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The Surprisingly Colorful History Of Milk

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook

“Got milk?” What the history of milk tells us about our society.

Elsie the Cow, Borden's celebrity spokescow in Lakeland, Fla. (PRNewsFoto/Borden Dairy Company)

Elsie the Cow, Borden's celebrity spokescow in Lakeland, Fla. (PRNewsFoto/Borden Dairy Company)

For all humans, for all mammals, it is the first food. And milk for many of our ancestors was not just a central part of their diet, but a scared symbol of sustenance.

The history of milk holds within it the story of how human societies and economies have evolved.

In the agrarian days, we drank milk from animals we ourselves raised. Now, milk is produced and processed by industrial corporations, and the family farmers who sell raw milk and make cheese have to compete with agribusiness rivals.

This hour On Point: What the story of milk says about who we are and what we’ve become.

-Tom Gjelten

Guests:

Deborah Valenze, professor of History at Barnard College, and author of “Milk: A Local And Global History.” You can find an excerpt of the book here (PDF).

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She’s currently researching American artisanal cheesemakers. Her work explores how people grapple with changing socioeconomic conditions and new bioscientific knowledge.

Karl Klessig, farmer and owner of Saxon Homestead Farm and Creamery in Cleveland, Wisconsin.

More

Here are some photos from the milk hour today.

Deborah Valenze, author of “Milk: A Local And Global History,” in studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Deborah Valenze, author of “Milk: A Local And Global History,” in studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Heather Paxson, professor of anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the studio and On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook this week On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Tom Gjelten in for Tom Ashbook this week On Point. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

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  • Rosebart

    I wish milk wasn’t considered a “potentially hazardous substance” in New York State. That would make my life as the owner of a small goat dairy herd a lot easier! 

  • Samantha, Buffalo, NY

    Interesting. I just poured some milk into my coffee and wondered: how come my organic milk has longer expiration date (current carton is set at Aug 4) and stays fresher much longer after opening than regular milk.

    I used regular milk years ago, and it would go bad within a week after opening. My organic milk – Organic Valley 2% – stays fresh for at least 2 weeks and sometimes even longer. I never have to throw it away because it went bad and I only use my milk for morning coffee. So a carton would generally last me about 2 – 2.5 weeks.

    Thanks

    • Soli

      How is it pasteurized?

      • ThresherK

        I’ve heard of “low-and-slow” paseurization. Does that make any differencein shelf life v. mass market?
         

        • Soli

          I don’t know the specifics for shelf life, but the heating affects the milk proteins. If milk is ultra-pasteurized it becomes shelf-stable (remember parmalat when it first came out? technically, stores don’t need to keep UP milk in the cold section before it’s been opened) but also destroys a lot of the proteins.

          • ThresherK

            Are any brands in your neck of the woods slow-pasteurized? I’d give it a shot to see if the taste was better.

          • Soli

            I’m in Connecticut. There’s a dairy which sells to some local markets as well as farmer’s market, Smyth’s Trinity farms. They use low pasteurization on their milk products.

            I’ve been drinking raw milk for about two years now, and here it’s completely legal to buy in stores. The cows are treated well and actually eat what they’re meant to eat: grass.

          • ThresherK

            I’m up near Bradley. I’ll look for it. Thanks!

    • JenZ

      Because your organic milk is “Ultra Pasteurized”, which means it is flash heated to 260 degrees, which kills every organism in it, the good and the bad, then it is put into sterile containers, sealed and shipped to the market, where it is shelf stable, an can remain without refrigeration for up to 6 months, but sold out of the coolers because people would hesitate to buy shelf stable milk (Organic cow also packages their milk into single serve lunch box sized boxes that are available in the beverage aisle).

      Two things wrong with this; first, any vitamins that are destabilized by heat are destroyed by this process (which is pretty much all of them), and second, any post-pasteurization contamination, such as e.coli will not be destroyed by the naturally occurring enzymes in milk because the enzymes have been destroyed. 

  • nj

    Well, judging by the introductory comments and the guest lineup, i’m guessing that this viewpoint may not be mentioned, so let’s get it out there. 

    So thorough has been our collective, dairy-industry indoctrination that it borders on un-American to say it, but there is considerable evidence that cows’ milk is a lousy food for humans. Even setting aside the bizarre notion of people drinking milk from another species and the problems associated with industrial dairy production, milk is loaded with fat and hormones, and its consumption is implicated in a number of diseases and conditions.A good food if you’re a baby calf, not so much for the rest of us.http://www.drheise.com/milk.htm

    • Mchardy

      Nomadic cultures: there is tradition to breast feed human children with mother’s milk [what marks us as human] well past 4 years old: Toni Morrison in her novel Song of Solomon, introduces her protagonist ‘milkman’ who was breast fed well infancy and the Dalai Lama told a Harvard audience how his own father continued to be nourished by this means. Question – am curious whether more is involved besides nutrition? Emotional bonding?

