For many people, organic milk is the best — raw, organic, chilled, and perhaps straight off the farm. But what happens if, for whatever reason, it’s not available, either from the farm or from your local market? Do you stop drinking milk altogether? If not, what are your choices — is there a next best thing to organic milk?
There is. What I’m speaking of is slowly pasteurized milk that has NOT been homogenized.
If you’ve read any of our previous articles about milk, you know that we support raw organic milk — for instance, from organic milk producers such as Organic Pastures in California or Milky Way Farm in South Carolina — over the pasteurized and homogenized milk available in regular grocery stores.
But as we’re talking “next best thing”, let’s look at pasteurization, a process invented by French chemist Louis Pasteur, which means: to cook the milk, wine or orange juice. The milk is heated to kill the bad e-coli bacteria, if it is present, which can make one very ill or worse. Pasteurization can be done in a fast manner or a slow manner, where the temperature in the slow method is not as hot as in the faster method. Of the two methods, the slow method is the better one, as the heat does not destroy a great majority of the milk’s nutrition.
Is pasteurization necessary? You can find more information here on pasteurized milk, and the history of milk pasteurization in the United States, or subscribe at Mercola.com for even more data on pasteurized milk: The Raw Milk Debate Reaches the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The second issue in our “next best thing” scenario is homogenization, which means to make milk uniform by forcing it though small holes while under great pressure. This causes the fat or cream in the milk to be broken down into a smaller size, making the milk more uniform or homogenized. The cream no longer rises to the top.
As Lynn Cameron states in an article written for us (Pasteurizing Milk Destroys Essential Nutrients):
Homogenization is a process that breaks up fat globules in cream into very small particles which then do not separate from the rest of the milk. One of the reasons homogenizing milk became standard processing plant practice is that it allowed cheap Grade C milk (with little cream rising to the top) to be mixed with Grade B and valuable Grade A milk (with lots of cream rising to the top) to all be labeled as Grade A and priced accordingly. There is no known health or nutritional advantage to homogenization and quite a bit of science proving its harm — see The Milk Book, Chapter VII, “Udder Menace” by William Campbell Douglass II, MD. Some research suggests that this fracturing of the lipid (fat) molecule creates a free radical cascade that can cause allergic reactions and, through complex metabolic processes, even heart disease. (Others suggest that it is really the heating of the milk protein in the water fraction of the milk that provides allergic reactions, not homogenization.)
So there you have it. We have now taken up residence in Austin, Texas, and have come across a milk brand called Texas Daily Harvest. The label states that this milk has NOT been homogenized and low temperatures were used in the pasteurization process.
The label also states that this milk is organic, but my understanding of the word “organic” means that this milk, having been processed by pasteurization, is no longer organic. It’s no longer straight from the cow to the consumer.
However, this way stop is acceptable to me in that the pasteurization process is much less destructive to the nutritional value of the milk. Though I prefer the unprocessed milk, which I’m unable to obtain, I’m happy to have low heat pasteurized milk.