Daring! Adventurous! Raw!

Daring! Adventurous! Raw!

Aug 06

As you may have read in my post yesterday, Laura and I visited a farmers market, where we found some fresh dairy products. Although we didn’t need groceries for the week, I was excited to see goat cheese (plain, garlic, and pesto varieties), and I urged Laura to buy some without hesitation. We sampled it at home yesterday evening, and it’s delicious — slightly tangy, super fresh and, best of all, completely raw.

Wait. What? Did he saw ‘raw’!? What does that mean, anyway? Don’t all dairy products come uncooked?

Raw, in this case, means unpasteurized and otherwise unprocessed.

Wait. What? Did he say ‘unpasteurized’!?

All dairy products sold for human consumption today is legally required to be pasteurized (even ultra-pasteurized). This process can kill a large amount of potentially harmful bacteria as well as extend the shelf life of dairy by preventing it from souring. Unfortunately, most of the harmful bacteria in our dairy products are results of the close confinement and general poor health of industrially raised animals. Nutritionally speaking, pasteurization greatly reduces the value of milk. According to one article:

“Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. 50% of the Vitamin C is lost. High heat affects water soluble vitamins and less effective. How much less? Anywhere for 35-80%. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also kills numerous beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. This is why the milk is fortified with vitamin D. It is also why Americans in the 20th century experienced high cholesterol like never before. Milk is a wonderful source of calcium, but pasteurization makes calcium and other minerals harder to absorb. One method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized is to test to make sure that phosphates have been completely removed. Phosphates are essential for the absorption of calcium. Uh oh.” (read more here)

Since it’s illegal to sell unpasteurized dairy, most farms clearly label their products as “unfit for human consumption” or “for agricultural / pet use only.” But don’t let the labels fool you — if you know where it came from, chances are it’s safe. In fact, there’s a lively community of people (even right here in Florida) who are clamoring the legal right to buy raw dairy, especially raw milk. Because what it comes down to is the government taking away our right to choose what we put in our bodies.

So, yes, we bought and ate unpasteurized, potentially deadly goat cheese. And you know what? It felt a little daring, a little adventurous, and a little subversive. Basically, it felt good.

1 comment

  1. Ah ha! Dairy products are not actually required to be pasteurized in every state… though in Florida, it’s only legal to include raw milk in pet food. http://www.realmilk.com/happening.html#wi

    I’m not sure how it works with cheese in Wisconsin, but non-retail sales (i.e. at the farm or the farmer’s market) are legal for sure. We would not suvive without our raw milk cheddar from Castle Rock Dairy! http://castlerockfarms.net/browse.php?type=Raw+milk+cheddar+cheeses

    Never had raw milk goat cheese though. Did you love it?

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