Low Temp Pasteurized Milk Not a Good Sub for Raw Milk

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

I just love weekly local food pickups.   The inspiration and information exchange between folks who are making it happen each and every day with nutrient dense food preparation in their home kitchens is something you just can’t get anywhere else.

At our local pickup earlier this week, my dairy farmer relayed an interesting story to me about one of his 12 grandchildren and her very first experience with cow milk.

This little gal was presented for the very first time with a sippy cup of grassfed low temp pasteurized, nonhomogenized milk to drink as her Mom was in the process of weaning her off breastmilk.   The child was already adept at drinking out of a sippy cup herself and so handling a sippy cup was not a new experience.

Without hesitation, she refused to drink from the sippy cup after an initial taste and turned her head away in rejection.

Undaunted, her mother next presented her with a sippy cup filled with raw, grassfed milk.   It is important to note that the milk was from the very same dairy farm.  The only difference is that one sippy cup had low temp pasteurized, nonhomogenized (cream top) milk in it and the other sippy cup had raw grassfed milk.

Same cows, same pasture, same everything except one sippy cup had milk that was low temp pasteurized and nonhomogenized.

Again, without hesitation, the little toddler grasped the sippy cup full of raw milk and happily began to drink!

My dairy farmer continued to explain that pets will make the same choice if you give them the option of lapping up low temp pasteurized/nonhomogenized milk versus raw milk.

Livestock exhibit similar instincts when it comes to feed as I’ve had many a farmer explain that animals always prefer the natural grain to any mix with GMOs in it.  Of course, if GMO feed is all that you offer, they will eat that, but given the choice, the healthier option is chosen with no hesitation.

We can learn a lot by observing how healthy children and animals make their food choices. Their instincts for what is best for them nutritionally and developmentally haven’t been lost and those virgin taste buds and sense of smell are highly sensitive to the food choices presented.

Microphotography of Low Temp Pasteurized Milk and Raw Milk

Scientific examination of the molecular structure of low temp pasteurized/nonhomogenized milk and raw milk provides evidence as to why children and animals will instinctively prefer raw milk.   In an article written by Beverly Rubik Phd entitled Microphotography of Raw and Processed Milk she shows in visual form the striking differences between raw milk and milk that is processed at low temperatures and not homogenized.

Clearly, even low temp pasteurization with no homogenization is a very damaging process!

I found this research by Dr. Rubik to be very helpful as I have always recommended to people who have the choice between low temp pasteurized, nonhomogenized milk that is 100% grassfed and raw milk where the primarily grassfed cows get a small ration of grain each day to always choose the raw milk.  The overall health of children on raw milk will beat the health of children drinking 100% grassfed low temp pasteurized/nonhomogenized milk in every instance I have observed.

Let’s take a lesson from the children.  They are so much wiser than we think. Raw milk beats low temp pasteurized/nonhomogenized milk every single time.


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit


Comments (79)

  1. This study can’t support this headline, because the scientists didn’t evaluate low-temp pasteurized milk. Per the study: “In particular, we looked for differences between unpasteurized raw whole milk compared to whole milk that is pasteurized (heated to 170 degrees F for nineteen seconds) or ultrapasteurized (heated to 280 degrees F for two seconds, using superheated metal plates and steam, and then chilled).” Both of those are high temp pasteurization, vs 120-149 degrees for 30 minutes as in low temp pasteurization. Further that study only examines structure, and not other nutritional markers such as enzymes, proteins & vitamins, all of which are highly heat sensitive. Folks who have access to low-temp pasteurized milk can feel comfortable they’re feeding their family good food. And no, I’m not in the dairy industry- I’m a consumer who’s looked into this for myself. Some other raw milk activists agreeing are Real Milk

    and Our Small Hours

    • I’d have to agree with this comment. Just from my own observation verse what the the article’s linked report concludes about pasteurized, unhomogenized milk do not match up with the VAT pasteurized milk we get.

      “During sample preparation, it was noted that organic whole milk that is pasteurized but unhomogenized could not be completely mixed by hand mixing or shaking. Chunks of fat similar to butter were floating at the surface of the milk or stuck to the milk container, despite gentle inversion of the milk or even vigorous shaking for minutes. Thus, it appears that pasteurization itself has permanent effects on the fat globules of whole milk, making much of the fat congeal and separate from the watery phase of the milk, much like butter.”

      With the VAT pasteurized milk we get, this does not occur. Remixing the “creamtop” takes a quick gentle shaking before pouring. That makes me think that it would definately be worth doing this same examination of VAT pasteurized milk as well and not just assume, as this article does, that VAT pasteurization causes the same level of damage as standard pasteurization.

      Also, a vitamin analysis of the difference between raw milk and then then same milk after VAT pasteurization as suggested would seem worth while as well.

