The Thing About Raw Milk: Everything You Need to Know

Raw milk is a contentious topic. On one hand, raw milk can be more nutritious than pasteurized milk. It also tastes better and some people find it easier to digest raw milk than pasteurized. On the other hand, raw milk carries significant risks for contamination with dangerous bacteria like listeria or E. Coli that can lead to serious illnesses in both children and adults. No matter what side you’re on, this article has everything you need to know about raw milking handling!

How to Milk Cows Properly?

Raw milk can be obtained by milking an animal raw (the same way you would for pasteurized milk) or through the use of a machine that does not expose it to high temperatures. The risk of contamination is higher with raw, hand-milked cows because there are more opportunities for bacteria to get into the bucket/pail; for this reason, raw milk should always be handled as carefully as possible. 

With machine milking the risk of contamination is much lower since it does not come into contact with human hands and because high temperatures kill bacteria that may have found their way in during milking. However, raw milk must still be kept cold until you are ready to drink it.

Goat Milk vs. Coat Milk

Raw milk is raw (unpasteurized) milk straight from the cow, goat, or sheep. Pasteurization heats raw milk to destroy dangerous bacteria like E. coli and listeria that can make humans sick if ingested raw. Milk manufacturers pasteurize all commercially sold milk for this reason, but raw dairy farmers do not have to pasteurize raw milk if they sell it directly to the consumer.

Raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized because heat destroys some of raw milk’s vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B12, enzymes, and amino acids. Pasteurization also alters proteins in raw milk so that many people find them difficult to digest without proper treatment (more on this later).

Also, it is more flavorful raw because it contains aromatic compounds that are lost in pasteurization. Many people report raw milk having a fuller, richer taste than commercial raw milk or even fresh raw homogenized milk from the store. Raw milk has complex flavors ranging from buttery to grassy depending on what the cows have been eating.

Although raw milk is more nutritious and flavorful than pasteurized, raw milk also contains many potentially dangerous bacteria. The listeria monocytogenes bacterium can cause a serious infection called listeriosis which causes flu-like symptoms in healthy people but poses a risk to pregnant women with compromised immune systems or infants who haven’t developed a healthy immune system yet.

In raw milk, listeria is killed by the high acidity of raw milk and its low water content which makes it harder for pathogens to grow in raw milk than in a wet environment like a juice or shake with ice cream. However, even in raw milk, you will find pathogenic bacteria if your dairy farmer doesn’t keep their raw milk clean.

Raw Milk Handling Safety Tips

If you are drinking raw milk, make sure your dairy farmer keeps his farm and equipment sanitary to protect against pathogens like salmonella or listeria which can contaminate raw milk if they get into the cow’s udder during milking. If the raw milk equipment is not clean, raw milk can become contaminated with dangerous bacteria.

Plus be sure to check its temperature before serving it to make sure the high acidity hasn’t allowed pathogens like salmonella or listeria to grow inside of your raw milk. It should feel slightly cool on the outside but still be warm so that you know raw milk hasn’t been sitting out for too long.

Raw Milk Handling Customers and Farmers

Raw milk customers must be extremely careful because raw milk can easily become contaminated if the raw dairy farmer doesn’t take proper precautions to keep their raw cows, goats, or sheep clean. Make sure your raw dairy farmer has a way of keeping his raw animals’ udders clean before milking them so that raw milk doesn’t become contaminated.

Raw milk customers also need to be careful when buying raw dairy because raw milk can go bad quickly if it isn’t kept cold in the store or within a few hours of milking time. Make sure your raw dairy farmer knows how to properly treat raw cows’ and goats’ milk so that their raw cows’ and goats’ milk doesn’t spoil quickly.

Dairy farmers must also take the proper precautions to keep raw cows’, goats’, or sheep’s milk clean before selling it raw to customers. Be sure your raw cow, goat, or sheep farmer keeps his farm sanitary by cleaning up dirty tools that might contaminate raw animal milk with dangerous bacteria.

