Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Raw milk gets a raw deal

Raw milk for saleSometimes local media, well, grinds my crackers.

Back in 2005, in the Pacific NW, there was an E. coli outbreak in people who had drank (drunk?) raw milk from a local producer. The health impact for these people was serious and a number of people were hospitalized. Last week, the owners of the dairy that sold the tainted milk pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle to the charge of distributing adulterated food.

Yesterday's front page news in a major Seattle paper went on to discuss whether or not the legalization of raw milk in the state of Washington should continue.

Now, let's back up for a moment and look at some of the facts. First of all, the milk sold was from a dairy that was not licensed to sell raw milk. In their plea agreements, the owners acknowledged that "the milk was prepared, packed or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health."

Can you cannibalize a whole "industry" based on an incidence by an unlicensed producer? That's like making dental surgery illegal in the state because a number of people sought dental care from an unlicensed dentist and were harmed because of it.

I, for one, have never had raw milk so I cannot speak to its deliciousness or otherwise friendly virtues. The argument for it is that high heat processing (aka pasteurization) kills off a bunch of nutrients so drinking milk in its more natural state is better. There is also the claim that those people who are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk because it still has the lactose-digesting Lactobacilli bacteria intact.

Drink my moolkThe CDC reports that in the last ten years, there were only 39 outbreaks nationwide in which raw milk or cheese made from it were implicated. Of those outbreaks, about 830 people fell ill, 66 were hospitalized and one died. Doug Powell, the scientific director for the International Food Safety Network, states that "the numbers of illnesses from outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk are not that high."

Also, I do believe that banning something does not remove the demand for it. Driving a product underground does no one any favors. Allowing it, with licensing, regulations and testing, provides that at least some semblance of quality control is adhered.

Washington state law requires that all raw milk carry the following warning: "This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria. Pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance have the highest risk of harm from use of this product."

One of the issues for many people is the idea that parents will purchase this product and give it to their children, thereby endangering them. But, is this reason enough to ban it?

What's your opinion on raw milk?


From the lion's mouth said...

Of course it's not!

Parents could buy gin and cigarettes and feed those to their kids, with a side-serving of under-cooked pork.

They could buy power tools and leave them lying round the house for kids to play with.

They could let their kids run with scissors.

And yet I don't see anyone calling for gin, cigarettes, pork, power tools or scissors to be banned.

ruchi said...

I personally don't drink raw milk because I've weighed the pros and cons for myself, and I've decided that I'd rather play it safe and continue to drink pasteurized milk.

The only thing about the raw milk is, I assume those numbers of outbreaks etc are low in part because very few people drink raw milk. The real question is, what percentage of people who drink raw milk get sick every year?

In any case, it's a decision I'm only comfortable making for myself. I'm not comfortable with the government making it illegal. I think that people should have the legal option to drink raw milk. But if there were certain precautions the government wanted to take, or stringent rules or safety standards, I don't think I would oppose those as long as they weren't making it too difficult for small dairies to operate.

Robj98168 said...

I dont drink raw milk because my milk come from a guy who drives a step van. But my aunt and uncle drank milk from their own dairy cows for 40 years... I never liked the taste of fresh raw whole milk too rich or something, probably why i don't like buttermilk...course they are both dead now... from extreme old age not from drinking milk
AND in the spirit of George Carlin- people with their banning shit pisses me off

Candace said...

Like the person above me - I have family members who operated a small-scale family-run dairy farm for as long as I can remember, and the milk we would have at their house came fresh from the cows.

The thing that gets me about most raw-milk aversion is that it is a product of the industrialisation of agriculture more than anything. For how long in history did people have their own cows, and drink their own cows' milk? (and not die from it!)

Raw milk has become "unsafe" because cows themselves are perhaps less healthy than they were before: corn-fed instead of grass-fed, for example, and given artificial drugs and hormones. Not to mention that the hyper-sterilisation of our environments have made a lot of people succeptible to allergies and illnesses that they haven't developed natural immunities to. Perhaps drinking raw milk after so long of pasteurised puts a person at a higher risk for this - but it doesn't mean the milk itself is by default "unsafe".

I've never gotten sick from raw-milk, and I would drink it again anytime - as long as I knew a bit about the farm and farmer it came from.

Hannah said...

We drink raw milk (and eat raw cheese and yogurt and kefir as well) from an Amish farm that we've had the chance to visit. The difference between supporting a truly small family farm where we can go and get to know the cows that feed us and supporting a corporation is incredible.

Anonymous said...

