Got Raw Milk? The Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking Raw Milk
When it comes to raw milk, there are lots of misconceptions. In some cases, people even feel a little fearful of raw milk. Some people believe raw milk is contaminated with bacteria, or that it’s less safe to drink than the packaged, pasteurized stuff they see at the grocery store. What many people don’t know is that drinking raw milk can be good for you. In fact, there are many health benefits of raw milk.
Additionally, buying raw milk from local farms is a great way to support sustainable agriculture and keep your money in your community.
In this blog, we’ll bust some of the common myths surrounding raw milk. We’ll also discuss the health benefits of raw milk purchased from a local farm. Finally, we’ll outline the rigorous bacteria testing required for the sale of raw milk.
Let’s dive in.
What is Raw Milk?
Before we discuss why raw milk is so good for you, let’s talk about what raw milk actually is.
Put simply, raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized (a process that uses heat to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that may be present in the milk).
While pasteurization may sound like a good thing, it actually kills or inactivates many of the beneficial compounds in dairy products.
Because of this, non-pasteurized, raw milk is easier for most people to digest than processed milk. It also contains higher levels of calcium, iron, Vitamins A, D, and K, phosphorus, zinc, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and Omega-3 fatty acids than pasteurized milk. (if im not mistaken, most pasteurized milk does not contain many of these things but raw milk does)
Finally, raw milk is rich in lactoperoxidase, which is a naturally-occurring antimicrobial agent.
Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?
One of the primary concerns regarding raw milk is safety. People tend to assume that raw milk contains dangerous pathogens and bacteria because it isn’t pasteurized.
In reality, though, those assumptions are outdated and unfounded.
Here’s what you need to know about the safety of raw milk:
- Not all raw milk is the same. Some raw milk is produced as “intended for pasteurization.” This milk comes from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which force animals to live in cramped, inhumane, and unsanitary conditions. When milk comes from conditions like these, it’s usually unsafe to consume in its raw form. Unfortunately, most of the agencies that take a stance against raw milk do not differentiate raw milk produced as “intended for pasteurization” from raw milk produced for human consumption on small family farms.
- High-quality raw milk is a low-risk food. When raw milk comes from a clean, ethical environment that’s designed to produce milk for human consumption, it’s healthy, sanitary, and safe to drink.
- Raw milk undergoes rigorous bacteria testing. Before hitting retail shelves, raw milk undergoes rigorous testing. In Texas, for example, raw milk producers must submit their products for testing twice every six months. These tests evaluate milk quality and the presence of potentially dangerous pathogens. When producers collect raw milk for retail sale,that milk must undergo quarterly testing for bacteria, including salmonella, listeria, e. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxin, and antibiotics. Milk that passes these tests must have a standard limit count of 20,000mL during bacteria testing.
The Health Benefits of Drinking Raw Milk
The US approved raw milk for human consumption and considered it safe enough for therapeutic use from 1893-1999.
During this time, hospitals around the country used raw milk to treat diseases, including hypertension, edema, tuberculosis, and diabetes.
In more recent years, numerous studies have supported the quality and safety of raw milk. With that in mind, here are some of the health benefits of raw milk:
- Raw milk lowers the rates of allergies and asthma in children.
- Consuming raw milk promotes healthy pulmonary function.
- Raw milk reduces the risk of respiratory infections in kids and may protect against conditions like eczema.
- High-quality raw milk contains protease enzymes, which allow the body to effectively digest proteins. It also contains lipase enzyme, which allows the body to digest fat.
How to Make Sure The Raw Milk You Buy is Safe to Drink
Interested in consuming raw milk but want to make sure you buy a safe product? A little due diligence will go a long way.
Our top safety recommendation is simple:
Buy raw milk from a local farm that cares about its cows. (and your safety above all else. And can provide test results for their raw milk).
Local dairy producers prioritize the health of their dairy cows. They also care deeply about the quality of the products they produce.
Their milk undergoes rigorous, routine bacteria testing, and you can trust that the products you buy from them will be fresh and high-quality.
Our Standard for Producing Raw Milk
Here at CT Ranch, we produce raw milk and a variety of other raw dairy products. In fact, we’re the only farm in Texas that offers raw butter to the members of our Private Membership Association! We make all our dairy products with milk & cream we collect from our A2 Brown Swiss cows.
Our farm has provided raw milk and dairy products since 2014, and we pride ourselves on creating high-quality, ethical products produced in a sustainable and intentional way.
We milk our cows twice a day, cool the milk immediately, and usually sell it within hours of bottling it. For your safety and peace of mind,
we adhere to rigorous cleanliness standards. We also keep our cows, milking equipment, and barns sanitary and safe for both cows and people.
Our milk tests verify the cleanliness of our product. In fact, we test our milk in our on-site lab multiple times each week, and send our milk to a third party testing facility each quarter for testing as well. We test our milk much more frequently than Grade A Raw Milk Standards require and strive to have numbers substantially lower than raw or pasteurized milk requirements.
We test often because we believe deeply in safe milking practices. We also want to back the safety of our milking practices up with our dairy test numbers and the health benefits of raw milk.
To better understand the CT Ranch process and how we exceed the state's standards to ensure safety - check out our "Raw Milk Safety" page on our website!
Experience the Health Benefits of Raw Milk With our Raw, A2 Dairy Products
Want to harness the benefits of raw milk for you and your family?
Shop our selection of A2 dairy products now. Our raw milk and cheeses are delicious and nutritious. Plus, every purchase you make from our farm store helps support local agriculture!
(If you want more information about raw milk, check out our recent blog on the topic).