Is raw milk the new right wing thing?

The MAGAnuts have been relentless in their efforts to promote alternative realities that postulate that well-respected institutions that are science-based are actually part of a secret cabal that is trying to … well I don’t know what exactly but whatever it is, they tell us that those institutions should not be trusted. In pursuing that goal, they have been promoting alternative theories that go against the scientific consensus in many areas. If the scientific community argues for vaccines, they claim that vaccines are actually harmful. If the scientific community points to the dangers of greenhouse gases and global warming, they say that emitting those gases is good for the environment. It seems like they seize of anything that the FDA, NIH, EPA, and other organizations recommend to promote public health and oppose it. ‘Experts’, you know the people who spend decades studying issues and building up evidence to reach reliable conclusions, are dismissed as know nothings or, worse, as positively evil with a nefarious agenda.

Now these people are arguing that pasteurizing milk is not necessary and can actually be bad for you and that unpasteurized (so-called ‘raw’) milk is to be preferred. See this letter put out by raw milk advocates that asserts the alleged benefits of raw milk that is ‘carefully produced’.

Carefully produced raw milk has numerous health advantages over pasteurized milk. Whereas pasteurized milk is now recognized as a top food allergen and difficult to digest, raw milk is actually a health-supporting food with rich therapeutic potential and is easily digested by most consumers.  Like breastmilk, raw milk is a living whole food which provides excellent nutrition along with health-supporting enzymes and probiotics. Raw milk has a superior nutrient profile, whereas pasteurized milk has diminished nutrition with denatured proteins and fats. People who are lactose intolerant can often consume raw milk with no maldigestion, due to the presence of a variety of living bacteria which facilitate production of lactase enzyme in the intestines. Numerous scientific studies have shown that raw milk is correlated with decreased rates of asthma, allergies, eczema, otitis, fever, and respiratory infections. Raw milk also aids in recovery from antibiotic use, and provides many gut-healthy probiotics and enzymes.

This article looks at how raw milk started out being favored by some liberals but later became a right wing cause.

Long a fringe health food for new-age hippies and fad-chasing liberal foodies, raw milk has won over the hearts and minds of GOP legislators and regulators in the last few years. (The Iowa vote broke almost perfectly along party lines with nearly all Republicans in favor and only a handful of Democrats defecting to their side.) And it’s not just in Iowa. Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, Georgia and Wyoming all have passed laws (or changed regulations) since 2020 legalizing the sale of raw milk on farms or in stores.

In the words of Schultz, now an Iowa state senator: “Cycle after cycle, we find new officeholders are just becoming more freedom-oriented and less trusting of government at all levels.”

Ah, yes, the siren song of freedom! So alluring as it lures people onto the rocks!

So how did raw milk go from the darling of the organic liberals, deserving of sympathetic coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Yorker, to the conservative culture war signal that is a sweetheart of deep-red state legislatures?

Two things happened at once.

First, liberal elites gave up on it. Iowa Democrats overwhelmingly voted against the raw milk bill; it no longer gets sympathetic coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, the New Yorker, Grist or The Nation.

At the same time, conservatives discovered that raw milk fit neatly inside a worldview that was increasingly skeptical of credentialed expertise.

The shift in views about raw milk is because liberals tend to be persuaded by scientific consensus while conservatives reflexively oppose it.

Medical authorities have long found that milk should be pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria and that drinking raw milk carries serious health risks..

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, and goats — or any other animal — that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful germs. Raw milk can carry dangerous germs such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter, and others that cause foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning.”

These germs can seriously injure the health of anyone who drinks raw milk or eats products made from raw milk. However, the germs in raw milk can be especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems (such as transplant patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and diabetes), children, older adults, and pregnant women. In fact, CDC finds that foodborne illness from raw milk especially affects children and teenagers.

Pasteurization is a widely used process that kills harmful germs by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, Q fever, and brucellosis.