    • Mill

      “Even setting aside the bizarre notion of people drinking milk from another species [..]“
      __

      Why is this notion bizarre? What makes it bizarre than, say, raising hens to eat eggs? Or planting tomatoes? It’s not as if the tomato plant is producing tomatoes for the purpose of consumption by humans.

      There could be other valid reasons for not consuming milk, but I find your reason to be really bizarre and irrational.

    • IDConstitutionist

      Did you read that article?? The key words:
      [b]Commercial[/b] milk: Linked to chronic disease, overweight, diabetes, cancer, weakened bones

      Yes, commercial milk is not fit for human consumption. Where I live in south-central Idaho, there are so many commercial dairies (ID is 3d in the nation for milk production }:-P). They have ruined land values with the stench that eminates from them, hire questionable minorities, ruined the ground table water with nasty diseases that are resistant to antibiotics and the animals are confined to pens with no grazing in a pasture.

      In 2009, the head of the Idaho USDA dairy division got together with cow and goat people to formulate rules for selling unpasteurized milk. In 2010 it went before the state legislature, passing after a few tweaks. While he was against unpasteurized milk, he knew that there are people that believe in the health properties and would get it somehow. While I don’t like government in my business, rules are necessary to keep this safe….from people that don’t know how to care for their animals properly to safely taking care of the milk. Yes, we’ve had a couple herds that had to be shut down.

      There are numerous anecdotal stories of how people’s health have vastly improved once they included unpasteurized milk in their diet. As long as the FDA (who rules over doctors) is in charge, possibly a few studies will be done on what fresh from the cow/goat/sheep milk does for people….but I won’t hold my breath on this.

      As for “Even setting aside the bizarre notion of people drinking milk from another species” and “A good food if you’re a baby calf, not so much for the rest of us” that is typical PETA/Vegetarian drivel. I’ve seen it spouted a lot by the faithful followers of those misguided ideals.

  • John

    I’m sure that there are many interesting historical, sociological and economic elements to our relationship with milk.  However, *Please* do not get side tracked into a discussion of the health benefits of milk.  There are loads of health hazards to drinking milk and the benefits are far overstated – e.g., high milk consuming countries have lower bone density than those who consume less.  This is widely documented and you can review yourself.  The point is that milk is not as broadly wholesome as we’ve been raised to believe.

    • Anonymous

      processed milk is “not as broadly wholesome.”   the pro-milk commentors on this page are not supporting processed milk.

  • Mogl

    You asked where else milk takes pride of place … There is an African tribe which mixes milk with the cow’s blood as their primary food.

  • Ronald Johnson

    Oh, please, ladies and gentlemen…forget about the harm done by milk to people…it’s nothing compared to the harm done to the animals that produce it. For a start, all the males of the species get killed…you can’t have milk without this wholesale murder. And then the way dairy cows are treated…it’s heartbreakingly abominable. Just do some research.

    http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/

    http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy_and_veal.asp

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RNFFRGz1Qs

    The list is endless. Just Google dairy cruelty.

    Please! Go vegan for peace…

    • IDConstitutionist

      I agree with the cruelty issue of these mega dairies as I see them around me here in south-central Idaho. However, I am against vegetarian/vegan diets….been there, done that and it caused me to be severely anemic. Had a naturopathic doctor help me regain my health with eating nutrient dense meats and milk.

      I need to find the websites that explain why the vegetarian lifestyle is not sustainable….but I recently crashed my hard drive and lost all bookmarks, photos, music, etc…fortunately photos, music and other files were on a server, the bookmarks weren’t. If I can find the sites, I will post them.

      However, humanely raised meats sold locally is what sustains the economy and it doesn’t ruin the ecosystem. In fact, it’s a help.

    • JenZ

      Some of us happen to believe meat is an important part of our diets.  Vegan for peace, indeed.  We are omnivores.

      The problem with the dairy industry isn’t that we use the animals as a natural part of the food chain.  The problem with the dairy industry is that herds are confined to buildings, they are not allowed out to graze on grass.  They are not treated like animals, but like tools.

      The answer is not to stop drinking milk and eating meat; the answer is to demand that animals be treated fairly in their service to us.  The answer is small family farms, pasture grazed animals, healthy herds, calves that nurse until they wean naturally…

      A healthy cow with no hormones can give 5 gallons of milk per day.  She can live for 20 years.  She is a social animal and loves the attention of a devoted family, whether they be human or bovine.  Cows are wonderful and amazing, and deserve the utmost respect and our gratitude for their beauty and their gifts.

    • Ellie

      This is why we need to support small farmers farming sustainably and humanely.   The cows on my farm are treated more like regal queens than slaves.   They get to raise their own babies.  They live on pasture all their lives.  They personally know me, come to me, and show me affection.  And I love them.  We have a symbiotic and mutually respectful relationship.  Which is normal on small grass fed raw dairies.

  • Mogl

    FYI, all the “almond milk” I have seen IS soy milk with almond added to it.  Read the labels carefully.

