Raw Milk

Is raw milk safe to drink? The answer is IT DEPENDS. If raw milk comes from healthy, disease free cattle and is handled properly, raw milk is safe to drink; but the answer is really not that simple. The question of milk safety involves two aspects of milk health: quality and safety. The nutritional quality and safety of milk is directly related to herd management (feed, living conditions, vet care, drugs, etc) while pasteurization effects the components within the milk that has been produced by either healthy or unhealthy cattle. To answer the question of whether or not raw milk is safe, I am going to briefly answer four questions:

1. Why is milk pasteurized? I give a brief history of milk and pasteurization, including some personal family stories.
2. What effect does herd management have on milk quality? I hope to show the difference between typical
commercial dairies (factory farm or CAFO type dairies) and pastured based dairies.
3. What is the difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk?
4. How dangerous/safe is raw milk? A statement showing statistics of illnesses caused by raw milk verses other foods.

I included suggested reading materials at the bottom of this page.

Why was milk first pasteurized? A Historical Perspective

In the late 1800s and early 1900s much of the milk supply in large cities in America was dangerous and laden with pathogens. Milk came from malnourished cows and disease was spread by insufficient hygiene. Pasteurization was instituted to keep a bad product from making people sick or causing death. The only safe alternative in the large cities in the early 1900s to pasteurization was Certified Raw Milk or pasture based family farms. Today, the government controls much of our milk supply, telling us that pasteurized milk is better for us than raw milk. Most laws are aimed at eliminating raw milk from the American diet. Much of my material comes from Ron Schmid’s book, The Untold Story of Milk. I refer to the book as the USM.

In New York ,over 3/4 of the milk supply came from “Distillery Cows” that were fed waste products from grains turned into whiskey. Cows were housed in feedlots that make today’s factory farms look like luxury hotels. Life expectancy for a cow in these conditions was less than one year from the time she entered the compound. One doctor of the era, Abraham Jacobi, MD (served as president of the American Medical Association), described the Distillery Dairies of former years with the following description 1917: “Part of New York was supplied by cows fed on brewer’s swill in Long Island stables, which no cow had an opportunity to leave at any time after having been imprisoned there. There she was kept in foul air, standing or resting in her own manure, with no other food, sickening until her tail rotted off and her skin broke out in gangrenous ulcers, and she died. Such was a goodly part of the milk that reached our households. It was more or less white or bluish, more or less impure – or rather, dirty- half a day old. When it was used for the baby it was rarely strained or boiled, often mixed with water which was more or less impure…Food stuffs would deteriorate rapidly and intensely. Ice could be obtained by only the better situated families…I always advised boiling the milk for infants as soon as it arrived.” USM Page 57Most people in the early 1900s did not understand the epidemiology of disease. One doctor and pioneer for Certified Raw Milk from the late 1800s , Henry Coit, saw such ignorance firsthand when he tried to find a clean source of milk for his son. He describes a dairyman who kept 4 cows and delivered milk in this way, “An honest and industrious man, but without a knowledge of hygiene…On visiting the farm, I found three cases of diphtheria in his house, and he was the patients’ caretaker for the night and the dairyman of all work for they day.” USM Page 53 In many dairies, disease was passed from sick and dirty milkers directly into the milk supply. Milk pails and other items used for milk were unsanitary.

The infant mortality rate in New York city was high. Approximately 50 percent of all deaths were infants. Contaminated milk played a large role in the mortality rate. It is no wonder that in these conditions, pasteurization became so popular and necessary. New York was the first of many large cities to start pasteurizing milk and as they pasteurized, the mortality rate declined.

Not all raw milk was dangerous, just the vast majority of it in cities was dangerous. There were a couple of safe alternatives to pasteurized milk: Certified Raw Milk and pasture based country dairies. Henry Coit led a movement to get clean, safe raw milk available to the people of New Jersey through Certified Raw Milk. He worked with other physicians in 1893 to create the Medical Milk Commission. They educated and taught dairyman how to produce safe raw milk. The dairymen were then “certified and inspected” and their raw milk was made available to drink. In the beginning, Certified Raw Milk was endorsed by leading physicians and legislators.

