The people at Chocolate Decadence never fail to send me reminders about upcoming holidays and all the specialty chocolates they have available.
With Valentine's Day coming up fast, you should know that even last minute orders made on February 12 will be shipped to be received on time. I expect you pay for that privilege, of course. Order sooner for cheaper.
All their chocolates are:
"Dairy-Free ~ Lactose Free ~ Casein Free ~ Gluten Free ~ Vegan"
Specialty valentine's hearts and much more can be found at:
Here's the contact info:
1050-D Bethel Drive
Eugene, OR 97402
Tel: (541) 607-9073 or (800) 324-5018
FAX: (541) 607-6373
The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.
For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.
I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The people at Chocolate Decadence never fail to send me reminders about upcoming holidays and all the specialty chocolates they have available.
Friday, January 27, 2006
I can't believe it hasn't happened before this - and please correct me if I'm wrong - but lactose intolerant consumers had no equivalent to the reduced-lactose milk pioneered by Lactaid (and copied by many others) here in the U.S. and in Canada.
But Arla Foods has announced Lactofree, which it calls "a UK first."
Lactofree is produced by:
putting semi-skimmed cows milk through a filtration process and adding a lactase enzyme to ensure 99.95% of the lactose is removed.
Lactofree is already in stores, including Sainsbury's and possibly Tesco.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
In my last post I mentioned the No-Milk List. We're having a dust-up now as people argue about their anti-milk beliefs in particular and their larger view of the worlds of medicine and alternative medicine in general.
I just put up there a post so long that I had to split it into two parts. I'm repreating it here to get it all up in one place, and also before I think it's generally applicable to anyone who has an interest in this blog.
People here are correct when they say that anecdotal information can't be applied generally to a group of people. I'd go even farther: Most of the time it can't properly be applied to the person with the anecdote. The reason is simple. Change.
Any scientific or medical study depends on changing as few variables as possible. The more things that change, the harder it is to separate out what difference any one change is making. When we take dairy out of our diets, we think we're making just one change, but the truth is that we making all sorts of changes simultaneously. We eat different foods, we substitute for dairy in familiar foods, we alter the amount of food and the ratio of nutrients, lots of changes we seldom stop to think about.
Remember, though, I've always advocated that if it works for you and doesn't cause any damage, fine. Go with it. I have no objection to those who want to remove dairy from their diets. I've spent over 20 years supplying people with all the possible information they might need if they make this decision for themselves.
At the same time I've always warned people that getting tested is always a good idea. You never know where your symptoms are coming from: and the symptoms you're likely to get from either lactose intolerance or dairy allergy can have a thousand causes, some of them quite serious. Just assuming that you have a food allergy can mask another unrelated illness. Trying to determine if a particular food is causing your problems can be a nightmare.
That's what makes medical studies on foods so incredibly difficult. People could be brought into a clinical setting where every particle of food is monitored – but that hardly compares with the realities of everyday life. Much more often, people just keep food diaries and try to make as few other changes as possible. Even so, food studies are expensive, hard to run, and harder to evaluate. Worse, you can't do a double blind study for food. You know if you're taking dairy out of your diet or not, and that will affect the results.
This explains why medical studies about food, nutrients, or medications so often come out with big announcements that seem to vanish or be contradicted by the next study. Most of these studies are of tiny groups for short periods of time, often using protocols that just don't have much relationship to the real world. Even so, they're real studies that get printed in real medical journals and reporters look at the conclusions and write articles that make headlines. That's why I always say that you should never get your medical news from a newspaper. Or the internet, these days.
Most reporters – most people – have no idea of how to read a medical or scientific paper. This is one of the greatest failings of our school system. You can't just read the conclusions section and use that as guidance. You have to go through the entire methodology and procedure to see if the experiment as a whole works to give you real and new information. This isn't all that hard, and doesn't usually require any advance medical training. A few basic questions are all that's needed. Is the group studied random and representative? Is the group healthy or do they have medical problems? How large is the group? How many dropped out before the study was over and why? Is the study something that corresponds to real eating patterns or is it totally artificial? Are the results a true difference or just a slight tendency?
