Raw Milk Madness

I noticed today that there was an article in some Australian newspapers kicking up a fuss about raw milk, or for the uninitiated, milk that has not been pasteurised.  Have a read of the article titled “‘Mooshine’ milk udderly bad for you“.   It tells a tale of some poor bloke in Bondi fined A$53,000 for selling raw milk to the public for drinking purposes, who actually knew exactly what they were buying.  No cover up, no scandal, just supply and demand for a healthy product.  Madness!

Well let me tell you a thing or two about raw milk.  When I was knee high to a grasshopper, I lived on a dairy farm run by my Dad and Mum.  It was a great dairy farm with lovely cows with Dad having a name for nearly every single one of the 150 head herd.  Dad paid very particular attention to the cleanliness of the milking equipment and even washed the cows udders before putting on the suction cups that sucked all of the milk out.  Me, my siblings, parents, grandparents and most of the town of Loxton North drank raw milk with no ill effects, and I am still alive and kicking.  The cows were fed on grass, not grain or silage, and had a very healthy diet.  All things considered, no one ever got sick from drinking our milk that was sold from the diary door by the billy can full.  So what is wrong with raw milk if the entire process is treated with respect?  Probably nothing in my experience, however I don’t have a science degree in biology to be 100% authoritative on the subject so take my opinion with a grain of salt if that kind of attestation is required by you.

Raw milk is used in many countries throughout the world for cheese making including the large cheese producing countries of France, Italy, Greece, and Spain, and is considered safe to use in the USA if the cheese is matured for greater than 60 days.  However this is not so in Australia.  Talk about a nanny state or what! 

I for one would use raw milk in cheese making at the drop of a had, only if I could get my hands on a fresh supply in my immediate area.  Let the people choose for themselves.  If they want to buy it, then let them.  It certainly cannot be any worse than alcohol or tobacco which are legally sold.  Health authorities should get a little perspective.  More people probably die from road accidents in a single hour in this country than get sick from drinking raw milk, yet they still let people drive.  Grow up governments, and let people choose!

After all, it is very difficult to taint fresh raw milk with melamine now isn’t it?  Just ask the Chinese.

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Comments

  1. says

    I was born and bred on a dairy farm and we drank raw milk our whole lives. We are still alive and kicking, I just wish I could get my hands on some now days.

  2. says

    The biggest concern with raw milk is the potential transfer of bovine tuberculosis, but what’s funny is that most of the research on the subject proves that drinking raw milk does not expose one to the baterium, rather it’s contact with an infected animal or human that causes the spread of the disease.

    As Retro Age states above, it’s fear, and I feel very lucky to live in a State where it’s legal to buy and sell raw milk right on the farm, and in a place where I live fairly close to several dairy farms.

  3. says

    We have goats on our smallholding here in the North-West of Ireland and drink their milk, raw and unpasteurised. Have done so for the last 15 years with no ill-effects. We don’t want to be part of a system that routinely feeds antibiotics to animals, kill their offspring at birth and dispose of animals when their production goes down.

  4. says

    Raw Milk it a killer! lol
    The things people worry about, what about all the sprays,and hormones they feed the cows. What about the genetically modified feed they get. Maybe they are just trying to take the spotlight away from the real issues.

  5. says

    Yeah, it annoys and frustrates me too. There are so many silly and useless rules (I can’t sell or even give away eggs from my backyard chickens, we can’t reuse egg cartons, I can’t feed home-killed chicken to friends who come for dinner, etc) that are completely unnecessary.

    All these rules simply prevent smallholders and newcomers from getting set up, due to the high costs of complying with everything. My belief is that the large companies have happily pushed for more regulation, since they can afford to accommodate it and it raises the barriers to entry for competition.

    To me, the simple solution would be to introduce exemptions to all these silly little rules for producers who sell direct.

    If the consumer is dealing directly with the producer, with no middle-men, then they can satisfy themselves that everything has been done right and there is no risk. Farmers won’t cut corners or do the wrong thing when they know their customers personally, and they’re all local people from the same community.

    To me, it’s the degree of scale and anonymity in the modern food system that has led to all these problems. If things are smaller-scale, localised, and transparent, we don’t need so much regulation.

  6. says

    Dan,

    Why can’t you do any of those things you mentioned above? Is it because of some council by law in your area?

    I give away eggs and re-use the cartons and would be more than a tad annoyed if I got into trouble for helping people cut down their grocery bill, especially as they are mostly retirees.

  7. says

    The memories of a simple farm childhood comes to mind with the mention of raw (real) milk. So those who tend to shake their head at this wonderful healthy natural resource should do no knocking till they have tried it.
    Look at how many of us here grew up on it. Can’t be all bad.

  8. says

    My Apologies Darren, I managed to stuff up your name with it sitting right in front of me. I might be awake but my brain doesn’t start functioning properly until late afternoon.

  9. Anonymous says

    i was brought up on a farm drinking raw milk every day for decades… this was milked by hand by my dad (straight from hand into bucket)… my parents and all 4 of us children never ever got sick from drinking this milk…in fact we were all exceptionally healthy…
    ironically i have had food poisoning in my life before and it was from products the government deemed as safe!!! ridiculous… it should definitely be a person’s choice whether they want to consume raw milk!

  10. says

    Looks like I just missed the boat with the raw milk guy as this was the suburb I was heading to at the end of the week in search of ‘bath milk’. I will still go investigating to see what I can come up with after discussions of a similar strain from my last post.

    The whole raw milk thing is very complex and doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. How can so many countries around the world differ so much with their milk regulations? Also how much the regulations have changed within the last 50 years within our country.

    Recently I had the good fortune to taste (I believe) the only legally recognized raw milk cheese in Australia, made by Bruny Island Cheese Co…delicious!
    There is also an interesting article from Slow Food regarding raw milk within Australia here… http://slowfoodaustralia.com.au/projects/australia/raw-milk-cheese/
    In a nutshell I agree with you, choice as a consumer please.

  11. says

    Swampy at the Mulgrave farmer’s Market sells organic unpasturised milk ‘for cosmetic purposes’, cream too and sometimes goats milk and cream. It’s gooooooood stuff! I would love to be able to but raw milk cheese, but all my inquiries have come to naught so far.

  12. says

    Hi Gavin, raw milk is quite the issue here in the US. People here feel very strongly in favor of raw milk, and I studied the issue extensively when I was considering whether or not to pasteurize my own goat milk. I read through the pro-raw milk literature, which points mostly to only one source of information. Unfortunately I found the source of the information to be greatly distorted. The studies that the literature pointed to usually had nothing to do with raw milk–instead, they pointed to the use of probiotics or the benefits of breast milk!

    I understand that the contraction of an illness is probably fairly rare. However, you’ll need to realize that the “sicknesses” that people get from drinking raw milk are quite grave. We’re talking about hospitalizations for months, multiple organ failures, need for kidney transplants, and so on.

    Please note that some the bacteria that cause these illnesses really didn’t exist before the 1980’s (E-coli 0157:H7, and now there’s an even newer virulent strain of e-coli). So, when thinking of your grandparent’s farms, please keep in mind that the most serious pathogens weren’t even around back then.

    Anyhow, I wrote an entire series of posts on my blog. I got into the issue because it seems that there aren’t many consumers discussing the actual dangers of raw milk, and I am very concerned about the fact that here in this country raw milk is touted to be a cure all for children, even as young as six months old! Children are the most likely to become very seriously ill, and I think when it comes to children, it is probably best to be safe rather than sorry.

    I would be honored if you check out my posts. There are links to families who’ve dealt with the issue of contracting a pathogen. http://www.mysuburbanhomestead.com/raw-milk/

  13. says

    I wrote a long comment yesterday discussing some serious and educated safety concerns regarding raw milk, but I don’t see it now. I hope it wasn’t deleted. I think people, especially those feeding raw milk to young children, need to be fully informed of the risks.

  14. says

    Thanks everyone for you opinions. I appreciate the feedback and information about where to source this product. I think it would be best to get it straight from an organic dairy on the day of milking so as to minimize any risk.

    Vegetable garden cook, your first comment is stuck in my spam queue (blogger has a new feature), so I will try and release it in a sec. I fully understand your concerns, and have read both sides of the argument. Our diary industry is not as industrialised and many of the special milk enhancing products they give to cows in the US are banned here in Australia.

    Gav x

  15. says

    Agreed with Vegetable Garden Cook in that the pathogens are pretty wicked. It used to be a big problem before pasteurization.

    If the consumer is fully aware of the risks, and assume responsibility of their choices.. then let them have at it.

    Also, if you are living on the farm from which you are getting the raw milk, you have a higher natural resistance due to constant exposure to the same microbes. That reason is also why primarily most of the people who do get ill from raw dairy are first timers.

  16. says

    Hi Guys…I am a big fan of Organic Milk. Can any one tell me which one is better Swampy organic milk or Schultz Organic Milk, As in my area both are available, although both are preety expensive….But really…dying to know, which one is good.

    • says

      Hi Amala, I have only used Deimeter Biodynamic milk, which I find is very good, and makes an excellent cheese, and Parlamat Organic, which is also very good.

      If you can find an organic unhomogenised, then you have struck the jackpot, because then you do not have to add calcium chloride to the milk at the beginning of the process.

      Gav x

    • Anonymous says

      You can get RAW milk in Melbourne direct from the farmer at Altona Tuesdays, Flemington Farmers Market 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday and Wallan Market on the 2nd Saturday. It is sold as a bath milk and called Pure Indulgence because it is not pasturised and is not allowed to be sold for drinking. $5.00 per 2ltr bottle best price I have found and very creamy

    • says

      Sorry for being so slow to reply I have been away. Yes you can get Raw Milk direct from the diary farmer at the Altona beach market every Tuesday, doesn’t go to the Flemington Farmers market anymore. It is called Pure Indulgence Bath milk. got cream as well.

  17. says

    The real travesty here is the simple fact that raw milk should easily be able to be tested and certified safe for sale, no? Pure fear mongering so large producers can keep a hold of their market, god forbid farmers could actually have more control over their product and get rid of the middle man.

    People do not realize how unhealthy pasteurized milk is neither, especially for young children, can actually end up causing them allergies, asthma and infections, amazing how so readily it is consumed by the public. Ironically milk is not even really designed for consumption past breast feeding but then also to have it pasteurized is like a double joke. If we are going to use it we could at least have the best version of it.

  18. Anonymous says

    As a dairy farmer in Victoria, who also drinks our own unpasturized milk, I would love to sell raw milk to people but I would be worried about the fines. I’m not sure how these other farmers are getting away with it!

  19. says

    Hey Anonymous label it bath or cosmetic purposes, I buy it all the time from my local market, regular people at the market know, great stuff

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