Unfortunately, money has a way of tainting good things. Pasteurization could have been a “stop gap measure” until dairymen could be trained how to produce safe raw milk but it became the way of life. Pasteurizing equipment was not cheap. If investors were going to invest in the equipment, they had to insure that laws would require the pasteurizing of milk for a long time. Money and the evidence of the positive effects of pasteurization led to the passage of laws requiring pasteurization.

In 1929, my great grandmother, Myrtle Mary Wear Tenney (pictured below), and her family decided to invest in a goat dairy and sell to individuals in the Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Prescott, Arizona. Laws requiring pasteurization put them out of business. She describes what happened in her own words,

“I had heard about the benefits of goat’s milk and was interested in the possibility of getting the dairy and thereby making it possible to have milk for our own children, as well as selling it on the side to make the necessary cash to buy incidentals that every family needs. I talked to Mr. and Mrs. Herring [sellers of a dairy] and they practically agreed to let us take over without any stipulation of cash payment. If we made a profit, we would pay them out of our profits. With the help of the children, I took over the operation of the dairy. Goat milk was selling for 20 cents a quart when the cow dairyman was only getting 7 cents a quart. We had a large enough family that we could handle the entire operation without hiring help. After one month of operation it was very apparent that we had a little gold mine…We took a trip to Kingman, Arizona where we visited a first rate goat milk dairy to see how it was run. We learned much about blood strains, mechanics of a good milk barn, etc. We bought some very fine blooded stock from this dairy and built our own herd; at its height to 80 milking goats. The average yield from each milking, per goat was at least 3 quarts. Our very best milkers would produce 4 to 5 quarts at a time.

“Dad and I went to Whipples [the T.B sanitarium in Prescott, Arizona where they lived] and did a good sales job of convincing the T.B patients that goat’s milk would help them to recover. Our first customers were some of the most severely ill, who had little hope of getting well. Their improvement was so spectacular that we soon had maximum demand from the patients and were selling 180 quarts of milk daily to the Whipple inmates. We also contacted many asthma and private T.B patients scattered in the pines throughout Prescott. Our business was booming, with an average profit monthly of $340. In the days of the depression that was a fortune.

“Somehow the weakness in human nature can’t stand for one being to see another being, get ahead. The cow dairymen became jealous of our good fortune and combined to put us out of business. First they reported, we weren’t testing according to state law. Investigation proved their accusations completely unfounded. They weren’t satisfied, however, until they found something else to give us trouble. They finally went through the legislature and got a law passed that said, goat’s milk should be pasteurized. We investigated through the dairyman’s journals for goat’s milk and learned that pasteurizing ruined the beneficial effects of goat’s milk. We went so far as to build a pasteurizing house and then Dad got “cold feet” when he saw the great cash outlay it would require for pasteurizing equipment. So, we sadly gave up the dairy and once more were faced with poverty and hard-times.”

In the 1940s raw milk was still sold throughout the United States on family farms. However, more and more political campaigns against raw milk led to ever decreasing raw milk sales and ever increasing of pasteurization. One of the more widely known campaigns was that against Brucellosis (also known as Undulant Fever or Malta Fever) caused by the Brucella bacterium. Brucellosis is an infectious disease that can occur in animals and be transmitted to humans (the Merck Veterinary Manual states that it is now rare in animals in the United States). According to USM, brucellosis was widely over exaggerated and was used as a fear tactic to get people to drink only pasteurized milk. It states that according to the U.S. Public Health Service statistics, from 1923 to 1944 there were only 256 cases of Brucellosis (Undulant Fever or Malta Fever) with 3 deaths. USM Page 151.