    • nj

      I don’t know what brands you have seen. All the ones i’ve seen are made with almonds. Example, Almond Breeze: Original; Ingredients: almondmilk (filtered water, almonds), calcium carbonate, tapioca starch, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, Natural flavor, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin d2 and d-alpha-tocopherol (natural vitamin e).

      • Yogaduder

        Looks to me to be heavily processed.  Can you really call that healthy?

  • Bill

    I hope you will address this point of view: suppose my daughter was kept in a cage, then raped by a stranger, then having her baby taken away and milked regularly after that.  We treat cows that way.

    • Jennifer

      I also wish someone had called in with this perspective. I almost did, but I’m terribly shy and I was afraid I’d be walking into a trap and be belittled. 

    • Ellie

      Bill, this is why we need to support small farmers farming sustainably and humanely.   The cows on my farm are treated more like regal queens than slaves.   They get to raise their own babies.  They live on pasture all their lives.  They personally know me, come to me, and show me affection.  And I love them.  We have a symbiotic and mutually respectful relationship.  Which is normal on small grass fed raw dairies.  

    • http://kickin-k-ranch.com Tom Kuettner

      Bill  We milk 15 – 20 goats, they all are spoiled rotten, they are not put in a cage but are in large pens, most days after feeding/milking they are turned loose to roam the property at night they want to go back to the safety of their pen and shed. As for the “raped by a stranger” the does will do everything they can to get to the bucks, both parties are consenting adults!!!  As for taking their babies away (breeding bucks are pulled @ 10 weeks as they are fertile) but wethers (neutered boys) and does stay on as long as the mom lets them. Oh and they run to get milked at milking time!!!  They also all know their names come when called and sometimes scare visitors when they come up and love on them!!  And when we had cows they were treated the same way. They are our children,  but if you want to treat your daughter that way then you should be arrested.

  • Julian Cole

    “Blessed are the Cheesemakers” – Life of Brian (Monty Python movie)

  • Anonymous

    People older than ~4 years old who can drink
    milk are mutants! The gene that either makes us lactose tolerant or
    intolerant is the key — about 90% of people of northern European and
    about 50% of people with African heritage — where dairy has been around
    for a long time, *can* drink milk past the age of about 4 years old.
    The rest of the people in the world are actually the norm — lactose
    intolerance is normal.Neil

    • Mchardy

      there is the evidence – nomadic people of the sahara and sahel survive and depend on camel, mare, and goat’s milk, many consume it as yoghurt.

    • Mchardy

      there is the evidence – nomadic people of the sahara and sahel survive and depend on camel, mare, and goat’s milk, many consume it as yoghurt.

  • Lauri

    I milk goats and use the milk for soapmaking, cheesemaking, and family milk consumption. Because I use raw milk and I don’t have a $10,000 stainless steel facility, I cannot sell cheese or milk at the farmers’ market. It’s so frustrating!!! Where’s the support for small farms?

    • Ronald Johnson

      Of all the comments here, Gjelten chooses this one to read out rather than the many anti-milk ones. Great journalism, Tom!

    • vince

      There’s plenty of support for budding cheesemakers, you just have to know where to look. Not sure where you’re located, but the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese is a great resource that attracts people from all over the world.

      If you want to start a business selling cheese, you have to be prepared to make the educational and financial investment to do so, as you would for starting any other business. You will have to learn and write up your own Good Manufacturing Practices to be able to show that you’re making a safe product. The reality is that an unlicensed cheesemaker could make someone sick by not using proper production protocols, whether or not they’re using raw or pasteurized milk.

    • vince

      There’s plenty of support for budding cheesemakers, you just have to know where to look. Not sure where you’re located, but the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese is a great resource that attracts people from all over the world.

      If you want to start a business selling cheese, you have to be prepared to make the educational and financial investment to do so, as you would for starting any other business. You will have to learn and write up your own Good Manufacturing Practices to be able to show that you’re making a safe product. The reality is that an unlicensed cheesemaker could make someone sick by not using proper production protocols, whether or not they’re using raw or pasteurized milk.

    • IDConstitutionist

      In Idaho, we are allowed to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products. Unfortunately, the economy is still real poor, so there is not much buying going on. I am considering selling hand cranked ice cream in the summer :D

  • Adam Ton2

    Growing up I drank dairy milk by the gallons… but at 28 I have recently switched to almond milk and enjoy the taste. I can no longer drink milk that become so industrialized.  

  • Stillwaggon

    What is the difference in safety and nutrition between pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized milk?

    • Anonymous

      ultra-pasteurized doesn’t need to be in the fridge.  it’s only there cause the supermarkets wouldn’t sell any if they put it on the shelves next to the twinkies.

  • Anonymous

    Yuck gross… I don’t like milk, I don’t like the taste I don’t like the smell I don’t like the way it feels going down my throat.  I have serious nut allergies, and don’t like soy.  But my doctor wants me to consume more dairy, so I make lots of pudding, eat lots of cottage cheese and the occasional (but more frequently that I admit to) ice cream.

