions of raw milk consumers, it’s quite clear that grassfed raw milk is extremely safe, because there are so few foodborne illness outbreaks attributable to it.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/06/ron-paul-vs-the-fda-milk-police.aspx

    • Chris Kresser says

      I’ve considered implementing such a system, but the technical hurdles have prevented it from happening so far.

  56. Cherilynne says

    Maybe this isn’t entirely relevant, and I’m sure it needs some citing, but I remember in History class learning that pasteurizing of milk wasn’t for health benefits, it was for economical reasons. The pasteurized milk could be shipped long distances for selling. Pasteurizing was, I think, originally used for vaccinations as the body would have a response to even the dead or almost dead pathogens and create a defense. Now, I know my memory of what was learned in class is some 30 years old now, but that is what I think I remember. Any one want to check it? Or respond?

    • Lynn says

      Cherilynne, You might want to read, “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid, ND to learn about the long history of humans consuming dairy products. My understanding is pasteurization came about in this country because of the unsanitary and irresponsible practices of “distillery dairies” in the early 1900′s. After undergoing pasteurization, filthy, unhealthy milk could be sold and not outright kill any one. Not only that, pasteurization did extend shelf life. Homogenization was a boon to dairies as the cream line was no longer evident in the bottle so substandard milk (meaning with little butterfat) and milk with some of the cream taken off (to be used for butter, ice cream, etc. to gain more profit) could be sold without the consumer knowing. As far as vaccinations and milk, you might be remembering the story of Ralph Stolle in the 1950′s and his work to create an immune-enhancing milk for humans, known as “Stolle milk”. Another very interesting subject is “hyperimmune” milk, which has been used in cancer therapy and is a fascinating theory.

  57. vmarq says

    I just have to brag, boast, & praise that as of April 2013, we here in the state of Arkansas just got our rights back to sell or purchase RAW MILK!!!!! from dairy farms!!!!!!!! Hallelujah Praise the Lord!!!!!
    I was having to drive 2 hrs round trip to a neighboring state to illegally purchase raw milk and bootleg it back to Arkansas for the last several years. If this doesn’t prove to the naysayers that we are living proof of raw milk benefits and the lengths we will go to get it, I don’t know what does!!

    • Lynn says

      My understanding is this new petition, if approved, changes the standard definition of certain milk products so terms such as “reduced calorie” (for example) on a product using a non-nutrititive sweetener (such as Aspartame) will not require labeling on the front. The artificial sweetener will be listed as an ingredient, but on the front of the carton it will not be required to be labeled “reduced calorie” or “low-calorie” or anything to tip off kids that this is anything different than the flavored milk or yogurt they are used to, meaning those made with sugar or HFCS. This petition is a misguided attempt to combat childhood obesity by getting kids to consume lower calorie flavored milk/yogurt without their knowledge they are eating or drinking a “diet” product. How wrong this is is beyond belief.

  58. RJ Johnson says

    Chris,
    I too am a big believer in raw milk after drinking very little milk for almost 30 years. However, my nurse practitioner has recommended the Paleo diet, which of course doesn’t allow for dairy. How does raw milk fit into the Paleo diet?
    Thanks,
    RJ

  59. Madeleine says

    I have read (from Dave Asprey, thebulletproofexec.com) that the reason raw milk is tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant is that raw milk contains lactase, the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose (a sugar in milk); pasteurization destroys this lactase.

    I generally don’t drink milk at all, but I am a huge fan of butter, and I go to local farmers to buy raw, grass-fed, (cultured if possible) butter. I love it but don’t know that I notice a difference in how I feel/perform between raw and pasteurized butter. Anyone else have comments on raw v. pasteurized dairy other than milk?

  60. says

    It took me a long time to become accustomed to raw milk after decades of drinking processed milk. The former would upset my stomach. I overcame it eventually, however, and never touched pasteurized and/or homogenized milk again.

  61. Mary says

    I can honestly say that raw milk has cured me of chronic gum disease and my long term dentist is very impressed after I had been drinking raw milk for 2years as there has been no re-occurrence of the disease.

  62. Patricia says

    Chris I have read your article and the comments on it with great interest. In France where I live, raw milk is legal, but farmers selling it are subjected to a higher/stricter ISO level ( in other words the milking environment and the cow have to be even cleaner). I drink raw milk daily. I’m 64 and take no medication and only supplement with magnesium. Dogs are lactose intolerant if you give them pasteurized dairy – but they’re fine with raw milk. I give my dogs a little raw milk twice daily. When I ran out of raw milk one day I gave them pasteurized milk and they wouldn’t drink it, they could smell and taste the difference. It’s easy to buy unpasteurized cheeses and yoghurts here and the French are a lot healthier, and live longer, than Americans, for many dietary reasons. Continue the good work.

