Dear Editor: In Defense of Raw Milk

The editorial was full of errors– nearly every sentence. It was the most imbalanced I had ever seen on the dangers of all raw milk– on the par of editorials on the ethanol scam promoted by the Farm Bureau and global warming/climate change hoax pushed by BP. Will Winter’s response was printed by the Tribune and it was the finest piece for general consumption I have yet to see. His Minneapolis food club warehouse was raided and shut down by the State of Minnesota a couple weeks before.– Augie 

POINT/COUNTERPOINT – To the MINNEAPOLIS TRIBUNE June 28, 2010 EDITORIAL entitled

“Recklessly Ignoring Raw Milk’s Danger- Ban on raw milk sales is needed to

protect families”

I am a person who has been a healthy and happy customer of Minnesota’s

farm-fresh, organic and clean raw milk products for at least a decade, and, in

addition, I grew up with it. As such, I’ve been mystified and stunned by the

knee-jerk reactions and hostility expressed by the media. Especially since the

writers of inflammatory articles such as this one, show no sign of being

scientists themselves nor do they seem familiar with the production,

distribution and actual safety record of raw milk. Allegations are suddenly

“facts”, incomplete and inconclusive investigations are now “indictments”.

In the same week as the the raw milk outrage, we have seen another similar

example of harsh and simplistic judgements. Note the torrents of easy rage

unleashed towards at the parents of the 16 year old girl who attempted to sail

solo around the world. Meanwhile, throughout her sail many of these same

critical parents may have mindlessly bought their own children their daily

supply of Skittles and Sugar Pops (somebody is buying them!). A third of the

children in America are pathologically obese with type two diabetes raging in

our midst. Why no screaming headline “Reckless Parent Ignoring Sugar’s Danger!”

.

The recent staff editorial “Recklessly ignoring raw milk’s danger” came off as a

critical scientific statement excoriating “internet idiots”, know-nothings who,

like lost sheep wander into the clutches of bad farmers who want to poison them.

According to the editorial, these easily bamboozled fools clearly need the

government to “protect them”. But yet there wasn’t a shred of scientific

backbone to the article. Science begins with a literature review and there was

no evidence of that. Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD wrote “the opposite of ‘dirty’

milk is not ‘pasteurized’ or ‘homogenized’. The opposite of ‘dirty’ is ‘clean’.”

We all want clean, wholesome, humane, sustainable food, be it milk, meat or

lettuce.

I’ve been deeply involved with the production, distribution and legalization of

clean, wholesome raw milk in the Twin Cities area. The typical raw dairy

customer is vastly more knowledgeable than, say, the average supermarket

shopper. They are for the most part well-read parents who duly note the

well-documented facts regarding the declining safety and nutrient density of

“conventional” food. We are realistic. We know there is no 100% safe food. We

know that if every category of food that ever caused an occasional incidence of

food poisoning were made illegal, there would be no hamburger, no lettuce, no

eggs, no cheese, no hot dogs, no spinach. Virtually nothing to eat! We also know

that improvements are always appreciated and necessary. We welcome those

changes.

True “food bio-security” can only come from organic, sustainable family farms.

Never from imported food, never from a factory farm, never from a huge

corporation. The interpersonal connection of a group of consumers to a family

farm builds trust and relationship. We want to shake the hand that feeds us.

This way, if a health problem is suspected, at worst, only a few are exposed,

and the problem can be stopped quickly, then corrected. A year ago, one

contaminated batch of commodity hamburger from a factory farm-sourced,

mass-produced facility caused a recall of over 120 million pounds of

potentially-dangerous hamburger! Tens of thousands of school children had

already eaten most of it! US Food Service had to deal with nearly 400 food

recalls last year alone! The rare small family farm outbreak, while also

tragic, affects only a few families at the most, and is very easy to trace and

correct.

Raw milk is historical and global. It may come from cows, goats, sheep, donkeys,

camels, llamas, horses, water buffalo, or yaks, but it’s almost always consumed

raw or fermented. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine prescribed raw milk to

cure TB. The Bible extolls the virtues of wholesome nourishment as when God led

the enslaved people out of Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, promising

Moses a “land of flowing milk and honey”. Raw milk is still consumed all around

the world in vastly greater amounts than pasteurized milk. It was never

considered a potential pathogen-source in the United States until we had

“factory” dairies that employed tubercular and sick immigrants who milked by

hand. We never had an epic problem with pathogens in milk until East Coast dairy

cattle were fed by-product feeds from whiskey by-product grain. These weakened

animals produced dirty milk that was made slightly safer by heating it.

Pasteurization was offered as a “band-aid” in order to continue the business of

selling dirty milk. It’s gotten worse.

