An interesting debate is currently taking place in Dutch (and international) media about the health effects of traditional foods, and especially raw milk. Raw milk is believed to stimulate digestion as well as constitute a good remedy against food allergies and asthma.
More and more consumers come to dairy farms to purchase raw milk – which in this country can only be marketed through direct sales of the unpackaged product. One outstanding example is the dairy farm ’t Ecolaer from the Mulder family in Zwolle. In June 2013 they have launched a new trademark of organic raw dairy products: Rauw Power(translated: Raw Power).
A growing number of other dairy farmers in the Netherlands also seek the opportunity – and place ‘raw milk tapping points’ on their farm. See for example the short film about the dairy farm of Capteyn family in Zouterwoude that has recently installed such a tapping point.
In total there are now 20 tapping points in the country – and this number is growing fast. This is very limited compared to other EU countries: in Italy there are around 1500 taping points.
It is best to use raw milk only from grass-fed cows. This was traditionally used to heal people, especially because of their content: essential amino-acids, enzymes, improved iron absorption and immunity improving traits. These positive effects are largely eliminated when the milk is heated (pasteurized).
On the internet pro- and contra arguments of raw milk abound. Pro-arguments indicate the positive health effects of this product. Contra arguments indicate the health risks, especially for young children and elderly, due to lack of hygiene during milking. which can lead to infections with Escherichia coli, bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes en Staphylococcus aureus. This is still a major problem in the US.
Another serious risk – especially in is related to animal disease, especially Brucelosis, which is transmitted through raw milk. So Brucelosis control is an absolute imperative for marketing raw milk. In many countries throughout the world, Brucelosis is still endemic. This poses serious risks with drinking raw milk from un-checked herds. Around 500.000 human Brucelosis infections occur per year worldwide.
Meanwhile, raw milk is on the rise. The Weston Price Foundation – a global forum promoting Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and Healing arts – promotes raw milk, consumption. They explain the physical strength of the Massai on their consumption of raw milk, blood and meat from their grass-fed herds. Others indicate that the diet proposed by this organisation may also have negative health effects.