  63. says

    I’ve had a similar experience to those that tried it, liked it, and tolerated it fine. Regular milk makes me a bit heavy, and noticeably tired throughout the day. Raw milk makes me feel energized, clean, and powerful. I’ve been using it post Run, (after a semi intense run), and it’s been a tremendous restoration food. Not exactly sure why – but I would assume the fat content is helping my energy get back to normal, as my diet is primarily ketogenic, about 50G of carbs a day on some days, and rarely ever above. I think it probably has to do with some of the other nutrients in the milk as well.

    Also – free range eggs have been making me feel just amazing lately! Switched to those recently too. Love every bite. Truly amazing.

  64. Concerned Citizen says

    It’s amazing that people will literally believe in anything – absolutely anything. There’s groups of people that believed God was behind Haley’s comet and to meet him they had to drink cyanide. That is obviously more extreme than believing the questionable benefit of drinking raw milk is worth consuming liquid full of harmful bacteria (no matter if you get sick or not, you ARE consuming orders of magnitude more bacteria than in pasteurized milk), but at least the Heaven’s Gate cultists who killed themselves for their beliefs (CDC reports 2 deaths from milk borne illness), they only inflicted physical harm upon themselves. People drinking raw milk are criminally endangering children around them that are much more susceptible to these infectious diseases. As an adult, you could feel fine but be swarming with disease that can infect children or infants around you. Bacterial infection is not about if you have bacteria in you or not, it’s about how *many* bacteria you are exposed to – and certain kinds are definitely worse than others and the threshold for all of them is much lower for children.

    If you want to take the risks upon yourself of drinking raw milk and still think there’s enough benefit to warrant them, I would simply ask you to please not do so around children.

    • John F says

      If you are so concerned about protecting the children then ask yourself: What did you do to prevent the 16,000 that will die this year from starvation or lack of nutrition?

      But more appropriately, where is it written that a child has a greater set of rights than you?

      I suggest you look further into what this government thinks about you, me and the children.

      FDA Quotes
      “There is No Absolute Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food”
      “There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health”

      There are those who live, and those who are arm chair pundits.

    • Nick says

      You are extreme, and it seems mistaken about the nature of bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere, and is essential to life. Bacteria causes problems when it grows in areas it is not supposed to. For example, Staph aureus is normal flora for humans on the skin, but if it gets in other areas it can cause issues if bit checked in time by the normal flora there.
      Same with food, and in this case, milk. The reason, if you read the article, raw milk actually is safer than pasteurized, if we go by mortality studies, is due to bacteria. Raw milk is full of normal beneficial bacteria. Pasteurized is not due to the process of its name sake. If foreign bacteria enters raw milk, it’s chances of growth are minimized due to the natural microbial properties of milk. However that same bacterium has a greater chance of proliferation in pasteurized (after the process) milk due to colony counts of its normal flora being decimated.
      In closing, calm down.

    • Vera says

      Concerned citizen, please do your research before posting personal opinions as FACT.

      CDC: 1 Dead, 7 Others Sickened by Listeria Traced to Cheese
      11 Mar 2014 | 64,690 Views
      Another listeria outbreak has been reported, and once again it has nothing to do with raw milk.

      Raw Milk on the Rise — No Illness Seen
      28 Jan 2014 | 40,300 Views
      Months after the state of Arkansas loosened laws on raw milk, no illnesses have been linked to the sale of the unpasteurized dairy.

      Kids Who Drink Raw Milk Have Fewer Asthma and Allergies
      12 Nov 2013 | 54,703 Views
      This healthful beverage cuts the incidence of asthma and allergies among schoolchildren nearly in half.

      Raw Milk: A Key Ingredient in Some of the World’s Finest Cheeses
      15 Oct 2013 | 48,465 Views
      Raw milk is maligned by the US government, so why has it been an integral part of artisanal cheese-making for centuries?

      Can Adding Fluoride to Milk Help Improve Children’s Dental Health?
      08 Oct 2013 | 234,259 Views
      Hyped as a measure to improve health, even though 100 animal studies link it to brain damage and 25 human studies show it lowers IQ. So why is it being dumped into your child’s milk carton?

