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My oldest child who starts college this Fall recently returned from a trip to visit his Grandparents in Australia. Down Under, raw milk is totally illegal. You can’t even buy it at the farm! Rather ironic for a British Commonwealth country where the Queen drinks unpasteurized raw milk and had her dairy farmer Adrian Tomlinson bottle it up fresh and deliver to grandsons William and Harry when they attended boarding school at Eton! (1)
Ah yes, that age old problem of one rule for the nobles and another for the peasants.
For a child raised on raw milk who has never tasted pasteurized (nor does he want to), this presented quite a challenge. He loves his raw milk drinking close to a quart per day. The thought of going without it for his entire visit Down Under was baffling to him. How could a food so nutritious and ancestral be illegal?
In the hunt for a raw milk source, his Grandmother discovered a potential solution – cold pressed milk.
What is Cold Pressed Milk?
Never a people to be kept down, some clever Aussies have patented a new way to process milk so that some of its essential rawness is preserved. This while ensuring that any pathogenic microbes are totally eliminated.
Developed by farmers Stuart and Haley for their herd of jersey cows in New South Wales, cold pressing milk involves using pressure instead of heat to process it. This technique subjects the milk bottles to intense pressure equivalent to taking them six times deeper than the deepest part of the ocean. The intense isostatic cold water pressure compresses both the bottle and the milk inside for several minutes. (2)
These scrappy dairymen dubbed their company “Made by Cow”. They claim that their milk is the “World’s First Safe To Drink Raw Milk.”
But is this milk really raw as marketed on the bottle and company website?
Unfortunately, no it is not.
High Pressure Processing (HPP) of Milk
According to a New South Wales Food Authority spokesperson, the high pressure processing (HPP) used by Made by Cow is already in use around the world for other types of foods. These include juices, applesauce, dips, salsas, meat products and seafood (3).
High Pressure Processing (HPP) is considered a form of pasteurization by the food industry and the government. Hence, calling milk processed using HPP equipment “raw” is highly misleading.
Food Enzymes in Cold Pressed Milk
HPP changes food enzymes in unpredictable ways. But, since they are altered, any food treated with it can no longer be considered raw including cold pressed juice (4). Unfortunately, current food labeling regulations allow it to be marketed as raw. This loophole is similar to the one that allows cheese made from milk heated to just below pasteurization temperature to be labeled raw cheese. In fact, it isn’t “raw” at all.
The good news is that the HPP process doesn’t directly destroy live enzymes like heat pasteurization does. They can survive for 5-7 days.
So if you drink your cold pressed milk within a week of milking and processing, you are going to get some of the essential enzymes. This includes the all important lactase for digesting the lactose (milk sugar) and phosphatase to absorb the calcium among others.
The bad news is that the shelf life of cold pressed milk is far longer than 7 days. In some cases, you may be buying “raw” milk that is weeks old!
Therefore, if you choose to buy it, make sure you know the day the milk was processed. This will ensure you’re actually getting some enzymes for the premium price.
Cold Pressed Milk Contains NO Probiotics
High pressure processing of raw milk destroys all pathogens. This is why Made by Cow is allowed to sell it in retail stores in Australia.
However, one of the tests for successful pasteurization of foods is that all microbes are destroyed both good and bad. It doesn’t matter if heat or pressure was used.
Hence, probiotics are long gone in cold pressed milk. Since this is one of the huge benefits of drinking raw milk, calling cold pressed milk raw is not only misleading, it is downright false.
Worse, these claims by Made by Cow are confusing raw milk drinkers. Several customers from Down Under have already emailed me about why their cold pressed milk left out on the counter won’t clabber like raw milk does.
The company website says this on the matter:
While we have a zero tolerance policy for pathogens we are not a sterilisation method, so yes, bacteria does remain in our milk. While we have spent our time and money on the food safety aspect of our milk we do intend to analyse the active bacteria in our milk. We will commence this testing shortly and plan to put these findings on our website once we have completed this work. (3)
This answer is extremely misleading! The fact is that no bacteria remain in cold pressed milk else Made by Cow wouldn’t have approval to sell it in Australia. In addition, customers are already discovering that it doesn’t clabber on the counter to make liquid whey and raw cream cheese. It rots just like heat pasteurized milk.
Do not Use Cold Pressed Milk for Homemade Formula
Because the enzymes in cold pressed raw milk are altered and there are no probiotics, it is an inappropriate choice for homemade infant formula.
To make cold pressed milk acceptable for this purpose, first culture into homemade kefir or yogurt. Then use as the base for the baby formula recipe.
The Good News about Cold Pressed “Raw” Milk
In summary, while cold pressed milk is definitely not raw, it isn’t as damaged or as allergenic as milk processed by heat pasteurization.
The partially altered food enzymes are present for about a week after processing. This also indicates that the carrier proteins for the vitamins are not destroyed either. This bodes well for a product that is nutritionally similar to raw milk as claimed by the company.
Nonhomogenized and Grassfed
Another great thing about Made by Cow’s cold pressed milk is that it is not homogenized. This means a distinct creamline is visible when the milk sits in the refrigerator.
Homogenization is almost universally used on heat treated milk – both conventional and organic. It eliminates the natural creamline which hides poor quality, low cream milk from consumer eyes. It also oxidizes some of the cholesterol. While natural cholesterol has many benefits to health, oxidized cholesterol does not and should be avoided.
