Unfortunately, many grossly distorted statements are current regarding our milk supply. If we are to believe the protagonists of the Pasteurization-of-all-milk-at-all costs Party, raw milk is as good, or rather as bad, as rat poison--although as the Minister of Agriculture recently stated, "the human race existed long before Pasteur was heard of."
The process of pasteurization was debated in the House of Commons and the suggestion made that no raw milk should be sold for human consumption. This would mean installation of expensive machinery by every supplier, and if it should become compulsory there is little doubt that many small firms would shut down and the business pass in the hands of a few big dealers.
If we are to be compelled to drink pasteurized milk, we should at least understand what pasteurization means. It set out to accomplish two things: Destruction of certain disease-carrying germs and the prevention of souring milk. These results are obtained by keeping the milk at a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F for half an hour, at least, and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F.
It is undoubtedly beneficial to destroy dangerous germs, but pasteurization does more than this--it kills off harmless and useful germs alike, and by subjecting the milk to high temperatures, destroys some nutritious constituents.
With regards to the prevention of souring, sour raw milk is very widely used. It is given to invalids, being easily digested, laxative in its properties, and not unpleasant to take. But, after pasteurization, the lactic acid bacilli are killed. The milk, in consequence, cannot become sour and quickly decomposes, while undesirable germs multiply very quickly.
Pasteurization's great claim to popularity is the widespread belief, fostered by its supporters that tuberculosis in children is caused by the harmful germs found in raw milk. Scientists have examined and tested thousands of milk samples, and experiments have been carried out on hundreds of animals in regard to this problem of disease-carrying by milk. But the one vital fact that seems to have been completely missed is that it is CLEAN, raw milk that is wanted. If this can be guaranteed, no other form of food for children can, or should, be allowed to take its place.
Dirty milk, of course, is like any other form of impure food--a definite menace. But Certified Grade A Milk, produced under Government supervision and guaranteed absolutely clean, is available practically all over the country and is the dairy farmer's answer to the pasteurization zealots.
Recent figures published regarding the spread of tuberculosis by milk show, among other facts, that over a period of five years, during which time 70 children belonging to a special organization received a pint of raw milk daily, only one case of the disease occurred. During a similar period when pasteurized milk had been given, 14 cases were reported.
Besides destroying part of the vitamin C contained in raw milk and encouraging growth of harmful bacteria, pasteurization turns the sugar of milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose, which is far more soluble and therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, with the result that the child soon becomes hungry again.
Probably pasteurization's worst offence is that it makes insoluble the major part of the calcium contained in raw milk. This frequently leads to rickets, bad teeth and nervous troubles, for sufficient calcium content is vital to children; and with the loss of phosphorus also associated with calcium, bone and brain formation suffer serious setbacks.
Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk, causes constipation and generally takes from the milk its most vital qualities.
In the face of these facts--which are undeniable--what has the Pasteurization Party to say? Instead of compelling dealers to set up expensive machinery for turning raw milk into something that is definitely not what it sets out to be--a nutritious, health giving food--let them pass legislation making the dairy farmers produce clean, raw milk--that is, milk pure to drink with all its constituents unaltered.
Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.
Calves fed pasteurized milk die before maturity.
Raw milk sours naturally, but pasteurized milk turns putrid and processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk. The practice of heating milk to kill germs was instituted in the 20s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods.
But times have changed and modern stainless steel tanks, milking machines, refrigerated trucks and inspection methods make pasteurization absolutely unnecessary for public protection. Clean raw milk from certified healthy cows is available commercially in several states and may be bought directly from the farm in many more. By executive order, it is forbidden to transport raw milk across state lines