      Who Knew this Cocktail of up to 20 Chemicals Was in Your Glass of Milk?
      The number of drugs and hormones lurking in your “wholesome” glass of milk may surprise you
      No thanks. Give me good old raw milk from healthy cows who are not shot up with hormones and antibiotics.

      I have been drinking raw milk for some 76 years. Gave raw milk to my children when I could get it. Though I know it’s possible to be sickened by anything we enjest, I have never known of anyone getting sick from raw milk.

  65. morgan says

    For anyone who doesn’t know, you can usually find raw milk being advertised for sale in any state in most areas as “Raw Milk Shares” or “Milk Shares” or “Herd Shares.” Milk shares come in cow and goat form. Basically you pay for or purchase “part” of the milk animal and that entitles you to part of the milk they produce. This is LEGAL because you can pay for your own animals keep and make your own raw milk, you just cant sell raw milk for human consumption in most places/states and if you can there is heavy laws put on it and huge fines. Watch your state laws and keep track of what they’re trying to make a law, some states (like mine Michigan) have tried or discussed passing laws making it illegal for farmers to drink their own raw milk.

  66. Tiredof dr.s tyringtooffmy hubby says

    My husband had pleurisy for about 9 months. His dr. prescribed meds that almost caused him to bleed to death. After a week in the hospital he was discharged and limped home worse off than before the dr. gave him the meds. Finally I figured it was an allergic reaction and looked at what he ate. Milk put out the fire of his now bleeding ulcer. I had a friend that swore by raw milk and we did a weekend test. His pleurisy receded. Now months later he has no pleurisy and plenty of raw milk.

  67. Rob says

    You are totally off base in your “Ethics” section. Your comments represent an uninformed position and viewpoint. The vast majority of “factory farms” as you call them, are owned by families that have the utmost concern for the well being of their animals and are dedicated to producing safe, affordable, and nutrious dairy protein for consumers. I suggest you pay a visit to Fair Oaks Farms, in Fair Oaks, Indiana. This will shatter your tainted view of conventional dairy farming and perhaps convince you that you have misrepresented and committed a disservice to the dairy industry.

    • Nick says

      It is true many dairy farms have improved over the years. This however has not always been the case, nor is it true of all dairy mills.

  68. Arkinda says

    Pasturized dairy shuts down my my digestive system all the way through to my bowels. If I have any pasturized dairy, I am in bed with horrible pain for 3 days. However, I have no problems with RAW dairy.
    I would like to try some unpasturized european cheeses but I am nervous about it. Any thoughts?

  69. Chau Nguyen says

    Although its more expensive…OMG it taaaastes sooooo GOOOD!!!! If your lucky and your milk has got enough cream at the top. Scoop it off and throw it into your coffee. One word…”dddaaaaaaammmmmnnn”

  70. David Prince Psy.D. says

    How are deadly diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis, worth the risk at any level? If a child dies from contaminated, unpasteurized milk, will you just dismiss it along with the evidence of almost every major medical association in the Western world?

    • ronbbrown says

      If raw milk is contaminated, pasteurization will kill microbes. But that doesn’t preclude pasteurized milk from also becoming contaminated. Contamination is the cause of the problem, whether the milk is raw or not,

    • Nick says

      Yes. Because, remembering the article, there have been no deaths due to raw milk consumption in recent decades, while there have been deaths from pasteurized milk. Arguing the odds as you do actually places raw milk on firmer standing.

  71. Julie says

    I currently stock up on raw milk once a month and freeze it because I have to go a little out of my way to the Co-op. We love it but it’s pricey. The milk comes from Jeresey Cows that are fed grain but no corn or soy, they also have plenty of access to grass. Occasionally, if I haven’t been able to get to the Co-op I will buy 100% Grassfed milk from the grocery store which is a little cheaper but this is pasuerized although not homogenized. I understand the benefits of raw milk vs pasteurized but I also am aware of the benefits of grass fed over grain fed. I am wondering if one of these types of milk is better than the other? Also, how does freezing raw milk affect the benefits it offers? We don’t notice an altered taste. Wish I could just get raw milk form grass fed cows!! I haven’t found raw goats milk around here only pasteurized. Would be interested in waht others think. Thanks.

