Raw Milk FAQs

I get so many questions about raw animal products, specifically raw milk, that I thought it would be a good idea to post this.

It's a question and answer article from Mother Archives about raw milk, and the information is great. The only caveat is about the first answer and freezing. Yes freezing milk does not destroy the enzymes, but most the beneficial bacteria and nutrients do get destroyed in the freezing process. I do not recommend it. All the other answers though, are fantastic.

Really, these FAQs are just great for all, especially your friends and family who might be a little freaked out by the raw concept. If so, just send them here and tell them to shut-up and read.

Sifu Marcus

Mother Nature's Archives

1. Does freezing damage raw dairy products?
Freezing puts raw milk products to sleep and has little effect on the important health benefits that raw dairy products provide. Enzymes and bacteria are fully active when they awake after thawing. Some vitamins are reduced by trace amounts after being frozen. The flavor is sometimes slightly affected by this and is not always apparent. All OPDC (Organic Pastures Dairy Company) products may be frozen. Thawing should be done by placing the frozen product in a regular refrigerator for a day. Milk should be shaken to mix up the butterfat after thawing. Warming the product to room temperature just prior to drinking will also make the fat blend in better with the milk (if it has clumped or separated during freezing).
2. Can I get OPDC products fresh and not frozen?
OPDC will ship fresh and unfrozen raw dairy products to anyone upon request. Remember that if the delivery is delayed and the product is left un-refrigerated, it will be protected for an extended period of perhaps an additional 24 hours if it is frozen. If fresh, the product may become warm if refrigeration is delayed upon delivery. Warm raw dairy products lose none of their nutritional value, but they begin the process of natural souring, which starts to change flavors (rapid increase beneficial bacteria). This is not a concern for food safety, but it does make the product into a naturally cultured dairy product much like Kefir. OPDC recommends that warmed raw milk be cultured and stored at 90 degrees for 24 hours. The resulting product is a delicious Clabbered Raw Milk. 90 percent of the people on planet earth drink their milk as a clabbered milk, not fresh. Cultures can be purchased at the health food store.
3. Why do you say that "Raw Milk is Alive"?
Natural organic raw milk has in it vitally important living things. These include the following: beneficial bacteria, enzymes (including lipase, protease. and other), lactase forming bacteria, and many enzyme based pathogen killing systems. The common practice of pasteurization inactivates or dramatically reduces the effects of these important active (living) elements. As a result, you may be lactose intolerant when drinking pasteurized milk, but not lactose intolerant when you drink raw milk. This is because lactase enzymes are being formed when you digest raw milk. That is why we say, "only living milk brings life."
4. How much colostrum should I drink each day?
Remember that colostrum is a health food and not a drug. You can not overdose on fresh colostrum! Drink several pints per week to initially build up your immune system, then just maintain consumption of a pint or two per week and drink plenty of raw milk. Raw milk has many (not all) of the same elements contained in Colostrum, just at much lower concentrations. You can not (chemically) overdose on any OPDC products; they are food.
5. Are organic and raw the same thing?
No. "Organic" is a set of environmentally sustainable growing and production practices that are now certified and regulated by the USDA. Raw is the naturally occurring, unprocessed and uncooked state of any food. All organic milk starts out with the organic cow and all organic cows make raw milk. Nearly all dairies take their milk to a creamery that processes that milk using pasteurization methods. The resulting organic products are not raw and living, but rather they are "killed and dead." In addition, not all organic dairies follow the USDA organic requirements, which requires access to pasture for their cows. OPDC provides pasture 100% of the time. OPDC is the only organic pasture land farm in North America that does not pasteurize (heat treat to extend shelf life and kill bacteria) its products. Organic means diversity of life and soil. What a shame it is that "living, life-bringing raw milk" from all over the country ends up being processed into very dead Ultra High Temperature (UHT is 282 degrees - not the common HTST 161 degree common pasteurization: for extra long shelf life); so-called organic milk products. It truly exploits the word organic. Again, and it really must be restated for emphasis, organic means soil and the diversity of living life. How can something so dead be considered natural or organic? Only living milk brings life.
6. What happens to bacteria in pasteurized milk after pasteurization?
After pasteurization, bacteria found naturally in milk are killed. During the high temperature heating process, cell bodies of these bacteria are ruptured and their contents are spilled, releasing histamines. This causes many milk drinkers to suffer allergic reactions. Almost all of these same consumers can drink raw milk and not have allergies. The high levels of bacteria permitted in milk intended for pasteurization are still found in pasteurized milk; they are just dead and not removed by the process.
7. What is homogenization?