Here are some common myths and proven facts about milk and pasteurization:

  • Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
  • Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
  • Raw milk marketed for pets and animals IS NOT safe for people to drink.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time, particularly after it has been opened.
  • Pasteurization DOES kill harmful germs.
  • Pasteurization DOES save lives.

Of course, this is from the FDA so is thus automatically dismissed by them as part of the deep state conspiracy.

Sometimes I think that the real conspiracy is that the people promoting these nutty ideas are secretly trying to kill people. Most of the people who will suffer and die because they believe such things will be their own supporters. But there will be collateral damage among the sane. For example, infectious disease outbreaks due to unvaccinated people will infect some vaccinated ones. People who get various illnesses due to drinking raw milk will pass it on to friends and family members. And runaway global warming will affect everyone.

These crazies are trying to kill us all.


  1. kestrel says

    I want to make it clear that I agree with Mano on idea that people SHOULD NOT drink raw milk. There’s just a couple points I wanted to make. Background: I ran a small dairy for about 15 years and am a cheesemaker. If you are a cheesemaker, you may already know that UHT milk (which has been ultra pasteurized) will not form a curd and therefore you can not make cheese from it. That’s about the only reason I can think of to prefer a lower pasteurization temperature, or even raw milk. The idea that people have about leaving milk out, is because pasteurization increases shelf life in milk, in some cases drastically, so I can see why people might think it’s OK to leave milk out. The idea that raw milk kills germs… is also kinda true, in a way. The naturally occurring bacteria in milk are acidifying. As they proliferate, they cause a rise in the acidity which kills off a lot of competing bacteria. This is why aged cheese -- even if made from raw milk -- is considered safe, even by the FDA. In general, due to science and regulations, the milk supply in the US is safer than it has ever been -- which does not make it 100% safe! But the USDA, by strict regulation of livestock movement in the US, has managed to eradicate brucellosis in cattle and swine (source: and scroll down to “Current Status”). That does not mean there is no brucella at all, it means that now our cows don’t have it. So although yes I fully agree -- people should not be drinking raw milk -- science and regulation have made the milk supply much safer than it was even 50 years ago. It seems a shame to me that all the hard work the USDA and other government agencies did never gets any mention.

  2. raven says

    One of the other public health measures that the right wingnuts oppose is…fluoridation of water to prevent tooth decay.
    Most public water systems in the USA have been fluoridated for decades.

    There is a relentless attack to remove fluoride from water systems all the time.
    One system removed added fluoride and the voters managed to have them put it back by a referendum.

    So far we have antivaxxers, raw milk fans, and the anti-fluoridation armies.
    The next target is obvious.
    Chlorination of public water supplies.
    Did you know chlorine is highly poisonous? It was used as a war gas during WW I. It can kill you.

  3. raven says

    The other Wars on Public Health measures are:

    .1. Mandatory seat belt laws for cars.
    I don’t think this one has gone too far. Yet.

    .2. Helmets for motorcycle riders.
    A lot of states don’t require helmets for motorcycle riders.
    This is a law that saves a lot of lives.
    Some people argue that they have a right to risk their own brain being smashed because it
    doesn’t hurt anyone else.
    Which isn’t true. It costs a lot in medical care, paid by the state and insurance companies.
    It costs their families and friends a lot when they die.

    .3. Guns.
    This one has long been lost.
    In some states, you don’t even need a permit for concealed and carry.

    .4. Life jackets for boaters.
    So far this one hasn’t been attacked.
    It is however, frequently ignored and we read of people drowning in boating accidents who, “weren’t wearing a personal floatation device.”

  4. Katydid says

    This is a case of the right wing and the left wing meeting in the middle in a horseshoe-shaped curve. In my area a decade ago, homeschool groups contained a spectrum of people from left to right and somehow, they all agreed to agree on the nuttier things.