    • kru says

      Dr Wallach states problems with gluten, and casein are due to low stomach acid, and from my other research zinc deficiency. Sufficient stomach acid is required to activate pepsin the enzyme that digests proteins. Casein, and gluten are both proteins. If you have low stomach acid you won’t activate pepsin, and these will go undigested. Real salt, and calcium are the producers of stomach acid. The problem is most people get unbioavailable calcium. Raw milk, and plant calcium have the highest bioavailability. But, you must also have vitamin D3 levels 80-100 to absorb calcium at all. We’ve been lied to about true vitamin D levels that humans need so we don’t utlilize calcium properly. Serum levels will stay the same due to homeostasis but most people have intracellular calcium deficiency aswell as salt. Plant based calcium supplement, and raw milk with vitamin D3. And, celtic sea salt, or himalayan salt. And , zinc. Zinc is required for MT proteins by your body. This protein digests gluten proteins, and casein proteins. Metalothionein / MT.

  72. Leisa says

    I’ve just started incorporating raw milk into my diet, after years of lactose issues. I love the taste, and I’m wondering how long it usually takes to see the benefits. Does anyoine know if raw milk consumption helps with hair issues? Mine is a nightmare, breaking easily.

  73. Eva Santiago says

    Raw Milk! It’s the BEST! No kidding guys!
    Opt for this, it does wonders! Especially if you’re lactose intolerant! Woohoo!

  74. Eco says

    I have a picture of a 6 week old baby in his coffin. He would have been my uncle, but he died of undulant fever from drinking raw milk in the 1940′s.

  75. says

    Chris, thanks for the informative article! Wow, so many comments about if raw milk is good for you. It differs from person to person. Do what works best for your body. Just be open minded and don’t let the USDA tell you that raw milk is unsafe, esp. since our great grandparents and grandparents survived off of raw milk. I believe that it’s hard for most big commercial facilities to have healthy cows that produce nutritious milk. Small organic farms do produce quality milk. I’m not regular raw milk drinker but when I’ve had it, had no ill effects. Happy health to everyone.

  76. Kenneth Danes says

    It’s been since 2012 that the Raw Milk Study has been conducted by Stanford University. Why haven’t the results been concluded?

    • JD says

      The results have been published (last month, March 2014). They found no difference in lactose tolerance of raw vs pasteurized milk. The study was done with individuals who were confirmed as lactose intolerant with hydrogen testing. To give you an idea they found 63 people who self reported as lactose intolerant, but only 27 tested positive using the hydrogen breath test. So while there may be some people who can tolerate raw milk but can’t pasteurized milk, it probably has nothing to do with lactose or lactose malabsorption. I hypothesis that if they did the same study using the 36 people who didn’t test positive the result would have been different.

      http://annfammed.org/content/12/2/134.full

  77. Chitrakarthek says

    Hi friends,Raw milk is good only…Always pasteurised milk gives me some type of irritation in my stomach..I feel it always..Heated milk not good….Raw milk is like nectar when consumed within 3 hours after getting from cows….Its health benefits are really amazing…But using raw milk after 3 hours is like drinking a dangerous poison…..It was also stated by our Ancient Siddhas..Please believe…If U want real strength,,If U r a vegeterian,,then raw milk consuming at once got 4rm a healthy cow will be a best option 4ever

  78. Elise Chandling says

    Okay, let’s address the claim that raw milk is dangerous and put it in it’s proper perspective already. If raw milk is so dangerous where are all the posts of people with loved ones who died or suffered terrible consequences from drinking it? If there way any truth to this ridiculous claim, the internet would be full of horror stories in regards to this subject. The proof is only valid from the people who are actually qualified to testify…. those who drink it. With one exception from a man who claimed he got stomach illness from drinking raw milk, and the stupid media literally making up false stories, where are the independent outcries from those who have suffered terrible consequences?????? Surely the raw milk movement has grown considerably and has a vast number of participants. Surely in our social network media based culture people would be running to You tube or making Facebook pages detailing the horrors of their raw milk experience. Quite the contrary; countless reports of increased health, reversal of disease, etc. Let me cite two wonderful old fashioned adages: “You can argue with success” and “A little common sense goes a long way”

    • JD says

      “If there way any truth to this ridiculous claim, the internet would be full of horror stories in regards to this subject.” The internet is full of them. And they are bringing some of them to testify in front of state legislators to help pass anti-raw laws.

      http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/

      • jill says

        Once again, it is big business vs. small. The large dairy producers DO NOT want to go natural or organic, and therefore it is a battle. Very similar to pharmaceutical companies lobbying against marijuana, the miracle drug for many sufferers of many illnesses, pain and diseases. It’s the same thing really. You do know the FDA does very few studies, they simply read the studies provided by the companies and make their decision. Why we have so many BAD DRUGS on the market. Same thing, different arena. A joke really.

