Tag Archives: pasteurization

Healthy Living Kids & Family Raw Dairy Real Food

Why Organic Milk Falls Short on Nutrition

Many people have switched to buying organic milk because the awareness of how dangerous conventional milk is due to hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs used in the production of milk is increasing rapidly in health and food communities.

But did you know that organic milk can still come from feedlots and undesirable environments, just like conventional milk? Here are important reasons why organic milk may not be the best choice for your family:

1.  The wrong kinds of feed

Sure, these producers are not allowed to use hormones or antibiotics. But many larger organic producers – and some smaller ones – still feed their cattle unsuitable feed that can cause digestive distress for cattle. Cattle are ruminants which means they are meant to eat grass, fibrous plants, and shrubs. Grassfed cattle naturally stay healthier when on pasture and are under low-stress when eating the correct feed intended by nature. These animals usually don’t need to be treated with drugs.

Many organic facilities that produce milk feed their cows soy, corn, and grain, and sometimes other types of miscellaneous feed. These are unnatural and produce  inflammatory which causes an acidic environment in the cow’s digestive tract and body, and set the stage up for disease. This is why many farmers administer antibiotics.  Read from Nourished Magazine why grain fed meat is not an optimal nor nutritious food for the cow’s good health.

Soy and corn, even when “organic” are likely to be contaminated with GMO soy and corn since most crops grown in the U.S are now GMO. Co-existence is not possible, read why from the Institute for Responsible Technology.

2.  Pasteurization

The FDA requires all commercial milk to be pasteurized (heated to specified temperatures before it is sold for consumption). According to their site:

“Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis.

Research shows no meaningful difference in the nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk contains low levels of the type of nonpathogenic bacteria that can cause food spoilage, so storing your pasteurized milk in the refrigerator is still important.”

What were the REAL reasons for pasteurization?

Any discussion of pasteurization would not be complete unless we delve into why it was originally developed. In Nina Planck’s book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, she explains the story of urban dairies with sick cows that led to the eventual practice of widespread pasteurization.

Dr. Ron Schmid, naturopathic physician, says that pasteurization was never intended to to be used on all milk everyone consumed: “No one was claiming that all milk should be pasteurized, as even the most zealous proponents of pasteurization recognized that carefully produced raw milk from healthy animals was safe.”

Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization in the 1860s. It was a form of heat sterilization intended to improve storage quality of beer and wine. Industrial farming began in the late 1800s and early 1900s when population growth demanded higher food and milk production in urban areas in the Eastern U.S.  Authorities proposed pasteurization when outbreaks of tuberculosis and other infectious disease started to spread due to poor quality milk.

Indeed, quality was greatly diminished compared to milk from small family farms and cows grazing on pasture. Cattle were housed in small, confined quarters and consumed cheap, leftover slop material from nearby whiskey distilleries. Although urban dairies realized a cost savings to feeding dairy cattle this way, their health suffered. Mortality rate for cows was high, and they experienced open sores, teeth that fell out, and had putrid breath. Not surprisingly, facilities and employees were filthy and unkempt. Illnesses such as tuberculosis,  infant diarrhea, scarlet, tyhphoid and undulent fever (brucellosis) became rampant.

Pasteurization actually does not kill all pathogenic bacteria. Some survive the heating process.

Ohio State University Extension Service reported that Listeria, E. coli, and salmonella have all been found to withstand exposure to heat – at temperatures as high as 145 to 150 Fahrenheit. That’s the temperature at which most low-heat or gentle pasteurization occurs.

Cornell University recently released a report from a study that looked at predominant strains of spore-forming bacteria. These strains, primarily Paenibacillus bacteria, cause spoilage in milk and other foods.  They are found frequently in nature and are responsible for curdling effects and also off-flavors in various foods, including dairy.

Researchers discovered certain bacterial strains are able to withstand these heat temperatures, and the results is often milk curdling during storage. “In fact, the bacteria may be uniquely adapted to overcome the twin tactics of dairy protection: pasteurization followed by refrigeration.”  According to co-author and research support specialist Nicole Martin, “the spores are not only resistant to heat, the small jolt of heat during pasteurization may actually stimulate them to germinate. Some can reproduce in refrigerated dairy products at temperatures that would stymy other types of bacteria.”