If you read closely, you'll soon notice that the studies that change the way medicine is practiced tend to be huge, long-term studies in which data from many papers are put together to make a larger and more comprehensive whole. This averages out or entirely deletes the exceptions, the poorly done studies, the natural variations in human physiology. Doing this takes medicine as far away from anecdotal information as it can safely get.
So if medicine tries to stay away from anecdotal information, who uses it? The answer is everybody else. All of alternative medicine is based on anecdotal information. All those people out there selling herbs and vitamins and enzymes and proteins and nutrients and nostrums. The ones selling raw milk or soy milk or rice milk or seaweed or spelt or sorghum. All the naturopaths and homeopaths and holistic practitioners. Every person whose religion gives them a special road to healing. They're all faith healers really, every last one, no matter whether a formal religion is mentioned or not. All of them absolutely depend on anecdotal information. They have to. Not one of them has ever done an actual study to back up their claims.
Let me repeat that. Not one of them has ever done an actual study to back up their claims.
Why should they? First, studies are difficult and expensive and time-consuming. Nor do they have the expertise to conduct a study. But most importantly, studies have one major obstacle to faith healing: they sometimes show that what you believe in is wrong. And the common element of all these alternative sites is that they're never wrong. They never allow people to come onto their pages and tell them that they cure is quackery, or that the money spent on their product was wasted, or that it had dangerous side effects, or that it prevented someone from getting medical help until it was too late. Instead, they give you anecdotes about how wonderful their product or their religion or their way of life is.
It may sound like I'm condemning all anecdotal information. Not at all. We use it all the time. If I need some work done on my car, I'll ask my friends for recommendations for mechanics. That's anecdotal information. Usually this works out fine. But there are no guarantees. Maybe all the mechanic's work was really done by a helper who just quit. Maybe my problems are completely different from those of my friends, more complicated, or on a foreign rather than a U.S. car.
It would really help if I knew something about how a car worked and it would be even better if there were a source of objective outside information about the procedures.
Most of us know a little something about cars, even if we can't fix them ourselves. If the mechanic were to tell me that the reason my engine won't start was that the gyroscopes in the tire weren't aligned with the phase of the moon, I'd laugh in the person's face. I sure wouldn't listen to anything else said about cars.
But people on this very list have posted information about the way our bodies work that is just as much moonshine. What's totally frightening is that people didn't laugh or stop listening. Why? Because just as nobody is taught how properly to evaluate a study, nobody is taught even basic knowledge about the way our bodies work.
Those of us with medical problems or conditions of any kind have an absolute need to learn as much as possible about human physiology. You don't have to become an anatomist, you don't need advanced medical training. You just need to know enough to understand when people are talking moonshine to you.
Where can you get this knowledge? Well, not from any of the alternative sites. They don't even want to know how you body works. How could they sell you magnetic bracelets or magic crystals if you knew anything about the body?
And you can't get it from pure anti-milk sites. That's like getting your information about the Democrats from the Republican National Committee website. You might think you were getting at least half the truth, but it doesn't work that way. All you get are the negatives. It's not just that the positives are never mentioned, but that the negatives are manipulated. The conclusions are quoted without any evaluation of studies as a whole. Comments are ripped out of context, and put together in creative new ways. Sometimes the remarks have no relationship to anything the original might have said. Instead of gaining information, you actually lose overall knowledge.
Medical studies have many faults. Many of them are just resume padding. Some of them are funded by firms who have a stake in the outcome. (Although who else is going to put up the money? I often wonder.) Most cannot be taken on their own but have to be evaluated as part of a much larger whole, and this is again, difficult and time-consuming.
But the alternative is no alternative. Even the people who most loudly decry the medical establishment are perfectly willing to quote them whenever a result is on their side. Because real medicine doesn't take sides. It publishes the positives and negatives, the cures and the dangers, the successes and the failures. Medicine changes with the times.
