Spring Update on Prior Posts

Although I write the definitive entries on topics in this blog, new information trickles in after publication.  The new studies are often not worth an entire entry, recapitulating prior essays, but the new information is still worth a mention.  What follows are updates on topics covered in  prior SBM posts.

Raw Milk

In Oregon we are having a small outbreak of infections from consumption of raw milk.  Not a surprise, since milk is a wonderful culture media and the udder is just down the gravity well from the cows anus.  Raw milk violates the classic dictum “Don’t shit where you eat” although I understand the saying concerned dating in its original conception.

Although the sale of raw milk is illegal in muchof the US,  the law can be bypassed by owning the cow rather than buying the milk,  a reverse of dating advice.  Such is the case in Oregon, where 48 people are time sharing the cows responsible for the current outbreak.  There has been the spread of pathogenic E. coli to at least 5 people, mostly  children, and has lead to the hospitalization of at least 3 children.

Of course, it is hard to get infected. Humans have lived in Filth and Squalor (like Minneapolis and St. Paul or Buda and Pest) for centuries, drinking and eating contaminated food and enough survived perpetuate the species.  Most infections in the past would have been from consuming contaminated food and drink.  I have wondered if the reason fevers are often associated with diarrhea and/or vomiting is that it an evolved response for removing infected material as soon as possible.

The CDC has reported multiple  outbreaks of infection traced to consuming raw milk, not that anyone is paying any attention.  The results were recently summarized:

The study included 121 dairy–related disease outbreaks, which caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations and three deaths. In 60 percent of the outbreaks (73 outbreaks) state health officials determined raw milk products were the cause. Nearly all of the hospitalizations (200 of 239) were in those sickened in the raw milk outbreaks.  These dairy-related outbreaks occurred in 30 states, and 75 percent (55 outbreaks) of the raw milk outbreaks occurred in the 21 states where it was legal to sell raw milk products at the time. The study also reported that seven states changed their laws during the study period.

Consumers can’t tell if raw milk is safe to drink by looking at, smelling, or tasting it. Even under ideal conditions of cleanliness, collecting milk introduces some bacteria.  Unless the milk is pasteurized, these bacteria can multiply and grow in the milk and cause illness. Pasteurization involves heating milk to kill disease-causing bacteria.

It is rare to get infections from milk:  it is estimated that 1% of milk is consumed raw, about 27 billion pounds.  Lets see. A pint is a pound the world a round, so that’s 54,000,000,000 cups drunk drank drunken consumed for 4400 illnesses.  Not a huge risk, although children were disproportionately affected (60%) and E. coli 0157 mediated hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), with kidney failure and occasional deaths are reported.

Not that it makes any difference to those who believe in the unproven benefits of raw milk over safe food:

…people who drink raw milk tend to be fierce advocates. One person, who posted anonymously on, said that he or she would not stop drinking milk from Foundation Farm even though it had sickened the commentator and the commentator’s 2-year-old child.

The inability to admit error boggles the mind.

Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: “I forgot!” How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don’t say “I forgot”? Let’s say you’re on trial for giving your kid HUS from raw milk. You say to the judge, “I forgot raw milk is contaminated with dangerous bacteria.  Let’s suppose he says back to you, “You have committed a foul crime. You killed your child by deliberately giving them milk contaminated with cow manure, and you say, ‘I forgot’?” Two simple words: Excuuuuuse me!!”

Rhinos and Tigers and Bears. Oh my.

“I would personally kill every chimpanzee on the planet with my bare hands if it meant saving one homeless crack-addict with AIDS.”
~ Penn Jillette

I don’t know. I have met some pretty nice chimps and some remarkably evil crack-addicts. I suspect he would be more protective of our evolutionary cousins if the choice were between chimps and some of his colleagues on The Apprentice, but perhaps I read body language incorrectly. But I would not kill a single animal for any Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nostrum.

Several years ago I summarized the adverse effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine on the environment and other species.  It is not uncommon to grind up endangered animals and plants such as rhino horn, tigers and antelope for medicinal purposes.  Their efficacy is less than plausible; rhino horn is basically hair and will not even cure baldness.  But use of TCM is increasing, consuming plants and animals with a Galactus-ian  hunger.  There is big money to made in puree of endangered species.

