Saturday, March 20, 2010

Behind the Push for Pasteurization

If you love your milk so fresh you can still hear the moo, watch out: Big Dairy is coming after you – again.

Two lobbying groups backed by untold piles of dirty dairy dollars are urging lawmakers to put raw milk out to pasture, calling it a "significant food safety hazard."

But as long as we're talking farm, let's call that what it really is: hogwash (yeah, another farm word came to mind first... but I try to keep this family-friendly).

The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation want all unpasteurized products to follow the same standards as other milk products – in other words, they want everything pasteurized.

But the problem with raw milk isn't that it's dangerous – because it isn't. I've been drinking this stuff for years, and I'm just one member of a small-but-devoted army of raw-milk lovers. And believe me, we're healthier than most people.

No, the problem is that it's harder for Big Dairy to turn a profit on raw milk, and harder to tax.

Think about it – legal raw milk would mean small farmers everywhere could sell it at market price direct to consumers from roadside stands... the way many of them now sell peach pies.

Big Dairy wouldn't earn a dime off that. And Uncle Sam gets nervous because it would be difficult to keep tabs on all these small operations at tax time.

So instead, farmers are essentially forced to sell their milk to Big Dairy for a fraction of its value.

But the dairy barons can't ever tell you that... so they pretend it's about safety instead.

I'll say it again: Hogwash!

Pasteurization sucks many of the nutrients out of the milk, including vitamins C, B6 and B12. It even sucks the calcium out – any calcium you find in store-bought milk is usually added during fortification.

All that, and it's still not guaranteed to be perfectly safe. People still get sick and even die from bacteria in pasteurized milk – bacteria that, in theory, shouldn't be there.

One study found that between 1982 and 1997, 220,000 people were sickened by salmonella in pasteurized milk. During that same period, not a single person reported getting sick from raw milk.

Raw milk should be celebrated... instead, we're forced to hide and sneak and find creative ways around laws designed to stop us from getting our milk... like buying shares in cows the same way some people buy partial ownership of vacation homes.

If you're interested in all the benefits of raw milk, visit a local dairy farmer and see what he can do for you.

Not only does the real stuff taste far better than that milk-colored store-bought junk, but it contains more essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and a natural antibiotic called lactoferrin. Raw milk drinkers will tell you the benefits include weight loss, better immunity from colds and even pain relief.

One warning: Drinking raw milk means you may be treated like an outlaw... when all you really want is a chance to do your body good.

(From the Douglass Report )

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