The Safety of Raw Milk

Safety-TheSafetyOf-600x626By Mark McAfee

The Colorado Department of Public Health
Denver, Colorado
May 19, 2004

Dear Sirs,

I have been requested to share with you our commercial organic raw milk production and sales experience. For the last four years, Organic Pastures Dairy has produced a full line of raw organic dairy products for retail sale ( 300 stores including Wholefoods) and consumption here in California. The state of California (CDFA) monitors and tests all of our raw dairy products multiple times per month. The state has never found one pathogen (salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 or listeria) in any of our products. Even more interesting is the fact that not one human pathogen has ever been found in the hundreds of environmental swabs that have been taken in our plant facility.

Dr. Caterina Berge, DVM and PhD candidate at UC Davis, tested our milk cows’ fresh manure and did not find any human pathogens. That’s right. . . no Salmonella. She was able to show that when antibiotics are not ever used on the herd (as stipulated in the organic standards) and when cows are not stressed (grass-fed and kept healthy) they simply do not slough off pathogens in their manure. The data collected at Organic Pastures was quite different from that found at other dairies. The typical conventional milk tank had either salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 detected about 30 percent of the time. In comparison, Organic Pastures has never had one pathogen—ever.

To study this issue further, Organic Pastures contracted with BSK labs in Fresno to perform multiple challenge and recovery tests on our raw milk and raw colostrum. When 7 logs (10 million counts) of pathogens were added to one-milliliter samples of organic raw milk they would not grow. In fact they died off. The salmonella was so badly out-competed that it could not be found less than 24 hours later. The listeria drop was less dramatic and was similiar to the E. Coli O157:H7 samples that were studied, but they also did not grow and declined substantially over time.

The lab concluded: “. . . organic raw milk and colostrum do not appear to support the growth of pathogens. . .”

During the period 2000 through 2004 there were several listeria-related food recalls in California associated with pasteurized milk products and ice cream. During this same period more than 12 million servings of Organic Pastures products were consumed and not one person complained of illness and not one pathogen was ever found either by the state, FDA or Organic Pastures.

This begs the bigger question. What is it that causes raw milk to kill pathogens? Just in the last 24 months, the FDA has approved lactoferrin as an approved method of treatment for pathogen reduction in beef slaughter plants. Raw milk naturally has levels of this enzyme-based pathogen killer. Pasteurization inactivates this and other enzymes that kill pathogens. These enzymes include lactoferrin, xanthine oxidase, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and nisin. There are other interrelated enzymes and beneficial bacteria that also act on the pathogens to inhibit their growth. All of these systems are destroyed by pasteurization. It is no wonder that dairy plants that pasteurize must be kept absolutely spotless. There are no remaining safety systems in the processed milk.

I will be presenting my experiences and the factual references that I have mentioned here during my verbal address in Colorado on May 19th.

Our company ships product all over the world. We have been inspected by the FDA and the FDA has also never found a pathogen. It may seem strange to say or claim this, but Mother Nature is right, her blue print is right on point. It is mankind that has added variables that cause much of the concern for pathogens in our current market systems. Our consumers are made ill by pasteurized milk products and the additives and processing methods. Our consumers share their testimonials with us every day. Asthma, allergies, arthritis, immune-related disorders, autism, ADD, Crohn’s disease, rare enzyme deficiencies. . . the list goes on and on. In each of these cases raw milk or raw dairy products makes a dramatic improvement in health. There have been cases when patients have been written off by modern medicine only to return to perfect health after drinking raw colostrums and raw dairy products.

Please see for a story of one person’s recovery from near death using raw dairy.

It is imperative that the citizens of our nation, not just California, have an informed choice in foods. If raw milk was so horrible then why is it that raw milk has such an incredibly safe record here in California and in Colorado? I would argue that since we have been in business there have been many listeria recalls and food outbreaks with pasteurized milk. . . but none with organic raw milk.

As an American we can buy raw eggs, raw meat, raw fresh juices, so why not raw dairy products? Show us one case of disease related to natural raw dairy products in Colorado or California. They are very hard to find. They are nearly all related to pasteurizer failure not raw dairy products intended for consumption.

