Nov 082013


‘Milk of Death’ is the rather unaffectionate nickname my husband has allocated to the bottle of raw milk he discovered in our fridge.

Modbury Farm, a local dairy where I purchased it from, has more positive things to say!

Raw milk is said to have many benefits to your health such as:

  • beneficial bacteria is contained within raw milk that is destroyed when it undergoes the pasteurisation process.
  • a high level of Omega 3 which is good for your heart.
  • It also tastes great with a rich and full bodied flavour.

It is basically unprocessed – straight from the cow – which fits into my ‘eat simple and with thought’ ethos. It comes with many health benefits, but having avoided the usual safety measures of the pasteurisation process it does also carry some risks.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and other official health bodies warn against the consumption of raw milk. I noticed on the bottle I purchased that it has to carry a cigarette-style health warning, and though most experts agree that it has nutritional benefits, many argue that the risks of drinking unpasteurised milk outweigh them. The official line is that pasteurisation might destroy a few vitamins, but it also destroys harmful – even potentially fatal – bacteria such as listeria, salmonella and E coli.

Due to the risks mentioned, I don’t advise anyone else to drink it, but with the research I’ve taken on board I personally feel happy to try it. I’m curious to find out what a difference the pasturisation process can make to a product that we generally feel is ‘natural’ and ‘unprocessed’.

Now, this is a strange thing for me to take on because I don’t actually like milk, or dairy food in general, but I do enjoy a really good flat white coffee. I don’t know how this happened as five years ago I would have only drunk espresso, but I guess I got sucked in with the fashion for sipping on milky lattes and frothy cappuccinos. I want to find an alternative milk for my coffee; I want to find something more palatable, but more importantly something that’ll offer better nutritional benefit and doesn’t have such a hidden dark side in terms of animal welfare. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that a cow must be kept in calf to keep producing milk.

I struggle with dairy in all sorts of ways and I don’t really want to be a part of it, unless of course I can feel happy with the whole picture. I don’t really want to be needlessly omitting things from my diet which is why I’m looking for a better option. On visiting Modbury Farm and briefly meeting the owners and the handsome small herd of jersey cows, I was blown away by what I saw – they clearly have the cow’s welfare in mind and not just for financial reasons.

If you want to read more about Modbury farm, their raw milk and jersey herd you can visit

I took my carton of raw milk to Amid Giants and Idols (my very favourite very independent and artisan coffee shop) today and we had great fun doing a private testing session. With the UK’s #11 barista making the coffee, you know it’s always going to taste good! But would I know which was raw and which was pasteurised? Would it affect the flavour of the coffee?

It was surprisingly easy to tell the difference. The raw milk does indeed have a distinctive flavour and is noticeably sweeter and creamier than the pasteurised whole milk. I didn’t like it. The others loved it.

Rob will no doubt be pleased to hear that there’ll be no more Milk of Death lurking in our fridge, but I will be back to Modbury to purchase the pasteurised milk from their happy jersey cows.

I will try some of the nut milks next, and have also been given the nod towards goats milk. Just the idea of it throws my stomach, but I will give it a go. I’ve been assured that after two cups of tea I wont remember the difference. We’ll have to see.

For more info on Amid Giants and Idols coffee house in Lyme Regis please visit I can’t tell you how good their coffee is – you’ll just have to try it!

For more info on suppliers of raw milk you can check out Long-held safety concerns over pathogens found in unpasteurised milk mean that it is banned in Scotland, and banned from shops and supermarkets in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. But producers can sell directly to local consumers through farm shops, farmers’ markets and deliveries.


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