The issue with many of the supplements from India, China, and the US  is quality control.  What is on the label may or may not be what is in the tablet.  But how can you tell if your TCM nostrum is filled with toxins or a melange of mammals?  Modern technology has the answer. Or magic.

Targeting both the p-loop region of the plastid trnL gene and the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal RNA gene, over 49,000 amplicon sequence reads were generated from 15 TCM samples presented in the form of powders, tablets, capsules, bile flakes, and herbal teas. Here we show that second-generation, high-throughput sequencing (HTS) of DNA represents an effective means to genetically audit organic ingredients within complex TCMs. Comparison of DNA sequence data to reference databases revealed the presence of 68 different plant families and included genera, such as Ephedra and Asarum, that are potentially toxic. Similarly, animal families were identified that include genera that are classified as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, including Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica). Bovidae, Cervidae, and Bufonidae DNA were also detected in many of the TCM samples and were rarely declared on the product packaging.

They also found toad, goat, sheep, buffalo, and cow DNA in some of the concoctions.  Listed ingredients, when they bothered to list them, included toad cake,  testis et penis callorhini, and cow and monkey bezoar. Almost makes raw milk appear palatable by comparison.

Consumers of TCMs need to be wary of honesty of food labelling , as in 78% of samples, animal DNA was identified that had not been clearly labelled on the packaging (in either English or Chinese). This adulteration of medicine occurred in the Saiga Antelope Horn powder  which claimed to be 100% pure, yet was found to also contain significant quantities of goat (Caprine) and sheep (Ovine) DNA. In some TCMs, undeclared ingredients are used to reduce the cost of manufacture of the medicine by increasing the bulk of the powder, but it is impossible to determine why Caprine and Ovine appeared in this product. Water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), domestic cow (Bos taurus) and deer species were also not listed on the packaging of samples in which they were genetically identified. The inadvertent consumption of undeclared animal products found in 78% of the medicines, such as bovid, risk violating certain religious and/or cultural strictures.

What?  I am using adulterated quackery instead of pure quackery?  Consumers of TCM have more to worry about than honesty in food labeling, as if somehow lying about nonsense is worse than honest nonsense.

The take home is when you use TCM products, you are likely contributing to the extinction of species even when the label on the  nostrum appears safe. You are not even saving a homeless crack-addicted AIDS patient, much less helping yourself.

Like Cure Like


It has been a while since I pursued the Pubmeds on homeopathy.  Regular readers of the blog know the fantasy based premises of homeopathy.  Substances that cause symptoms, when diluted beyond any residual presence, will cure the disease.

Most of the time trying to test this fantasy  is messy.  There are a lot of diseases, but fewer symptoms.  There are a lot of potential  variations in fevers or headaches or sinusitis that result in choosing a homeopathic remedy being “individualized.”  Despite being fantasy based, the enormous variation makes it hard to test one homeopathic cure for one illness or symptom.  The wiggle room is enormous.

Testing ‘like curing like’ would be more straightforward if it were poisoning.  Lead or arsenic poisoning would seem a straightforward condition to test homeopathic validity.  You would know exactly which like would cure which like. Lead toxicity should be cured with homeopathic lead.   And, incredibly, such studies have been done.

And, at least for lead, like does not cure like:

Poisoning due to lead and its compounds has short and long-term effects primarily on the nervous, hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, renal and reproductive systems. It can manifest in acute or chronic symptoms. Measuring serum concentration is the primary method for diagnosing and monitoring exposed workers. Presently, elevated lead levels are treated by drugs whose effectiveness is contested on various fronts. Experimental studies suggest that homeopathic preparations may be in controlling blood lead levels in laboratory animals, creating the need for controlled studies to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of these preparations in humans.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the homeopathic preparation Plumbum metallicum in reducing the blood lead level of workers exposed to this metal.
Double-blind randomized trial.
Workers’ clinic in the Ajax battery plant, which employs 900 workers with varying degrees of lead exposure in Bauru, São Paulo State, Brazil.
131 workers exposed to lead.
Plumbum metallicum 15 cH or placebo, orally for 35 days.
The percentage of workers who demonstrated a reduction in lead counts by a percentage greater than or equal to 25% following treatment was the same for both groups: 20.3% in the homeopathic groups versus 21% in the control group [Relative Risk (RR) = 0.95, confidential interval (CI) 95%: 0.47-1.92)]. Analysis by intention-to-treat also did not show any difference between the groups: 18.2% in the treated group versus 20% in the placebo group (RR = 0.91, CI 95%: 0.45-1.84).
The homeopathic preparation Plumbum metallicum had no effect, in this study, in terms of reducing serum lead in workers exposed to lead.”