This upsets many people, I know. We all want certainty. But that's the basic difference between faith and medicine. The faith healers of all kinds and types and sorts will sell you certainty. They have a product, whether it's in a bottle or in a belief, and this product will help you, no ifs, ands, or buts. And this never changes. That's the guarantee that it's wrong.
Medicine is uncertain. It changes, updates, revises and contradicts itself. It's difficult and expensive and time-consuming. And it's the only thing we have. Accept no alternatives.
I belong to the No-Milk List, a listserv for people interesting in avoiding milk, fior whatever reason. For the most part, they aren't people with lactose intoilerance but sufferers of dairy allergies or parents of children with dairy and other allergies.
Messages can be posted to everyone on the list to ask for help or supply answers to others. Archived resources, on parve foods or nondairy recipes, for example, are also available at http://listserv.icors.org/archives/no-milk.html.
To subscribe, send an email to: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.ICORS.ORG
with these words in the body of the e-mail: SUB NO-MILK YourFirstName YourLastName
When you subscribe you will get all the instructions for the list so you can configure it to your own interests. However, I find it easier to receive each day's posting in a single e-mail. To do this, include SET NO-MILK DIGEST in your e-mail to the list. If you want individual e-mails use SET NO-MILK MAIL instead.
Note: This is a new e-mail address as of 2006.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Those pages full of tiny type that come along with prescription medication will have to be revised to make them more understandable starting June 30, 2006.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that pharmaceutical companies will have to make changes to the "package insert" that has all the legally required information about the drug for physicians, pharmacists, and consumers. It's the first revision in more than 25 years.
The major changes, according to the FDA's press release include:
A new section called Highlights to provide immediate access to the most important prescribing information about benefits and risks. Table of Contents for easy reference to detailed safety and efficacy information. The date of initial product approval, making it easier to determine how long a product has been on the market. A toll-free number and Internet reporting information for suspected adverse events to encourage more widespread reporting of suspected side effects.
The press release also said:
The most notable change is the addition of a summary outlining the most important information about a product, prominently displayed at the top of the page. Designed to help healthcare professionals find the information they need quickly, Highlights will typically be half a page in length and will provide a concise summary of information about specific areas including: Boxed Warning, Indications and Usage, and Dosage and Administration; and will refer the healthcare professional to the appropriate section of the Full Prescribing Information. In addition, drug makers will be required to include a list of all substantive recent changes made within the year, to ensure healthcare professionals have immediate access to the most up-to-date information about the product before prescribing it.
The addition of a new Patient Counseling Information section places greater emphasis on the importance of communication between professionals and patients. This new section is designed to help doctors advise their patients about important uses and limitations of medications. It will also serve as a guide for discussions about the potential risks involved in taking a specific treatment and steps for managing those risks. If FDA has approved patient information for a prescription drug, it will be printed at the end of the label immediately following the Patient Counseling Information section or will accompany the label so it can be easily shared.
More detailed information about the changes can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/regulatory/physLabel/default.htm
Unfortunately, for those of us looking for lactose on the label nothing will change. As far as I can determine, the list of inactive ingredients will not be part of the new Highlights section. You'll still have to search down into the fine print to the section called DESCRIPTION to see the fillers and additives.
Overall, the new format is being hailed as a great improvement in ease of understanding. Other aspects of the reform, especially those limiting patients' ability to sue in state courts, are being widely attacked by consumer groups, though. I'll be monitoring the status of the new rules over the next six months to see if this pressure results in any changes before the revisions go into effect.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Beth Cherico of Amanda's Own Confections got in touch to let me know of her web site. Amanda is Beth's food allergic daughter, for whom Beth developed a line of dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free chocolates and dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free chocolate chips.
The site also says:
The chocolate is made on dedicated equipment that is free of all dairy and nut ingredients. We do not use dairy or nuts in any of our products so there is no chance for cross-contamination of our ingredients.
There are specialty pages for holiday chocolate gifts, recipes, and more on the site.
The web site is www.amandasown.com.
Here's the contact info:
Amanda's Own Confections
North Olmsted, Ohio 44070
Good luck, Beth.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I'll be adding some new products to my Product Clearinghouse soon. And I'll be debuting them here.
