Pasteurization kills not only brucellosis, but staph, strep, salmonella,
shigella, coliforms, pasteurella, listeria and toxiplasmosis--and perhaps a
few other pathogens I'm not aware of at the moment. Any of these can make
you sick or even threaten your life. In fresh milk there are somatic
cells--white blood cells--that keep pathogens in check. However, if the
somatic cell count on a fresh milk sample is high it is a sign that
pathogenic activity is rampant and the milk is high in pathogens. Of
course, once the milk is taken from the cow there is no more somatic cell
input, so over time the bacteria take over the milk, sour it and cause it
There are, of course, other bacteria in milk that are not pathogenic. The
most notable are the lactobacilli. These eventually overwhelm the pathogens
and destroy them, which is why before refrigeration it used to be advisable
to never drink milk which had begun to sour but to wait until it was fully
sour before drinking. By the time it was fully sour it was relatively safe
once again, just as when fresh from the cow. Making it into cheese and
aging the cheese ensured the lactobacilli overwhelmed the other bacteria,
which is why there are laws in many states about the length of time cheese
must be aged. In Georgia the milk commission folks told me raw milk cheese
had to be aged for 6 months. In North Carolina I understand the requirement
is 60 days.
In humans, brucellosis, incidentally, is called undulant fever because of
its habit of going away and coming back like a perpetual case of the flu.
It undulates and is difficult to get rid of. Before pasteurization undulant
fever used to be rather common. Now with many parts of the country thought
to be brucellosis free you almost never hear of it. Some researchers claim
brucellosis never occurs on pasturage where the trace mineral deficiencies
of copper, cobalt, manganese and possibly zinc have been adequately
addressed, and with the near universal adoption of trace mineral salt
blocks for pasture animals these deficiencies are less of a concern.
In Georgia the laws, which were written at the behest of dairy industry
lobbiests, are so draconian that Aunt Bessie with her jersey cow better not
think of selling her clabbered cream butter, no matter that she keeps a
clean barn and kitchen and ensures that lactobacillus cultures overwhelm
the pathogens before she churns her butter.
When nutritional research, such as Pottinger's studies or Sally Fallon and
Donna Gates' investigations show that raw milk products are really the most
nutritional, what is a person to do? The dairy processors pasteurize
everything and nothing else is legal to sell. So what if you know Aunt
Bessie and know how rich her cultured butter tastes and know that it is a
safe product? She would break the law if she sold it, and by aiding and
abetting her you too would break the law.
To say, " This is a democratic society. If you don't like the law, change
it." is silly. It takes single-minded dedication and years of work to have
any effect on laws and the lone citizen is bucking the huge finances and
vested interests of the dairy processing industry. Our current democratic
society is really a dictatorship of whatever vested interests get their
candidates into office. One's vote doesn't amount to a cup of thin bean
With all the laws we have it is no wonder we in the US have such a highly
criminalized society and the highest per capita prison populations on
earth. Shades of Nazi Germany. Things are bad enough already and I wouldn't
want to see them get any worse. On the other hand, I run a CSA with a 6
acre market garden and we have on the farm one of those jersey milk cows
that turns hay into compost for my vegetables.
Compost we must have, but of course the by-product is milk, and there is a
lot of it. My CSA members are all people who are concerned with optimal
nutrition. Many of them want yogurt, raw cream butter, or raw milk cheese.
I have the expertise to make these of the highest quality from the cow's
milk. My CSA members are mostly professional people in Atlanta. What I've
done is figure the price of the cow into their CSA membership fee, which is
a capital investment in the farm anyway. Then it is their cow and they only
compensate me for taking care of the cow and turning her milk into
lactobacillus acidophilous cultured butter, yogurt and cheese--tasty,
nutritious stuff. They are assured of safety and quality milk products from
their cow. I get the compost, which is the cow's most important product.
They and I both obey the law, and I DO NOT sell any dairy products.
Thankfully the law is not concerned with keeping people from eating dairy
products from their own cow, and the known scientific dangers potential in
consuming raw milk are avoided.
All the more reason to check out the CSA concept of fresh, local, in season
Here is Loren Muldowney's insightful post:
>So, if I had all the animals in my herd vet-checked and certified free
>of brucellosis, and did not bring on board any other animals which were
>not first similarly screened, how large is the risk of contracting
>brucellosis from drinking the raw milk from such a herd?
>Gee whiz, some people send hazardous substances through the mail,
>therefore we should discontinue postal service? Is this kind of
>thinking we really need to enshrine in our laws?
>I don't care for the "one size fits all" sort of assumptions embodied in
>having the government "protect" me. If the shoe does not fit, I do not
>want to be made to wear it! It hurts! I keep finding that I am ONLY
>protected from the ability to select which risks I am willing to assume
>and which I am not, in the clear light of my own circumstances, about
>which I have perfect knowledge. Averages, pooled data, and pooled
>assumptions are not especially relevant to me. It is silly to imagine
>that my buying milk or eggs from a neighbor known to me personally is
>identical to my being a resident of an urban area with no opportunity to
>exercise my well-developed sense of which individuals are trustworthy
>are which ones are not with respect to my milk purchases.
>> If a person
>> wants to drink raw milk from his/her own animals, that is their right, in my
>> opinion... But
>> when they want to sell the raw milk to the general public and thus place
>> others at risk, then society has a right to impose conditions to protect
>> public health and safety.
>Is there no room for the existence of a different category of
>relationship between the dairy farmer's own family and "the general
>public"? Anybody who has even a single dairy cow probably gets more
>milk than one family will use.
>That is what is so maddening about "the government" --the intrusion of
>regulation at a scale inappropriate to the circumstance. It is entirely
>unreasonable to apply regulations designed for anonymous transactions to
>a scale where nothing is anonymous and where actual feedback can and
>does occur. Thus the person in such a circumstance concludes that such
>regulation is idiotic, and MAY extend that assumption inappropriately to
>all governmental oversight, regardless of the details. Having ordinary
>citizens being unable to see any real logical correlation between the
>law of the land and the law of reason is not a stable arrangement.
>> Granted, we are not a perfect people, but we do try to protect our
>> citizens, which is why we have food safety laws.
>Why must this be framed as "food safety laws" vs. "no food safety
>laws"? Are we completely unable to tell the difference between one
>thing and another? When one of my kids needs help with algebra, should
>the ones who have already mastered the subject matter be forced to sit
>in on the tutoring session, beating their heads against the wall in
>desperation to escape the boredom and futility of it all? (oops, this
>is a bit like going to school, isn't it? No wonder the kids don't like
>it.) Is this in the interests of fairness or impartiality? I think that
>my parental credibility would suffer if I were to institute such a
>plan. I think governmental credibility suffers likewise, and with good
>reason. If it is not possible to establish a nexus between the
>regulation and the outcome, it would be well to examine issues of
>Bottom line, if I get brucellosis and die, as a result of stubbornly
>exercising my own judgement, then I'll be dead. This does not
>constitute a public health emergency. So write "it seems fair to me" on
>my tombstone. It is only a private tragedy.
>Can we test individual animals for disease or not?
>I would not oppose some kind of quarantine on stock to establish disease
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