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Got milk?

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By Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

I hate the taste of milk. Every time my parents made me drink it as a kid, I got a stomachache. They didn't believe me, thinking I was up to childhood hysterics.

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Michael Schmidt talks to reporters in July 2009 outside court in Newmarket, Ont. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

I remember my aunt — in trying to coax me to drink my milk — adding Ribena to my glass, turning it pink. It worked for a day.

Then we figured out I was lactose intolerant. These days, I just carry Lactaid.

I'm intrigued by the three-year fight by Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt who produces raw, or unpasteurized, milk from his 150 cows. He then distributes the unprocessed milk to a small group of customers who have purchased "cow shares."

It's not illegal to drink raw milk in Canada, but it is against the law to sell or distribute milk that hasn't been pasteurized. (Raw-milk cheese, on the other hand, is legal in Canada as long as it's aged for at least 60 days.)

In 2006, officials raided Schmidt's farm, seized his milking equipment and slapped him with 19 charges relating to selling unpasteurized milk. On Thursday, he was found not guilty.

Pasteurization is the process of heating a food to kill harmful organisms such as bacteria (Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria), viruses, moulds and yeasts. Canadian health officials warn against drinking raw milk. So why do people do it?

"The rich and sweet taste of unpasteurized milk would blow most people away," Schmidt has said. "I bet that 90 per cent of the people who would have the choice by blind tasting would all go for raw milk because that is the taste of milk and not what you buy on the shelf."

Others argue the natural micro organisms in raw milk aid in digestion. At some of Schmidt's speeches, immigrants have recalled stories of drinking raw milk in their home countries and not having any digestive problems they now experience with pasteurized milk.

But really, Schmidt's fight tested the rights of consumers to choose what they want to eat. While the state can issue rules and warnings, can they really restrict what people consume?

Have you tried raw milk? What do you think about Schmidt's legal battle?

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Comments

Jay

I don't like the stuff. Its actually gross tasting. Besides that who would drink raw milk these days? Skim Milk is the way to go and I don't think raw milk comes in that form.

A question to ponder is if someone actually gets sick and dies who will be sued? I hope Mr Schmidt intends to have lots of insurance. Anyone getting sick from his 'cow shares' should also be respopnsible for the costs of their own health care should they need it as a result of drinking this stuff. I refuse to pay for someone else's risky food choices. One only needs to look to heavily inspected Maple Leaf to understand things can go wrong quite easily. What about when its uninspected and necessary processing isn't done? I can see a lot of trouble coming.

Posted January 22, 2010 10:41 AM

GWG

Saskatoon

For years until it was made illegal, I purchased raw milk directly from a farm. The taste and consistency of raw milk are far superior to the pasteurized crap we are forced to buy now. Bravo to Michael Schmidt and his supporters.

Posted January 22, 2010 10:54 AM

Terry

As a prairie farm kid growing up in southern Alberta - I milked cows after school and separated it each night just before supper time. My Mom would have to just about sit on me trying to stop me from drinking the raw milk while I ran the milk separator (spoiling my dinner). I loved it and I DOES taste different - read: better. It has been years since I have tasted real rich raw dairy milk. I would buy it in a heart beat if I had the chance.

Posted January 22, 2010 10:56 AM

ulrike kullik

I keep goats for my own milk consumption.
There is nothing better than unpasteurized milk.
If I could legally sell raw milk,I could not produce enough to satisfy the demand of it.
There is not a week that I don't have someone asking for it . I have converted o lot of my friends to keep their own goats,so they can enjoy raw milk products .
NON OF THEM HAVE EVER GOT SICK

Posted January 22, 2010 11:11 AM

William

Ontario

I grew up on unprocessed raw milk and we were never sick. The problems occur if the conditions around the milking areas are not kept clean. If selling raw milk were to become legal it would be an opportunity to legislate the industry to ensure a certain level of cleaniness. Then it would be up to consumers themesleves to decide what type of milk they want and not have big business decide for them.

Posted January 22, 2010 11:18 AM

Rick Dignard

Ottawa

If it's so unsafe, then why allow farmers to drink it?

Just asking.

Posted January 22, 2010 11:34 AM

MDHinDC

I was raised on raw milk. it is definitely better tasting, and much of the research I have read says it is better for you. Many of the agents in the milk, that are there to aid the digestion of the product, are killed in the high heat of pasteurization. I also worked on several dairy farms, including where I grew up. I can tell you from first hand observation, there is no substitute for healty cows, which are allowed to graze grass naturally, bedded down with clean straw, and milked either by hand or with machine where the herdsman is not trying to do 10 things at once and is actually perceptive enough to notice any health isuues each cow may have. This is the basic foundation of a qualtiy product. The modern dairy has more similarities to an a big 3 auto plant than it does to a farm. I also worked for a couple of years as a part time as a tank truck driver that picked up the milk from the farm. The difference in the cleanliness and condition of the cows on some of these farms, versus what I was raised with, is just appalling. The problem is that between the cost of quota, and the shipping, (which in our area is a 20 hour haul one way to Calgary)and the fixed price, farmers are forced to get big or get out. In my humble opinion, pasteurization is a very poor substitute for proper animal husbandry.

Posted January 22, 2010 11:43 AM

annie simon

I drank raw mik for years when I lived next to a dairy farm that allowed us to go in, dip out a gallon from the tank and leave a couple of dollars on the table. After using it for a few months, if I drank some pasteurized and homogenized commercial milk, it made me feel sick -- soured my stomach. Raw milk is not just beter tasting -- it is much better for you. I read that the fat part of milk is digested in one part of the tract, and the protein part in another -- but homogenization binds the fat and protein molecules together. Maybe that is what makes it indigestible. I don't know if the heating of pasteurization makes digestion problems too.

