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Thread: Raw dairy safety and tubercolosis page

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    Sigmoid's Avatar
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    Raw dairy safety and tubercolosis

    Mark wrote in one post that "our mechanized manufacturing standards are arguably a lot cleaner and safer than a century ago, when you had to worry about TB in your butter".

    Now washing the udders of cows, and keeping milk from contamination is one thing. Tubercolosis is a horrible illness, extremely resilient and takes months of antibiotic treatment to weed out*, and carries the potential for immeasurable damage. Add to this that cows can carry it undetected, and pass it on through their milk.
    * - Unless you have the misfortune to catch a resistant strain, in which case you're just going to wither away and die within a few years, like people used to in the XIX. century.

    So I'm wondering if we still have to worry about TB in our butter.

    I'm not just being FDA brainwashed or something. My grandmother is blind to one eye, which she lost to tubercolosis after drinking raw milk. In the late 1970s. Not a hundred years ago.

    So I wonder if there are any TB or dairy farming experts among us who could enlighten me about what the true state of food safety is concerning raw dairy. If a herd is tested for TB, how reliable is that test? If a farm says they test their cows, how much can one rely on that?
    I'm sure raw milk is better than UP or simply heated milk. That said, I'm not sure the extra nutritional value of non-denatured proteins are worth losing ones eyesight over, or in a milder case, going through months of (extremely unhealthy) antibiotic therapy.
    Last edited by Sigmoid; 01-21-2014 at 10:27 AM.

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    if you personally deem the risk unacceptable than don't expose yourself to it.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

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    Sigmoid's Avatar
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    Well, that's what I'm doing, but to put this in context, I'm not trying to "make a case" against raw dairy. I'm honestly curious about the actual, objective risk, that's why I'm hoping there might be someone with relevant education and/or experience in the field.

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    Check our Kresser's take: Raw Milk Reality
    Some of you may die, but that is a risk I'm willing to take.

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    I was under the impression that it is a lot better if it is made into cheese.

    I wonder if cultured butter is the same?

    I assumed the culturing out-competed the pathogens?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmoid View Post
    So I wonder if there are any TB or dairy farming experts among us who could enlighten me about what the true state of food safety is concerning raw dairy. If a herd is tested for TB, how reliable is that test? If a farm says they test their cows, how much can one rely on that?
    I'm sure raw milk is better than UP or simply heated milk. That said, I'm not sure the extra nutritional value of non-denatured proteins are worth losing ones eyesight over, or in a milder case, going through months of (extremely unhealthy) antibiotic therapy.
    Pasturisation only became necessary during WW1, when all the milkers were conscripted into the army, and the people left to do the milking didn't understand the proper way to keep milk sanitary. By the end of the war it was embedded as standard practice and we've had it ever since.

    We source our milk from a local farmer that we trust.

    The risks of raw milk are greatly overblown.

    Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Dangerous?
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    We buy raw milk from a local dairy farm, but we do not use only raw milk. It's just too expensive to completely replace all of our milk needs. The little dairy farm we use is in Massachusetts and you have to contact them the day before to buy what you need. We find the difference between raw and pasteurized to be significant. Our daughter will only drink the raw. Pasteurized milk goes rancid, and it does it quickly. Raw milk goes sour, still usable, and it takes a lot longer.
    Some of you may die, but that is a risk I'm willing to take.

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    Sigmoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Timber View Post
    Pasteurized milk goes rancid, and it does it quickly. Raw milk goes sour, still usable, and it takes a lot longer.
    Actually, that's not an inherent trait of the milk, it's just from the missing fauna. Pasteurized or UP milk, when you mix some sour cream with living flora into it, goes sour in the exact same way as raw milk would.

    Honestly, the linked website didn't quite convince me at all, it feels a bit like self-serving illusionism with numbers. (No wonder that dairy ranks rock bottom among causes of food borne infection, given that almost all the dairy consumed in the US is pasteurized.)

    Anyway, thanks for the viewpoints, I think I'll keep sticking to safe dairy.

    As for when pasteurization became necessary, I think it's a good idea to think about just how widespread tubercolosis was before WWI. It was an everyday phenomenon. I'm exaggerating, but 2 out of 3 famous writers suffered from the thing. I'm sure some of it was human to human infection, but you know... maybe one or two of them would have lived longer if they drank UP milk.

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