Homogenization is the process of destroying the natural butter fat cells found in raw natural milk. This process uses extreme pressure to break apart the soft buoyant fat cells, which cause the remaining small fat pieces to blend into milk and no longer float to the top making the cream line. Some European countries have studies that show that this process is dangerous and may strongly contribute to heart disease and arterial plaguing. Our FDA disputes these findings under pressure from the strong dairy lobby. Homogenization is not a required step, but rather a step of convenience to deny the consumer the ability to see how much cream is actually in the milk they buy.
8. Why is milk pasteurized?
In the 1800s, many US dairies began commercially producing low quality raw milk in the inner cities of Boston and New York and others. These Brewery dairies would feed their cows very poor quality "brewer's mash." The resulting milk was very weak and nearly blue from lack of protein, mineral, and fat content. This occurred during the Jamaican rum embargo. During this same time period, the dairy industry did not use or have access to refrigeration, stainless steel, milking machines, rubber hoses, hot water, or chlorine as a sanitizer. TB and Brucellosis were rampant (not to mention horse manure on the streets, flies, and lack of public sanitation and sewage) and the cows were milked by hand without mechanical machines. The cows stood in manure and there was no access to pasture (sounds like some factory dairy farms of 2005). The resulting unhealthy milk from these sources literally killed millions. The heating of milk to high temperatures reduced this horrible blight. During this same time period, milk from the countryside taken from pasture grazed healthy and clean cows was the best medicine of the day. In fact, the Mayo Clinic used this high quality country raw milk as a basis for many disease curing therapies. This was the untold story of raw milk. Because of pasteurization successes, commercial interests prevailed and all dairies (the good, bad, and the ugly) then began to pool their milk so that "nobody would die," even if milk quality was very poor. This was great news for milk mass marketing, and creameries created high profits. These pasteurization practices continue today with the chief benefit being extended shelf life. These modern dead milk products now cause allergies and lactose intolerance to huge sectors of the population. Current (PMO) Federal standards for pasteurized milk permit 100,000 bacteria per ml for milk going to be pasteurized with as many as 20,000 injured or living bacteria to be alive after pasteurization, and this may include pathogens (this is arguably the reason why milk is pasteurized). California standards for raw milk require that milk sold for raw consumption have fewer than 15,000 live bacteria per ml and no pathogens. OPDC averages about 1500 beneficial living bacteria per ml (and never a human pathogen). For a great book on the subject of milk history, please order "The Untold Story of Milk" by Dr. Ron Schmid ND. It is available from OPDC. You get the whole story: starting 12,000 years ago, right up to and including OPDC in 2003.
9. What are pathogens?
Pathogens are disease causing bacteria and organisms. The three human pathogens that are tested (state mandated) at OPDC include Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Ecoli 0157. To date, not one of these pathogens have ever been detected by any test at OPDC or conducted by any state or federal agency. Tests privately performed at OPDC (BSK labs) showed that even when these pathogens were added to OPDC raw milk at extremely high levels (7 logs) they would not grow and die off (test results available upon request).
OPDC milk products are highly pathogen resistant. In more than 32 million servings, and more than five years of intensive testing, not one single pathogen has been found or detected. Not one person has complained to the state of CA that they have become sickened by an OPDC product. Tests performed by UC Davis, Dr. C. Berge DVM revealed something quite startling: Fresh manure from OPDC cows did not contain Salmonella. At other dairies tested, many of the findings were positive (31% of conventional milk tanks tested showed a human pathogen present).
In summary, it has been theorized that the combination of grass feeding, no antibiotics used, no hormones, and low levels of grain used in diet cause a change in the cows immune system and rumen. This change in physiology directly inhibits pathogen development in the milk (actually a transfer from environmental contamination that does not seem to occur; there are no bad bugs in the manure that transfer into the milk and the clean raw milk is highly pathogen resistant).
10. What are enzymes?
Enzymes are specialized proteins that assist in the breaking down (hydrolyzing) and digestion of foods into useful elements that can be utilized, absorbed, or stored by the body. Enzymes are identified by the use of the ending "ase" associated with their name. For instance Lipase helps digest lipids (fats). Lactase helps digest lactose sugar (milk sugar). If your body does not produce and have available specific enzymes, then you may not be able to utilize certain food sources, or absorb certain minerals, etc. Phosphatase, which is key to the absorption of calcium, is inactivated by pasteurization. In fact, the test for effective pasteurization is called the "negative phosphatase test." Is it no wonder that Americans are suffering from osteoporosis at a rate higher than ever. It is now considered a US health crisis. A little trick that is not commonly known is that if you drink plenty of raw milk, lactose intolerant people can then tolerate limited amounts of pasteurized milk products, including ice cream. There is a sharing of required missing enzymes (lactase) and bacteria that are required in the gut, making a person not intolerant of lactose containing products.
11. Can I cook with OPDC products and will the heat affect the raw nature of the products?
Yes, you can cook with OPDC products, but any heat over about 120 degrees starts to denature enzymes and kill bacteria. This is okay, but just remember the benefits of raw and make sure you eat plenty of raw (not heated above 110 degrees) in your diet for a strong immune system, good digestion, and absorption of minerals.
12. What are Immunoglobulins?
Immunoglobulins (antibodies) are immune system boosting elements found in the blood stream. They include IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM, which among other things neutralize toxins and counter microbial attack. They are collected during pregnancy (in the breasts and udders of mammals) and are transferred to the newborn via colostrum (first milk) after being born. These essential protective proteins form a big part of the immune system and respond to disease and infection. Bovine colostrum contains high levels of these antibodies.
13. Why does colostrum appear pink or yellow sometimes?
All bovine colostrum contains some blood cells (RBC and WBC). Sometimes this is visible and sometimes it is not depending upon the cow and whether she had some red blood in her first milk. This is normal. OPDC attempts to limit the amount of visible blood that is in colostrum, but on occasion the colostrum may appear slightly pink. The yellow color in the colostrum is caused by Lactoferrin: Rich vitamin levels and the natural fat color of milk fat. All of this colostrum is "Nectar of the gods," is normal, and completely safe.
14. Why is there a "pet food" sticker on some OPDC products sold at retail stores outside of the State of California?
FDA law CFR 1240.61 states that it is illegal for anyone to transport raw dairy products across state lines "in final package form for direct human consumption unless that product has been pasteurized."
In compliance with CFR 1240.61, OPDC labels and ships its products outside of California for "pet consumption only."
15. What can I do with warm or soured raw milk?
Soured raw milk is still a vitally nutritious product and should be cultured for optimal flavor and taste. If you find yourself with a container of souring milk, just put in some live culture (some yogurt or store bought kefir starter available through www.bodyecologydiet.com), then set the product out for 24 hours at 90 degrees. The resulting food is wonderful, delicious, digestible, and highly nutritious. In most countries this is how people drink their milk. Our great grandparents called it Clabbered milk. Other raw milk and raw dairy recipes are available by calling OPDC at 1-877-RAW MILK.
16. Why do OPDC products carry a "government warning" that states that the consumer may be sickened by this raw dairy product?
Government regulations now require many living foods to carry a warning label, including meat, poultry, fish, and fresh juices. This came about because of the ever weakening immune system of the average American citizen. More and more US consumers have severely weakened immune systems and can become ill by eating small amounts of foreign bacteria that their bodies are not familiar with. It has been estimated that about 70% of the strength of a healthy immune system is made up of the diversity of living bacteria found in the intestines. Raw milk provides a perfect source for the "seeding and feeding" of these diverse populations of living bacteria. The average American diet is practically devoid of living bacteria (all killed foods and few bacterial sources). Our immune systems have suffered as a direct result. Consuming raw milk and dairy products is an important step towards regaining immune strength and overall health. On occasion a new raw milk consumer may have some diarrhea from over drinking raw milk for the first time. This is rare and should be considered very normal. After all, the intestine has never seen such an incredible introduction of new and diverse beneficial bacteria and does not have any idea what to do. It is possible, but highly unlikely, that pathogens may be transmitted in raw milk just as they may be transmitted in all other foods. OPDC has demonstrated that even when high levels of pathogens were introduced into raw milk, they die off and do not grow (BSK tests). In fact, pathogen killing safety systems are hard at work, keeping raw milk safe even if it has been contaminated. To date, there has never been a human pathogen ever detected in any OPDC product, in the plant, or from any test. OPDC products are highly pathogen resistant. Because OPDC can not predict the future and know what is yet to come, it is possible that someday a pathogen may be detected in an OPDC product. If you are a healthy OPDC consumer this should have no noticeable effect. Your immune system will deal with it and you will probably not even know that a pathogen was in your raw dairy product. This is evident when reading CDC reports of raw milk illness. The farm and dairy consumers never get ill; it is the first time raw consumers (with weak immune systems) that become ill. This is exactly why all people should drink lots of raw milk. A strong immune system is a gift of freedom and of health. It is your choice, and with raw milk (exercise, good hydration, a whole-food diet, and plenty of love) you need not become ill, ever. Choose life!
17. What diseases are aided by consuming raw milk and raw dairy products?
OPDC may not make a medical claim or post cures for any disease process relative to any OPDC product. That is a crime under current FDA law. We can recommend that you visit www.realmilk.com, www.westonaprice.org, or www.mercola.com, and other websites that will list literally 50 different illnesses that are directly, naturally, and positively affected by consuming raw milk.
FDA regulations make it difficult for us to share specifics. Please see web links, or read Dr. Porter's book Milk Diet as a Remedy for Chronic Disease.
Link to this webpage for links to other documents: http://www.organicpastures.com/faq.html
Link to their slideshows: http://www.organicpastures.com/op_slideshow/

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