In 1862, Louis Pasteur discovered that he could destroy bacteria and the microbes responsible for souring alcohol and milk by boiling and then cooling the liquid, This process became known as pasteurization.
Fast forward a few years to the second industrial revolution in the U.S. (1870-1914). New farming machinery had enabled large scale farming operations which distanced the connection farmers had with their land and animals (remember Grapes of Wrath?). It was the beginning of poor cows being forced to live in over-crowded, inhumane, and unsanitary commercial-scale dairy "farms." There was also no regulated oversight or sanitary standards for the dairy process from milking, packaging, or transportation. This led to unhealthy cows, unsanitary handling of dairy products, and inevitably to outbreaks of milk-borne diseases such as scarlet fever, typhoid fever, and diptheria. This is when Raw Milk, which humans had been drinking for thousands of years, got a bum-rap.
Our well-meaning federal government stepped in to protect the people from "dangerous" raw milk and began regulating the supply of dairy products and requiring that milk be pasteurized. As best they knew at the time, pasteurization was the perfect solution. As Louis Pasteur had discovered, the process killed off all the bad bacteria that was making people sick. Their jobs were done- drop the mic!
But then again... What do they say about good intentions...?
What they didn't know was that when milk is heated past 150 degrees the nutritional value is negatively impacted. It damages the milk's vitamins, minerals and healthy enzymes (probiotics) that are good for our guts and helps our bodies digest the milk. This is what leads to lactose intolerance and inflammatory bowel disease!
Here's a great infographic that illustrates the negative affects of pasteurization on Milk perfectly.*
What you want to do is buy Organic Raw Milk or Organic Low-Temp Pasteurized Milk. Raw milk has all the enzymes and nutrients still intact that support digestion and absorption. Depending on your state laws (see map below) you should be able to get Organic Raw Milk from a local dairy farm. In my area we have Lucky Layla Farms. Or you can at least find Organic Low-Temp Pasteurized Milk at you local Whole Foods.
I'll end with this note about organic milk - it comes from cows that have access to the outdoors and are fed 100% organic feed. This ensures residue from pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides don't transfer into their milk. Also, they are not given antibiotics, added growth hormones., or GMO's (genetically modified organisms). You don't want any of that getting into your family's bodies. I know it costs a lot, but I value the health of my family above anything else and am willing to cut corners in other places to continue our organic shopping practices. So you want milk that is both Organic AND Raw/Low-Temp Pasteurized. Just one or the other defeats the purpose of intentional healthy living.
Pasteurization, Homogenization and Raw Milk Resources