While I agree that the problem of Brucellosis was blown out of proportion, I know from personal family experience that it was a problem among dairy men and could reek havoc on a person’s life. In the 1932, my grandfather, Orson Pratt Lane (picture to the right), was kidding out about 3000 head of goats (this was a different set of goats than the goats used to supply milk to the tuberculosis sanatorium by Myrtle Mary Wear). At someone point during the kidding season, he contracted “Malta Fever”. According to his personal account, “The Doctor said there was no way that I was going to live. I was out for 17 days. I really was at hell’s gate. Anyway, I didn’t die. I lived. My legs and feet were bothered and they are still bad. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use my feet or my legs and had to run everything by hand [for 2 years]. I finally got to the point where I could use both of my legs.” My grandfather was not the only victim of “Malta Fever” but he was the most severely affected by it. All of the family ended up with Malta fever, including his 18 month old daughter who died. My mother has always told me that the goats that caused the infections came from the Malta Islands and were slaughtered shortly after the outbreak. I have had a healthy respect for Brucellosis because of my family history which is why I have all of my animals regularly tested for Brucella. We never hear of Undulant Fever anymore. Perhaps that is because of pasteurization but more likely it is because dairy animals were tested and those testing positive were slaughtered. It still can crop up but is well controlled within developed countries.

From the 1950s to 2011 (2011 is the year this was written), small pasture based farms have been slowly closing their doors and large commercial dairies are springing up to take their place. Between government legislation and ever increasing costs for doing business, small farms cannot compete with corporate giants. Nearly all states require milk to be pasteurized to be sold in retail establishments. As a result, most farmers are forced to sell their milk to one of the four commercial milk corporations. Milk from small, pasture based farms is pooled with commercial dairy farm milk. It is cheaper to produce milk on factory farms or commercial dairies and as a result, they are becoming the predominant basis for the public milk supply. Approximately 50% of all milk comes from large commercial dairy farms (operations housing over 500 cows). Today, farmers are paid just slightly more for their milk than they were paid after WWII, approximately $1 a gallon. Large commercial dairies are paid “dairy price supports” which amounts to subsidies which helps encourage the growth of large dairy enterprises. USM Page 163. Quality is being replaced with quantity in the name of efficiency.

Throughout the 1900s and even today, raw milk has been slandered in an effort to keep people from consuming it. In the USM, Ron Schmid cites several cases of “infectious outbreaks” that have been attributed to raw milk. He carefully explains what happened and then shows how those outbreaks were likely not caused by raw milk. According to the government, there are about 60 reported illnesses from raw milk every year. Certainly some of those are legitimate but likely not all of them. According to the government, there are no benefits to raw milk – EVER. My doctor has the following statement posted in the waiting room by Thomas Jefferson: “If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

The government controls much of the milk supply in the United States. Ten states allow for some retail sales. Twenty six states allow “on farm” sales. Seven states have limited raw milk sales to “pets only” (with two that tried to pass legislation to require charcoal dye be added to raw milk). Two states do not allow any sales of raw milk (without doctor’s orders). Fifteen states do not allow any sales of raw milk at all.

What effect does herd management have on milk quality?

The nutritional quality of milk is dependent on the health of the cow that produced it. Sick cows do not produce healthy, nutritious milk. Cows fed high grain diets do not produce healthy, nutritious milk. Cows that are given growth hormones and constant antibiotics do not produce healthy, nutritious milk. Animals that are housed in cramped quarters in an unnatural environment do not produce healthy, nutritious milk. Herd management matters! What are the living conditions of the cows or goats that produce the milk you drink? Do you know? Do you care? For years I didn’t know and for years I didn’t care. Now I know and now I raise my own cows and goats so I can guarantee that I can drink healthy, nutritious raw milk.

I tried to research the difference between commercial dairies designated as Factory Farms or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) and pastured based farming on the web. I looked up the terms such as “description of large commercial dairy operations”. I didn’t get very far so I turned to books. Once again, The Untold Story of Milk, gave me a clear view of what I wanted to know and am presenting here. I realize that not all pasteurized milk in stores come from Factory Farms but some of it does so I think it is worth comparing the two approaches to farming. I also realize that not all pasture based farms are run like my farm but I will use my farm as a basis for my comparison.

