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Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Raw Milk Revolution

After Dale's raw milk series, I decided I wanted to educate myself further on the topic. I'm reading, "The Raw Milk Revolution". Has anyone out there in blog land read this book? I'm not that far it, but it is really interesting. It does seem like it is very "one sided" on the debate, the author is pro-raw milk. Does anyone have any suggestions on reading material the pose the good and bad regarding raw milk?


Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

I don't know of another book that puts forth both sides of the argument, but I have had Raw Milk Revolution in my que at Amazon for a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Bippy said...

I've got some friends who are relatively laid back doctors and one who worked for the USDA. the problem with raw milk is a lot like the problem with vaccinations (I'm pro-vaccine, by the way). When the milk animals are very, very carefully raised, like they do in Europe, you can get away with raw easier. The real danger is tuberculosis, which is working up to a nice epedemic in the 3rd world right now and is quite a nasty disase. It's spread in the air, like the flu, and milk was a primary vector in the US before homogenization and pasteurization. In the EU they test and kill a lot of animals for TB. Since we pasturize milk, we don't get a lot of TB but we also have a lot more wilderness and wild vectors to worry about.

Much like vaccination, if you're an individual who chooses to eschew the risk of, say, smallpox vaccination (which I belive is around 1 in 4,000 in negative effects) and you are surrounded by other people who are vaccinated, you have a better-than-average risk. The risk of death with smallpox is 1 in 4. When you have a large sub-population that does not vaccinate themselves, you end up with a host community of vectors, which increases the community risk of disease. It's the same thing with humanure- in general it's a good idea, one or two people messing it up and you've got a hepatitis epidemic on your hands. The big push for insisting that people wear shoes in public spaces in the US was to combat hookworms- now we don't have a hookworm problem anymore, but if everyone started running around barefoot we'd have a massive problem in a short amount of time.

The people who are the most likely to break away from the mainstream are also likely to have a relatively high number of people who don't quite do it right- think of all the well intentioned screw ups you've met.

Now imagine that your job is to try to prevent a TB outbreak in the milk supply in the US, and you see a small group of people who will test their animals and keep things sterile and otherwise Do It Right, and then you've got another few screaming lunatics who engage in other high-risk behavior, some of it just because someone in authority told them not to, and you can sort of see where they are coming from. If I had that job, the raw milk movement would give me palpitations. I prefer to drink raw milk, but my favorite source, the woman running the ranch worked for the USDA for over a decade and has a degree in microbiology. In Austin I also have access to crazy ass iconoclast idiots who will probably, at some point, poison someone else or give them a hideous disease.

It's a lot of statistics and individual freedom vs. the common good at a very basic level.

I hope that you found my ramblings, and where they'll take you, at least a little interesting.

The Bach 10 said...

Hey marissa, If you had your own milking goat would you drink the milk raw or not?? If you hand milked her would you worry about debris and hair?? Just wondering... we got our own goats now and have been milking our Paula. but we have been just straining it then bottle feeding it to our young buck for now. But in a few weeks he won't need milk any longer so we plan to keep the milk for us. I read you can heat in a double broiler. Was planning on doing that but maybe not?? WE want to make yogurt and cheese too!!

marisa said...


I would ABSOLUTELY drink the milk raw. That is one of the main reasons we will be getting goats. You know best if the environment is sanitary when it is in your own backyard. You can use clean muslin to strain any hair out of it, but you shouldn't be getting much. Read Raw Milk Revolution for all the reasons to drink raw milk. Keep me updated!