Got (raw) milk?
Got (raw) milk?

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I love milk. A fresh glass straight from a pasture-raised cow still gives me a shiver every time.

Rich in healthy bacteria, and containing the unique flavour and blueprint from the grasses and animal that it came from, pasture-raised raw milk is a very special food.

I first came across raw milk when I was travelling in the United States several years ago. At that time you could purchase it at supermarkets and it seemed about as normal as buying a loaf of bread.

Anecdotally, I had been told that raw milk was easier to digest compared to modern pasteurized and homogenized milk. This proved to be true for me.

Pasture-raised, whole raw milk – I call it real milk – is a natural super-food that has nourished civilizations for more than 30,000 years. It is not pasteurized or homogenised.

It comes from free-range, healthy, grass-fed cows, and in my view it is safe to drink. Today, this type of milk can be bought from supermarkets, farm gates, markets and even vending machines in many countries, but not Australia.

Pasture-raised, raw milk has been shown to have superior nutrition benefits to conventional pasteurized milk. It is a natural living food, containing live enzymes, health-promoting probiotic bacteria, and immune-enhancing components that are not present in conventional pasteurized milk.

Children raised on raw whole milk generally grow up strong and robust, free from allergies, asthma and eczema.

Not all milk is created equal. Milk sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows have limited access to pasture, are intensively farmed, or are fed unnatural feed (brewery waste, bakery scraps or large quantities of grains), can pose a health risk. This milk requires pasteurization to ensure its safety.

As with mothers’ milk, the milk of any animal will be influenced by its diet and lifestyle. The health of the cow will determine the quality and safety of the milk.

If you wish to consume raw milk, look for pasture-raised products from a farm that you know and trust, and which has sanitary practices. Just like any food, raw milk needs to be bottled and stored correctly. Countries where it is sold from the supermarket, farm gate or local vending machine (which is now becoming popular throughout Europe) have been able to achieve this.

As the black market for raw milk sales in Australia continues to grow, food safety officials must recognize the consumer demand for the product and be willing to accommodate it.

Raw milk is not just a food safety issue, it is a health issue, a political issue, and also a human rights issue.

Australia has the tightest regulations on raw milk sales and consumption compared to any other country. A louder voice of consumer demand will be the impetus for this to change.

More raw milk information and recipes can be found in my book, Frugavore: How to Grow Your Own, Buy Local, Waste Nothing & Eat Well.

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