  • Dania

    Since milk is so much more popular in the US than in Europe, has anyone looked at a possible link between milk consumption and obesity?

    • http://profiles.google.com/kim.hartke Kimberly Hartke

      Farmers will tell you that skim milk fattens their pigs. If we stop promoting skim milk here in America, we will likely see a decline in obesity. The fat in milk is where the nutrition is, the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, K are there.

      I drink whole raw milk because the fat hasn’t been damaged by homogenization. I think it is best to seek out unhomogenized, non UHT milk.

    • Yogaduder

      I would pay more attention to vegetable and corn oils a lot of food is cooked in.  That and refined carbs(i.e.- supermarket bread, supermarket pasta, cereal for example)

  • Dania

    Any product claiming to be ‘food’ that does NOT go bad it’s not real food – comment for Samantha and all others alike.

  • Dania

    Any product claiming to be ‘food’ that does NOT go bad it’s not real food – comment for Samantha and all others alike.

  • Xenamerlin

    I grew up with our own meats and veggies and milk and lost much of that as I got older. I went back to raw milk a year ago and love it. Nothing compares to cooking with it and I feel much more healthy. It’s still controversial in Vermont about raw milk but I say “know your farmer”. I know the names of my cows. There are definitely some farms I drive by where I wouldn’t buy milk from due to cleanliness concerns.

  • Sarajoy

    How cool!  I just came in from milking my cow to hear this on the radio. And I drank a cup of raw milk while listening. I can digest this kind of milk.  I make my own cheeses and yogurt.  It’s illegal to sell raw milk here in Washington State, but people ask for it all the time. I’m a stay at home mom in Spokane, WA and this is my hobby.

    • Joe

      Please be careful drinking raw milk.  Not everyone is as careful as your supplier.

      http://www.adn.com/2011/06/27/1939383/28raw-milk.html

      • Yogaduder

        There’s already a lot of conflicting evidence coming about this. The article said the farmer had over a thousand share holders and about 400 pick ups directly from the farm. Haven’t heard of any 1400 outbreaks of campylobacter.  Not even 500, just 4 and some how b/c those 4 drank raw milk from the same farm the blame goes to raw milk. There’s no mention of other possible ways if acquiring campylobacter. If you read on the CDC website about it, there’s many ways not associated with raw milk.  Ways food was prepared or contact with chicken packages in the supermarket. 

    • IDConstitutionist

      It is not true that it is illegal….The following raw milk products are legal in the state of Washington:
      whole milk, cream, skim milk, colostrum, and raw milk cheeses aged for
      at least 60 days.
      http://www.realmilk.com/where5.html#wa

      I have a friend south of Seattle that is delivering unpasteurized milk to some stores up by Seattle.

  • Eric

    I recently moved to Vermont and was very glad to discover that Vermont has producers for many quality milk cheeses, including raw milk chesses. See:  http://www.neighborlyfarms.com/products.html
    There is also a Vermont producer for milk curds. It is sold under the German name for curds “quark”  See: http://www.vermontcreamery.com/quark/

  • kat

    Raw milk is the way to go. I switched to raw milk a few years ago and love it. I buy it directly from the farm. My husband is lactose intolerant and can’t drink pasteurized milk but he has no problem drinking raw milk. Pasteurization changes the molecular structure of the milk (this may be the reason why many can’t digest it) and it kills all the vitamins, and then synthetic vitamins are added back in – thus the Vitamin A, D fortified. We have to pasteurize due to the way milk it shipped and processed however, if you can buy it straight from the farm, raw is the way to go. If you have to choose between pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, go for just pasteurized.

    • Joe

      Raw milk can be dangerous.  Search “raw milk” on the CDC website and you get over 1600 hits.  Before you drink raw milk educate yourself.  Visit the farm and ask questions.

      http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html

      • kat

        Yes, I agree you have to go your research. We visited the farm and talked to the farmers prior to switching to raw milk. Pasteurized milk can be dangerouse too! Back in 2008, a man died and at least one woman misscaried after drinking pasteurized milk.

      • DJ

        Kat is correct – pasteurized or unpasteurized, milk is the perfect medium for growing bacteria.  Of the nine cheese recalls last year, five were of pasteurized cheeses, contaminated AFTER pasteurization.  I don’t drink raw milk myself, but I do make cheese (both raw and pasteurized).  What baffles me is that the anti-raw-milk people put their faith in a process that is only one step in producing milk (or cheese) for consumption – and that raw milk people likewise trust a process that is fraught with risk.  The answer, as I see it, is to quit gambling.  Basic bacteriological testing is easy to do on the farm, not terribly expensive, and far more reliable than the faith invested in both sides of this argument.  Yes, milk can be dangerous – why not prove that it’s not before the consumer gets it?

      • http://profiles.google.com/kim.hartke Kimberly Hartke

        Joe, people should also see http://realmilk.com for information about raw milk, there are many farms that produce it in a safe manner.