For the rest of the story about dairy cows, check out the documentary FOOD INC. I'd wager this raw milk producer treats his cows better.

Posted January 22, 2010 11:55 AM

Deepak

Vancouver

In India people do not have milk allergies b/c they drink raw milk. Western countries have developed this term 'Lactose Intolerant' due to there own cause of pasteurizing and homogenizing milk. Raw milk aids your body with friendly bacteria and has great benefit.

Posted January 22, 2010 12:03 PM

raistlinova

Toronto

How can you say that people should not drink raw milk because of dangers to health, which are debateable, when people are allowed to smoke freely which is even more harmful to your health? and that is proven!!!

I feel sorry for such ignorance!

http://know-more-or-less.blogspot.com/

Posted January 22, 2010 12:09 PM

Opolanka

Yes, I have. The cow has to be TB-free. The milk is best when cold and soured! Yes, When curdled into thick, creamy KEFIR. Apparently the lactic acid neutralizes e-coli.
The whey in raw buttermilk is also a good antidote for digestive problems. It's full of minerals from whatever the cow eats- hopefully pesticide free grass!

Posted January 22, 2010 12:12 PM

I. T. Da Silva

Growing up in Brazil, I drank raw milk and never got sick by it. I remember my father milking it right into my cup, before I went to school. It was worm, and like my father said, is was a breakfast in itself. People in the area where I grow up still do it to this day. I think that raw milk is less dangerous than pop and the energy drinks that is sold to the public today, here in Canada.

Posted January 22, 2010 12:14 PM

TheBigW

Vancouver

I twice had food poisoning once from nasty bacteria. I'd much rather break my leg again than go through serious food poisoning again.

I'd never want to take a chance.

Posted January 22, 2010 12:50 PM

Terry Watkinson

My grandparents owned a dairy and, in retirement, raised beef. We routinely drank raw milk and ate butter, cheese and ice cream made from the cow's milk. The milk and ice cream were especially tasty. No ill effects were experienced by any family member as a consequence of ingesting these products.
However, I would not drink unpasturized milk today, unless I was completely familiar with its' source.
I think the cow share idea is a good one, and should be legal since it addresses the source concerns.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:01 PM

Robert Gurney

I grew up on a dairy farm and drank fresh cows milk daily. A couple of quarts a day was the average for me. My parents had 7 children and we all drank the same milk and were rarely sick other than your normal illnesses. We all lived on fresh milk and it never made us sick. Do I like the milk and meat products we have today, no. Do we need to regulate the way milk, food and other products and handled, yes.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:04 PM

Joe

SK

As a former dairy farmer who drank raw milk growing up on the farm I strongly recommend against consuming raw milk. Even under the best cases, bacteria loads are too high, pathogenic contamination too probable. It spoils faster and is just as likely to have off flavours as the desirable botanical notes that the advocates rave about. That said, feel free to drink raw milk or skip your flu shot because the people that die simply apply evolutionary selection pressure against stupidity.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:05 PM

Leigh Cross

Vancouver

I was once a quasi-hippy. I lived on my farm and raised my four sons on raw milk. They thrived and still thrive.
Pasteurization was invented to stop Brucellosis or milk fever. Because of the efforts of Health of Animals Branch (perhaps the only truly useful government agency) there is no brucellosis in Canadian daries.
Milk retailers love pasteurization because it lengthens shelf life and gives an opportunity for additives.
Lets hear it for short shelf life and good raw milk!

Posted January 22, 2010 01:18 PM

Anonymous

Why use Lactaid to help you digest something that is toxic for you when you could be drinking non-dairy alternatives like rice, almond, hemp or soy milk? Not to mention the fact that soy ice cream tastes exactly like dairy ice cream. I'd also recommend reading the book The China Study. This book is written by the scientist who was in charge of the the most intensive nutirional study ever conducted. Let's just say that the dairy council is lying to all of us and we would all do much better if we stopped drinking the milk from an animal meant to help a baby cow put on hundreds of pounds.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:26 PM

Sara Stewart

The health claims associated with raw milk are bogus, and there's no significant difference in taste. Drinking raw milk is a great way of getting sick, however.

It's also not surprising you're lactose intolerant; most people on earth become lactose intolerant at a fairly young age. The mutation that allows lactase persistence occurs in west African people and northwestern European people, and, although it's spreading gradually, it is still really rare among Asians and fairly rare among Eurasian people as well.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:32 PM

Milk drinker

Canada

Raw milk does taste good but I wonder if it is just the fact that the cream has not been separated out. I think whole tastes just as good and like the fact that I don't have to worry. Have you ever seen what is flung around in a barn .... it isn't pixie dust.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:33 PM

JC

Toronto

When I was a kid, it was perfectly normal to have a half dozen bottles of fresh raw milk at your doorstep every morning. Never had a problem drinking it, and it tasted amazing.

It wasn't until I immigrated to North America 20 years later that I am drinking the over-processed dairy products here, and growing ever more lactose intolerant as the years go by.

Coincidence?

Posted January 22, 2010 01:52 PM

Erin

Ottawa

Human milk is unpasturized and there is huge pressure on new mothers to breast feed their baby because of all of the good benefits of it.

