Real Milk Gets A Raw Deal

      124 Comments on Real Milk Gets A Raw Deal

I suppose the Starch Is Bad vs. Starch Is Good debate will go on for awhile, if not indefinitely.  What people like Matt Stone and I agree on wholeheartedly is that our diets should contain as much natural, whole food as possible.  Unfortunately, some state governments have made that nearly impossible, at least when it comes to dairy products.  More on that in a moment.

First, for you hard-core Paleo types out there, I realize dairy products aren’t Paleo.  It’s unlikely that Paleolithic humans tried to chase down wild, horned animals and milk them … and those who did probably made a dramatic exit from the gene pool. But unless someone can prove to me that butter and cheese are harmful, I’m going to keep eating them because they taste awesome. 

These days I buy Kerry Gold butter, which comes from grass-fed cows in Ireland.  Unlike Costco butter, which is nearly white, Kerry Gold is a deep yellow.  The first time I tasted it, I was transported back in time to my grandmother’s kitchen.  (Stupidly, I forgot to buy Microsoft stock in 1982 on the return trip.)  This is how butter tasted when Grandma served it.  It’s how butter is supposed to taste.

I also buy raw-milk cheese from a vendor at our local Farmers’ Market.  Some months ago, I went to see a naturopathic doctor in California because my digestion was sluggish.  His first piece of advice was to give up diet sodas completely.  So I did, after some backsliding.  Now I don’t even like the stuff.  The last time I bought a Diet Coke, I took a few sips and tossed the rest.  Yee-uck.

The doctor’s second piece of advice was to stop eating cheese — unless I could find locally-produced raw-milk cheese.  As he explained, raw milk cheese contains live enzymes that make it digestible.  But if you pasteurize the cheese to death to transport it across the country, it’s more like plastic — his words, not mine.

In Tennessee, raw milk seems to be semi-legal.  Some farmers sell it openly at the Farmers’ Market, but the farmer we prefer can’t …  because his farm is 40 miles away.  But if we request it ahead of time by sending an email, he can legally sell it to us.

When I heard that explanation, I tried several times to make sense of it, then stopped when I thought my head was about to explode.  Apparently, if the farmer drives a cooler full of raw-milk cheese 40 miles and then sells it to just anybody who wanders buy, the cheese will feel slutty and throw a temper-tantrum that results in an explosion of salmonella bacteria.  However, if I request the cheese ahead of time, the cheese views it as an arranged marriage and is happy.

A growing number of people who understand the benefits of eating real food want to buy raw milk, but can’t — at least not legally in many states.  Some manage to find it anyway.  To get an idea of the effort this requires check out this blog post

Just as promised, I found the milk in the fridge. “Nelson” was printed neatly on the glass with indelible ink on an otherwise unlabeled jar. No one was around except for a dog, who surveyed my intentions and went back to guarding the cows. I left the money on the counter and departed with my contraband.

This was actually the least secretive element in my quest to find raw milk. Getting here had required everything short of a secret handshake.

After delicately putting the word out that I was looking, I was interviewed by a local gatekeeper who gave me the name of someone else who would send me in the right direction. In order to get that far, I had to prove my bona fides. The gatekeeper wanted to know my experience with raw milk, an attempt to ascertain whether I was a state health official operating a sting.

You’d almost think some of these state regulators have confused raw milk with heroin.  In fact, it’s probably easier to score heroin. 

Curious about which states have outlawed raw milk, I checked the state-by-state listings on a Weston A. Price site, The Campaign For Real Milk.  Tennessee is still listed as a state that outlaws raw milk, so that’s old information.  At least I hope it is … a vendor at the Farmers’ Market here sells it.  Perusing the state laws confirmed one of my most deeply-held and cherished beliefs:  governments are inherently stupid.  Here are few examples:

Idaho
Even though state law permits the sale of raw milk if the farmer obtains a retail raw milk license,in practice the Idaho Dept. of Agriculture refuses to license anyone to sell raw milk. There has not been a retail raw milk licensee in the state for the past 15 years.

That’s an interesting way of handling it.  Maybe California could use that technique to reduce traffic congestion.
 “Sure, it’s legal to drive here, but you need a license.”
“Okay, where do I get a license?”
“Sorry, we don’t actually issue any.”
“But … I need to drive!”
“Then you’d better get a license.”

Illinois
Raw milk sales are legal on the farm if the farmer complies with the following conditions:

1. No advertising the sale of raw milk.
2. Customers must bring their own individual containers.
3. The customer MUST put the milk from your container into their container.

Okay, I see … the farmer has raw milk in a container.  If I take it home in that container, the milk will be contaminated.  But if the milk is poured from his container into a plastic milk jug that’s been sitting in my “to be recycled” bin for the past three weeks, the contamination goes away and the milk is now safe … but only if I do the pouring, and only if I didn’t find the farmer in the yellow pages. 

Kentucky
Raw milk sales are illegal with one exception: An individual with a written recommendation from a physician may purchase raw goat milk.

“So why do I feel so terrible, doctor?”
“According to your labs, you have a rare intestinal disorder.  It’s called Capralactinecessitis.”
“Oh my gosh!  Can it be treated?”
“Yes, but only if you drink milk that would kill a healthy person.  I’ll write a prescription.”

Maine
Raw milk sales are legal on the farm and in retail stores. Raw milk and raw milk products must have a label on the product containing the words “not pasteurized.” Farmers do not have to obtain permit to sell raw milk if their sales are only on the farm and they do not advertise.

No, that’s not particularly stupid.  I listed Maine because — Stephen King-style horrors! — raw milk is sold there, both on farms and in stores.  If the stuff is as dangerous as the detractors say it is (assuming you don’t neutralize the contaminants by pouring the milk into your own container), wouldn’t the population of Maine be dwindling by now?  Wouldn’t we have heard about it on the news?

Michigan
Raw milk sales are illegal. Michigan was the first state to pass mandatory pasteurization laws-the year was 1948-and has some of the strictest milk laws on the books. Farmers may not even sell raw milk from the farm. In 2002, at hearings on the revision of the Michigan State Dairy Code, the industry attempted to amend the code to make it illegal for dairy farmers, their family members, their farm workers, and even their farm animals to drink the farm’s raw milk.

“Open the door!  Police!  I said OPEN THE DOOR!  Okay, guys, kick it in.”
BOOM!  CRASH!
“Drop the bottle, lady!  I said drop it!  Starsky, grab the kid; he’s got a milk moustache!”

“So, what’re you in for, kid?”
“Well, I was milking Daisy and I took a sip.”

Minnesota
The Department of Agriculture prohibits the sale of raw dairy with the exception of “milk, cream, skim milk, goat milk, or sheep milk occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the place or farm where the milk is produced.” The farmer cannot advertise and customers must bring their own containers. The state interprets “occasionally secured or purchased for personal use” to mean that farmers cannot sell raw milk to regular customers on a routine basis.

So you can buy raw milk from a farm as long you don’t decide you like it and go back on a regular basis.  Great, we’ll have people showing up at farms wearing Groucho Marx glasses to avoid detection.  See, here’s the thing:  if the raw milk makes you sick, you won’t be going back.  That’s why I only tried vegetarian chili once.

Nevada
Raw milk sales are legal but, in practice, there are no raw milk sales in the state. In order for a farmer to obtain a permit from the state dairy commission to produce and distribute raw milk, the county milk commission must first certify the farm for the production of raw milk or a raw milk product. There has never been a county milk commission in existence at any time, so to this point, there has been a de facto prohibition of raw milk sales.

Most of us who saw “Brazil” took it as a warning.  Apparently some government folks took it as an inspiration.

New Jersey
Raw milk sales are illegal. To obtain other unpasteurized dairy products, residents travel to Pennsylvania and New York, which both allow raw milk.

“Waddaya want me to do with this jamook, boss?”
“Bury him in Pennsylvania, but transfer him to your own duffel bag so he don’t rot.  And pick up a gallon of raw milk while you’re out there.”

Pennsylvania
Raw milk sales are legal on the farm and in retail stores. Raw milk for retail producers must have a permit and can only sell to stores if they have their own packaging operation with labeling and bottling machines.

For Pete’s sake, didn’t the Pennsylvania regulators learn anything from the Great Raw Milk Massacre in Illinios?!  You can’t let the farmers bottle this stuff themselves!  You’ve got to make the consumers pour the milk into their own jugs, or all hell will break loose.

Rhode Island
Raw milk sales are illegal with one exception: An individual may purchase raw goat milk from a producer if that person has a written, signed prescription from a physician
.

So that lady from Kentucky with Capralactinecessitis can live in at least one other state and still receive treatment.  Lucky break.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s late and a wedge of Baby Swiss beckons.  I expect to wake up tomorrow without experiencing any ill effects.


