The Got Milk Campaign
Got Milk?, stylized as got milk?, was a U.S. advertising campaign created in 1993 by the agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Board and later licensed for use by milk processors and dairy farmers. This long-running series of print ads features ethnically diverse celebrities, athletes and fictional characters sporting their own “milk mustache”. But what kind of milk are they promoting? And does that kind of milk really “do a body good”?
The kind of milk this highly decorated campaign endorses is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, homogenized conventional milk from cows in confinement fed a diet high in soy, grain, bakery waste, pesticide-laden citrus pulp and even pellets containing chicken manure. Pesticides, antibiotics, trans fats, estrogens and similar toxic substances can end up in the milk.
Pasteurization or ultra-pasteurization is a quick-heat process that destroys enzymes and immune factors, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and 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. Even worse, modern conventional milk has most of the nourishing butterfat removed, and nonfat dried milk – a source of carcinogens and dangerous oxidized cholesterol – added.
In animal studies, raw whole milk promotes healthy bone growth, normal organ formation and good disposition while pasteurized milk results in weak bones, calcification of the organs, high levels of stress and poor coping skills. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly, and many die before maturity.
The milk that the Got Milk? campaign endorses is not what we call real milk. So, what is real milk?
- Real milk comes from old-fashioned cows that produce lots of butterfat, such as the Jersey and Guernsey.
- Real milk comes from herds allowed to graze on green pasture.
- Real milk is not pasteurized or homogenized.
- Real milk is full-fat milk.
- Real milk contains no additives.
Today’s milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy real milk, these diseases were rare. In fact, a supply of high quality dairy products was considered vital to American security and the economic well-being of the nation.
Is raw milk safe?
Real milk that has been produced under sanitary and healthy conditions is a safe and wholesome food.
- It is critical that the cows are healthy, meaning they have tested free of tuberculosis and undulant fever, and do not have any infections such as mastitis.
- The cows should be eating their natural diet, which is mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The Abbey Farm where I purchased my raw milk from in Portland, Oregon, does not feed the cows any grains at all.
- The milk should be full-fat milk, as many important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat.
- The cows should be milked under sanitary conditions and the milk chilled down immediately.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac, did an intriguing analysis in 2012. He made the point that most illnesses from tainted food, including raw milk, are mild, with a few days of upset stomach. Then he added:
“The statistic we should be more concerned with is hospitalizations for serious illnesses such as kidney failure and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by unpasteurized milk. This does happen, and children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable and more likely to experience a serious illness. That said, hospitalizations from raw milk are extremely rare. During the 2000 − 2007 period, there were 12 hospitalizations for illnesses associated with raw fluid milk. That’s an average of 1.5 per year. With approximately 9.4 million people drinking raw milk, that means you have about a 1 in 6 million chance of being hospitalized from drinking raw milk.”
“To put this in perspective, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, you have a roughly 1 in 8,000 chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident if you live in the U.S. Therefore, you have a 750 times greater chance of dying in a car crash than becoming hospitalized from drinking raw milk.”
Still not convinced?
As the realmilk.com website informs us:
Raw milk contains many components that kill pathogens and strengthen the immune system. These include lacto-peroxidase, lacto-ferrin, anti-microbial components of blood (leukocytes, B-macrophages, neutrophils, T-lymphocytes, immunoglobulins and antibodies), special carbohydrates (polysaccharides and oligosaccharides), special fats (medium chain fatty acids, phospholipids and spingolipids), complement enzymes, lysozyme, hormones, growth factors, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptide, beneficial bacteria, bifidus factor and B12-binding protein. These components are largely inactivated by the heat of pasteurization and ultrapasteurization. For further information, see Part I of our Campaign for Real Milk PowerPoint Presentation.
This five-fold protective system destroys pathogens in the milk, stimulates the Immune system, builds healthy gut wall, prevents absorption of pathogens and toxins in the gut and ensures assimilation of all the nutrients.
So powerful is the anti-microbial system in raw milk that when large quantities of pathogens are added to raw milk, their numbers diminish over time and eventually disappear. For a discussion of scientific papers showing the pathogen-killing properties of raw milk, see Does Raw Milk Kill Pathogens? by Dr. Ted Beals.