  2. Betty Warren-Jones via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I used to pay about $17 a gallon for raw cow milk. I recently found raw goat milk for $9 a gallon, so we drink that now. I actually love goat milk!

  3. Jennifer Warren-White via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Raw milk is very hard to find, and when you find it you practically need a loan to buy it. That’s why we drink pasteurized, non homogenized milk from local, grassfed cows.

  4. I had ultra-pasteurized organic whole milk with breakfast. And this time, it tasted chalky to me, like I could tell all the nutrients has been burned. I think this is the last time I’m buying pasteurized milk. Raw milk is only $7 a gallon where I’m at!

  5. Jordan AndSamantha Railsback via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I’d disagree. There are way more reasons to avoid ‘alternative’ milk products than milk. If you can’t get it raw, lowtemp pasteurized milk is the next best thing. It’s tiresome when people label absolutely everything on the market as ‘bad’

  6. Molly Woodworth via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 10:32 am

    The milk here, the best I can find, is low-temp pasteurized, but not homogenized, from grass fed Jersey cows. I do believe it’s better to drink it than the alternatives in this area – and frankly, I loathe almond milk! Anyway, we will be moving to a state that has raw milk on most store shelves in a few months. :)

  7. Karen Peterson Douglass via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

    And then there are the “ultra-pasteurized” milk products :-( So many “organic” companies do that and it drives me nuts that my friends will buy it thinking because it’s organic it’s better! So misleading. If they are going to get pasteurized would ideally like to see them buy the nonhomogenized low temp variety since they are going to buy milk anyway, but hard to find and uber-expensive.

  8. Andreas Herczeg via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I wish I could afford raw milk more often. In our area, one gallon is $20. I try and get it in as much as possible, but we can’t afford it every time.

  9. Nancy Gardner via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Ugh. Raw is best. Lots of fear… Don’t listen to misinformation, especially from the government. More people get sick from produce at the grocery store.

  10. Larry Underwood via Facebook May 7, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Organic Valley “raw” cheeses are low temp/sub pasteurized. After too many people commented about it saying they were misleading consumers, they removed the ability to comment on their products FYI.

  11. Hello Sarah,
    Thanks for your blog from which I’ve learnt so much.
    In France, there is this new type of milk they call “microfiltré” (microflitered), some of which are certified organic. It is said to remove some of the bacteria while retaining the yummy taste of raw milk. I’m skeptical of new inventions in food (no thanks to being a guinea pig) and haven’t bought any so far, but it can be tempting when the organic stores and markets run out of raw milk and I’m not keen on the pasteurized and UHT ones. Would you be aware of what this process is about?
    Happy new year to you and yours.

  12. I gave my kids raw milk for a few months last year from a trusted local farm. Their doctor raked me over the coals for it and insisted they be tested for TB, advising me to NEVER give it to them again. :( Needless to say, I have been fearful of giving them raw milk again. I do know that it’s better, but their doctor was so upset that it really made me second guess myself.
    For now, we just stick with the low-temp, non-homogenized milk.

    • Anna,

      That doctor could be one of those doctors who have plugged themselves into the government’s matrix about how they want humans in their matrix to eat. This doctor of your children, may not even know they have been brainwashed or maybe s/he is actually knowingly pushing the government’s agenda.

      Contrary to what The Health Home Economist believes, the WAP link she provided to Dr. Beverly Rubik’s article, “Microphotography of Raw and Processed Milk”, supports the fact that LTNH milk is a good alternative to raw milk. The simple fact that their doctor basically condemned you and over something that is not bad for you, let’s you know you s/he is the wrong doctor. Heed the signs. Is there any holistic/naturopathic/homeopathic doctors near you? From my understanding, they are the best of both medical worlds because they learn everything conventional doctors learn (education, etc.) PLUS alternative medicine. If there are none near you, then seek a conventional doctor who knows and agrees with your lifestyle.

      Some years ago, I asked a dentist assistant what she thought about teeth regeneration, she was so quick to say, “No, it doesn’t work” it wasn’t even funny. I started to ask her how she knew or what proof she had, but something said she wouldn’t have an answer (she was one feeding government matrix garbage to their patients).

      The same thing happened years prior to that with an eye doctor. I asked his spectacle-wearing behind, what he thought of the eyes healing itself–much like how the rest of our bodies can heal itself when proper nutrients are given to it and through eye exercises and pinhole glasses. Just like the dentist assistant, I was cut off to hear the same garbage I’ve heard for years. Not only did he say eye exercises, pinhole glasses and such do not improve eyesight, he pushed lasik surgery. Now, why on earth would I want a laser beam going into my eye by a doctor (credible or not) who just might be have an unexpected nerve issue and make me go blind? I know lasik works, I’ve known two people who have had it done successfully, so I don’t doubt its effectiveness. And, when I told him my concern, he said the probability of that happening is very slim (he gave a percentage) and rare. My question was, then why didn’t he have it done instead of wearing spectacles. No, I didn’t get a chance to ask that question.