Give people the choice to drink whatever type of milk they want. If they force all milk for consumption (sold or not, because you can sell breast milk) to be pasturized then will we then expect mothers to pasturize their milk before feeding it to their babies becaus it will remove bacterial impurities that are in the mothers body?

IMO: Police over reaction, I'm glad he's not guilty.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:53 PM

Alexey Golovan

It's up to consumers to decide what to eat and not to eat. Government can issue warning, but it's our choice. I tried raw milk lots of times and it's much better than regular milk. Frankly, I do not consider it as milk, it's just white water with some taste of milk. People who tried raw milk will agree with me. If I had a choice in the supermarket I would buy raw milk.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:56 PM

Mona

I did drink raw milk growing up as a child. My mother used to first broil before we are allowed to drink it. From what I remember, the milk tasted much better than the pasteurized milk we currently buy and never caused any of us to get sick.

Posted January 22, 2010 01:59 PM

amkb

I grew up on a farm and we drank our own raw milk. I hated drinking milk then, and I hate drinking pasturized milk now. Thought I love other dairy products, milk as a beverage disgusts me wither raw or pasturized.

Having said that, I'd LOVE to be able to buy raw milk. I enjoy making yogurt and soft cheeses, and store bought, pasturized milk isn't as good. I'm glad Schmidt won his legal battle. I understand why the health regulations require pasturization, but I think there's room to give people the choice of raw milk, too.

Posted January 22, 2010 02:04 PM

Wayne

I've grown up on unpasteurized milk and have never had any problems with it. My cousin that is lactose intolerant can come over and drink all the unpasteurized milk he want's without getting sick. He found out that he was actually sick of the chemicals put in the milk during pasteurization that was making him sick.

Posted January 22, 2010 02:12 PM

Bgirl

Niagara

This is great news!!! I too am lactose intolerant and cannot drink pasteurized milk. I would love to have access to raw milk.

Posted January 22, 2010 02:27 PM

Sandra

Vancouver

We safely feed raw human milk to babies all the time. What is it about cow milk that makes it so much more dangerous?

Posted January 22, 2010 02:29 PM

Farmboy Adams

Grew up on a farm with 3 sisters, and we milked cows and drank the milk daily for twenty years. No sicknesses from raw milk!!

Posted January 22, 2010 02:33 PM

angie

All the people commenting that they grew up drinking raw milk won't be the problem when raw milk is distributed. It will be the people who, as adults, go out and buy it and drink it for the first time, not having any prior exposure to the bacteria in it. And YES, there is bacteria in it - there's bacteria in EVERYTHING! So whoever the farmers are who choose to distribute raw milk if it becomes legal in the future... let's just say they better have a darn good waiver prepared for their customers. (I am a microbiologist who grew up drinking raw milk on a dairy farm!)

Posted January 22, 2010 02:47 PM

Enrique

Alberta

These repetitive comments like "I consumed raw milk half my life and I'm OK" mean nothing in the realm of food health and safety. They simply account for a combination of luck and good udder health on the dairies that supplied the raw milk to the individual. If I told you that I have driven most of my life without auto insurance and never once had an accident or a ticket would you conclude that auto insurance is unnecessary, or would you conclude that I am lucky? The same stands for pasteurization of milk. Pasteurization serves an important role in maintaining public health. So long as health care in Canada is publicly funded I have no issue in knowing that our commercial milk supply has been pasteurized to minimize the possibility of food borne illness en masse. Does raw milk taste different? Probably. But when I think of the possibility that I might drink milk from a cow with early onset mastitis, or a with a wad of manure that was unknowingly dropped into a milking pail I say no thanks. Pasteurize my Homo please!

Posted January 22, 2010 02:53 PM

angie

one more important point re: Wayne's comment: There are NO chemicals added to milk during pasteurization!!! It is a super-heating filtration process, there is nothing additive or extractive about pasteurization and this misconception is damaging to the reputation of such a sanitary process.

Posted January 22, 2010 02:53 PM

Penny

Alberta

While I drank raw milk quite frequently when I was a child (and yes, it does taste better), I think the real issue of this is: Does the government have the right to choose what you eat/drink? How MUCH control should they have?
Aside from obvious needs of protecting our food sources, do we really need to have the government dictating what a person can and cannot eat?

There's a lot of effort put into 'political correctness' and 'cultural tolerance' but what about everyday issues like saying what you can and can't put into your body. I think most reasonable adults are able to decide for themselves what they can ingest. Are we, as citizens, relegated to being children lacking the ability to make our own decisions? I can think of a few adults who might balk at the idea they are unable to decide for themselves what's 'good for them'.

Maybe more effort should be put into making our food products less 'industrialized' and instead practice good animal husbandry. With any luck, this will allow a broader spectrum of food choices for everyone.

Still, I wish I could get raw milk like I could growing up. I miss making fresh mozzarella. Delicious and not aged 60 days, so I'm s.o.l. unless more small dairies are able to take advantage of this important ruling.

Posted January 22, 2010 02:58 PM

Carl

I would never touch raw milk. Contamination is just too easy within a single herd. I also would never buy milk that has a shorter shelf life than the current pasteurized variety. If it can't sit in my fridge until I'm ready to finish it it's a waste of money.

It's fine for you folk that live close to the source and know the people involved in the process since you can make a judgment call based on your relationship with the farm operation and operator but as someone far removed from the process and the people I can't trust that what I'm going to get isn't contaminated. At least if it's pasteurized I can assume basic precautions were followed.

