Ben brought an article on www.mises.org to my attention the other day. It’s a response to a recent article by Michael Kinsley of the Washington Post regarding “what’s wrong with libertarianism.” I am primarily interested in one statement Mr. Kinsley makes regarding the governments ban on raw milk:
Libertarians are quick to see hidden costs of ignoring libertarian principles and slow to see such costs in adhering to them. For example, Tucker Carlson reports in the Dec. 31 New Republic that Ron Paul wants to end the federal ban on unpasteurized milk. No one should want to drink unpasteurized milk, and almost no one does. Paul himself doesn’t. But it bothers him that the government tells people they cannot do something they shouldn’t do.Libertarians would say that if most people want pasteurized milk, the market will supply it. Firms will emerge to certify that milk has been pasteurized. These firms will compete, keeping them honest.
So yes, a Rube Goldberg contraption of capitalism could replace a straightforward government regulation. But what if you aren’t interested in turning your grocery shopping into an ideological adventure? All that is lost by letting the government take care of it is the right of a few idiots to be idiots. That right deserves respect. But not much.
Politics aside, this is an embarrassingly uneducated statement. There are many idiots, as he calls them, who inconvenience themselves to purchase unpasteurized milk because, unlike Kinsley, they have educated themselves on the benefits of raw milk and the detriments of pasteurized milk, and believe that it is worth the additional effort required to acquire raw milk.
Kinsley states that “no one should want to drink unpasteurized milk”, and yet my family, and many others, do. Well, we simply must be crazy. The government tells us that unpasteurized milk is unsafe; it’s hazardous to our health. Who wouldn’t believe the government? They’ve always proven themselves to be trustworthy; they never meddle unnecessarily in our lives; they always have our best interests at heart. Isn’t that right?
In truth, raw milk possesses many health benefits that are destroyed during the processes of pasteurization and homogenization. The resulting product is far inferior to the original, God designed, one.
Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, has this to say of raw milk:
Raw milk contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. Pasteurization destroys these helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. Raw milk in time turns pleasantly sour while pasteurized milk, lacking beneficial bacteria, will putrefy.
But that’s not all that pasteurization does to milk. Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed. Pasteurization alters milk’s mineral components such as calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur as well as many trace minerals, making them less available. There is some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why milk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes.
Last but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk— in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium. That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer, nevertheless, from osteoporosis. Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat. After pasteurization, chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added — the former is toxic and has been linked to heart disease while the latter is difficult to absorb. The final indignity is homogenization which has also been linked to heart disease.
Real Milk–full-fat, unprocessed milk from pasture-fed cows–contains vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A and D, calcium, vitamin B6, B12, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid naturally occurring in grass-fed beef and milk that reduces body fat and protects against cancer). Real milk is a source of complete protein and is loaded with enzymes. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that protect against pathogens and contribute to a healthy flora in the intestines. Culturing milk greatly enhances its probiotic and enzyme content, making it a therapeutic food for our digestive system and overall health.
Here is an interesting table comparing the nutritional value of raw and pasteurized milk:
Raw Certified Milk
D. Nutritional Values
What about safety? Isn’t the government protecting us from illness and possible death?
The answer is no. In fact, pasteurized milk poses far more health risks than raw milk. Of course one must make sure that the source of their milk is reputable, but if you are consuming clean, raw milk, your risk is lower than those consuming pasteurized milk. The friendly bacteria found in raw milk inhibits the growth of dangerous organisms. Pasteurization kills these bacteria, and therefore, the milk is more easily contaminated.
Here is a table used for a vote permitting raw milk in Los Angeles that shows many outbreaks caused by pasteurized milk and none caused by raw milk.
More information from Fallon:
PASTEURIZED milk has been the source of many widespread outbreaks. A total for some of the documented outbreaks due to PASTEURIZED milk over the past few decades is 239,884 cases and 620 deaths.
The nation’s largest recorded outbreak of Salmonella was due to PASTEURIZED milk contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella typhimurium. The outbreak, which occurred between June 1984 and April 1985 sickened over 200,000 and caused 18 deaths. Disturbingly, the CDC did not issue a specific Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for this outbreak; information must be gleaned from other reports published in the FDA Consumer and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A 2004 outbreak in Pennsylvania and New Jersey involved multidrug-resistant Salmonella typhimurium infection from milk contaminated after pasteurization.
Despite numerous outbreaks due to pasteurized milk, neither the FDA nor the CDC has ever issued a warning against consuming pasteurized milk. Pasteurization is not a guarantee; pasteurized milk is not sterile. The FDA permits the presence of up to 20,000 bacteria /ml and 10 E.coli/ml in milk after the pasteurization process has been completed.
Apparently, Kinsley trusts the government to know best and do his thinking for him. I’m not sure how else he could come to such a conclusion regarding raw milk, as he obviously didn’t do a bit of research on the subject.
Sadly, Americans are so ignorant on so many issues. They blindly trust a government to tell them what to consume and what to avoid without a second thought. We need to start questioning. We need to start thinking for ourselves. Our health and well being are dependent on it.