From the June 2004 Idaho Observer:

Why Nature Intended Milk to be Raw and Organic

by Ingri Cassel

Remember the story of Heidi and how when she brought her cousin Clara to the clean air, water and sunshine on the mountain, she was able to abandon her wheelchair? Clara also drank plenty of raw goat's milk, a possible factor in her rapid healing. But the processed milk sold in America today is a far cry from being therapeutic. In Robert Cohen's book, Milk: The Deadly Poison, as well as information on his website,, we find out just how disease causing modern dairy products really are. The milk on the shelf at your local grocery store is pasteurized, homogenized, and contains antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, and often harbors various pathogenic organisms. It is for this reason that processed milk and dairy products are truly poisonous, contributing to the present plagues of indigestion, heart disease, chronic allergies and asthma.

But milk was not always considered a “poisonous” food. For centuries Western civilizations have consumed the milk from domesticated animals. In fact, milk from these same animals was first used 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa as a genetic change occurred enabling adults to easily digest milk and milk products. Milk has become a food staple ever since and in many cultures replaced animal bones as the main source of calcium and other vital nutrients.

Raw milk from pasture-fed cows even has a history of being a cure-all for many ailments at the turn of the 20th century. John Crewe, M.D., one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic, wrote an article that was published in Certified Milk Magazine in January 1929 titled “Raw Milk Cures Many Diseases” and even opened a sanitarium that was devoted to treating patients using the “milk cure”. This treatment involved a detoxifying fast combined with nutrient-dense foods, and was well known in the early 1900s. The only milk available in those days was unpasteurized and from cows and goats that grazed on pasture grass.

The popularization of the germ theory of disease by Louis Pasteur is now the cornerstone of modern medicine's war against microbes of all kinds and the proliferation of toxic chemicals to kill them. Louis Pasteur is also the man behind the process of heating milk to 130° to 158° Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes in an effort to kill possible pathogenic organisms, hence the term “pasteurization”. The new “flash” methods of pasteurizing heat the milk to 150° to 170° for 15 to 20 seconds. While this method is designed to kill pathogenic organisms, temperatures of over 190° are required to kill bacilli coli and pathogenic organisms associated with typhoid, tuberculosis and undulant fever. However, heating milk to such high temperatures would damage the milk to such an extent that no cream would rise, a drawback from a commercial standpoint. What they are doing now is separating the cream and then heating the milk to temperatures as high as 300°. This UHT (ultra high temperature) treated milk will last for several months without refrigeration and is as devoid of nutrition as refined white sugar.

In the bestseller Food is Your Best Medicine, Dr. Henry Bieler cites studies done with twin calves where one twin was allowed to suckle from its mother and the other twin was given pasteurized milk. The twin given the pasteurized milk died in 60 days. This experiment was repeated several times with the same results.

By pasteurizing milk, we have not only destroyed the valuable enzymes in milk but also the beneficial lactic acid or “souring” bacteria (lactobacillus acidophilus). It is the lactic acid that holds the putrefactive bacteria in check and aids in the synthesis of B vitamins in the colon. When raw milk is kept at room temperature, the lactic acid bacteria will cause it to curdle and clabber. Pasteurized milk, being devoid of this beneficial bacteria, will eventually rot. In other words, pasteurization of milk extends its “shelf life” at the expense of nutrition. The real irony is that by destroying milk's germicidal properties through pasteurization, pathogenic bacteria actually multiply more rapidly.

Pasteurizing milk also destroys and/or alters the bio-availability of vitamin C, all 22 amino acids (particularly lysine and tyrosine), essential fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and trace minerals such as zinc and iodine.

Ron Schmid, N.D., in his book The Untold Story of Milk, reminds us of the infamous outbreak of salmonella infections in 1985 in the central U.S. that affected approximately 175,000 people with over 16,000 culture-confirmed cases in what was considered a “multi-state” epidemic -- all traced to pasteurized milk.

In The Milk Book -- How Science is Destroying Nature's Nearly Perfect Food by William Campbell Douglass, MD, there is an excellent chart comparing the excessively strict public health standards authorities enforced for dairies marketing certified raw milk versus the incredible lack of similar standards for dairies who sold (and still sell) pasteurized milk. A review of this chart makes one wonder if pasteurization was used to enable farmers to sell “dirty” milk and extend milk's shelf-life. Today it is nearly impossible to find certified raw milk in the grocery store, with California being the exception. In fact, most states have laws banning the sale of raw milk. If it is allowed to be sold at all, it is usually sold as pet milk with the warning that it is not fit for human consumption.

But where there is a will, there is a way. Today the “milk cure” and the demand for raw milk from pasture-fed cattle has been resurrected by the Weston A. Price Foundation and other raw milk enthusiasts who have benefited from consumption of raw milk and raw milk based dairy products. In order for farmers to “sell” raw milk from their grass-fed cows, they simply have their customers own a head of their livestock or buy shares in the ownership of a cow. By signing a contractual agreement, the farmer is released of liability and their customers receive a quality product -- raw milk. The demand for raw milk is growing as word spreads of the tremendous health benefits of drinking raw milk from pasture-fed cows. For those who want to join this grassroots effort to return milk back to the status of a real “live” food while supporting the efforts of a local farmer, go to the following websites:

In Fresno, California, Organic Pastures Dairy Company brings back the value of the family farm with innovative technology and marketing strategies. Owners Mark and Blaine McAfee have developed a mobile milking barn so their cows can maximize on grazing time while avoiding a long walk to a milking barn. Their herd of 400 cows graze on a variety of eight “grasses” including clover, ryegrass and fescue. The mobile milking unit arrives at a docking site near the grazing cows equipped with its own chiller, milk pump, generator and everything required to keep the milk clean and fresh. There are over 40 docking sites on 400 acres with each docking site having access to fresh water to further ensure cleanliness. All wastewater is recycled into their irrigation system.