UHT pasteurization

Some companies such as Organic Valley, Horizon, and other companies have taken pasteurization to a new level by heating the milk to a higher temperature. UHT or ultra high temperature processing heats at or above 280 degrees to kill pathogens. UHT milk has been reported to have a shelf life of up to 10 months (before opening)! Yuck.

What’s so bad about this?  Raw milk from healthy cows on pasture contains fragile enzymes, proteins, and beneficial bacteria that our bodies need to properly digest and absorb nutrients. Raw milk is a rich source of carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2, as well as Omega 3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

When these are altered or destroyed through pasteurization, the body perceives this once whole food as a harmful invader and produces an immune response to protect itself.  Proteins are altered, and in particular, casein proteins found in milk cannot be digested without those necessary raw enzymes.  Even though organic milk may come from cows eating organic feed without antibiotics or hormones, UHT processing removes any benefits that the milk would have had.

From the Weston A. Price Foundation, UHT damages milk in the following way:

“According to Lee Dexter, microbiologist and owner of White Egret Farm goat dairy in Austin, Texas, ultra-pasteurization is an extremely harmful process to inflict on the fragile components of milk. Dexter explains that milk proteins are complex, three-dimensional molecules, like tinker toys. They are broken down and digested when special enzymes fit into the parts that stick out. Rapid heat treatments like pasteurization, and especially ultra-pasteurization, actually flatten the molecules so the enzymes cannot do their work. If such proteins pass into the bloodstream (a frequent occurrence in those suffering from “leaky gut,” a condition that can be brought on by drinking processed commercial milk), the body perceives them as foreign proteins and mounts an immune response. That means a chronically overstressed immune system and much less energy available for growth and repair.”

So although any milk can contain pathogens, pasteurized milk has a better chance of being tainted since this milk likely comes from industrial settings where cows exist in feedlots and consume feed that makes them sick. Any good bacteria that might come from this milk is destroyed when pasteurized, and good bacteria protects milk from becoming a harmful substance to consume. Since good bacteria counts as well as nutritional value goes when cows are not on pasture and with pasteurization, what remains is simply dead bacteria and something with no nutritional value nor protection for your body and immune system.

3.  Better soil and environmental health

We can’t talk about nutrition in milk or any food without also mentioning the health of the soil. In addition to the meat being healthier when it comes from grassfed sources, raising grassfed livestock promotes better soil and plant health. Soil health is vitally important to the health of everything else in the world, and is home to a diverse community of bacterial organisms.

Geomorphologist (from University of Washington) David Montgomery’s book Dirt explains just how damaging modern agricultural practices are to the topsoil. In the U.S., cropland in the U.S. becomes eroded 10 times quicker than the rate for it to be replaced by natural means. Some of the biggest cash crops in the world today including wheat, corn, and soy are incredibly depleting of the soil. These shallow-rooted grasses bring about the disintegration of essential trace minerals such as iodine, calcium, and magnesium.

Perennial grasses and pastures allow important nutrients to be returned to the soil in roughly 10 years. (which grow back year after year) and which extend down beyond 10 feet below the surface return nutrients back into the growing system. This allows them to be available for plants and everything else higher on the food chain.

From Smarter Living, Wendy Gordon’s Top 10 Reasons to Eat Grass-fed Meat:

“In contrast, the deep roots of perennials, often extending more than 10 feet below the surface, act like elevators, lifting nutrients back into the system and making them available to plants and everything else up the food chain. Pure prairie builds up organic matter: the richest of virgin prairie soil in the Midwest once ran to 10 feet deep and was about 10 percent organic. What’s left of the soils where corn and soy now grow typically contains less than half that amount of organic matter. Perennial pastures can restore the richness of the soil in a decade or so.”

4.  Access to outdoors

Another issue is that many larger organic facilities don’t allow their dairy cattle much access to the outdoors, even if that is implied on the label. You might see a picture of a farm with pastures and a barn or even see terms such as “humanely raised” or “pasture-raised”. The minimum USDA standards for organic only require 120 days annually on pasture. That means the rest of the time, animals may be in confinement of some type. This greatly diminishes the nutrient-quality of the milk produced. When cattle are in feedlot environments and fed something other than their natural diet (grass or hay), Omega 3s, fat soluble vitamins, and CLA diminishes greatly.

