Frequently Asked Raw Milk Questions & Answers

August 8, 2019

In light of our recent work with Real Food Consumer Coalition (RFCC), an organization who lobbies for small farms in the fight to legalize raw dairy products, we thought it would be a good idea to address some of the frequently asked questions around raw milk that we receive from our customers and also catch wind of throughout the raw dairy community, such as from our friends at The Weston A. Price Foundation. So, here they are.

Q: What is raw milk?

A: Milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of partially sterilizing food or drink using mild heat.

Q: Why was milk ever pasteurized to begin with?

A: To destroy disease carrying germs and to prevent spoiling.

Q: Why is pasteurization bad if it reduces contamination with pathogens?

A: It kills the beneficial lactobacilli that produce vitamin K2, improve absorption of nutrients, and normalize gut function. It also turns the sugar of milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose — which is far more soluble and therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, so those consuming the pasteurized milk will become hungry again. Lastly, pasteurization makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk. This frequently leads to rickets, bad teeth, and nervous troubles.

Q: What are the risks associated with drinking raw milk?

A: When drinking raw milk you’re assuming the same (if not less) risk than you would for any item from the grocery store. In fact, to date, there have been more cases of health issues reported from pasteurized milk than raw milk.

Q: If I’m going to drink raw milk, what qualities should I look for?

A: Cows graze on un-sprayed pasture except during the coldest time of the year and then are fed mostly hay and silage when in barns.

  1. The herd is tested free of TB and brucellosis.
  2. When a milking machine is used, the cow’s teats are washed with iodine before putting the milking caps on.
  3. The milking shed and surrounds are clean and tidy.
  4. Milk is kept chilled in a stainless steel tank or individual containers.
  5. Milk is tested regularly to ensure the absence of human pathogens.
  6. The herd is grass-fed.
  7. The farm is organic.

Q: How long will raw milk keep? 

A: When kept at the optimal temperature of 36-38° F. (2.2-3.3°C.) you can expect fresh raw milk to last from 7-10 days. Higher temperatures allow the normally occurring lactobacilli to get busy making lactic acid, which gives soured milk its characteristically tangy taste and reduces its shelf life. Bring a cooler bag and ice or gel packs with you when buying milk on hot summer days or if you have a long drive home - it'll stay fresher tasting longer.

As always, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, never hesitate to call the farm and speak with us directly: (717) 442-9208. We have always been very open and honest about our raw milk stance and will continue to fight for raw milk rights.

Dave Stoltzfus

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