I've never had any problems with the taste or any problems consuming it and I still drink a liter of milk ever week-week and a half.

Posted January 22, 2010 03:22 PM

Mike W.

Calgary

Wayne there are no chemicals in the pasteurization process, it is heated to kill off parasites, bacterium and other life-threatening creatures that live in milk.

Read some science bucko:
http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2009/12/ive_never_understood_food_fads.php

You know science is better than these anti-science fads? Because the foundation of EMPIRICAL testing. If you cannot repeat and prove your theory and demonstrate it for others- it is just wishful thinking.

Posted January 22, 2010 03:38 PM

Moe

Nomad

Hey, by the same argument it should be ok for the Government to make it illegal to eat uncooked vegetables. Well, maybe it should be illegal to eat anything but cooked, organic veggies...yes, that's it. No, the cooking should have to be done in Government-approved factories...yes, now I think I've got it. Hmmm...then back yard gardens, ought to be made illegal. Yes, we're there! Now, let's outlaw backyard rabbits...no make that any home livestock. Now, how do we control the farmers...maybe a licence for them to consume their own milk, produce and the like, make it expensive so that store-bought stuff is cheaper. Now we're getting somewhere!

Posted January 22, 2010 03:40 PM

Sahra Merrill Kott

Quebec

when I first drank raw milk I was amazed. It is so delicious .This was in India and went on for 26 years while I lived there

My experience with pasteurized milk was also not very positive . It gives me a stomach ache unless it is not .

I drink unpasteurized goats milk and cows milk when possible.

Posted January 22, 2010 04:01 PM

Leonard Arseneau

Ms. Andree Lau

Frankly, what the hell do we care that you got stomachaches drinking milk.
If your here to do your apprentiship as a journalist well Ms.Andree spare us any more.
Please take up welding or farming.
Leave the space and our time for competence.

Posted January 22, 2010 04:09 PM

Kristine

As we in British Columbia gear up for our own legal battles it is heartening to see the positive results of Michael Schmidt's legal battles.
I am one of over 300 people who drinks Raw Milk from Home on the Range and at first I was very wary - my mother was adamant to make me drink milk when I was growing up despite the fact that it tasted disgusting and didn't make me feel quite right.
When tasting my first sip I was sold - it is rich and creamy and I have noticed in myself less colds and the one i did have was far less severe than the ones I used to get back when Pasteurized Milk was my only option.
It comes down to rights. My right to chose my food and to make my own choices should not be impeded by the government especially when they have quite a large stake for the other side in the situation (countless of millions of dollars in funding from big dairy).
Why is the government in our kitchens? Why can't we see how we are being herded by corporate interests? We have unlabelled GMO foods sitting on every shelf in our grocery stores without any long term testing on their effects and every time we ask for a label we as consumers are denied? Raw Milk is one of the most basic of foods - something that people for centuries have enjoyed without government persecution? Why is it such a big deal now and is veiled as a 'health threat to the people' when as proven in the Michael Schmidt case there were NO illnesses/deaths related to his milk?

Posted January 22, 2010 04:28 PM

Jacqueline

Toronto

For groceries store across Toronto I can purchase:

Raw pork
Raw chicken
Raw beef
Raw fish & ready-made Sushi

But I can't buy Raw milk?

Deli-meats (via listeriosis)killed many people in Canada a short time ago. I can still buy Deli-meats at my grocery store.

But I can't buy Raw milk?

Seems like a Raw deal for Canadian food consumers.


Sounds like a raw deal to me?

Posted January 22, 2010 04:29 PM

Tony

To Jay: yesterday I saw you eating a burger with double fries.

Posted January 22, 2010 04:32 PM

LK

Vancouver

What I don't understand is why so many people think that milk is ONLY beneficial. Generally speaking, as a nurturing liquid it contains not only vitamins etc but also immune system cells (like macrophages, yes that stuff that when in action turns into what many calls pus), hormones etc. Cow milk is supposed to be drank by calves, not people. As much as it helps any type of digestion it also slows it down, pharmaceutical corporations who test on animals supplement drug trials with milk to slow down the digestion and metabolism.

I used to drink a lot of milk, cheese etc, does not matter if it was pasteurized or not, my throat will be full with flem and my nose constantly congested, which was very much chronic. I stopped drinking and eating anything with dairy in it, and all these symptoms disappeared. Didn't matter if it was organic either.

The human body is very capable of taking a lot of beating, but just because it can does not mean its beneficial. Plenty of what you find in milk you can find elsewhere, better and with less pain in the making process.

Posted January 22, 2010 04:38 PM

John

Vancouver

So the government trusts us to choose if we wish to buy cigarettes, alcohol, various over-the-counter drugs, and other potentially dangerous products meant for human consumption.

It trusts that we'll properly prepare eggs, meat, fresh vegetables, and other items that might be contaminated.

But we can't be trusted to make the same kind of choices or to take the same proper precautions when it comes to milk.

Nice to see that the bureaucracy is consistent in its inconsistency, at least.

Posted January 22, 2010 04:59 PM

raistlinova

Toronto

Why should anyone get such a hard time trying to be able to legally distribute raw milk? Consider this, the impact of raw milk on our health is debatable, the impact of smoking is not. Why should smoking be freely allowed when raw milk is not? Is it not true ignorance to stop people who WANT raw milk from getting it?

http://know-more-or-less.blogspot.com/

Posted January 22, 2010 04:59 PM

Karin

Vancouver

I grew up in a small farming village in Germany. Every night I was tasked to get 2 milk cans of fresh milk from the neighbor's. By the time I got home, one can was always half empty. We heated one can of the milk to get the cream to separate from the rest of the milk to use as schmand - the pure rich cream that you can put on any fruit or cake. The rest was consumed raw. None of us ever got sick from the milk. Neither did anyone else in the village, and everyone we knew consumed their milk raw. I would prefer to get my milk raw if I could, in a heartbeat.