5.  Cost of the milk

Depending on where you buy your milk, you will pay different prices. Although some raw milk producers charge upwards towards $10 a gallon for their milk, from my experience, there are many organic pasteurized milks on the market which cost about the same as buying local raw milk from my trusted farmer who uses sustainable practices and has their cattle on pasture.

For instance, many organic milks I’ve seen in the store are sold by the half gallon and cost in the range between $2.99 to $3.99.  The whole gallon containers run anywhere from $4.99 up to $7.99. If you buy a whole gallon of local, grass-fed, raw milk like I do from my farmer, it’s only $6/gallon. Do you really want to pay the same amount for an inferior product?

So, you do have a choice. You can buy milk from commercial, industrial sources that takes animals and turns their meat and milk into a commodity-based product with little to no attention to their health or land stewardship, and cook the life out of foods that were put here to nourish us. Or, you can make the effort to find a local farmer producing raw milk from healthy cows on pasture, and take advantage of the superior health benefits found in this perfect food.

Want to make sure the milk you are getting is sustainable, organic, grassfed raw, or all of the above? Read Questions to Ask Your Farmer.

Want more information on the health benefits of real, living, raw milk?

The Truth About Raw Milk, Part I and Part II.

Why an Idaho girl supports CA raw milk – Organic Pastures Dairy

Why our family chooses raw over pasteurized milk

Why low-fat foods are not good for our health (including low-fat and skim organic milk):

Deceptions in the food industry: Low-fat foods


Activism Green Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Food Recalls – Why They Could Mean The End Of Real Food As We Know It


For a long time I believed that with every food recall story in the media, we’d see more and more people start taking notice of what’s going on in the food system – that food produced in factory environments is harming our health because everything is completely backward and geared toward the reign of big food and corporate agriculture – and that sustainable agriculture would start to become the order of the day.

Food recalls are not doing the job they should – they are not waking people up fast enough. The more we continue to support big agriculture’s products by ignoring these problems, the more control will be given to entities (the government) and corporations (Big Pharma and Big Agriculture – companies like Tyson, Smithfield, Swift, and Cargill who control over 80 percent of the food sold in our country) to dictate the future of food growth, production, sales, and health (or lack thereof).

The reality is, nothing will change until major modifications occur in the way we produce food.  Stepping up regulations and laws will not change the recall situation or food-borne illnesses problem.

Every time food recalls happen, irrational and uneducated parties and spokespeople start rousing the masses to stop buying certain foods – tomatoes (2008), beef (2008), pork (2008), eggs (2010), and a breaking report today from Walmart – 380,000 pounds of deli meat (2010).

Recalls are becoming more numerous and people aren’t understanding the reason why – they believe it’s due to lax standards on “food safety” measures and laws. This is only a very small component of what is going on. The real culprit is not eggs or meat or anything else in and of itself – the cause is the farming methods and manufacturing processes used in the growth and production of these foods.

Where is the recall food coming from?

In every instance of these recalls, where has the food come from? That’s right, say it with me: BIG AGRICULTURE  corporations who are “supposed” to have their act together. How often do you hear about a small-time, sustainable farmer using traditional farming practices getting in trouble and having to “recall” their products? It does happen rarely, but realize that most of the time it does, those farmers are not using truly sustainable practices.

Beef recall

Today we read that Walmart is recalling 380,000 pounds of deli meats from its shelves.  Where does this meat come from? Factory farms. Case in point – remember the world’s largest beef recall to date…143 million pounds…in February of 2008 where downer cattle were being discovered on feedlots? These cattle would have, under normal circumstances, been taken away from the facility and destroyed. But they were being processed like every other animal on the facility (I say facility, because factory farms, like where these animals live, are not fit to be termed as “farms”) and processed through as meat for consumption.

Okay, I shouldn’t even have to elaborate about why this scenario is so horrific on so many levels…but humor me. I’m going to anyway to inform and educate those who don’t know or realize what’s going on here.

For starters, those cattle should not be living the way they do – even the ones that were not categorized as “downer” cattle. Those that made it through and were passed by USDA inspectors and deemed “acceptable” or “healthy” for consumption weren’t fit for consumption either. The reason why is that ANY animal born and raised on a feedlot – which is where the MAJORITY of our meat comes from – has experienced an existence that is so far removed from what it should be living, the details of it are staggeringly awful:

Feed Cattle are ruminants and should not be eating corn, soy, grains, and many other substances they are fed – they should be eating grass as that is what their digestive tracts are designed to process. When they eat these substances, their bodies grow faster and bigger, but they become unhealthy (think pathogenic bacteria like E. coli), and then farmers administrate antibiotics to control disease and illness. What results is super-resistant bacteria, and the death of all good bacteria. This is transferred over to humans when we consume the meat and helps us to become resistant too.