    Weston A. Price (per Wikipedia: 1870 -- 1948) was a dentist who saw a link between general physical health and dental health. There’s a foundation named after him. As with many things, on the surface it seems sensible enough: if you eat healthily, you will be healthy. But start down the rabbit hole, and very quickly it devolves. For example, there were a couple of homeschool moms in the group I belonged to who wouldn’t step foot in a building that had a microwave in the kitchen, because doncha know microwaves turn cells inside-out! (Don’t ask them how American society has had microwave ovens in homes since the 1970s and we don’t see or hear or know any people exploding from using the microwave--they see that as being combative.)

    Groups like Weston A. Price Foundation encourage people to drink raw milk. They also convince people that fluoride in the water is lethal--disregarding that some communities have had fluoridated water for 80 years, and well water itself may have fluoride, depending on the soil. Then there’s the right-wing sources which brainwash their followers into thinking anything the gov’t does or says must necessarily be bad.

    My latest concern over humans or pets drinking raw milk is that bird flu (H5N1) is becoming pervasive on dairy farms. What happens to a person who drinks raw milk from a cow infected with H5N1?

  5. karl random says

    my biggest prob with this reversal is that it isn’t 100%, and for single-issue voters who center naturalistic-fallacy-based orthorexia in their worldviews, this could cause lifetime dems to vote fascist. probably not a ton of people in the group i describe, so not the worst thing.
    like the dash party embracing anti-vax, this will kill more of them than of us, which i a bit of a good thing, insofar as easily prevented deaths can ever be a good thing. but much more than that, it’s just a huge relief to finally see an indefensible aspect of the hippy-left world view falling away. the less i have to disagree with my compatriots the better.

  6. karl random says

    fash, not dash… i just can’t bring myself to call our conservative party by their chosen appellations any more.

  7. raven says

    In California, although the sale of raw milk and raw dairy products is legal, all such products are required to include this warning on their labels: “WARNING: Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing microorganisms.

    Raw Milk and Dairy Products -- CDPH --

    CDPH (.gov) › Pages › FoodSafetyProgram

    I just looked it up.

    Selling raw milk is legal in almost all states.
    There are a lot of restrictions though and they vary widely.
    In Oregon, it can only be sold off the farm it was produced in.

  8. Katydid says

    @ kestrel, 1: I didn’t know that about UHT milk! I’ve never tried to make milk or yogurt, though several people I know make yogurt in their InstantPot. At my house, we don’t drink a lot of milk, so I’ll buy an 8-ounce carton of UHT milk, which is usually good for about 6 months, and we always end up pouring the last ounce or two down the drain because it went bad.

    Why did you manage a dairy? Why did you stop? I keep reading that there’s no money in dairy production. Around me, local farms that produce dairy also sell their own ice cream and other dairy products on-farm, in addition to things like sandwiches.

  9. Jazzlet says

    Katydid @#8
    It is also more difficult to make cheese from homogenised milk, and certainly in the UK most pasturised milk is now also homogenised, so you no longer get the remaining cream in full cream milk separating out on the top as you did in my childhood. In the case of something like paneer, which I have made, this means you need to use three or four times the vinegar that you used to use. It doesn’t affect the final flavour of the paneer, but it does make the whey more acidic.

  10. Katydid says

    Thanks for the info, Jazzlet! Now I am curious about cheeses. 😀

    For awhile when I had milk-drinking kids at home, I was getting milk from a collection of farmers who fed their cows on grass and silage year-round. The milk was homogenized. That collective went bankrupt around the time the kids went to college, and I just don’t drink that much milk.

    I’ve read about milk in the USA in the early 1900s (not a typo) being delivered to the home and the cream rising to the top and pushing the lid off in cold weather, but in my lifetime, milk has only been sold in paper cartons or (in health-food stores or off the farm) glass bottles.

    To return to the point of Mano’s post; the right wing seem to be suicidal. Anti-vax, raw milk…

  11. flex says

    If there is one conspiracy I’m willing to consider it’s that a lot of the promotion of quackery in social media is deliberate disinformation campaigns by foreign countries, specifically Russia and China, but there may be other actors involved as well.

