Down on the Farm

A Case for Raw Milk

by Gerald & Tina Carlin

 

A bill was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives “to prohibit Federal interference with the interstate traffic of unpasteurized milk and milk products that are packaged for direct human consumption.” H. R. 5410, the “Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2019” was introduced by Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky. As of December 12, 2019, the bill had 17 co-sponsors, including none from New York and only one from Pennsylvania, Congressman Lloyd Smucker from Lancaster County.

So why is this important? There are currently 40 states in the U.S. that allow legal access to raw milk through sales for human consumption, raw pet milk, or herd share agreements. The bill would prevent the federal government from restricting sales across state lines if the states allow raw milk sales.

Currently, two states adjacent to Pennsylvania do not allow raw milk sales, New Jersey and Delaware.

The Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (POM) went into effect in 1924 and soon became the standard practice. Pasteurization was intended to prevent diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. In 1973, the federal government made pasteurization mandatory for all milk involved in interstate commerce. With the advances in stainless steel tanks, milking equipment, refrigeration, sanitation, and inspections, pasteurization of milk has become less necessary, if it is needed at all. Farmers who have raw milk permits undergo more rigorous inspections and are held to a higher standard than conventional dairy farmers. This ensures that the raw milk that they produce is safe for human consumption.

Pasteurization of milk damages enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile proteins and kills some beneficial bacteria. Now Ultra-Heat Treated (UHT) milk is becoming more common. Some call this “dead milk.” This practice sterilizes the milk, allowing a shelf life of several months. Even most organic milk is now UHT. Not all milk that is UHT is labeled as such. There have been reports of conventional pasteurized milk lasting several months without souring. Homogenization of milk breaks up the milk fat and makes it less digestible and less beneficial to the human body.

Fairlife, now 100% owned by Coca Cola as of January 3, 2020, is both Ultra-filtered (UF) and UHT. Ultra-filtration forces milk through membranes under high pressure, removing lactose, fat, and some other nutrients. The protein is retained, but the question remains has the protein been altered by this process?

Milk has been called “nature’s perfect food.” Dairy farmers take pride in producing a quality product. They want high quality, nutritious milk, and dairy products available to the public. Yet, when milk leaves the farm it often becomes a series of industrial ingredients. Milk is taken apart and components are used and assembled in various ways to make dairy products in a much different way than in the past.

Because of this, a growing number of people are realizing the health benefits of drinking raw milk and eating dairy products made from raw milk. Many who can not tolerate pasteurized and homogenized milk have no problem consuming raw milk. In spite of known benefits of raw milk, federal and state governments and the “dairy industry” stand in the way of people having access to this nutritious product. Furthermore, they stand in the way of small dairy farms being able to market directly to the public, thus hindering the economic viability of small farms.

Gently pasteurized cream-line milk is the best alternative to raw milk. Any on-farm processed milk or dairy products are likely superior to the commercially processed varieties and the money goes to the local farmer and helps the local community.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor H. R. 5410 which would be a step in the right direction.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Gerald & Tina Carlin are the owner/operators of Carlin Farm and the 4 Seasons Farm Market. The 4 Seasons Farm Market (located on the farm at 3064 SR 3005, Meshoppen, PA 18630) is open year-round. Call 570-833-4592 for hours & directions.

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