Of course, this marvelous protective system can be overwhelmed by very dirty conditions. That is why we do not recommend raw milk from confinement dairies, or raw milk that is produced under unsanitary conditions. Raw milk producers have a responsibility to produce raw milk in the cleanest possible conditions. Cows should not be allowed to wallow in mud and muck; they should be well fed; and all equipment washed and stored properly.
Keep in mind that the human race existed long before Louis Pasteur proposed heat-treatment as a way to control micro-organisms. Our position is that those whose immune systems are weak or taxed are the ones who would benefit most from the vital nutrients found in raw milk.
- High in vitamins – including B12
- All 22 essential amino acids
- Natural enzymes – including lactase
- Natural probiotics
- Good fatty acids
The consumption of all foods, including milk, whether pasteurized or unpasteurized, inherently carries some degree of risk. Not all raw milk dairies have the same safety record and it is true that a relatively small number of people have gotten ill from raw milk. Yet based on figures reported by the Centers for Disease Control related to food borne disease outbreaks in the United States one can argue that pasteurized milk is safer than other foods and raw milk is actually safer than pasteurized milk |2| |3| |4|. As such, we recommend it with confidence.
- Visit realmilk.com
- Read my review of The Raw Milk Answer Book
- Read our article Are there any substitutes for raw milk?
- Read an abundance of raw milk facts
- Join an online discussion group on raw milk
- See our own Facebook discussion
Via our Amazon affiliation:
33 Responses to Got Real Milk? Chances Are, You Don’t
I feel so blessed that my family drinks REAL milk. We have been enjoying its many health benefits for about 2 years now.
We have had a lovely experience with raw milk in our family for the last 6 years. My first born drank raw milk formula when I dried up and couldn’t breastfeed, and all 3 of my girls have drank sips of it from about 8 months. For years (more like a good decade) I could not tolerate dairy and always avoided it – I never had a problem drinking raw milk and to this day if I have pasteurized milk ice cream at a party or even store yogurt I do not digestively tolerate it.
I have been drinking raw milk for the better part of 10 years. I also consume raw milk yogurt, raw cultured butter and raw cheese. I always thought I was lactose intolerant until I was introduced to raw milk. I digest it very easily and experience it as deliciously nutritious!
Finding raw milk changed our lives! I have twin boys and when they were younger 2-3-4yrs old we had chronic ear infections, mucus and coughing. Once learning about raw milk and switching to it the ear infections, mucus and coughing disappeared. The boys health change for the better quickly! Within 2 weeks all signs of congestion were gone. They are now 16 and strong healthy boys! REAL Milk does body good!
Our goats would like to suggest cows aren’t the only ones to produce real milk. :-)
I have heard the comments of hundreds of raw milk drinkers about how their health has improved, over the last eight years of writing about raw milk at http://thecompletepatient.com. The public health community discounts these as “anecdotal.” Now the research out of Europe is turning the “anecdotal” evidence as the real thing.
We made the switch to raw milk over a year ago. I was previously buying organic pasteurized milk, and with out fail, after drinking it, my girls would begin complaining of their belly bloating, and hurting. After doing some research we found a local farm where we could buy raw milk. The change was almost immediate. My girls can drink milk now without bloating and pain. We buy raw milk cheese also, and they love it! I wouldn’t go back to pasteurized milk/cheese now, after seeing first hand the health benefits. I am so happy to be able to give my girls real food and real milk :).
I have been drinking raw milk since 2002, and I don’t know how I survived without it. I have never had any problems, and really miss it when it is unavailable.
One of the many things we have changed on our wellness journey was to eliminate mainstream pasteurized, homogenized dairy from our family’s diet, and incorporate raw and home fermented dairy products into our life. I really enjoy raw milk, and use it every day. We added goats and chickens to our little farm, and now share our farm’s products with other people, who report awesome results from getting away from commercial dairy.
Every now and then while traveling I forget how much of a difference healthy raw dairy makes, I just don’t have as much energy without it, and I’m rudely reminded when I forget and use mainstream pasteurized homogenized milk because my body revolts. I don’t make that mistake very often!
