Questions about Raw vs Pasteurized Milk

Discussion in 'Dairy Diaries' started by LunarFantom, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. LunarFantom

    LunarFantom New Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Wasn't sure if I should put this in Beginner Questions or not, lemme know if I'm overstepping here. Ahem:

    So I'm contemplating goat farming for milk selling purposes and thinking about the question of Raw Milk vs Pasteurized Milk. As a biologist, I realize that raw milk is arguably more dangerous, but in my state it can be sold more easily. While pasteurized milk has to meet government grade A standards. For me the big question is health, in particular vitamin D. Its hard to get vitamin D up here and I want to know if I can add it to any milk produced. So my questions are:

    1. In your experience is it difficult/expensive to pasteurize milk so it meets government standards?
    2. Would it be frowned upon to add a vitamin supplement to raw milk? (I realize it mainly appeals to people who are distrustful of "chemicals" being added to their raw milk.)
    3. If you add vitamins to your milk, where do you purchase them? Is there a special kind of supplement ready to be added straight to the milk or do most farmers just mix the normal supplements intended straight for human consumption?

    Tips on sterilization or suggested further reading also welcome. Thanks in advance for your time.
  2. PB_Nubians

    PB_Nubians Member

    Jan 17, 2017
    Well you are going to have very strong opinions from both sides on this one.
    I know very little about the sale of raw milk because it is illegal in my state unless you can use a herd share program. I wish it was legal though.
    As far as raw or pasteurized goes my family will only drink raw milk. This is because of all the health benefits that come along with it. That was our main reason for the goats in the first place.
    The raw milk has decreased the medical bills greatly!
    I would not add anything to the milk personally. Why try to add to something that is already perfect.
    The reason that pasteurizing milk became necessary was because of the larger, crowded confinement style dairies. This was because of the spread of sickness and disease. Pasteurizing killed all of those bad germs and made it safe to drink. It kills off all the incredibly good and useful stuff at the same time. (Many people will not agree with me on this but the other half will). Like I said there will be strong opinions on both sides. Depends on what style and size dairy you are looking to start.
    I wish you the best and I hope someone else can be of more help as far as the sale and marketing goes.
    God Bless
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  3. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Interesting questions. I wouldn't know where to get vitamins to add to milk. That would probably open a whole new can of worms as far as being able to sell to the public.
  4. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    I might be able to help with the first one a little. My family used to drink only pasteurized milk growing up because of the risks of drinking raw milk as well as the official position of the FDA being that there are no significant health benefits. I always thought that there may be a few benefits but not enough to justify the risks.

    When we got our own goats we pasteurized the milk for a while but it was such a chore. Eventually we stopped and went "we know that these goats are healthy, we know that their udders and milking equipment are cleaned before use, and none of us are immunocompromised so why not?". We only drank raw goat milk after that out of laziness :p.

    I still don't take the risk of drinking raw milk from farms I don't know but was also considering selling raw goat milk just because I know that it's something I can do safely and there's a huge market for it. When I looked into it, in my state at least, it looked easier to be a raw milk dairy because pasteurized dairies have to test for maybe 2 dieases per year and pasturize every batch up to code. Raw milk dairies have to test for something like 6 diseases every year but don't have to pasturize milk every day. Both need to pass regular inspections though.

    It isn't really difficult to pasturize, just tedious. And time consuming to wash all the equipment so consider buying 2 of everything so you can use one while another is in the wash. Also, make sure you have enough goats to make it worth the trouble of cleaning everything. I don't think the vitamin supplement would go over too well, especially in the people wanting raw goat milk.

    Best of luck.
    Annieday likes this.
  5. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Don't add anything to your raw or pasteurized milk. People make their own vitamin D from their own bodies interacting with the sun, yes?

    People who have goat dairies should be people who like dealing with goats and all their quirks. Do you?

    Because species for species, cattle are easier work and far less demanding. I have both species. I have worked with both. I love both. Cattle are easier.

    Are you planning to do everything yourself? The goat health care, farm work (FENCES!!!), the milking, the processing, the marketing, the bookkeeping, the government paperwork? Are you skilled in all those jobs? Are you happy to become skilled in those jobs that you aren't yet?

    Excellent nutrition is one key to plenty of healthful milk. What do you have available? What will it cost? What will work for someone who has 3 goats, will end up bankrupting a dairy operation. But your animals will suffer if you cut too many corners. How will you streamline?

    If you are not simply sending your milk to a larger processor, there should be plenty of demand close to your farm to make it worth your while. Is there? What your customers want regarding raw vs pasteurized is what you need to supply. What do they want?