There is a tremendous difference between milk produced for pasteurized markets

and milk that is produced to be consumed raw. Since pasteurization has become

law, the standards for bacteria, white blood cells and even coliform organisms

has been seriously watered-down. Deadly pathogenic bacteria are NOT routinely

found on small family farms using pasture-based farming, clean facilities, and

the opposite of feedlot/concrete/factory standards. Milk no longer touches dirty

hands nor an open milk bucket but runs through glass and stainless steel pipes

to the bulk tank. Deadly pathogens come from cities, off-farm workers, the use

of feedlot-runoff irrigation water, and from confinement and unsanitary

conditions. Pathogens take root when the animals are under-nourished, indoors,

confined and over-worked. Hundreds of thousands of people who think they are

“allergic” to milk or have “lactose intolerance” can almost always always thrive

on wholesome, pasture-based, organic raw milk! Their “allergy” or “intolerance”

was merely a perfectly normal immune reaction to “cooked” bacteria and pus, to

artificial hormones, to traces of genetically modified grains, to traces of mold

from bad grain, to feed-based antibiotic residues, and to denatured proteins

from the modifications done to “modern milk” such as pasteurization and

homogenization.

There is a mountain of rock-solid (non-industry funded) scientific study showing

that wholesome raw milk IS actually a powerful heath tonic and elixir! Books

have been written about raw milk by medical doctors such as the founders of our

very own Mayo Foundation, where medical care using the European “milk cure” was

practiced. The terrible diseases of the day (TB, Brucellosis, and chronic

degenerative disease) were routinely cured by inpatient treatment at the Mayo,

using nothing but their own “certified” raw milk for cure. Staff physician

J.E.Crewe ruefully wrote at the time, that after 15 years of seeing more cures

with the milk cure than any other form of medicine that “the medical man is

disinterested in this natural cure”. It was apparently “too simple to believe”.

There is only one “perfect food” in the world, meaning a food that would sustain

your life (in excellent health) alone, eating nothing else. That is raw milk.

Pasteurized milk will not do that.

The Hartmann farm has been selling raw milk to hundreds if not thousands of

people for at least a decade and yet there have been no reports of illness until

recently. I have been on the farm many times, and, in contrast to the reports,

found it to be far closer to a “pastoral utopia” than a filth pit. The Hartmann

cows are truly loved and babied. This is a farm family that have devoted their

lives towards making the best milk humanly possible. Likewise, if problems

exist, they will do whatever necessary to correct the problems. The article

states that “responsible dairy farmers would blanch” if they saw the Hartmann

farm. In actuality, I have been on dozens of commercial dairy farms in my work,

farms that sell milk that could only be sold as pasteurized milk. Milk that

would definitely sicken you if you tried it raw. These farms made me sick. I

can’t even describe here the cruelty and shortcuts taken in the corporate desire

to manufacture massive quantities of a super cheap white liquid that vaguely

resembles milk.

Unit for unit of milk, far more consumers have been made ill by pathogens found

in contaminated pasteurized milk than by raw milk. In fact, there are fewer

cases of food poisoning by raw milk than by any other food of animal source.

Bagged lettuce is actually the most-likely food to cause illness from food

poisoning. Pasteurization does not kill all pathogens, the bacteria that may be

associated with Crohn’s disease is not destroyed by pasteurization. Raw milk has

enzymes and immune cells that destroy pathogens via a natural preservation

system.

In recent years at least 5 other states have looked at the science behind both

sides of the issue and decided to legalize the sale of raw milk. More states are

expected to ratify sales in the future. For factual scientific information about

the decision to drink raw milk, I recommend the books THE UNTOLD STORY OF MILK

by Ron Schmidt, THE MILK DIET AS A REMEDY FOR CHRONIC DISEASE by Dr Charles

Porter, and THE MILK BOOK-HOW SCIENCE IS DESTROYING NATURE’S NEARLY PERFECT FOOD

by William Campbell Douglass, MD. There is also excellent information on

www.rawmilk.com, www.realmilk.com, www.westonaprice.org, and www.ftcldf.org,

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund sells a book called RAW MILK PRODUCTION

HANDBOOK by Tim Wightman, that explains exactly how farmers can raise healthy,

nutritious, safe and totally delicious raw milk.

William G. Winter, DVM, Minneapolis, retired holistic veterinarian

13 responses to “Dear Editor: In Defense of Raw Milk

  1. I totally agree, well written, and THANK YOU!!

    Consider the impact to the economy when the small farmer is back!
    Consider the impact to small communities that will come alive again.
    Consider the impact on families when they can work for a fair living, live healthy, and have time to spend with family.
    Consider the education that has been silently swept away by big business, some don’t even know what broccoli tastes like or looks like! The farms will cure that!
    Consider the savings on health care when we all eat real food again, nothing will cure the health care and insurance crisis like good, sustainable, organic food will ( add a good night’s sleep.)
    Consider that the water will be stored in the ground again when the soils are not doused in Roundup, et all, and are nourished by good practices, and this affects weather…big picture, nothing exists in a vacuum! Water will be cleaned by nature, and we certainly need THAT!

    I could go on, but I will leave some for others.

    Thank you!!

    • Yes, and much more. But these are drawbacks to the corporate/government control agenda in that it allows for freedom and independence.