I have had some really tasty raw milk cheeses...but not the milk straight.
I wouldn't feed it to my kids(on most days) or my pregnant friends, but certainly can't imagine it needs to be banned. Why not ban hamburgers then? Or tomatoes and spinach? There was an article in Harpers a few months back about how Canadian raw milk dealers are not only being kicked out of business but prosecuted to boot. Scary stuff. As you it fair to punish all people for the unsafe practices of a handful?(In fact...I'm picking up a shipment of raw cheese from upstate NY with my CSA order tonight. I'll let you know if I die.)

Anonymous said...

I think we should ban tomatoes because some people got sick from them. I also think we should ban cars becuase some people get into accidentsd and DIE. I think we should ban water because, well, you could drown in it.

Come on people! This is rediculous!

I agree with crunchy that driving these raw mil people underground is not going to do any one ant good. I'm all for licensing.

EcoBurban said...

No, you can't just go a round willy-nilly banning things. People are aware of the risks, and they choose to play roulette, that's their business. We don't drink raw milk, though we do get some organic cheese made with raw milk. However, they get around the raw milk issue by aging the cheese a certain length of time, which kills all bad bacteria. The raw milk suppliers in our area do follow proper labeling and packaging procedures, so I really don't see a problem with it. It's not like you're going to drink it by accident!

hmd said...

We've had a membership at a raw milk dairy since March. I absolutely love their milk and cheese. Is it because it's raw or fresh, I don't know. So far we've had no problems. I really like the idea of supporting a family, local farm. They are licensed, we've visited the farm and have a relationship with the family. With milk, for us, it's like anything else we put in our bodies, we trust our supplier.

P.S. The light cream in our milk rises to the top and you're supposed to shake it up before you pour it in your glass/bowl - I like the cream best (he he) so I just pour it right out.

Anonymous said...

Raw dairy is awesome! It's the only form of dairy my kids and I can handle without getting sick. Yes, I feed it to my kids- two of the healthiest beings I've ever met. However, raw milk is illegal where we now live, but we can get raw cheese. We consume about 8 oz every week or two. We've been using raw dairy for nearly three years now.

I think the number of people consuming raw dairy is higher than most people think. Many families with cows or goats consume the milk without ever processing it. My husband's mother would be the first to tell a person that her boys were raised on raw dairy from the time they could hold a bottle (the horror!) because they received the milk free from hubby's aunt. Which brings up another set of raw milk drinkers: the aunt, uncle and their kids still drink raw milk from their cows and his aunt and uncle are now in their 70's & 80's, though you wouldn't know it because they look like maybe they're pushing 60. Whatever they're doing, I'd be happy to emulate it so that I look that good at 80.

An individual should be able to do things at whatever risk to them self. It makes natural selection more interesting. If you can make a choice to get into a car everyday (in the U.S. it kills the equivalent of a full 747 you can make the choice to consume whatever food product you want, at your own risk.

Anonymous said...

Both of my parents grew up on family dairy farms, and they think this whole raw milk craze is crazy. They've said that if most people visited large dairies, the way most milk is produced now, they'd never drink milk.
However, I also believe that making something illegal will not decrease the demand for it (abortion, cloning, etc.), so I think safety regulations are important.
Here's an option: everybody get your own cow. Then you can drink her milk however you want it.

Unknown said...

I agree - prohibition of a product is not the way to go. I don't buy or drink raw milk, but I also don't drink pasterized milk (I only use milk for cooking & baking). However, I do buy eggs from a local Amish family, along with butter that is made from raw milk. I think if the farm is licensed (and therefore has regular inspections) then there is no reason to ban raw milk for the minority who want to use it.

Segwyne said...

Tomatoes and spinach have both recently made folks sick with E. coli, so we had better ban them, too. As for milk, I refuse to let my kids drink anything else. I drank it all through my last pregnancy and it was the easiest of them all. Raw milk sales are legal in my state, but only directly from the farmer. Pasteurization came around to prevent milk from spoiling when it was shipped in unrefrigerated trucks into the city back in the early days. Brianglass posted a great video about raw milk yesterday at . I just want the gov't to stop interfering in my food. Which leads back to local food sheds.

Anonymous said...

Your parents are right -- and wrong. Pasteurization gives large dairies free-license to be unsanitary, because the bacteria will be killed in processing. Raw Milk dairies do not have that luxury, and are very, very clean. We have several near us, we have visited them and we drink their milk. I drank the milk during pregnancy, and my child drinks it too. The doctor says he has a remarkable immune system, and in two years he has only been sick once. I attribute some of it to genes, some of it to breastfeeding until he turned two, some of it to good diet, and yes, some of it to the fabulous gut-enhancing milk he gets.

Pasteurization began in the 1920s because large dairies in cities were so unsanitary the milk began to kill children. Scientists pushed for cleaner standards, but Big Industry lobbied for pasteurization so they could continue to do think the dirty way. Guess who won? Just like they have lobbied to use antibiotics and feed-additives like arsenic so that they can keep our meat animals in crowded, unsanitary conditions.