      Anyway, I know for myself and from two other people that I know how effective pinhole glasses (I actually find the smaller holes to be more effective for me versus the size you see on the market; so I make my own) do improve eyesight where you don’t need this eye drug that has to be prescribed to you if you are a negative prescription. And, I told him this and he went on talking about some “highly respected optometrist” who has been studying this and found nothing. I highly doubt that. I knew seeing through a tiny hole made by my fist would allow you to see quite clear and I knew this as a child (I didn’t understand it then, didn’t ask anyone about it, but I definitely know a whole lot more about it now)! And, just recently read that many others noticed this same thing when they were a child, too! He was obviously trying everything in his power to make sure I stayed plugged into the matrix of brainwashing. Shoot, he hadn’t even done it himself! Smdh.

      Anyway, I don’t mind anyone opposing my beliefs and personal testimonies, but to act like those with proof need to be put in an asylum is utterly ridiculous and wrong! Of course, I didn’t go back to either medical businesses who shunned natural alternatives to healing. If they thought my personal evidence was all in my head or in other people’s head, then so is the drugs and procedures they claim work all in the heads of those who also claim it works – it goes both ways, and, therefore, not needed.

      So, whether you do it directly or indirectly, talk about your natural lifestyle to or with those you are considering to help you maintain you and your family’s great health and stay away from zombie health officials.

      All the best,


      • @ Ashah: I’ve had a couple of the same type of experiences as you with dentists and eye doctors, so I know what you are talking about. I’m wondering if your regimine for eyes includes some sort of “vision” supplement? I have tried lots of things over the years but my ARMD in my right eye doesn’t respond to individualized treatment, but there are so many vision supplements on the market I’d like a recommendation. One thing I know for certain, though, is one with the least amount of bilberry is best for me. I didn’t have a nice time when I tried that stuff on its own ;) and I don’t do well with fish oils either. Any recommendations that you have personal experience with?

      • I actually am a doctor and I take offense at your suggestion of brainwashing. For sure, there are all kinds of doctors out there. I will say that there are some things I disagree with mainstream medicine – particularly when it comes to food and some (but not all) vaccines. That said, I got into medicine and worked my butt off because I care about health and I care about people. I believe most doctors are driven by similar desires.

        I agree that you can’t trust food these days. What you buy in a typical supermarket is disgusting and unregulated. I highly recommend people eat organic, locally grown, humanely treated and hormone free food – to the best that they can afford. However, raw milk is a real risk. It’s very similar to eating completely uncooked meat and fish. Yes, you will likely survive, however one sloppy farmer later and you can die. Not worth it. And nutritionally, just cooking the milk doesn’t do that much damage. Technically, most of us shouldn’t even be drinking milk in the first place. Most Americans are lactose intolerant!

  13. I’m not too sure about the science of this. First of all, maybe the child had gotten used to the first taste of milk, so that when the other milk was given to her, she was able to adjust to the taste. It would have been more convincing if she had enjoyed the raw milk first.

    Also, I looked at the WAP link, and got this, “the milk that was pasteurized at the lower temperature but unhomogenized looked similar to raw milk at high magnifications as the heterogeneous size of the fat globules, ranging from about 2 to 7 micrometers, were similar”

    I still agree that raw beats pasteurized, but you could also say the same for meat. Raw beats cooked. But most people won’t eat meat that way. So low temp still seems like a praise-worthy product, though not equal.

      • I was wondering if anyone else caught, “the milk that was pasteurized at the lower temperature but unhomogenized looked similar to raw milk at high magnifications…” statement, too! At first, I thought The Health Home Economist was on to something, but she must’ve skimmed the article instead of reading it thoroughly. As a matter of fact, she had to because how on earth can you miss that?! It pays to read for yourself, and I appreciate the link she shared for me to conveniently do so.

        This article is bit strange. Even with her baby having “instincts” like “animals do”. I thought that same thing, you did, Amy about that. That’s just human behavior to shun new tastes you are not familiar with. There was another person, Ellen, who commented on how her kids blindly (they didn’t know it was raw milk) drank raw milk and thought it tasted dirty and didn’t like it. So, is it really about instincts or just preference?

        I have to agree with another commenter, StephH, who caught The Health Home Economist’s holier-than-thou attitude, which I, too, picked up on through reading this article. I’m like this, if you say something is not good, then give an alternative; especially when you know what you recommend is a rare find. Otherwise, shut up about it because how is that really helping those who find you as a credible resource (not source)? Just ridiculous. The whole nature of this article is just not right. What is really going on here? Were you having a bad day when you wrote this article or what?