Comparison of Factory Farm for Dairy Cattle to Pasture Based Farming for Dairy Cattle

Pasture Based Cattle Farming at
Mini-Jewell’s Dairy Farm

Factory Farming for Dairy Cattle

Living Conditions Access to pasture at all times – more acres than there are animals. Provided shelter but not kept in barns. Barns cleaned daily in the winter. Animals seek shelter under trees during the summer and there is no waste accumulation in the same place. Complete climate controlled barns to avoid “stress”. Cows housed in stalls 4’6″ x 6′. Some given access to feed lots for exercise with no pasture. Some housed in stalls on cement floors year round. Many cows in a small area with overcrowding. Housing areas are kept clean and neat.
The Results Low stress levels and optimum health. In 3 years, none of my cows have ever been sick. There has never been a need for antibiotics. Nutritious milk. High stress levels due to cows living in a non-natural environment. Waste management issues arise. Laminitis results from cement floors. Disease spreads easily from animal to animal in such close quarters. Frequent use of antibiotics. Not as nutritious milk. Pasteurization needed to insure safety.
Feed Cows diet consists of 95% fresh green pasture during the summer and high quality hay during the winter. Very limited grain intake which is supervised at milking time. Main diet is grain based. Animals fed ethanol by products which is processed with chemicals including sulfuric acid. Other foreign products, not normally considered feed. I found it interesting that “organic dairies” cannot feed mammalian parts. Does that mean non organic dairies can feed mammalian parts?
The Results Healthy cows with very nutritious milk. Cows fed green growing grass have highest nutritional quality. Effects vitamin content in milk. The better the quality of grass, the higher the vitamin content. Increased mastitis, high milk yield, short life span, less nutrition in the milk. High grain diets are hard on the cows rumen. Cows eating brewer’s grains are 6 times more likely to harbor virulent forms of E. coli. Cattle fed high corn diets are more likely to harbor E. coli than grass fed cows. Decreased nutrition. Pasteurization required to insure safety. Increased grains, increase bacterial load. Page 323.
Life Expectancy Life expectancy 12 to 15 years Life expectancy 42 months
The Reason Primary diet consists of grass. Cow had low stress life. Natural environment. Diet extremely high in grains, high stress, non-natural environment. Extremely high milk production the main goal.
Production Level One to three gallons a day Six to ten gallons a day
The Results Long life span, healthy cow, appropriate sized udder. Shortened life span, less healthy cow, enormous udders.
Mastitis Never had a case of mastitis in my cows. Most healthy cows will not develop mastitis. If cows have access to green pasture and get proper minerals, they are not likely to develop mastitis. I did have a short 2 day episode of mastitis in one goat. She had been avoiding eating her minerals which had an effect on udder health. She was given penicillin for 3 days and milk withheld for 3 weeks (the mandatory withholding time is 2 days). As much as 15 to 40 percent of the milk supply may be produced by cows with mastitis. Mastitis is cured with antibiotics, often inserted directly into the udder. Antibiotic residue is likely still in the milk since mandatory withholding time is short. Mastitis causes green pus in milk and can be seen easily at the bottom of a milk filter. Nutrition in the milk is reduced. Pasteurization a must.
Laminitis Not ever an issue since cows are walking on nice forgiving grassy ground. A major problem. Caused by hard cement floors, high stress levels and high grain levels. Cured with more antibiotics. Less healthy cows produce less healthy milk. Pasteurization a must.
Antibiotics Not used so far. Used often to combat mastitis, laminitis or a fast spreading disease.
Growth Hormones Never will be used in my cows. Used in some commercial dairies and are present in the the nation’s milk supply. That is not the kind of nutrition I am looking for in my milk. Used to create maximum milk production. Specialists claim it doesn’t hurt people and that we have our own growth hormones so it doesn’t cause problems.
Dewormers We use herbal dewormers or DE. Both are natural and do not effect the milk supply. There is no withholding time for these dewormers. They do not cause any harm to the cow’s body. Use chemical dewormers often. Some chemical dewormers do not have with holding times in the United States and yet have long with holding times outside of the states. The milk supply likely contains dewormer residue. Dewormers can be hard on a cow’s body.
Waste Management Not an issue since cows poop in the pasture as they walk along. The manure is filled with minerals and is terrific fertilizer for the pasture. Major issue. Creates toxic pools and incredible stench. Technology is being applied to reduce the damage caused by waste but it is still dangerous. One Holstein cow produces up to 115 pounds of manure a day and over 21 tons a year according to the University of Illinois Extension. Imagine how much a 1000 cow operation produces each year! Yikes. If waste is not carefully managed, it impacts milk nutrition and the nutrition of any plants growing “downhill” from sludge pools.
Feedback I know all of my cows well. If my cow’s behavior changes in the slightest, I notice and take action. If my milk has an off flavor, I notice and take immediate action. I do not have testing equipment so I cannot test for general pathogens although I do have a rapid mastitis test – it doesn’t test for all bacteria but gives me a general idea of the SCC count. I can test my animals for diseases such as TB, Brucellosis and Johnes. No illness ever from milk so far. There are too many cows to know when one cow’s behavior changes slightly. Problems may go undetected and diseases spread more easily. Testing for milk is carried out daily and on every bulk tank. The sad part is that the milk can contain relatively high levels of bacteria since it will be pasteurized later. Somatic Cell Counts (SCC) are used to detect bacteria levels usually indicating mastitis. Levels must be below 750,000 per ml to comply with regulations. Normal SCC levels are below 200,000 per ml. Counts from 250,000 to 300,000 indicates mastitis. 16% of cow udders infected in bulk tanks with a SCC of 500,000. I imagine they filter out the green pus but even so…. Pasteurization needed to insure safety.
Cleanliness/Sanitation Animals are hand milked in the barn. Dust from the air or from the animals could end up in the milk however, every effort is made to reduce exposure to contaminants. Animals are brushed prior to milking. Udders are thoroughly cleaned with antiseptic wash. Buckets are sterilized and inspected in between each milking. Milk is removed after milking and filtered in the “dust free” house. Milk and filters are inspected and periodic mastitis tests run. Milk is placed in glass jars which are then cooled in ice water for 30 minutes. Milk is then refrigerated. The greatest risk in home based dairies likely would come from the milking parlor. No pasteurization is used and our milk has always been safe. Animals are cleaned prior to milking. Udders are washed by machine. Milk machines are used which reduces exposure to air contaminants. However if a machine should become contaminated, it could affect the entire supply. Milk is flash cooled and run through miles of piping, loaded onto milk trucks, hauled to processing plants, processed (separated and recombined to make skim to whole milk) and pasteurized, then packaged for delivery. There is potential at any point of the process for a piece of equipment to become contaminated although every effort is made to keep it clean. Milk is then shipped to final destinations. The process can take days. Pasteurization is necessary to make milk safe from this process.
The Goal Cow health is primary goal. Moderate milk supply that is highly nutritious and safe to drink. I want optimum milk quality even if I have to sacrifice quantity. I could increase milk yields by increasing grain intake but I don’t feel that would provide optimal nutrition. High milk yield with bacterial counts below the levels mandated by the government. Cow health is important since it effects milk yield but takes a backseat to milk production.
What is the difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk?