Made by Cow’s cold pressed milk is also grassfed. It comes from pastured jersey cows that are not subjected to antibiotics or steroids. The farm follows sustainable practices and is accredited as such in the national Fertsmart program.
Cold Pressed Milk Tastes Great
My son is quite a connoisseur of raw milk having tasted it from a wide variety of farms. Here’s what he had to say about how cold pressed raw milk tastes in comparison to really raw milk:
I have grown up drinking raw milk, and it is my favorite food in the whole world. However, when I go on trips I find the raw milk in other areas sometimes tastes very cow-y or overly grassy. However, I had a much better experience with Cold Pressed Raw Milk in Australia.
I did not have to adjust to the new taste at all. Though it tasted slightly different from my raw milk at home, drinking it was no problem and it tasted great. It saved me from going a long time without my food staple, and I am so happy to share the experience with you. I hope that those of you who are unable to buy raw milk find this option to be satisfying.
Look for cold pressed milk to spread to other farms around Australia and other countries and states hostile to raw milk. My concern is that the misleading marketing will dampen consumer enthusiasm for rolling back antiquated pasteurization laws as the popularity of REAL raw milk continues to spread.
It is possible to obtain raw milk in Australia. The loophole is that it needs to be sold for cosmetic use only. As far as I am aware Victoria is the only state that has closed this loophole by requiring it’s farmers to include antifreeze in the raw milk to ensure nobody drinks it. It is relatively easy to obtain raw milk in Qld where I am. But I did come across this cold pressed “raw” milk in an independent supermarket and wanted to find out it’s legitimacy. Thank you for the article. Very informative. Hopefully one day we can get raw milk legalised here so it is more readily accessible and accepted by the masses.
Great post Sarah
Dr. David W
Be sure to say ‘ALLEGED pathogenic microbes’.
The bacteria in raw milk are actually beneficial. We really have been lied to about so much.
Sarah Pope MGA
Hi there, the milk product from Made By Cow is an insult to me as I can taste the difference between raw Jersey milk and their jersey milk. I love the rich, buttery yellow in raw, jersey milk. So beautiful. This product tastes processed and is not that beautiful glass of milk that I know. I have had to buy it for lack of choice and will never buy crap heat pasteurised products.
Your son’s visit is obviously over long ago, but I have bought raw milk for decades through food coops, in Sydney, and throughout Australia. In early years I could only get raw goat’s milk. You are right about the monopolies running our milk market. Most are not even Australian any more and the two biggest supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, have also played a very negative role which they are now trying to reverse due to consumer backlash. Misinformation and deliberate meddling in nutritional information by the Heart Foundation and its ticks system (companies buy a tick in a corrupt system no better than medieval papal bulls!) means people still believe in skim and “light” milks and, even worse, foods full of sugar. There is also the overinflated claims made for a2 milk which otherwise could have a place in the marketplace as it now stands (personally I find it better for me if I’m in a situation where I’m just having mass produced/supermarket milk). The commenter above was a little over enthusiastic about Australia and the Queen, but, it is noteworthy that the long lived Windsors do only eat and drink organic, raw and unprocessed foods from their own estates on the whole. The rest will get a royal warrant, but it’s notable most of the warrants are not for foods the family eats every day.
This Choice article sets out just how complex the milk situation is and how consumers are basically kept in deliberate ignorance:
Thanks for your ongoing campaign for good food. Your blog sure has grown from the early days!
Jan Patenaude, RD, CLT
Great info Sarah! News to me.
It is not a matter of one rule for the nobles and another for the peasants. What a ridiculous statement! It is, in fact, legal to distribute raw milk in England for nobles and commoners alike. It is also legal to distribute it in Ireland and Wales (but illegal in Scotland.) Around 200 distributors from England and Wales sell raw milk direct to consumers at the farm, farmers market, or through a delivery service.
You’ll notice that even within Great Britain, there is variation in the laws (with Scotland being the odd one out in this case.) That is because they are separate countries with their own parliament and legislative processes.
Australia is a step further removed, as a member of the British Commonwealth, but the Queen has no say in the daily running of the country. Our laws are made for our own country by our own politicians without reference to English royalty or nobility. We are not being “kept down” by the English nobility, nor even by our elected representatives, on whether raw milk is legal to be sold for consumption. We can lobby for change in the laws, and if enough Australians were behind this, it would change. It would subject the producers to stringent regulation, to avoid outbreaks of illness. So it may be the producers themselves aren’t all that keen, especially as they are able to sell raw milk as a non-food product already. I’ve purchased it myself, and what I do with it is my own business. 😉 If the market for raw milk enlarged considerably, this might change. But the Australian people as a whole support the current law.
But no, if Queen Elizabeth visited tomorrow, no Australian producer would be legally allowed to sell her raw milk for drinking. But any “peasant” farmer in the Australian countryside could be merrily pouring a generous serving of raw milk over his children’s week-bix cereal. Characterizing this as a class war issue with Australia being the “peasant” and England being the “noble” is incorrect and insulting.
The Australian people support the anti raw milk laws as they currently stand because they are spoon fed false information about raw milk from the mass media which is beholden to its advertisers which includes numerous Big Food companies (dairy is a monopoly in the US and I would expect Australia too .. just a few companies control the vast majority of the entire market … under a variety of different regional names to fool people). More people are realizing this, fortunately, and tuning out the noise and doing their own research.