What a surprise, although one wonders what they were thinking in the Institutional Review Board at the  Federal University of São Carlos for allowing such a study to be done.

A similar study, this time with arsenic, was done in China.  And you have to love the description of how ‘informed’ consent was obtained

Most arsenic victims were weak and anemic and therefore concerned about giving blood at regular intervals. They were in general frustrated and almost resigned to their fate. They signed informed consent on the basis of the agreement that they would provide samples of their urine and blood only twice; once on the day before they started taking the “verum” or “placebo”, and then 2 months after administration of the “verum” or “placebo”.

Half of the 28 subjects dropped out,  resulting in nine people in the treatment group and 5 in the placebo.Any conclusion would be 200C. The researchers seem to be unaware that multiple measurements in small numbers of subjects with multiple statistical analysis will find something ‘significant’ but are  are as meaningless as the underlying premise of the study.

From the results of this pilot study, it becomes obvious that the verum-fed group showed positive ameliorating effects, like that of the other potencies of centesimal dilutions, Ars Alb 30C and Ars Alb 200C reported earlier. Since Ars Alb LM 0/3 potency can be used for a long time and since this remedy also has protective abilities in subjects living in a village where arsenic-free drinking water facility was unavailable, this could be used as an interim measure, particularly in remote villages without having any other kind of medical facility. As a higher potency may actually be required for sustaining the ameliorative effects, it is recommended that the remedy be used under supervision of a practicing homeopath, who may suggest when the next higher potency ought to be used. Furthermore, change in symptoms may call for some intermittent remedy (may be a constitutional remedy) as based on severity of condition and totality of symptoms…
How the tiny globules soaked in the ultrahighly diluted remedy could bring about changes in so many parameters of study while the same could not be achieved by the Ars Alb LM 0/3 unsoaked globules (placebo) remain largely unknown. However, one working hypothesis advocated by Khuda-Bukhsh et al[17-19] is that potentized homeopathic remedies may act as a “molecular switch” to trigger specific genes that may in turn activate/deactivate a cascade of other relevant genes may be one way of explaining such inexplicable phenomenon at the state of our present understanding.”

One would think in a town with arsenic in the water, that taking homeopathic water in large quantities would be of benefit, although they were limited to 10 drops twice a day. It is a town that actually needs a massive continual overdose of homeopathy:  potable water.  Finally a real use for homeopathy.  Oddly they used an Indian homeopathic preparation and given the propensity of other Indian SCAM products to be adulterated with arsenic, I would be fatalistic as well if asked to be in the study.

CAM is placebo. Placebo  is nothing.  Therefore CAM is nothing.

Several studies out this year emphasized the concept that it is the therapeutic interaction and the patients belief that is important for the subjective (but not objective, for there are none) responses to SCAM’s,  not the specific SCAM modality.  Two nonsensical SCAM interventions had the same result.

First was homeopathy  where

Homeopathic consultations but not homeopathic remedies are associated with clinically relevant benefits for patients with active but relatively stable RA.

The other was acupuncture. It has been know that acupuncture efficacy depends in part on how strongly the patient believes it will work.  This was confirmed in a study in Pain  where patients with osteoarthritis were treated with  acupuncture, Streitberger placebo acupuncture, and mock electrical stimulation, each with empathic or nonempathic consultations. The results supported the understanding that the only thing that matters for reported outcomes with acupuncture is the patients belief in its efficacy, although one practitioner had better results than the others:

Empathic consultations did not affect pain (3.0mm, -2.2 to 8.2; P=.26) but practitioner 3 achieved greater analgesia than practitioner 2 (10.9, 3.9 to 18.0; P=.002)… The 2 placebos were equally as effective and credible as acupuncture. Needle and nonneedle placebos are equivalent. An unknown characteristic of the treating practitioner predicts outcome, as does the patient’s belief (independently).

Why do I envision a Rasputin like  practitioner getting better results?  SCAM’s, like placebo effects, are self deception by the patient and practitioner.  N-Rays all the way down.