        The key is traditional animal husbandry, pasture grazing, no confinement, no grains in the diet.

      • JenZ

        Yeah, ’cause the CDC doesn’t have an agenda.

    • Anonymous

      “Pasteurization changes the molecular structure of the milk (this may be the reason why many can’t digest it) and it kills all the vitamins,”

      What nonsense is this? How does one kill a vitamin? Vitamins aren’t alive.

      Raw milk is dangerous. Many people have been seriously injured or have died because they consumed it. If one insists on consuming dairy products, at least pasteurize the milk first.

      • JenZ

        People drinking raw milk from CONFINEMENT DAIRIES contract diseases, either from the milk, or from the handling of the milk.

        There have been many MANY cases of e.coli and other diseases that have affected hundreds of thousands of people in the last 30 years alone from PASTEURIZED milk.

        My money is on grass fed free range raw, but thanks for the concern.

        • Anonymous

          I’m amused that raw milk crazies are arguing with a vegan. I don’t consume dairy products, since they’re inherently cruel. But if you want to put yourself at greater risk of serious injury or death, amusez-vous bien.

          • Yogaduder

            The CDC website lists more food pathogen outbreaks from various types of meat and vegetables compared to milk.  Milk fits just a smidgen of illnesses.  If we are going by the CDC’s facts, then technically you are “rolling the dice” at an even higher risk when you consume meat or vegetables.  

          • Yogaduder

            Mind you the CDC, doesn’t make any reference to the sources of said items, whether they were commercial or organic.

      • IDConstitutionist

        Actually, according to the CDC site, more people have died from pasteurized milk than have died from unpasteurized milk AND they are now admitting that the numbers they have used for unpasteurized milk drinkers was extremely low.

        • Anonymous

          The CDC hardly endorses consuming raw milk. See, for example:

          “Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you. While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all.” http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and-answers.html

          See also: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html

      • Ellie

        ” Many people have been seriously injured or have died because they consumed it. ”   Citation, please!  The CDC says that 9 million people drink raw milk everyday legally in our country.   You still think its dangerous?  9 million every single day – probably several times a day.  

      • Yogaduder

        Regardless of the words used, pasteurization nixes the nutritional value of milk or anything else that is pasteurized.  It’s part of the reason said pasteurized items have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals that can’t properly be absorbed since they weren’t part of the original makeup of the food. As far as pasteurized milk goes, the only thing that’s still worth a damn is the fat if it’s whole milk and unhomogenized. Personally, the only milk I drink is real raw milk or nothing.

  • Laurie

    My husband and I are dairy farmers in Vermont.  Although we are fortunate that Vermont allows the sale of raw milk, it is required that we post a warning sign, visible to the public, stating, among other things that the consumption of raw milk could cause serious illness and even death.  This is utterly (no pun intended) ridiculous.  In a society that allows the legal sale of everything from alcohol, to cigarettes, to highly caffeinated “energy drinks”, all known to be dangerous to one’s health, the idea that we should have to post a warning such as this is an insult, not only to us as farmers and milk producers, but to the intelligence of the public.  

    There is a lot more to be said on this subject, but I have chores to do so that will have to do!

    • Ed Nardell

      Readers and listeners will not like what I have to say. 

      This is not in reply to Laurie alone, but just to make readers and listeners aware of important research pointing to an significant risk of milk consumption, indeed of all animal protein, but casein in particular. I will not go into detail, but it appears that animal protein stimulates the production of insulin-like hormones in cells that do not initiate cancer or inflammation, but promote it once started. This is especially true of casein and breast cancer.  

      My source is the leading nutrition scholar from Cornell University, T. Colin Campbell, who’s 2006 book, “The China Study” lays out the evidence in detail. Bill Clinton attributes his recent health transformation to this book.  I am a physician at Harvard who would never have dreamed of giving up dairy and meat, but was compelled to do so after reading this book.  Campbell is not selling anything other than the book (no supplements, obviously not dairy or meat industry supported) and is himself a researcher with a long track record of NIH funding behind his arguments.  All I will say is, read the book, please.  

      My personal motivation is my own health, but as importantly, the health of my two grown kids, one of whom is a daughter with a strong genetic history of breast cancer. Until a month ago, I was a dedicated consumer of meat and many dairy products. I am now quite happy on a plant-based diet. Almond milk has replaced dairy milk in my whole-grain cereal and coffee. No big deal.  I enjoyed all kinds of cheese, but not if the China Study is correct – and I think it is. Switching to plants (veggies, fruit, and grains) is great not only for what you are not eating (animal protein) but for what you are eating in its place: antioxidant-rich, vitamin rich, low fat, and lower calorie foods that happen to be delicious. Read the book. 

      Ed

      • http://profiles.google.com/kim.hartke Kimberly Hartke

        Denise Minger on her blog has totally debunked the China Study.

        http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/08/03/the-china-study-a-formal-analysis-and-response/

        The research of nutrition pioneer, Weston A. Price found that animal fats are vitally important in the human diet. The nutrition foundation named after him, however, promotes only animals raised on pasture as safe producers of milk and meat. Go grassfed not vegan!