Produced responsibly, raw milk is not dangerous. The spinach and tomatoes you eat from the market are more likely to kill you these days.

Another note: think your organic milk has no hormones? Think again. The milk from holsteins (which is what most of the big organic companies use) has very high levels of growth hormone from the pituitary gland because they were unnaturally bred to produce so much more milk than any other cow before them. That is why the FDA can get away with saying that added growth hormones do not make a substantial difference in your milk: a lot of the hormones are ALREADY there. Most small organic or raw milk dairies use jersey or guernsey cows, which are the traditional milk cow and do not have elevated hormone levels.

I'm not saying raw milk is for everyone, but certainly am suggesting that everyone support small local dairies whenever possible :)

Anonymous said...

We drink raw milk in our family, even the (gasp) kids. I love it, and hope to never go back. There were several reasons for our switch. I am mildly lactose intolerant, but LOVE milk. I can drink raw milk without ill effects. I wasn't able to breastfeed my 3 year old as an infant, and as a consequence, she has LOTS of winter illnesses. After we started raw milk, that came to a quick halt - I think she had maybe one mild cold this past winter compared to 10 bouts with various things (bronchitis, ear infections, etc) the year before. I also like to support local agriculture, and farmers directly. We get our milk as part of an LLC herdshare, so the money goes directly to the farmers.
Now, that being said, before we started drinking their milk, I had known these farmers for years (previously, they had sold pastuerized yogurt through local groceries), had worked with them when I worked for a different farm, and i went out an met the cows and inspected the milking and bottling facility. I think I'm fairly qualified to determine if it's clean enough, having gone through the Purdue Food Plant Pest Management program.
Anyway, I'm on the raw milk bandwagon, evidenced by my interview in Time a few weeks back,and my position on the board of my LLC. :-)
It all boils down to research and personal choice. Would I buy raw milk from someone I didn't know? Absolutely not. But at this stage of my life, I wouldn't buy eggs, meat, or produce from someone I didn't know, either.
As my husband is fond of saying - "there's no need to pastuerize the milk if it has no pathogens." It's only when the product is unsanitary to begin with that pastuerisation is required to prevent an outbreak. And dirty food should be unacceptable, even if it has been pastuerized.

maryann said...

I don't drink it but don't see the point in banning it. I think a lot of the ideas these people come up with for banning things is just due to ignorance.

Sonnjea said...

My husband and I drink raw milk and have been participating in the current fight to keep raw milk legal in the state of California, where we live.

What about the people who have fallen ill or died as a result of tainted spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, fast food burgers... Shall we outlaw those products as well?

(Recently found your blog thanks to blogs of note -- I'm jumping on the Liquid Gold bandwagon and seriously considering the Diva Cup! Thanks for all the info).

Wendy said...

Regulations haven't prevented contaminated meat or produce from reaching the masses, which is why I don't buy supermarket beef or produce.

Likewise, I wouldn't buy raw milk from my local, big-chain grocery store - for the same reason. The government CAN NOT regulate sanitation in the larger facilities. There's just too much that can go wrong.

But I do buy raw milk from a local dairy farmer, whose farm I visit on a weekly basis. I've seen the farm, I've seen the set-up, I met his children and his parents, and I've looked him the face when he sold me the milk. That's all the regulation I need.

But if I were that worried about it, I could bring the milk home, heat it to 145°, and then drop it into a sink of ice water, before I put it back into my refrigerator. That would pasteurize it - at least as much as it would be pasteurized in a big facility.

I just wish the government would stop sticking its dirty fingers in my food.

scifichick said...

I am trying to figure out how to get raw milk in my area. I found a buying club, but the fee is $15 a week, plus the cost of milk. I just don't think I can afford it. I have very warm memories of drinking raw milk when I was much younger. During the summer we would live at my grandparents in the country, and their neighbours had a cow. We started getting milk from them when my nephew was little. We wanted him to drink raw milk so he would be healthier. No one thought about it twice. We would get a small container of milk and then fight who can sneak few sips out of the newphew's cup. I loved it. Specially while it was still warm from the cow. Somehow it just wasn't the same after it's been refrigerated.

Connie said...

We've been drinking raw milk for the last several months. I'm there when the cow is milked and even do some of the milking. I once pasturized because after days of rain we had some trouble keeping as clean as I'd have liked.

Someone with time and inclination should do some research on why the dairy industry is sooo regulated. It's bizarre.

The differance comes down to big agra-business verses the small farmer. It seems clear to me that agri-business does not have the best interest of the consumer at heart and therefore must be banned.

By the way can you post more about the DIVA cup challenge. Now that I'm peeing in a bucket everyday I'm not so squeemish about the DIVA cup but can't find the mama size.

