(NaturalNews) Many state and federal food regulators are notorious for employing selective, biased enforcement of food safety protocols within the food industry. In order to appease big industry's lobbyists and other political lapdogs, the nation's food safety experts repeat, ad nauseum, unscientific and illegitimate talking points in favor of the industry giants that pull the purse strings behind the scenes. When it comes to the issue of raw milk, the endless charade of bastardized data and phony fear-mongering over its safety is never in short supply among those that want it outlawed.
Milk has been a staple of the human diet for many millennia. Raw milk, that is. Milk had always been drunk in its pure, unpasteurized form prior to early twentieth-century America. It is a rich, whole food packed with beneficial colloidal minerals, enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, probiotics, and healthy fats. Milk from healthy, pasture-raised animals is a vibrant, life-giving food that not only bolsters the immune system but fends off countless degenerative diseases that were virtually unheard of just a century ago.
Despite popular belief on the subject, raw milk is not inherently dangerous and pasteurization was not invented in order to make milk safe. On the contrary, milk pasteurization was borne in reaction to the filthy "swill" milk system that resulted after the onset of the domestic liquor industry. Louis Pasteur, the man credited with inventing pasteurization, actually invented it for preserving wine and beer, not milk.
Following the elimination of America's whiskey imports after the War of 1812, domestic grain distilleries began popping up across the nation's landscape. Distillery owners would house cows next to their distilleries and feed them the slop byproduct of whiskey production. Since the slop had no nutritional value, it caused the animals to get emaciated and diseased, leading to the need for pasteurization.
Because many people and their physicians recognized raw milk as an essential nutrient both in health promotion, disease prevention, and disease treatment, concerned citizens worked together to establish certified raw milk dairies that would produce wholesome, raw milk just like what was available prior to the "swill" milk system that was emerging. Thus, both swill milk and certified raw milk were produced side by side for a time.
Slowly but surely the industrialization of our nation led to increasing amounts of filthy milking operations taking advantage of pasteurization to hide their tainted milk. As the mass production of milk increased, smaller dairies began to increase their operations and pasteurize their milk in order to increase volume and profits. Eventually raw milk would be unfairly blamed for all sorts of outbreaks and diseases, causing public opinion to favor pasteurized milk as superior to raw milk.
The interesting thing about all the raw milk hubbub is the fact that pasteurized milk has a far worse track record of contamination and outbreaks than raw milk, despite propaganda claiming otherwise. A few examples include:
1983 - 49 Massachusetts residents contracted listeriosis from pasteurized milk and 14 of them died. The New England Journal of Medicine concluded in 1985 that since there was no evidence that improper pasteurization caused the outbreak, the legitimacy of pasteurization as an effective eradicator of harmful pathogens was in question.
1985 - Nearly 200,000 people were estimated to have been infected with salmonella from a single dairy's 2 percent pasteurized milk. Investigation into this case revealed that the same strain of salmonella had repeatedly been contaminating milk after it was pasteurized for at least ten months prior to the outbreak. Up until that time, it was the largest outbreak of salmonella ever identified in the United States.
1994 - 224,000 people contracted salmonella infection from Schwan's ice cream according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The pasteurized ice cream premix had been contaminated during transport, leading to an even larger outbreak of salmonella than the one in 1985.
2006 - More than 1,600 prisoners in eleven California prison facilities contracted campylobacter (C. jejuni) from tainted pasteurized milk.
2007 - Three elderly individuals and an unborn child died in Massachusetts from pasteurized milk that was contaminated with listeriosis. Investigators eventually traced the pathogen to some artificial flavorings that had been added to the milk following its pasteurization.
In addition to cases such as these, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has recorded 155 outbreaks from pasteurized dairy products between 1990 and 2006, all of which are published in the group's 2008 annual report.
Raw milk, on the other hand, is continually targeted and implicated in all sorts of outbreaks despite evidence proving that raw milk was the culprit. Oftentimes when there is a food outbreak, regulators will ask those who became ill if they consumed any raw dairy products prior to the incident. Say 11 percent said they did, that data automatically goes into reports that are used to implicate raw dairy as being "associated" with outbreaks, even if the true source of contamination was from meat or some other food. The 89 percent who had not consumed raw dairy are ignored and the data is manipulated and used in an attack against raw dairy products.
The truth is, raw milk and dairy products are among the healthiest, safest, and most complete whole foods available. Even Forbes.com mentioned raw milk in a story about the healthiest foods on earth, noting that raw, organic milk from grass-fed cows contains very high levels of conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) and beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus. Grass-fed meat was also mentioned in the series due to its high omega-3 and CLA content.
Whether or not regulators, scientists, and endocrinologists want to admit it, pasteurized milk product is drastically different from raw, grass-fed milk. It is also dangerous and harmful to health. Pasteurized milk is robbed of most of its nutritional content and is, according to much research, responsible at least in part for the countless degenerative diseases that many people suffer. It contains none of the enzymes present in raw milk such as lactase, the enzyme responsible for properly digesting lactose. For this reason, many people who are "lactose intolerant" assume that they cannot consume dairy products. The truth is, most of these people would be fine consuming raw dairy products and would probably experience improved health.
Homogenization, the process by which the fat globules in milk are forced through a straining system that breaks them down into smaller particles so they do not float to the top of the milk, is another process by which store-bought milk product is rendered toxic and harmful to human health. By altering the fat globules, milk fat is essentially turned into a trans-isomer fatty acid, or "trans fat".
As the fight continues to prevent access to raw milk, it is important to be armed with the truth that is often skewed or left out of official statistics and reports that are designed to scare people from consuming raw, unpasteurized dairy products. Regulators continue to intimidate and threaten farmers even in states where raw milk can legally be sold and they get away with it because most people are uninformed about the truth. Fortunately, the raw milk movement is rapidly growing, the truth is getting out, and the tides are slowly turning in favor of this excellent superfood.
Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.