Posted January 22, 2010 05:34 PM

Bruce Elniski

We should be granted the maximum amount of freedom possible without endangering or harming others. That is easy to say, but hard to work out in practise.
They should be allowed to sell and purchase raw milk but with clear warnings about the risks so there is no confusion with pasteurised milk products.
Part of the problem is that people have not witnessed others dying of disease and that is why we have folks like this and others who don't believe in vaccinations, for example. If they could see others dying of preventable disease the issue would probably go away.
It's not the point of the article, but there is a huge amount of data suggesting that dairy isn't that great for the human body, pasteurised or not.
You can live just fine without dairy at all. I was weaned a long time ago and feel no need to drink milk.

Posted January 22, 2010 05:59 PM

Jonh Molnar

Canada

I have spent my summers at my grandparents on a farm, and we drank milk straight as it was milked from the cow, believe me taste hundred times better than the pasteurized milk.
Why would it be gross?? It's like saying that is gross to eat raw apple. The chance of getting sick is so remote that is more likely to get hit by a car than to get sick from raw milk.

Posted January 22, 2010 06:49 PM

Beverley Viljakainen

Now that Michael Schmidt has had his 'day' in court, only one question remains: what was all of that really all about? Not about health certainly; otherwise, the fact that no one has been made ill by this very knowledgeable farmer's product would have made raiding his farm and dragging him through the legal and highly political mire a non-consideration. One would think that our 'health care' officials would want to know whether the claims made for improved digestion, immunity and overall health as the outcome of drinking farm fresh milk are true or not. Thus far, we see no evidence of such interest; instead we hear only fear mongering based on another time when a lack of sanitation and improper handling of both the cows and their milk are well known to have been responsible the problems that led to pasteurization. If this is the best that government can do, their employees (our employees actually!) must not be allowed to deny those of us who take full responsibility for our own health the freedom to make informed decisions. I had given up on commercial dairy products for many years, given their effect on me. Much later in life, I tried farm fresh milk products and found not only that they didn't have the same negative effect but that I actually thrived on them. I put on much needed weight and became stronger, both physically and emotionally. I know that I can live without dairy and would never burden my system again with the stuff called milk available to the general public. As a cow share member, however, I count myself most fortunate and very much appreciate having real milk. I await the day when our 'health care' officials really want to know why some of us are as healthy as we are. At 72, I'm not holding my breath, but I am an optimist! Hey, Michael was found 'not guilty'!

Posted January 22, 2010 07:05 PM

Raw Milk Fan

Ontario

Our family of 13 in Newfoundland were raised on raw milk. I never tasted pasteurized milk until I went to school. The milk given to us at recess with cookies tasted rotten to me and I quickly learned to trade it with a girl who liked milk but didn't care for the gingersnap cookies, which I loved. Eventually the dairy that supplied us stopped producing raw milk. Some new cows they'd brought in from mainland Canada tested positive for T.B. and had to be destroyed. After the third incident of T.B. contamination of the cows, the health department could no longer allow the milk to be marketed raw. Later as an adult I moved to British Columbia and lived near Mr. and Mrs. Pendray's little raw milk dairy at Swan Lake in Victoria. They tested regularly for T.B. I read up on the considerable benefits of drinking raw milk and my partner and I decided to raise my son on their raw milk which we did until the death of the farmer closed the dairy. Our son rarely got sick and when he left home he'd never had a cavity.

Posted January 22, 2010 07:11 PM

SErin89

Halifax

I grew up on a dairy farm in Cape Breton, drinking raw milk. I prefer the taste, but that's just because it's what I was raised on. The issue in switching between raw and pasteurized milk is that raw milk isn't governed by a regulating body. As such, there are no real standards for cleanliness in the production of the milk - you are relying on the honesty of the farmer. This becomes an issue for people who have never had anything but pasteurized dairy products - their GI tract is not used to the bacteria and enzymes found in unpasteurized. The bacteria may not be a bad thing - think b. regularis in Activia yoghurt, but to the virgin system, it can be a bit of a shock.

Posted January 22, 2010 07:52 PM

A Berthwell

Waterloo

First had it a friends dairy farm as a child. My family found someone willing to sell it when I hit my teens. Love it. Have drunk it, do drink it, will continue to drink it. Ah, free choice. People say it's dangerous blah blah.... well, so are eggs if not handled properly. Fish, raw meat. Chicken. Cheeses. It's all in how you handle it. You can't let it sit out on the counter for a few hours and expect it to be fine like you can pasteurized. Drink it within a reasonable span so that it doesn't have a chance to go bad. Think it's too fatty? Let it sit overnight or for a couple days and then skim it. Mmm, cream for whipping, coffee and desserts. If it's still a worry cal wise, dilute it with water. It actually ends up with a consistency/colour similar to the store bought skim when you do that.

Posted January 22, 2010 08:32 PM

Doug

toronto

This fight is all about choice.

The choice of Canadian adults to buy & sell raw milk without the gov't telling them what to do.

