Raw Milk

I find it extraordinarily entertaining that raw (unpasteurised) milk is ilegal. At least it is here in Canada. Like, the fuzz or some weird latter-day food SS will show up on your doorstep kind of illegal? No. You just get a big fine if you distribute the stuff whereby doing so is in direct contravention of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

But it’s fun to pretend that there are food Nazis anyway. Because there are. Really stupid ones: we can’t get any sort of unpasteurised dairy products in Canada… unless it’s cheese made in Quebec! But Quebec isn’t really part of Canada anyway. There they are unilingual, speaking some strange language that doesn’t sound entirely unlike French; motorists are unable to turn right on red lights, the mark of a truly uncivilised place; and, they enjoy a strange and special politics that somehow holds immense sway over Canada proper despite Quebecers really wanting to have absolutely nothing to do with us, and we them (I’d still move there for the gastronomy). Somehow, as if to say “we really don’t want you to take this Health Protection and Promotion Act seriously (until we fine you),” the Government of Canada has deemed all distribution of unpasteurised dairy products ilegal across the nation except if Quebec cheese.

So we eat unpasteurised dairy anyway. The fucking old kind that has been sitting around for ages (cheese). But not fresh raw milk.

So why is this, you ask? I’d like to think that it takes a special kind of retard to come up with the Quebec/Canada pasteurisation discrepincy (and then droves of specials to actually implement it). So I, or you dear reader, can’t possible grasp why it is so. But I can tell you about the impetus behind discouraging raw dairy. You see, unpasteurised dairy is more dangerous than pasteurised dairy: no surprise there. There is a greater prevalence of contracting dreaded food STDs like listeriosis, e-coli, and salmonella poisoning from raw milk or cheese, and of course, anything raw is more dangerous than its cooked (to flavour desolation) counterpart.

And so, when yesterday I was seated across from a very lovely lady, I was shocked and a little bit frightened when she propositioned me to partake of unprotected milk drinking. Was it clean?, I thought. What horrendous infirmity lay in wait for me if I drank this demonic tincture: ass-blast, face contorting yell-puke? Would I ever be able to have a normal gustatory life again? Would it fall off (my tongue)!?

I couldn’t get it up, my arm to reach for the glass!

Actually, I gulped it down. I jumped at the chance to try raw milk at long last. I will admit, I was slightly hesitant if only for it being my first time (it was over quickly). Eating or drinking something in its fresh and raw form is the ultimate way to experience and absorb it’s true gustatory nature. Raw milk, I realised, tastes the way I always expect (pasteurised) milk to taste. Whenever I crave a tall cold glass of the stuff and imagine that flavour I so want, I am weirdly put out upon indulging. I am always slightly disappointed as if something were missing. As if, for some reason, without ever having tried it before, my body knows what proper milk should taste like.

The irony of all this legislation against raw dairy is that you are just as liable, if not more so, to get e-coli or salmonella poisoning from fresh sprouts. And they come raw. How about some botulism from a hotdog or a slice of bologna. Maybe you’d prefer a touch of heat resistant ciguatera from your tropical seafood with a light peppering of scombroid poisoning from your tuna or your mackerel and a good smattering of v. vulnificus from your oysters: the true deadlies? But raw fish is legal. And let me tell you, I eat a lot of sashimi up in this city, most of which I expect to kill me the next day. None of which has ever done more than give me minor and short lived bloat.

And then there are guns, cars, airplanes, snow, ice, extreme temperatures, bears, large deer and antelope, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, alcohol, choking hazards, electrical outlets, matches, cigarettes, lighters, firecrackers, bees, nuts, other people, knives… All of which are perfectly legal and can kill you. I bet they have a greater probability of killing you too. Especially when the statistics behind ilegal raw dairy deal in sick people rather than deaths, what with modern healthcare standards and all.

It’s the double standard, the inconsistency, and the nanny-ism of it that gets me.

At least we don’t have the FDA presiding over our culinary exploitation. Those sorry southern neighbours of ours have an uppity schoolmarm of a food regulatory body to put up with crying foul of oysters and very possibly making it ilegal to purvey the ambrosial morsels of amore raw. As if you’d eat them any other way! They propose par-cooking all oysters before sale because v. vulnificus and other similar oyster borne bacteria make some people sick sometimes. The FDA wards the good people of Amurrahky against raw dairy too. Here’s a fun FDA quote: “more than 800 people in the United States have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998.” In well over 10 years a mere 800 people out of over 312.5 million have fallen ill from drinking raw milk. If I am capable of doing rudimentary math, that’s less than 0.0003%.