The dairy industry does not understand what I have explained here in detail. What the dairy industry believes is that raw milk contaminates pasteurized milk. This is not the case. Pasteurized milk kills the safety systems that control pathogens in raw milk and therefore permit unlimited growth of dangerous bacteria if present.

Our products have what Mother Nature intended, a diversity of good bacteria and a wide range of essential enzymes including lactase for lactose digestion and phosphatase that is essential for the utilization of calcium.

One reason raw milk is so much easier to digest compared to pasteurized milk is due to the presence of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar and which many humans are unable to produce. The experts I have spoken with deny the presence of lactase in raw milk; however, it is the friendly bacteria in raw milk that facilitate the creation of lactase in the intestine where it is needed. That is why lactose-intolerant people can drink raw milk without a problem. Pasteurization kills these friendly bacteria.

Please call 1-877-Raw Milk and I would be happy to discuss these experiences and the hard data that backs them up. Feel free to call Organic Pastures and ask for the lab tests results. You will find zero pathogens detected at any time from any test.

I look forward to your questions. I am dedicated to sharing information, education and the building of understanding relationships. In fact we place our most sensitive bacteria data at our website for all the world to see at

I have a medical background having served as a certified paramedic and medical educator for the Fresno County Health Department for 16 years and having run more than 14,000 911 calls.

I am the only creamery operator in North America to produce the products at issue and believe my experience and tests are absolutely on point.

Most kind regards,

Mark McAfee
Founder, Organic Pastures

Mark McAfee

Mark McAfee is internationally recognized as an expert in raw milk safety and production. In 2011, Mark founded the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI). This start-up non-profit is dedicated to the establishment of standards for raw milk and the education of farmers and consumers from all over the world.  He has been an expert witness in raw milk legislative and judicial proceedings across America.

Mark pioneered the first “dietary supplements” made from fresh raw colostrum, and secured their retail certification from the FDA and DHS. Along with internationally respected doctors and researchers, Mark co-developed RAMP, the first ever food safety “Risk Analysis Management Program” program for raw milk. Mark is the CEO and founder of Organic Pastures Dairy Company near Fresno, CA, where the company produces and serves 50,000 consumers from 400 retail stores with state-inspected, retail approved and tested raw dairy products.

Mark has pioneered a new theory of pasteurization intolerance that lays outside the clinical definition of true lactose intolerance and has gathered the data to support this concept which will now be proven in future university studies. Mark taught paramedic medicine at the Fresno County Health Department EMS division and was a preceptor and medical quality assurance evaluator for field paramedics. Mark was born and raised on the family farms near Fresno with his four brothers.

4 thoughts on “The Safety of Raw Milk

  1. Is there lactase in cold-pressed milk? Do very low temperatures used in the process kill the lactase enzymes?

    Does the lactase ‘die off’ in the first 7 days after processing, or is this just another myth perpetuated to keep the pasteurisation band-wagon going?

  2. In the past, I was unable to drink milk (pasteurized). I would produce much mucous, got frequent sinus headaches and I was starting to get bad rashes. In 2014, my clinical nutritionist recommended I start drinking raw milk from organically pasture raised, grassfed cows (no grain). It’s been almost five years and I love it! It never causes me any of the problems I had with pasteurized milk.

  3. Hi
    I actually bought this exact milk today at Farmers Market after reading about benefits for teeth. I didn’t realize it but this page is linked to the faq on safety for the book I got the recommendation from. I had a very short drive home and ran my ac but it’s very hot out. I stopped for maybe 10 min max but the ac was ram befire and after the stop. I drank a small cup this morning I was fine. This evening I had more and a I’ve had the worst stomach cramps and diarrhea since then. I am so happy to hear how stringent 6 our testing is so I can worry less about these coli and other contaminants, but I would like to know why I am having this reaction and if I should seek medical attention. I am not lactose intolerant either. I also having female cramps so it’s extra fun. Some cramps are hard to distinguish but there are some in areas I’ve never had during my usual female crps as well as way more frequent tummy aching bathroom trips than usual.

    • Sorry to hear you were sick (and sorry for delay posting comment; I got super behind). I don’t know whether the diarrhea and cramps were from the raw milk or a coincidence. Sometimes people do have some diarrhea from raw milk when they first drink it, as the gut adjusts to new flora.

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