Letter writer: Raw milk: How good it tastes

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I was curious to find no mention of how good raw milk tastes, compared to pasteurized homogenized milk, in your articles on the subject [“Raw Deal: Asheville’s Taste for Unpasteurized Milk,” and “The Raw Milk Debate: An Interview with Food Activist David Gumpert,” April 8, Xpress].

I don’t use milk that often, so it is not cost-effective for me to try to buy it, but I do remember how much better it tastes from the one time I did buy it.

I also wonder about all the hysteria surrounding it, considering all the folks who used it for centuries prior to the regulation of pasteurization.

— AA Lloyd
Asheville

Editor’s note: Although there wasn’t an extensive discussion about the taste of raw milk, alternative health educator Andi Locke Mears was quoted in “Raw Deal” as saying, “It’s awesome when you get the real foods because they have so much flavor, their fats are so healthy and the nutrients are there.”

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6 thoughts on “Letter writer: Raw milk: How good it tastes

  1. Dionysis

    Completely omitted from this current discussion about ‘raw vs. pasteurized’ milk is the overriding fact that humans are not designed to drink cow’s milk. For example:

    “many scientific studies have shown an assortment of detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss from the bones. ..

    …unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again. And the same applies to every mammalian species on this planet…

    …cow’s milk contains on average three times the amount of protein than human milk which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences…

    …milking cows are given antibiotics and most are also injected with a genetically engineered form of bovine growth hormone (rBGH). A man-made or synthetic hormone used to artificially increase milk production, rBGH also increases blood levels of the insulin-growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in those who drink it. And higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers.”

    http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

  2. AA Lloyd

    I basically agree with Dionysus, and if one is going to use milk, best to go for the brands that don’t use hormones. Historically, humans have used animal milk for cheese and yogurt or kaffir, but oh!—-French cuisine: custards, cream sauces, crème fillings—and then there’s cocoa and ice cream . . . hard to give that all up! Besides the fact that cow’s milk has way more protein (and a different saturated fat balance) than human, human milk is also sweeter than cow’s milk. If you sugar your cereal, the milk left at the bottom of the bowl has about the same amount of sweetness as human milk. When babies are nursing from their mothers, the first milk to be “let down” is skim–very little fat; only at the end of the feeding does the fatty portion let down, giving baby a “dessert”! [I used to be a La Leche League leader.]

  3. Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

    Not worth the risk.
    In the state of North Carolina it is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption and raw milk sold must be marked “Not for human consumption”. As surrounding states pass laws to enable consumers to purchase “cow shares” and buy raw milk directly from the farmers there is also a corresponding increase regionally and nationally with an increased number of food borne illness associated with the consumption of raw milk.
    -in 2011 – 8 people in South Carolina became ill after consuming fecal bacteria by drinking raw milk purchased from a dairy farm in York, SC
    – In 2013 – 13 people became ill in Tennessee after consuming raw milk purchased through a cow share at McBee Dairy Farms
    The bacteria that cause these illnesses include salmonella, listeria, campylobacter and e.coli 0157:H-7. The bacteria may be present in healthy cows or may be transmitted when fecal matter from cows is conveyed during the milking process to the liquid milk. The point of pasteurization is to kill these bacteria.
    If you consume raw milk and become ill your symptoms may range from upset stomach and diarrhea to more life threatening illness. Especially vulnerable populations are infants/toddlers, pregnant women, and the elderly or the immune-compromised.
    In the state of California where raw milk can be purchased from some dairies the following warning label is required:
    WARNING: Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk dairy products may contain disease-causing microorganisms. Persons at highest risk of disease from these organisms include newborns and infants; the elderly; pregnant women; those taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antacids; and those having chronic illnesses or other conditions that weaken their immunity.
    Consumers experiencing any ill effects after consuming raw dairy products should consult their health care provider.”
    As for nutritional benefits from enzymes that are lost during pasteurization, there is no indication that these enzymes are beneficial for humans and vitamin C which is lost can easily be made up by consuming a balanced diet. (Soure: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html#risks)
    I would agree with many of the researchers, food safety experts, and scientists around the country…. It’s not worth the risk.

    Source: Cornell University – Food Science https://foodsafety.foodscience.cornell.edu/sites/foodsafety.foodscience.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/CU-DFScience-Notes-Raw-Milk-Position-Statement-rev-12-09.pdf

    • Foodie

      Thank you to Ms. McGrath for reminding readers of the dangers of raw milk. Not clear why Mountain Xpress wishes to promote this unsafe practice.

      • Susan Hutchinson

        It isn’t so much about “promoting an unsafe practice” (driving a car is is way more dangerous) as it is about people having responsibility, including choice, about what they eat. There are isolated cases of people getting sick from almost anything. Raw milk is not especially dangerous. It just isn’t. Follow the money. Big dairy industry wants to limit the ability of people having choice.
        That being said, a reasonable, educated person is much less likely to want to drink raw milk from unknown sources than someone who naively thinks raw = better. Pasteurization is a process that makes urban consumption of bulk milk much safer. However, I believe that the newer process of ultra pasteurization (high pressure high temp) renders milk into a non food for many people. If low temp pasteurization was more available, the desire for raw product might decrease. In the meantime, if I want to purchase milk from my neighbor because I have personally found it to be good for my own digestion, that should not be a crime.

  4. Dionysis

    People are free to do whatever they wish, and if folks want to down a big frosty glass of moo juice, fine. But while debating which form of milk “tastes best” in wake of the scientific findings of its deleterious effects on human health, an argument can easily be made that a “reasonable, educated peson” should avoid drinking any kind of milk. Otherwise, it’s akin to debating whether filtered or unfiltered cigarettes taste best while ignoring everything else.

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