  2. Very informative and excellently written article!!!!This article is so complete & well-written, with the added bonus of the historical information to fill in the gaps many of us probably had. I still can’t believe that the government and people in general, don’t remember that a lot of the world still uses
    fresh cow’s milk on a daily basis & no harm done. As well, people have survived on it throughout history!
    I drink raw milk & love it! Taste is superior to anything that comes from the store. I still don’t understand why the government seems to be taking such a strong stand to protect the corporations & milk factories and are coming down so hard on the small organic milk producers who are doing nothing wrong, and simply filling a need that exists for a natural & healthy product!!! Please there is enough real crime for the police to deal with. Leave our responsible farmers alone! If gov. want to feel it is doing something useful, can’t it just send an inspector once every few months — but these strong arm tactics — where’s the common sense???

  3. I know for a fact that the author NEVER intended to write anything less than a vicious and vitriolic attack on raw milk and raw milk consumers. How do I know? She expressed those sentiments in an email directed to MN Public Health officials via the email article link on my site. Yeah.

  4. Great post!!!

    I loved this…
    Why no screaming headline “Reckless Parent Ignoring Sugar’s Danger!”

  5. Interesting that we who choose, literally CHOOSE, the foods we intend to include in our diets, rather than just mindlessly grabbing whatever is to be found in the local market/mart/vending machine or drive-up window, are so readily portrayed as the mindless, ignorant following sheep.
    I can hardly bring myself to shop in a grocery store anymore because of the mindless filling of shopping carts with “food-like substances” pushed around by obese and sickly looking folks, with their lethargic or rampantly out-of-control children in tow.
    Does anyone honestly believe those folks are reading, researching and making conscious CHOICES about what they are fueling their bodies, or more importantly, their children’s bodies with? Blind followers, too tired to do anything different.
    I know from personal experience: there have been times when I used to shop and eat like that and that’s when I got fat, lethargic and sickly! I hate to think what would have happened if I had not had at least one foot firmly planted in the real food world. I drank raw milk but poured it over processed, denatured cereal. I made my own bread but slathered it with commercially made mayo (soy oil) or jam (high-fructose corn syrup)! The compromises continued, including a two year stint drinking store-bought “organic” milk, until my health totally tanked and I was fatter than ever! Interestingly, my youngest son, raised on raw milk, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while we were on our store-bought path.
    Now I am back on the real food bandwagon full-tilt. My health is being restored and I am on my way back to my former ‘little me’.🙂 I am also seeing my son’s resistance to illness and tooth decay being steadily built back up as well.
    A dozen years on raw milk, plus my youthful summers spent on my grandparents farm drinking raw milk, and nary an instance of anyone getting sick from it. Are we amazing? No, just normal folks. Is raw milk amazing? Absolutely!

  6. Beth, you are so right, it is quite beyond annoying that the ones buying and SEEKING OUT and going to great lengths to source REAL food are the ones who are looked at as the ignorant ones. huh?!?! Like you, I don’t shop at the grocery store much and hope in the near future I can be a lot more self sufficient, I do a lot online though right now and what I can find locally (our community although I can find local stuff the larger farmer’s still use lots of pesticides and fertilizers.) But like you I find it astounding that people can get in and out of the grocery store with a cart FULL of stuff in under 20 min and I buy 10 things and take over an hour….why? because I READ the labels, and compare and just because it says “natural” doesn’t mean it is, so I read the labels completely. Plus I’m just slow LOL!

  7. I was one of those rare female teenagers who LOVED milk. I still do. What I wouldn’t give for a tall cold glass of REAL milk from the farm just outside my Grandparents rural hometown. My Grandfather used to take me to get a gallon, in a glass jug they gave me, whenever I visited. Even in the 1980’s it had to be done without any contact with the farmer. You had to know someone who knew someone and they taught you the process of starting the stirring mechanism in the chilled holding tank and using the beyond clean scoop and funnel to fill your bottle. If you didn’t have a bottle there were several boxes of plastic jugs available. You left your $3 in the glass screw top jar near the door. You could go anytime day or night and you hoped you got there before the tank truck did to pick up the daily load to go to the dairy plant. Grandpa followed the steps religiously, taught them to me and instilled in me a respect for the the milk, the equipment, the cows and the farmer. It was the neatest, cleanest farm I was ever on. You could have eaten off the milk house floor where the holding tank was located. It was absolutely the best milk I have ever tasted.

  8. Excellent article, and very true. I’ve been drinking raw milk , and I make smoothies with organic raw eggs. At 56 I am the strongest I’ve ever been.

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  11. What a great rebuttal to the whole ‘raw milk is dangerous!’ crowd. Thank you…This is one of the best summaries I’ve ever read. I’m tempted to ask you to send this out to every paper in the nation! After being ‘allergic’ to dairy products my entire life, on a whim I decided to buy a gallon of raw milk from a farm in PA (about an hour away). That two-hour trip is worth every minute and every drop of gas…the milk is delicious, almost endlessly usable (even after the point where I’ll drink it out of a glass), and frankly, makes a good ‘mini meal’ when I haven’t time to whip something up. I love the stuff, and heaven forbid we move to a place where I couldn’t obtain raw milk!

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