Hormones Most conventional cattle are given genetically-engineered growth hormones to speed up their growth process and get them ready for slaughter sooner. Some companies are beginning to ban growth hormones, but we are still a long ways away from this becoming common practice. Growth hormones in meat have been linked to the following health problems: disruption of  human hormone balance which affects development and growth, interference with reproduction, and development of various cancers such as prostate, breast, or colon cancer.

Antibiotics Conventional cattle receive regular doses of antibiotics to combat illnesses originating as a result of unsanitary conditions and the fact that they consume grain, which causes pathogenic bacteria like E. coli to develop in the digestive tracts of the animals. As stated above, antibiotics lead to resistant pathogenic strain bacteria in animals and humans, and the environment.

Pesticides and GMOs Cattle eat feed that has been treated with herbicide and pesticides all through its growing cycle, not to mention the DNA of these plants used for feed has often undergone alteration in a laboratory to change its basic gene structure so it can be resistant to the chemicals used on it to ward off pests.

Pesticides have been shown repeatedly to be toxic to the human body – it can kill all types of living organisms by attacking the nervous system – so how could it be harmless or cause negligable harm to humans and the environment? The Daily Green presented a report illustrating the harmful effects pesticides have on the health of young children. Because their bodies are smaller and still developing, they are more vulnerable, their metabolisms process these chemicals faster, and they have a greater overall negative impact. The damage? Disruption to hormonal, brain, and nervous system health, just to name a few.

The consumption of GMOs has been linked to widespread allergic reactions and problems in individuals – from soy, corn, and grains. It has also been shown to cause liver, reproductive, endocrine, and other health issues, as well as infant mortality rate (in laboratory rats). For more information about the dangers of GMOs, visit The Seeds of Deception.

Egg recall

One of the worst aspects of this egg recall (eggs originating from Wright County Egg farm in Iowa – one of the country’s largest producers – here’s the whole story) is that the issue is the salmonella – so, there’s salmonella in chicken meat from facilities that produce chickens…which provide the majority of supermarkets and restaurants with chicken meat. So why is it that the FDA apparently has no problem with that? If we were to look into just what causes salmonella in chickens, the abominable conditions of the facilities where these chickens live would become public knowledge. And then not many people would agree to buy these products. Well, it’s easy to see what the motivation is here.

If you’ve ever watched any food documentaries or read any books on food politics, you’ll notice that big food corporations and farms repeatedly decline to be interviewed or allow reporters or cameras inside their facilities. Most small-scale, sustainable farmers and food producers WELCOME the opportunity for people to come and tour their farm or facility during business operating hours and in some cases, after hours. Why, you may ask…why the wall of secrecy?

Radiation to the rescue

Now there is a threat of the FDA conducting a mass “sterilization”, or pasteurization of all eggs on the market to “eliminate” the problem. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what’s already being done to spinach and tomatoes, lettuce, and other foods. The reasoning is that this process will kill E. coli and salmonella and make these foods safe once again for consumption.

As usual, the FDA and other authorities have employed short-sighted methods and are completely ignoring the cause of the pathogenic bacteria that is making consumers sick – the abhorrent conditions in facilities where food is raised and grown. But since these corporations often refuse to allow reporters and cameras in their facilities, they are allowed to continue producing food in ghastly conditions. This is exactly their goal.

How can you possibly get salmonella or E. coli from vegetables? Good question – the answer lies in runoff contamination which pollutes our soil and water from factory farms that raise animals for meat, or in food preparation environments – factories, kitchens, etc. where these foods are allowed to cross-contaminate on cooking and  cutting surfaces, and on machinery.

From Web M.D., “We’re very pleased to see one more tool that we can use to have what’s a nutritious, good product become even safer,” said Robert Brackett, senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer for the FDA. Sources like Web M.D.  impress that “irradiating spinach and iceberg lettuce is safe and won’t affect overall dietary nutrition, according to the FDA, which notes that although irradiating spinach curbs vitamin A and folate levels, that doesn’t hurt total dietary intake of those nutrients. Irradiation doesn’t make food radioactive, according to background information from the CDC”.

