Thanks Louie

Louis Pasteur was a great man and he showed us the way to a safer food supply.

My grandpa Hugh, a fine man and great American, hand milked his cows on the farm in Iowa and then separated milk from cream in his separator shed and put the milk and cream in clean closed containers in a cooler for transport to town to the cooperative creamery for pasteurization before distribution under the coop’s label. We many grandchildren would follow along and watch. I admit I never learned how to hand milk a cow, clearly a deficit in my education and development.

That’s because our friend Louie P discovered pasteurization, a short heat treatment of dairy products to kill the bugs and parasites. The raw milk nuts think the heat treatment takes away some nutritional magic, but mostly they suffer from being goofy. What they are liking is that raw milk has a higher fat content than processed milk, so it tastes richer.

The only other parallel food safety treatment that is really effective is radiation treatment that is resisted by the Luddites, but is particularly helpful to make meats and produce safe.

A run through a radiation treatment doesn’t make the foodstuffs toxic or radioactive, and makes the food and the packaging on the other side bug free.

Got this today from the American Council on Science and Health. Report from Minnesota on the potential problems of raw milk. Minnesota is heavy into milk production, a hard and demanding sector of agriculture, particularly now that they milk 3 times a day.

And some general discussions from the FDA about irradiation.

In the case of both of these approaches, there are people who don’t understand science and the make up of foodstuffs so they are afraid, but they are also true believers who are hung up on “natural” and “organic” and are always talking about eating and living healthy. Food fetishes and anxiety are part of the neurotic profile of fussy concerns about nutrition. Sort of an obsessive/compulsive/control thing.

Remind you a little of the anxiety attacks people have about genetic modification, this nonsense of going back to the days before Louie?

21 responses to “Thanks Louie

  1. There is a third approach: use fresh milk from the cow you know. My children were raised on milk from half-a-dozen cows in total. We always had it raw or made yoghurt and other dairy products from it. If it did turn sour (on the third day or so, entirely on its own), it did so in a delicious sort of way.

    Unfortunately, this option is not available in industrialised societies. Keeping one or two cows in a household is very inefficient and only poor people can afford it. On a larger farm, with 100 cows or more, the risk of contagion is unacceptable, especially when milk from multiple cows is pooled and is subject to multiple transfers.

    • It’s true. My Father had 5 to 7 cows that we milked by hand twice daily. We did not pasteurize, but the milk was clean and so were the cows. In today’s government subsidized mega dairy’s, Pasteurizing is absolutely necessary.

      • Grandparents: cow milk, cream and goat milk. Yummy. They sold it to a couple of neighbors too. But most of the cow milk went off to be pasteurized and Grandma scalded the hell out of every milk can and every dish. Regulation will always have an element of control and people will always want to personalize it and then apply their sense of control to everyone. Science and a minimum of regulation are natural partners. Junkscience and a police state are also natural partners.

  2. If you start looking at the various aspects of liberalism through the prism of eugenics a lot of things start to make a disturbing sense. Pasteurized milk saves lives. GM crops, DDT, large scale agriculture all save lives and prevent mass starvation. The same is true for Salt and preservatives. Mechanically separated meat might not be as tasty but greatly increases the number of people that can be fed by one cow. It’s always the cheapest, most readily available foods that are targeted as “unhealthy”. Any new technology that promises to feed more people for less money is instantly attacked. The sad fact is the activist want people to die. They rail on about limited resources when advocating for population limiting practices such as free birth control, or Planned Parenthood offices (which are never in the well-to-do neighborhoods), but any attempt to increase the amount of resources available, or to utilize them more efficiently is rejected.

    • There is a vegetarian angle as well – trying to get us to eat bird food (grain) instead of meat by claiming unhealthiness. You would shocked to know srearic acid – the prime component of large is a strong cholesterol reducer! So why are we giving up animal fats again. You look at sights on the Internet and see lots of hemming and hawing.