        • Thank you for your comment. Our farmers just moved out of state and the next farmer that I know is super safe, lives 2 hours away. I decided to pick up some very low temp non homogenized milk from a food co-op. Stressing about my choice, I poured a glass and tasted it. I was surprised at the sweetness and the taste of grass in the milk. It certainly is different than raw milk, but shockingly tasted better and fresher. I am sure it’s their process which is amazing and super clean. But then, I kept thinking, it tastes so different. And I have been second guessing myself and feeling so guilty. Knowing it won’t harm my kids is reassuring. We had a super close call with the farm in Oregon mentioned above. We picked up milk the day other families that got sick picked up. We use a lot more milk, so I happened to pick up twice a week and the possibly tainted milk was consumed in 3 days. The ecoli didn’t have time to over take the good bacteria, so we never got sick. It does make me wary of picking milk from any farmer. This low temp milk comes from grass Fed cows and it is raw milk quality, but because it crosses state lines, it has to be pasteurized. Thanks again for relieving my stress and guilt!

          • Quote from Audrey: “Knowing it won’t harm my kids is reassuring.” Pastuerizing the milk does not make it “safe”. Have you looked into this at all? The records from the CDC list about 8-12 people who have died from pasteurized milk. Wanna guess how many have died from raw milk? You only feel better because you’re buying into the propaganda from bigdairy. I don’t really understand why people like you even bother with raw milk to begin with. If you’re afraid of it you have bought into the falsehoods and you are a sheeple.

    • Adam Southerland January 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for catching this. The link which acts as the author’s source actually only mentions lower temperatures of pasteurization once, and it is in the sentence that you quoted.

      Things that remain intact in low temperature vat pasteurization are Vitamins A, D, E, K, K2 (“X-factor”), and that all important lactase enzyme.

      I’m mostly interested in the differences between raw and low temp dairy when turned into butter, as it is much more economical in my community to buy a 2 lb. roll of Hartzler’s 100% grass-fed low temp pasteurized butter, than even 1 lb. of butter from the gentleman that operates the herd share I am a part of. For milk, I’m fortunate to be able to find raw milk in my community at an affordable (and even cheaper than low temp/vat) price, but I understand that not all communities are so fortunate. There really needs to be more said about the ACTUAL differences of raw & low temp/vat, something far more than “my daughter won’t drink it”.

  14. I really appreciate your blog, all the information your provide us with, I have learned tremendously from you.

    What I don’t appreciate is the holier-than-thou attitude you seem to have to anything but what you believe or recommend. I agree 100% that pastured raw milk is best, but some of us can only get our hands on low-temp pastured milk and it doesn’t help that you makes us feel like crap for our milk choice when raw milk is completely out of possibilities.

    • You shouldn’t feel guilty your child isn’t having raw milk. That a toddler will consume raw milk tells you nothing. Small children will also drink antifreeze and eat dog food if unattended.

      Also, raw milk is dangerous. There is a reason it is banned in so many places.

  15. The linked article on visual differences is comparing milk that is unpasteurized, 170 pasteurized, and ultra-pasteurized. Does that mean your initial example was of milk that pas pasteurized at 170 for 17 seconds? On my intial read, I assumed you were comparing milk that was pasteurized at 145 for 30 minutes (low-temperature pasteurization),
    Can you clarify?
    Also, since the taste difference between pasteurized and non-pasteurized is mostly the taste of the sugars (heating the sugars doesn’t change their caloric value but removes much of their ‘sweetness’), wouldn’t the sweeter tasting milk always get preferred? One could probably test that by adding sugar to the pasteurized milk and seeing if the child still showed a preference for the raw milk if the sweetness was identical. I’m not advocating adding sugar to milk, only wondering if the sweetness was the attraction, not some underlying nutritional difference.

  16. What about home-made yogurt made from cultures that have been handed down over many generations (I think)? I heat milk on my electric stove at the least setting. Once cream thickens at the surface, I let it cool to a comfortably warm temperature and set it with a little old culture.

  17. I am in the process of switching over to whole foods and getting rid of the processed foods out of my home. I am wanting to switch to raw milk, but have not been able to locate any farmers in Iowa who sell raw milk. I am new to all of this so I don’t even know where to start. Would someone be able to help me in showing me where to start in finding raw milk somewhere in Iowa?
    Thank you

  18. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama October 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    We’ve had raw for 2 1/2 years. Only one of my children really likes drinking it straight, but they all like it if I make raw ice cream out of it. :) And my boys (who have never had anything but real food) really like plan yogurt and kefir.

    If you don’t have access to raw, homemade coconut milk is a good option.

