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by Ellen Landauer

Raw Milk Safety

Raw milk safety problems are overstated by both media and the agencies that police our food supply.

raw milk safety is practiced best by small farmers who give their animals tender loving care

PHOTO (posted with permission from Meadowsweet farm):

Real farmers love their animals! Newborn bull calf at Meadowsweet Farm wrapped in insulated jacket to keep him warm.

Not only does Meadowsweet Farm adhere to raw milk safety practices that are second to none...

They also love and care for their animals at least as well as most people care for their pets.

Once initiated into the delightful flavor and considerable health benefits of this food, most who try it are hooked. I am no exception...

My first experience of raw milk safety was on a farm vacation as a teenager. My parents, particularly my Dad, loved taking us to stay at real working farms during summers and holidays.

One Christmas, we stayed at a dairy farm. They only had a few families as guests. Life was very simple - no fancy amusements, just some quiet country roads to walk on, snowy hills to ski and sled - and great food.

At breakfast, fresh eggs from their own chickens, bacon from their pork - and raw milk, cream and homemade butter from their cows were served in generous amounts. I remember thinking I'd never tasted such amazing sunny-side up eggs.

One early morning before breakfast, Dad and I wandered over to the barn to see the farmer milking his cows - by hand - in the dimly-lit stalls. It all felt very earthy to me - the cow chewing on some hay as jets of milk streamed, foaming, into the steel can.

After a few minutes, the farmer asked if we would like to taste this VERY fresh milk. Because I lived in a world that was already distancing itself from real aliveness, my initial reaction was to resist the idea of drinking raw milk moments after it sprayed out of a cow's bodacious, fleshy udder.

My Dad, generally willing to try something new, consented, and I - with a little trepidation - followed suit. The farmer dipped a stainless steel ladle into the milk can and poured a cup for each of us.

No issues with raw milk safety here! I vividly remember that first taste of warm, sweet liquid fresh from the cow - and my surprise at how right and natural it was - soothing and enlivening my insides. This was a pivotal moment that set me on a path to becoming, as I said to the farmer from whom I now buy raw milk - a 'raw milkaholic.'

Raw Milk Safety:
Fifty-Plus Years of Deliciousness

With all the hysteria whipped up by media about the lack of raw milk safety, fifty years of great health benefits is my personal history. Most of the milk and cream I consumed was from Jersey or other cows known for the high butterfat content of their milk. I also drank a lot of raw goat milk though the years - and more recently, sheep, camel and water buffalo milk - also unheated.

Millers Organic Farm - which has been a source of superb raw milk, cream and other dairy for me for over 12 years,  has been harrassed unjustly by govt agencies.  

Over many years, and dozens of sources of unprocessed dairy - I had only one bad experience...

Raw Milk Safety:
My ONE Bad Experience

My one bad experience from one bad farmer had nothing to do with raw milk safety issues - and everything to do with a farmer who didn't care enough about cleanliness.

Some years ago, I was unable to obtain raw milk and cream from John Miller, a superb farmer who used to keep cows, goats and chickens just down the road from me. As I remember, he was temporarily having a problem finding help around the farm.

So I called another local farm, known in my area for their yogurt brand, to ask if they might have raw cream available. They said yes, and I was told to show up at a prescribed time and place to pick it up.

The pick-up location was a shed with a couple of old refrigerators out in a field. I had to walk through muddy pasture after parking my car, and stood in line to get a couple of quarts of cream. It all seemed very clandestine to me.

When the woman handed me the cream, I observed that it seemed clotted - thick and lumpy - which happens when it is not fresh. But my experience up to that point was that even clotted cream is very safe. I didn't say anything, paid and took it home.

Upon consuming some that night, it made me feel pretty ill - gastrointestinal upset and headache. I had to throw it all out. Next day, I both emailed and called the farm to report my experience. Nada - nothing - NO response! Needless to say, I never bought any product of theirs again.

Later, when I was again able to buy fresh dairy from John Miller, I mentioned my experience to him. He knew very well who these people were and told me their sanitation practices were deplorable.

My experience with raw milk safety issues was due to toxins, not the fact that the cream was unheated - not even that it was at least a week old. The farmers with the yogurt business make a lot of skim milk yogurt and the cream is considered a waste product (which to my mind is insane). So they didn't care enough to make sure the cream was fresh and clean for those who bought it.

