Milk: We Give It to Our Kids
The raw milk debate continues to divide people that really believe in the same things and want the same goals from their foods. Who can say that they do not want the best nutrition for their children? Who can say that they want their children to eat unsafe foods? Who can say that the government always knows best?
And is it right that WIC program encourages pregnant women and children to drink large amounts of cows milk in exception from other great sources of calcium and protein like almond milk or fortified orange juice?
When my grandfather was a young man he and his wife moved out of the city to some acreage and started a dairy farm. For a self-taught farmer, they did very well, helping to pioneer a program to increase milk production during the war time. But one winter he was laid up in bed for weeks, maybe more than a month, due to Undulant Fever (Brucellosis).
It is a disease that is almost unheard of now due to the rampant pasteurizing of all dairy products. Brucellosis is caused by a bacteria that is passed from infected cows to humans through milk. No amount of teat disinfection prevents this, the cow is actually carrying the bacteria inside of her. The United States government requires all dairy cows to be vaccinated, but we are not free of this pathogen as Canada claims to be. The infected milk looks exactly like regular milk, cows have no visible signs of the pathogen.
People used to die from this disease in the days before antibiotics and vaccines. If we didn't have the bovine vaccine, we would probably be dealing with another antibiotic resistant superbug. Even with pasteurizing, people still can't be trusted to keep themselves from getting sick by avoiding "spoiled" milk products. Nationwide the leading cause of all food poisoning is unsanitary food preparation procedures in homes.
If I can buy raw meat, which very likely contains E.coli and Salmonella, then why can't I buy raw milk, and be trusted to pasteurize it myself? I probably would not frequently buy raw milk, because of the inconvenience factor if the prices were similar. I find it apalling that all milk is homogenized and all the really healthy parts of the milk are removed, then sold back to me as very expensive butter and cheese. I might want to make my own butter! I can imagine a countertop butter making machine the size of a coffee maker looking great in my kitchen. Here's an industry idea for someone to invent and mass produce. Insert raw ingredients, let machine process, take out butter, then clean! Like an ice cream maker or a bead maker. But the first part is getting rid of the homogenization. Percentages don't need to be on kids food. In fact, if packages are too complicated then that food probably shouldn't be eaten at all (the easy way to tell if food is healthy or not).
Another statistic that frequently goes unreported is the plain-old, everyday food poisoning that is caused by raw milk. Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli are frequently found in raw milk, some with devastating consequences for children, including Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (kidney failure) in children. Read a bit more about it here.