And if it were ethical, and it is not ethical since acupuncture is nonsense, you would be able to help the undiagnosed and perhaps undiagnoseable patient with a round of supportive acupuncture:

Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) are common and difficult to treat.
To investigate the effectiveness of adding five-element acupuncture to usual care in ‘frequent attenders’ with MUPS.
Randomised controlled trial in four London general practices.
Participants were 80 adults with MUPS, consulting GPs ≥8 times/year. The intervention was individualised five-element acupuncture, ≥12 sessions, immediately (acupuncture group) and after 26 weeks (control group). The primary outcome was 26-week Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP); secondary outcomes were wellbeing (W-BQ12), EQ-5D, and GP consultation rate. Intention-to-treat analysis was used, adjusting for baseline outcomes.
Participants (80% female, mean age 50 years, mixed ethnicity) had high health-resource use. Problems were 59% musculoskeletal; 65% >1 year duration. The 26-week questionnaire response rate was 89%. Compared to baseline, the mean 26-week MYMOP improved by 1.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4 to 1.5) in the acupuncture group and 0.6 (95% CI = 0.3 to 0.9) in the control group (adjusted mean difference: acupuncture versus control -0.6 [95% CI = -1.1 to 0] P = 0.05). Other between-group adjusted mean differences were: W-BQ12 4.4 (95% CI = 1.6 to 7.2) P = 0.002; EQ-5D index 0.03 (95% CI = -0.11 to 0.16) P = 0.70; consultation rate ratio 0.90 (95% CI = 0.70 to 1.15) P = 0.4; and number of medications 0.56 (95% CI = 0.47 to 1.6) P = 0.28. All differences favoured the acupuncture group. Imputation for missing values reduced the MYMOP adjusted mean difference to -0.4 (95% CI = -0.9 to 0.1) P = 0.12. Improvements in MYMOP and W-BQ12 were maintained at 52 weeks.
The addition of 12 sessions of five-element acupuncture to usual care resulted in improved health status and wellbeing that was sustained for 12 months.”

Positive interactions with other humans is always of benefit can improve the quality of life.  As I have said before, grooming each other has salubrious effects on apes.  The benefits of SCAMs are the medical equivalent of nit picking, without the ick factor of eating the louse.

And finally, are there Florence and the Machine fans who can tell me what this study is all about?  Clinical comparative study on the influence of acupoint sticking therapy in dog days and in non-dog days to the quality of life of allergic rhinitis patients.  I thought the dog days were so over.

Posted in: Acupuncture, Herbs & Supplements, Homeopathy, Nutrition

Leave a Comment (39) ↓

39 thoughts on “Spring Update on Prior Posts

  1. cervantes says:

    Actually it’s preferable if those TCM remedies are fraudulent. As a matter of fact I don’t understand why they even bother to get real rhino horn and bear gall bladders. The customer would never know the difference if you put horse hair and chitlins in the pills, so why go to all that trouble to kill endangered species?

  2. Janet Camp says:


    Because the poachers get paid to kill the endangered species–they don’t care what it’s used for. The people who pay them are true believers and have to present the actual species to someone else. Somewhere in the “trickle down” to an actual product, all sorts of things happen to the original bit of endangered species, but who cares as long as the belief is there with the end users?

    It’s all so pointless.


    One wonders that if these theories revolve around vitalism, how is dead, ground up gall bladder or horn (kinda “dead” to begin with) is supposed to help treat a “living” or “life force” process?


    Penn Gillette is a fool. You don’t have to be a PETA freak to find his attitude repulsive.

  3. Mark Crislip says:

    I can’t help but see it as outrageous hyperbole (and perhaps an example of the either-or fallacy) to make a point.

  4. rork says:

    Is it safer to eat raw spinach than raw milk? How about bivalves? I’ve been known to eat raw fish, though my conscience forbids me quite a few species (I’d rather kill several comedians than a blue Marlin). Then there are things other than eating.

    Goes to the question of how risky it really is, or how low-risk it could be made to be by folks with best practices.
    Raw milk tastes good. I’ve lived in Bavaria, where my relatives are cow-people. They are picky about cow cleanliness in ways that I’m not sure exist in the U.S. I do not seek it out now, having become accustomed to the burnt taste, and not using much anyway.

    Also how many things would I have to give up if I avoid all higher risk behaviors.
    Never swim or boat on the great lakes. Don’t climb trees. Don’t use cars during the rut, unless they are tanks. My doc says I may have to leave North America, at least the part I inhabit – tornadoes and too much lighting.

