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Raw milk, anyone?

rawmilkanyone.jpgThere?s powdered milk, condensed milk, skim milk. Actually there are so many different kinds of milk out there that one loses track of which to buy. But what about raw milk?

Well, the term speaks for itself ? milk taken directly from the cows without any processing whatsoever. The ?fresh? milk that the milkman delivers or that which we get at the supermarket is pasteurized ? heated up to 70?C to kill bacteria. However, pasteurization also reduces the nutrient content of milk by destroying or diminishing enzymes, vitamins, and milk proteins.

So actually drinking raw milk is going back to the basics ? and it?s catching on! One of its most popular advocates is Prince Charles himself.

So what makes raw milk so popular?
1. It?s healthier ? pasteurization kills bacteria (both harmful and beneficial) and destroys vitamins and other nutrients.
2. It tastes better, according to its advocates.
3. It contains the enzyme lactase which is needed to digest lactose ? therefore lactose intolerant individuals can drink.
4. It contains a lot of omega-3 fats.
5. It supposedly builds up the immune system, reduces allergies and asthma, and improves digestion.
6. It doesn?t have additional Vitamin D ? in many countries, including the US, milk is fortified with Vitamin D – which some people claim, can be toxic.

There are risks, of course. The UK Food Standards Agency warns the public that raw milk may contain pathogenic microbes ? precisely the main reason behind pasteurization.

In October 2007, a new state law (bill AB1735) in California is actually threatening the raw milk industry due to its very strict requirements on coliform bacterial content Raw milk farmers maintain that they only use the healthiest cows reared under strict standards using healthy, organic food. The cows are regularly checked for diseases. Milk from these cows therefore should theoretically be pathogen-free.

Sources:

1. Is raw milk safe? Belfast Telegraph, 06 November 2007

2. State’s tough new raw milk standards upset consumers, farmers, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 October 2007.


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