I Don’t Trust Raw Milk

uh9jch3Let me finish that sentence – I don’t trust raw milk that comes from any animal but my own.

I know that many folks are immense fans of the benefits and digestibility of raw goat’s milk, but I must say that I also feel that some overlook the risks that raw milk truly carries.

I’ll start by saying much of what people claim raw milk can do is greatly exaggerated. I have seen blog posts and news articles hailing it as a miracle healing broth, and quite frankly, I find that terribly amusing. It’s not – it’s milk. “An opaque white fluid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young.”

It becomes something far better with a little skill, but cheese is a topic for another day!

That doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits to goat’s milk of course – we all know how much easier it is to digest, how much more efficient goats can be when compared to other production species. Many people find that it tastes better, and seeing as the majority of the world drinks goat’s milk, it’s certainly a very popular product!

We consume raw milk from the goats here at our dairy. Our animals undergo a full panel of testing before joining our milking line. They have a full time on site caretaker – me – who makes it a mission to spot problems such as mastitis and illness before the milk from that animal is combined with the rest. I know every detail of their history, from deworming, to their last antibiotic treatment, to when their hooves were last trimmed and the health histories of their parents.

So I trust our raw milk.

There’s a reason they do not recommend raw milk to the immunocompromised, the elderly, the pregnant, and the young. While a mature healthy digestive system will have little trouble with raw milk, the fact remains that it can be the vehicle to pass along many problems. Toxoplasmosis, Chlamydia, Q-fever,  Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, along with many other types of bacteria, viruses, even internal parasites and fungal infection.

While it’s unlikely to see many of these problems in a clean maintained herd, the possibility exists, and a shiny healthy looking goat may indeed be hiding a lurking monster, unbeknownst even to the herd owner.

It’s very easy as well, to take a person’s word that their entire herd is CAE-free, use their raw milk to bottle feed your kids, and then later realize that a mistake was made somewhere along the lines. It’s happened before, much to the dismay and grief of both parties.

It happened to me.

When it comes to the health of your stock, it pays to be cautious.

Pasteurization is not some evil method cooked up by corporations to “ruin” the integrity of milk. It is a proven and appreciated way to ensure the safety and quality of your milk. It’s not even terribly difficult to do! Here are some links to help you out:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/pasteurize-raw-milk-at-home

http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/raw-milk-news/story/how-to-pasteurize-raw-milk-at-home/

You’ll find there are nearly as many opinions on pasteurization as there is raw milk, so be sure to do your own research as well.

As with all things, the contents of this blog post are my personal opinion – if raw milk works for you, and you enjoy it, then there is little reason to stop using it! Just be sure to do your research and check into your source, if you’re unable to produce your own. Be careful out there, friends – when folks get sick from raw milk, it only hurts the industry as a whole.

 

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