by Alton Eliason

Never in the annals of health and nutrition has there been a food so
maligned, lied about and conspired against as raw milk. Once revered the
world over as the most perfect of all foods, its demise was planned in
well organized steps to create today's store-shelf milk, a virtually
lifeless product whose only comparison to the original is its color.
Although each new processing procedure has been espoused as an
improvement in the nutritional quality and the safety of milk, these
steps actually led to the destruction of these properties on the alter
of corporate greed. In its present store-shelf form, milk is not only
empty of most of its nutritional value, but can actually cause many
health problems.

As a youth just out of high school in 1934, my employment with a local
dairy gave me a "ringside seat," so to speak, to observe the birth of
these nefarious moves. It is necessary to relate the history of
Knudsen's dairy to properly describe the diametrical opposites in the
nutritional values demanded then and those found in store milk today.
Only raw milk today provides those same qualities.

John Knudsen, a neighbor, operated a small dairy farm of Guernsey cows
with the help of Peter, one of this three sons. Peter delivered the raw
milk directly to a large local dairy and requested they send someone out
to discuss this with him. When he was offered two cents a quart for his
milk he rose in ire and said, "You'll regret the day you ever said two
cents a quart to me!"

At this time, Peter's twin, Christian, manager of a dress factory on the
West Coast and Daniel, a mason in nearby Hartford, lost their jobs as a
result of the 1929 stock market crash and returned home. John proposed
his sons go into the dairy business using the farm as the nucleus, which
they did. Their competitors predicted their demise within a year. Their
success vividly demonstrates the importance of a cream-rich product in
those days and the part creamline played in the milk industry. So
important was the butterfat content that some dairies named themselves
"Creamline Dairy." Naturally, Guernseys and Jerseys, whose milk contains
the greatest butterfat content, were the most popular breed of cows. To
accentuate the cream content further, Knudsen's, among others, had
orange lettering on the glass bottles to give the cream an even richer
color. To further demonstrate how important the cream was, some dairies
even had bottles with a narrowing of the neck a few inches down from the
top and provided a special spoon that could be placed inside the bottle
at the constriction allowing one to pour off the cream to use for coffee
and the multitude of other uses of cream in those days. Some even saved
it until they had a sufficient quantity to make their own butter.

To further magnify the importance of the cream content of milk, I will
describe the sales method utilized by Knudsen's that boosted their sales
and allowed them to add six trucks to their fleet in one year. Virtually
all milk was delivered directly to homes during the early morning hours
in those days and left on the back porch or sometimes left in an
insulated box on the porch to keep it cold until retrieved by the
customer. Remember, this occurred in the days before refrigeration. The
milk cases were heavily iced to keep the milk cold during warm weather.
The few stores having ice boxes or the new refrigerated units usually
carried just a few quarts of milk and small bottles of cream for local
residents. It was our sales practice to arrange our route so as to
follow our competitor and leave a quart sample of our milk next to his.
On returning later in the morning we would introduce ourselves and ask
the lady of the house if she had received our sample and would she bring
out her regular supplier's bottle so we could demonstrate the greater
cream content of our product. Since most farmers kept some Holsteins
mixed with their Guernseys and Jerseys, to take advantage of the
Holstein cow's greater production, few could match the cream content of
the strictly Guernsey and Jersey herds. With Knudsen's greater
creamline, it was seldom we left without a new customer.

It was at this time that I witnessed the first step toward the eventual
demise of milk as we had known it. While pasteurized milk was rapidly
replacing raw there were still a considerable number of people demanding
raw milk. It was the practice in those days for the more affluent to own
or rent cottages at the shore for the summer in Connecticut. With the
children home from school and mother not needing to get up early to get
the children off, many took this opportunity to sleep late into the day.
Few women worked outside the home in those days. This created a problem
for the dairies, what with the milk standing out in the hot summer sun.
While the raw milk rarely went sour, the heat did cause the cream to
rise thickly to the top of the bottle and some assumed the milk was sour
and called to complain. While turning the bottle upside down a few times
would solve the problem, it was usually thought better to replace the
bottle rather than risk losing a customer.

One summer morning, my boss, Chris, asked me to accompany him on such a
journey to keep him company. On the trip he remarked that we weren't
going to be doing this much longer. I asked him what he meant. He
responded, "We're going to get raw milk outlawed."

"How are you going to do that?" I asked.

"Oh we've got some doctors that are going to testify that raw milk
causes diseases," he responded.

