FAQ

FAQ-600x626Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are provided by Sally Fallon Morell, unless otherwise indicated. (Read this FAQ in Czech–thank you Daniela Milton!)

Q. Does it harm raw cheese and other dairy products to heat them – particularly when you put raw cheese or butter over warm meals and it melts?

A. Gentle heating is probably okay, such as putting cheese in an omelet, warming milk (but not more than you can touch it without burning). But high heat does change the dairy products. If you have a high tolerance to dairy, heated cheese is probably okay in small amounts.

Q. Is it okay to freeze raw milk and butter? Is it okay to freeze milk in glass?

A. Yes It is fine to freeze raw milk and butter. There is no harm to the enzymes in milk nor to the fat-soluble vitamins in butter. Dr. Price actually tested frozen butter after a year and found no degradation. You can freeze milk in glass if the container is open and not completely full, although plastic is safer from a breakage standpoint.

Q. I have heard that spray dried milk is bad for you. Is dried cheese also and what about freeze dried cheese and milk?

A. Carcinogens are always formed in the process of spray drying. I don’t know about freeze drying, but I would suggest sticking to real, unprocessed cheese.

Q. I am considering switching my family to raw milk. However, I have only one remaining concern, I have been reading about the bovine leukemia virus that is transmitted through raw milk and there have been breast cancer studies that have found it in tissue. I’m also finding on nomilk.com that dairy farmers who drink raw milk have higher rates of leukemia. Will you comment on this?

A. Please show me this website where they say that drinkers of raw milk have more leukemia. This is a completely unsupported statement! There have been no studies of drinkers of raw milk in the US for over 60 years. Milk from pastured cows is perfectly safe to drink. These cows do not have leukemia. But I would not drink raw milk from confinement cows.

Q. I have just found a source for raw cow’s milk, who would I contact to find out what to look for and what questions to ask to know if the cow is clean and a good milk source?

A. Here are some summary guidelines. The last one is not really necessary if all the others are followed.

  • Cows graze on unsprayed pasture except during the coldest time of the year and then are fed mostly hay and silage when in barns.
  • The herd is tested free of TB and brucellosis.
  • When a milking machine is used, the cow’s teats are washed with iodine before putting the milking caps on.
  • The milking shed and surrounds are clean and tidy.
  • Milk is kept chilled in a stainless steel tank or individual containers.
  • Milk is tested regularly to ensure the absence of human pathogens.

Q. Do you have information showing the nutritional value of raw milk vs pasteurized?

A. The closest thing we have to an article on the nutritional composition of raw milk is our powerpoint presentation on raw milk.

The problem is that when you do an analysis for vitamins and minerals, raw milk does not look that different from pasteurized. But what is destroyed is the carrier proteins, which are destroyed by pasteurization. But the tests don’t look for this.

Q. Is there growth hormone in milk?

A. All cow milk contains growth hormones, which are identical to human growth hormones. These are being sold as a health food and are considered beneficial in the health food industry.

Q. My acne seemed to get better when I stopped drinking skim milk.

A. Skim milk could cause acne for several reasons, notably because it depletes vitamin A and also because, if it is pasteurized, the body mounts an immune response to it. Raw whole milk often clears up acne.

Q. I would like to have information on the safety and value of raw cheese.

A. There is a book called, American Farmstead Cheese, The Complete Guide to Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses, by Paul Kindstedt (with the Vermont Cheese Council). It has a chapter about raw milk cheese safety, although no recipes. It’s a pretty interesting book. I would contact him directly at the University of Vermont, Dept of Nutrition and Food Sciences.

Q. I was recently advised not to drink milk because of the possibility of it causing Lyme Disease. Please comment.

A. This is just one more slur against raw milk. Raw milk contains components that kill all pathogens. One body of opinion believes that Lyme is caused by pesticides, not a virus. One of our members, Dr. Ron Schmid, cured himself of Lyme disease by drinking lots of raw milk.

Q: What does pasteurization do to the fat in cream?

A: Pasteurization is much more damaging to the proteins than the fats. The only thing ruined in the fats will be the Wulzen Factor, which protects against arthritis. If only pasteurized cream is available, you can get the Wulzen Factor by taking high-vitamin butter oil.

Q: In your Real Milk brochure you mention German hospitals using raw milk, what are they doing?

A: In many hospitals they just give raw milk as part of the diet. They may also be using the milk fast, described here.