  19. While I agree that raw milk is nutritionally superior to any kind of milk (except breast obviously) I think it is important to note the that people who choose bot to drink it have valid reasons. I recently stopped giving it to my children, one of which loved it while the other one refused it (he doesn’t like milk of any type). I chose the “safest” farm I could find and was happy with them but I was losing sleep over the (although remote) chance it could be contaminated. I know that it’s not likely but it can and does happen. There was a recent outbreak at a nearby farm and the damage was significant. I support our right to choose and wish we COULD have more of a choice but the stress and worry is not worth it for me. I just rarely give my children milk now and they are fine with that.

    • According to the CDC reports (if you have any faith in them at all) it’s pasteurized milk that is usually far more problematic than raw milk. You were losing sleep over this? People have been drinking raw milk for hundreds of years with little trouble, until the gubment got its hands into the “regulating” of it. I still firmly believe that small, local dairies are the best even if they have to be under the radar.

      In my State they are now in the process of making raw milk illegal to purchase at all. We have started using low temp pasteurized (Kalona brand) because we will soon have no choice anyway. When you have State workers who tell people they’d rather drink gasoline than raw milk, it’s pretty much all over but the crying.

      A lot of people are very sad and upset by this upcoming move, and it will literally destroy the businesses of quite a few families. This is also going to include the ban of raw goat milk, as well. What a pity. We are being regulated to death, and that’s not a stretch. There seems to be no legal way to stop it and if there is, no one is much interested in pursuing the possibilities.

      • Raw milk is like playing russian roulette. Most of the time it is entirely safe and nutritious, but all you need is that one bad dairy experience and your child could die. It just isn’t worth it.

        However, I do agree you can’t trust what is considered mainstream food these days. One should absolutely buy organic, local, hormone-free pasteurized (low or high temp) milk, if you are going to buy it at all. The truth is most people (other than Scandinavians) are lactose intolerant and should never be consuming dairy at all! There is no secret magical ingredient in raw milk that our ancestors consumed that we are lacking.

        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist January 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm

          This is so not true … I’ve been drinking raw milk for 12 years as have all my kids and hundreds of other families I know, and I know not of one single instance of illness from it. Russian roulette? Hardly. Check the CDC records … not a single death from raw milk in over 13 years. Even cantaloupes can’t claim that!

          • Well, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree when it comes to raw milk. (And for the record, there’s no way in heck I’d eat conventional veggies/fruit for precisely those types of risks).

            For the most part though, I really am impressed with your site. I notice that not only do you constantly write new articles, but you respond to many comments personally, which is very time consuming. Overall, I think you do a great job!

            I would be really interested in seeing an article on BPAs and endocrine disrupters that are in, well, practically every food product packaging. I’ve personally seen non-obese, very young girls develop precocious puberty, and then when plastics were completely eliminated from the diet, the premature breast tissue completely regressed and they went on to have a normal onset of puberty years later. This has completely freaked me out – especially when you look at the studies done on the adverse effects of premature puberty (social problems, lower education, cancer) as well as the clear statistics that girls in our country are going through puberty at an earlier and earlier rate. Anyway, I’ll stop there! But I would love to see you write an article on this!

        • Your second to last sentence makes no sense. Scandinavians have some magical way of digesting milk?
          Also, from my research, most people who are “lactose intolerant” don’t have any issues with raw milk.

  20. So cool! I’ve just recently found this to be true as well. My 5 yr old has never liked milk of any kind. Ever. We recently started buying raw milk and now she asks for a cup of milk to drink! Isn’t it something that children instinctually know that something isn’t right?!

  21. http://churnyourown.com/2012/10/04/mcafee-interview/

    Whenever I read about people getting sick from raw milk, it causes me to second-guess my beliefs about it’s safety and our choosing it over other forms, and then I read something like this that confirms my conviction. Read and be enlightened. (From the interview on churnyourown.com with Mark McAfee.)

    “We’ve had around 5 recalls in the past 13 years, but only 2 of them were associated with any illnesses. The first was in 2006 when 4 kids, each of whom said they had consumed raw milk, were sickened by E. coli 0157:H7. This happened at the height of the 2006 spinach E. coli outbreak, where 200 people were sickened and 3 people died. We had to stop operations while the CDFA and CA PDH investigated. Two of the kids were hospitalized and two were not. Of the two that were hospitalized, they never found any E. coli 0157:H7 in their stools that matched. One of them didn’t actually have any E. coli in their stool. So there was never any connection between our products, which by the way have always tested negative for E. coli. It was later determined that these two kids also ate spinach, which was implicated in that recall. The state of California wrote us a big fat check to cover our losses and asked us to sign a settlement agreement saying ‘please don’t sue us’ and we were back in business in 7 days. But it was a huge media event and our sales actually jumped 25% within 90 days of resuming operations, thanks to all the publicity!