"But that isn't true," I pointed out.

"We don't give a damn whether it's true or not, just so long as we can
get these lazy women off our neck," he said.

Now, this wasn't the first assault leading to the demise of milk.
Pasteurization had been going on for several years and was making
headway, but was vigilantly being fought against, even by farmers, until
they were won over with the assertion that with pasteurization they
didn't have to be so particular about keeping their barns clean, that
pasteurization would take care of whatever germs might enter the milk.
Most people believe pasteurization was developed to prolong the
freshness of milk and protect the consumer from possible
disease-carrying bacteria. The truth is, Louis Pasteur developed
pasteurization to overcome the fermenting problem that was being
experienced by French wine-makers. In fact, it is reported that Pasteur
sadly lamented, "What are they doing to my wonderful food?" when
informed that pasteurization was being used for milk.

Pasteurization originally consisted of heating milk to 140 degrees for
30 seconds. Since this proved insufficient to maintain the shelf life or
should I say, shelf-lifelessness of milk, it was next raised to 167
degrees for 15 seconds. Even this proved insufficient to satisfy the
corporate dairies, so now they heat it to 281 degrees for 2 seconds and
call it ultra-pasteurization, as though they had achieved the ultimate
protection for the consumer. Every second counts when your object is
making money, not giving a damn about the consumer. Now milk is so
lifeless it can stand for months with no fear that it will go rancid.
Pasteurized milk cannot sour-or for use of a more gentle term-clabber.
Pasteurized milk turns rancid with age to a foul, sickening odor, all
the good bacteria having been destroyed. Clabbered milk is comparable to
yogurt in flavor and was my father's favorite desert for all his life.
Every evening meal was followed with a little cinnamon and brown sugar
on a bowl of clabbered milk and Swedish hardtack covered with homemade

Some amusing things took place in those early days that I will repeat,
just to keep the history straight. There was both Grade "A" and Grade
"B" milk in those days. People just assumed that Grade "A" was of better
quality, because it cost 17 cents a quart as against 14 cents for "B".
Not so. In Connecticut at that time, only farmers whose barns received a
98 percent or better grade by the state inspector, because they had
better plumbing, etc., could be classified as Grade "A". It had nothing
to do with the actual cream content or the ingredients at all. Since all
farms providing Knudsen's milk, having long ago surpassed the ability to
provide all their needs from their own farm, were rated Grade "A". Those
buying the "A" were paying three cents more for the same product as
those getting the "B". At a sales manager's meeting the staff's jester
pointed out the absurdity of this "grading system." When the question
came up about the difference between Grade "A" and Grade "B" he pointed
out the difference was "three cents," forcing a laugh from the rest of
us, but the comment didn't sit well with the manager.

Another fallacy commonly believed is that milk is deficient in vitamin
D. It is virtually impossible to buy a quart of whole milk that does not
have vitamin D added to it. When the adding of D to milk became
necessary to be competitive, Knudsen's started providing their farmers
with Brewer's yeast or some similar product in edible form to feed to
their cows which enriched the milk with vitamin D naturally. They called
it metabolized vitamin D which was certainly a more natural method to
enrich the milk, but they soon decided it was cheaper and simpler to add
the synthetic form of vitamin D to the milk.

I left Knudsen's after a few years, but kept aware of the exploitation
of milk for the benefit of the distributor. In a conversation with Chris
in the early forties, he alerted me to the wonderful advancement of the
dairy with the invention of homogenization. The corporate giants of
which Knudsen's was now a part, would no longer fight for customers over
creamline. Now they could cut the butterfat contents to the legally
required 3.5 percent needed to be called whole milk since butterfat now
stayed in suspension and it was virtually impossible for the consumer to
see or know how much cream they were really getting. Corporations could
sell the extra cream at a much greater profit or use it for even greater
financial returns in making ice cream. True to form, Knudsen's soon
opened a large ice cream parlor on the site of the original farm that
became a local sensation for the quality of its products. By now home
delivery of milk was gradually being discontinued, partly because urban
supermarkets were replacing the delivery system.

Homogenization has had shattering effects on milk consumption. With the
removal of cream, milk, has become tasteless. The cereal industry has
suffered irreparably since milk no longer contributes to the taste of
cereal. Despite the addition of enormous quantities of sugar and
flavoring of every description, people, and children in particular, are
not eating cereal as they have in the past. Dairies conformed to the
fat-free rage by reducing the fat content even further. But people are
not drinking the watered down versions. Of course, the push to increase
milk consumption for the treatment of osteoporosis is a farce because
the enzymes and vitamins in the missing cream are needed to assimilate
the calcium.