How to Preserve Raw Milk?

Raw milk is best stored in the back of the fridge where raw milk doesn’t have to be moved as often. If raw dairy products are kept on a bottom shelf, it’s easier for them not to get bumped by other food so they can stay fresher longer before spoiling.

When you go to buy raw cows’ or goats’ milk, raw goats’ milk is best kept in a cooler to keep it as cold as possible. If raw goat’s milk isn’t refrigerated within an hour of milking time and the raw dairy farmer doesn’t take proper precautions to clean raw cows’, goats’, or sheeps’ udders before milking them, raw cow, goat, and sheep’s milk can spoil quickly and become contaminated with dangerous bacteria that raw cows’, goats, or sheep may have been harboring.

If raw dairy products are stored in the fridge for too long, they will start to go bad because cold temperatures don’t kill off harmful bacteria that thrive in cool environments. Make sure raw cows’ and goats’ milk is used within a couple of days of milking to prevent raw dairy from spoiling.

How to Pasteurize Milk?

Pasteurizing raw milk kills off harmful pathogens that raw dairy may contain so raw cows’, raw goats’, or raw sheep’s milk doesn’t go bad quickly.

Even when you are drinking it raw, it still can become contaminated with dangerous bacteria if the raw dairy farmer isn’t keeping his raw cows, goats, or sheep clean because it is a perfect environment for dangerous bacteria to grow.

To pasteurize raw cows’ or raw goats’ milk, heat raw cow’s or raw goat’s milk up to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds which will kill off harmful pathogens that raw animal milk may contain so they don’t go bad quickly and customers aren’t at risk of getting sick from drinking contaminated raw milk.

Raw Milk Pasteurization: Why it’s Important

Pasteurizing raw cows’ or raw goats’ milk kills off harmful pathogens that raw dairy may contain so raw cows’, raw goats’, or raw sheep’s milk doesn’t go bad quickly. Even when you are drinking raw cow, goat, or sheep’s milk, it still can become contaminated with dangerous bacteria if the raw dairy farmer isn’t keeping his raw cows, goats, or sheep clean because raw cow, goat, and sheep milk is a perfect environment for dangerous bacteria to grow.

When raw dairy products are allowed to sit at room temperature for too long, they will start to go bad quickly because cold temperatures don’t kill off harmful bacteria that thrive in cool environments. Make sure raw cows’ and raw goats’ milk is used within a couple of days of milking to prevent raw dairy from spoiling.

Pasteurizing raw cow’s or raw goat’s milk kills off harmful pathogens that raw animal milk may contain so they don’t go bad quickly and customers aren’t at risk of getting sick from drinking contaminated raw milk.

Consumer’s Responsibility for Safety

If you are buying a raw cow, goat, or sheep’s milk to drink, make sure your raw cow, goat, or sheep farmer keeps his farm sanitary by cleaning up raw cows’, goats, or sheep’s udders before milking them so raw milk doesn’t become contaminated. If raw cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk is not handled properly by the raw dairy farmer during transportation to market and during storage, at the market place it can go bad quickly which will result in a very sick raw cow, goat, or sheep raw milk customer.

FAQ

Can You Transport Raw Milk?

If raw milk is not handled properly by the raw dairy farmer during transportation to market and during storage, at the market place it can go bad quickly which will result in a very sick raw cow, goat, or sheep raw milk customer.

Yes, of course, you can transport raw milk if you follow raw milk safety recommendations.

How Do You Handle Milk?

If raw cow’s, raw goats’, or raw sheep’s milk is not handled properly by the raw dairy farmer during transportation to market and during storage, at the market place it can go bad quickly which will result in a very sick raw cow, goat, or sheep raw milk customer.

Can You Drink Milk Straight From the Cow?

Raw cow’s, raw goats’, or raw sheep’s milk is not handled properly by the raw dairy farmer during transportation to market and during storage, at the marketplace, it can go bad quickly which will result in a very sick raw cow, goat, or sheep raw milk customer.

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