Sunday, December 10, 2023
Farm Health

What is Raw Milk

Some people might question, what is raw milk? Others might question, why would I want to try and obtain raw milk? And some might want to know what the difference is between raw milk and the milk you get in the store. If you are having any of these thoughts, then you are definitively in the right place. I am so excited to help you through these questions and hopefully answer some others you might have as well in this post.

Let’s start with, what is raw milk? It is what we like to call REAL milk. Raw milk is the product that comes straight out of the cow (or goat, but we are going to focus on cows here) before it is sent off to a milking plant and turned into the product you buy at the store (pasteurized milk). It has many benefits that do not come in your pasteurized products.

raw milk
Fresh raw milk from our herd.

There is one main difference between raw and pasteurized milk, the number of microbes that each product contains. Microbes, referred to as microorganisms, are tiny living things that exist all around us. They are a microscopic organism that can exist in the form of a single cell or a colony of cells. Did you know that the human body is home to millions of these microbes? Some, like E.coli and salmonella, can make us sick, but others are very important for our health.

When milk is pasteurized these microbes are killed, making them no longer useful for our health. During the pasteurization process, the milk is heated to a high temperature of 161° F and then cooled back down to 39° F after 15 seconds. This process was created to kill these microbes (both harmful and beneficial), so we could make the shelf life of milk and dairy products last longer. Unfortunately, during this process, all those beneficial microbes that are so important to our health, are killed and some of the nutrients in the milk are lost. This is why they also add some vitamins back into the milk after pasteurization is complete.

Some people argue that killing these microbes helps prevent us from getting sick with illnesses like E.coli and salmonella. This is a great argument that I think everyone should research and be allowed to way the benefits and risks on their own. These days we also have the chance of getting these illnesses from eating certain veggies and meats from the store. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have seen recalls from stores because a bad batch of spinach was discovered with E.coli. The risk is always there when we are talking about a raw product that has many health benefits.

Why might you want to get your hands on some of this raw milk? There are several reasons, but honestly, I want you to be able to decide what is best for you and your family, and knowledge is half the battle. Now that I have switched to raw milk, I do not have some of the issues I had previously with pasteurized milk. My belly doesn’t get upset when I drink it, and my face doesn’t break out if I consume a good quantity as it did before. These are just a couple of the things I have noticed while making the switch. I urge you to please do your research and look at the benefits of raw milk and how it might be best for your family.

Unfortunately, here in the United States, the FDA controls or regulates what can and cannot be sold. Some states have been able to pass laws that allow the sale of raw milk, but others are still fighting for it. Here in Ohio, it is illegal to sell raw milk, so instead, we do herdshares. For more info on herdshares, be sure to visit our post, What are Herdshares. If you are not located in Ohio, you can find your state’s regulations by visiting the Farm to Consumer map.

For more resources on raw milk:
Real Milk
The Weston A. Price Foundation

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