I also grew up on raw milk. Not for any particular reason, but we lived pretty rural and it was cheaper to buy the milk directly from the farmer down the road. No one I know ever got sick from it and frankly I didn't even know that it was much of a concern before I read about all the "raw milk scandals" in the paper.
A few things to consider:
- if you buy directly from a farm the milk will not be homogenized. Milk directly from a cow (or other animal) contains more fat that what you buy as whole milk at the store. The higher fat content can cause some digestive issues, if you drink a lot and are not used to it.
- it is not homogenized, so after it stands for a few hours the cream will rise to the top. You can skim that off for whipping cream or shake the bottle to redistribute. As kids we would dip our fingers in the cream do get as much as possible it of the can :)
- it contains a lot of live, active cells and yes, bacteria. It is not as shelf stable as commercial milk, even in the fridge. If I remember correctly it will turn sour after 2-3 days tops.
When I was young, after it turned sour, we would leave it out on the counter at room temp to make sort of a natural yogurt "thick milk" or clabber. It was a favorite treat served with cinnamon and sugar.
One of the approaches you can consider, instead of "making the switch" just add it to your diet occasionally and see if you even like it.
Personally I don't go hunting for it in Seattle, but when I go home, we still get it and everyone in my family will drink it from the youngest kids to the grandparents... including my daughter.