Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are provided by Sally Fallon Morell, unless otherwise indicated.
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.