UPDATE: Here’s another article on raw milk’s fabulous attributes:

This article includes links to: FARM TO CONSUMER Legal Defense Fund: If you are looking into raw milk production, check out this free online guide!

WHAT IS RAW MILK? Raw milk is milk that has not gone through pasteurization or homogenization. Pros: Keeps all the good enzymes, vitamins, and bacteria so your gut can digest the milk; regulates bowel movements. Cons: If the milk becomes contaminated, it could potentially harbor bad bacteria (advocates of real raw milk argue that the good bacteria and enzymes kill off the bad bacteria. Pasteurized milk has NO bacteria, so no defenses. It’s like shutting off your immune system.)

ISN’T RAW MILK HARMFUL? Raw milk is an excellent food for people. The “harm” came when it was contaminated. Regardless of size, if a dairy operation does not maintain high standards of cleanliness in the barn, milking, and processing areas, contamination may occur. Modern commerical farms do not operate with the best cleanliness, because it is not cost effective, therefore pasteurization is a default for protecting them from their poor management. Also, some diseases can be transmitted from a cow through their milk. Tuberculosis of the Bovine form can be given to humans, although testing has nearly eradicated TB. Brucellosis is also mostly eradicated, exept for Yellowstone Park area, where officials refuse to vaccinate the Bison, therefore the disease is maintained within herds and can spread to nearby ranchs. Calfhood vaccination and testing protects the majority of dairy animals these days. THE BOTTOM LINE: Raw milk maintains the natural immunities to fight off harmful bacteria; Pasuerized milk does not! AN INTERESTING NOTE: Cheese from fresh, raw milk has more complex taste than pasteurized cheeses. CHECK THIS SITE:

WHAT IS PASTEURIZATION? Milk undergoes heat treatment to kill all bacteria, good or bad. There are many methods of treating milk:

  • Low temperature, longer time: Vat pasteurization occurs at 145 degrees F for 30 minutes. Treated at a lower temperature, for a longer period of time. Some argue this is more “gentle” on the milk
  • High temperature, short time: HTST pasteurization occurs at 161 degrees F for 15 seconds. Very quickly brought up to temperature and back down. Can also be done at higher temperatures for shorter amounts of time.
  • Ultra high temperature: Ultra pasteurization occurs at 280 degrees F for 2 seconds and can only be done with a commercial machinery. This milk is treated at a super high temp, obliterating any semblance of food value. But, this milk lasts a long time on the shelf at the store. Oddly enough, pretty much all ORGANIC milk is at this temperature, which is why I do not advocate buying organic milk in the store. Regardless of the organic label, UHT milk should NOT be consumed! I encourage you to write to your organic producers and ask them to NOT pasteurize their milk at that temperature!!


WHAT IS HOMOGENIZATION? Milk is put through a machine that physically breaks up the globules of fat in another heat treatment. This disperses the fat into the milk so that it no longer naturally rises to the top. Homogenization allows milk to remain a consistent white color on the shelf. It has no useful purpose and is unnecessary. (NOTE: Goats milk is “naturally” homogenized, meaning goats have smaller fat globules that don’t rise as well as cows milk fat does. This is not a man-made process, goats milk is naturally that way.)

WHAT TO ASK BEFORE BUYING: Raw milk is a controversial topic, just like many other issues in life. When looking for a source of raw milk, I recommend checking out a few things first:

  1. Who is selling the milk and where are they located. What are the laws in that area (is it legal)?
  2. Visit the farm. The bottom line is: Do you want to drink the milk after seeing how it is handled?
  3. What are the cows fed? Where do the cows live? (clean living = clean milk)
  4. What have the cows been tested and vaccinated for? (Common ones are: TB, Brucellosis, Johnes, DHIA or routine milk sampling to check for bacteria)
  5. Where are the cows milked? (area should be separated from the living area or else very clean)
  6. How are the cows milked? (bucket or by hand; methods of cleaning the udder; how clean is the equipment)
  7. How is the milk handled? Anything the milk touches must be sanitized or else risk contamination. This includes clean hands and clothing!
  8. How is the milked stored? To keep milk fresh 7-10 days or more, the milk must not only be clean, it must be cooled within 2 hours to 40 degrees or less. Anyone using a bulk tank to store their milk should be able to achieve this. Small operations can use ice water baths to cool the milk efficiently.
  9. What is the price?
  10. Are you pregnant? Pregnant women should read about consuming raw milk and the potential problems associated with the bacteria Listeria, which should not ever be present in milk unless some part of the handling process is not being looked after (often, this is drains, which people forget to clean!)

No cow? Cow Dry? Search the Weston Price Foundation’s site for sources of legal sales of raw milk products: If you are interested in raw foods in general, Weston Price foundation also has local clubs which meet on a regular basis. You can look on the website to see if there is one close to you!

For milk and other local products:

WHY LOCAL? Local products:

  • Require less transportation cost and pollution
  • Support your local economy, keeps jobs in the area
  • You can see where your food comes from. There is more accountability to the producer to provide consumers with a quality product when the people can actively SEE what is happening on the farm.
  • Education: People need to see how their food is produced and the labor involved which is often not compensated back to the farmer in what he receives for his product proportional to the amount of work the farmer does!

This link is focused on raw milk use in Washington state, but most of the information applies to all states. Click on the link to print off copies to give to people: Information about RAW MILK

2 thoughts on “GOT MILK?

    1. spiritedrose

      I tried to contact through email the leaders in my area and never heard back…. I was hoping to find a group close by so we wouldn’t have to drive too far. Might have to try again… or drive further. Do the local groups make their own websites? I know I learned a lot back in WA the few times I went.


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