It is important when reading this blog, to realise that the aim is not to discount the health benefits of milk, as we've come to know it - in its processed form. The reality is without legislative change, it will remain your only legal option as a consumer. It is much more about the freedom of choice - in a proudly democratic country! Enjoy...
The older I become, the more elite company I keep. Having been born on a dairy farm and spent my entire life here to this day - I am fortunate to be one of a very small percentage of this country's population to consume fresh - raw - cow's milk....legally, on a daily basis. All my life, until recently, I have taken for granted the growing number of health benefits that accompany this privilege.
As an over-regulated 'democracy' in Australia, we have the ambiguous situation today, that despite the near elimination of any remaining life threatening illness, transmitted through the consumption of raw milk, FSANZ (Food Standards of Australia & New Zealand) are happy to take the choice away from consumers. They concluded after a recent assessment (P1007), raw dairy products present too large a health threat, to be legalised.
I find this astonishing in a country where you can legally buy and consume as much alcohol as you choose beyond the age of 18, and smoke as much tobacco you desire. A country that you can , as an individual, eat as much junk food as you can stomach - or for that matter, supply to young children, as their parent or guardian. Of course these are choices you are free to make, with a wealth of available research to assist in the decision making process.
The choice is yours at least...but not when it comes to fresh, natural milk!!! No that is surely dangerous stuff. The irony is that while FSANZ feel obligated to maintain the status quo in Australia (a country whose food production standards - at dairy farm level - are perhaps the most stringent in the world) - in excess of 95% of the world's population, have the freedom to buy and consume raw cow's milk - legally. My fellow Australian dairy farmers are currently meeting quality standards (prior to processing) superior to the existing regulations governing the sale of raw milk in most parts of the world.
We are indeed entering interesting times. With life threatening illnesses such as heart disease, many forms of cancer, and especially growing incidence of type 2 diabetes inflicting people in their 20's and 30's. For the first time in known documented history, the life expectancy for young people today, is lower than that of their parents. Much of the scientific research undertaken over the past 40 years, is strongly linking the rapid rise of these concerns to the over-processing of the food we eat. In real terms - the destruction and reconstruction of many of our staples.
Few foods are more severely adulterated than milk. The process of pasteurization was invented to remove the threat of dangerous pathogens that existed more than 100 years ago. Unfortunately the result is to also kill many of milk's nutrients, and most importantly enzymes and probiotic properties. Prior to this process, milk contains its own enzyme (lactase) to assist in the absorption of milk sugars, or lactose....hence the sharp spike in dairy intolerance in recent decades. Homogenization was developed for customers' convenience, not having to shake the bottle to mix in the cream. This process literally smashes milk's molecular structure into tiny fragments, so they are unable to reform - which then has a detrimental affect on the way our body absorbs the fat content.
The gap between raw and processed milk will continue to widen in the coming years. The ongoing decline of locally produced fresh milk is inevitable, due to reduced farm-gate margins, and subsequent dairy closures. For this reason, we will see a rise in the need for UHT milk. Why - because milk will require a longer shelf life, as it takes more time to get from farm to shop. The process of Ultra Heat Treatment is even more destructive than pasteurization - rendering milk as little more than 'white water'. The carbon footprint will also be negatively impacted - as more fuel will be burnt in moving milk over great distances to the people.
There is some very interesting reading available on the web, including this quote - "Raw milk is a unique living food and differs from all other foods. Raw milk innately contains many different enzyme, and bacteriologic systems (organic acids and others) that actively kill pathogens when and if they are introduced."
Check the article - http://editor.nourishedmagazine.com.au/articles/fsanz-update-raw-dairy-in-us-support-nourished-community
Change is only possible through overwhelming pressure from consumers. There is already a groundswell of domestic demand for raw milk. As in any market place, demand will determine that supply be maintained - illegal or otherwise. That has recently been in the form of bath milk, pet milk, or 'share cow ownership'. Despite FSANZ apparently calling for public submissions to their recent assessment (of which I'm guessing most of you were unaware?), they received about 100 requests from individuals whose desire to purchase raw milk was expressed. Is that a representative portrayal of public sentiment? Who could blame FSANZ for disregarding such a minute representation of our population.
Only with great pressure comes change. Perhaps through the voices of in excess of 100,000 concerned Australians, FSANZ' resolution towards this growing problem will be reviewed. We need for the pros of this arguement to be weighted as heavily as the cons.
In an age where we seem hell bent on sanitising and sterilising anything we consume, perhaps we've lost sight of the even greater hazard - eliminating its nutrient content. Even with our best endeavours, absolute elimination of such pathogens is simply not a realistic goal. We co-exist with them every day, through the surfaces we touch - the air we breathe - and they're found in many of the foods we consume legally. It's an unavoidable part of the lives we live. Cause and effect. Perhaps it is finally time to properly reassess 'food safety'?