    You see, recalls in this country are based on epidemiological evidence. They don’t do a big investigation and then come in and shut you down. No. They shut you down at the first hint of a problem. Then they do an investigation, which typically takes 2 or 3 months. So it’s shoot first, ask questions later. But here’s the problem. Pathogens are all over the place. Read The Packer and you’ll see that there are 4 or 5 vegetable recalls a week! Pathogens in vegetables killed 34 people last year. Contrast that with raw milk, which hasn’t caused a single death since the CDC started collecting data in 1972.

    Our scariest recall event was in 2007 when Listeria was found in some cream we were going to use for butter. Now you have to remember that there are 4 classes of milk in California: class 1 through 4, where 4 is the designation for manufacturing-grade milk, intended to be used for products like cheese and butter. Because of their chemistry and low moisture content, they’re not tested for pathogens, since the risk of illness from these products is so low. Nevertheless, when this cream tested positive for Listeria, we were worried and frankly very shocked because Listeria loves pasteurized milk but hates raw milk. This particular batch of cream was purchased from Clover Stornetta. We bought it because we were having trouble keeping up with demand for butter. It was supposedly organic and raw. What we found out later was that the cream was not actually raw, but had been thermalized to over 135 degrees in their creamery. Thankfully no one got sick and we figured out what happened, but that was an interesting outsourcing headache we had. We decided not to do that again.

    In December of 2011 we had another recall, which was initiated because the CDC’s PulseNet database showed that 5 people over a 5 month period had been sickened by the same strain of E. coli 0157:H7 and they all had consumed our milk. Now bear in mind that we produce 5 cap dates a week and about 70,000 people drink our milk every week. Nevertheless, I felt horrible for making these kids sick. That was, until I learned the rest of the story. You see, the mom with the two kids that were hospitalized called me saying she felt terrible because she later realized that what she fed her kids was a kefir made by mixing our milk with a store-bought culture.

    She told me she was sure it was the culture that caused the problem. But what about the other kids? I was still unsure until about a month after we had been shut down, when it was determined that there were actually 47 other cases entered into PulseNet that had the exact same strain of E. coli in the same time period. None of those people had consumed our milk. But rather than trying to find the common thread that all 52 people shared, they decided to single out the 5 people who mentioned that they drank raw milk (only of two of whom were hospitalized). As you can see, they pick on raw milk as a specialized, politically hot topic in order to indict the product.

    Finally, in May of this year we had another recall due to reports logged in PulseNet. Ten people who drunk our milk tested positive for Campylobacter. Nobody was hospitalized. It was simple diarrhea and everyone recovered at home. This lasted for 6 days. The database also showed 18 other cases of Campylobacter, which were entered during the same time period, but these people were associated with drinking milk from Claravale Dairy (the other large raw milk dairy in California). That might sound like a lot, but compare that to the 4 million cases of Campylobacter that are submitted to PulseNet every year. Of that, there are 1000 cases per day in California alone. Also consider that 75% of all chicken on retail shelves test positive for Campylobacter. It’s the most common foodborne pathogen in America and it doesn’t kill people. It causes diarrhea, then you recover from it and then you never get it again because of the immunity that’s left behind. So once again, you have a case of heightened surveillance against raw milk without considering other foods.

  22. My pediatrician recommends freezing raw milk and then thawing it and feeding it to my one-year-old. Do you think this is still harmful? Does it kill Ecoli? But perhaps keep other good things alive?

  23. Unfortunately I do not have access to raw milk where I live in Texas. It is banned. I have been signing petitions and e-mailing my senators to try to get raw milk legal here. So I go with the next best option, which is a local farm that has low-temp. pasteurization, because that is all I have access to :-(

    • We lived in Texas for many, many years and were able to get raw milk directly from the farm. You can not get it at the store or farmers market, but you can drive to the farm to get it. Unless something has changed in the last 4 years, that is how it was for at least 15 years prior. Maybe that helps? We used Lavon Farms, Jersey Girls and Texas Daily Harvest for our dairy (from what I remember) near the Dallas area. And, yes, from our home, we drove 1 1/2 or so to get our food…but it was worth it!

    • In Texas it is still legal to buy directly from the licensed raw milk farmer. Check out http://www.realmilk.com for farms near you. I live in Houston and there are several good licensed raw milk farms in our area; there’s a listing at http://www.wapf-houston.org on the Local Food & Milk page. I’ve heard that Texas Daily Harvest near Dallas has stopped producing raw milk. The best milk available in retail stores in Texas is low temp pasteurized, unhomogenized.

    • We are in Texas and we get raw milk from a farm through a co-op. I have to go pick it up at someone else’s house about 25 minutes away and I pay a $5 fee each time and also a small yearly fee. There are several drop points and several farms that do this. I know of several in the DFW area if you are interested.