        To learn more, visit the http://westonaprice.org

      • http://www.facebook.com/kaimms Kai M. Smith

        Ed – thanks for the info. I have wondered if casein is one of the roots of my asthma, which I didn’t have until a couple of years ago (developed at age 31!). I’m interested to look further into that book!

      • Yogaduder

        Ed, Dr. Campbell makes no distinction from commercial or small scale farm.  The reader is lead to believe his research is all inclusive.  Milk-wise, again, no distinction between real raw milk or pasteurized milk. With protein, he doesn’t seem to realize fat is needed for proper protein assimilation.  Google “rabbit starvation”. As far as your choice for almond milk and whole-grain cereal, keep in mind, both items are heavily processed.  I think diet-wise, getting of refined-and-processed everything is a good start.

    • http://www.theassassinbug.com Richard

      Both alcohol and cigarettes are labelled, and one needs to be an adult with proof in order to purchase.

      • Ellie

        But cars and pools are not labeled and we put children in both everyday.  

  • Carey Penney

    I would have liked to hear the guests talk about the process of ultrasonic pasteurization, I’ve read this preserves some of the positive properties of raw milk.
    Also the recent raids of raw milk cheese makers by the FDA. Some of these makers are creating artisanal cheeses within the required guidelines but they have still been the subject of raids that destroy inventory and put these small farms and businesses under extreem financial strain.
    While we do not consume raw milk I wholeheartedly believe in every individual’s right to have that as an option for their diet. 

    • http://www.theassassinbug.com Richard

      The problem isn’t with informed adults making their own decisions. It’s a question of protecting minors and those who come into contact with raw milk drinkers. There have been numerous secondary cases as a result of raw milk contamination.

      • Happyrawmilkproducer

        Hi, I’m Richard, a paid shill for the factory dairy industry. I love my job, sitting in this tiny cubicle at an LA PR firm astroturfing and looking at kiddie porn all day long.

      • JenZ

        Cite one.

      • Ellie

        Richard, do you allow your children to ride in cars or swim in pools?  Those are the top two killers of children in our country (right behind patricide, that is.)  We drive our children to the pool to swim yet you suggest we shouldn’t feed them raw milk because its dangerous.  Are you aware that, by the CDC’s own count, 9 million people legally drink raw milk every day in our country.  9 million everyday, think about that a minute.  There have been NO deaths associated with raw milk in 20 years.  There are children dying on the highway and in swimming pools as I type – several every few minutes.   Do you still think I shouldn’t feed my kids milk from my cow?  Its an absurd proposition.  Raw milk is prove safe by any standard every day 9 million times over.

  • Jennifer

    Cows and other animals are NOT OBJECTS or EQUIPMENT. They are living sentient beings that have they’re own desires in life. None of which is to be enslaved and tortured for their bodily secretions.
    None live full lives. Dairy cows live the longest and at most 3-4 years out of a life that should last 18-20 years. They also suffer in their brief lives, constantly giving birth and losing their babies after less than a day. Milk is meant for calves but is selfishly taken for human consumption. Yes, cows MUST become pregnant in order to give milk, like any other mammal. Those babies become by-products that are turned into profit via VEAL or are sent to feedlots to become beef (they still die in a year or less). If they are female they will live a brutal short life like their mothers.

    • Anonymous

      Right on Jennifer.  Last month, I spotted a pack of wild brown swiss at yellowstone.  It was really something to see them in their natural element.

      • http://www.theassassinbug.com Richard

        There is no such thing as wild Brown Swiss. There could be feral Brown Swiss, but that is something different with its own set of problems.

    • Smiclops

      Yeah, but beef tastes goooood.

      • Jennifer

        No one said it didn’t. That isn’t the point and I’d like to believe you are intelligent enough to know that.  You’re allowed your willful ignorance, but due to your defensive unwarranted response to my comment you’re feeling guilty. No one likes to be wrong or to give up things they like for morality. It’s easy to follow base desires, it’s much harder to think about your actions and there effects on others.

        • Anonymous

          Reaching an alternate decision whether to consume meat or dairy does not make one immoral or ignorant. 

    • adam

      yummy

    • emily

      Jennifer, as a daiy farmer I find your ignorance insulting. I have several cows in my herd over 10 years old. They produce waaay more milk than their calves could ever consume. Why shouldn’t the people who produce your food turn a profit? Do you have a source of income? Why can’t I make enough to live doing what my family has done for six generations? Do some real research on a website not run by brainwashed vegans sometime.

    • Smallfarmer

      I hate when the ignorant vegans pretend that factory farming is the only way to get milk and eggs, because it makes my intelligent vegan friends look like idiots by association.

  • david

    I am happy about this trend in the right (I think) direction of usa food porducers. Live nutritious natural food,a quality product,a better choice for americans. Yea 

  • Mchardy

    How about the colestrum from large ungulates [camels, mares, buffalo etc] and sea mammals [dolphins, whales] important protection for immune deficiencies in neonates.