    My pedantic heckling came to an abrupt halt on Mar 15 thanks to a tornado, but I’m back. In another 170 years my white oak woods might be back as well. At least the coffin makers were happy.

  5. Mark Crislip says:

    All food can be dangerous since everything we eat has a fine layer of stool on it; raw milk is at the right side of the curve.

    It is why I only eat fried food: thank goodness for fried ice cream and fried beer

  6. Mark P says:

    rorkon 20 Apr 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Raw milk tastes good.

    Well, particularly if you buy into the whole naturalistic fallacy. Personally I don’t like raw milk at all, because I know it is dangerous and that affects the way I perceive its taste. Others have the reverse effect: for many “organic” vegetables apparently taste better (except in blind tests, naturally).

    How many people drink significant amounts of straight milk? Most of it is used in cooking, coffee etc anyway, so the benefits are long gone.

    The raw milk faddists are seeking it out because they perceive it as “natural”. They aren’t doing it for culinary motives. Taste is therefore almost beside the point.

    They could drink ultra-filtrated milk, where all the bacteria is removed mechanically. But that would lose the magic that whole raw milk apparently brings.

  7. Quill says:

    I’m acquainted with many Hindus where I live. They often go out of the way to find raw milk. Several times I’ve had conversations with them that go something like this:

    Me: A lot of people seem to prefer buying raw milk.
    Acquaintance: Yes, we often prefer it because the homogenization tends to make it taste funny. I don’t understand why they’re trying to restrict access to it, though.
    M: A lot of people seem to get sick from drinking it.
    A: How odd! It’s so sattvic. [begins to laugh heartily] What are they doing, drinking it raw or something?
    M: Yes.
    A: [look of astonishment] Are they mad? Every one knows you must boil it for five to ten minutes before you drink it! Who are these people?
    M: Health food nuts.
    A: Well! They certainly aren’t going to be healthy if the drink raw uncooked milk!

    When I try to mention to people in Whole Foods the ancient wisdom of boiling raw milk (preferably with spices) before drinking they tell me that all that cooking makes it taste funny.

    Me, I like to know my milk has been pasteurized and homogenized. I also am a fan of The Arts of the Fryolator, believing with fanatical certainty the ancient wisdom that just about any food can be made to taste better by either adding bacon or frying it. (Doing both being the safest course.) :-)

  8. Lytrigian says:

    I wonder if the flavor thing is real. A blind taste-test would be interesting. For completeness it would have to include raw milk, pasteurized but unhomogenized milk, and regular supermarket whole milk. Would those who insist raw milk tastes better be able to tell the difference if they didn’t know what it was? If there really is a difference, is it the pasteurization or the homogenization? The latter can be dispensed with safely, but not the former.

  9. Mark Crislip says:

    There is only one brand of milk we drink (Darigold), we are convinced all the other taste odd, esp milk from a plastic jug. My wife, growing up an a Minn farm, is real picky about milk and butter taste.
    I have never have done a blind taste test, but I agree. Same with peanut butter: Jiff is best. And do not bother to argue :)

  10. Chris says:

    Oh, my word, Dr. Crislip. You are as bad as my husband. He used to think that water from certain faucets in the house tasted better than others!

    By the way, as kids get older and some move out, the need for milk goes down. So we have transitioned from going through four plastic gallon jugs to one or two half gallon cartons. Oldest child still at home does not like the carton milk, so we are getting a one gallon plastic jug. Every other week I make a batch of fluffy tapioca pudding with a recipe I have devised that uses six cups of milk and not as much sugar as the package.

  11. BillyJoe says:

    Mark: “My wife, growing up an a Minn farm, is real picky about milk and butter taste…I have never have done a blind taste test”

    You are a wise man.

    My wife once insisted that bottled water tasted better than tap water. I proved her wrong with a double blind test. We all laughed, but I could see my wife’s laughter was tinged with embarrassment and I wished I hadn’t done the test.

  12. Alia says:

    When I was a kid, we used to have friends who owned a farm and some cows. And we used to get raw milk from them – but my mom, who’s a nurse, would never let me drink it without boiling it first. I liked the taste, although I don’t miss it very much, now I only drink milk with my morning coffee.
    One thing about the taste – perhaps the reason is fat? If you drink skimmed milk all the time, raw milk that has not been skimmed surely tastes different – and possibly better?

