How can a substance so innocent and white cause such a heated debate? “Raw” milk (insert scary sound effects here) is a hotly debated topic between food producers, health officials and the government. Laws vary from state to state causing further confusion. So here are some basic facts about milk – straight from the cow.
In Michigan you cannot buy or sell milk directly from the cow. All milk must be pasteurized by heating to high temperatures. Advocates of this say it kills bacteria and makes it safer. This practice was made into law in the 1920’s and 30’s when hygiene standards weren’t what they are today and many people got ill drinking milk. In fact, Michigan was the first state to mandate pasteurization. Those that lobby for raw milk point out that the heating breaks down the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes – making it harder for your body to process and changing the structure of the calcium. They argue that much of the increase of lactose intolerance we see is because of this altering of the milk.
So as a consumer, what are your options?
You can own a cow and milk it yourself, but if that isn’t an option – subdivisions tend to frown on it – you can participate in a cow share or co-op. To do this you would purchase a share of a cow at a farm that participates and collect your milk. For the law to change, public outcry and demand would be needed. A quote we like that applies here is: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Does Shetler offer cow shares?
While we strongly believe that milk is best as nature made it – and we drink it that way – we do not offer a cow share program. Having our own bottling plant on-site makes us ineligible for this type of program. However, if the law ever changes, we will be thrilled to provide raw milk to our customers.
How does Shetler’s pasteurization process differ from others?
We use a process called Low Temperature Pasteurization. This is the process of heating the milk up to the minimum temperature required by law. This allows us to sell our milk to the public, but preserve as much of the good enzymes that naturally occurs in the milk.
As for that other big word – homogenization – we’ll save that for another day. Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks!