In Other Parts of World, How You Choose to Drink Your Milk Not a Big DealAnd They Marvel At Our Obsession

Sacred cows wandering a city street in India. Right after my trip through the Myanmar health system last week, I made a stop at a Buddhist center on the outskirts of Yangon, the country’s largest city. I had been referred to the center by some American friends, and indeed, the nun who showed me around was an American-born woman who has been there on-and-off for the last five  years. As we stood on an outdoor second-floor landing, she pointed out several neighboring structures in this semi-rural area. A small square building housed a neighborhood health-care center. A warehouse-like structure was a tobacco-processing plant. And a barn-like structure…well, once she pointed it out to me, I could see a number of cows inside.

“That dairy probably provides half the milk for Yangon,” she said. “We use it at our center.”

I asked her if she and her colleagues drink it pasteurized or raw. “We boil it. We don’t want to get tuberculosis.”

I told her that the reason I asked was that raw milk was “a big deal” in the U.S.

“Everything like that seems to become a big deal in the U.S.,” she said.

I had to laugh. The nun was correct.

Of course, Myanmar has its share of issues much more important than raw milk…for example, political repression and violent suppression of political dissidents.  The nun’s point was that, beyond such basics, people there tend not to get all that riled up about lifestyle issues.  If they want raw milk, they can get raw milk and choose to boil it, or risk getting TB.

I’ve had this point made to me in a few other ways as I’ve traveled around Asia because, as we know, the subject of raw milk has a way of coming up in strange ways. Touring the small city of Cochin in southern India, I asked a tour guide about milk when we saw the inevitable sacred cows wandering about city streets. “Sure we can buy it straight from the cow. I boil it.”

Then there was the Brazilian dairy owner, Raphael, I met who was also touring around Asia. He owns a conventional dairy farm with 700 cows, of which 300 are being milked. When I showed him my business card, with a picture of my book’s cover, The Raw Milk Revolution, he began laughing hysterically. Why was he laughing? Because in Brazil, some dairies bottle their milk unpasteurized, and sell it that way, while others send their milk off to be pasteurized. No big deal either way.

I told him the public health people in the U.S. were adamant in believing raw milk is a huge danger. “They have to justify their service,” he said with a smile. Remember, this is coming from a conventional dairy owner.

Of course, traveling around Asia, it’s pretty clear that many kinds of lifestyle risks are treated differently than in the U.S. People drive around in cars where the seat belts don’t work properly. Entire families drive around on motorcycles, where maybe the dad is wearing a helmet, at most.

But the kind of battle that has developed around raw dairy in the U.S. and Canada seems anathema to much of the rest of the world. It’s actually kind of amazing the way it churns away, the animosity it sparks. I don’t think it’s entirely financial, either. We know it isn’t about crazy convincing data showing raw dairy creates a huge public health problem. It has to be about larger belief systems, and imposing those beliefs on others.  

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54 Comments on "In Other Parts of World, How You Choose to Drink Your Milk Not a Big DealAnd They Marvel At Our Obsession"

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Mark McAfee
March 30, 2011 2:13 am

It is always a breath of fresh air to get your priorities realigned. Visits internationally seem to do this very well. Thanks for the asian snap shot of our rediculous American Raw Milk thing.

Here is a snap shot of one raw milk book writers perspective on being middle age and her sensual sexual take on food…Nancy Deville does a great job reconnecting food and whole body health in these two short videos. She is also a pretty darn good singer and the lyrics are awesome. As we age….health starts to mean more and more….in the end, it is… Read more »

Bill Anderson
March 30, 2011 2:21 am

That's great Mark! Love the videos!

Speaking of India, here's a great link about how India said no to GMO crops:

Steve Bemis
March 30, 2011 6:49 am

Bill – In February, 2008 Dr. Ted Beals published a lengthy, carefully researched and documented article concerning the risk of getting TB from raw milk in Michigan, where we do have issues with TB in the deer herd. The following tinyurl will take you to the article: . His conclusion: "I am satisfied that there is no evidence to support the contention that people in Michigan who drink unpasteurized milk should be afraid of becoming infected with bovine tuberculosis."

Mark McAfee
March 30, 2011 7:21 am

FDA decisions are based on the same moral test that is used by RJ Reynolds and are the same that are employed by most wallstreet analysts….

…will this decision be good for shareholders. In the case of milk…..that means PMO CAFO NCIMS bed buddies.

The world over, the moral and ethical test is much different.

The FDA says…"Is this product proven dangerous"….verses a different moral test…"is this product proven safe". On the face of it….proof of danger is ellusive and deniable. Proof of safety is a different bird all together and has a different customer, purpose and foundation.

BST… Read more »

Bill Anderson
March 30, 2011 7:53 am

Thanks for the link Steve, I will check it out.

