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The Long Term Health Consequences of Pasteurized Milk Laws
Most of us believe that laws requiring dairies to pasteurize milk has made milk safer and has reduced illness. On the surface, it certainly SEEMS as though it has made society safer and healthier, but is this really true? Looking more deeply, it’s evident that pasteurized milk laws have actually made milk more unsafe and unhealthy. Not only has it created more unhealthy milk, but it has created longer term health consequences for society as a whole. Additionally, the companion piece to this article The Societal Consequences of Pasteurized Milk Laws outlines other, not so great, consequences to having these ‘well-intentioned’ laws passed.
Poor Quality Milk
Rather than creating healthier milk, laws requiring pasteurization immediately and decisively FAVORED the producers of poor quality milk over producers of higher quality healthy milk. Raw milk absolutely must be produced from healthy cows fed on healthy feed (or pasture raised) in clean conditions that produce milk low in bacteria and with health fatty acids such as Conjugated Linoleic Acid. By passing pasteurization laws, it has allowed dairies to transform from the local family-owned pastures that they had been for hundreds of years to the unhygienic animal abusing conglomerates that they are today.
By its nature, raw milk for human consumption simply can’t be made from cows that are sick, don’t have access to pasture or who have udder infections. Dairies that sell milk intended for pasteurization routinely sell milk from cows that have infections, are ill, or have a condition called ‘mastitis’, a painful infection of the milk glands. Milk from conglomerate dairies is completely unfit for human consumption- unless it is pasteurized first.
Had pasteurization laws never been implemented, the dairies producing poor quality milk that caused people to become sick would have been boycotted and gone out of business or would have been forced to change their practices. Paradoxically by the government deciding that we needed to be ‘protected’ from unhealthy milk, it created a situation where the vast majority of people ONLY have access to unhealthy milk while healthy milk has been outlawed in many cases.
Lactose Intolerance as a Result of Pasteurized Milk Laws
Pasteurization not only kills bacteria, but also destroys the natural enzymes that help us digest milk. Lactose intolerance is considered a problem that is natural to adults after infancy and only those societies who have had long exposure to milk products have developed the enzyme necessary to break down dairy products. If this theory were to be true, it requires you to believe that human societies would have kept dairy animals and milked them every day while suffering through a lifetime of bloating, gas, diarrhea and stomach pains in order that someday their ancestors would develop the genes to produce lactase!
In fact, the vast majority of people with lactose intolerance can drink raw milk and cultured milk products without any problems due to the preservation of the lactase, the same way that humans throughout history have ingested milk for tens of thousands of years without problems. Lactose intolerance is actually a government induced health problem directly caused by pasteurization laws.
Chronic Health Problems
In addition, raw milk contains healthy ‘probiotic’ bacteria that populates our bowels and protects us from the overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria and yeast that can lead to illness. While pasteurization DOES kill bad bacteria, it also kills the ‘good’ bacteria that naturally inhibit the bad bacteria to begin with. While today, a carton of milk left on the counter overnight would have to be thrown out due to spoilage, before pasteurization, people drank unrefrigerated milk without problems- often in ‘unhygienic’ containers like goat skins and wooden vats that were never cleaned for years at a time. They could do this because the ‘good’ lactobacillus bacteria proliferate creating an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of infectious bacteria.
In generations past, we would have ingested these good bacteria to help populate our bowels AT LEAST on a daily basis and sometimes 3 to 4 times per day in butter, cream, yogurt, whey, kefir milk, ‘sour’ milk, ‘cultured’ fruit drinks and even meats and vegetables that were preserved by culturing. But since the advent of pasteurization, unless we consciously eat the few available cultured products that are available, we rarely ingest the good bacteria that we would have continually ingested in decades past.
And this may have more long term consequences than you would believe. These bacteria in our digestive tract are responsible for a VAST array of metabolic processes. Aside from inhibiting bad yeast and bacteria, they produce vitamins and fatty acids, prevent inflammation and are an integral part of our immune system. Current research has linked such common chronic illnesses as:
- Food Allergies
- Irritable Bowel Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Most autoimmune disease
with a lack of Good Bacteria in the gut. And even more research is beginning to show improvements in many of these chronic problems when probiotic supplements are taken. In reality, Real Raw Dairy Products, just like Benefits of Raw Unpasteurized Sauerkraut, are long term probiotic supplements that could have been preventing these illnesses all along.
While many would say that these laws were necessary to prevent thousands of people from becoming sick and dying from bad milk, it is ridiculous to believe that consumers would have continued to purchase milk from dairies that were making them sick. Left to decide for themselves, consumers would have forced milk producers providing unhealthy products out of business, allowing only producers of high quality milk to flourish. By the government stepping in to create Pasteurized Milk Laws, they not only gave an economic advantage to poor quality milk producers and set the stage for the conglomerate dairies that we have today, they have caused most of the population to only have the choice of unhealthy milk that MUST be pasteurized so that it does not make people sick. In addition, these laws have directly contributed to hundreds of thousands of people suffering from chronic illness today.