I started drinking raw milk while pregnant, a time when I felt particularly connected to my body and intuitively knew it was a nourishing food for me and my baby. My two and five year old boys have both been drinking raw milk since they were 12 months old, and I definitely think it contributes to their extremely good health and vitality! Not to mention it’s delicious!
I’ve been drinking raw milk for over ten years. Loved it from the start.
Ok, so when I was first pregnant with our dd, now 6, my oldest friend mentioned to me she and her family had switched to raw milk. I told her she was crazy (we’re close like that). She told me I should do some research. Oh, I was gonna! I was going to scour the web and save her family from almost certain doom via raw milk. So my web search began. After grad school in a research field, I knew I’d be able to sniff out sound research from b.s. What surprised me was how much unfavorable stuff I learned about the conventional milk industry. And then, how much I learned about raw dairy and the chemical changes that milk undergoes when pasteurized and homogenized and how many additives go into it—often things that aren’t listed on the label because they are considered a “process” and not and ingredient. Then I started to see some very convincing research about raw milk reducing inflammation that contributes to asthma and diabetes and arthritis, among other physical ailments. So, I only half believed it. It sort of seemed like some sort of snake oil, but I was intrigued by some solid info, but, being pregnant, I was afraid to try raw milk. After all, that ominous mandatory government warning on the label kinda scared the crap out of me.
I was a little shocked that it seemed to cost and arm and a leg … well, maybe a hand and a toe. It’s like $15 per gallon, in our local stores. You might think it would be cheaper since there’s less processing, but raw dairies get absolutely no subsidy from the government, while other dairies are heavily subsidized. If they weren’t, conventional store brand milk would cost at least twice as much.
So, anyone who has driven by the smelly cows on the way to Sacramento, CA has seen—and smelled them. They have hundreds of cows pent up knee deep in their own you-know-what. I wouldn’t want the stinky cow raw milk from those conventional dairy cows anywhere near me! In sharp contrast, the two licensed raw dairies in CA have to have plenty of grazing space, which costs more. One has a mobile dairy that travels with the herd and milks the cows. Having them be grass fed is really important.
So, I was lactose intolerant forever. In fact, when I switched to raw, my daughter was almost one, I’d been drinking Lactaid for years. I’d read that raw doesn’t cause lactose intolerance, though I didn’t believe it–Just too good to be true. But it was totally true. Apparently, some of the chemical changes milk goes through upon being heated, include lactose production (think of how onions get sweet when fried). Interestingly, as an asthmatic, I haven’t had to use my inhalers since switching to raw milk and I hardly ever have seasonal allergies. And now, even if I occasionally have regular milk or half and half, I have no problems. Though I stick with raw because my nails have become crazy strong since I started drinking it, which is a great indicator of calcium absorption. Raw milk also has naturally occurring probiotics.
My second child is now two years old. I drank raw milk throughout my entire pregnancy with him. My dentist laughed at my last check-up and said I’m his most boring patient because my teeth are in amazing shape. He said this is rare for mothers and that most moms get at least one cavity per pregnancy. I truly attribute this to the awesome milk I’ve been drinking. My 6 year old hasn’t needed any fillings and she’s been drinking raw milk for her entire milk-drinking career (aside from my breast milk).
My friend’s husband just started raw milk like last week. He’s been battling cancer and digestive issues and has some intestinal scarring, so his nutritionist put him on Ensure. He’s been feeling pretty terrible. I made some nutrient dense pureed soups for him and told him about the raw milk. Today I saw him and it’s the first time I’ve seen some pink in his face and he said he started the raw milk and really likes it and has been feeling really good.
So I’m all for raw milk and think that it has great health benefits and, when handled properly, no more health risk than other raw foods, such as lettuce, spinach and tomatoes. In fact, from when I started paying attention to raw milk and the food industry, there have been recalls on organic lettuce, spinach, Roma tomatoes, peanut butter and a big brand of freezer waffles. So we need to make sure that safe handling is always practiced, as with any food. And don’t get me started on raw cream!
Good article. I agree.