Their argument of public health is disingenuous. They have no problem letting us endanger our lives while simultaneously collecting tax dollars from cigarettes & alcohol

Grrrr nanny state

Posted January 22, 2010 09:46 PM

Paul

Edmonton

Yeah i want to decide what i put into my body people drink alcohol do drugs some raw milk would be fine that's my fault then,i just want the natural stuff and they should be putting omega 3 in everyone's milk we would have less criminals then.

Posted January 22, 2010 09:47 PM

Ray

Say no to the nanny state. Say yes to free choice. Just make sure the farmers have good standards of cleanliness.

Posted January 22, 2010 10:12 PM

Aries

I'm all for raw milk. When I moved from Egypt to Canada, I couldn't drink milk here it was diluted. I drank raw milk all my life and I would pay to buy it again. I loved it when we used to boil the milk and when it cools down you get nice big curst of cream, I used to eat it with honey and bread yum. Raw Milk isn't breaking the law, they goverment should have better plans on catching drug dealers who are killing people everyday.We need to support our farmers and take care of them.

Posted January 22, 2010 10:35 PM

Leo

Ontario

When I was young,I have had less-than-5-hour-old simmered (close to boiling) raw goat, caribou, and cow milk. They all tasted excellent. Two percent days-old pasteurized milk is good though common sense say simmered raw milk is healthier to drink. Excellent animal husbandry is the key (pesticide free grass, clean barn, clean milking equipment, humane animal treatment, etc.). Big dairy corporations just don't like the competition later. They'll try to scare people. I drink homogenized pasteurized milk most times coz there are no farms nearby to buy from like the neighborhood big grocery supermarket stores. Way to go Mr. Schmidt - I'm glad & happy with the court result.

Posted January 23, 2010 12:04 AM

J Wal

Alberta

Erin from Ottawa! that is so true, and yes i too grew up on a Farm, in Central America i milked the Cows myself by hand started at the Age around 13 and i would spray the milk strait from the Tits into my Mouth just loved it and i was even Healthier back then, i love the Court Decision let the people decide for them self eh?

Posted January 23, 2010 12:08 AM

mE

mexico

Grow up..Milk is for babies..! How many animals species do you see in this world continue to drink milk after weening..

Posted January 23, 2010 12:18 AM

Gordon S Watson

what the Court said in the Schmidt case is that our right to use and enjoy our property supercedes the Stalinist milk marketing system ... we can do what we want with our cows and our milk.
REAL MILK is qualitatively different than cooked milk. Once people find out the difference, they don't go back to the thin, denatured devitalized whitish fluid produced by factory farms, merchandised as "homo milk"

Posted January 23, 2010 01:00 AM

Marcina

Abbotsford

My mom's friend used to work on a diary farm. To be honest, those places can be filthy. The bigger ones that is. If you're lucky enough to live on a family farm and you can milk your own cows and drink raw milk safely, then I encourage it.

The thing is, a lot of farms are huge now and more like factories than farms now. It's hard to keep everything clean and keep food borne illnesses like E-coli away in these facilities.

It's risky to eat or drink anything raw. That's why we wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. You never know how long the product has been sitting around, who whose hands have touched it. Personally I think it should be okay to purchase raw milk directly from a farm that's run responsibly and takes all the necessary precautions to prevent the milk from becoming tainted with bacteria and other such things.

Posted January 23, 2010 02:41 AM

darkscream

infoslug.blogspot.com

I'm actually very impressed at the court ruling. If our neighbours to the south were to be any indication, it would seem that big brother is cracking down on "unregulated" farmers and food. It is our right as free people to make whatever choice we want, and if we want to drink raw milk then it's nobody's business to tell us otherwise. Good job, courts!

Posted January 23, 2010 05:09 AM

Russell Barth

ask anyone who has quit dairy how much better they feel. you never hear anyone say, "I really miss the phlegm and the snot"

everything good in milk can be found in other foods. we don't NEED cow-pus, or the cost of keeping these pus-making machines alive....

Posted January 23, 2010 05:24 AM

Steven Baxter

After reading all the comments about drinking raw it has become most
evident, that more than 95% of respondents, like myself are in favour of the right to choose a product that is far superior than that of a heavily, industrial processed product. My wife and myself were both raised on raw milk, and we raised our children on raw milk. Not only were there no ill effects, but myself and my family are in superior health. We are not a drain on the health care system. I strongly feel that one has as much chance of getting sick from drinking raw milk as one has from eating products from Maple leaf. We as Canadians have been fear-mongered into believeing that raw milk is dangerous so that the Canadian dairy comission can intrench its draconian hold on dairy production in this country.

Posted January 23, 2010 07:02 AM

heyjoe

I grew up on "raw" milk. It was the only milk available. I think I am still fine? In many cases government "goodie" 2 shoes can not see the trees for the forest. Help these people instead of taking the easy way out with stupid legislation so they can "get you". Now we the taxpayers will have to restore that farmers equipment because the government lost the court battle. Where do the ponzi schemes end?

Posted January 23, 2010 07:30 AM

Susan

The guy up the top who did not want to pay for people's risky food choices... is he happy to pay for people who get sick from smoking or eating in a restaurant, both very risky choices these days. Most sickness from milk is from pasteurised milk. Raw milk is safer than drinking alcohol and if people are still allowed to choose booze they should be "allowed" to drink raw milk. Regulations for clean dairy sheds and milk testing would be gladly accepted as most farmers with cow shares would welcome their cow owners on to their farms to check it out anyway.

