How we pasteurize our milk

Our milk is pasteurized in a low-temperature (146°) vat pasteurizer, held at this temperature for 30 minutes and then cooled to 40 degrees, or lower, before it is bottled, in order to protect the flavor. This is different from the large industry standard of High Temperature/Short Time (HTST) or Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) pasteurization.

While the vat pasteurization process is slower, we feel it’s worth it to our customers to take the extra time to preserve the rich old-fashioned flavor and increased health benefits.

Raw milk

We get lots of requests to sell raw milk. We don’t sell raw milk. Although we believe our herd management is the best, complete with a nutritionist and a visit from the cow doctor every three weeks, we think it is best to pasteurize our products.

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms .

Research shows no meaningful difference in the nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk contains low levels of the type of nonpathogenic bacteria that can cause food spoilage, so storing your pasteurized milk in the refrigerator is still important.

Raw Milk & Pasteurization: Debunking Milk Myths

While pasteurization has helped provide safe, nutrient-rich milk and cheese for over 120 years, some people continue to believe that pasteurization harms milk and that raw milk is a safe healthier alternative.

Here are some common myths and proven facts about milk and pasteurization:

  • Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
  • Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time, particularly after it has been opened.
  • Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pasteurization DOES save lives.
  • Many of our customers tell us that they buy our milk because it tastes so wonderful.
  • Our pasteurization method is the reason!


Don’t confuse pasteurization with homogenization. Homogenization is a process whereby the cream globules, which are naturally present in milk, are made much smaller – that causes them to stay in solution with the rest of the milk.  All of our whole, 2%, and skim milk is homogenized.

However, we do offer a non-homogenized whole milk product.  Because it is not homogenized, our cream rises to the top of the container – just like the old days.


Free Speech and Bovine Growth Hormones

Having spent most of my life in the retail end of the dairy business, I have learned one very important lesson: It’s that if you don’t listen to your customers, you will soon be holding an auction.

So we at Shaw Farm listen to our customers, and answer their questions in a truthful and honest way. We do this because we appreciate them, and we know that without them we are all out of work. We also do it for another reason.

We think people have a right to know how their food was made.

Some time ago, the use of artificial growth hormones began in the dairy industry. For a number of reasons, most importantly concerns over the impact on food, we at Shaw Farm made a choice to not treat our cows with this product. We also thought our cows were doing a pretty good job of producing a high volume of quality milk, and shouldn’t be asked to do more.

As it became public knowledge through media that artificial growth hormones were being used, some consumers began to react. Some mothers wanted to know just how the food going in their child’s mouth was being produced. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided that BST was just fine, no disclosure if its use was required on milk labels. So in the market place these concerned Mothers began to demand answers.

Now I always thought that if consumers wanted to know something I ought to be able to tell them. Because I can’t be at our farm store every minute of every day, or in the other wonderful farm stores that sell our milk, it seemed to make sense that proactively disclosing that we do not use artificial growth hormones was the thing to do. In giving the consumers this information, we have never questioned the science involved, or made negative statements about the milk products that are produced with the use of these growth hormones. We have labeled our products with the “no artificial growth hormones used” statement.

Not long ago I was informed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that the disclosure was not permitted. Also, they suggest that if we wanted to continue to tell our customers, through our label, that we did not use artificial growth hormones, we must also tell them that artificial growth hormones are just fine. “No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST treated and non- r BST treated cows” is the language that they would require.

Earth to FDA: We never said there was a difference. All we have attempted to do is give the consumers the answers they want. When did you get the power to take away my right of free speech?

This rant on my part is more about questionable government practices (US FDA) than it is about artificial growth hormones.

It makes me wonder who these folks represent. If they want consumers to know that they believe Artificial growth hormone use is OK, why don’t they have the folks that use it put it on their label?

Why don’t they put out a consumer advisory telling consumers their logic?

Why do they want to make it difficult for consumers to learn the simple truth?

*Government always works best when people ask questions. If you agree that something is wrong with this picture, call your Congressman or US Senator and ask them to look into these questionable practices.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

– Warren Shaw