Why Raw Milk?

When we say “raw milk,” we mean milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized, and, just as important, milk that is produced by cows living on clean pasture and having a diet that is natural to their digestive system. Straight from the cow,  the milk is then filtered, chilled, bottled, and quickly moved into and stored in the refrigerator. All the nutrients and natural flora of the milk are preserved this way. It’s the same way a calf would drink it, just cold.

So then, why might someone drink raw milk? Are there any benefits?

Even though the FDA says there is no evidence of raw milk being any better than pasteurized milk, many people choose to drink it anyway. Some lactose intolerant people find that they can drink raw milk without digestive upset. Some people like it because it usually means the cows are well-kept. Some people drink it because they like to have milk that’s in its natural texture and taste. We've met many people who had raw milk in their home country and wanted to have the milk that they were used to. Others still, including one of the owners, Liz, drink raw milk because they believe it is indeed better than pasteurized milk. 

Liz’s thoughts on raw milk:

Every change in your food, no matter how slight it may seem, could have effects that you wouldn’t expect. Some of these are good. Pasteurization changes a lot of “little” things about milk, but I believe it adds up to make some major changes in how our bodies can use and process it! A mountain of sand is made up of grains, as they say. Seemingly minor changes here and there can have a completely different end result. 

Despite what the FDA and other such organizations say, I believe that pasteurization of milk does result in a substantially different milk product. I read a position statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society that acknowledged pasteurized breast milk was different from raw breast milk in both nutritional content and biologically active compounds. The unpasteurized milk had more proteins and biologically active components like lactoferrin and lysozyme (both of which perform functions in innate immunity). Since we can acknowledge that pasteurization makes a noticeable change in human milk, then we should acknowledge that it also makes a noticeable change in cow milk. So, it’s reasonable to suggest that pasteurizing cow milk reduces the available proteins and biologically active components. Although they say that change is insignificant, I don’t think it’s as simple as x% protein and x% vitamins remain in the milk after pasteurization, etc. There is more to it than the amounts of nutrients in both kinds of milk (which still have not been studied/compared exhaustively). Those biologically active compounds are what I think give raw milk benefits over pasteurized milk. If you read the “Literature Review” page (which is still under construction - stay tuned!)  on our website, then you’ll find a more detailed explanation of the benefits raw milk has, but I’ll list a few here in short:

Anyhow, that’s just what I think. It’s a very individual decision. I believe that when done right raw milk is as safe as any other food. I’ll leave you with this thought: drinking raw milk has its risks, but so does eating almost anything produced today. Ever have a salad? People have gotten listeria from raw lettuce and sprouts. Like your steak medium-rare? Higher risk of food poisoning. How about cantaloupe or deli meats? Listeria again. And I’m sure you remember the highly publicized Chipotle food illness outbreaks. All food carries inherent risks and it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with. I know my cows and I know my system, and I invite you to come see it too.