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124 thoughts on “Real Milk Gets A Raw Deal

  1. Grok

    It’s all to keep you safe Tom. Why can’t you just get that through your Fat Head! 😉

    That’s the attitude that makes me such a big fan of governments: you don’t know what’s good for you, but we do.

  2. Lisa Sargese

    It IS easier to get illegal drugs than to get raw milk. I have to meet a Mennonite in a back alley and say a code word to get my real dairy. Funny how easy it is to get cigarettes and alcohol, though. No transfer of containers for that. I wish my government would stop trying to protect me by harassing my local farmer.

    Hmmm .. Prohibition made the mafia rich. How long before Mennonite gangs start shooting up the town?

  3. William

    I think it is funny when one state has something legal and another does not. If the law or lack of a law showed results one way or the other you would think it would be easy for people to get a law passed or removed citing another state as an example.

    That’s what is so stupid about it … don’t the legislators in the states where it’s illegal check the results in states where it’s legal? I suspect it has something to do with big dairy operations stifling competition.

  4. Lynda

    Heck Tom – you need to get yourself over to New Zealand!! Our butter is still and yellow as ever and our cows still fed on green grass. You can witness this yourself anywhere you go!!

    NZ is on my wish-list of places to visit. And if my country decides to burden my kids with 60% tax rates to pay off the trillions we’re wasting, it’s on my list to visit and possibly stay.

  5. Gazelle

    Last I checked, raw dairy is NOT legal in New York, which is why we have to learn funny handshakes, sign special contracts and meet in secret in garages and on street corners to get the stuff here in New York City.

    It’s worth it.

    “Raw” cheese is sold in stores, but I think it has to be aged at least 2 years or something.

    Sounds as if there’s a need for a raw-milk speakeasy.

  6. Grok

    It’s all to keep you safe Tom. Why can’t you just get that through your Fat Head! 😉

    That’s the attitude that makes me such a big fan of governments: you don’t know what’s good for you, but we do.

  7. Annikki

    As a Michigander, yeah, it sucks. My hubby likes making cheese. It doesn’t work as well with pasteurized stuff. Sad. 🙁

    I’m surprised it’s even legal to make your own cheese.

  8. Lisa Sargese

    It IS easier to get illegal drugs than to get raw milk. I have to meet a Mennonite in a back alley and say a code word to get my real dairy. Funny how easy it is to get cigarettes and alcohol, though. No transfer of containers for that. I wish my government would stop trying to protect me by harassing my local farmer.

    Hmmm .. Prohibition made the mafia rich. How long before Mennonite gangs start shooting up the town?

  9. Melissa

    Hey, we may not allow booze in grocery stores here in PA, but raw milk is pretty easy to obtain 🙂 Especially in greater Lancaster Amishland.

    In Tennessee, beer can’t be sold in the same stores as wine and liquor. So all over the place, you’ve got two side-by-side stores, same owners, one selling beer, the other selling wine and liquor. Not sure what that laws is supposed to accomplish.

  10. William

    I think it is funny when one state has something legal and another does not. If the law or lack of a law showed results one way or the other you would think it would be easy for people to get a law passed or removed citing another state as an example.

    That’s what is so stupid about it … don’t the legislators in the states where it’s illegal check the results in states where it’s legal? I suspect it has something to do with big dairy operations stifling competition.

  11. Lynda

    Heck Tom – you need to get yourself over to New Zealand!! Our butter is still and yellow as ever and our cows still fed on green grass. You can witness this yourself anywhere you go!!

    NZ is on my wish-list of places to visit. And if my country decides to burden my kids with 60% tax rates to pay off the trillions we’re wasting, it’s on my list to visit and possibly stay.

  12. Matt Stone

    Mmmm, Tennessee raw milk. That was the first “pet milk” I ever tasted. Took to calling it contraband within minutes after ingestion.

    I will say that I’ve experienced some disillusionment over raw milk though. The dairy farmer I worked with, who consumed the perfect WAPF diet had a heart attack in his 50’s, and when there was an outbreak of campylobacter, which included my intestines, I kind of got over my raw milk infatuation.

    But hey, I’m a slow learner so I’ll be doing “the milk diet” later this year.

    Nice work on the diet soda deletion.

    I’ve learned to love iced tea all over again.

  13. Vin - NaturalBias

    Hey Tom,

    Raw deal indeed! It’s sad that we can’t freely choose what we eat. If you read The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, you can see just how ridiculous the politics behind raw milk really are.

