raw milk - safe or not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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We have been getting raw goats milk from our next door neighbors. This was initially for my DD's milk allergy. But I must admit, the stuff tastes great and I have been drinking it myself. Now that I am pregnant, I'm not sure if it is safe to continue? I know that all the literature says not too. But is it based on sound evidence? I know that most types of food poisoning will not harm the fetus, with the exception of listeria, which may or may not enter your blood through the intestines, and then may or may not cross the placenta. Thoughts?

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#2 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 12:14 AM
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As long as the goats eat grass and have clean facilities, I see no reason to be concerned. I drink raw cow's milk and I am not stopping anytime soon. I know that our farmer lives a WAPF lifestyle and his animals are grass-fed and free range. I trust them.

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#3 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 04:54 AM
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Raw milk is the #1 risk item precisely for listeria. I've researched it a bit myself and have not found any evidence that the traditional evidence on this isn't sound. So why not just cook the milk before you drink it? However clean the facilities etc, goats are animals without all the sanitary rules that humans live by. I was very relaxed about unpasteurized milk and cheese before I got pregnant, but have noticed that I am a lot more susceptible to things since I got pregnant, so I am laying off it for now.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 10:26 AM
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I'm another that will say: As long as it's grass fed and the milking practices are clean (You ARE allowed to ask to observe) then go for it.

We've been doing raw milk for months now and, because it's the only form of dairy that DS can handle, there's NO WAY I'm stopping because I"m pregnant.

If you're seeing a traditional OB you may want to not mention it unless you want a lecture...it's one of those "You'll DIE" kind of things.

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#5 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 11:27 AM
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I am continuing to drink raw milk from our dairy goats. I know exactly where our goats eat, sleep, and play. I know what foods they have access to during the day, and I know how sanitary their water is. I know the quality of their hay, grain, and pasture. I know the small things they are given to build their immune system. I know how the milking equipment is washed, sanitized, and stored. I know how their udders are washed before milking, and I know how quickly the milk is cooled and to what temperature after milking. It's a calculated risk, and one I am comfortable making.

There are a couple of things that I didn't know before we got our does, although I had been drinking raw goat and cow milk from local farmers for about a year before that. Goats and cows are different kinds of ruminants. While cows are grazers and do well on grasses and pasture, goats are browsers and do better on bushes, trees, and brush. They can and will still eat fresh grasses, but it's not their natural preference. Usually cows and goats are fed some grain on the milk stand. I know with goats, you have to feed them about 2-3 lbs of grain a day (1-1.5 lbs per milking since we milk twice a day) for them to be able to make milk and be healthy. I know that one of the things WAPF talks about it grazing on green grasses for cows to produce healthy fats and other factors in the milk, but I am not sure how this translates for goat milk. I don't know if WAPF has actually studied the nutritional content of goats milk and after what type of food exposure. Anyway, if you talk with someone who keeps dairy goats, and they tell you that they either don't feed grain or overemphasize eating green grasses, they are either uneducated about goats or know that WAPF seekers are looking for that statement about grass.

The second thing is that while it is important to keep the equipment sanitary and the goats disinfected before milking, it is equally important if not more so, to cool the milk quickly and to the correct temperature, as quickly as possible after milking. Very few home dairies have the equipment to consistently run a true grade A dairy. The milk cooling part of the two grades is in my opinion the most important part, and can be accomplished by the home dairy with discipline. (Cell and bacterial count standards are based on cows, and they have never adequately looked into what is acceptable for goats, so cow standards are usually incorrectly applied to dairy goat farms). The milk itself doesn't pose any hazards to the drinker, unless the goat has an infection of some sort, which would be expressed in the milk. I think most goat owners would know if their goat had an infection, and I think infections are rare as long as the other goat husbandry aspects are addressed. There are tests for infection. Other than that, the main culprit is feces. I don't think anyone would drink or sell milk after an animal had stepped in the milk pail (with a poopy hoof), but fecal bacteria can also be on hair or hay, which sometimes find their way into the milk pail. These are strained out, and generally the combination of cooling the milk quickly and the good bacteria already present in the milk will keep the bad bacteria in check.

Grade A dairies have to cool the milk to 45 degrees F within 2 hours of the milk coming from the goat. Grade B is to 50 degrees F within 2 hours. I was surprised to find that strained milk placed in the freezer in a quart jar actually takes more time to cool than milk placed in an ice water bath (and don't even think of cooling it in the fridge). I store my milk in sanitized quart mason jars and cool my milk in a big stockpot with ice water. After about 20 minutes, the milk has cooled just about as much as it is going to in the ice water bath. Then I transfer it to the freezer for as long as I have time or for a maximum of two hours, by which time it has definitely reached 45 degree. I store it in my refrigerator, which may or may not be 45 degrees (probably closer to 50).

Anyways, I feel like raw milk is safe for me and my family because I know how it was handled before I drink it.
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#6 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 12:27 PM
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I echo the sentiment that if they are on pastured and the facility is clean. I have been drinking raw milk for 5 years and this is my third pregnancy with it. I trust raw milk over any pasturized dairy anyday.

I am not stopping anytime soon. My kids came out with the absouletely no newborn acne and had the smoothiest skin ever.

Blessed wife to my one and only love T. Mama to KT 06/98, KF 8/00, KG 12/02, KJ 01/05, KJ 12/08 and sprout due in Jan 2011
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#7 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 02:58 PM
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SAFE!!! Everyone has pretty much said WHY it is safe, and I'll stand behind that. Awesome post, Pirogi! I grew up on a goat dairy... It was the only milk our family of seven children could tolerate in our childhood. As an adult, I own dairy cows. While my cow is dry, I get milk from my mom who also raises family dairy cows. I have had raw milk through my entire lifetime, give or take a few relatively short stints without it. I had it through both my pregnancies(I have SUPER HEALTHY children, by the way) and gave both of them raw cow milk when they were weaned from the breast. I am drinking raw cow milk now, and have no intention of stopping. So just another testimonial, really, from a pregnant mother who couldn't imagine being without such a wholesome super food at a time of such great need for awesome nutrition.

ETA: I joke that my son is made out of Ovaltine. I drank close to a GALLON of raw milk a day, mixed with Ovaltine(I love that stuff, as junky as it is behind it's veil of added vitamins), in the last trimester of his pregnancy. I am craving Ovaltine again this pregnancy... Thank goodness I have a never ending supply of wholesome raw milk to justify ingesting pseudo-healthy junk like Ovaltine. *haha*
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#8 of 8 Old 06-05-2010, 03:03 PM
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I would drink raw milk from a trusted source while pregnant. pirogi's post was great.
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