  • Pingback: The Surprisingly Colorful History Of Milk « 3 Wheeled Cheese

  • Anonymous

    What a dreadful story. The interviewees just waxed poetic about milk production and presented precious little data to support their claims. There was no discussion of cultures that don’t consume large amounts of dairy products, no discussion of the role of farm subsidies in the US dairy industry, and no discussion of people who don’t consume milk. I could barely get through this one.

    • Jennifer

      Exactly. It was like listening to a pro- raw milk advertisement.

    • JenZ

      “The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated”, written by Ron Schmid addresses all of these issues.

      An excellent book.

  • Amius68743

    Im a microbiologist and I do not support the consumption of raw milk. There are too many organisms that could potentially infiltrate a supply of milk and make it dangerous for a consumer. Particularly dangerous is the consumption of raw milk by pregnant women because bacteria in this raw milk could cause spontaineous abortion. The organism I speak of is Listeria monocytogenes and it is not a matter of healthy cows and a clean environment. It could get in to the milk any way.
    I have a friend whos whole family only drinks raw milk. These cows live in an area endemic for Bovine Tuberculosis. Ingestion of this milk could put them at risk for infection.
    This is why I would not recommend ingesting raw milk.

    • Earth Kiss

      Are you stupid? All raw milk is not created equal.  There are certain cows whose milk is good and some cows ( Holstiens) whose milk is not.  Raw milk from these cows AND combined with a diet that is grain (most likely GMO corn and soy) is not good. Those who do raise cows for raw milk, test for pathogens daily. They have to adhere to strict regulations.  Sorry about your friends

      • Cheese-Lovin Wannabe Vegan

        Wow, Earth Kiss. A little over the top in the opening line. Thank you for sharing your good points, maybe a little more kindly next time. I appreciate Amius the microbiologist pointing out dangers. I’m particularly intrigued about the Listeria organism and wondering where else it appear?

    • Smallfarmer

      OMG, you’re right! Hundreds of generations of my ancestors who relied upon raw milk for sustenance (Nordic heritage) are now dead! It must be the raw milk!

    • JenZ

      An anonymous microbiologist posting on a blog…

      You’ll forgive me if I don’t take you too seriously.  42 years of raw milk from grass fed healthy cows, and no Listeria yet…

      I’ll let you know, though.

    • Ellie

      Your friends live in an area endemic for Bovine TB?  Well then they don’t live in the United States.  Did you know that, by the count of the CDC, there are over 9 million people drinking raw milk every day legally in the United States?   Clearly, it can’t be very dangerous.  And if you are a micro biologist you must already know that sandwich meat has a much higher risk of Listeria contamination than milk. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/kaimms Kai M. Smith

        I ate raw cow milk cheese (bought locally made by Amish folk) and sheep’s milk cheese (also local – organic farm) during my pregnancy. My daughter is 5 weeks old and SUPER HEALTHY. I avoided almost ALL commercially processed milk products – something in the milk (small amounts of sulfa drugs?) aggravates my asthma and allergies notably. I also feel that cow’s milk is for baby cows – designed to help them gain gigantic amounts of weight in a short period of time – and limit my intake of milk products. The raw cheeses I do eat, I eat once or twice every few months – in very small amounts as a rare treat. More like a condiment than a food. Furthermore, pasteurization and homogenization denatures the milk molecules and makes them *more* allergenic. As for calcium? I get plenty in fortified nut milks (I love almond milk) and leafy greens – and what I don’t get in food, I get from my prenatal vitamins. On the whole, I worry about what is really ‘hidden’ in commercial milk products. Just knowing that cows are fed recycled chicken poop and waste remains of cotton crops (the most heavily sprayed crop in the US) means bad things for what comes out in the milk.

    • Cathy Raymond

      I wonder at microbiologist’s fascination with the pathogens, and their apparent boredom with fabulous life-enhancing bacteria in milk. Many appear to have “glass is half empty” rather than “glass is half full” approaches. Perhaps we need microbiology to follow suit of psychology, where they are now focusing on the positive traits that have engendered success, rather than the few negative traits that have derailed folks. Let’s sing together..Accentuate the positive…

    • Pixelite66

      Small farms who sell only to local customers do not have a widespread risk of “infiltrating” a milk supply.  Milk should not be like a pipeline anyway.  Many more people are adversely affected by CAFO and factory farming and from industrial milk processing than from the lowly cow’s unadulterated milk.  The benefits outweigh the risks and science has ignored that and the big milk producers do not want us to know.  Pregnant women could choose where their mild comes from too.  Fears like yours are preventing our freedom to choose. 