Q:Is it lawful to purchase raw milk for personal use and take it across a state line? 

There is a federal regulation prohibiting raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce.  According to an FDA official, the agency’s position is that it is illegal to purchase raw milk for personal use and carry it across state lines.  Having said that, I can tell you the FDA has never taken any action against a consumer who has done this.  I would not let the FDA’s position dissuade you from obtaining foods that you believe are healthy for your family.  I believe that the regulation is unconstitutional.  The FTCLDF (ftcldf.org) is currently representing an Indiana farmer that is challenging their ruling.

Update: See our article on the FTCLDF lawsuit against the FDA, Update, Summer 2012. The FDA has gone on record promising not to take action against individual consumers who cross state lines to obtain raw milk.

Q: Which whey is better to use for fermenting vegetables and fruits, the whey obtained from raw goat milk cream cheese or the whey obtained from a 24-hour (heated goat milk) yogurt goat milk is the only milk I use?  I find the whey from the cheese culture mild, almost sweet tasting compared to the whey from the yogurt culture which is sharper, more lemony tasting.  Since I’ve been making the cream cheese more often than the yogurt, I have more of the cheese whey on hand however, I wouldn’t want my recipes to spoil on me.

Whey from sour milk, yogurt or cream cheese are all fine.  But best not to use the whey from other cheeses–this whey has undergone an additional fermentation and I don’t know what the results will be  We have found that using cheese whey for the baby formula causes it to curdle.  

Q: I used the recipe below to make whey using raw milk.  However after 4 days I strained it and I don’t think it had separated enough, because I only got about 1/2 cup of cream cheese and the whey looks pretty thick.  It does smell sour.  I was wondering if I should let it sit out longer?

A: Yes, you should let it sit out longer.  It might help if you added a spoonful of yoghurt to the milk, it might separate more quickly.

Q: To separate milk, do I need to open the milk bottle in the first place, or can I take a sealed and un-opened bottle of milk and place it on the counter to separate?

A: You may let it separate in the bottle if the milk is in glass bottles but the problem with letting the milk separate in a milk bottle is the small opening at the top–it is very difficult to pour out.  Also, I think it would take much longer if you had not first exposed the milk to air.

Q: Can you tell me about the raw milk diet and specifically an article by J.W. Crew?  Also, is the raw milk diet helpful for alcoholics?

A: The only reference I have for this is the original article by JW Crewe.

Since raw milk is an excellent source of vitamin B6, that alone would make it helpful for alcoholism.  Also, since on the raw milk diet, one gets off all grains, this would also make this diet helpful.

Q: If I skim cream off raw milk, is the remaining milk considered skim?  Is that okay to drink and will it make him fat?

A: If you skim the cream off the milk, it is “skimmed” milk.  It is probably the equivalent of about 1% milk.  If you use the cream and also drink this skimmed milk, this is fine.  But if you just drink the skimmed milk without consuming additional butterfat from butter or cream, you might develop nutrient deficiencies and even have weight gain.

Q.  Why do you not recommend aseptically packed rice milks?

A.  Because they are highly processed and contain emulsifiers, synthetic vitamin D (toxic), sweeteners.

Q. In Arizona, I can only get raw milk from one source and since there is little grass here, the cows are fed:  50% organic alfalfa, 50% organic tritical hay and oats, probiotics in the water and hay, and Redmond sea salt, bentonite clay and kelp for minerals.

I wonder if these cows contain many of the benefits bestowed in grass-fed milk?

A.  This is a good question!  My reply is that I would still recommend this milk and here’s why:  When my children were little, my only source of raw milk was Alta Dena Dairy in California–this was a large confinement dairy and the feeding program was probably not as good as the one you describe. Yet my children thrived on this milk–it is still way, way better than pasteurized milk.  And fortunately there is no soy in the feed. Just make sure you tell people what the feeding program is when they ask about raw milk.

Q.  How much milk do you recommend drinking?

A.  We recommend 1 quart per day for pregnant and nursing women.  We don’t have any specific recommendations for children and other adults–it really depends on their personal tastes and preferences.

Q.  I’m well-aware that raw milk is best, and that’s what we drink in our family, but if someone doesn’t drink raw milk, I assume it is best to at least be sure to drink whole milk, but if heating/pasteurizing the milk oxidizes the cholesterol, is it better to say drink either raw milk or NO milk?