Anonymous said...

What we ought to be outlawing is keeping animals in confinement operations, which causes large concentrations of fecal matter to be stored, which is how you get e. coli in the water they wash spinach in (and maybe the water your drink).

Farms should be required to compost manure, not stored in liquid form - and raw milk suppliers should be legal and occasionally inspected for cleanliness and safety, just like other food handlers.

Of course the FDA recently admitted that if they work with the staff they currently have, it would take them more than a thousand years to complete all the inspections they are already supposed to be doing.

Lynnet said...

I wonder how many people get sick from pasteurized milk and dairy products,
bought at the store? I'm sure percentage-wise it is at least as high as for raw milk products.

In Colorado we have the cow-share dairies; we have to become part owner of the herd, then we can take home the milk for a "handling fee". The raw milk dairies have strict protocols on testing the milk and veterinarian visits to the cows, as well as cleanliness around the dairy.

Our largest local raw-milk dairy is run by two veterinarians. The milk is just marvelous. They also make wonderful cheeses both aged and fresh. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Anonymous said...

i don't see any problem with it... a lot of european countries only sell raw milk. i didn't know this when i was in the czech republic last year and bought some raw milk by mistake. it tastes really creamy and it's heavier than pasteurized milk. i understand that for someone like myself who isn't used to raw milk, it can be hard on my stomach. but some people drink it their entire lives, and so their bodies are accustomed to it. i dunno, i mean if people want it then give it to them, y'know. i don't see the issue really...

Anonymous said...

we drink raw milk every day here at our house in california. claravale dairy is and old & superb farm. the milk is delicious! my friends give it to their children, who adore it. i believe that ethical small-scale raw milk farming is far safer for me that CAFO raised meets, GMO produce, and etc. having poor standards and blasting everything with heat for safety is much less safe than having high standards to begin with, IMO.

Tara said...

Yeesh. I hardly made it past the first paragraph before I was seeing red. Hello? Is anyone taken to court because of all the people who get food poisoning or other long-term illnesses from eating food, messed with or not? What about taking all the people who produce highly processed food that makes us ill to court? Maybe my long-term struggle with systemic candida and adrenal fatigue would be grounds to end candy manufacture? Oh no, wait... the medical industry doesn't "count" my diagnosis as valid according to insurance books (so I can't get those treatments covered), so I guess they just don't exist.
Sorry for the rant, but this sort of hit a nerve.

hoorayparade said...

I have to say that sueinithaca's response is my favorite. Our ag industry is so screwed up already. I think I saw a news story where it said only 7% of the works or something worked the food part of the FDA. Why don't we have a completely seperate division in our gov't?

Green Bean said...

I host (today is my last day) a raw milk coop. Both dairies in Northern California, including the one I buy from, test their milk regularly and have never had an issue.

I don't notice a difference in the taste except, sadly, when the cows are grassfed.

I drink it and I give it to my kids - without a second thought. The benefits are that it helps populate your GI system with healthy bacteria - which you might otherwise take probiotics for. Many people with digestive issues turn to raw milk and other raw products in lieu of medication.

Raw milk is obviously less energy intensive because it does not require pasturization. For hundreds of years, people drank milk straight from the cow. Using a small, local dairy that carefully manages its animals and practices is the way to go.

I honestly think that instances where people get sick from raw milk are overblown. People are getting sick from spinach and tomatoes these days. Why not ban those as well?

Kelsie said...

I spent a blissful two years supporting my existence by working at an organic goat dairy. Every few days, before leaving work, I'd grab my glass jug and milk my favorite goat, Krocus, right into the bottle. In the mornings, we'd all bring our coffee in and squirt fresh, warm milk right from the teat into our mugs.

Milk hasn't tasted the same since. This milk was sweet, creamy, and even better because I was there milking, feeding, and healing the goats who gave it to me. It was like a meal unto itself. As soon as humanly possible, I'm getting a goat and squirting its milk straight into my mouth, silly laws be damned.

Of all the things we COULD be banning and all the things we SHOULD be banning (and by "we," I mean the people who, unfortunately, decide what we're allowed to eat/drink), raw milk is NOT on the list. Hot pink icing on pop tarts? Now that's something I'll rally against.


Anonymous said...

I'm 40 and my sister and I always drank raw milk from the farm down the road from our house. We never had any issues. If I had a dairy near me I would probably give my boys raw milk - just like I would if we had our own cow.
I don't think that a ban is necessary.....consumers just need to be aware of where they get their foods from if they are buying local....

If you are careful at the farmers market and you are careful when you buy eggs from the lady down the road - you shouldn't have any problems.

Maeve said...

My opinion is that raw milk is not a brilliant thing to be drinking, and I choose not to drink it, nor buy cheeses & such that are made from raw milk. I'd rather play it safe.

