Well, raw milk is simply that. Raw. It is unpasteurised and unhomogenised and therefore, has not been subjected to any heat treatment or mechanical processing. When milk is pasteurised, the heating process kills bacteria but it also destroys many of the nutrients that make raw milk beneficial.
Homogenisation is a mechanical process that breaks the fat globules in milk into smaller droplets so that they remain suspended within the milk rather than separating out and floating to the top. This is why you rarely see a cream line in processed milk.
The absence of these processes means that raw milk will retain not only its natural flavour but also its full complement of vitamins and digestive enzymes. If you leave it in the fridge overnight, you will also notice that the cream will have floated to the top by the morning. Should you prefer your milk without the creamy top, simply shake the bottle and it will disperse again.
As raw milk is a natural, untreated product, there are some risks associated with drinking it. However, it is important to bear in mind that providing you purchase your milk from a reputable farm with healthy cows and a license to sell raw milk, the risk is small.
As a condition of the licence, our milk is tested every three months by the Food Standards Agency. In addition to this, we also send our milk for testing at an independent laboratory every week. Should our milk fail any of these tests, we will withdraw it from sale immediately. This means that you can be confident that our raw milk will not contain levels of bad bacteria that could cause any harm to your health.
By law, we have to display the following wording for customers to see:
“This milk has not been heat treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health”.
The cold hard facts about raw milk
All milk, including cow's milk, has natural enzymes in it. These enzymes act like a toolkit to enable infants, whose digestive systems are not yet fully developed, to absorb and utilise all of the nutrients available in the milk. Possibly the most important enzyme is actose enzyme that helps digest milk sugar. The pasteurisation process (heat) destroys the greater proportion of these natural enzymes.
Fresh raw milk contains a full range of B and C vitamins which are destroyed by heat treatment (pasteurisation) and have a shelf life of about 7-10 days before the concentration starts falling.
The calcium in raw milk is fully soluble and digestible and is one of the best sources for humans. In order to make best use of calcium, your body needs soluble vitamin D, Whole raw milk is full of fat-soluble vitamin D but it’s only soluble and digestible when there is plenty of raw milk-fat available for it to dissolve in. Thus in order to get the maximum calcium and vitamin D from your milk, you need to drink it raw and full-fat. Skimmed milk contains hardly any vitamin D and therefore less calcium can be absorbed by the body.
Another fat-soluble vitamin abundantly available in raw milk is vitamin A. Like vitamin D however, if the fat in the milk is damaged or removed, the levels of vitamins drop to almost nothing. This can happen when milk is being carted around by tanker, collected from the dairy and delivered via multiple pumps and pipes to the processing plant. During this upheaval, the milk becomes aerated and oxidation of the fats occurs. This can cause milk to taste “off” and also significantly reduces the amount of vitamins available in the milk. Milk drunk straight from the farm has not had excessive aeration and pumping: the fat soluble vitamins are conserved and the flavour remains fresh.
Another major advantage of raw milk is that it is full of beneficial bacteria particularly for gut health and fighting infection and these again are destroyed by the pasteurisation process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is raw milk
Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised or heat-treated. It has no food miles and is not older than 24 hours when put into the vending machine. This means it's deliciously fresh, rich and creamy.
Is raw milk safe and legal to drink?
Yes, raw milk is safe to drink. We provide safe and healthy milk every day and test our milk specifically for human consumption through an independent lab every week to ensure we are above standards. Raw milk is legal as long as it has come from a Tuberculosis (TB) free herd and the farm is a Food Standards Agency (FSA) licensed source. We are registered with the FSA and they regularly visit the farm to inspect our milking procedures and test the milk every 3 months for any dangerous bacteria.
In terms of safety, we are very diligent about the cleanliness of our milk, so in addition to the standard FSA testing, we use an independent laboratory to carry out weekly testing. We want you to be happy and confident to drink our milk and trust us that if ever there were an issue, it would be withdrawn from sale immediately.
Is Dora’s Dairy raw milk organic?
No, however our cows are grass fed and out at grass for nine months of the year.
Are there antibiotics in untreated milk?
No, milk from cows that has been treated with antibiotics is separated and then discarded so that there is no chance the antibiotics can get into the food chain.
Are the cows fed/injected with growth hormones which pass through into the meat and milk?
No, cows are not fed any growth hormones, as it is illegal in the UK
Are male calves born on the farm killed at birth?
Our calves are all beef calves so they stay with their mums for 2/3 months then they are sold to be reared for beef.
For how long does your milk keep ?
We recommend that you consume raw milk within 3 days of purchase, however, a lot of customers find that the milk will last for longer providing you keep it cold, preferably under 4°c.
Can I freeze raw milk?
Yes, you can freeze raw milk. For the best results, freeze on the day of purchase and remember that it will expand when frozen. When you are ready to defrost it, always do so in the fridge, never leave it out to defrost at room temperature. Once defrosted, you will have 3 days in which to consume it.
I am lactose intolerant – can I drink raw milk?
Many people experience digestive and other problems when they consume pasteurised milk but have no trouble with raw milk. There are many studies that both support and dispute the effects of raw milk on lactose intolerance. We have customers who have said that the symptoms they experience when they drink pasteurised milk are alleviated or non excistant when they drink raw milk.
What are the health benefits of drinking raw milk?
Therre are many reports about the health benefits of drinking raw milk: From helping to clear up eczema and asthma, aiding digestion and gut health, allowing people who are lactose intolerant to enjoy milk again and helping to build muscle. Here are some links to websites which we found interesting and will tell you more about the health benefits: