I completed Amanda Rose’s survey for raw milk drinkers, and could only marvel that this effort might be considered controversial. With no slight intended to Amanda, because the survey is an interesting effort, what I am suggesting is that its thrust mainly underscores the paucity of information about raw milk.

The most interesting part of the survey is a list of statements about raw milk, which respondents are supposed to rate for accuracy, for example:

“Raw milk does not contain pathogens if the cows (or goats) are on grass-based diets.”

“Raw milk kills babies.”

“Raw milk contains deadly pathogens.”

“Raw milk is a food that is uniquely safe.”

“Raw cow milk is as safe as raw human breast milk.”

While I have my opinions on certain statements, I have to say that I don’t have the drop-dead research to support some of the statements–for example, milk from grass-fed animals doesn’t support pathogens. We can debate such questions, but there is definitely a research void.

If, as some sources have suggested, something on the order of three million Americans are consuming raw milk, why isn’t the government at least interested in learning more about their habits and attitudes?

The problem is that the government isn’t interested in learning more. While a number of raw milk proponents have been critical of the American Veterinary Medical Association for seeming to exclude prominent raw milk backers at its July session on the subject, I want to credit the AVMA organizers of the raw milk session. By promoting original research on raw milk, they have taken an important step—one that even raw milk proponents haven’t been super aggressive on. The most notable effort on the research front by proponents was the project in Michigan to measure lactose intolerance, which obtained support from the Weston A. Price Foundation. (link)

The reality is that research like Amanda’s is more threatening to the FDA’s dairy czar John Sheehan and lackeys than any kind of confrontation with Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation or MarkMcAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. (with due respect to them, I’m not being critical of their desire to be part of the AVMA symposium; I also know that, based on recent experiences at both the International Association for Food Prorection and the National Conference on Intersate Milk Shipments sessions, all raw milk proponents would be super-respectful).

This survey will develop important information, most likely reaffirming what most raw milk drinkers already know from their personal experiences– that raw milk can be produced safely, and has important nutritional benefits. That’s exactly why the scientific and health establishments fear such research efforts so much.