In the late 1930s, the corporate powers began the most vicious, unjust
wave of adverse publicity ever seen in the health field. They stooped to
the lowest denominators to not only prevent the sale of raw milk in
public places, but even to stop its dale from the farm. In this effort
they hired writers to make the very thought of drinking raw milk seem a
lapse in one's mentality. Most doctors have been so brainwashed and
indoctrinated with medical school texts that, to this day, if a patient
admits that he drinks raw milk, his doctor will insist on knowing where
he purchases it. The physician can then report it to the health
department. He will often, without further investigation, determine milk
as the cause of whatever condition the patient is complaining.
Preposterous? No, this scenario was actually experienced by a friend of
mine who suffered the same reaction from several doctors she visited.
Some even told her not to come back if she continued to drink raw milk.
Of course, her affliction had no bearing on her milk drinking.

So pervasive has this malicious propaganda become that some farmers even
buy pasteurized milk from the very dairy that receives their raw milk!
My usual response to such actions is that if their milk is so bad, I
certainly would not drink it either. A friend has to actually remove the
bottle of raw milk from her table when some members of her family
visit-so great is their fear of even being in its presence. This is
proof once again that a lie told often becomes believed.

For years since this vicious, unjust destruction of milk began, such
publications as The Rural New Yorker, at that time the leading farm
publication in the Northeast, tried valiantly to defend raw milk and
expose the fallacy of pasteurization and the fallacy that pasteurization
improves the nutritional value of milk by making it safer to consume.
[These articles can be found on the website.]

To address the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of malicious, untrue stories
often so asinine as to strain the intelligence of the reader, is
impossible in an article of this length. But they are stories that
exaggerate or simply invent afflictions from drinking raw milk. I will,
however, relate a typical tale, for that is exactly what is was, a
figment of the author's imagination presented as fact. Something like
War of the Worlds, but this happened in Crossroads, USA.

Dr. Harold Harris had published an article in the May 1945 issue of
Coronet Magazine, a popular publication of the time. In it he states
that what happened at Crossroads, USA, which "lies about 25 miles from a
big city," could happen in your town. In detail, he describes the
epidemic of undulant fever that infected 25 percent of the population
and killed one in four. Case histories were then presented to show how
debilitating the disease could be.

The truth is there was and is no Crossroads. This never happened in any
town in the USA. It was simply a figment of the author's imagination.
When cornered, Dr. Harris squirmed out of his dilemma by saying he just
presented it as a possibility. This was typical of propaganda widely
circulated for many years by news media most likely fearful of losing
the substantial revenue reaped from advertising and other financial
support of these large dairy corporations.

Undulant fever and tuberculosis were two favorite diseases falsely
attributed to drinking raw milk. Undulant fever is not a common disease
in the United States and cannot be transmitted by raw milk. Cows cannot
pass their germ in their milk, or the germ of any disease, with the
possible exception of mastitis, which may possibly be passed to a
nursing mother, although I haven't been able to find definite proof in
any such occurrence in my research. To prove how long these tales can be
carried, just yesterday I received a letter from a person of far greater
intelligence than the average who said that years ago he knew a fellow
who knew a fellow who years ago got undulant fever from drinking raw
milk. The tale is old stuff, but it is the memory that hangs on.

Regarding the carrying of tuberculosis in milk, I experienced the
following firsthand in the early 1930s, when the government instituted
the testing of all cows for TB. The government inspector came and
injected the serum under the upper tail of our three Guernseys and true
to his promise, returned a week or ten days later and determined by the
bump at the site of the injection that our cows did indeed have TB. I
remember my father's worry over whether or not we could contract TB from
drinking the milk of our infected cows. The inspector emphatically said,
"Mr. Eliason, a cow can drop dead from TB while you are milking it and
the milk will still be pure. Mother Nature always protects its