If someone wants to gamble with their health, well, it's a free country and they ought to be able to buy and drink raw milk if they wish. But people producing raw milk should be held to a pristine standard. Milk is too often served to children, who have no choice in what they are given by their parents, and they shouldn't have to be made ill from bad milk.

Anonymous said...

If this pisses you off, I've got something constructive you can do with that anger!

TODAY the California Assembly Health Committee Membersare voting on SB 201. People need to call in and urge the committee members to vote yes. You can call everyone on the list in under 10 minutes (yes, I timed myself!).

According to the Organic Patures website (one of the 2 raw milk dairies in California):

"The FDA has vowed to stop raw milk in America, starting with California."

If you like your raw milk (regardless of where you live) and/or if you think we should be able to make our own decisions - CALL, e-mail, fax - NOW!!

The vote is at 1pm, pst, today!!

Lamzeydievey said...

tons of people have become sick lately from salmonella poisoning in everything from our peanut butter to our tomatoes. i reckon if we went back to such things as small community farms we would have healthier animals & vegetables- and healthier people as a result.

along those lines, we slaughtered our first home-raised chicken this weekend. our plump and healthy little hen had literally less than HALF the meat on its body that a storebought chicken has, and tasted completely different. what do they do to those animals to make them so completely different from their natural state?

TheNormalMiddle said...

We drink raw milk. But under the radar because it is illegal in my state to sell it (not sure if you go to jail for buying it?)

Sometimes I feel like a druggie when I pull up to the van to get my raw milk from the little amish couple who sells it to me....but we all love it.

The only thing I don't love about raw milk is that at certain times of the year it tastes bad. For instance, if the cow gets into a patch of bad grass full of ripe onions, you will taste it in the milk. Blech.

But actually even though we're raw milk drinkers, we don't drink much milk or use much dairy. We go thru about a gallon a week for the five of us.

Do we really need to have laws for EVERYTHING? I am all for safety, but I don't particularly want a law for EVERYTHING under the sun. It is a waste of time and resources to do that. As we have all heard, the road to hell is paved with good intentions!

Anonymous said...

I started drinking raw milk last year after reading Nina Planck's book Real Food-what to eat and why. It opened my eyes to industrialized food more than ever. Raw milk is milk the way it was intended to be drunk. It is healthy and has so many beneficial bacteria that I was trying to get from 'cultured' yogurt. Since drinking the milk I have not been sick once. I will continue to drink raw milk unless Arnold bans it again!

Anna Marie said...

Having drunk the raw milk of a cow I milked myself I can say that it is entirely unlike the stuff you find in the store. The fullness of flavor, the sweetness, and yes, that delicious cream...well, it makes the stuff in the store look like cloudy water.

As far as safety it all comes down to the health of the animal and the conditions it lives in. Ya'll know where E. coli comes from, I'm sure? So if your animal is clean, and the barn is clean, and you wash your hands, the udder and any equipment your using, then I think it's safe.

As far as I'm concerned, pasteurization is just more of the same excessive sterilization- just like antibacterial soap, and feeding animals antibiotics. It is a symptom of the system we're living in. It isn't healthy, and it isn't necessary.

bellananda said...

my boyfriend and i just discovered a local family farm which has started selling raw milk & raw-milk products at our CSA distribution site. although we've never been much milk-drinkers (although i drank it by the liquid tonne as a kid) we tried some the past couple of weeks out of pure curiosity, and it's pretty good. the texture's a bit different than pasteurized milk (it's got more mucous to it), but we get the cream which rises to the top of the bottle, it tastes good, and it makes good butter and whipped cream too. we're having fun experimenting with making our own yogurt, buttermilk, &etc, and really enjoy expanding the circle of local farmers who we directly support. :)

regarding the banning, i agree with the previous commenters that banning raw milk is stupid. let each decide to live his life as he likes, and if it kills him, so be it; it resulted from his own choice. this trend in our country of trying to protect everyone from themselves is MOST annoying, unnecessary, and intrusive.

Anonymous said...

Good thing we have a governmnet to protect us from ourselves. I just wish I could still buy lawn darts. At some point people need to be responsible for themselves. Tell me the risks, and let me determine If I want to do it or not.

Kristijoy said...

People should be able to buy and eat whatever they like. There are reasons for and against almost any food if you want to get nitpicky.

Raw milk can be very dangerous, it was one of the leading causes of death in children before pasteurization.

The argument can also be made that it's highly unnatural for mammals to continue drinking milk, and the milk of ANOTHER mammal at that, past weaning. Most people on earth cannon drink milk because they lack the gene that keeps the enzyme that digests lactose in production. Milk is not "really" good for most people on earth.

