On Wednesday, May 19, 2010, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the “Raw Milk” Bill which had passed both the State Assembly and Senate with bi-partisan support. Over the past two years as I’ve written my Blogs, I’ve often thought about writing about the benefits of what I’ll call “real milk”. That is milk that is unprocessed, full-fat, and from pasture-fed cows. I never did, until today. I thought it “controversial” and perhaps more information than people wanted to know. I was wrong and wish I had written this earlier. The fact that in today’s world a bill passed with the support of both parties indicates it is something that the people want and their representatives were responding to.

So, where to start? With all these controversies there is always some truth, some fiction, and of course some biased reporting. I’ll try to present the logical facts. Much of the following information comes from the Weston Price Foundation’s pamphlet “A Campaign for Real Milk”. You can read more about this on their web site – www.westonaprice.org.

First off, and I think most people would agree with this – in order to have healthy milk to drink, you need to have a healthy cow to produce it. That makes sense, right? Much of the original push to pasteurize milk occurred in the 1920’s when dairies located in major cities were producing milk that was not safe. They were feeding the cows the leftovers from the alcohol industry. They became known as “swill dairies”. To keep the story short: this was milk coming from diseased cows and it was making those who drank it sick and many children were dying from the diseased milk. In order to kill the bacteria and other pathogens present in the milk, pasteurization was introduced. From there politics and the “big” dairy industry takes over and we get where we are today. This whole story is nicely chronicled in Ron Schmid’s The Untold Story of Milk. The bottom line – pasteurization was introduced to kill the disease in the milk from the sick cows. Where the cows were healthy and those getting milk from country farms, none of this was occurring.

Real milk comes from real cows that eat real feed. Cows are supposed to eat green grass, green feed, silage, hay, and root vegetables. This produces healthy milk (and meat). Cows are not supposed to eat grains, corn, soy meal, cottonseed meal, bakery waste, chicken manure, or the other foods that they are being fed as part of the industrial process of making milk. If you eat foods that you weren’t designed for, what happens to you? You get sick. The same with cows. To keep the cows from getting too sick that they die they are given a host of antibiotics and to keep the cows producing milk they are given excess hormones. Where does this wind up? In your milk and meat. I could go on about the hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide residues found in the milk and meat, but I think you get the point.

Real milk is not pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures milk proteins, destroys vitamins, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens, and is associated with allergies and a host of other problems. So, yes pasteurization was very effective and needed for the “milk” from the swill dairies of the 1920’s, but that is no longer the case today. I’m sure you are familiar with lactose intolerance. Well, real milk still contains active lactase – the enzyme required to digest lactose. Many people who are “lactose intolerant” have no issues drinking real milk. And some people who are “allergic” to milk are able to drink real milk with no problems.

Real milk is full fat. Despite what you hear in the media – we do need fat, and milk is full of the Vitamins A and D that we need. The butterfat in milk is rich in short and medium chain fatty acids, which protect against disease and stimulate the immune system.

What about the stories that we see in the paper about people getting sick from raw milk. Well, guess what, those are just stories. Once the full reporting and investigation is done, it is not the raw milk as the culprit. Here’s the bottom line – 20 states allow the sale of raw milk. In Europe there are now public raw milk dispensing machines. And, if it was so deadly, why are thousands of families here in Wisconsin, and who knows how many throughout the country, drinking raw milk and nobody is getting sick?

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.