Marketing Organic Pastures raw milk to 90 local outlets has also been a win-win situation. After one week of their raw milk sitting on the shelf in stores, it is removed and replaced with fresh milk at no cost to the storeowner. The unsold milk that is “retrieved” from the stores is used in the production of cheese.

Mark McAfee is saddened by the lack of environmental “conscience” among fellow dairy farmers. He claims that most dairies -- including those that sell pasteurized, organic milk -- often have filthy cesspools with cows standing in manure several feet deep. The factory dairy cow is also fed a mash full of antibiotics and hormones such as rBHG, waste products and even meat from infected animals, even though the cow is an herbivore (vegetarian). [See Diet for a New America by John Robbins] This fact alone should encourage readers to support their local farmer who uses organic methods to raise their crops and animals.

Mark McAfee also claims there are no pathogens in Organic Pastures milk. He reasons this is due to the fact that his cows never receive antibiotics or high-protein feeds containing grains. Antibiotics kill off the beneficial flora that reside in the rumen and intestines. Antibiotics, rBGH, drugs and high-protein feeds create the physiological stresses needed for pathogens to thrive.

Veterinarian Catherine Berg of U.C. Davis tested manure directly evacuated by Organic Pastures and found that it contained no salmonella. Her test results are the exact opposite of tests done on factory dairy cows whose manure consistently harbors salmonella. McAfee claims to have taken his milk to a lab in Fresno. At the lab 10 million counts of pathogenic bacteria were added to each liter of raw milk. The pathogenic bacteria didn't survive. McAfee also claims that when there is an outbreak of some food-borne illness in the United States, they often blame it on raw milk instead of looking at the real cause of the outbreak. (Acres USA, Vol. 34, No. 5, p. 8)

So what does Mark McAfee have to say about Mad Cow disease? In the above cited article he says, “I have two thoughts. There is some very good science on Dr. Joseph Mercola's website at The etiology [cause] of Mad Cow appears to be a manganese issue related to organo-phosphates. U.K. cows [that were] treated with Phosnet to control grubs -- these were the herds that came down with bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE]. The organic herds that did not participate -- guess what? They had none of this BSE. Second, there is the issue of processing. These commercial processors that put the carcass in a press and squirt her out the other end to take all the meat off the bones, that's completely different from what you'll find on a farm or small slaughtering operation. Certainly, the 'by hand' processor won't commingle the central nervous system tissues with the rest of the beef, or E. coli throughout all the hamburger.” (Also see “Mad Cow Disease: Is it Really Manganese Madness?” in the March 2004 edition of The Idaho Observer:

Organic Pasture Dairy Products' customers have been described as “maniacal” since they are passionate about their consumption of fresh raw milk and cream. Once people begin drinking quality raw milk, they realize the tremendous health benefits. Many people notice that they no longer have allergies and their children stop getting ear infections.

Ron Schmid is a living testimony of the benefits of raw milk. When he was in his early 20s, he was extremely ill with gastrointestinal disease (colitis). He went to many doctors who did nothing to alleviate his condition. One doctor suggested that he have half his colon removed. He vowed to stop going to doctors altogether and happened to move to an area near a raw milk dairy. He began buying raw milk, eggs and fresh organic vegetables from this farm. He noticed almost immediately a difference in his condition and started experimenting with his diet in earnest. After three to four years his health problems completely cleared up. This led him to becoming a naturopathic physician and his subsequent passion for promoting the use of real food and raw milk in particular.

Consumer demand for clean raw milk is gaining momentum in every state. Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, believes that raw milk will be available legally in the marketplace in five years, but the backlash from public health departments and state bureaucracies, pressured by agri-business and the medical profession, is continually threatening consumer's access, even when they legally own a share in the cow providing their milk. It is up to us to be forever vigilant about our right to decide what we will, or will not, consume for the health of our bodies.

Ron Schmid's passion shines through when he told Acres USA the following:

Civil disobedience has a history both here and in the rest of the world, and this is the kind of principle that inspires it. We're talking about life and death here. We're talking about survival, the ability to stay healthy and have a healthy child. That's what the corporations and bureaucrats are attempting to take away from people. That's worth fighting for, and I think we have to be prepared to engage in civil disobedience to stand up for those principles. We have to be prepared to do whatever we have to do to get raw milk.. I long to see the day when all Americans have the right to purchase locally produced raw milk, meat, fowl and other farm products direct from farmers who produce them; the day when the current yoke of prohibitions and bureaucratic red tape has been thrown off, and we once again are free to produce and consume truly healthy foods. The men and women who founded this country did not intend for commercial interests to control the food supply and thus our health. These are the rights of the people, and they are the rights that have been stripped away. We need to work together to regain them.

This article was inspired by the following articles in Acres USA:

“Reinventing Dairy -- Organics and Innovation Give Consumers Real Milk”, Acres USA, May 2004, Vol. 34, No. 5

“The Secret History of Milk” -- Interview with Ron Schmid, ND and author of The Untold Story of Milk, Acres USA, April 2004, Vol. 34, No. 4

To subscribe to Acres USA -- A Voice for Eco-Agriculture -- send $27 for 12 monthly issues to Acres USA, P.O. Box 91299, Austin, Texas 78709 512-892-4448.

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