Mack was excited to talk to me about the milk he's buying. On Sunday afternoons, he and a handful of other people meet a farmer in a parking lot to buy raw milk. He said they gather around while he sells it to them out of pickle or mason jars. They bring back their clean ones each week. Mack heard about this just word-of-mouth, and he really loves the raw milk.
He asked if I drank raw milk and what I thought about it. I told him that I drank raw milk from our farm from age 0-18, but then stopped when I moved to college. We don't drink raw milk regularly at our house - me because I drink skim. I consume a lot of milk, and I like to drink mine minus the fat. The kids and Kris drink 2% or whole.
Though my kids have raw milk from time to time at their grandparents' house, we don't have it here, mostly because I like the pasteurization process.
Conventional farmers and the organizations I belong to have policies against the sale of raw milk for milk safety in general. People don't get sick from pasteurized milk. But if people get sick or die from raw milk, we'll all take a hit. It's like when tomatoes and cantaloupes were sickening people - everyone just stops buying them! Some people stop forever ... and dairy farmers don't want that to happen.
The bacteria that cause concern are E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. Since the entire milking process is so sterile, it seems unlikely, but the bacteria could possibly come from the cow's skin, the environment, or an insect. Pasteurization kills bacteria by heating up the milk to 161 degrees for 15 seconds.
If people want raw milk, they're going to get raw milk. I'm happy they're drinking milk, period.
I mean, it's not often at a celebratory, karaoke-centered, stylish party that the drink people are raving about is ... milk. You know, unless it's all dairy farmers.