  79. Nancy says

    I have suffered from major depression and anxiety for most of my life – I am 56 and was diagnosed in my late 20′s – but had progressively worsening issues starting with childhood. I have to admit that this seems to be genetic, because my father and his mother suffered greatly also, as well as some other family members. I have tried so many medications and just want to find some joy in my life before I get too old to do anything about it! Can A2 help me? We recently started milking Mini-Nubian dairy goats and I am drinking the raw milk, but I don’t know how much is needed to make a difference in one’s overall health. My husband and I are also making a real effort to avoid preservatives and processed foods much more than before, and plant a huge garden. We raise our own eggs, and are raising a couple of steers to butcher, although I don’t like to think about that! We keep vaccinations on our livestock at a minimum. I would love to hear some encouragement from someone with major depression who has seen real results from going to A2 raw milk and from making other healthy changes in eating habits. Thank you!

  80. Corinna says

    Raw milk vs Pasteurized? That really isn’t the question that most people want answered here. Most agree that the properites of raw milk are excellent. The question here is really..can I consume raw milk safely? Or can I give raw milk safely to my child? The answer has always been and always will be twofold: proper food handling/processing (from source to table) and knowing what to do when food poisoning happens. You are not 100% safe no matter where you live, what you consume, or what your age is. With food poisoning, you must stop the bacteria such as E Coli and you must stay hydrated. MUST. Who here knows how to do this? Seriously. It is not common knowledge anymore. With E Coli O157:H7 you also have to stop the toxin from attacking your internal lining. Consider the following article ‘Adsorption effect of activated charcoal on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli’ when researching and making an informed decision. Also there is research on the effect of 1 tsp of cinnamon on E Coli; as well as spices: garlic, clove, oregano, and sage. Also know at what point you need medical attention. Better late than never doesn’t necessarily work with food poisoning. Also some will be reluctant to disclose to a doctor that they

    • Corinna says

      that they are drinking raw milk. Well that is plain dumb, if you have reached the point of needing a doctor be straight up honest about it.

  81. April says

    My 2 cents: I have Celiac/Hashimoto’s. Have never been offered anything from doctors other than pharmaceuticals. Read about a man who put his Crohn’s into remission by drinking raw milk for 6 months. I chose Raw milk. I drive over 1 hour from MA to NH to get it. I drive past the Jersey cows eating their grass in the field look super-healthy in the sunshine to the barn where the cows are milked (A+ clean). These cows are super-happy with their environment as opposed to the concentration-camp cows whose only purpose is to be “milked to death” with machines. I have been drinking Raw milk for 3 weeks with unbelievable improvement. With that said…I would not give raw milk to a child under 2 for personal reasons. However anyone who has negative things to say about raw milk has not tried it because if they had…they would never go back to pasteurization. My milk is a golden yellow with a thick cream line on top….evidence of the green grass and sunshine!! If the cows look sickly (unkept and tick-ridden with wounds) they are unhealthy. If they look healthy..and your milking facility is clean…DRINK UP!!

    • Mary McGonigle-Martin says

      April,

      You are new to drinking raw milk and it is the beginning of E.coli season. Cows shed e.coli in the summer and early fall. You are vulnerable to illness because you have immune issues. Remember, just because the farm looks clean, pathogenic bacteria are invisible. It takes as few as 10-50 organisms of E.coli to make you extremely ill. Also, I hope your farmer told you to keep the milk on ice while traveling. The milk should never get above 40 degrees.

      Maybe it would be wise to stop drinking the milk right now and wait until winter to begin drinking it. In the mean time, take a high potency probiotic to get some of the good guys populated before trying raw milk again.

      • rawmilkmike says

        Mary, your pathogenic bacteria are more common in the city than on the farm. Your 10-50 organisms of E.coli is pure speculation. The minimum infectious dose has never been determined. And raw milk is even safer when not refrigerated. Where in the world do you get you information?

        • jill says

          OMG, I do agree, where in the world did you get this information Mary??? We drink raw milk year round and have never had a problem, ever, in many decades. And we buy from dairy farmers, not
          out own. Someone has given you misinformation. Would like to know who, probably some big commercial dairy “manufacturer.”