Factor in the whole dairy industry and it's environmental impacts as well as animal well being and there is a good case to not consume dairy there.

But it all comes down to choice and personal freedom in the end.

If you want to drink milk that may or may not have cow fecal contamination in it, it's your choice. Your body, your choice.

I mean, that same contamination is in pasteurized milk too, it's just been heated to 160 degrees F. for 15-20 seconds. Ultra pasteurized to 230 degrees F for a fraction of a second. The fecal crap is still there one way or another =) And I think raw milk is most likely MORE sanitary over all, to prevent it making people sick, but it can still happen and with more serious results.

There are ways of getting around the laws against selling raw milk anyways, you can sometimes buy a 'share' of a dairy cow, or just get yer own cow! I thin kit's ridiculuos how much control there is over our food supply as it is. Don;t get me started on how impossible it is to be a small scale 'humane' processing plant for meats. It's go big or get out. Anyways.

Anyways. I do eat dairy, I love cheese, sometime I have raw milk cheese, I don't think I could give it up with ease, but I do try to be aware of all the impacts of what I eat. Milk included. And it's one of those things I am on the hedge about continuing to consume. Right now, it the selfish love of cheese that keeps me from not eating it out of principal. =)

Anonymous said...

My husband, son and I all love raw milk. We buy it from our local farm. We bring our own clean jar and leave it there with a date marked on it for which day we want to pick it up. It is so much tastier. There is no comparison.
At any time we can see the cows (they are right there) and we are very comfortable knowing that it is clean and the cows well cared for. In the little farm store we also buy our meat and eggs and sometimes they have vegis and baked goods. We just write what we took on a clipboard and leave our money in a cigar box, waving to the farmers on our way out. This is how it should be- connections to the people who grow your food. And this is some how less acceptable than buying food "on faith" from a huge grocery store?

Anonymous said...

I think it's wrong to say the goverment shouldn't have a say in what we eat and how we eat it. What really burns me though is how people just want to gripe about everything. If we didn't have saftey standards in place I personally know a number of people who would be dead from questionable food and medicine- yes that's right medicine. How easy it is to forget that the same people who tell you what to eat are the same ones who make sure that life saving drugs are made safely. And if someone gets sick from these foods or drugs, they're the same people who won't stop untill they find out who is guilty, and see to it they are stoppped.

I also think the goverment should have the right to try and save us from ourselves. Who hasen't fumed when the see a pregnant woman buying ciggarettes. When I worked at a drugstore I asked my boss why the pharmsist could say no to someone who asked for Plan B but I couldn't say no to the pregnant pharmasist who bought ciggarettes. My boss told me she had the right to be an idiot, and bring more of them into the world. There will always be stupid people who do dumb things to put others in danger, we should be trying to help them, not enable them. As for those who give raw milk to their children, stupid people having stupid people- I rest my case.

I think in a perfect world a person wouldn't have to worry about something as silly as milk. But we don't live in a perfect world, our cows are fed things they would never choose for themselves, and so not as healthy as a result. Humans aren't perfect either, and if you don't clean the udders well enough then congratulations, you just drank poop. Guess what kind of bacteria is in that, and how sick it can make you.

I just think it's easy to forget the big picture when you get so wrapped up in one idea. Remeber, just beacause something has been done for thousands of years doesn't make it right. Husbands have beat their wives for thousands of years, does that make it right. Oh I'm sure there were a few objections when the laws were made saying men couldn't do that anymore. But you're in luck, the same countries that allow men to hit their wives couldnt care less about what you eat or drink, or even if you eat or drink. I suppose many of you can't wait to start packing your bags head off to a more "progressive" country.

tyKa said...

We should make tomatoes illegal. Or buying tomatoes from Walmart illegal. Or maybe we should just make Roma tomatoes illegal.

The idea of making raw milk illegal is silly. Any dairy product that is handled properly in sanitary conditions is going to be safe. I know my raw goat milk is safe because I milk my goats myself, wash their teats, make sure they are healthy, cool down the milk quickly, and otherwise use my head.

Jennifer said...

Why sell raw meat?

Seriously. The warning is good. Regulation is good. Banning is too far... if we ban raw milk for these reasons, we should ban raw MEAT, too.

Oh, and raw unpastuerized eggs, too.

I'm not a fan of raw milk... i choose not to drink it for personal reasons, just like I choose to not eat raw meat or raw eggs...

Gailavon said...

I believe that the warning on the label is more than enough!

Banning is not necessary. When done properly by a dairy that is licensed to sell raw milk and it has the warning the state requires no further action is necessary.

It then becomes the consumer to use the information given and make a inform decision on purchasing and consuming raw milk or not.

I have never had raw milk I doubt that I ever will. But that is my decision and everyone else should have the same privilege to make a decision of their own.

