How sour grapes turned milk into the most dangerous food in America

How sour grapes turned milk into the most dangerous food in America

You’ve never heard me say what I’m about to say–because, honestly, my publisher didn’t think people wanted to hear it. For all I know, he may be right. But it’s too important for me NOT to tell you. So you can roll your eyes, nod your head, or call me crazy–as long as you listen to what I’m about to say...


I’m one of the biggest cheerleaders for raw milk that you’ll ever come across. (I’m quite obnoxious, really.) But if the milk’s not raw–I’m talking straight from the udder itself–don’t drink it. Don’t put it in your cereal. Don’t even dip your Oreos in it...

Because pasteurized milk is more dangerous than raw milk will ever be.

Raw milk contains good bacteria called probiotics, which are able to destroy any harmful pathogens that may be present. But when milk goes through the pasteurization process, those protective probiotics are destroyed. That alone makes pasteurized milk more susceptible than raw milk to carrying dangerous bacteria.

Based on the CDC’s own numbers, raw milk was responsible for 1,007 illnesses and two deaths between 1998 and 2005 (though even those claims are unsubstantiated). But over the past few decades, outbreaks due to pasteurized milk have led to well over 200,000 cases of food poisoning and over 600 deaths.

Even so, let’s step back and look at the big picture for a minute. Those numbers are just a drop in the bucket compared to other sources of food-borne illnesses. Fact is, of all the food you eat in today’s society, raw milk is the food least likely to make you sick.

Dairy (pasteurized or not) causes less than 1 percent of food borne illnesses. Want to take a stab at what causes the highest percentage? Produce. According to a CSPI report (that’s the Center for Science in the Public Interest), produce accounted for 38 percent of food borne illnesses between 1990 and 2004. The next two in line were poultry, at 20 percent, and beef, at 16 percent.

Like it or not, ALL food carries the potential of contamination. Most recently, the two foods stealing the spotlight were spinach (tainted with E. coli) and peanut butter (tainted with Salmonella). Yet I don’t see the CDC launching a national campaign against Popeye or PB&J.

A perfect example of the CDC’s vendetta against the raw milk industry

The FDA and the CDC treat raw milk as if it will lead to the mass destruction of the human race. I guess they’ve forgotten that people thrived on it for thousands of years. (Maybe all that pasteurized milk is killing their brain cells)

Their quest to annihilate the raw milk industry is nothing short of ludicrous. The only halfway logical explanation for it is that they have a political vendetta against raw milk–or stocks in the Big Milk industry.

Here’s a typical story that illustrates their ruthlessness

Jack Mathis is one of the foremost crusaders for the consumption of raw milk. (He is also an expert on raw milk and was the president of Mathis Dairy in Decatur, Georgia.) Back in the 50s, a law was passed in Georgia saying that raw milk could only be sold with a doctor’s prescription. Mathis took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court’s decision and allowed the sale of raw milk.

Later, when Mathis was off in Iowa defending a dairyman who was selling raw milk, the CDC decided it was payback time. “It looked like germ warfare had set in,” Mathis said. When he got home from Iowa, there were seven physicians inspecting his herd. There had been a recent outbreak of Campylobacter in the area, and the CDC was dead set on tying the bacterium to Mathis’ farm. (Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, which is characterized by crippling stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.) They were so intent on finding something that they checked every cow three times and came up empty every time. (Incidentally, Campylobacter is a benign, self-limiting disease.)

I was surprised they didn’t plant evidence against him, but it turns out they didn’t need to. Instead, they planted seeds of doubt in the surrounding community that relied on Mathis for his milk supply.

They surveyed households in the Atlanta area in an attempt to link Campylobacter infection to Mathis’ raw certified milk. They found no correlation between infection and his milk. But due to a hostile local press, they were able to turn their “survey” into a propaganda campaign against the dairy anyway. Since most people only read headlines, sales plummeted for all his products.

Nothing has changed since then. The CDC still tries to pin every Campylobacter outbreak on raw milk. About a month ago, a Georgia paper reported that “Raw milk sold as pet food sickened three northwest Georgia families who drank the milk this summer, sending at least one child to the hospital.”

Once again, there was no proof that the bacterium originated from raw milk. And when the farms in question were tested, they all came back clean. You didn’t hear that follow-up story on the news.

It’s funny how the CDC turns a blind eye to the most common sources of Campylobacter. You’re more likely to get the bacterium from undercooked poultry, contaminated water–or even from your household pet–than from raw milk.

How to get your hands on good, raw milk

Thankfully, the federal government has not yet overridden the individual state’s rights to determine whether raw milk should be legal or not. In nine states it’s completely legal. In 15 states it’s illegal. The remaining 26 allow raw milk, but with a handful of restrictions. One of the biggies is that you can only consume it if it’s from your own cow. Thousands of people get around this law by participating in cow sharing programs. By paying a certain amount of money yearly, they become part owners of a dairy cow. In return, they get to drink the milk.

Check out and click “Where” on the left side of the page to see where your state fits into the mix–and to locate your closest source of raw milk.

If you’re still sitting on the raw milk fence, I suggest reading The Raw Truth About Milk, by yours truly. Heck, even if you’re a die-hard enthusiast, it’s a great read–and a great gift to give all the Doubting Thomases in your life. Now is the best time to order, too–because through the end of October, my publisher has agreed to cover the cost of shipping. The books will be in stock this fall, but you can place an advance order for it now by going online to or by calling (888)856-1452 or (915)855-5416. Use the Order Code MILKBK.

And by all means, once you’ve made the switch to raw milk, write to me and let me know. I enjoy hearing about your experiences (almost as much as I love telling you about mine). Like my latest encounter with a mainstream medical professional...