    It’s not like the USA isn’t involved in this as well, the USA was recently caught with it’s pants down over a disinformation campaign in the Philippines over the Chinese COVID vaccine:

    The process is pretty simple. Start by JAQing off, and then using another account respond with the plausible-sounding crap information. That is very likely to get other people engaged in the conversation and once enough other people get involved it almost runs itself. There will be people who know the information is crap, but defend in anyway for the enjoyment of trolling. There will be converts who will believe and then defend the crap until they die from it. The people who are knowledgeable enough to call it crap, even with the facts, will be branded as defenders of the status quo or other poisoning the well tactics. Fifty people coordinating on a social media topic could drive all of this, and that’s not much of an investment to generate a lot of FUD.

    The fact that so many of these crap ideas are cropping up so frequently could be a result of everyone who wants one can get a personal bullhorn. Or it could be a result of news outlets looking for weirder and weirder stuff to generate clicks. Or it really could be that a large percentage of the US population are gullible idiots. Or, some of this crap could be the result of other countries running disinformation campaigns in the USA. If the USA has been doing it, the odds are pretty good that other countries are too. At this point I’ve seen no direct evidence of it, so I’ll still call it a conspiracy theory and I would be happy to get some evidence to show that this isn’t happening.

  12. alderstock says

    Once upon a time, I left a comment on a “raw foods” forum. I made a very neutral suggestion about getting to know the farmer and the herd from whence came the raw milk. I gave some advice about what to watch for: like seeing if the farmer checked for mastitis. I mentioned brucellosis, and symptoms for which to keep an eye out. As you might expect, I got called a “shill for big agri”, and less pleasant things.

    Like Kestrel in the first comment, I have experience in dairy farming. Unlike Kestrel, I only did it during summers in my childhood. Both my parents grew up on farms. I did drink unpasteurized milk every morning that I was on the farm. It was dipped from the vat with a sterilized pitcher. This is not something I necessarily recommend.

    My relatives kept a really close eye on the herd. The farm I spent the most time on had only about 70 head of cattle. That’s a pretty manageable size for keeping track of individual cows.

    The problem I always see with raw milk is that people don’t actually check to see where their milk is produced. It’s not just a hygiene and sanitation issue. There are quality issues too! Does the farm have one or two Jersey cows to bring the butterfat content up? Butterfat makes a difference in taste. I know this much, and I’m a complete novice with dairy. Raw food people just make me sigh in resignation. They never listen.

  13. Stevko says

    The news in my country (Slovakia) reported increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis (this one is caused by viruses, not bacteria) caused by raw milk consumption. So you can add this one to the the list.
    Article in English from 2018: (but I found local article about increase in cases from 2023)

  14. John Morales says

    Ah, days of yore. The good old simpler and more natural days.


    Victorian Baby ‘Murder’ Bottles

    Isabella Beeton’s popular book, Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management (1861), was the go-to reference guide on how to run a Victorian household.

    It doled out advice on cooking, hiring and firing household staff, and child rearing. Mrs Beeton dedicated two chapters of her hugely influential book to baby and childcare.

    This included plenty of useful tips on breastfeeding such as drinking plenty of beer (though warning against gin), but after that it moved on to what to do if you were unable to breastfeed your child.

    Image: A popular brand of baby bottle. This was a lengthy chapter as feeding babies by bottle was a new idea and would have needed detailed explanation. A problem arose in that this chapter was considerably longer than others and therefore gave the appearance that Mrs Beeton was endorsing bottle feeding.

    Mrs Beeton’s support, as well as the marketing of baby’s bottles, put huge pressure on women to abandon breastfeeding. The bottles were made of glass or earthenware. Attached to the bottle was a length of rubber tubing and a nipple. With product names like ‘Mummies Darling’, ‘Little Cherub’ or even names such as ‘The Empire Bottle’ or ‘The Alexandria’, they were really suggesting that for a woman to choose the bottle made her a much better citizen of the empire and that she was essentially doing the right thing for her children.