One is GOODBODY, a frozen ice "cream" bar, available in two varieties, Refresh and Reward, and in a total of six different flavors. The GOODBODY Refresh bars are vanilla bars coated with sorbet in Raspberry, Strawberry and Tropical flavors. The GOODBODY Reward bars come in Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Banana and Double Dutch Chocolate.
I'm not sure what's in them, since they tell a lot about what's not. According to the press release the bars have:
no preservatives, no saturated fat, no trans fats, no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, no high fructose corn syrup and no cholesterol. Most flavors are fat free, only 120 calories and have more fiber than a whole apple and more calcium than an 8 oz. glass of milk, yet they are also lactose free. GOODBODY also provides 100 percent of daily value of Vitamin C and generous levels of antioxidant vitamins A and E.
So look for GOODBODY bars. Or is that Goodbody bars, and the all caps is just an affectation of the press release? Some questions are beyond the power the blogging.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
About.com usually does a good job in compiling straightforward answers to questions.
Their Lactose Intolerance page has a long Q and A about LI, with short answers on the main page and links to longer articles, as well as to other sites with info on the subject.
The page supplements the more varied information on my site. Check out both if you can't easily find what you're looking for on one.
Monday, January 09, 2006
The new food labeling law doesn't really change all that much, as most responsible companies have been warning consumers about the presence of milk and milk derivatives in their products for years.
Still, getting the cheaper and more recalcitrant companies to comply is a good thing.
And so are the spate of articles talking about the law and giving examples of foods that will trigger the mandatory labeling.
Here's one. "Label law puts food allergens in spotlight," by Sonja Isger in the Palm Beach Post.
The packaging on the cheese said it was "nondairy," that it contained no milk, that it was made with rice. But when Andy Weir bit into it, the toddler with an allergy to milk swelled in reaction.
What'd his mom miss on that label?
"Casein," Diana Weir said.
Casein. Caseinates. Curds. Ghee. Lactoferrin. Whey. Nisin. In food-ingredient lingo, they all mean "contains milk."
Wait a minute. Nisin?
Yep. Nisin (pronounced NYE-sin) is a protein antibiotic used for the last 40 or so years as a food preservative. From Answers.com.
Nisin is produced by fermentation using the bacterium Lactococcus lactis . Commercially it is obtained from natural substrates including milk and is not chemically synthesized. It is used in processed cheese production to extend shelf life by suppressing gram-positive spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. There are many other applications of this preservative in food and beverage production.
The problem with commercial nisin is that it's cut with milk. According to the Natural and Organic News column, produced by by Jane Andrews, the Corporate Nutritionist for the Wegmans supermarket chain:
If you think that all things natural are always safe to eat, then you're not thinking of people with food allergies. To anyone else, a natural preservative called Nisin that's now used in several sauces made in our Central Kitchen sounds innocent. Pronounced NYE-sin, it's a powdered additive that's about 24% milk solids because it's made from milk through bacterial fermentation. That's fine for most people, but if you have an allergy to milk protein or have lactose intolerance, you need to know it's there. (Posted 04-29-05)
Now you do. Help spread the word.
For further information on, or names of, products or ingredients derived from milk, look at the following pages on my website: The SuperGuide to Dairy Products or Dairy or Nondairy? The Experts Speak.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
What is it with all the milk claims lately?
Australians and New Zealanders (New Zealandites?) beware. A new type of "milk anyone can drink" is sweeping your side of the world.
The culprit is A2 milk, which is milk that contains more of the A2 beta casein protein. The milk comes from cows that naturally produce more of this particular protein because of a tiny mutation in amino acid linkage.
The A2 Corporation's website is actually quite conservative in its claims about its product.
The potential advantages of A2 Milk™ were first identified through epidemiological studies which showed that in countries where the dairy herds produced a higher proportion of the A2 protein in their milk, there was a significantly lower incidence of childhood diabetes and coronary heart disease. Putting it another way, in countries where the milk contained more of the A1 variant of beta-casein there was a higher incidence of such diseases.
