🐄🥛The Fast and Dirty History of Raw Milk
October 11, 2023
An editorial cartoon in Harper's Weekly depicts the deadly consequences of swill milk. (August 17, 1878 / HathiTrust)
Forewarning: This is a super fast run down of the history of raw milk. I absolutely could not cover all the details in one newsletter. But if you are curious to take a deep dive check out the links at the bottom of this newsletter.
Ah, raw milk. The infamous topic that divides even the most peaceful communities. Some swear that it's a sacred nutrient-dense elixir, while others claim it's a dangerous concoction of life-threatening bacteria.
Well, let me take you on a little journey back in time to discover the origin of this never-ending debate….Time Travel Commence!
Back in the early 1800s, cows were living their best lives, munching on grass and producing high-quality grass fed milk. And then came the Industrial Revolution. Suddenly, a greedy entrepreneur had a brilliant idea: why not confine these poor cows in a factory-like setting and feed them whiskey byproduct? Sounds like a recipe for success, right?
Wrong. This "swill milk" made many people sick and even led to infant deaths. But did the big dairy industry do anything to fix the issue? Of course not. They simply added some plaster, chalk, sugar, eggs, starch, flour, and pigments to mask the symptoms. Yum.
Fast forward a bit and we have Louis Pasteur promoting pasteurization as a way to make milk safe for consumption. Then Nathan Strauss, co-owner of Macy's, decided to create milk factories that sterilized diseased milk. And the big dairy industry used its influence and wealth to advertise pasteurized milk to the public, including fake news articles in popular magazines. Ah, good old capitalism!
But wait, there's more! During the same time period Dr. Henry Coit believed in clean raw milk production and created the Medical Milk Commission to ensure healthy raw milk from small farms. However, this milk cost four times more than the dirty kind, so we can guess which one the public chose. And the debate goes on and on, with big agri-business pushing pasteurized milk and small farms fighting for their right to produce and consume healthy raw milk.
Nowadays, raw milk laws differ from state to state, and even though a farm can be legally certified for raw milk production, selling it across state lines is a big no-no.
The Future of Raw Dairy & The Rise of eCommerce and Delivery Services
Thanks to the rise of eCommerce and delivery services, many state laws regarding food production may no longer be as relevant. This has made it easier for producers of raw dairy to distribute their products in state and in some cases across state lines, regardless of local laws. However, this has also raised concerns about the safety of raw dairy products, as there may be less oversight when it comes to ensuring quality and hygiene.
Don't Let the Black Market Win
If raw milk is not legalized, it may lead to the rise of black market milk, which is potentially dangerous. And let's be real, nobody wants to buy their milk from a sketchy guy in a dark alleyway. It's better to have safe and regulated raw dairy products available for those who want them
Modern Technology to the Rescue!
But fear not, dear readers! Modern technology has made it possible to produce ultra-low-risk raw dairy products that meet even the strictest safety standards. So, why not enjoy all the health benefits of raw dairy without the risk of getting sick?
A Matter of Personal Choice
Ultimately, both sides of the raw dairy debate have valid points, and policies should be created that allow for basic human choice in consuming what they view as healthy. After all, isn't that what freedom is all about? So, if you're a fan of raw dairy, go ahead and enjoy it - just make sure you're getting it from a reputable source that adheres to strict safety standards.
The Bottom Line
While there are valid concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk produced in unsanitary conditions, clean raw milk can be a perfectly safe and nutritious food choice. With advanced refrigeration, transportation, and testing technologies, it's possible to mitigate the risks associated with raw dairy. So go ahead and enjoy your raw milk latte or cheese plate, just remember to do your research and make sure you're buying from a trusted producer. But if you're still not convinced, there's always good old-fashioned pasteurized milk - no judgment here.
At CT Ranch, we believe in raw milk and all its benefits. Even if the law restricts us from selling it across state lines, we will continue to provide high-quality A2/A2 raw dairy for your family.
And who knows, maybe one day the government will finally realize that milk is perfectly safe just the way nature intended it to be, raw!
Want to take a deep dive into the history of raw milk? Start here with this three part video series from Nourishing Liberty.