“I didn’t start drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk and feeding it to my kids as an act of civil disobedience. We moved to the country. We started a garden and raised chickens. We bought a Jersey cow named Jezebel because it seemed like the sort of thing you did chasing the bucolic dream.
Just like all the many nonagenarian dairy farmers in my family tree had done – and just like the Queen of England reportedly still does – we drank raw milk. It tasted great. Getting Jezebel in to milk was always interesting: my head nestled into her flank; the “squirt squirt” of milk in pail; flicking out the odd fly or fleck of who-knew-what in the milk; cursing her when she kicked the bucket.
Sadly, Jezebel kicked the bucket in the figurative sense two years ago. Faced with the question of where to get our milk, we moved across to the raw dairy black market because, by this time, we had come to the conclusion that it was better for you and that it did not pose the grave health risk that has been claimed.
In the eyes of many, this places me out there on the loop de loop fringe. It is illegal to sell raw milk for human consumption in Australia, and health authorities warn that drinking unpasteurised milk is dangerous, that children, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are at gravest risk, and that it offers no nutritional benefit over pasteurised milk.
They have said so repeatedly since the death last year of a three-year-old boy from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula “after drinking” unpasteurised milk. Four other children also fell ill over a six-month period “after drinking” raw milk.
The wording is important. Indeed, they did get sick after drinking raw milk. No doubt after doing a lot of things. The three most serious cases suffered kidney failure associated with the bacteria E. coli. Yet in each case, milk taken from the homes and the Mountain View Organic Dairy – said to be the source of the outbreak – tested negative.
The child who died passed away a little over two months after the milk was purchased. When I asked the Victorian Health Department about rumours the child was suffering an unrelated terminal illness, a spokesman said only that it was up to the coroner to determine the cause of death. But hadn’t the health department already implied to the world that the child was killed by raw milk?…”