It was recognized that this statistical correlation was not, in itself, proof of a beneficial effect of the A2 beta casein in relation to disease, or of a causal connection between A1 beta-casein and such conditions, but the link appeared so strong that the findings have triggered further study and review.
The research is far from complete and is ongoing, but results to date suggest not only a statistical link but also a mechanism by which the consumption of A1 beta-casein or related subvariants may play a contributing part in the development or aggravation of certain diseases and conditions in some susceptible individuals.
Newspapers have no such compunctions. An article, " Experts in a froth over milk," by Louise Pemble in The Sunday Times of Australia, has naturally found someone who gives the milk magical properties:
But A2 milk has a dedicated following in Australia and New Zealand, with devotees arguing it can be enjoyed by allergy sufferers and that it reduces the symptoms of ADHD, autism and schizophrenia. …
Perth mother Shona Stubberfield has been having milk freighted from Brisbane for her son, who has been allergic to milk since birth.
She was sceptical of claims that A2 milk did not benefit those with a dairy intolerance.
Ms Stubberfield said that until she switched to A2 milk, she could not even breastfeed her son, Luke, without him vomiting.
"I tried all the medications for reflux, but after every feed he would throw up," she said.
"In three days, after eliminating all dairy from my diet, he stopped throwing up. He stopped screaming at night. He was a new baby."
Allergies to particular fractions of the casein family of protein are very common, true. That's the reason why goat's milk, whose casein composition is very different from that of cow's milk, is sometimes better tolerated by those who are allergic. In fact, goat's milk naturally contains more of the A2 beta casein. Without the further study that even the company admits is needed, however, there is no way to tell whether this tolerance will also be true for A2 cow's milk.
A good FAQ on A2 milk has been put out by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
Rumors are rife that A2 milk will soon be introduced into the United States and elsewhere outside of New Zealand and Australia, especially since A2 now has a new owner. Tread very cautiously if you try this, although those who already drink goat's milk for allergy reasons should have more success. Remember that the lactose content will be identical to regular cow's milk, so if you're lactose intolerant it's no different than any other type of liquid milk.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I recently received an email asking about what "modified milk ingredients" might mean when part of a food ingredients list.
It's not easy to stump me, but that succeeded. Fortunately a quick trip through Google gave me the info that it is a term specific to Canada and their Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
"Modified milk ingredients are defined in item 7.1, subsection B.01.010 (3) of the FDR, as "any of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form, namely, calcium reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion-exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultrafiltered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is found in milk".
That's about as all encompassing as you can get, so it anyone's guess what individual fraction of milk might be modified in a specific food. There's nothing like it down here in the States so I have no guidance as to what it usually might mean.
None of the proteins listed - casein, caseinate, milk serum proteins - would normally contain lactose, but the other forms would.
I'd treat any food with modified milk ingredients as a dairy product. Either use lactase pills or avoid.
Canada – it really is a separate country!
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Goats are becoming big business, so I suppose articles on the wonders of goat's milk will proliferate over the next few years.
And so will the misinformation they spew about goat's milk.
Take "Got Goat?" by Emily Young of the Salem News Online.
She's interviewing goat farmer Elizabeth Mulholland, who says, no, you won't believe me unless I quote it:
"From what I've read, goat milk has a different lactose makeup than cow milk. There are more molecules, smaller ones, that make it easier to digest. That's the theory," Mulholland said.
Aarrrggghhh! Smaller molecules? Who's teaching this idiocy?
And the article goes on to say, presumably getting its [mis]information from Mulholland:
Goat milk, like human milk, does not contain the major protein of cow milk to which many people, including babies, are allergic.
Wrong again. Goat's milk contains both casein and whey proteins, just like cow's milk (and mother's milk, for that matter). It just contains different and different amounts of the casein protein fractions (types) so that the allertgic potential is lessened.
Here's what someone with a brain in her head has to say. From the Comparing Milk: Human, Cow, Goat & Commercial Infant Formula site of Stephanie Clark, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Washington State University:
Distinguishing between allergies and lactose intolerance:
Allergies and lactose intolerance are different things. An allergic reaction is the body's response to a foreign body (antigen), typically proteins. Goat milk proteins have a slightly different amino acid structure than cow milk proteins. Thus, a person who produces antibodies to cow milk proteins, may not produce antibodies to goat milk proteins.
However, there is no guarantee that a person who is allergic to cow milk will not be allergic to goat milk, because the milks are similar.
Lactose intolerance results from a person's inability to digest lactose. Lactose is present in all milks. Thus, goat milk can not successfully be substituted for cow milk in cases of lactose intolerance.
See also my recent entry Goat's Milk for Lactose Intolerants? No.
Labels: goat milk
Monday, January 02, 2006
Raw milk is all over the news again, the latest round in this culture war, pardon the pun. Time to sort out fact from fiction.
Raw milk is just milk straight from the cow, with no processing. No homogenizing, no pasteurization, no added vitamins. These days it's also touted by the organic crowd if the cows have not been given the usual antibiotics to protect them from the plague of illnesses that farm cows are susceptible to.
For most of humanity's history, pretty much up until the 20th century, raw milk was the only kind of milk anybody knew. You lived with your animals or very close to them. You or your family or the nearby farmer milked the animal – cow, goat, sheep, camel, yak, whatever – and brought the bucket home. The cream rose to the top and was skimmed off to make butter or mixed in for a richer and fattier milk.
Even when cities developed, the animals were kept close by. In New England villages, for example, the commons – the grassy open area in the center of town – had cows grazing on them. Giant London was full of cows after it had grown to the largest city in the world.
This couldn't last. Cities eventually grew too big for everyone to get their milk from small herds. City dwellers objected to the smell and waste from cows in their midst. Farms moved outside cities and newfangled ways of transportation, like the milk train and later the refrigerated train car, allowed milk to be delivered fresh from the farm to an urban audience. Well, fairly fresh. The well-off got the best milk and the poor got milk from open containers that arrived looking like "dirty cheese."
After Louis Pasteur put forth his germ theory, doctors and scientists started realizing that warm raw milk was an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Pasteurization – the heating of milk for a period long enough to kill the bacteria – became recommended for all milk.
The one problem with pasteurization is that heating milk changes its taste. The longer milk is cooked and the higher the temperature, the more the taste changes. Over a long period an optimal combination of the two was standardized. (Today, there is also ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurization, which cooks the milk for a very high temperature but for a very short time. This allows milk to be shelf-stable, either giving it a much longer shelf life in the refrigerator case or go without refrigeration in the store entirely. Almost all lactase-reduced milk is UHT treated because its smaller volume of sales doesn't allow for the quick in-store turnover of regular milk. Some small regional firms may make "fresh pasteurized" lactase-reduced milk, but you would have to check locally for it.)
The raw milk forces did not go quietly. They advocated the creation of "model farms," in which careful and continual care of the cows and quick delivery to stores would eliminate the need for pasteurization and any changes in taste or any of the reduction of nutrient content that they claimed pasteurization imparted.
The model farms worked as models. They all failed in production for several reasons. First, the extra expense required for continual care drove up the costs of the milk so that the target audience – the poor who required milk for nutrition – couldn't afford it. Second, the larger the herd the more difficult and expensive continual care became. And third, no matter how careful they seemed to be, problems always crept in somewhere, either from diseases to the cows themselves or inadequately perfect handling before the milk got to the final drinker.
The mass market demanded mass milk. Controlled, cheap, standardized, guaranteed healthy milk in mass quantities. Pasteurization laws were passed in every state. Milk was homogenized so that the cream was evenly distributed throughout. Vitamins A and D, lacking or inadequate in cow's milk, were made mandatory as add-ons. Milk, "nature's perfect food," needed some tweaking to arrive that way at the kitchen table.
Cut to the present. Milk's reputation has taken numerous hits over the last few decades. Hormones and antibiotics given to cows to boost production and protect them against the diseases inherent in mass factory farms have been decried as tainting the milk itself. Whole milk's fat is accused for the obesity crisis in the nation's youth. Anti-meat forces want all milk taken off the menu.
