Raw milk – a true natural superfood

Posted on: 8th February, 2016

Category: Health

Contributor: Hannah Dare

When I was a child the milk we drank came straight from Daisy, our Hereford milking cow. It was delicious, creamy, fresh, and unprocessed or raw (Raw Milk is milk in its natural state that has not been pasteurised or homogenised). When Daisy was sold, and I first tasted pasteurised and homogenised milk that had been bought in a shop. I was horrified. “This tastes terrible – you can’t expect me to drink this!” I announced to my parents. I could taste the plastic bottle and the silage and I was not impressed – where was the cream? For a while I drank goat’s milk, as we still had goats, but it took me a long time to reconcile myself to the taste of commercially produced milk.

Now at long last I can imagine I am back enjoying Daisy’s milk all over again thanks to Frank and Gudrun Shinnick, dairy farmers in Fermoy. They have been producing raw milk and raw milk cheeses for over 20 years and are one of the few registered producers in Ireland. Frank is incredibly passionate about his business and the subject of raw milk. He doesn’t subscribe to the notion that milk should be produced on an industrial scale as an anonymous commodity that is largely unrecognisable when compared to the fresh product. He feels that many of the dairy intolerances and allergies are to do with the industrial processing and not the milk itself. He supplies a lot of families whose children don’t normally tolerate milk, but can drink his milk without adverse reactions. He has had numerous customers who have given the milk to their children and have seen cases of eczema and asthma clear up; ‘If a child is given raw milk before they turn five, or even better before they turn one, it can make a huge difference to their health,’ he says.

But is drinking raw milk a good idea? That is currently a very hot topic and Health officials in both the EU and US would prefer if all raw milk farmers would just shut up shop and get in line with conventional thinking! Certainly in the last century there were very valid health concerns associated with the consumption of raw milk and in general Irish consumers are still fearful of unpasteurised milk. This is compounded by the fact that last year the FSAI (food safety authority of Ireland) issued a report warning of the dangers of consuming Raw Milk, based on a report, which found harmful bacteria in unpastuerised milk. However, the tests they carried out were on unpasteurised milk from regular dairy farmers rather than raw milk farmers, so according to Raw Milk Ireland the test isn’t relevant. And having talked to Frank about the difference in the way he approaches producing milk, I would have to agree. It is NOT advisable to simply rock up to your local farm and drink that milk raw, raw milk producers are focused on producing a small batches of milk from carefully managed herds in with rigourous monitoring of hygiene and infection.

I was surprised to find that Raw milk is a growing market – in the US over 10 million people purchase raw milk despite it being ‘illegal’ in some states. In Ireland, raw milk is legally available for sale from registered producers since 2006. Many healthfood shops and fine food shops around the country now stock it and many farmers markets have their own supplier.

I find the benefits of drinking milk raw very interesting. Raw milk, better called ‘Live Milk’, is a living food. When produced in sanitary conditions from health animals, raw milk is a true superfood. It contains live probiotics that our immune systems recognise which are incredibly healthy for our digestive systems and therefore for our entire body. It also contains live enzymes and healthy fats, and higher levels of vitamins A D and K than pasteurised milk.

Raw milk is always whole, never skimmed or low fat. Frank gets very heated at the mention of skimmed milk: “What people don’t understand is that these low fat milk products are very unhealthy and can cause us to get ill’ he says. ‘We all need good fats to stay healthy and well’. Frank’s milk contains 4.3 pc butterfat compared to ‘whole’ supermarket milk which contains only 2.8 – 3.2 pc. The butterfat in raw milk is all essential fat, and contains many of the nutrition, which makes drinking milk healthy. For example, all the vitamin D in milk (necessary for the absorption of calcium) is found in the fat. So some companies fortify their skimmed milk by adding vitamin D – and then charge us more for the privilege of thinking we are drinking a superior product when the vitamin D should have been there all along! Raw milk is also sold without being homogenised – so the cream is all at the top of the bottle. You just give it a shake and off you go – or if you are feeling bold you steal the cream off the top…

Overall, my feeling is that when you try raw milk for yourself it’s easy to understand why consumption has increased so significantly over the last two decades, and why farmers like Frank and Gudrun are so passionate about producing it. I like the idea of absolute traceability. Frank and Gudrun’s Raw milk is from an their own herd on a their own farm. Where is your milk coming from? Check the bottle but it doesn’t generally say… For me, the benefits of Raw Milk outweigh the risks, but everyone needs to make that decision for themselves. If you do want to try it out, call in to Organico on a Thursday (or ask your local healthfood shop to get in touch with Frank!).

New in Organico this week: Frank and Gudrun have started producing Kefir and live Bulgarian yoghurt from their raw milk – we are getting the first batch this week!

Latest News Articles:

Global Shares to create 80 new jobs
Ford 100 Fest on Ford family farm to mark 100 years of Ford in Ireland
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival launches delectable programme
Healing with a harp
Plan the perfect wedding day at the Fota Island Resort Wedding Forum
Clutching at straws for Coalition
Lee’s and Nils: West Cork clubs in the city
The walk of a lifetime
West Cork farmers take gold at National Farmer of the Year Awards
Shining success for Union Hall Centra store at 2017 Quality Awards

Join us on Facebook

Dunmanway Historical Association regrets to announce that the talk on Sile na Gig which was to take place on Thursday, 24th August in Atkins hall @ 8:30pm has been cancelled. ... See MoreSee Less

18th August, 2017  ·  

This year Wild Atlantic Tag sponsored by Marine Harvest will take place in Adrigole on Saturday August 5th. All are welcome, whether you are a team entry or an individual looking to join a team. The teams will be divided into two sections, Social & Seriously Social! Please contact Sean (0879568363) or Joey (0879865827) to register. It promises to be great craic with plenty of refreshments available pre and post-match! Fantastic local musician Eoghan McEllhenny will entertain the rugby masses from 4.30pm followed by Peadar O’Callaghan and renowned Natural Gas will round off the night from 9.30pm! ... See MoreSee Less

14th July, 2017  ·  

A woodland walk will take place on the 22nd June at 7pm in Glengarriff Nature Reserve. This is a great opportunity to learn about woodlands, their plants and wildlife and is an opportunity not to be missed. Glengarriff Nature Reserve was designated as a Nature reserve in 1991, and covers over 300 acres in size. It is a beautiful and unique woodlands containing many different habitats and is owned and managed by NPWS primarily for conservation and amenity purposes. The event is led by National Parks Ranger Clare Heardman and has been organised by Cork Nature Network For further information please contact events@corknaturenetwork.ie ... See MoreSee Less

19th June, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top