  13. DevoutCatalyst says:

    Milk snobs, bah.

  14. lilady says:

    How can people be so dumb about raw milk/raw milk products and the risks of E. coli infections?

    I recall at outbreak of E. Coli infection in New York State, associated with unpasteurized “natural” apple cider. This outbreak and many others led to new legislation, that was actually promoted by apple growers groups, to tighten-up inspections in some states…and the total banning of the sale of unpasteurized apple cider in New York State.

    @ rork: “Is it safer to eat raw spinach than raw milk? How about bivalves? I’ve been known to eat raw fish, …..”

    I’m not “into” eating raw shellfish, but I would think I would stay away from warm waters oysters:

    (I recall, eons ago, that the local fishmongers would post a sign “Oysters ‘R’ in Season”…reminding shoppers that months that contained the letter ‘R’ were the “safe months” for raw oysters.

  15. AudreyII says:

    How can people be so dumb about raw milk/raw milk products and the risks of E. coli infections?

    Is that a serious question?

    Some don’t know about the risks – I didn’t until a year ago. Seriously! My grandparents had a farm and in my childhood I drank about half a litre of raw milk daily. We rarely boiled it (only to make cocoa), and none of us ever got ill from drinking milk (nor did I hear of any of my grandparents’ customers getting ill), so if you’d told me back then it was dangerous I would have laughed at you and called you a ‘townie’.

    Some know but think the risk isn’t very high or worth taking (and really, what is without risk? We’re taking risks every day, some necessary like getting out of the house to go to work, others unnecessary – smoking, drinking, riding a bike, ….)

    Then there are those who think that there isn’t actually any risk and that this is just some conspiracy to make sure people only drink homogenised milk.

    Today, my uncle (who took over the farm) doesn’t have dairy cows so we don’t have easy access to raw milk any more and buy homogenised instead, but I still think milk tastes best when it’s freshly milked and still a bit warm.

  16. Chris says:

    By the way, pasteurization and homogenization are two completely different things. You can have raw homogenized milk and you can also have pasteurized milk where the cream still floats to the top.

  17. Mojo says:

    Most of the time trying to test this fantasy is messy. There are a lot of diseases, but fewer symptoms. There are a lot of potential variations in fevers or headaches or sinusitis that result in choosing a homeopathic remedy being “individualized.” Despite being fantasy based, the enormous variation makes it hard to test one homeopathic cure for one illness or symptom. The wiggle room is enormous.

    The “wiggle room” is not really that big, because it is perfectly feasible to conduct RCTs of individualized homoeopathy. A systematic review of them has been published. The results are the same as for those that include RCTs of non-individualized homoeopathy: “the available randomized trials suggest that individualized homeopathy has an effect over placebo. The evidence, however, is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistencies”, and “when the analysis was restricted to the methodologically best trials no significant effect was seen.”

  18. MerColOzcopy says:

    I want to know how the hell that community Oregon Cow shit in the apple cider in New York?

    This is all a bunch of BS. We too grew up on raw milk…all the Vets and farmers with their face to the cows ass when shoulder deep extracting a calf…all the kids in 4H…or all the rodeo boys that fell face first into warm pie…never heard of E. coli poisoning.

    Wife and I just finished couple of liters of kefir made of raw milk. When I was milking her her crap was splatting all over the place. So far so good:))

    Chris your husband is right, water does taste different from different faucets. Moen water is better than Delta:)

  19. Deetee says:

    “Clinical comparative study on the influence of acupoint sticking therapy in dog days and in non-dog days to the quality of life of allergic rhinitis patients.”

    I assume “dog days” is a quaint colloquialism describing the high days of summer (presumably entailing higher risk of hayfever/allergies).

  20. Deetee says:

    @Mercolozcopy (“Wife and I just finished couple of liters of kefir made of raw milk. When I was milking her her crap was splatting all over the place. So far so good”)
    Could your wife not avail herself of the modern convenience known as the toilet?

  21. rork says:

    For the skeptics: it is easy to tell raw from pasteurized milk by the taste, just as it is easy to tell pasteurized from ultra-pasteurized (lots of organic stuff at ordinary stores). It’s about tasting burnt and less sweet (the later may be associated with time of year, diet and breed too though). Some people talk about creamy too, but I was used to partly skimmed milk (you want to make butter, and before skimming). I probably wouldn’t like super-greasy raw milk either – I don’t like 3.5% fat even.