    It didn’t help that they were also very difficult to clean. The Victorian baby bottle has a slanted shape which made it very hard to clean away any residue that left at the bottom. The rubber stopper and tubing were porous and therefore accumulated a residue of milk and any bacteria in the residue permeated into the porous material. The porous material ‘sucked up’ bacteria which even if left for a few hours accumulated enough bacteria to cause an infection. To make matters worse the stopper itself, as recommended by Mrs Beeton, was left tied on for the two or three weeks it lasted, and never washed. This added to the problematic ‘banjo’ design. The lack of knowledge of transmission and of germs in water meant that bottle-fed children were more at risk.

    Intestinal diseases lethal to children, such as dysentery and typhoid, thrived in these dirty drinking bottles resulting in serious diarrhoea infections.

    For a small baby, the dehydration this caused would have led to death within 48 hours. Moreover, bacteria that is commonly found in the back of the throat or in the respiratory tract when inhaled into the lungs can cause pneumonia.

  15. Jazzlet says

    Katydid @#10
    The pushing off of the foil top in cold weather wasn’t because of the cream rising, it was because the milk expanded as it froze. Yes that did happen in my younger days too, along with blue tits piercing the foil tops, and cats tipping the bottles over to get at the milk. Mr J built us a little box for the milkman to put the bottles in so they couldn’t get at them.

  16. John Morales says

    I did that, when I first came to Oz. 1972.

    You use the middle finger first knuckle to bend the top of the foil lid of the milk bottle and the cream clots at the top.

  17. KG says

    My paternal grandfather was head gardener for a tuberculosis sanatorium for many years (fresh fruit and veg was considered part of the treatment). Tuberculosis was mostly acquired from unpasteurised cows’ milk. The arrival of antibiotics did for the sanatoria (the one he worked at is now a private psychiatric hospital), but with the rise of antibiotic resistance, it will only be the pasteurisation that prevents a new wave of infection from milk.

  18. Katydid says

    @Jazzlet; sorry, I misspoke. I meant as the milk froze, the cream that rose to the top would knock the metal top off the bottle. In the USA at the time (long before I was born), glass-bottled delivered milk had metal lids. I have never seen this, but I’ve read it in enough books written at the time.

    Also, for sake of clarity, milk bought from local farms around me (“around” meaning within a 2-hour drive) is always pasteurized unless you tell them it’s for use of pets. I’m not sure what the law is for other states.

    @ flex and alderstock: I 100% believe there are disinfo campaigns going on both by and against the USA. I also believe there’s a pool of deeply stupid people in the USA working against their own interests. I first encountered them in the old Prodigy and Usenet days. I saw this first-hand when my (formerly apolitcal) Facebook-loving Dutch friend informed me how much she loved Donald Trump and how he’d (personally?) built a wall across the southern border…two days after he was elected. It was pointless trying to explain to her that he wasn’t even in office yet, and in any event NOBODY could build 3500 kilometres of wall in 2 days. She knew what she knew. Thanks to Facebook. You don’t even want to hear her thoughts on Covid.

    @Stevko; that’s a horrifying bit of knowledge about tick-borne illnesses.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    The new right wing thing is… going after Dolly Parton.
    She is taking time out to look after her husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease. And since she has some opinions the knuckle-draggers dislike, they are calling her a wash-out.

  20. Dunc says

    If there is one conspiracy I’m willing to consider it’s that a lot of the promotion of quackery in social media is deliberate disinformation campaigns by foreign countries, specifically Russia and China, but there may be other actors involved as well.

    Well, if you wanna go there… There’s quite a few right-wing billionaires who seem to be pretty keen on the idea of reducing the population generally, and of “undesirables” specifically, and one way you could go about that would be to reverse the gains made through effective public health measures.