    • Yes, this has been happening and should probably be fixed soon. It’s likely due to hackers hired by the industrial food and medical industry intent on suppressing opposing viewpoints.

  24. I cannot get raw milk right now. The farmer only delivers during the day and I work. Right now I only use the milk to make kefir so I don’t think it’s an option. Neither of my children is a milk drinker – they prefer yogurt or cheese or kefir. My almost 3 year old is still nursing anyway…
    I think if you are culturing this milk (yogurt, kefir, etc.) then it’s a good (not best but still good) choice. Raw is best but for some of us we have to go with the ‘good’ option vs the ‘best’…

  25. I low heat pastuerized to make yogurt. Is this good? I believe it’s necessary or the yogurt bacteria will be overrun by the dw milk bacteria. Should I rethink yogurt then?

    • Hi Nancy

      If you are starting with raw milk, you only need to take the temperature up to 120 degrees F. The reason is that most of the pathogens are mesophyilic bacteria which thrive at the same temperature as our own bodies. Once you get to 116 you have created an environment they cannot survive in. If you want a full bodied thicker yogurt take the temperature up to 180 degrees and cool back down to incubation temperature and add the culture. taking the milk up past 165 creates a phosphatais bond that seems to allow the bacterial growth to maintain a more stable curd matrix (without having to add milk powder or any of the other gums guars and stabilizers).
      If you are making yogurt for the probiotic properties I would suggest kefir as a viable alternative as it contains 3 times the probiotic bacteria as yogurt in the same volume. I just use the powdered kefir from the health food store, I have tried the grains but they are very unpredictible (for me any ways) and making consecutive batches back to back using the same grains puts you in line for post pasteurization contaminataion

  26. Sarah,

    I am firm believer in the beauty of raw milk and drink it when ever i have access, but I think it is a far stretch to condem it. Milk is pasteurized at lower temperatures then it takes to make tea, yet I have seen you fry and cook many foods for hours while milk is only cooked for a few seconds.

    Why is it okay to cook other foods but not pasteurize the milk? The only thing I see wrong with pasteurized milk is the added synthetic vitamins.

    • @ Ellen McLaughlin: Do you call it raw milk to your children? Try calling it “fresh milk” instead. Sometimes they are turned off by the term raw milk. We have friends who used to add a little but of organic chocolate powder (like hot chocolate mix) to their kids milk and then decreasing it a little at a time until the kids were used to it. That might work for you, as well. Or try adding just a little local honey to the milk or whatever.

      Also, depending on what the cows are eating (changes with seasons where I live) the milk will taste different and there isn’t much you can do about it. Usually kids who are used to raw milk will not even notice too much.

      • Ellen McLaughlin - van Dijk October 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

        thanx for your reply ! I didn’t tell my kids at all that they got raw milk, but they taste the difference and don’t like it . But indeed I’ve been adding little bits of raw milk to pasteurized milk and hope to increase it. I do give it in chocolate milk form and that’s the only way they do like it !

        • you might try raw goat’s milk. If the goat is handled properly, the milk tastes just like 2% milk from the grocery store, and you don’t have to shake it up. We switched several months ago to raw goat’s milk, and I didn’t tell my 14 year old. He’s never been able to detect the difference and still doesn’t know we switched.

  27. Very true information, unfortunately most states don’t allow the sale of raw milk. If there are options to buy raw milk from farms, the drive is 3+ hours away and can cost up to $15 a gallon – which doesn’t make it easy to get on a weekly basis. Even though it is a wise investment and worth every penny – many people don’t have the time or financial resources to do this. For those of us who live in those states, the best option we have is Vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized, cream top milk – that we can buy in the stores. I would have to say that even though RAW milk is the best choice and healthiest option, organic vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized milk is a much better option than conventional, non-organic, homogenized and ultra pasteurized milk.

  28. We rarely drink milk because I have no access in Canada to raw milk, but I do get organic goat milk from a health food store and ferment it with kefir grains. I have seen BIG improvements in my health and the kids’ health after one month of drinking kefir. I also ferment organic cow half and half with kefir grains to have kefircream (sour cream), so yummy! I have since stopped buying yoghurt and sour cream at the store, and this saves lots of money as well!

  29. It’s really hard for me to read things like this because I have zero access to raw milk. I just can’t get it. What are people like me supposed to do?

  30. Didn’t you state in one of your past posts that if we had no access to raw milk, which many of us do not, to get Natural by Nature’s low-temp pastuerized milk? They sell it at my health food store and I get it when I can and my family likes it. But now..this is no good either you are now saying?

