Archive for May, 2011

Milk, Milk, Baby!

Posted in Problems with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2011 by PickMeYard

I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for nearly a month. 

Let me start by saying that I love milk… really love it.  However, I’ve heard that it can cause mucous in the body.  I’ve also heard that it’s not really that great for people to drink it.  I own (and read) the book, Don’t Drink Your Milk, by Frank A. Oski, M.D.  and have followed the theory that the Chinese (and other Asians) have less health problems than westerners because they avoid dairy. 

Dairy Cows.

I’ve eliminated milk and milk products from my diet for months at a time and felt a noticeable improvement in my well-being.  However, in my world, this dietary sacrifice never lasted and I welcomed the milk back… with a smile.  I missed it too much, no matter how terrible the former Physician-in-Chief of John Hopkins Children’s Center says it is for me.

A cow udder.

A recent phone call from a friend rocked my world.  She said that retail cow’s milk from the grocery store can give a baby goat Johnes disease (pronounced ‘yo-nees’).  My reply was, “That’s ridiculous.  Retail cow’s milk is ultra-pasteurized and ultra-dead, everybody knows that”.  Oh… I was so wrong.

I researched Johne’s disease which opened a can of worms.  Pasteurization does not kill everything, nor does ultra-pasteurization.   

There is a common bacteria called mycobacterium paratuberculosis that can survive pasteurization.  It is believed to cause Crohn’s disease in people, especially young people.  The scientists and public health authorities know that the bacteria is associated with Crohn’s disease, but don’t have  evidence that it directly causes Crohn’s.  There are theories that genetic and/or environmental factors may also contribute to the development of Crohn’s, but it is unknown.  There are millions of people suffering worldwide from this disease and the number is growing exponentially.  I wonder why there is little effort to find out if the bacteria (mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that is present in our food supply is causing people to develop Crohn’s disease? It seems obvious that the bacteria is causing life-threatening illnesses in people and animals.  If it isn’t… then it should be ruled out. In fact, more research is desperately needed.  Fifty percent of Crohn’s disease patients are children and there is no cure.

The bacteria (mycobacterium paratuberculosis) is also found in meat, cheese and water that is being sold to the general public for consumption in the U.S. and Europe. Are we at risk from the bacteria?  That remains to be seen.

Most of my research implies that many dairies are unaware of Johne’s disease in their herds.  It is almost impossible to detect in young livestock and probably too late when they show the deadly symptoms.  There are ways to manage the disease, but none of them are easy.  It is a 1.5 billion a year problem for the cattle industry.  A  survey conducted in 2007 showed that 68% of U.S. dairy herds were infected with mycobacterium paratuberculosis.  I wonder what it has grown to now?

Delicious milk. This is goat milk, which is white. Cow milk has a slight yellow tinge.

It seems that Johne’s disease is becoming more common in goats in Florida.  I recently tested our milking doe and was relieved by the negative results, although I have babies that are still too young to test.

... till the cows come home.

Are you concerned?  Good.  We need to know these things and we cannot ever stop asking questions.  Do you think it’s a conspiracy theory? I’m okay with that. Check out this report from the American Academy of Microbiology.  They believe that if MAP is associated with human disease and is in the U.S. food supply, this will be a public health concern to rival that of TB in the early part of the 20th Century.

Are you wondering if I buy cow’s milk for my family?  The answer is no, not anymore. Our children are in 4-H and goats are their project. We feel blessed and the goats are  part of our family (must be why they call them “kids”).  Hmmm… so you can’t keep a goat on your patio… what to do, what to do? You do have options: rice milk, almond milk, soy milk (choose non-GMO), oat milk or coconut milk. 

Grayson milking a Nigerian dwarf goat.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is hosting a webcast called, “Pediatric Crohn’s: Finding the Right Path to Care” on May 19th at 8:00 p.m.

Come grow with us!