  21. Matthew Currie says

    A: I had not heard about Dolly Parton. Too bad. Even though my taste runs more to classical, world music and folky folk, I have always liked Dolly, and wish her well.

    B: I would not, at this point, go with raw milk, but must say it’s too bad. When I was a kid, we got raw milk from a very well run local dairy. The farmer was a diligent and careful person, believed in science, took good care of his cows, had the milk regularly tested, etc. The cows grazed in actual fields, and ate grass. The only caution was that during green apple season the milk had an edge to it. It was pure Guernsey milk, which he delivered daily himself in bottles. Everyone in town drank it, and nobody ever got sick from it. Cream on the top, delicious stuff, and if you grew up on it, ordinary milk just doesn’t satisfy.

    But that was a different time. We ate raw hamburger too, because we got it at a local butcher shop, where the butcher went and selected his own half a cow, and ground it himself on demand. You knew he got good stuff, and you knew what you got was from that single source. I wouldn’t touch it now.

    Later, I also had a taste for raw eggs, and once again, it’s a different thing depending on where and how you do it. I lived near a farm where the chickens were free range, and everything was emphatically organic. They had these big fresh eggs, and you could poke a hole in one and suck it out, and it was truly delicious. Factory eggs taste awful, which I was told was from what they feed the chickens.

    I must say that one of the reasons I wouldn’t go for raw milk now is that it’s the wrong people with the wrong beliefs who are touting it! I wouldn’t trust the source.

  22. garnetstar says

    Next will be raw water, I suppose, an even quicker route to infection.

    Raw water was all the rage among the Silicon Valley tech bros, so may also pass to the right-wingers.

  23. Katydid says

    The right-wing has hated Dolly Parton for awhile now. She has a charity that gives free books to every child born in Tennessee. People working in her amusement park can further their education, cost-free to them. When it was pointed out to her that her amusement named Dixie Cavalcade was racist, she dropped the Dixie part of the name without argument. She’s made it plain that she welcomes all her guests, even the gay ones.

  24. cweigold says

    Just this morning NPR ran an article about people who seem to believe that sunblock is a conspiracy as well.

  25. Robbo says

    i have a question about where the pathogens come from in raw cow milk. how come baby humans can drink raw human milk without risk of exposure to pathogens? breast milk isn’t pasteurized.

    makes me think the raw milk itself isn’t necessarily bad. it’s the handling and packaging process that allows harmful pathogens to be introduced.

    @kestrel, do you have any insights? or any biologists have insights?

  26. Tethys says

    My Grandparents had a dairy herd as part of their farm operation, and were meticulous about the cleanliness of the barn and creamery. Raw whole milk was a staple which I never liked, but the homemade ice cream was fantastic, as was the sweet cream you get if you don’t homogenize and pasteurize the milk.

    I’ve never been able to replicate some of the baked goods my Nana made with the farm fresh dairy and eggs. Even the flour came from their wheat long before the modern farm to table movement.

    The health claims about raw milk existed way back in the hippie era, but other than taste, there is no evidence that raw milk is somehow superior to processed milk.

  27. Tethys says

    If the cows are sick, the milk can contain the pathogens.

    Bird flu is currently a pandemic in parts of the US, and both cats and mice have been infected via raw milk.

    More than half of cats around the first Texas dairy farm to test positive for bird flu this spring died after drinking raw milk from the infected cows, scientists reported this week, offering a window into a toll the virus has taken during its unprecedented spread through the cattle industry.

    The cats died quite horribly.

  28. Katydid says

    @John Morales, 14: regarding women drinking beer before breastfeeding: breastfeeding isn’t the lark in the park that the pro-breastfeeding groups would have us all believe. It’s frequently very painful, which makes the mother tense up and can stop the flow of breastmilk. Beer *in reasonable amounts* (or any alcohol, really) will make the mother relax and dull the pain somewhat of an inexperienced human tugging and gnawing on the woman. My Italian grandmother insisted she drank a bit of wine before nursing all of her 6 children. She’d never heard of Mrs. Beaton (she never spoke English) and no doubt she’d learned it from her own mother. In addition, the little bit of alcohol coming through the breastmilk would calm a fussy baby.