This is a loaded question and up for debate, depending on who is talking. According to the USDA, there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between the nutritional quality of raw milk verses pasteurized milk. They also claim that milk produced from large commercial dairies is equally as nutritious as milk produced from pasture fed cows. They claim there is no flavor difference. They claim pasteurized milk is safer than raw milk; that raw milk is completely unsafe and should not be consumed by anyone, EVER. Unfortunately for big dairies and the government, there are a growing number of people who disagree with their stance. People who are willing to “risk” their lives to drink raw milk that tastes better, makes them feel healthier, and comes directly from known source. People who believe that pasteurization destroys the nutritional quality of milk and creates chronic health problems. In the table below, I hope to show the difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk from the perspective of pro raw milk drinkers. Again much of the information is taken from The Untold Story of Milk. It must be noted that his book has hundreds of citations and was well researched – but definitely from the pro raw milk perspective.

Pasteurized Milk Verses Raw Milk – What happens to milk when it is pasteurized?

Raw Milk Pasteurized Milk
Types of Pasteurization None Holder Pasteurization – 146*F for 30 mins.
HSHT Pasteurization – 161*F for 15 secs
UHT Pasteurization – 230* F for fraction of a sec

The higher the heat, the greater the destruction to enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Vitamin and Mineral Changes Vitamins: A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, Niacin, B6, B12 Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Folic Acid

Minerals: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc,
Copper, Manganese, Iodine, Fluoride, Selenium, Cobalt, Chromium, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium

Vitamins and minerals are better absorbed in their original state when enzymes act on them.

