Ever wonder what those labels “homogenized” and “pasteurized” on your milk carton mean? One of those things that we see all the time, but don’t actually know what they mean. we trust that these terms are “safe” because it is mainstream. The FDA tells us it is not safe to drink unpasteurized products because they run a higher risk of being contaminated with bacteria and food bourne illnesses. Pregnant women, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and children are advised to stay away from anything that is labeled “raw” because they are most at risk. The FDA has even gone as far as to say that raw milk is 150x more dangerous than pasteurized milk. hmmm? The government (not that they should have a right to tell us what to eat), has attached a stigma to raw milk and has literally made people fear for their life when they consume raw milk. On the flip side, we are also told to have what, 3 ‘low-fat’ servings of dairy a day? the national dairy council says that low-fat and non-fat (pasteurized) dairy products are “nutrient-rich.” So, let’s first take a look at the terms homogenized and pasteurized.
A process named after Louis Pasteur which uses heat to “destroy” human pathogens. I wont bore you with all the details, but basically they use water to heat the milk up to at least 161 degrees F to kill the pathogens. If you want to know the science behind it, just visit this page.
****What I find even more strange is the fact that they are pasteurizing the milk for even the calves to consume??? WHAT THE HECK!?!? Ok, that’s beside the point.****
It is an agitation process that warms the fat molecules to break them down and make them smaller, resulting in a smoother texture and enables to use milk from lots of different cows to make one milk mixture. Check out this guy if you want to know more.
****also, what I find funny, is the fact that by homogenizing milk, you are actually making the fat molecules smaller, and easier to bind to the walls of the heart’s arteries…making heart disease more probable…again, beside the point.****
So, in order to make something safe for us to consume, it needs to be heated to high temperatures to “destroy” human pathogens, consequently killing the vitamins, minerals and good bacteria (vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, etc) needed to absorb the calcium in the milk and digest it properly, rendering the “3-a-day” of “nutrient-rich” non-fat or low-fat dairy useless for calcium and provides us with empty calories, as well as a rise in lactose-intolerance, and a more likelihood of building fat on the heart’s artery walls…sounds safe, right?
what’s even more of a shocker; if the cows were still pastured, and fed on grass only, it is almost makes pasteurization obsolete…In a PBS interview (ironically a government sponsored program) Michael Pollan states that:
“The problem is that that manure is particularly lethal, because it now contains certain microbes like E. coli O157, is a strain of a common intestinal bacteria which is now very common in the manure of feedlot animals. It’s principally a feedlot microbe. And if we ingest only 10 of those bacteria, they can kill us, because they release this lethal toxin. The great problems that you’ve read about, of contaminated hamburgers and the Jack in the Box episode from several years ago, are a result of this particular pathogen.
The story of this pathogen really illustrates the ecological links between the health of these animals and the health of us. I was surprised to learn that E. coli O157 is relatively new — it wasn’t isolated until the early 1980s — and that it essentially doesn’t exist in the gut of animals that eat grass. It is a problem associated with feeding animals corn.”
It’s just not logical. We need to make something safer by pasteurizing because it contains pathogens that are lethal when ingested, when the problem can be solved by feeding cows what they are adapted to eat and digest properly? Unfortunately, corn is one of the grains subsidized by the government, making it extremely cheap for dairy farmers to use to feed their cows. And with high demand of beef and milk, and keeping the cost of the products down, it is a compromise that has been made.
And even still more shocking, raw milk is in fact not as dangerous as the FDA makes it out to be…on average, 42 people get sick a year from raw milk. In fact, what’s more dangerous than that glass of milk, your side salad. The Center of Science in the Public Interest says that leafy greens is the #1 riskiest food regulated by the FDA. These “greens” account for 24% of all outbreaks of contaminated foods…but I don’t see the government deeming spinach unsafe…
raw milk is safe. As long as your source practices good farming techniques, making sure the cow’s teats are not infected, raise their cows on grass and grass alone, and practice sanitary milking process, there is nothing to worry about, aside from that salad you order at Olive Garden!
For more information about raw milk, visit the FAQs. Also, join the cause!
I buy my milk at Meadowwood Organics, in Enumclaw.