    In a barbaric country where some people like sugar in their peanut butter (but sometimes can’t tell it’s there), and often can’t detect added vinegar in things (cause it’s so common), perhaps there is no point talking about taste.

  22. Lytrigian says:

    @MerColOzcopy — “Well, it worked for me!” says precisely nothing. However, your habit of making cultured products from your milk may help. AFAIK, at least some pathogens harmful to humans will also ruin yogurt and kefir and such.

    If you’re seriously trying to deny that there’s no e. coli in cow feces, and that it’s not harmful to at least some of the population, then there’s really nothing to say to you.

    @rork — So YOU say, but you always know what you’re tasting, don’t you? A blind test may well go otherwise. Even expert palates can be fooled by expectations, a phenomenon well-known in wine tasting. Expensive wines are routinely ranked higher than cheaper wines, but when information as to label and price are hidden the results are rather different. The same is even true of water. People love their bottled water, but they honestly can’t tell the difference from tap water if they don’t know where it came from. It’s all in the labeling.

  23. daijiyobu says:

    There’s an NCNM naturopath who wrote the book “The Untold Story of Raw Milk.”

    Sometimes I wonder how much illness that book may have caused /

    be causing.

    Is Oregon a really weird place and does it make people weird too?


  24. Mark P says:

    This is all a bunch of BS. We too grew up on raw milk…all the Vets and farmers with their face to the cows ass when shoulder deep extracting a calf…all the kids in 4H…or all the rodeo boys that fell face first into warm pie…never heard of E. coli poisoning.

    That you didn’t hear of it didn’t mean you didn’t get it! My mother-in-law didn’t get e coli poisoning, she got “summer sickness” from the unrefrigerated food she ate. Still made her sick though.

    Also farmers drink raw milk fresh, before it has time to breed the nasties. Townies who buy a little and then take it back are taking a much bigger risk.

  25. Chris says:


    Is Oregon a really weird place and does it make people weird too?

    Well, you are not allowed to pump your own gas there. We found that out when the person at the gas station ran out and told us to not touch the nozzle.

    Apparently it also is full of creatures like Blutbaden (werewolf) and other weird critters. Plus they dream of the 1990s.

    But I live about 180 miles to the north, and it is fairly weird here too. Except we can pump our own gas, and just have a plague of self proclaimed “real life superheroes” (long story, just google “phoenix jones”).

    At least the beer and wine are good in both cities.

  26. MerColOzcopy says:

    Do not fear all Bovine Coprophobs, I am sure some where someone is working on a vaccine right now so we all will be able to some day enjoy a cool refreshing “E coli 0157 milk shakes” :))

  27. Chris says:

    Bacteria are much more complex than viruses. There is a reason why there is no vaccine for strep throat (which is same bug for Scarlet Fever), and why even getting pertussis does not keep you immune forever.

    My stepmother got undulant fever (brucellosis) by drinking raw milk, which was common in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It took at least three months to recover. Yes, fire is good. Use it wisely to kill germs.

    MerColOzcopy, just because you were lucky does not mean others are not. And the article above starts out with an outbreak of disease from raw milk. Yes, only one percent get sick… but how long before you become one out of a hundred?

    And as noted by Deetee noted: “Could your wife not avail herself of the modern convenience known as the toilet?” Dude, seriously, you need to find a good plumber.

  28. MerColOzcopy says:

    How many years ago was that? Sure it wasn’t from goat cheese?
    “Could your wife not avail herself of the modern convenience known as the toilet?” What the hell are you two referring too?

  29. weing says:

    “Wife and I just finished couple of liters of kefir made of raw milk. When I was milking her her crap was splatting all over the place. So far so good:))”

    Weird. Does your wife always do that when you milk her?

  30. DugganSC says:

    I’ll weigh in with the others that you’re not going to get much traction on the people drinking raw milk when the risks are so low. People know that tanning is guaranteed to raise their chances of skin cancer and yet they do it. They know smoking increases the chances of lung cancer and other nasty diseases and they do it. Every year, kids set themselves on fire, knowing it’s a bad idea. People engage in sex with strangers knowing that even a properly used condom gives them a decent chance of picking up a disease. Something which has a 1% chance of causing an illness when done incorrectly isn’t even going to register on the radar.