Some of the milk forces have battled back by eliminating the changes that mass milk demanded. Some don't want homogenization. Some don't want pasteurization. Some don't add the hormones and antibiotics to the cow's feed. Some don't do any of these things.
Despite raw milk's checkered history, small farms have popped up all over the country to provide milk straight from the cow to the few who are willing to go out of their way to seek it out. Most states either prohibit the sale of raw milk or impose strict regulations on its sale, but it is generally available on farms or in natural foods stores in a multitude of places.
But there continue to be sporadic problems. In fact, the FDA just put out a warning after an E. coli outbreak in Washington:
Following an outbreak in the state of Washington, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public against drinking raw milk because it may contain harmful bacteria that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Raw milk is not treated or pasteurized to remove disease-causing bacteria.
The risk of drinking raw milk was most recently demonstrated in Washington State by an outbreak associated with raw milk containing the bacteria called Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli). To date, eight illness have been reported in Washington state, several of which were in children. Two of the children remain hospitalized. Health authorities have identified locally sold raw milk as a source of the outbreak, and have ordered the unlicensed dairy to shut down.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 300 people in the United States became ill by drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk in 2001, and nearly 200 became ill from these products in 2002.
The Associated Press later ran a follow-up story in which the dairy denied that it's milk was the source of the contamination. However, that the dairy was unlicensed and illegal, and that three of its own employees got sick lessens any defense that they make. Salmonella bacteria were also recently found in raw milk from a dairy in Arizona. Other illnesses have been reported in Oregon and Pennsylvania.
To quote Ruth Kava, Director of Nutrition for the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH):
The FDA says flatly that:
As part of the misguided alternative health movement, some have bought into the myth that raw milk is nutritionally and otherwise superior to milk that has been processed in any way.
Some parents also have "unwarranted fears," of genetically-engineered hormones given to cows to prolong lactation. Neither of these myths is true; but that hasn't stopped the proliferation of farms that will provide the unwary with supposedly beneficial raw milk.
There is no meaningful difference in the nutritional value of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.The unfortunate truth is that raw milk may be a wonderful, better-tasting product if everything associated with it is done perfectly, but the risks associated with it are high. Why? Here's a quote from Dr. Bill Keene, who was a senior epidemiologist for the Oregon State Department of Health:
The risks involved with drinking raw milk are clear-cut for Keene: “When you milk a cow, fecal organisms always end up in the milk, along with skin tissue from the cow’s teat. If you test milk, it has bacteria in it. Even if you do a good job milking a cow there’s still bacteria present. This may be harmless bacteria for the most part, but from time to time it can make you really sick.”
The public debate regarding the health benefits and risks of drinking raw milk appears to come down to what a consumer decides to believe, Paulson said. “It’s a lot like a religion for some. They decide drinking raw milk is what’s best, and there’s not much the law can do to protect people from themselves.”
“Our job is to try to present the information,” Keene said. “And then we say, ‘Good luck, hope you get away with it.'"
My sentiments exactly.
So what does this have to do with lactose intolerance? After all, nobody would make the claim that raw milk should or could be for those with LI.
Unbelievably, this isn't the case. The Organic Pastures Dairy Company has the following sentence on its website as one of its "health boosting rewards" for raw milk:
Lactose intolerant consumers can eat raw milk because lactase producing bacteria are present.
Really? Then how do you explain the ten thousand years of symptoms from those non-mutants who drank raw milk in the past? Are there are chemical tests or double-blind medical studies on the site to back this up? Of course not. On the contrary, they tout tests showing their low bacteria count and give a lactose percentage of 4.23%, about normal. How they reconcile the two claims is beyond me. Yet, these claims are being repeated verbatim in articles by raw milk supporters.
Unless and until the notion that those of us with lactose intolerance can drink raw milk is proven scientifically, treat raw milk exactly as you would regular milk. You can have it in the same amounts, drink it with lactase pills, or leave it alone. Just don't trust in any magic claims.
Labels: goat milk