Not too long ago, I received a phone call from a woman requesting to purchase raw or unpasteurized milk directly from our farm. I politely explained that we do not sell raw milk from the farm because it is illegal to sell raw milk in our state. I further explained our milk is marketed and sold for us by our dairy cooperative. This phone call has prompted me to think a lot about why I choose not to drink raw milk that is produced on our farm or any dairy farm.
Decisions that I make come from my roles as a dairy farmer, a nurse and a mother. As a dairy farmer, I work to provide safe and nutritious milk. As a nurse, I strive to promote health and wellness. As a mother, like all mothers, I always want what is best for my family. Faced with making decisions for my family, I always try to look for science and research to help me make the best choices.
Producing safe milk is the priority of every dairy farmer. Even though dairy farmers follow strict sanitary procedures each time a cow is milked and work to keep all equipment clean, it is still possible for milk to contain harmful bacteria. Pasteurization is the scientific process used to kill any harmful microorganisms that might be present in the milk. At the milk processing plant, the milk is heated to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 15 seconds, and then cooled rapidly. Pasteurization assures milk safety and also extends the shelf life of milk.
As a nurse I was taught about the benefits of pasteurization, and learned the eradication of many illnesses since the early 1900s is attributed to using pasteurization. Based on this scientific knowledge about the benefits of pasteurization, I would not expose my family to the risk of illness that could occur from drinking raw milk. Research has also shown that pasteurization does not change the nutritional value of the milk.
As a mother, I choose to buy pasteurized milk because it is the safest product available for my family. Every week I purchase at least three gallons of milk for my family from our local grocery store because as a dairy farmer, nurse and mother, I want the very best and safest product for my family. I am very proud to be a dairy farmer producing safe milk for all consumers.
For more information about raw milk, check out these links: