Monday, November 1, 2010

Raw Milk - Friend or Foe?

The Introduction:
When we were at the Portland Farmer’s Market, we tried samples at one booth selling fresh milk that had been pasteurized at an extremely low temperature, as opposed to the super high temperature pasteurization that kills everything good (such as good bacteria) and bad in the milk. This "raw" milk is also not homogenized (or whipped until the milk molecules become uniformly and evenly spaced).
Because it has not been processed heavily like most grocery store milk, it can usually be processed better by those who are lactose intolerant. The raw milk arrives in grocery stores within a few days of coming out of the cows, as opposed to high temperature pasteurized, homogenized milk, which may not reach store shelves for up to a month. (The processing increases its shelf life.) I found the taste of raw milk fresher and cleaner than processed milk, as well as easier to digest.

The Opposition:
I was impressed with the flavor and health benefits of this milk and soon looked for raw milk at my local grocery store. I found some, produced by Organic Pastures. I no sooner had picked up a bottle and began reading the label than a middle-aged overweight guy walking by exclaimed, "They sell raw milk here?! That’s dangerous!" He told me that he used to work for Crystal, which he claimed was "one of the cleanest dairies in the country, and it was still filthy!" 

I don’t doubt the truth of his statement. I would not think of trusting raw meat or dairy from a CAFO (confined animal farming operation). However, I think there’s a great deal of difference between cattle that are trapped in their own filth 24/7 and cows that are pastured on organic fields. My mom grew up on a dairy drinking raw milk, as people have done for centuries in the past. I think the problem may be more the poor treatment of animals in most farming institutions than the inherent danger of the substance itself.

The Result:
I used the raw milk to make homemade cheese (more on that interesting process later!). So far, so good. I’m not dead yet. The quality of this product is certainly superior, although so is the cost. I might just be on the way to becoming a raw milk proponent. For more information and to judge for yourself, see


  1. I've always been curious about this. I need to taste some raw milk from a good source and do a little research. Thanks for the introduction.

  2. Great topic, Stac! The milk they sold in Taiwan was raw (if memory serves me right), and it tasted soooo good. Maybe you have convinced me to also switch :)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!