Yesterday evening, I commented on the state’s new raw milk law. All raw milk producers in Victoria must pasteurize or add a bittering agent, so the milk is not drinkable.
The current Victorian law permits the sale of raw milk only for bath purposes. All raw milk must be labeled ‘for cosmetic uses. Some pro-raw-milk people are happy with this loophole, as it allows consumers to access raw milk. After all, no one is fine with you for choosing to drink your’ cosmetic raw milk. However, I have been fighting this status quo for some time and campaigning to recognize raw milk in Australia as food.
Two weeks ago, a prominent ABC journalist reached out to me to discuss the other side of the story and the health benefits of raw milk. The 7.30 program is a national news-based show that examines current issues. Unfortunately, the program canceled the interview because more pressing stories’ had been brought up.
Yesterday, I was delighted to receive a call from an ABC journalist asking me questions about raw milk. I also asked whether I recommend raw milk to my clients. I also wanted to know my thoughts on the government’s decision to ban raw milk consumption.
My dismay was not surprising, but I wasn’t surprised as I know the media’s manipulation tactics. I have been a marketing manager in Britain for many years and have dealt with regional and national media.
I will now write what should have appeared in the news last night.
Why do people drink raw milk?
Raw milk is a choice people make for their health and the environment. Let’s take a look at each.
Raw milk has many health benefits.
Raw milk has received a lot of attention from bloggers. While I applaud people’s efforts to promote raw milk, some claims that it is good for you don’t hold up to close examination of scientific literature. This is problematic as raw-milk opponents use these quotes to lump all raw milk benefits under the ‘not scientifically-proven banner.
There is evidence to suggest that raw milk has at least three benefits.
The first is to strengthen one’s immune system. A large European study, completed in 2015, found that raw milk consumption and upper respiratory infections like middle ear infections and colds in young children had a significant inverse relationship ( 1).
The same academic group had previously found that raw milk could protect against allergies such as asthma and eczema. Raw milk opponents have discredited this study, as it did not specify whether the milk had been heated at home before drinking. This confounded results.
Raw milk could have an immune-boosting effect due to its high lactoferrin levels. This is a protein that inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria and encourages probiotic bacteria growth. The lactoferrin levels in raw milk are almost 3000 times greater than those in boiled milk and nearly 8000 times more than in UHT milk.
Raw milk has two benefits. It comes from cows who are fed on pasture, which is the natural food for herbivores. Conjugated linoleic (CLA), a form of beneficial fatty acid, is higher in grass-fed cows ( 5). Raw milk from dairy cows is healthier than those that are fed grains.
CLA has been shown to have several health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity and epigenetic changes involving pPARgama (a fat regulation gene), colorectal protection, and higher lean body mass.
Raw milk has higher levels of vitamin C (a heat-sensitive vitamin), though critics quickly point out that it isn’t a good source. It may also have higher fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E levels, likely due to the increased nutrition in cows’ diets.
Clinical evidence shows that thousands worldwide are experiencing amazing health benefits by switching to raw or fermented milk products. People report that hay fever, sinus infections and eczema have all been greatly reduced or resolved by raw milk.
In my clinical practice, many mothers have significantly improved their child’s eczema and recurrent ear infections.
Raw milk has environmental benefits.
Raw milk is a popular choice for many people. These people are knowledgeable and well-informed and are keen to connect with their local farmers of milk and food.
Raw milk allows people to see the process of producing the milk they consume. Talk to your farmer to learn how the animals are treated and fed and how the milk is made. Also, they can find out how sick animals are taken care of. They reduce their environmental impact by supporting local farming practices encouraging land regeneration, and reducing food miles.
Raw milk drinkers are well aware of the unsavory practices in large dairies. They prefer traditional farming methods that don’t apply tail docking, bobby-calf slaying, and other stressful living conditions to their animals. Dairy cows are exposed to unhealthy, painful milking, which leaves them exhausted and infected with mastitis. This infection must be treated with antibiotics on an ongoing basis. Commercial milk contains ‘acceptable levels of antibiotic residue’. These levels are acceptable.
There are many microbiome-imbalance-related diseases. These include obesity, diabetes and autoimmune conditions. Depression and IBS are all connected to dysbiotic conditions in our gut. Chronic exposure to low-dose antibiotic residue such as the one found in commercial milk affects our gut microbiome, particularly when switching on genes in our gut microbes that make them antibiotic-resistant.
There are many health benefits to drinking raw milk, as you can see.
The problem in Australia is that bottled milk is not safe. Why? Because the government does not recognize it as food or whole food.
Although the current ruling that renders raw milk unpalatable will certainly discourage people from purchasing it at health food shops, it won’t stop people from trying this delicious food.