    • I don’t think she’s saying it’s no good. I think she’s saying it’s definitely not as good as the raw milk and that if you can get raw, then do it…even if it’s a little more expensive or a little further away…it’s definitely the best choice. All that said, between low temp pasteurized, grassfed milk and the junk milk at the store, then the first option is of course much, much better! Like some have suggested, culturing the low temp pasteurized might be a good idea to add some enzymatic activity back to the milk. Do what you can with what you have, but try to get the very best you can!

    • i think natural by natures low temp milk is a great alternative to raw milk when you can not get it. it’s what I use. this post is based on antidotal “facts.” give us a break already!! no science here…. do what you can!

  31. My five year old son has autism and he does the same thing. When offered raw milk he will drink it all on his own without me prompting him over and over, but with store bought or even the low temp pasteurized milk he will barely drink it. I’ve just recently started buying raw milk and was amazed at his actions. I sure wish raw milk wasn’t so expensive though. I can buy 3-4 gallons of the grocery store stuff for every one gallon of raw. *sigh*

    • I wish it wasn’t as expensive too but have gotten myself to think of it as value: it is worth more. Like organic food is WORTH MORE than non-organic. They are just more valuable and therefore more expense. Not a mind-game but fact.

  32. Yes but I have a friend who has a friend that used to give raw, legal and certified cows milk from her farm to her young children and they did everything right, even according to state inspectors…. and her child (along with 22 other children) got ecoli and is now on dialysis for the rest of her life. Four of those children experienced kidney failure as a result…So how safe is it really for a young child? I have access to raw milk and have been getting it for a long time but now am unsure as to whether or not to give it to my children… I know this type of thing is rare but if low temp pasturization could protect them for their young years until their little bodies are stronger, wouldn’t that be an option to consider? Would like some insight here.

    • Carrie, I wonder if the E. Coli was definitively linked to the milk. Given what I just learned from Mark McAfee, who runs the nation’s largest retail raw milk dairy, it sounds like it may well have originated somewhere else or perhaps the milk was thermalized without having been labeled as such. The interview is published here: http://churnyourown.com/2012/10/04/mcafee-interview/. He basically says that thermalized and pasturized milk ARE associated with E. coli, but raw milk is not.

      It’s really a shame what happened to those children.

      • I question the CDC statistics. This is not to say it never happens, but our dairy had a recall last year because two children fell ill after buying raw milk off the shelves of X store. I know that X store doesn’t sell this dairy’s raw milk and never has! Nobody on the regular milk drop route got sick either but the official state conclusion was never revised despite these facts. (And no ecoli was ever found on the farm despite extensive testing.)

        There were two other ecoli events around the same time as well, one from strawberries sold at a farmer’s market and the other was linked to a petting zoo.

    • Are you in talking about the farm in OR? I live in the Portland area and am well-acquainted with the e. coli outbreak that recently occurred there and was most certainly a result of one raw dairy farmer. However, the stories I’m hearing from other raw dairy farmers is that the farm in question was not taking the proper precautions, and had perhaps become a little careless in their handling on the product. It behooves everyone to have a good relationship with their farmer and know all the ins and outs of the farm they get their milk from.

  33. Well, this is disappointing.
    Raw milk is harder to come by (I’d have to drive an hour and a half up into the mountains), but my co-op offers pastured low -temp pastuerized milk, I thought I was doing good getting that. Is that at least better than conventional or uht milk from the grocery store? Sort of a best, better kind of thing? Also, if anyone knows of places in Georgia to get raw cows milk, other than the ones listed on rawmilk.com, that would be much appreciated.

    • If it’s the best you can get (the low temp pasteurized) then why not culture it? That would go a long way to making it alive again. Kefir is so easy – just add the grain and put it on the counter. :)

    • Where I live (Columbus, OH), we have a few different options for pastured milk. One is a non homogenized but high temp pasteurized brand. Another is non-homogenized and LOW temp pasteurized. And finally, there are a few farms that offer herd shares. We have used all 3 types and are now happily on the 100% raw milk. But I want to share our experiences with making kefir using all 3 kinds. The kefir grains grew very slowly with the high temp milk. They grew much faster with the low temp milk. And they are virtually unstoppable with raw milk. I say all that to say that yes, kefir is best when you can’t get raw milk. But if all you can get is low temp, go for it!!! If the kefir can tell the difference, our bodies can too.

    • It’s definitely better than the stuff at the store. When we lived in TX, we had to drive an hour to an hour and a half (at least) to get the foods we wanted but it was worth it. We’d get 3-4 gallons at a time and freeze them…the milk was always delicious and fresh when defrosted and made yogurt, etc with no problems. We do that now with raw cream, because it’s harder for us to find on a regular basis. Luckily we now live where we can buy raw milk at the grocery store (one reason we decided to move where we are!) lol


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