“Raw milk” is milk in its natural state, Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy, explains in this excellent article. It comes from the cow, without heat treatment or pasteurization, which is used to extend shelf life and to immobilize certain bacteria.
But people, milk, and bacteria can coexist. It is normal for milk to contain some bacteria, and human societies have been benefiting from these bacteria in milk for thousands of years. Fermented milks, for instance, have superior nutrient value and digestibility. Today these products are marketed as containing “probiotics,” as if this is something brand new.
Yet, bacteria have always existed in natural milk. In fact, bacteria:
- Are earth’s oldest life forms
- Are everywhere
- Are essential for human survival
- Comprise more than 90 percent of the cells in the human body
Public obsession with killing bacteria misdirects efforts at improving public health -- because relatively few bacteria are pathogenic. By constantly sterilizing, pasteurizing, and disinfecting, the balance is actually tipped in favor of the pathogens.
It is difficult to get at the truth because so much research on milk is little more than advertising -- self-interested and commercial. But you can educate yourself directly and make health choices without the intervention of so-called “experts.”
If you do, you will find that raw milk, loaded with beneficial bacteria, is the better choice.