Also, I know that Michael Schmidt when he spoke in Wisconsin, reccommended testing for TB, Brucellosis, and Leptospirosis in all animals in certified raw milk herds.

March 30, 2011 9:12 am

Michael Schmidt has it right.

Steve Bemis
March 30, 2011 9:32 am

Lykke – on this, we agree.

Joseph Heckman
March 30, 2011 9:55 am


On my trip to India last year I made similar observations on cows and milk.
Travel Notes from India on Silicon, Cows, and Soil Fertility

Bill Anderson
March 30, 2011 10:17 am

Michael Schmidt usually has it right, Lykke. He has taken the regulatory community to task numerous times for their failure to constructively address the raw milk issue, and instead approach it with a repressive and authoritarian attitude.

Perhaps you also agree with his criticism of the regulatory community?

Joseph Heckman
March 30, 2011 10:26 am

so after WWII, compulsary pasteurization just became the norm.

I think there is more to the story about how pasteurization became compulsory.

Lately I have been digging up old articles related to the raw milk/pasteurization movement in Rutgers University Library. I now have a copy of the original series of articles Why Milk Pasteurization? Sowing the Seeds of Fear Plowing under the Truth and The Harvest is a Barren One by Jean Bullitt Darlington published in The Rural New Yorker, March 1947.

Fascinating material. Some is available here:
But I wanted to see the original complete set… Read more »

Mark McAfee
March 30, 2011 11:28 am

Mandatory TB testing is a part of the CDFA regs for CA retail legal raw milk. CAFO PMO milk is not subject to these testing standards. I once heard a state vet say during a TB test visit that " the mother always protects her young" meaning that only the antibodies to infection enter the milk. There is an exception to this rule. If the TB infection is located in the udder then TB can be passed to the young. That is why it is extremely rare that raw milk communicates TB. I have not… Read more »

March 30, 2011 12:00 pm


Check your blog when you get back – it either blocks posts or repeats them.

March 30, 2011 7:58 pm

Please can somebody explain to me why so little attention is directed at homogenization
of milk. It is destructive. You can always boil but not unhomogenize.( sp?)

Barney Google
March 30, 2011 9:19 pm

While everyone discusses food safety no one is paying attention to events in the real world. Radiation is being found all over the U.S.from the earthquake/ tsunami in Japan from the nuclear reactor disaster, with NO END IN SIGHT !! That begs the question – will we be able to get a food crop off of this coming growing season? Is famine around the corner?

"EPA plans to boost radioactivity safety limits up to 100,000-fold increase"

Bill Anderson
March 30, 2011 10:09 pm


Much of that comes from government policies that subsidize big ag and punish small producers, which are beyond our control to a certain extent. But as a movement, we ought to consider the importance of the issue of affordibility. Organic food in general is seen as an expensive luxury, when it shouldn't be. How do we address that issue? I don't know all the solutions, but it is not something which we should brush aside.

March 30, 2011 11:01 pm

"Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races."

This is an admirable goal, just as making organic food cheap enough for all is an admirable goal. But the most important goal is first to get raw milk accepted in all the states, then worry about price.

Just as with organics, lower prices will come when more raw dairies enter the market. But I really don't believe raw milk will ever be as cheap as CAFO milk because, just as with organic food, there are more far costs involved with none of the subsidies.

Right now, we… Read more »

Mark McAfee
March 30, 2011 11:08 pm

Although OPDC raw milk is never cheap ( comparatively )….we work very hard to make it cheaper depending on the distribution channel. We heavily encoruage direct sales through buyers clubs and farmers markets. This keeps the store profit margins out of the picture.

Stores add about 35%-42% margin on top of delivered prices.

So…channel management and making sure that as many farm direct channels as possible stay open is essential.

As we all know, the true cost of our food is really reflected in the 19% GDP of the medical illness machine. Cheap food is encouraged to keep the… Read more »

milk farmer
March 31, 2011 2:34 am

We must resists the efforts of some to 'reduce' the price of raw milk. Those that have that goal, are falling into the commodity milk "how low can we go' mindset. Raw milk, just as high quality health care, expert legal representation, and a host of other societal 'perks' are not available to all in society equally. That raw milk should be different isn't reality.

The last thing the raw milk market needs is a host of large commercial producers (with the main emphasis on selling more milk) lowballing the small producer….

You get what you pay for in… Read more »

Steve Bemis
March 31, 2011 4:34 am

Lykke – please clarify your reference. ("Ted Beals is as wrong as Michael Schmidt is right.") The TB article to which I linked has no topics to which you refer.

Barney Google
March 31, 2011 5:11 am

milk farmer,

Thanks for backing me up.