A.  Regarding milk, the more I learn about pasteurization, the more I realize how harmful it is (for other reasons than the oxidation of cholesterol).  And now most milk is ultra-pasteurized, especially most organic milk.

I think if people can’t get raw milk, the next best thing is pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream diluted with water. The fats are much less prone to damage by pasteurization than the water portion of the milk, and at least the fats in cream have not been homogenized.  This is what I did for my family when we could not get raw milk.  We used diluted cream on porridge and in cooking.

Q. Do you know whether the heat process of clarifying butter would destroy the “X factor” in grass fed dairy ghee?

A. Answer from Chris Masterjohn: My understanding is that heat destroys the Wulzen anti-stiffness factor but not the X factor, which is consistent with heat having little effect on vitamin K2.

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42 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. I am trying to figure out the time lines on how long raw milk will last in your fridge? Also I have heard it should be stored in glass, is that correct?

    • My raw milk tastes fresh to me for about a week once opened. An unopened jug might still taste good 10 days in but will sour more quickly once opened. Keep in mind that “sour” raw milk isn’t bad for you the way spoiled pasteurized milk is. The same bacteria that ferment yogurt and sour cream are at work in the milk. You just might not care for the sour taste in a tall cold glass, or over your oatmeal; it would be like drinking a glass of liquified feta cheese or something. But you can cook with it and use it in many ways, and failing that, pour the rest on your garden. See this article for ideas: http://www.realmilk.com/how-to/maximizing-the-use-of-your-real-milk-and-cream/

      It is not absolutely necessary to store it in glass. I receive mine in plastic jugs and leave it in them until opened. Once opened I like to pour it in these glass bottles I have because it looks so much nicer.

  2. I have no access to raw milk, chesse or butter. But i have heard that the best alternative is to buy irish chesse and butter such as kerrygold and Anchor. is that true?

      • Iam from Qatar. Not much rapidly growing grass is available here as the weather is VERY hot! so we dont even have any cows because they cant survive in this weather. But I have an uncle whom lives in the north where the weather is better and he owns some goats and sends me some raw milk whenever he can.

        • Hello!

          I’ve heard similar things, and it does appear that grass-fed is an important aspect (as opposed to grain-fed) in the nutrition and nourishment provided by butter (i.e. the benefits).

          I will research this more for you, as I am curious myself.

  3. What are the health differences between raw goats and cow’s milk.. I have heard that goat’s milk is easier to digest, and some people said they can drink goat’s milk even if they are lactose intolerant. What is A1 and A2 in cow’s milk?..

  4. I am looking for a cow share program in South East Michigan. Can you recommend one? I would love raw milk, but don’t want to drive forever to get some.

    • Hi, all the information I have is on the listing pages (See Real Milk Finder at the top of each page). I’m sitting in Virginia and so can’t make any specific recommendations. The listings are there to help you find a farm on your own. If nothing listed is nearby, then per the notes at the top of each page, I suggest contacting the closest local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. You can also ask the closest farmers if they know of anyone closer, and ask around at farmers markets and health food stores. Also, many people form carpools to take turns making a long drive to get milk, so no one has to do it more than a few times a year. Hope this helps.

  5. In the cookbook Nourishing Traditions a tablespoon of Piima culture added to pasteurized milk and left to culture could be used for drinking. It is said to help make up for the nutritional deficiencies, but to not use milk that has been homogenized. Does anyone know why?

  6. I live in New Hampshire where I’m finding from interviewing quite a few farms here that because of the weather, they can’t primarily grass-feed. They say that the cows need vitamins and minerals they can’t get from our soil here in the Northeast, and from what I’m finding is a majority say you have to supplement grain here for healthy cows. I’m finding it hard to find any that use “organic” grain – is there such a thing (- and without soy?). I’m really concerned about GMOs in soy and corn and conventional grain, also given the fact that my son is allergic to soy. The one farm that is organic and doesn’t feed conventional grain that I found local to me was not kept very clean and their milk tasted horrible (like a cow poop aftertaste or something). I guess my questions are: is there such a thing as organic grain/feed without soy (and they just choose not to pay the higher price for it)? And is this true that to be healthy a cow needs grain in some climates/parts of the world (is dried hay, etc not enough to supplement through winter)? Also, how much grain a day would then be reasonable – one farm told me they are 95% grassfed but the cows get around 10 lbs grain/day (that sounds high?) though they also said the cow produces about 5-6 gallons of milk a day (jersey cow), which sounds about right for mostly grassfed, no?
    Sorry for all the Qs… I’m having a real difficult time finding a source of milk that is as close to organic as possible, in a clean environment, or that doesn’t taste absolutely horrible. Only one brand tasted delicious and they charge $6 a half-gallon (vs $3 everywhere else) and are a far drive for me, so I’ve been looking all over still. I wasn’t sure whether the answers I’m receiving are really truthful or not.