Vitamin and mineral list from Raw-Milk-Facts

Reduction in ability to use Folic Acid, B
vitamins, Vitamin D, K and A
Poor calcium and phosphorus absorption.
Vitamin C loss – at least 50%
Inhibits iron absorption
Reduced iodine absorption

Since enzymes are inactivated during pasteurization, vitamin and mineral absorption is reduced.

Synthetic vitamins added.

Enzymes Killed or Altered During Pasteurization Increase digestibility for food and increase absorption for vitamins and minerals. Killed by heat..
Lactoperoxidase Acts as an inhibins. Lactoperoxidase uses free radicals to bind and destroy bad bacteria. It is so effective that officials are looking for ways to harness its effects to use to ensure the safety of other foods, including pasteurized milk. USM Page 267 Inactivated at 158*F
Lactoferrin Acts as an inhibin to bad bacteria. Steals iron away from iron loving pathogens. Takes iron into gut wall in increase iron absorbtion in the body. Bad bacteria are reduced while iron absorption is increased. Stimulates the immune system. Inhibits growth of parasites. Has antiviral properties. Do not damage good bacteria. Approved by FDA as an antimicrobial spray again E. Coli. USM Page 267. FDA claims it is not killed during pasteurization. Other studies show it is killed or denatured during pasteurization. Heating milk to 185 degrees kills 96% of lactoferrin. Heating milk to 145 kills 65% of the lactoferrin.
Lipase Enzyme needed to utilize milk fat – fat splitting enzyme. Inactivated
Catalase Protects cell walls Inactivated at 158*F
Lactase Increase ability to absorb lactose Inactivated during pasteurization. Lactose then causes gastric problems.
Galactase Breaks down galactose and plays vital role in central nervous system development. Completely inactivated at 165*F
Amylase Starch splitting enzyme Not sure
Phosphatase Unclear what its function is Killed. Used as test to ensure all bacteria are dead. If phosphatase is killed so are the other bacteria.
Protein Changes No protein changes. Milk proteins are fragile and denature rapidly under heat. May be linked to the problems associated with pasteurized milk. Heat degrades beta-lactoglobulin which increase vitamin A absorption.
Growth of Pathogens Good bacteria in raw milk kills or destroys many pathogens in raw milk. It is difficult for bad bacteria to grow with “inhibins” in the raw milk. Raw milk does not support the growth of salmonella, E coli or listeria. In a case with Campylobacter jejuni, testers had to test milk on site because C. jejuni died within several hours of milking and tests were negative when taken to a lab. USM Page 270 All good bacterial are killed. If bad bacteria are introduced into the milk supply, they multiply quickly and there is nothing to stop them. There have been a number of outbreaks from bacteria introduced into already pasteurized milk.
Protective Factors in Milk Contains, good leukocytes, antibodies, enzymes, binding proteins. Immune support from medium chain fatty acids, lysozymes, oligosaccharides, hormones and growth factors, and beneficial bacteria In activates leukocytes, antibodies, enzymes, and building protiens. Kills all support factors. Reduces Immunoglobulins. The higher the pasteurizing heat, the more protective factors are destroyed.
Illness outbreaks A few, affecting 100s with many of those not actually proven. Many, episodes effecting 1000s. Often gov tries to cover up until they have to report.
Diseases or Problems Linked to Pasteurization None unless milk is contaminated LINKED TO:Increase in upper respiratory problems
Decreased infant weight gain
Increase in iron deficiency anemia
Increase in asthma and allergies
Increase gastric problems
Increase autism symptoms and antisocial
Increased kidney disease, eczema, heart
disease, and rheumatoid arthritis
Linked to multiple sclerosis
Destruction of bone and internal organs in cats
Diseases Cured or Reduced by Milk
Benefits of Milk
Decrease tooth decay
Increased bone density
Decrease in diabetes
Decrease in chronic illnesses including TB, heart disease.
Increased growth and weight gain in
infants and growing children
Decrease in allergies, asthma, gastric problems, autism symptoms, respiratory problems
How dangerous/safe is raw milk? What do the statistics show?

