WELLNESS--A recent salmonella scare has put raw milk back in the spotlight. Last week the New York farm Jerry Dell Farm Inc. was found to have salmonella in their raw milk. The milk affected no one, but it did send out a wave of worry for the raw milk community. This recent coverage in the news over the contested issue of raw milk brings the arguments and laws for and against back to the frontline.
At the moment there are 11 states where it is legal to sell raw milk on a retail level, and 17 where it is illegal. The other states fall into the licensed or unlicensed “on farm” sales meaning people can often buy directly from the farmers or have raw milk delivered to their homes directly from the farmers.
Those in favor of raw milk tout the benefits that the raw unpasteurized milk is healthier due to a variety of reasons. First, the cows that supply the raw milk are fed a grass only diet. Since cows are herbivores and were never meant to eat grain like they do in confinement dairy operations, the grass fed cows put out healthier more nutritious milk. Fans of unpasteurized raw milk tell us that the milk they drink has higher levels essential fatty acids and vitamins. Milk is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Milk also contains small amounts of niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and folate, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
There are many thousands of people that claim that in drinking the raw milk and consuming dairy that has not been pasteurized, they no longer experience lactose intolerance. The evidence is unclear, but many people make note that it is much easier to digest than pasteurized milk and dairy. Others go as far as to say that they have experienced healing diseases from consuming raw milk and dairy.
Those against raw milk claim that there is a danger in not treating the milk with heat known as pasteurization. When Salmonella scares are introduced this seems to drive the point home even further. The statistics of just how dangerous raw milk is are hard to find, but most sources put the numbers of people hurt or made ill by raw milk very low.
The most likely reason more people are not usually made ill by raw milk is because the farms that put this milk out are very careful with what they feed their cows and how the milk is handled and packaged. In spite of that, the federal government reminds us that raw milk; cheeses and yogurts can cause serious infections, such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.
There isn’t much more information about the dangers of raw milk and dairy on the governments food safety page, so if you’re thinking about switching to raw milk, your best bet is to dig deep and do your research. Talk to farmers at the farmers market and other people that have made the switch to raw milk.
Vol 13 Issue 97
Pub: Dec 1, 2015