    • It’s possible to find 100% grass-fed raw milk in some parts of the country, and it’s possible to find partly or mostly grass-fed raw milk from cows supplemented with non-GMO grain. Sally Fallon Morell now has a dairy farm in Maryland where she produces cheese, and she has this to say about giving grain to dairy cows: “In all of our suggestions on dairy farming, we have allowed some grain to be given to dairy cows–up to 0.5% of body weight per day (we are giving about 0.2% of body weight, thus the cows are getting about two pounds of grain during milking). There are two reasons for this. First is that in a natural setting, ruminants would be getting some grain in the seed heads of mature grasses. And second, dairy cows are more stressed than cows in the wild, producing more milk than a natural cow would–even low-production cows like our own. If we did not give the grain, the cows would be very very thin. By soaking in vinegar water, we make the grains very digestible for the cows.The vast majority of raw milk producers are giving some grain to their cows. Those who don’t are obliged to charge $12-13 per gallon in order for the farm to be economically viable.” Her cows are on pasture, but at milking time they’re given a mixture of field peas, corn, and wheat, which is soaked overnight in vinegar water. Sally said there is such a difference in the milk yield just from them getting this small snack of grain during their milking.

      I get grass-fed raw Jersey milk from Pennsylvania via my buying club, and pay $8/gallon.

      I can’t answer any questions about what is necessary to do in NH. Less fresh grass is certainly likely in all the northern parts of the country. You should generally look for farms that pasture whenever possible, feed hay and perhaps also silage when grazing is not possible, and if they supplement with grain, use non-GMO grains. (Organic grain, plus soaked like Sally does it would be extra great!)

  7. I have found milk in the store that is pasteurized, but not homogenized. Is this any better than the regular pasteurized and homogenized grocery store milk? Or is raw always the way to go?

    • Raw is always preferred if you can find a clean farm with mostly grass-fed animals. Barring that, raw cheese (readily available) and organic milk that is pasteurized but not homogenized can be a next best option, though some people may not tolerate it well.

  8. My family has been consuming pasturized milk for our entire lives. I am just now learning more about milk alternatives. I recently read somewhere that almond milk is a good alternative. Would you say that raw milk is a better alternative than almond milk?

    • Yes, whole raw milk from grass-fed animals is better than almond milk. My sister recently said they’d switched to almond milk because it has (according to the label) “more calcium.” However, calcium is not the only reason to drink milk. And, you have to have the fat-soluble vitamins to be able to absorb the calcium and other minerals, and to use the protein. Raw whole grass-fed milk provides much needed saturated fat and cholesterol, good bacteria, conjugated linoleic acid, Wulzen anti-stiffness factor (helps prevent arthritis), true vitamin A (retinol), natural vitamin D3 (replacement “milks” often have synthetic, toxic vitamin D2), vitamin K2 (Price’s “X Factor” that encouraged assimilation of a food’s protein, vitamins, and minerals), a wonderful balance of macronutrients (protein/fat/carbohydrate), enzymes to enhance your digestion (including lactase, to digest lactose, the milk sugar).

      The almonds in almond milk are not likely soaked in warm salt water first to neutralize phytic acid, which can impair mineral absorption (so much for “more” added calcium), usually has synthetic vitamin D2 and some non-retinol form of vitamin A added, sugars, preservatives. No CLA, no Wulzen factor, no K2, no enzymes, no friendly bacteria. The aseptic packaging may not be great either, although I do not know much about this yet. Definitely an inferior choice!

  9. The only source of raw milk we’ve been able to find locally if a tiny Mennonite farm with only a few cows. She is not able to pasture her cows so she feeds them corn silage and grains. Since corn is an issue is this any better than buying organic pasteurized milk? Our share was not expensive, so we wouldn’t be taking a big loss if we had to back out.

  10. Hello!

    What are your (Sally Fallon Morel’s) thoughts regarding using butter for cooking? What are your thoughts regarding oils and fats to be used for cooking in general?