The opponents of raw milk have stooped to malicious misrepresentation of
the facts and deliberate deception. This fact was brought home when I
was given a copy of a pamphlet entitled, "Cancer and Raw Milk." One of
the first items to catch my eye was a short article stating that there
were eight members of a certain family selling raw milk in the town
where I buy my milk. There has been no others selling raw milk there for
many years. On questioning my friends, they expressed surprise as they
had never been questioned or investigated in this regard. They assumed
it had arisen from the time-many years ago-when their herd was stricken
with bovine lymphoma. This was not restricted to them, but had struck
many farms in Connecticut. The cows didn't seem to be affected, but the
calves were succumbing to it. They were referred to the University of
Pennsylvania for help. The University carried on extensive research,
even to the extent of using an airplane to fly out and pick up calves as
soon as they were born to determine if cancer was being passed on by the
mothers. All tests exonerated the mothers and the plague eventually died
out on its own. What was most troubling was that there were only four
cases of death from cancer, not eight and none of the deaths could be
attributed to the illness in animals. The farm owner smoked
continuously, never being without a cigarette in his mouth and never
drank any milk, even in his coffee. Two other family members, including
an aunt who lived some distance away and didn't get milk from them. John
Olson was another victim of cancer who was a school mate of mine and
another was a distant relative to the farmer who had made a career of
the military. This man hadn't been home in many years and died in Texas
from leukemia. It is such nefarious publications as this that snare
otherwise intelligent people into forming their conclusions. Not only is
such publicity downright incorrect, it is maliciously circulated to
prevent honest people from enjoying the greatest food on earth.

An example of how the "powers that be" never give up trying to dictate
our lives was dramatically displayed when in 1994 the Connecticut Health
Department presented a bill to the Connecticut Legislature that would
have grandfathered remaining dairy farms selling raw milk to the public
by allowing them to continue selling raw milk, but preventing any
further sale, even by the farmer's children, after his death. This
supposedly was prompted by a report that TB had been found in two cows
in New York State. I was pleasantly surprised by the chilly reception
the bill received from the hearing committee. Two members held up
containers of raw milk they had in their lunch pack. At that time the
hormone BHT had been introduced and some farmers were already injecting
it into their cows to increase their milk production. It was assumed the
opposition to this procedure might foment a movement to seek
hormone-free milk in the form of raw milk, thus cutting into the profits
of the large corporate milk processors.

Now, let us address some of the wonders of raw milk. Bernard MacFadden,
the father of physical culture, tells in his book, The Miracle of Milk,
of a man who as a small child drank some lye that burned his esophagus
so severely that he was unable to eat even the smallest particle of
food. He not only lived his entire life on raw milk alone, but married,
had children and was gainfully employed.

Dr. Weir Mitchell in his book, Fat and Blood, relates that one of his
diabetic patients lived for 15 years on milk alone and carried on a
large and prosperous business.

Dr. Taylor in Britain, cured himself of epilepsy by living exclusively
on milk for 17 years.

I have personally known and have friends who lived on raw milk diets for
weeks as part of their health programs. In the 1940s, milk spas were
popular health resorts devoted to curing physical problems. The
clientele at these spas lived exclusively on raw milk for days at a time
as a body purification process. Milk baths were a substantial part of
the program. So much respect and confidence was placed in the purity of
milk that seldom a week went by in those days that some famous person,
usually a movie actress, was portrayed in the news media taking a milk
bath, attributing her velvety skin and luscious beauty to the milk, of
course. Now, I am well aware of the extent movie producers will go to
promote their star and I am not about to defend the veracity of their
claim, but it certainly explodes the argument that the very presence of
raw milk was a threat to one's well-being.

Often during my talks on milk, many people attend who relate the
wonderful health they have experienced since adding raw milk to their
diet. At a recent talk a young man related how he suffered from
allergies that defied all the efforts of the medical world to cure. But
on attaining a job on a dairy farm where he drank large quantities of
raw milk, his allergies are virtually gone.

As for myself, I am 83 years old, have drank at least two quarts, and
usually a gallon, of raw milk a day virtually from birth. My blood
pressure is 120-130 over 60-70 which prompts every physician to report I
have the vital signs of a 20-year-old. I physically work hard every day.
I have suffered a lifetime of severe heartburn as the result of having
been born without the esophageal valve, which regulates the entry of
food into the stomach. The enterologists reluctantly credits my milk
consumption for preventing cancer of the esophagus, a condition
virtually certain to occur in everyone so afflicted. I had an operation
in November 1998, in which the stomach is wrapped around the bottom of
the esophagus, forming a valve. The operation is very successful and I
have not experienced a single episode of heartburn since the operation.
I relate this fact for any readers who suffer from acid-reflux and I
relate the truth about raw milk for anyone suffering from a health