  31. mousethatroared says:

    @Lytrigianon you don’t think that paturization changes the taste of milk? There’s a perfectly good reason why it would. The heat carmelizes the sugars. I’ve read multiple folks say that ultra-paturizaed milks taste sweeter than regular paturization. Why assume the tastes are the same when there is a perfectly logical reason to think they may be different?

  32. mousethatroared says:

    DugganSC – My take, sure the risk may be low, but food poisoning is miserable and what’s the real pay off (casual sex and continuing a smoking addiction have much more obvious pay-offs) To go to a large degree of trouble to buy raw milk when one can buy excellent local paturizaed milk much more easily? I don’t get it, personally.

  33. Calli Arcale says:

    I think mousethatroared nailed it. Raw milk may taste different from pasteurized or homogenized milk, but not *that* much different. It doesn’t seem worth the risk. I use pasteurized eggs to make my eggnog for the same reason; the risk of salmonella is small, but not negligible. Yeah, pasteurized eggs are goopier, and so they handle a bit differently when you use them. It’s not that big of a difference. And when I make buttercream, I always cook it enough to pasteurize the eggs.

    Mind you, there *is* an alternative: irradiated milk! That should wipe out the nasties while leaving flavor completely undamaged. But I rather suspect that will be a tough sell to the raw milk crowd….

  34. mousethatroared says:

    @Calli – it appears the Canadian’s also have a process called microfiltration for milk. I don’t know much about it…if it’s equal in sterility to pasteurized, taste, etc.

    I could nip across the border for a taste comparison, but my passport just expired (drat).

  35. Chris says:

    Also, food poisoning can have long lasting effects.

  36. Lytrigian says:

    I don’t know that pasteurized and/or homogenized milk tastes any different from raw milk. There are lots of good reasons why either might alter the taste, but knowing reasons is different from knowing the thing itself.

    My point is that no one here knows for sure either, because you never taste the milk blind, and it’s well-established that knowing what you’re tasting can affect your perception of the taste.

    Time to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know, and maybe do something to actually find out.

  37. mousethatroared says:

    Lytrgian – what like googling “paturization milk blind taste test”? Which I did before commenting.;jsessionid=36F3A6E78292E81F40AC151E2870CEAC

    … a study where people decern a flavor difference between paturized and UHT milk, just as Rork stated.

    also, when it come to homogenized vs non-homogenized milk, lumps floating around in your milk are a pretty obvious give away, you think that you are really going to be able to blind that?

  38. cloudskimmer says:

    DugganSC: People do smoke, become overweight, drink raw milk, go to tanning salons; others avoid these behaviors, knowing the risks and unwilling to take them in exchange for minimal payoff. [What kids set themselves on fire?] Almost all of my friends and colleagues don’t smoke, in part because we know of the adverse health effects, and also because it’s filthy; smokers smell horrible. I’d hope that readers of this blog would strive for consistency and apply rational criteria to these choices. It’s something to work on, though we all indulge in contradictory behavior.

    How do calves handle the udder contamination? They just go in and put their mouth right on the udder and drink; aren’t they affected by E. coli? It seems that if it were a problem for them, natural selection would’ve caused the udder to be located farther from the rectum, but many animals have nipples located closer, while in humans it is farther away. Are humans the only animals with a problem with E. coli bacteria?

    Many years ago there was speculation that homogenization caused arterial plaque because breaking down the fats in milk into smaller particles allowed them to go into the bloodstream where they deposit on the arterial walls. It was suggested that it would be healthier to shake the milk to mix in the fat before drinking. I don’t have any sources–it was too long ago, but is there any truth to this?

    As far as taste is concerned, fat seems most important; non-fat never tastes as good as 4%. Also, don’t people lose taste buds as they age? Nothing you eat as an adult ever tastes as good as when you were a kid. Perhaps that has something to do with people remembering how good raw milk tasted when they were young, along with happy associations of visiting grandparents on a family farm. All of these emotional factors would make milk from a carton pale by comparison.

  39. Scott says:

    As far as taste is concerned, fat seems most important; non-fat never tastes as good as 4%.

    This is purely subjective, though. I grew up drinking skim, and find even 1% utterly revolting. (Unless it’s also chocolate.)

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