Anonymous said...

I continually marvel at the ignorance in our country. Anyone who would equate raw milk and smoking in pregnancy is very ill-informed about many things in life, let alone raw milk.

Do you research before you start throwing stones, friend.

It also amazes me how much some people need the state to be their "nanny" and conscience. You can make your own decisions without having a law or decree to back it up.

Ewiczka said...

recently i stopped drinking milk, 'cause i heard that milk is for kids. Adults have finished with milk. And i came to conclusion, that i don't need milk, so, i use to drink buttermilk and other dairy products. And you know? Dairy products are better! :) They don't make putting on weight :)) and don't include any enzymes and other things...
I used to drink milk from grocer's shop.I never had occassion to drink raw milk.I heard that raw milk is more healthy.

Jenn said...

Cow's milk is for baby cows. Soy milk is for baby soys.

I, however, am a baby almond so I will make and drink my own unpasteurized raw organic almond milk. Yum. Unless I'm lazy and then I buy it in aseptic packs at Trader Joe's for my weekly chai.

Skip the cow and goat and soy milk. Then you don't have to worry about any of those health problems. :)

Seriously though - who drinks milk as an adult?

Unknown said...

Count us in as another family of raw milk drinkers....and yikes, the kids drink it too.

And, oh my gosh, I make mayo with raw eggs. The government should really do something about that. And who couldn't live with out a spoon full of cookie dough?!

My milk is more local than your milk(:

Anonymous said...

Where I live it is illegal to sell raw milk. You can give some away to friends, but even that is iffy in terms of legality. I agree that pasteurization is a byproduct of the industrialization of our food supply. If one knows where one's milk comes from then buying raw makes sense. I definitely do not think it should be banned.

Anonymous said...

I suggested earlier that people should buy their own cows and then they can drink her milk however they want. But that got me thinking about your rabbit discussion...
Are there people who won't drink milk from a cow named Bossie? Because she has a name and now she's a pet? As opposed to an anonymous mooing milk machine?
Just wondering in print.
Of course, then Bossie will have to be bred each year, so that she'll keep producing milk. What will happen to the calf? Oh, you could eat it. But of course, don't name it or love it first.

Christianita Mexicanita Gringuita said...

I had a teacher/chef instructor (at the Natural Gourmet School for Health and culinary arts) who would tell us if you can't get the best quality of the product, don't buy the product. She would say that about things like milk and cheese and stuff, because it is not nessesary for everyday nutrition. For example, she would say, if you can't get raw organic dairy very often, don't eat dairy very often, but she said that the same did not go for everyday things like fruits and vegetables because it is preferable to have one not so organic, nutrient rich apple, for example, a day than none until you can get fresh organic apples.
I haven't eaten mainstream dairy for about 5 months now and i feel great. My skin is clear, I've lost a few pounds, I feel over all lighter and more energetic. But i think that its very relative to my diet and my body. Everybody is different and everybody digests differently, etc. I think that the pasteurization process makes the vitamins and nutrients in mainstream dairy bio-unavailable to me, and it end up just being extra fat and ''stuff'' in my body that i have found I don't need.
there's my two cents...

Carrie Huggins said...

Big, big fan of raw milk around here. You're much more likely to get sick from eating a hot dog than from drinking raw milk. We're up to about 1% of the population now.

Drinking raw healed my milk "allergy", made my seasonal allergies and even joint aches and pains go away. Vive la raw!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Ellis - I would love your mayo recipe and technique if you don't mind sharing. I have tried about 6 times to make mayo and failing 5 of those times - it's getting expensive!


Sweetpeas said...

We love raw milk here! We moved last month & it took me a few weeks to find raw milk in our new town. My kids chose to not drink milk rather then drink the pasterized milk I bought in the interim (they would eat it on cereal & we used it in cooking). They took one drink of the pasterized milk & said "this isn't healthy milk!" LOL.
Having seen how the cows are treated at a farm that sells pasteurized milk & at the farm I got raw milk from where we used to live (haven't "toured" the farm here). I'd much rather drink raw, fresh, CLEAN milk than milk that has who knows what in it but has had the germs cooked out of it thankyouverymuch!

Robbyn said...

We bought raw milk this year for the very first time...y'know...for our "pets" (in our state you can't sell raw milk for human consumption, blah blah blah...

Our, er, pets advised us they'll never ever everrrrr go back to the other stuff. The full fat, creamy sweet, ice cold fresh local Jersey milk is a meal in itself....perfect!

Anonymous said...

Our family has been a member of a milk co-op for about 2 years. We've been to the farm and seen the cows and how they live. They don't use hormones or corn, and if they are on antibiotics they are separated from the milkers until they are back off them.

