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Agriculture / Conservation News
Discussion on Raw Milk

By Dan Mutchler, State Agriculture Committee

  FEBRUARY 2010 --

People have been drinking raw milk for thousands of years. By ‘raw' we mean to say milk which has not been pasteurized. The news media thrives on sensationalism and lately has made the term raw milk something to be afraid of and considered dangerous. Let us consider some of the factual information on this controversial topic.

In general, non-pasteurized or raw milk from animals such as sheep, goats, cows, donkeys and even reindeer has been a reliable and safe vitamin and nutrient-laden food for a long time. Cultures all around the world have relied on milk for good health and sustenance long before the French chemist, Louis Pasteur's process was developed (first tested in 1864), and those cultures still exist today. They did not get wiped out because they consumed raw milk. It is easy to see that raw milk is not a deadly food. One of the negatives about pasteurization is that there are many good naturally occurring bacteria which get destroyed in the process, along with any potentially dangerous bacteria there might be. Pasteurization is a process which slows microbial growth in food. As a result the chemistry of the milk is altered. Raw milk contains beneficial live bacteria similar to yogurt, which have the amazing ability to actually crowd out bad bacteria and also give the milk some amazing natural preservative qualities.

Much of the illness and death associated with raw milk in the past was a direct result of animals that were confined to filthy, manure-filled pens combined with sick workers with dirty hands, and any number of contaminants in unsanitary milk pails.

We live in more enlightened times with much more advanced biology, and a much better understanding of the importance of adhering to stringent sanitation practices in agricultural operations. There must be a way we, as a modern society can return to utilizing this amazing food product, which God created and intended for the preservation of life.

This is an ongoing discussion and there are several farms in Connecticut where this incredible food can be obtained. However, it is under constant legal attacks and I hope we do not have to see it legally banned before thoroughly examining the possibilities of producing and marketing this product in a safe healthful way.


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