here to begin with the with the topic of food safety? With a recent outbreak of E. coli contributed to raw milk, I’m glad I am control of my own food supply to a certain extent. A couple of things came to mind when this happened, first I felt bad for the people who were taken ill, and I thought hmmm, this might be a good time to sell my home pasteurizer… Even though I am a lifelong home-produced milk drinker, I pasteurized our milk when our child was tiny. I just wasn’t willing to take the risk.
On the milk front I happen to think homogenization is harder on the milk than the pasteurization. Just my humble opinion though. I still like milk of any kind, and happen to think the store-bought stuff I have been buying the last two years is delicious. I just prefer to have my own and will be glad when Jane freshens.
I don’t know if we need more laws, really, but anymore I don’t think I would buy any milk from folks who weren’t rigorously testing their milk. Having a dairy animal has become very popular lately. The first flush was before Y2K, and you couldn’t find a cow to save your life without paying an arm and a leg. Things died down for a while and now keeping a house cow has surged (pun intended) to the forefront again. I hate to be mean, but really I don’t think having a dairy cow should be high on the priority list for most new farmers. Dairying is hard, you don’t just buy the cow and get milk automatically. And I don’t think drinking milk from an unhealthy cow (which is what most people think they are avoiding by having their own cow) is a good thing. Keeping a dairy cow healthy is a delicate balance, much harder than a beef cow for sure.
All I can say is if you are buying raw milk, go to the farm, and look around. Look at the cow(s), do they look healthy? What are they eating? Do they get some time off each year to build reserves? Is the farmer a nice person or an a$$hole? What kind of medicine to they use or not? After looking around, do you still want the milk? Be honest with yourself. Sometimes small dairies are as bad as the big ones in the news. Organic isn’t the cure-all either, think husbandry instead. I love telling the story about hauling dairy cows for a friend. One trip we “got” to go to organic dairy that belonged to the Organic Valley Co-op. We couldn’t wait, especially since it was on the dry side of the mountain. Yeah, we thought, its January no mud! Well, the place was awful, I have to be honest. We got the cull cow (there were many to choose from) loaded and headed for home, perplexed. We thought for sure an organic dairy would be better. Several weeks later, this same fellow had purchased another cow, this time from a conventional fellow on the wet side of the mountains. Oh brother, here we go again, we thought. We were in for a huge surprise. Hardly any mud, really nice cows, and no culls, this was a bred heifer. We were impressed, the cows were so beautiful, and my husband still talks about it to this day, and he’s not that into cows. So the moral is, look for care the cows get, and make sure you get a look. I would not have cared to drink the milk from the organic dairy, but I would have gladly taken a swig at the conventional one.
So what do you think? Should raw milk be outlawed or do you think it is a personal choice? I don’t even care about the pink slime issue, as long as it is part of the label, is should be a personal choice. And I don’t think it’s fair to call it pink slime either. I think personal responsibility has to come into play and we have to become more informed consumers. Please weigh in.