We love the raw milk, and enjoy making cheese and other products from it. Right now, though, I am pregnant, and am drinking pasteurized milk (not ultrapasteurized) because it is hard to blatantly disobey the doc when he says 'no unpastuerized dairy...', you know? But my young daughter still drinks the raw, and I have my suspicions that her lack of illness might be due to the good bugs in the raw milk. There's no way for me to know this for sure, though. When friends come to our house and happen to drink the milk, I always inform them that it is raw before they take it. Sometimes this promotes some interesting discussions!

Personal experience aside, my opinion is to let people decide for themselves what to eat! Sure, put a warning on the label to educate people. A small clean dairy is a world different than the big industrialized ones. I would not drink raw milk from some big anonymous dairy. The FDA and corporations are in bed together just like every other industry and regulator. Corporations will take every step they can to eliminate the small family farm so that people no longer differentiate quality from quantity.

Unknown said...

I think I'll go get me a cow and set up a road side milkin' stand.

Phelan said...

As you may or may not know, I milk my own cows and we (kids included)drink raw milk, and make raw milk products. I follow Kansas laws and hope to sell milk when my two baby heifers are of age.

It is a to each their own. And even if the USDA regulates raw milk, you will see the same illnesses.

Wendy said...

Matt has posted a really great YouTube video on his blog that helps debunk some of the inaccuracies regarding the dangers of raw milk.

Please count me, and the 40,000 raw milk drinkers in the state of California, among the "stupid people having stupid people", as raw milk drinkers have been dubbed by commenter koolchicken.

me said...

hi,i relle like ur blog,most of the time it makes me laugh...i would just like to say i would like to be able to blog like u some

keep up the good work......

iMike said...

I do find it ridiculous that we are beginning to live in a totalitarian state. Rebekka is correct to say, why ban one item over another? Cigarettes kill 10s of thousands more than raw milk does. No one forces people to purchase raw milk, just like no one forces people to buy cigarettes. They must weigh the pro's and cons and make an educated/or sometimes not very educated decision, on their own. NOT with the help of big government.

Amanda Enclade said...

I would not consider giving my kids pasteurized milk to drink on a day to day basis. I think that raw milk is the best drink for them besides human breast milk. I live in California where I can still buy fresh and tested delicious raw milk. It comes from a wonderful dairy called Organic Pastures.It is so good for their brain, immunity and bones.Every time they drink it, a couple big glassfuls a day, it makes me know they are getting the nutrition that they need. As we have seen, the fear factor can be applied to all fresh foods which are the foods that keep us vibrant and able to fight off illness that may come our way.

Anonymous said...

As the daughter of a dairy farmer, someone who grew up on raw milk, and someone who has studied agriculture on the college level, I've read all the posts, and I just want to point out a few things:

-"Processed" milk isn't as creamy as raw because it's homogenized, not because it's pasteurized. Pasteurization has nothing to do with the fat content in milk. Homogenization is what breaks up the fat particles in milk, not the heat involved in pasteurization.

- E. coli is not the only thing to worry about. Listeria can also be present in raw milk. A barn can be the cleanest in the world, yet cows can still pick up pathogens that can be passed to humans, and the most stringent of tests may not pick it up. Even raw-milk dairies acknowledge this.

-I don't believe in banning raw milk, though i would point out that anyone in a high-risk group should avoid it (young children, pregnant women, etc.) Even many raw-milk selling farms advise against it, and make customers sign a liability waiver acknowledging the risk involved.

Amanda Enclade said...

dhere's an interesting post and the comments are helpful too. one of them explaining the new testing standards in California:

Samantha said...

Milk is for baby cows--not people. If you want milk, go drink some breast milk, at least that's intended for human consumption.

If people want to drink raw milk and get sick, let 'em. I don't care. It's their own stupidity that's to blame. Or if they want to eat raw meat, whatever. I figure it's the closest we're going to get to natural selection in this country, and we sure as hell need it.

Anonymous said...

Raw diary is illegal in Canada... it doesn't stop people. There is a CSA for raw dairy in BC and plenty of people go down to the WA state (from BC) to get raw cheese and raw milk.

Making it illegal didn't work for alcohol or drugs. It isn't going to stop people from buying raw dairy!

Anonymous said...

This afternoon I was at Ralphs and in one of the aisles a sales rep for milk had some small cups of milk samples on display. I stopped by and she said that the milk was from california and I asked if it came from cows that weren't injected with hormonones. She said yes and showed me the label and than mentioned that we get some of our milk form Mexico and they don't pastaurize it and then made a face. Well, my mom grew up on a farm in Mexico and she has always claimed that drinking milk straight from the cow was delicious and better for you health wise. So, after some online research and educating myself on milk, I found this blog and your comments in support of raw milk and I wanted to thank you for the insight and knowledge. Thanks!