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What is raw milk and where can I buy it?

dairy products

A journey back to traditional dairy products:

What is Raw Milk and where can I buy it?

 

In an age of convenience and mass production, there’s a growing trend towards returning to the roots of our food sources. One such example is the resurgence of interest in raw milk—a product that has been enjoyed for centuries before the advent of pasteurisation and homogenisation processes. In this blog post we delve into the rich history, nutritional benefits, and controversies surrounding raw milk, as well as why its enthusiasts are embracing this traditional dairy product once again.

The History of Raw Milk
Raw milk, also known as unhomogenised and unpasteurised milk, has been a staple in human diets for millennia. Our ancestors would milk animals directly and consume the milk without any treatment. This practice continued until the late 19th century when Louis Pasteur developed pasteurisation—a process of heating milk to kill harmful bacteria, thereby extending its shelf life and reducing the risk of diseases like tuberculosis and brucellosis. The vast majority of the milk sold in the UK today is both pasturised and homogenised which makes it a very different product from the raw milk as it comes from the cow!

Nutritional Riches of Raw Milk
The latest evidence shows that the homogenisation and pasteurisation process not only destroys harmful bacteria but also depletes milk of some of its beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Raw milk contains an array of vitamins, including A, D, and B vitamins, as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Moreover, it is a source of healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, and is rich in beneficial bacteria that support gut health.  Processing removes some of these nutrients and bacteria as well as altering the fat structure of the milk.

Controversies and Safety Concerns
Despite its nutritional benefits, raw milk consumption is not without controversy. Unpasteurised milk carries an increased risk of bacterial contamination, which can lead to serious illnesses such as food poisoning, tuberculosis, and listeriosis. Regulatory agencies, including the Food Standards Agency in the UK, advise against the consumption of raw milk due to these safety concerns. In the UK it is illegal to sell raw milk unless from the farm gate. In Cornwall, as with other areas with high levels of TB circulating in the farm and wildlife populations, all milk sold off the farms is pasturised, however unhomogenised milk is available.

Making an Informed Choice
Whether one chooses to consume raw milk or not ultimately comes down to personal preference and risk tolerance. While raw milk may offer nutritional advantages, it’s essential to weigh these benefits against the potential health risks, especially for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, young children, and individuals with weakened immune systems. 

The latest scientific evidence is that the best milk to drink is full fat from the highest welfare dairies with minimal processing. Despite years of advice that consuming low fat processed dairy products is a healthy alternative and contributes to weight loss, the latest evidence is that this is simply not true and in fact they are often worse than the natural full fat versions. 

Consuming pasturised but unhomogenised milk is a safer way to make a more natural choice especially in areas where TB levels are particularly high such as Cornwall.

So What Milk Can I Buy?

In Cornwall there are no current sources of completely raw milk available for sale (primarily due to TB levels plus government restrictions).  The only possible route to purchase it would be to see if your local dairy farm is wiling to sell you any.

The most natural Cornish milk readily available is unhomogenised milk. We sell organic unhomogenised milk in glass bottles from Treen Farm near Penzance and unhomogenised milk in glass bottles from Green Cow Dairy near Grampound.

Want to get Cornish milk delivered to your door? We have standard, organic and unhomogenised milk available.

Click here to order from The Cornish Food Box Company for delivery of milk and much more across Cornwall and the UK.

Click here to for Lillie Brothers Doorstep Milk Round - milk & dairy products doorstep deliveries in Mid-Cornwall.

 

Want to get Cornish milk delivered to your door? We have standard, organic and unhomogenised milk available.

Click on the products above to order from The Cornish Food Box Company - delivery of milk and a full range of fresh groceries across Cornwall and the UK.

Click here to for Lillie Brothers Doorstep Milk Round - milk & dairy products doorstep deliveries in Mid-Cornwall.

Guide to the terms used:

Standard Milk - this is pasturised and homogenised milk which you'll be used to buying off the shop shelves. It has been both heated & had the fat globules removed and mechanically processed before being added back to the milk.

Pasturised & Unhomogenised - milk that has been pasturised to 71.7C for between 15 and 25 seconds to kill off any bacteria but has not had any further processing.

Raw Milk - unpasturised and unhomogenised milk which is as it comes staright from the cow.

For more information see our information leaflet below.

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