  82. says

    Well, growing up in Poland was quite easy. I was drinking fresh milk from the cow and, I was happy as “a little girls” (SNL),

    Now, I am struggling to discover why some milks are resistant to good bacteria found in yogurt. It this good for milk kill good bacteria? Checking with FDA. I think shelve live of milk is the answer regardless of our health.

    • jill says

      You can make yogurt from “store bought” milk, but you would have to add the proper enzymes. Best to make your yogurt from raw whole milk, very easy, recipes are available online, just heat, add some good raw, pref. Greek, yogurt, let it sit in warm place, covered, overnight, and next morning, you have yogurt. You cannot make yogurt with pasteurized milk that is any good without adding additional enzymes. Tried, failed miserably.

  83. Peter Steele says

    Question to raw milk/raw yogurt consumers : do you keep it refrigerated (between servings) and drink/eat straight from the fridge , or do you let sit at room temp for awhile before consuming ? I guess what I’m asking is, does keeping and drinking/eating the product refigerated reduce any of the positive nutritional(including good bacteria,probiotics etc) benefits ? Would it be better for me to let the milk/yogurt warm-up a bit before consuming ? Thanx in advance for any advice & feedback !

    • jill says

      Personally, I keep mine refrigerated, it can go sour quickly, and lasts much longer in fridge. I don’t think there is any benefit to having it at room temp at all, but raw milk is certainly fine for hot cocoa! Keep it in the fridge, will stay around much longer.

  84. Peter Steele says

    Hi, does anyone have an opinion/research regarding if blending raw milk and/or raw pastured eggs/raw yogurt in a high-speed (Vitamix,etc) blender has a negative effect on the protein structure of the milk/eggs ? I like to use my high-speed blender to make a shake using raw yogurt, raw pastured egg yolks, raw grassfed whole milk, frozen berries and maybe some protein powder .

    • jill says

      I have no research, but can tell you I do this all the time in a simple blender, minus the protein powder. I make eggnog from my chicken and duck eggs, using raw milk. I do not coddle my eggs, I know they are perfectly safe. So in my opinion, if you know your sources for your ingredients, go for it!

  85. Mike Angelastro says

    Though raw should come only from grass fed cows, it is also possible to pasteurize grass fed milk. Grass fed milk from a very clean dairy is better than milk from a conventional dairy. So the issue really is this: once the qualified grass fed milk exists, should it be pasteurized or not.

  86. rawmilkmike says

    We should have known Stanford University wasn’t about to do a study on lactose-intolerance. The most important findings were not even part of the official report. It turns out that most of their lactose-intolerant volunteers actually could digest lactose so they decided instead to do the study 16 lactose malabsorbers who really weren’t even lactose intolerant. It’s silly to argue semantics. As a matter of fact the Mayo Clinic calls it milk protein intolerance.

  87. jill says

    My four brothers and I were raised on raw milk. My mother made formula from it, not cooked. We would fight over the cream on top, and had to take turns, and with Gram, who made butter from that yummy stuff. We were rarely sick, only when we picked up stuff from kids at school, but our first five years of life, no one was ever sick. This is the 50s and 60s, so raw milk was delivered to your door. We are lucky to live in a state where there are many organic dairy farmers, and raw milk is legal and readily available. Read the labels of pasteurized milk, and then google those ingredients. You will be shocked!!!

  88. jill says

    Just have to add this in. We live in rural Maine, and there are many small dairy farms, and a few large ones (who produce for commercial). We had a commercial farm right up the road from us, and their cows were horribly treated. They would go from the eating barn to the milking barn, back and forth, all day, that is the only light of day they ever saw. We would see cow parts laying all over, heads, legs. If a cow got sick, they just threw it into a pile. Thank goodness they went bankrupt, but the whole time, they were supplying milk to one of the biggest commercial milk companies in the state, who claim their cows are never given artificial growth hormones, etc. I don’t believe that one bit. Fast forward to the small dairy farmers around us, it is a world of difference. The cows are out in the field all day, and happily trot in for milking, and back out they go. If you could compare a rotten apple to a fresh one, this is it. Those people made me sick every time I drove by their farm, their calves were immediately taken from their mothers and bottle fed with formula, and the poor things cried all the time, as did the moms. THIS is big dairy farming, and you should all make yourselves aware of the practices. Visit one BIG operation locally, and stress locally, and then visit a small natural or organic farm, you will never drink store bought pasteurized milk again, and will probably get sick too knowing you have been all these years. Those poor animals.

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