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Moo-nshine: Finding Creative Ways to Buy Raw Milk

Moo-nshine: Finding Creative Ways to Buy Raw Milk

The battle over raw milk has been waged for years now. Some attest to the inherent nutritional value, and culinary superiority, of raw milk, while others (namely cautious government officials) claim the practice of consuming raw milk is inherently reckless and potentially dangerous. Therefore the sale of raw milk in the United States is largely deemed illegal – kind of.

Especially within the last few years, raw milk advocates have gone to exceptional lengths to maintain a regular supply of the raw stuff: in many cases breaking the law, or at least creatively skirting it (In 1924, the FDA developed a model code for states to use in regulating milk, then called the Standard Milk Ordinance (now the “Pasteurized Milk Ordinance” or “PMO”), which bans raw milk and its products from being sold to consumers). In most states raw milk can be purchased directly from the farm in which it comes from. Some farmers markets are licensed to sell raw milk, whereas some retail outlets are able to sell raw milk in limited quantities. But for the most part, getting your hands on a ½ gallon of raw milk takes some determination and a slightly scheming resourcefulness.

The latest inventive work around involves branding raw milk “pet food” thus exploiting a legal loophole and paving the way for raw milk devotees to keep it raw. This is the case in Florida where about a dozen new farms signed up to sell raw milk as “commercial feed” in the past year, bringing the total number of registered farms to 46, according to the Sun Sentinel. Pete Kennedy, the president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which represents some 2,000 individual farmers across the U.S. who sell raw milk, and some 3,000 members of raw milk-buying clubs, told NPR such subterfuge is a necessity in a “dysfunctional” legal landscape. “The consumption of raw milk is legal in every state in the country,” Kennedy says. “But you have 20 states where the sale is illegal. So you have this right with some people unable to exercise it.”

The FDA is obviously committed to enforcing the law (with varying degrees of commitment) and contend that the consumption of raw milk presents a significant health risk, and that pasteurization effectively kills off various pathogens that can easily sicken milk drinkers (according to the FDA, between 1998 an 2008, drinking raw milk was linked to two deaths and more than 1,600 reports of illness). But raw milk advocates claim that pasteurized milk is a “dead” product with little to no nutritional value, as they continue to advocate for the superiority of the raw product.

Where do you stand on the raw milk debate? Do you feel the creative skirting of the law is a good thing, or something inherently irresponsible? Is this a public health issue or a personal freedom issue?

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Following Food, Food, Health, Raw, , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

77 comments

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6:06AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycotoxin#In_the_indoor_environment toxic molds are everywhere.

6:00AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

oh totaly. because the world is only 5,000 years old. and people who lived in the snowy north so totaly had berries to eat during ice storms.

how do the Mongolian Nomads eat horse milk and not die of heart failures. or do they?

8:56PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Well, Bill, that is a lie. Human beings and their ancestors have been eating omnivorously since the first slim formed 1 billions years ago, and paleo-anthropologists and paleo-geneticists can prove it. Vegetarianism arose 5,000 years ago for spiritual reasons. Veganism is something that you guilty liberals invented just recently. It is based partly on the inability to see the loving relationship between humans and animals that has mostly disappeared because of the large factory farms with most of the population equating money with quality of life.

7:40PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

well Luna, what people used to eat was plant life. whether you believe in evolution or creationism the first humans were vegans. and it's a diet that has been promoted in both Judaism and Hinduism for at least 5000 years so it's a well established and very healthy, natural way to eat.

9:32AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

thanks for the info

7:47AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I think we should be able to purchase raw milk if we want to. Alcohol and cigarettes are legal and they ruin our health. I think it should be a personal decision!

4:35AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I buy raw milk. It's illegal in GA., so I purchase S.C. raw
milk legally & bring it back over the border to drink
illegally. Being a criminal never tasted so good.

1:44AM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

I would love to get a hold of some raw milk, pasturised milk you can't drink when it gets sour, it turns bad, but raw milk you can drink it, also eat it with a spoon when it thickens and make your own cottage cheese.

10:10AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Diane D
For a Vegan you sure are hostile! What DO you think people used to eat...just plant life? NOT!! You need to learn tolerence.Do some research before you judge.Speaking of milk; I was in Ireland and although they cannot serve raw milk,the quality is so much better. Why? It is grass fed cows. The regular milk was adelight as well as all the dairy products. Too bad it is not easilly available here at compeditive prices

5:33AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

The FDA has gone crazy. The government is trying for another Prohibition which didn't work the first time. Let us make our own choices about what we put in our bodies.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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