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The Raw Truth: Common Sense About Raw Milk From A Raw Milk Dairy Farmer

By Edwin Shank

Before I talk about how my family and community benefits from raw milk, let me first say that what we do and what you do may be two different things. Ultimately, it is you who must make all the health and dietary choices for you and your family.

Our Background

My family and I are Mennonites, similar to the Amish in some ways. Our communities have historically been farmers, and predominantly dairy farmers. Almost everyone in our local congregation of more than 200 people has grown up drinking raw milk. Mothers drink it every day, even when they are pregnant. My mother did, and both my grandmothers did, too. My wife drank it during all six of her pregnancies. She breastfed all the children, but I’m sure that somewhere in the first six months or so they were drinking a little raw cow’s milk, too…and when they were weaned at 12 to 15 months, they went straight to raw cow’s milk.

Our family is very typical among our community, and the practice in our churches is still that way today. The number of dairy farmers is growing smaller with the years, but almost everyone still gets his raw milk from a dad or brother or uncle or even a neighbor. Our congregation is only one of about a thousand that are connected across the nation. Everywhere you go, the pattern is repeated. I even have a sister in Guatemala, and sure enough, they buy their milk raw from the dairy farmer/minister of their congregation.

What I’m driving at is that, in spite of all the hype from the medical field, in my 40 years I have never heard of even one problem with a pregnancy, or any other illness among our people, that was from the raw milk. Is that scientific? No. Does anecdotal testimony prove anything? No. But I think you can see how we do not fear it at all.I have known many friends and acquaintances over the years who have been hurt or killed in car accidents, yet we still drive, because the benefit and ease of auto transportation outweighs the risks. With raw milk, I know of no illnesses or deaths among our people, and the benefits of increased immunity and vibrancy of health are so profound that we feel that drinking it is a no-brainer.

Now, all that being said, you will still have to make your own choices for your family. The politically correct answer to whether or not you should choose to drink raw milk is: Read the warning that the government requires us to put on the label of our milk bottles, and then make your decision.

The only problem I have with the warning is that it is a form of discrimination. This warning ought to be on all food. All food may contain a pathogen that may cause illness or death. Think:

  1. Spinach was recalled due to E. coli in the fall of 2006.

  2. In Massachusetts in 1983, 49 people were sickened and 14 died from Listeria in pasteurized milk. (To see a complete list of all fatalities and illnesses from drinking pasteurized milk, go to

  3. Ground beef is recalled all the time.

  4. A salmonella outbreak caused by peanut butter in 2009 contributed to nine deaths and 714 cases of illness.

The Bottom Line

A bulletproof immunity is our only protection against the pathogens of our environment. And we do not build bulletproof immunities though sterile foods. We need the probiotics and prebiotics of raw milk and kefir (a fermented milk drink) to protect us. The more sterile we live, the weaker our immune systems become… until even our peanut butter is striking us down!

I have a dream. I have a dream that one day the big, scary government warning that we have been forced to put on every bottle of our wonderful raw milk is on every food on the shelf… the pasteurized milk, the peanut butter, the spinach and all foods, because it is a fact of life. All food, any food, may contain a pathogen. When this warning is on all foods, only then will the playing field be level. Only then will bureaucrats, lawyers and bacteriaphobes be knocked out of their false sense of security to realize that there is only one way to defeat pathogens, and that is to build a bulletproof immunity to them.

Long live raw organic milk from grass-fed cows, and kefir made from the same. And long live those who consume them!