Posted January 23, 2010 12:53 PM

John Savard

Although there are some risks inherent in drinking unpasteurized milk, these could be minimized in various ways. One way, which would, admittedly, be expensive, would be to only get it from gnotobiotic cows. This would be safe enough to allow raw milk made that way to be sold generally. Less extreme alternatives would include using ultraviolet light or gamma radiation to kill the germs in milk instead of heat.

Posted January 23, 2010 02:14 PM

tiramisu

Raw milk tastes betters and is more nutritionally rich.

While I can entirely understand the need to pasteurize factory milk. Enforcing pasteurization of milk from the farmer's gate is a ploy to keep individual producer's under the thumb of the big sellers.

I much prefer a trust relationship with a single producer over a vague guarantee from a multinational food processor.

Posted January 23, 2010 02:27 PM

weeaboo

Toronto

Consuming raw milk presents a chance of contracting tuberculosis and typhoid, and also of spreading the disease to others without getting sick yourself.

Thus, I see this debate as really, really stupid. Buy raw milk to make cheese, but don't be stupid enough to drink it when pasturized milk is just as good. And if you don't like the taste of milk unless it's raw? Cry more, but don't drink it and get the rest of us sick with your stupidity.

Also, "I drank it and never got sick" is a horrible, unscientific argument. Anecdotal evidence is not valid in this case.

People, please at least listen to science before killing yourselves and others. Raw milk isn't worth a typhoid outbreak.

Posted January 23, 2010 04:52 PM

Lubo

Toronto

The big milk cartels can not give you raw milk due to animal bi-products and anti biotics fed to the animals - that stuff unpastured will probably hurt you. Therefore they have to shut down anyone that provides a superior product.

Yes, to the points above, the raw milk producers better adhere to the highest standards of organic feed to their cattle otherwise their milk will be quite unhealthy.

Posted January 23, 2010 05:15 PM

Josieane

Ontario

Growing up on powered milk ' Yuck ' I say,,, but the affordability for my parents of real milk wasn't in the cards. As I left home and started buying milk I noticed I couldn't digest it even if I loved the taste. Being lactose intolerant I never realized that perhaps unpasteurized milk could have suited me better as I read all the comments . I would have loved to try it once to see.... Very interesting article..

Posted January 23, 2010 05:56 PM

jkwilde

If you want to always find the truth about something, look at nature. Humans are the only species to drink mother's milk into adulthood and it is not even from their own species. Milk causes mucous build-up in the body, it also contains gluten, which causes a glue-like lining to coat your intestines, blocking nutrient absorption into the body. Milk, whether from cows or goats is not within nature's balance for the human body and should not be consumed. To each their own, but if you are a regular milk drinker, stop drinking it for awhile and watch the positive changes you start to experience in your body. Mucous build-up in the body can lead to a whole host of issues, including cancers.

Posted January 23, 2010 06:12 PM

Billyboy

Canada

So I have a great interest in this

I get stomach aches from drinking to much milk, which I dont mind the taste of

but about 3 years ago I went to europe. And I tried raw goasts milk for the first time, and I was amazed with how delicious it tasted. I had a girlfriend at the time who always ate brie cheese in Canada, and tried to get me to do it several times, and I haaaaaaaaaated the taste,

The first time I ate brie cheese in France I was flaberghasted. It was like comparing apples and oranges, there is no comparision. Raw cheese is sooooooooooooooo good. Sometimes I think of moving to France just to eat their raw cheese and milk products,

Plus, not one stomach ache while there, never got sick, never even queezy, and I spent many months there and only ate and drank raw milk products

Its rediculous the government wont let this man sell this stuff, if only for the taste of it

.... seriously

so good

Anyone who lives in toronto should try and find a small bakery that sells it (yes i know its illegal, but you can find them at local small family owned shops) and I grantee once you taste it youll never want to drink cooked milk again

Posted January 23, 2010 06:13 PM

Irina

Toronto

I grew up with milk straight from the cow, boiled sometimes. Raw cheese products also. Never had a a problem, loved dairy. After immigrating to Canada, any milk bought in the store, even lactose free, is making me sick. Consumers' freedom of choice is grossly dwarved in Canada. Just look at how ridiculously expensive our cell phone and cable services are compared to Europe and the U.S. It is high time someone won a legal battle against Big business & government in Canada, congratulations Michael Schmidt!

Posted January 23, 2010 06:59 PM

Mike

Toronto

Everyone is forgetting that they grew up on farms or on unpasteurized milk. There is strong evidence to suggest that growing up on farms or in "less-clean" homes results in lower cases of respiratory disease and allergies. If you grew up on unpasteurized milk, you're probably conditioned to whatever bacteria are present.

Now revise legislation and give all modern kids (who live in bleached homes whose only contact with nature is a school playground) some unpasteurized milk. Let's see how many get sick shall we?