Dr. Sean Reese Sea Coast Chiropractic
even before i went vegan i never could drink standard milk. after many huge health issues i started on a path to healing my body. adding in raw milk as well as responsibly raised grass-fed animal products has been key in healing all of the damage done previously. some may call it “anecdotal” but I can feel the difference, my doctor can see the difference, and I would not change these ways for fear of sliding back into the health issues of past. raw milk has given me my life back.
Our family began drinking raw milk when our son was just over a year old and weaning from breast milk. I tried giving him the standard pasteurized homogenized milk, but we quickly realized that he was lactose intolerant (as was I!). As a baby, he seemed to have a lot of digestive issues. We learned about raw milk and from then on he was great and so was I! It’s been about 3 years now and being 5 months pregnant again, I couldn’t imagine not having access to raw milk!
Oh, and if anyone can get their hands on raw water buffalo milk, I highly recommend it. SOO CREAMY and delicious. :)
I couldn’t tolerate dairy products until I started consuming raw milk. So thankful for my farmers who take great care of our cows.
Have loved the switch to raw milk! Wish it were easier to get and more affordable, but I won’t let that stop me from buying it. I will support with my $$ because I feel that raw milk and raw milk products are very healthy,
When my children were small, I milked. They were very healthy. Now, with all I’ve learned about pasteurized milk, I am back to milking. Sadly, it’s illegal to sell live milk in my state, so the calves get what many people would love to have.
It’s only illegal if you get caught.
This shit is just flat out fucking crazy. There are all sorts of nasty things that can end up in milk. Pasteurization is one of the key ways we stay safe. Stop spreading lies, misinformation and pure bullshit like it is a fact.
I wish the Got milk campaign would stop spreading the REAL lies. Sad someone needs to make such ugly comments on here.
True that! I was tempted to reply to this ignorant man as well, but then I realized that is probably what he was after with such vitriolic language and clear lack of independent, thoughtful research. I feel badly for people who are unable to look beyond convention; he’s probably a very sick man.
This is a wonderful post! You’ve done a tremendous job! We are fortunate to live just a few miles now from an Amish farm that produces quality raw milk. I have found that as long as I only consume raw dairy products, I don’t have any of the sinus or digestive problems milk used to cause me, nor does my son. It’s amazing what people’s fears of ‘germs’ have done to our food supply and the ‘health’ department. They really do not comprehend where the real problems came from simply because of the sanitation problems that existed when this all came into play. Now that it’s been discovered, people are too fearful to see the truth. I’m glad people like you are presenting the truth so that more can become aware.
Where do you buy raw milk? Help! I’m in Maryland…
Very blessed to be close to a dairy that sells raw milk from pasture-raised Guernsey cows. I discovered this little gem, just after recovering from a bout of sickness when I consumed, get this, 100% grass-fed PASTEURIZED milk. But back to the milk, this milk is unlike any other raw milk I’ve bought. For one it has a this rich golden hue that simply beautiful. Then there’s the taste of it, oh what a carnival of flavors upon the tongue. I’m not sure what it is about the milk from this particular breed, but once I pour myself a glass and drink it’s hard to put it down and soon I find myself pouring up another glass! Jersey and Holstein raw milk for some reason doesn’t hook me like Guernsey milk does. It’s a shame the place I get this milk from doesn’t sell raw cream and butter though.
Before the end of my life, I will start a campaign to call “milk”, I. E. What is found on supermarket shelves, “highly-allergenic-difficult-to-digest milky white liquid”.
Pasteurized “milk” differs too much from the real thing to share a name, much like margarine cannot be called butter.
Thanks for a great article I can share, Sandrine!
Unfortunately, I’ve never had the opportunity to try raw milk. Despite the mounting evidence – it is not legal for sale in my state. UGH!
[…] Lean meat and low-fat milk should be avoided: Lean meat and low-fat milk will cause depletion of essential vitamins A and D, needed for protein and mineral assimilation, proper growth, thyroid function, healthy brain and nervous system and normal cell function. Learn more about low fat diets and about how to take the fear out of eating fat from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Read about our recommendations for milk. […]
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