By Gary Wilson, special to The Bovine:
If you are looking for a source of raw cow’s milk to drink, you should be aware that not all cow’s milk is created equal. If you fail to investigate the methods employed in producing the raw milk you plan to drink, not only might you not get any nutritional benefits that you hoped for but you might be consuming raw milk that puts your health at risk.
As part of his study performed from 1932 to 1942, Francis Pottenger, Jr., MD compared the effects of feeding cats a diet of two thirds raw milk with one third raw meat to a diet of two thirds pasteurized milk with one third raw meat. While cats on the raw milk with raw meat remained healthy generation after generation, those on pasteurized milk with raw meat did not. The raw milk in this portion of the study came from cows fed fresh feed.
When Pottenger went a step further and tested the result of feeding cats a diet of two thirds raw milk coming from cows on a dry feed diet, again with one third raw meat, he found the results in the cats corresponded to those fed pasteurized milk with raw meat. For a better understanding of this experiment, the book, “Pottenger’s Cats” is available from the Price-Pottenger Foundation.
In his book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”, Weston Price, D.D.S. reports on an experimental group of twenty-seven children selected for rampant dental caries. In feeding the children one special meal per day, over a period of time “The clinical effect was apparent complete control of dental caries for the entire group, as shown in the x-ray films. In many of the cases, the open cavities were left without fillings, and, in all such cases, the exposed dentin took on a hard glassy finish. There were many other evidences of betterment.” Perhaps the most significant evidence of betterment came from two different teachers who came to Price “…to enquire as to what had been done to make a particular child change from one of the poorest in the class in capacity to learn to one of the best.” The key ingredient in this one meal was described by Price as high vitamin butter oil. In a report on a herd of dairy cattle transitioning from winter feed to “fodder reinforced with green alfalfa hay”, in testing six butter samples with ten days between the samples, the vitamin A increased by a factor of 55 times and the vitamin D, as measured by a test for antirachitic potency, increased by a factor of 260 times. During the period where the vitamin A and D were increasing in the butter, the colour of the butter was changing from white to a brilliant yellow. For a better understanding of Price’s work, reading “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” is suggested.
In a modern dairy herd cattle are fed what is described as a high production diet. Clearly, that is the goal in modern milk production. This dry feed diet includes corn. Grain is not well digested by cattle and some may pass through the cow’s digestive system into the colon where it ferments. In that environment, acid resistant E. coli may be created, one of which is E. coli O157: H7. Unlike acid sensitive E. coli, acid resistant E. coli are not destroyed by our stomach acid so E. coli O157: H7 can pass through our stomach into our intestines where it can do the damage so well recognized by medical professionals. Cornell University has a report online regarding this situation.
On a high production diet dairy cattle are at increased risk of diseases that might result in the release of pathogens harmful to us. A report on mastitis prevention for dairy cattle from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, states that “Feeding high producing cows for maximum production does increase stress on the udder and may cause infected cows to flare-up, however, restricting production to reduce clinical mastitis is not realistic or economical.” Clearly the government and dairy industry position is well stated here.
If the verdict in Michael Schmidt’s case is upheld when all appeals have been exhausted, some modern dairy farmers using high production cattle fed high production diets will only see the money to be made selling their milk raw. Uninformed consumers purchasing cow shares and consuming raw milk from this type of farmer will not only not be getting what they hoped for, they may be getting something much worse than what they hoped for.