    What goat specific vet care do you have available to you? Goats aren't cattle or sheep, and a lot of vets don't know squat about goats (one reason cattle are easier) What goat specific health knowledge do you already possess, and how much are you willing to learn? How much will government control allow you to do for yourself?

    I don't have anything to add to the original question. We use raw, and what very few customers I have know that I don't pasteurize. But they can see me handle their milk if they want, they can see my goats and how they are kept if they want, and my biggest customer only wants milk for his calves from time to time. But he still wants it clean.

    My questions went beyond what you asked. But I thought they were important questions, not for me to know, but for you to think about if you haven't.

    Best of luck to you. And in whatever State you are, spend some time in the sun.
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  6. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

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  7. LunarFantom

    LunarFantom New Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    We live in a zone where sunlight is hard to acquire and much of the year its impossible to get Vitamin D from the sun. People have to drink it, or take a vitamin. I envy the South. : P

    I'm allergic to cows. ): I know a lot of people up here are, so high goat's milk demand and no supply.

    As for the other questions, I'm in the research phase, so I will keep the questions in mind as I strive to learn. :D
  8. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    2 sensible answers, but I don't know anything about smaller dairy producers being able to put stuff in the milk.

    Where are you? In Alaska?
  9. LunarFantom

    LunarFantom New Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Haha close. The Northernest parts of Maine. Anyone living above the 32nd parallel can't synthesize vitamin D from sunlight in winter, but we're above even the 42nd parallel. That said I do see the potential unease or legal issues adding vitamin D could create, especially if I go the raw-milk route. Hm.
    mariarose likes this.
  10. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Shout out to any members who know what government entity to contact in Maine to ask about this issue.

    Is northern Maine as gorgeous as I imagine?
  11. LunarFantom

    LunarFantom New Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Yes. :D

    Attached Files:

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  12. lottsagoats1

    lottsagoats1 Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2014
    Middle Maine
    As far as I know, it is illegal to sell raw milk in Maine unless you are a licensed dairy. is the state web site, go to the department of agriculture, they list all the laws and rules regarding the sale of dairy products.

    A few years ago the Gov had a bill he could have signed into law that allowed the sale of raw milk, but he veto'd it. I was bummed because it sounded like he was really going to go for it.

    UMaine/Orono has a great AG department that may be able to help you, also.

    I've been drinking raw milk for the past 34 years or so. I am never sick, even when those around me are. I work in a hospital, so I am surrounded by all sorts of nasty illnesses. My co-workers seem to catch everything, but not me! I refuse to pasteurize my goats milk (or the milk from the cattle we had many years ago) because as far as I am concerned, raw is better, healthier and a perfect food. I can't drink homogenized/pasteurized cow milk, it makes me sick.

    Has the weather up there been as nice as it has been down here in central Maine?
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  13. LunarFantom

    LunarFantom New Member

    Oct 8, 2017
    Hrm, are you sure? Every source I can find on the topic (here, and here) states its legal. I heard there used to be some sort of strict restriction though, something about needing a separate area for bottling from milking? But now that I attempt to research it a few years later I can't find it so maybe it changed.

    Edit: Oh wait, I read your post wrong. Going to we have the article defining milk related terminology and laying down ground rules for packaging and selling in which it mentions when selling raw milk that "The words 'not pasteurized' if the milk or milk product has not been pasteurized." are required when selling raw milk.

    I do see a law you may be referring to, in which people selling less than 20 gallons of raw milk a day would not be required to obtain a license, but I'm not sure that's the same thing?
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  14. Carylc2

    Carylc2 Member

    Aug 17, 2016
    I would think, if you decide to go with raw milk I would not add vitamin D. The folks who would be interested in drinking raw goat milk would probably like the milk in the most natural state available.
    I live in the Seattle area so I know what you mean about vitamin D. We all supplement up here, lol.
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  15. Deborah Haney

    Deborah Haney Well-Known Member

    Jul 11, 2017
    @Carlyc2 I'm near Seattle, too! I'm about 30 minutes north of Seattle in Brier. Where abouts are you?
    Washington state is also known for some... natural-granola-hippie tendencies and I can't imagine anyone who is seeking out raw goat milk being too happy about additives.
    If you aren't dead set on becoming licenced and selling milk for human consumption, there are probably exceptions to some of the stricter rules for selling milk for pets or soap. In my area, I see a lot of people on Craigslist selling for soap because they don't have the money and facilities to get licenced. Separate sinks for washing hands and equipment, barn and milking parlor floors made of concrete "or equally impervious materials"... does wood count?, drains in floors, separate living quarters for milking does, bucks, kids, pigs, and fowl, it all sounds so expensive, especially for a home operation.
    Soap would do nothing for your vitamin D issue, though...
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  16. Carylc2

    Carylc2 Member

    Aug 17, 2016