Everyone might want to think about stocking up on kelp from last year's harvest, since my distributer tells me most of the kelp is harvested around the west coast of Canada, and reports have been made about radiation in the seaweed.

Sylvia Gibson
March 31, 2011 6:15 am

"Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races" – Bill

What has race got to do with it? Should the farmer be shorted so that a consumer could afford the product? No, I do not believe s/he should be.

"is this simply an issue of priorities; that people may have to forgo buying other stuff if they want to get quality food?"

What a concept.

OT: Will any of the states be checking for any type of radiation in our foods, to include milk?

Mark, Do you have a… Read more »

Bill Anderson
March 31, 2011 6:19 am

I wouldn't reccommend shorting the farmers. Perhaps figuring out a way so that people on food stamps could buy raw milk would be helpful. There are already numerous efforts underway to make farmer's markets more accessible to low-income people on food stamps.

Sylvia Gibson
March 31, 2011 7:09 am

Bill, do people who have food stamps not have cash? I would assume that in stores they can purchase any milk with the food stamps. Or were you implying that those on food stamps should pay a lower cost for milk?

Bill Anderson
March 31, 2011 7:23 am

No, I'm just suggesting that we need to find a way to make raw milk available to those with food stamps. At least in Wisconsin, food stamps are an electronic benefit (similair to a debit card) that can only be spent at locations registered for it. Many farmer's markets are (and have a type of "monopoloy money" that can only be spent at the farmers markets for people on food stamps)

Since raw milk is a "gray market" in many parts of the U.S. (including Wisconsin) its hard for low-income people to access raw milk, especially because many… Read more »

Dave Milano
March 31, 2011 8:30 am

Milk farmer is quite right that a focus on price generally results in low quality. Bill is also right that price is an important purchase factor so should not be ignored by producers (especially in a monopoly market, which needless to say can occur in local as well as global business). It is only fair to price fairly. The question of course, is What is a fair price?

Pricing has been correctly called the magical language of economy. That is dead-on true, but pricing can only be virtuous—i.e. optimally protective of both consumer and producer—when the consumer-producer relationship is natural… Read more »

Mary S
March 31, 2011 9:30 am

Here is where the right thing to do gets muddy for me.

I understand some folks think that "food is a right".

On the other hand, producing food takes work.
If food is a right, that means one group has "a right" to demand others to work to provide everyone a share of the food: aka slavery.
Who has "rights' to the milk I produce?
There is no "right" to demand I spend my life 'doing for you'.
My… Read more »

Barney Google
March 31, 2011 10:47 am


I finally got a chance look at the NIRS website,



Bill Anderson
March 31, 2011 11:10 am


The world currently produces enough food to feed 12 billion people. There are only half that many, yet roughly 3 billion are starving or malnourished.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture?

Mark McAfee
March 31, 2011 12:57 pm


Last week I asked CDFA if they had resources to test Opdc raw milk. They said no and deferred to the FDA. Local health department had no idea what to do. I finnaly got Silliker labs to accept a sample at their lab in Italy for the radiation test specific to isotopes related to the Japanese melt down. Results back in about a week. Much can be learned from Russian testing of milk near Chernobyl


Joseph Heckman
March 31, 2011 7:44 pm

Renewable alternatives to nuclear power:
Rocky Mountain Institute

Nuclear: A Grossly Uncompetitive Energy Option

The Nuclear Illusion
Report or White Paper, 2008
This paper challenges the view that nuclear power is competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and affordable. The authors explain why nuclear power is uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete.

Mary S
March 31, 2011 8:20 pm

@bill "Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture? "

I'm not sure what you are asking. Do I agree there is some wrong with that picture? Yes.

Can I speak intelligently, with insider knowledge about how to fix a problem that vast and complex? No.

Well, I could repeat the same old talking points, but why?

Our enemies are mighty. I haven't yet managed to get them off of my farm or out of my milk room –
When I accomplish that goal, maybe then I'll take on the problem of global… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
March 31, 2011 9:56 pm

It appears that it takes a week to get test results back or tptb are just now informing the public. AND our govt and Japan's govt are not forth coming with numbers on results. "Trace amounts" especially when it is continually contaminating is not good.

Joseph Heckman
March 31, 2011 10:56 pm

Deadly Deceit: Low-level Radiation, High-level Cover-up, By Dr. Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman

John Myser
March 31, 2011 11:18 pm

Hi Everybody,

I am new to this group. I live in Minnesota and I am involve with folks back here to try to get legislation passed that would expand our right to access Raw Milk.

I just found this Tedx talk by a mom, who used to be a financial analyst for food industry that experienced a food allergy with her child. She used her back ground skill as an analyst to discover what was introduce into our food supply that could be the cause and why. She is quite credible. 18 minutes of your time.