    Would it be damaging to use butter for cooking, due to the heat denaturing some of the structures? (e.g. For things like pan-frying, sauteeing, steaming in butter)

  11. Does making Kefir from raw milk affect or diminish the benefits of plain raw milk ; and/or Do I get the best of both worlds in the finished Kefir?

    Thanks – Locke

  12. My husband and I want to use raw goat’s milk for our newborn since I have no milk supply. We don’t want to do the whole recipe on Weston A. Price – can anyone tell me what is most important to add to goat’s milk to make it like human breast milk? I’ve heard a little liquid vitamin B and coconut oil would be enough.

  13. Can I use raw milk to make food and then freeze them. what is the shelf life?

    Thanks a lot.

    Pierson from Sao Paulo – Brazil

  14. Can I use raw milk to make processed food and freeze them. what is the shelf life of raw milk for freezing in processed food?

    Thanks..

    Pierson Arruda

  15. I live in Buffalo and I’m really interested in purchasing raw milk and dairy products. I’ve done much reading on the benefits of raw milk. I don’t drink regular milk which, unfortunately, is all that we have around my area. I know there are some farms in my state that sell raw milk, but they are a pretty far driving distance from my house. I know the state of PA you can buy milk on line and have it shipped to you but is it still illegal to make online orders that would have to cross lines? Please let me know.

  16. Hi. I live in Buffalo and I was very interested in raw milk and dairy products. I contacted my local chapter and she gave me a list of farms but the ones fairly close to me don’t sell raw milk. What do you think of the site pasture raised.net? Does it get good reviews by customers?
    Thanks

  17. Is there any danger in drinking milk from one cow instead of milk taken from a herd? My grandfather used to say you should drink milk from a herd and that you have a higher risk for developing milk allergies if you drink milk from one cow. I can’t find any research done on this. I value all of his advise that he has handed down through the years, but am wondering why no one else has ever heard of this. I am about to purchase milk for my children from a beautiful farm that currently only has one producing cow. Please let me know how I can get my hands on some more info! Thank you:)

    • I asked Sally Fallon Morell about this and she said: “I have never heard of this. In fact, in the old days, it was common to set aside the best milk cow, give her the best pasture, and use that milk for the children in the household. Sally” Hope this helps.

  18. Can I still get the benefits of raw milk if I mix it with my (lower temp.) pasteurized milk? I’m just trying to save on money and still have enough milk everyday to reach my weight gain strategy.

    Thanks,
    Brie

  19. I finally found a source of raw milk in my area and the first order I got was wonderful but the second time it tasted like barn or poop. Is this milk OK to drink? Is it normal for it to smell and taste like poop? Why would that happen? I really don’t want to have to drive hours to get another source of milk but I can’t really get past the smell to drink it either. Any help/advice would really be appreciated!

    • The milk should be fresh and delicious. You may have luck sharing your concerns with your farmer. Sally Fallon Morell replies: “Yes, the milk should not smell or taste that way. . . . she should visit the farm with an eye to cleanliness. Best, Sally”

  20. How much can you heat raw milk up, like for a hot chocolate, before you comprise the benefits? And what about low temp pasteurization? At what temp do you start to lose what raw offers? Is this a alternative to store bought? Thanks

    • Enzymes are destroyed at 118 degrees, which is not all that warm. So you will start compromising some benefits pretty quickly, however, gentle heating at home is not going to denature the protein or destroy as much of the heat sensitive vitamins and other factors as readily as pasteurization does. So if hot chocolate is an occasional indulgence (vs. the only way you get milk), heating up some of your raw milk at home to make it is better than buying pasteurized milk. (But for the best benefits most of the time you should drink it not heated over 118 degrees Fahrenheit.)

      If you do not have access to raw milk, low temperature pasteurized milk is somewhat less damaging that regular or high temperature pasteurization. But that will be hot enough to destroy enzymes and affect some of the other factors in milk. So it is a compromise.

  21. Hello, I buy raw milk, but them I boil it at home. My questions if the milk is better this way or should I just buy organic pasteurized milk from the store? Thank you!

    • If you are getting clean raw milk from a reputable farmer who is pasturing his cows (some grain supplementation is okay unless you are very sensitive), there is no need to boil the milk. This website extols the virtues of drinking raw milk. However, if you are still going to boil it, yes, it can still be better than buying organic pasteurized milk from the store, because the raw milk you are getting is not homogenized. And depending on how they are feeding the animals, it may be higher in nutrients than organic store milk, which is not always grass fed.

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