In Georgia, raw milk is only legal to be sold as pet food. So in some places you can go to farmer's markets and buy milk labeled for pets, and do whatever you want with it when you get home .
There is more and more grass roots talk for raw grass fed milk, but I don't see it being anywhere near widespread enough to change the laws.
Interesting. and creative. What does grass fed dairy cows have to do with reduced incidence of milk borne diseases?
Feeding them grain makes them more likely to carry those diseases and impart them to the milk?
I thought the all dairy animals could be tested for disease and on a schedule for testing for certain diseases that the cow can become infected with more easily, more often.
The short answer is yes.
The somewhat longer answer is that when cows are fed grain, lots of weird things happen. One of them is that it acidifies their system. This higher acidity allows various harmful bacteria (predominantly e coli) to proliferate in the cow's digestive tract. Another effect is that grain feeding stresses the cow's digestion, which is designed to break down the tough fiber in grasses, and makes the cow more susceptible to disease overall. Incidentally, if you take a grain fed cow to the pasture and allow it to eat grass, the cow's levels of e coli will drop by something like 90% within a couple days.
At the same time, because the grains are easier and faster to break down, the cows grow larger and faster, which is why farmers starting doing this in the first place. So you end up with a larger, cheaper, but biologically weaker cow that requires antibiotics and pasteurization.
Then in many cases these problems are compounded by the cows' living environments. There is really a wide gradient of living conditions from free range on the prairie to industrial CAFO. The closer to the CAFO you get, the more disease and danger exists in consuming cow products.
When you put all this together, it's a fairly simple result. Healthy cows produce healthy milk. Cow's milk (and any other kind of milk for that matter) contains many different things. In a healthy cow, the natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria keep the problematic bacteria in check. After all, if it didn't, the baby cows would get sick and die - not a viable evolutionary strategy.
Yes, you can test cows and milk (grain fed or not) for disease and then select the disease free milk, but you're only going to get disease free milk from the cows that lead a relatively natural lifestyle.
If you want more info, the classic researcher on the subject is Weston A Price. You can find some of his books at journeytoforever.org: http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html#price
Washington State has pretty reasonable laws at this point. they weren't so reasonable a few years back, though.
Leah Sattler wrote:
tamo did a great job explaining some of the benefits of grass fed milk. I would also like to add that it changes the fat profile of the milk. also, not every cows milk is tested everyday and much of the potential problem exists in bacteria that can proliferate in the milk. <...>for me anyway its not just about pasteurization. its about the whole process that has created a need to. its an admittance that "our practices are so bad we have to pasteurize the milk to keep it safe".
Leah Sattler wrote:
some things can be tested for such as tb. other things like listeria,
this page is a pretty good overview of the raw milk laws in Washington State.
-turns out that even if you give the milk away, you've still got to be licensed in Washington.
-the state tests milk monthly for Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli. they also test for antibiotic residue and pesticides.
-testing for brucellosis and tuberculosis are the responsibility of the dairy.
just browsing through it, most of the regulations seem reasonable and the scale of the operation is taken into consideration. a lot of typos, though.
the webpage I linked briefly mentioned liability and insurance. that could be a hurdle. raw milk does make folks sick from time to time, even when folks follow best practices. I don't think the cost of insurance would make or break an operation, but one would certainly want to take that cost into consideration. regardless of your opinion on the current litigiousness, neglecting to be insured probably isn't such a great idea in this instance.