  29. Katydid says

    @ cweigold, 24: sunscreen has been a target of right wing ire for at least a decade. I have an in-law who was radicalized on right wing radio back in the 1990s. The last time I saw him was a decade ago and he threw an absolute tantrum about sunscreen, which made me google it, and yes, indeed, they’re programmed against that as well.

  30. M Currie says

    Just briefly weighing in on the question of whether some milk is better tasting. Maybe it’s not the pasteurizing but other factors, but not all milk tastes the same. When I was getting milk for my kids in Vermont, we had two local dairies that served various supermarkets, plus the usual mass brands. One of the two dairies was palpably better. The kids could tell, and so could I. When I was little we got supermarket milk and it was OK but not great, and I did not care much for it. When I moved at 7 to the town where we got raw guernsey milk, I instantly became a fan of milk and drank it copiously. It was like a different substance. I would not skip the pasteurizing these days, but I would also, if I drank milk, shop around, because there really are differences.

  31. jrkrideau says

    <It is widely recognized that breast milk is the best food for the first years of life, but raw milk is a natural step after breastfeeding.

    The first part of the sentence seems reasonable. Raw cow's milk is probably the best food for the first months of a calf's life. Why someone would assume it is optimal for a human child, I am not sure.

    I grew up on a small dairy farm where none of the milk for our personal use was pasteurized, but we had decent sanitation standards and the herd was tested at least once a year by government inspectors for the presence of pathogenic organisms—I don't remember which ones.

    Given the explosion of the H5N1 virus in US dairy herds, the consumption of raw milk does not sound like the greatest idea in the USA or anywhere else in the world, for that matter..

    I believe it is illegal to sell raw milk anywhere in Canada.

  32. says

    Like breastmilk, raw milk is a living whole food which provides excellent nutrition along with health-supporting enzymes and probiotics.

    Breastmilk is HUMAN milk specifically tailored for the needs of HUMAN babies. Raw milk is COW milk specifically tailored for the needs of COW babies. Different species, significantly different needs.

    Also, breastmilk is much less likely to contain germs harmful to human babies; nor is it likely to pick up such germs from elsewhere on its very short trip from mom’s breast to baby’s mouth (even via breast-pump and bottle).

    PS: Do these raw-milk advocates ever specify WHICH good milk substances are destroyed or degraded by pasteurization?

  33. says

    A couple decades ago my family tried a blind taste-test where we compared milk that was pasteurized the minimum amount allowed by the FDA with “ultra-pasteurized” milk. We could all tell the difference (it’s not placebo!) and thought the minimally-pasturized milk tasted better.

    I never had raw milk, but people I know who grew up on or near farms have told me it tastes better than pasteurized milk, and I am willing to believe them.

    The question for me is: does raw milk taste good enough to warrant the risk of getting sick from drinking it? And for me the answer is no.

    >Once upon a time, I left a comment on a “raw foods” forum.

    I hate that the cranks have claimed the phrase “raw foods” because I really like raw foods. Not milk or eggs, but food that is actually safe to eat raw. I love raw carrots, raw turnips, raw spinach, raw brussels sprouts, raw mango, raw honeydew, raw oranges, raw nuts, and a whole bunch of other raw plants. And I love fresh-pressed juice made from raw fruits and vegetables.

  34. John Morales says

    183231bcb, nothing to do with anything, but you stimulated some neurons, so…
    Back in the day (1980s) I had a friend who would munch on raw potatoes as others might on an apple.

    For real.

  35. anat says

    John Morales, my kid used to ‘steal’ bits of raw zucchini from the cutting board while I was preparing to cook, though he didn’t like the cooked zucchini. So obviously whenever I was cooking anything with zucchini I left some raw stuff lying around.

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