  3. Anyone want to guess what Pasteur added to life expectancy?

    • “The sad fact is [that] the activist[s] want people to die.”


      Wish I could find a cite, but this appeared in print before Al Gore invented the Internet. If one of you has a Lexus-Nexus account, maybe you can help me out:

      Sometime in, I think it was the early Nineties, there was an environmentalist conference — don’t know where — in which it was stated that ninety percent of Earth’s human population needs to die in order to save the planet.

      So, yes — billions of humans dead is exactly what they want.

    • That’s a tricky one. The direct effect of preventing illness probably did a lot. According to Wilson, G. S. (1943), “The Pasteurization of Milk”, between 1912 and 1937 some 65,000 people died of tuberculosis contracted from consuming milk in England and Wales alone. However, I think the effect of making milk last longer probably did much more. How many people simply couldn’t get milk if it only lasted 3 to 4 days before spoiling? Even if the health benefits are real Raw milk doesn’t do you any good if it spoils before it arrives.

  4. I’m an escaped farm boy and even spent a couple three years in a packing house. I’m amazed by the folks who seem to want to go back to the lower-yield, harder to raise, less nutritious foods. I guess I should be surprised at the luddites who want nothing to do with radiation.

    Speaking of radiation, banana’s anyone?

    • I tried the irradiated meats some years ago, when they made a brief appearance in grocery stores…did not taste so good. Didn’t hurt me.

  5. Irradiated food would save lives and money.
    Too bad the people that claim they are the scientific ones are so afraid of what they do not understand.
    And there is so much they do not understand.

  6. It is important to remember how Pasteur was first treated by the science establishment.
    The “scientific consensus” ridiculed and attacked him.
    And untold millions would have died if he didn’t prove the consensus wrong.
    That would never happen today…….

  7. Imagine, referencing the comment above about taste, that blind taste tests might reveal that irradiation doesn’t change the taste, but if one is eating “irradiated” food it might be food that was from a less tasty source.

    Irradiation might kill bugs but it doesn’t denature the food as far as I know.

    If the tissue was living, reproduction of cells would be damaged big time, but its inert dead protein/fat/carbo and i would suspect the taste thing might have been caused by other factors, even the difficulty in ignoring that the food was nuked.

  8. Irradiation retards what’s in the food from growing, slowing spoilage. However, it doesn’t do anything for post irradiation contamination.
    I don’t think you can distinquish between non-irradiated food and irradiated food by taset. A lot of foods are treated to remove contamination.

    • In order to prevent post irradiation contamination the food is hermetically sealed in special plastics. I’d bet that process has more to do with the taste than the radiation itself. I agree that if you did a double-blind taste test with pieces of prime beef cut from the same steak people couldn’t pick out the irradiated food, but I can’t find if that study has been done so I’m admittedly guessing. Regardless it seems a bit unfair to compare fresh food to food treated and packaged for long term storage. The argument against irradiation isn’t that it tastes funny. People claiming that some kind of food or another is dangerous or ephemerally “bad for you”, should do their scientific studies against a control group that doesn’t eat at all. If it causes you to get sick or die faster than starving, I’ll concede that it’s bad for you. Other than that, it’s all relative. Technologies that allow food to be stored longer and transported further save lives. Few things bother me more than well-fed morons looking down their noses at the world’s hungry and saying “you can’t eat this, it’s bad for you.”

      • “Few things bother me more than well-fed morons looking down their noses at the world’s hungry and saying “you can’t eat this, it’s bad for you.”

        …a well-stated point after my own heart….

  9. Excellent point about the big picture.

    Julian Simon, ag historian who morphed into an economic historian of great accomplishments, pointed out how in the 20th century, thanks to people like Borlaug we produced enough so that every one could have an adequate calorie intake on the planet. Famines were caused by distribution problems, and one of the great distribution problems is spoilage and loss during transport/storage.

    Thanks for that good point above about packaging, and the negative taste effects of packaging and delayed consumption that clearly could be the main consideration for taste.

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