Raw Milk Safety: An Experiment

raw milk safety: home-made butter

PHOTO: Home made raw butter ready to be shaped into blocks and refrigerated. Whey liquid in jar to left. Golden color is typical of omega-3 rich butter from pasture fed cows.

Raw milk safety became a real concept for me when I made butter out of raw cream that was three months old. The last two of those months, it sat on my windowsill at room temperature!

Here's what happened...

I'd bought several quarts of raw cream from the aforementioned excellent farmer down the road - who is now located in Maine.

Much of it was to be made into raw butter - a somewhat labor-intensive endeavor. I had a pint of cream left - which had not gotten used because I needed a break from butter-making.

That pint of cream sat in the refrigerator for a month. I finally gave up and put it out on the kitchen counter, thinking I should throw it out. But I don't like wasting food, so that jar just sat on the counter, then on the windowsill while I hemmed and hawed about making it into butter.

One day, I thought, 'This would be a good experiment - I'll make the butter. If it doesn't make me feel ill, I will have learned something about raw milk safety.'

The result? Delicious 'cultured' butter that was perfectly safe!

Reflecting on this experience confirms that my bad digestive upset from the clotted cream resulted from a sanitation problem - not a raw milk safety problem!

Raw Milk Safety:
Know Your Farmer

Raw milk safety is virtually assured when you know your farmer has excellent protocols caring for their cows, and for cleanliness.

On your first visit to a prospective farm, you want to look around and get an impression of how the bottled milk is stored. ALWAYS notice your gut feeling about how everything is kept. Is the cold storage and pick-up area neat and clean? The place doesn't have to look like a medical laboratory - farms are rustic. Rustic is fine; dirty and slovenly is not.

At one farm I checked out, the room with the refrigerators that held the bottled product was very dirty. Dust was caked on the refrigerator doors and they looked as though no one had cleaned them inside or out for many months. The floor was filthy and there were cobwebs in every corner. Everything was unkempt. I left without making a purchase, and crossed that farm off my list.

Another consideration is what are the breed(s) of cows? Holsteins (the big, classic black and white spotted) are the least desirable. Holsteins are mainly used for commercial dairy production because of huge milk output. But they give more watery milk that is low in butterfat. Note that there are heirloom breeds that are also black and white, but they are built more compact, and the spots are not the same pattern as Holsteins.

The higher the butterfat content, the more nourishing and healing the milk is for us. Jersey cows provide some of the highest fat content. Heirloom breeds like Normande, Redpoll and Lineback also give high fat content milk.

Are the Cows Treated Humanely?

Raw milk safety is much more likely to be found at a farm where farmers attend closely to the needs of their cows.

One thing I have noticed is that both dairy and beef cows treated humanely and caringly by their farmers tend to be calm when people approach. Often they are curious, will gaze at you - and may even move closer to the fence.

Years ago, walking a road that abutted a pasture, a large herd of Black Angus cattle moved right up to the fence (consisting of two thin strands of wire) to investigate me and my dog. A little unsettling because they were all built like sumo wrestlers and could blast through that electrified fence in a few seconds if they  could tolerate the shock. They followed us to the corner of the pasture and crowded into the corner, bawling and complaining because they wanted to keep walking with us.

If you happen to wander near the fenceline of pastured cows and they panic and leave the area, there is a possibility they are subject to some callous handling.

Raw Milk Safety:
How to Locate a Farmer

If you live in the Northeastern US, NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) is a good resource for locating a great farmer. I found Meadowsweet Farm, my present source of raw dairy, from the NOFA website.

Another great resource that can help you find a farmer near you is

In California, farmers in the state are legally allowed to sell raw milk, cream, butter and cheese to your local grocery market. If you live in CA, you should be able to easily find this great food.

The laws in each state vary, so you would need to research your state regulations to start. Here is one site where you can do that:

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Ellen Landauer is an expert with over 40 years in-depth study and experience of the safe and effective use of nutritional supplements, botanical extracts and detoxification methods.

She is Certified as an Advanced Practitioner of Structural Integration body therapy developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf - also known as Rolfing. This hands-on therapy is the deepest, most comprehensive body alignment therapy. 

Ellen Landauer is also a  PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

To learn more about Ellen Landauer, see her detailed bio HERE


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