Posted January 23, 2010 07:29 PM

Z Soloway

I once stayed on a Dairy farm in Hokkaido in Northern Japan with some friends. We were served fresh Raw milk at breakfast each morning. It was delicious. Given the choice here I would drink it over the antibiotic laced crap we buy at the supermarket,

Posted January 23, 2010 07:35 PM

James McLaren

Ottawa

I grew up on a dairy farm, and we did indeed drink raw milk as kids. I much prefer to drink pasteurized 1% or 2% milk as the raw milk is too high in fat for my taste. Other than the fat content there is no real difference - kind of like how so many people prefer Coke to Pepsi or vice versa but in a blind taste test few can tell the difference. (Of course a blind taste test of raw milk would be unethical because it is dangerous to drink.) It was dumb to drink raw milk and we were lucky we didn't suffer any major health problems, but we did it anyway because the price was right. Looking back, I think that I and my siblings were probably sick more often than a lot of other kids - not really possible to pin it down to the milk consumption but it is likely cause. To this day, my blood contains abnormally high levels of antibodies which, although I have no proof of this, is probably attributable to raw milk consumption when I was a kid. (Can't think of any other reason for it.) It is amazing to me the number of people who comment on fora such as this thinking that pasteurization is some kind of chemical additive and that it somehow ruins the milk or is some kind of evil government plot. I suppose in a way it is: the evil government is plotting to protect you from your own foolishness and keep you alive and paying taxes. I also often read "If the cows are kept clean, or fed organic food, or whatever, then raw milk is fine." This is unadulterated 100% bullcrap: bacteria are everywhere and milk is such a perfect food (for bacteria as well as us) that is is inevitable that it becomes contaminated. Even pasteurized milk eventually spoils, but the process ensures that it contains no living organisms until the container is opened. If a restaurant was serving meat that had been improperly refrigerated or someone was selling bottled water that was contaminated, they would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and everyone would applaud. This Schmidt guy is no different.

Posted January 23, 2010 07:57 PM

Al

I drank milk strait from the cow,just run threw a cotton cloth ,Dad and I liked it before it even cooled down,us six kids,and my kids also drank it since infants,wish I still had it for the grand kids,seems like it's better for health

Posted January 23, 2010 08:26 PM

Anonymous

Edmonton

I suspect factory farm milk, even though it is pasteurized, is less healthy for human consumption than milk from small dairies that feed and house their animals that way it was done many years ago. Factory farm cows, pumped full of hormones & other foreign substances to maximize milk production, apparently are burnt out and only live half as long as years ago. When I grew up on a diary farm that only fed organic grains & hay to our cows, were pasture fed and lived much of their lives outside; they lived 15 to 16 yrs old.

Medical research by Dr D Ganmaa - a physician, scientist, and research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and Dr A Sato of the Department of Environmental Health, Medical University of Yamanashi, Tamaho, Japan has shown the possible role of female sex hormones in milk from pregnant cows in the development of breast, ovarian and corpus uteri cancers. Here's one of the quotes from their research: "The milk that we are now consuming (from factory farms) is quite different from that consumed 100 years ago. Unlike their pasture-fed counterparts of 100 years ago, modern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of estrogens in blood, and hence in milk, increases." "In conclusion, increased consumption of animal-derived food may have adverse effects on the development of hormone-dependent cancers." Check out their research at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16125328

Posted January 23, 2010 08:40 PM

Gillian Huffmon

It isn't pasteurization that changes the taste of raw milk, but homogenization - the breaking up of the fat in milk so that it is held in suspension. In the UK milk was generally not homogenized, so the lighter fat/cream comes to the top.
Is is my understanding non-homogenized milk tastes way better, but I wouldn't know, I have never been able to digest it, even as a baby, because my body does not produce the enzyme rennin that enables digestion of milk. This is not lactose intolerance but a different condition - most people in Asia cease to produce the enzyme after weaning, but there are some, like me, who never have it. Needless to say, feeding me was a nightmare for my parents back in the late 40's as I didn't put on any weight and cried constantly from hunger and stomach ache. Soy milk was prescribed around 6 months and the problem was solved. I can eat cheese and yogurt, but no liquid milk or cream. Please do not assume everyone can and should drink milk - I don't and obviously I'm still very much alive!

Posted January 23, 2010 08:40 PM

Adam

Toronto

There's not some evil agent working against people to make their food taste like crap and to rob them of nutrition; raw milk just isn't safe. There's a reason why we started pasteurizing it.

And you're thinking we should sell this stuff right beside the safe milk? Do we really think the public is aware enough to make that kind of informed decision?

I suppose we should start selling creek water too?

Posted January 23, 2010 08:58 PM

James Pott

Belleville

The raw milk issue has less to do with health issues than with the commercialization of the dairy"industry". Since it almost impossible to practice good responsible herdsmanship, farmers have had to resort to antibiotics to keep the sickness of their cows from interfering with production. They even put growth hormone in their cows south of the border because it would up the production. Because of this, the average lifespan of a cow is now 4 years. As a kid I learned milking under a 12year old cow. And she was not done milking yet by a long shot.
Pasteurization of milk kills the bad bacteria, but it also kills the good ones. Milk with the natural enzymes is pretty toxic to most people, they simply cannot digest the protein, which is mainly of the casein variety. Right, that is glue. That's why kids in grade school tend to eat the glue they're working with.
I think though that Mr Schmidt has reached the upper limit with a 150 cow herd. Personally i think he is way over. Unless they are spread out over different and separate units. It is the concentration of animals that usually causes the problems.

Posted January 24, 2010 04:21 AM

Bernie Bailey

Please keep in mind that the road you travel I have been down. Their tactics, so far, are the same as 1997.

Because it is legal to cow share milk it is legal to regulate now. They will draft a policy that states the level of bacteria that will be allowed. I predict that it will be so low that pasturised milk could have a hard time with it. The natural milk farmers will not be allowed to participate in any policy creations.They used an unwriten policy to close the last small dairy so they will go this far again.

Please google Bovine.wordpress and search Bernie Bailey for the story on the last dairy

Bernie

Posted January 25, 2010 07:06 AM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

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Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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