In the book, The Untold Story of Milk, Ron Schmid summarized the safety of raw milk with the following statement:“There are about sixty government-reported illnesses from raw milk per year – a number that is probably greatly exaggerated – and about one-half million raw milk drinkers in the U.S. – a number that is conservative. But using these figures, the rate of illness from raw milk can be calculated at about the one one-hundreth of one percent per year – the actual percentage is probably much lower. The rate of illness from other foods is about twenty-five percent – 76 million cases per year in a population of about 300 million. Thus even using inflated government statistics, on illness from raw milk, you are over 2,500 times more likely to contract illness from other foods than from raw milk.” USM Page 321

The statistics from my own family are similar to those stated by Ron Schmid. My mother’s family raised dairy goats for over 40 years. They had two incidents of Malta Fever but no other illnesses associated with raw milk. My fathers family ran a cattle dairy for 50 years. During that time, they never had any illnesses traced to raw milk. In fact, both families were quite healthy despite being on the poor side. Both families had excellent teeth and to this day have good bone density. My father is 80 years old and jogs/walks 5 miles a day.

Links to articles and information about Raw Milk Safety

Raw Milk Information Link and Title
Brief Description of the Raw Milk Link
Drink it Raw: Why is unprocessed milk the only illegal food in North Carolina by Suzanne Nelson I love this article. It may not be the most scientifically based article on raw milk but it shows the absurdity surrounding banning the sales of raw milk. Suzanne Nelson explains what she had to go through to purchase raw milk in North Carolina, a state that has banned the sale of raw milk from home based dairies because it is a “dangerous” substance (never mind that alcohol and cigarettes are easy to obtain and contribute to premature death). She explores who benefits from restricting the sale of raw milk.
A Campaign for Real Milk FDA and CDC Bias Against Raw Milk:This article compares the so called food poison outbreaks of raw milk with food borne illness from other foods. The raw milk article explains the benefits of raw milk and the dangers of pasteurized milk. Realmilk.com is a arm of the Weston Price Foundation.

The Health Benefits Of Raw Milk From Grass-Fed Animals by Ron Schmid: Dr. Ron Schmid is a licensed naturopathic physician, graduating from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1981 as well as a graduate of MIT. He served for a year as the first Clinic Director and Chief Medical Officer at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Connecticut Society of Naturopathic Physicians, and is on the Honorary Board of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

REBUTTAL TO FDA POSITION ON RAW MILK by Rod Schmid: Dr. Rod Schmid responds to accusations about the dangers of raw milk by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a letter summarizing their arguments against raw milk.

“The Devil in the Milk” — Dr. Thomas Cowan on how the A1 – A2 factor explains why even raw milk sometimes does not seem to be enough of an improvement over “store-bought” This is not an article specifically about the benefits of raw milk. It talks more about the benefits of the A2 protein in milk. Goats have A2 protein milk and some cows have it as well. I will be testing my cows to see if they carry the A2 or A1 protein. Well worth reading.
Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell, MD Pioneering work on the role of food enzymes in diet and health. Reveals the dangers of diets composed entirely of cooked foods and problems posed by pasteurization of dairy products.

The Raw Truth About Milk by William Campbell Douglass II, MD
Excellent explanation of the dangers of pasteurization, written in a highly amusing style.

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Pat Connolly and Mary G Enig, PhD
Full spectrum nutritional cookbook that dispels many myths about animal fats and traditional foods.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price, DDS The classic study of isolated populations on native diets, and the disastrous effects of processed foods and commercial farming methods on human health.
The Ploy of Soy: A Debate on Modern Soy Products by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD: An exposé on the dangers of modern soy products, often promoted as “better than milk.”
The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND The Untold Story of Milk chronicles the role of milk in the rise of civilization and in early America, the distillery dairies, compulsory pasteurization, the politics of milk, traditional dairying cultures, the modern dairy industry, the betrayal of public trust by government health officials, the modern myths concerning cholesterol, animal fats and heart disease and the myriad health benefits of raw milk.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us—whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed—he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.