The following article appeared in the Telegraph, dated 18th January 2008. It highlights a growing realisation amongst consumers of the benefits and superiority of raw untreated milk over milk produced by the dairy industry. It is one of scores of news articles that have appeared over the last year or so on this issue.
One thing to note when you read about raw milk (as again there is a lot of propaganda and scaremongering against it) is that there are two types of raw milk. Firstly, The raw milk that is produced from cows that are only fed on pasture in the open. And secondly the raw milk from cows that are fed grains, are injected with growth hormones (to produce more milk) and are kept in mass herds on solid ground (not grass) to produce milk.
Here is the text of the Telegraph article:
Lucinda Labes joins the growing queue of urbanites who are mad about untreated milk
I realised something was up when the queues in my local farmers' market - in London's Queen's Park - started bulking up beside the milk van. There the milk drinkers stood, whatever the weather, sending emails on their BlackBerrys or humming songs to their toddlers as they awaited their turn. Then they'd emerge, ostentatiously clutching cartons of butter-yellow milk, with pots of golden cream nestled on their Bugaboos.
Was I imagining it, or did they want me to see the prominent warning labels?
At farmers' markets across the country, demand is on the up. Despite government warnings that unpasteurised milk is one of the surest ways to pick up salmonella, campylobacter and E.coli, the 150 or so small dairy farmers who supply the markets are enjoying a big growth in sales.
In the past year, for example, Dave Paul, a third-generation farmer with a Guernsey herd at Olive Farm in Somerset, has seen his sales of raw milk and cream climb 30 per cent at London's farmers' markets.
Who are these dare-devil milk drinkers? And why are they so keen?
"It just tastes good," says Lucia, who buys her milk at Notting Hill Farmers' Market in west London every Saturday.
A couple of lads in tracksuits and trainers are stashing 12 litres into a backpack. They come regularly from north London for their milk. "It's better for you," they say. "It's never made us ill."
People from across London come to Notting Hill to stock up.
They are affluent, hip cognoscenti who would sooner eat cat litter than non-organic food, and who want to know a chicken by name before they will eat its eggs.
But aren't they dicing with disease? The Government would have us think so.
"The risk of food poisoning from unpasteurised milk is very real," says a spokeswoman from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). "We particularly wouldn't recommend it for vulnerable people - the sick, infants and the elderly."
You won't find it in Sainsbury's.
Elsewhere, the legislation is more draconian. In Scotland, raw milk has been banned since 1983 after a scary outbreak of milk-related illnesses. In America, you virtually have to own a cow to get your hands on the stuff.
Proponents see unpasteurised milk as a panacea. They point out that pasteurisation - whereby milk is heated to 72C for 15 seconds and then rapidly cooled - destroys all enzymes, the very things that make it digestible to humans.
So why the laws?
Thomas Cowan, a doctor from San Francisco, sees it as a big-versus-small business issue. "In order to produce raw milk, you need healthy cows, which precludes big business. You can't raise a healthy cow on anything but pasture. The giant dairies keep cows on concrete and feed them grains, soya and sometimes even meat; they turn them into factory animals. And then the cows get sick. You couldn't drink raw milk from those herds."
"The fashion not so long ago was for cheap food," says Tim Jones of Lincolnshire Poacher, whose raw milk and cream sell like hot cakes. "Now people want quality. They want to feel connected to the land."
For me, the real test is in the taste. It is with trepidation that I try my first glass of cold raw milk. It's delicious: as silky as ice cream and as sweet as the smell of clover-strewn meadows. I'm not sure I'd feed it to my toddler, but I'll be in that queue again next weekend.