Other medical sources report that irradiation is, in fact, harmful to health. According to Medical News Today, “Food irradiation can result in loss of nutrients, for example vitamin E levels can be reduced by 25% after irradiation and vitamin C by 5-10%. This is compounded by the longer storage times of irradiated foods, and by loss of nutrients during cooking, which can result in the food finally eaten by the consumer to contain little more than ‘empty calories’. This is potentially damaging to the long and short-term health of consumers, particularly for sections of society already failing to obtain adequate nutrition.”

Irradiation of foods does not eliminate dangerous toxins which have already been created by bacteria prior to irradiation. “In some cases, such as C. botulinum, it is the toxin produced by the bacteria, rather than the bacteria itself, which poses the health hazard.”

When foods are irradiated, the chemical composition of the food has been noted to change and can cause mutations in bacteria which, like antibiotics, can lead to the development super-resistant strain bacteria.

What else? You should be prepared to pay a bit more for irradiated food, according to Brackett. About 3 to 5 cents more per pound. So not only is the food you are eating exposed to radiation and can harm your health, but you are expected to pay for it on top of all that? This is what I like to call insanity.

According to Natural News, “The FDA, you see, will seize upon each contamination event as a leverage point from which to ratchet up its food sterilization agenda, and the agency won’t stop until every scrap of fresh food sold at grocery stores is either pasteurized, fumigated or irradiated”.

How can food recalls work to fix the problem?

The answer is simple, but not easy. I’ll use the analogy of wielding the power of nutrition and nature to heal our bodies and health – if we changed our farming practices and methods back to the ways used by traditional farmers through the ages, we would heal the land, the creatures, and our bodies of many of the modern illnesses, problems, and scourges that plague our modern feedlots and factory farm environments. And I won’t pretend things would be perfect; there is no such thing as perfect health. But we would observe a vast improvement in the way things are.

We can use science and technology to our benefit – by taking advantage of modern inventions and discoveries like electricity, cold storage, sanitation, proper storage containment and facilities, and combine it with the best nature has to offer: real food that has not been damaged, processed, heat treated, denatured, deodorized, treated with chemicals, and extruded or otherwise altered by mechanization devices and processes. Just as big pharma has overtaken medical practice in treating symptoms, not causes, with drugs, procedures, and surgery, modern agricultural approaches seek to stop symptoms, not eliminate the issues that cause the problem in the first place.

Modern agriculture needs to heal itself by returning to tried-and-true methods used for thousands of years – and eliminate all these modern problems that exist due to the mechanization, standardization, deodorization, heat-treating, processing of foods which contain enzymes, nutrients, co-factors, amino acids, fats, proteins, probiotics (friendly bacteria), and prebiotics which aid in the digestion, assimilation, and nourishment of food in the body.

Buy from your local farmers, buy sustainable, know what you are eating and how it is produced:

  • eggs from pasture-raised hens
  • organ meats
  • healthy fats like butter, extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, tallow, and lard
  • sustainable or organically-grown produce – fruits, vegetables, legumes
  • whole and sprouted/soaked/fermented sustainable grains

If we can learn one important thing from food recalls, it’s that our [humans] way of packaging, processing, and making things readily available and more convenient anytime we want or need will never supercede nature’s innate ability to know how and what we need to maintain health.

So let’s put the focus where it needs to be – alter the face of industrial food processes, and recognize and embrace the important  health benefits of producing real food as nature intended.  We don’t need to step-up food regulation and safety laws, we need to acknowledge that food recalls happen due to these processes and mechanisms we’ve put into place – those systems we have come to believe are useful and even infallible, and which have ushered in the growth and development of harmful bacteria and harms to human health and the environment, on a scale which humanity has never before seen in history.

Want to know more?

Huge FDA recall of 10,000 products – another wakeup call to avoid processed foods!

Is cheap food really cheap?

The hidden costs of industrial food

Is hunger really a matter of willpower?

11 healthy and nutrient-dense foods at a glance

Nina Planck talks candidly about industrial food

Want to do more?

The time to act is now – oppose Bill S.510 – The Food Safety Modernization Act