After the milk has been homogenised it gets pasteurised. Which provides the next set of problems. Pasteurisation changes calcium into an insoluble form which we can no longer absorb. The old myth that you can get calcium from milk is very shaky indeed and we have major increases in osteoporosis even though plenty of milk is consumed.Furthermore, the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research has shown that pasteurisation destroys the vitamin A, around 38 % of the vitamin B complex, and about 50 % of the vitamin C content of milk. Research has also shown that an anti-cancer metabolite contained in raw milk is destroyed in pasteurisation, and many enzymes are also damaged.
A recent study by Auckland medical researchers, published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, also suggests a strong link between consuming milk with A1 beta-casein – which most New Zealanders consume each day – and heart disease and Type 1 diabetes.
While pasteurising may well ruin several valuable components in milk, homogenising makes it much worse.
Now you wonder what to do and you are scared of raw milk with all the bad publicity it has received.
My suggestion is: Do you own research and choose your milk provider careflully.
Here my thoughts to the topic to help you find the right milk. Not every dairy is able to supply raw milk to customers. The milk needs to come from healthy cows that spend their day on a pasture and their main food supply is grass with the supplement of hay in winter or during dry spells. The teats need to be thoroughly cleaned before milking to avoid contaminats to go into the milk and chilled after milking.
Dairy cows should not be confined for the majority of the day, fed grain and have diseases.
The problem with raw milk arose when people drank milk from dairy farms that fed grain to their cows, kept them indoors and/or did not have a cleaning regime before milking.
In my opinion a dairy herd with over 100 cows can not supply raw milk to customers as the thorough cleaning and disinfection of the udder would take too long.
But with a bit of kiwi ingenuity an automatic cleaning programme for teats could be done before the cows walk into the dairy shed.
Something like this just for the udder and teats :-)
A large herd also causes environmental issues and therefore a milk producer with around 20 - 60 cows is ideal to supply a community with fresh milk.
More and more dairies specialising in raw milk are popping up in New Zealand to keep up with the demand and the growing customer base. In Christchurch there are two milk suppliers: Laura's Dairy in Charteris Bay 30 minutes south of Christchurch and the Tai Tapu Milk Company.
Laura from Laura's Dairy is passionate about her cows and the calves all receive a nurse cow for a total of 6 months. The cows are healthy, the pasture system sustainable and she does everything with mimimal impact on the enviroment.
Laura states: "I take issue with this quote "Pasteurization is the norm for a reason ... people have forgotten that sometimes there was a reason for those processes in the first place.” I like to think that I've removed the reason for pasteurisation, e.g. I have healthy cows, roaming on fresh pasture, hygenic milking process and refrigeration. I think pastuerisation is a band aid at the end of a poor system that enables unhygenic conditions, feed lots, and unhealthy animals - e.g. industrialised dairy."
Raw milk suppliers have to test their milk for E. coli and other contaminants on a regular basis so you can be sure you are getting a save product.
If you still opt to drink milk, but are unsure if you want it to be raw, you can now get a few whole, pasteurised and unhomogenised milks in supermarkets and farmers markets. Make sure that you carefully read the labels and avoid reconstituted milk made from milk powder and homogenised milk.
You can always make kefir out of any milk and in my opinion it is able to bring back some of the vital energy in milk that has been lost through pasteurisation. Milk kefir comes from the Caucasus, a mountainous region where the European continent meets Asia. It’s here that milk kefir earned its reputation as an elixir of long life, and a medicinal tonic. Read more here about it and how ealily you can do it at home.
Here an example how sustainable dairy farming can look like right here in Canterbury:
Nature Matters Milk Company