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Raw milk

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:54 pm
by gaijinfarmer
tl:dr Drinking raw milk: should I be worried about anything, contamination, etc?

Well it's been just under 10 years since I started making milk kefir. I can't say that I've been knocking down doors looking for good milk, but when I first started I did do a lot of asking around and didn't find anything.

I found one place on the other end of the prefecture that made either raw or low-temp pasteurized milk, but it was 800 yen per liter.

Well, some just fell into my lap. Turns out that I used to bicycle past the place on the way to work. :( Had no idea! They had 30 cows until last year; now they source their milk from another place but get it raw and do the homogenization and pasteurization themselves.

I just got a delivery of 4 liters of raw milk at ... da da da dummm... 200 yen per liter. Wow!

It came with verbal instructions on how to pasteurize, and a request to do so, but that she'd give it to me raw suggests that it's not necessary.

I know there's a lot of propaganda on both sides and a lot of heated opinions (pun intended?), but can anyone tell me why I shouldn't drink it as is?

Re: Raw milk

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:41 pm
by Zasso Nouka
Nice find GaijinFarmer,

Hopefully that will work well for you.

Re: Raw milk

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:48 pm
by paradoxbox
Congrats, that is a very good price! You might even be able to negotiate it a bit lower.

I would not drink raw milk, there are a few reasons why not: Mainly, tuberculosis is commonly caused by drinking milk from a cow infected with tuberculosis. It's unlikely the neighbors will know if the cow has tuberculosis or not. But it is also unlikely the cow has tuberculosis, especially if the cow is regularly visited by a veterinarian.

Generally raw milk is best for cheese making, cream making, butter making etc. The taste might be good, but there's always that small risk.

You can make cheeses with it and if they're aged around 60 days, it's safe to eat without pasteurization.

Pasteurizing is a simple thing, just heat the milk up to 66c for 30minutes then bring it down to refrigerated temperature as fast as you can (Ice bath or into the freezer), or if you have one of those copper spiral chillers, that is perfect for the job.

Can I ask, where is that place?? I would love to have fresh raw milk!

Re: Raw milk

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:01 am
by gaijinfarmer
We are in Wakayama. I don't have a copper spiral...

Not sure what to do. I guess I could use an IH plate set to 65 degrees, and stir occasionally. Maybe I'll try that for a bit. I'm also confident that if it makes good kefir and the kefir grains grow, that there won't be any bacterial problems. That would include TB, I assume... (I sound confident, right?) :o

The guy who introduced me makes cheese but he also drinks it raw and says he hasn't had any problems.


Re: Raw milk

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:59 pm
by paradoxbox
If you are sure the cows are well taken care of, it's not a very big risk. But if you think even for a moment that the cow might not be getting the right medical care, I would not risk it. I would actually go and see how they are milking the cows before drinking it raw.

A good procedure for milking would involve lightly spraying the udder with a diluted sanitation spray first, wearing gloves or using sanitized hands to milk the cow, and the milk should be going into a bucket or bottle that has also been sanitized.

I know that sounds like a lot of work but anyone who does not want to get seriously sick should be doing it - infected cow's milk was one of the most common ways to contract TB before pasteurization was discovered, and though there are treatments for it now, the bacteria still lives in the same places so..! My father actually contracted TB as a child from drinking unpasteurized milk in Canada and that was only 40-50 years ago. I definitely would not give raw milk to my children unless I was sure the milking procedure is being done like I wrote above. Sanitation is life :)

You can pasteurize milk just by putting it in a pot on the stove, don't need any special apparatus. Ideally a double boiler should be used, but as long as you just stir the milk frequently it won't burn or stick even without a double boiler. Use a simple glass thermometer inside the pot to check the temperature, I wouldn't go by the IH sensor to do it. The temperature does need to be kind of exact, too low and you're making the milk more risky for contamination. Too high and you bust the proteins and it won't make good cheese. Might be OK for kefir though. Keep it at 66c for 30 minutes then stick it in a sink full of ice and water til it's fridge temperature, then bottle it and put it in the fridge. The key is to get it out of the bacteria zone as quickly as possible. The danger zone is basically anything over 7-10 degrees C and under 45 degrees C.

If that's too much work there is another method of doing it, I believe at around 74c for 15 minutes, but I don't use that. Google will have information on it though. It works fine but the higher temperature breaks down some more proteins. You can also flash-heat it but that is just like making UHT crap milk that most of the stores are selling. Wouldn't bother with it.

Re: Raw milk

Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:45 am
by korekaranoka
A little late, but thought I’d reply anyway. Having drunk raw milk when I lived in France I’m a big fan of the stuff and miss it dearly. My understanding is that the main reason why raw milk became unsafe was the change in cows’ diets: when cows eat grass — as they’re supposed to — the higher levels of acidity in their stomachs take care of most pathogens; when they are fed on grain — as has been most common for quite some time now — the pathogens tend to survive and the milk needs to be pasteurised. Plus of course the fact that most people have nuked the healthy bacteria in their gut into oblivion, thus rendering tgemselves highly sensitive to the slightest infection. Yet another example of government legislation avoiding the real issues, methinks. Anyway, if the milk comes from grass-fed cows and the owner himself drinks it, I’d go for it. But then again, I come from backwards Europe where we’re still allowed to consume monstrosities like non-pasteurised cheese and uneashed chickens eggs...