This weeks Topic of the Week
We’ve stopped buying organic milk. The reason is that the organic milk that is locally available are all homogenized and ultra-pasteurized.
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill off bacteria found in raw milk. This kills off all lactase producing beneficial bacteria as well as any possible harmful bacteria. Pasteurized milk left on the counter will turn rancid. Raw milk left out will turn into buttermilk, and will stay edible. Ultra-pasteurization (aka Ultra High Temperature: UHT) uses a much higher heat and produces a milk that will stay stable for months at a time.
There many anti-microbial and immune enhancing factors that are found in milk that are reduced with pasteurization and completely destroyed with ultra-pasteurization1.
Homogenization uses pressure (up to 14,000psi) to break up the fat (and protein) molecules into much smaller molecules so that they can stay suspended throughout the milk. This makes he fat and cholesterol more susceptible to rancidity and oxidation2. Homogenization creates a lot of heat from the pressure and amounts to a second pasteurization.
Ohio is one of 22 states that has criminalized the sale of raw milk. Raw milk is available in Pennsylvania. In order to get raw milk, some Ohioans become owners of a share of a cow. They pay the farmer to board and milk the cow and are entitled to a portion of the cows production3. For more information on the benefits of raw milk see www.realmilk.com.
There are two dairys that provide pasteurized (rather than ultra-pasteurized) non-homogenized milk that is available locally.
Snowville Creamery sells their milk and cream at Whole Foods and select Heinen’s stores. The cows are pasture grazed without chemicals. Their milk is a bargain at $2.99/half gallon. This is what we use.
Hartzler Family Dairy is located in Wooster and have been farming without chemicals for over 30 years. In 1991, they started bottling their own milk and it can be found at Whole Foods and the West Side Market in glass containers. Their 2 lb butter rolls can also be found at Heinen’s (The taste compares to the fancy European butter for a fraction of the cost).
I’ve had problems with milk for many years, but since we switched to these more natural milk and creams, I have significantly increased my dairy consumption while feeling better. I still can’t stand straight milk, but we culture kefir, piima (a type of yogurt that can be made at room temperature), and crème fraiche. I use the cultured milk and cream for cereal, smoothies, cream cheeses, and as a side with some dinners.
If you are currently drinking organic milk and cream from Horizon or Organic Valley, there are better choices for your health. These choices also directly support Ohio farms.
1Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89
2Zikakis, et al, J Dairy Sci, 1977, 60:533; Oster, K, Am J Clin Res, Apr 1971, Vol II(I)
3For more information on Cow Share programs, see www.ohiorawmilk.info