  • Beth

    For anyone who believes small farmers should be supported:

     June 28, 2011The House of Representatives just passed the 2012 agriculture appropriations bill, which inlcudes a directive that tells USDA to drop the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative and slashes $1 billion from mandatory farm bill conservation funding.  The provision denying any funding for the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative is a direct attack local food and farm systems. The House measure would also slash programs that support farmers who are protecting the soil and water on which our nation’s future productivity depends. Protest these CutsJoin the National Day of Action, Tuesday June 28thCall Your Senators NowParticipate in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s National Day of Action to protest prohibitions on support for local food and huge cuts to farm bill conservation programs in the House of Representative-passed spending bill. Your Senator needs to hear from you that the federal budget shouldn’t be balanced on the back of sustainable agriculture.

    • Quiltlinda

       I really don’t need the Government’s help to Know my Farmer.  Word of mouth to family and friends is a much better way.  Remember when you take money from the Government, they get to dictate to you what they want you to do. 

  • Anthale

    My family doesn’t drink cow milk. It’s too loaded with rGBH and other junk. The milk we have today is not the same milk I drank as a kid. Cow milk is designed for a calf to grow to an 800 lb. animal in one year. It’s very powerful stuff and is very hard on our human bodies. People ask, “what about calcium”? Well, where do you think cows get their calcium from? 

    • Nick

      Even heirloom breeds of cow grow to 800 pounds in a year.  I’ve worked with Devons, which grow to 800-900 pounds in a year with no food other than grass.  Some animals just get big quick!

    • Smallfarmer

      Cows get their calcium mostly from eating grass. Please feel free to experiment with getting yours that way and let me know when your bones collapse.

      • Cathy Raymond

        Yes, I like to say…”My cows eat grass, so I don’t have to.”

  • http://www.theassassinbug.com Richard

    Milk is NOT loaded with rGBH. Even Walmart won’t carry milk with rGBH due to consumers’ concerns (not that they care about rGBH, but about profits). In the grocery stores where I shop you couldn’t find milk with rGBH even if you tried.

    • Cathy Raymond

      What about cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt? We eat more dairy products than fluid milk. It’s hidden there, just like the cheap dried milk from China is hidden and doesn’t have to be labeled.

    • http://kickin-k-ranch.com Tom Kuettner

      Richard your major ice creams are all made with rGBH milk!!  
      Check out this article by John Robins the only son of the CO-Founder of Baskin-Robins Ice Cream 
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/is-your-favorite-ice-crea_b_686629.html

  • Brennan511

    [Too much Dairy?] ugh, my back hurts, lol, heartburn can be scary too, sinus/flu also needs caution.
     As a kid [in California of Wisconsin Parents], we got goats milk from the neighbor for at least a year, the taste? not great. We also switched from 2% to nonfat cows-milk back in the 80′s.
    I LIKE whole milk or half&half, but Only once or twice a week.
    It’s interesting that the sustainance of African Masai drinking milk and Cows-blood goes back to ancient Europe as well i.e. “Yorkshire Pudding” wit some cheddar, jack or Colbey, roquefort; and soucream which “keeps” for days! unrefridgerated [mild weather/clean].

  • Ronald Johnson
  • Zlaket

    The very first sentence of this article has an error (I assume)- “scared” should be “sacred”- right?

  • Ellie

    If you enjoy raw milk or organic local vegetables, please join the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  They support small sustainable humane organic farmers.  They fight GMOs, large corporate industrial “farms”, and cafo dairies.

    http://www.ftcldf.org

    • Cathy Raymond

      Thank you Ellie! We know that the saving grace for many small family farms is to sell raw milk or distribute through cow-or goat shares. It gets them back in touch with loyal customers, and it helps them economically. They can have fewer animals, less grain expense (since we all want our animals on grass), and more money. Cutting out the middle man makes more money for the farmers. Direct-to-consumer makes sense for so many reasons!  

  • Gina

    I know my dairy farmer and he LOVES his cows. He loves them so much he tells his customers heartwarming stories about each one in his email. 

    And anyone who says raw milk is dangerous is probably not enjoying scrumptious food of any type. Grassfed raw mik is like nectar and it gave me back my health–when I thought I was going to die. When I couldn’t feel my limbs and doctors wanted to give me prescriptions for $800 a month, raw milk absolutely healed me and saved my life. I feel whole again, like a human being. Without it the medical system would have left me disabled. Raw milk is natural and life giving.   

  • Tybotybo

    Regarding the question of why milk consumption is traditionally so high in US compared to other countries: the influence of the dairy industry lobby.

    Just look at the new USDA replacement for the food pyramid, “My Plate”, with it’s “dairy” circle off to the side of the plate.  Why not a “calcium rich” circle that includes green veggies that have as much (and more easily absorbed) calcium like kale and broccoli along side dairy products, or why not include it in the protein group?  Because the industry lobbyists wouldn’t stand for it. 

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    I am fascinated by the comments posted on the topic of milk consumption. If after thousands of years of consumption, humans cannot find a practical and scientific consensus on the value of , or morality of , or { insert word here } of…, milk consumption and production , the evidence revealed in the post below suggest that we humans may well be doomed to live in perpetual ignorance

  • Xiaokang
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