<a target="new"… Read more »

Mary Martin
March 31, 2011 11:34 pm

This is the 3rd time this link has been posted in a few days. I posted it, then Mark McAfee, and now John Myser. Robyn OBriens book, The Unhealthy Truth is a great read. Here is the funny part. I discovered her book 2 years ago when Bill Marler promoted it on his website.

John, being new to this blog, you may not see the irony of the few sentences I just wrote. It has given me a good laugh. Maybe someone will explain it to you. … Read more »

Mary S
April 1, 2011 3:29 am

@Mary Martin

Here's an idea, mysterio –
why don't YOU spare us the drama and just explain what you're talking about?

Mark McAfee
April 1, 2011 3:44 am

The Wall Street Analyst Mom that was featured on TED really goes off on food allergies and foreign proteins in her families food. She is all too correct about rBST and GMO's etc….but I do not think she really gets the whole picture yet. She does not know that superheating of milk creates twisted allergenic proteins and pieces of dead proteins in milk…making it the most allergenic food in America ( for children ). She does not mention anything about processing or pasteurization as she rants about GMO foreign proteins created by industry and fed to her kids.… Read more »

April 1, 2011 5:09 am

I apologize to Dr. Ted Beals concerning the comment I made here on March 30. The comment followed in sequence a comment by Steve Bemis that included a link to an article by Dr. Beals on bovine tuberculosis. Nothing in my comment was related to that article; in fact I had not read that article at the time I wrote my comment. Furthermore, my disparaging comment about Dr. Beals mathematics was totally in error. None of the material I said was flawed had anything to do with Dr. Beals.

My comment about… Read more »

Alyssa Pellicano
April 1, 2011 5:19 am


How right you are regarding the presentation of Robyn O'Brien. My mother and I felt the same way listening to her talk. We kept "filling-in" in-between her sentences, and we just intuitively knew that she does not seem to want to "go all the way" to whole, fresh foods, including farm fresh milk. One reason for this is CONVENIENCE…it is the second "god" we worship in this country right behind the almighty $$$$!
Just because she was blessed with a robust genetic constitution doesn't mean her children will fare as well, as she has discovered…and feeding them… Read more »

Bill Anderson
April 1, 2011 6:19 am

Tsunami of truth, tsunami of raw milk…

Tsunami of raw milk truth!!!

Barney Google
April 1, 2011 6:32 am

Everyone needs to see this!!!!!

scroll down and hit play in the bottom left corner of the black screen

Mark McAfee
April 1, 2011 6:36 am

Prior to any Tsunami, there needs to be an earthquake.

All I know is that when I go out and teach raw milk every week….it shakes the world a little bit. If all of us go out each week and teach someone about raw milk….there will be a 10 Richer Scale earth quake effect in short order and then there will be an ensuing educational Tsunami effect.

Let me say this about Dr. Beals:

As far as the words spoken in haste against Dr. Beals….I am sure glad you apologized, I was getting ready to round up the Raw Milk… Read more »

Steve Bemis
April 1, 2011 8:59 am

A gracious apology is evidence of strength and professionalism.

Sylvia Gibson
April 1, 2011 9:40 am

"A gracious apology is evidence of strength and professionalism."

"from the blog.
March 31, 2011 | Registered Commenter "

Professional people sign a name….. Since no name does that mean it is an empty apology?

Mark McAfee
April 1, 2011 11:17 am

No name signed says much about the signer. Stand and be counted in this life.


Joseph Heckman
April 1, 2011 6:47 pm
April 1, 2011 7:46 pm

At first I was very impressed with Lykke's apology, but now I wonder…

Yesterday Lykke's name on previous postings were downgraded to a mere "L", and today even just the initial has disappeared. Makes me wonder if we'll see her posting anymore…

Ken Conrad
April 1, 2011 8:11 pm

More than 99 per cent of new TB cases in humans are caused by M.tuberculosis via air droplet infection from the lungs and not M.bovis. The chance that one will contact TB from raw milk is even more remote since TB lesions or abscesses must be present in the udder for this to occur.

There have been thousands of head of perfectly healthy cattle slaughtered for the sake of placating our paranoia. The antibody skin test for TB does not distinguish infection from exposure and the validity of this type of test has been questioned by many scientists who are… Read more »

April 1, 2011 10:08 pm

I posted this question a long time ago and I still don't know the answer,but if I am not right in my conclusions then the MDA could show us a record of all of the farms that have been subjected to the "random" TB testing and show that I am wrong.Their refusal to release this information leads me to believe that the TB test as it now exists is simply a tool of corporate agribizness.We have needed a more accurate test for TB for a long time and I hope this new test that Ken refers to is actually… Read more »

April 8, 2011 12:00 pm