    Not to sound like a library, but Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell is another great book which presents a very convincing case in regard to the importance of raw food (as opposed to plastic 🙂 ) and digestive enzymes.

    Hey, I like walking libraries. It’s the people who can’t name a book but know every show on TV that scare me.

  14. Tracey

    Terrific and hilarious post! So many of these laws *do* seem to be inspired by Brazil. Thanks for shining the light on the stuff politicians and Big Dairy lobbyists thought was going to be hidden in dark corners forever.

    Tracey
    http://goodlifemenus.com
    Gluten-free, nutrient-dense whole traditional food menu plans

    “Brazil” seemed like a wild exaggeration at the time. Then reality started catching up.

  15. Gazelle

    Last I checked, raw dairy is NOT legal in New York, which is why we have to learn funny handshakes, sign special contracts and meet in secret in garages and on street corners to get the stuff here in New York City.

    It’s worth it.

    “Raw” cheese is sold in stores, but I think it has to be aged at least 2 years or something.

    Sounds as if there’s a need for a raw-milk speakeasy.

  16. Annikki

    As a Michigander, yeah, it sucks. My hubby likes making cheese. It doesn’t work as well with pasteurized stuff. Sad. 🙁

    I’m surprised it’s even legal to make your own cheese.

  17. Lucy

    Hmmm, why not just establish the BATFRM?

    (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Raw Milk, for those not aware the BATF is drooling over these practices).

    Don’t give them any ideas. They’ll start planting raw milk on people they want to bust.

  18. Susan

    I admit to being nervous about trying raw milk products. I have a compromised immune system and I am on long-term antibiotic therapy. Should I be infected with e. coli, my antibiotic use could land me in the hospital or even kill me.

    It’s one of those things that I wish would be regulated strictly so that everyone could benefit. Maybe California does a certain amount of regulation?

    I’m not very educated on this topic.

    Here’s what the Campaign for Real Milk has to say about California:

    Sales of raw milk and raw milk products are legal both in stores and on the farm. In order for raw milk to be sold legally, it must be ‘market milk. ‘This is milk that meets the standards provided in the Milk and Milk Products Act of 1947.

    Under the Act, market milk is graded and designated into three classes:’certified milk,’ ‘guaranteed milk,’ and ‘Grade A milk. ‘Of the three classes, only Grade A raw milk is available for sale today in California. The standards for guaranteed raw milk to be market milk are more stringent than those for Grade A raw milk.

  19. Amy Dungan

    Ah.. welcome to the craziness we call Illinois Law. Makes as much sense as many of the other ideas our lawmakers here have. I should have stayed in Oklahoma…

    I spent 15 years in Chicago. I feel your pain. Loved the city, but the Illinois politics … that’s another story.

  20. Jan

    You want a convoluted “raw milk” law? Try Ohio, where the laws against raw milk are so rabidly enforced the Ohio Department of Agriculture has sent people undercover to Amish farms, where they wheedle the poor farmers into selling them a quart for a buck or two, then come back a couple of months later and take away their dairy farming licenses.

    You can get around that here if you own “herdshares”. According to ohiorawmilk.info “Herdshare boarding contracts are private agreements between individuals who collectively own the animals in a dairy herd and the farmer hired to manage that herd. What that essentially means is that if you purchase a set number of shares in a dairy herd and sign a boarding contract to pay for the care and management of your portion of the herd you are then entitled to receive a corresponding amount of the herd’s milk production, depending on seasonal availability.”

    It apparently works, and works well, but I think I’d just as soon drive the hour and half into Pennsylvania with a cooler full of ice.

    Good lord … maybe I should pitch a TV show titled Ohio Vice: watch the brave enforcement officers deal with the hard-core Amish dealers. Shootouts with milk flying everywhere.

  21. matt

    I wonder if it is as difficult to obtain raw ground beef made from hundreds of E. Coli-contaminated CAFO cows, as it is to obtain raw milk from small, clean, dangerous? family farms. Oh, wait…oops. irradiated beef supply, here we come.

    Careful; every time I think I’ve exaggerated the stupidity of governments for comic effect, they catch up.

  22. Melissa

    Hey, we may not allow booze in grocery stores here in PA, but raw milk is pretty easy to obtain 🙂 Especially in greater Lancaster Amishland.

    In Tennessee, beer can’t be sold in the same stores as wine and liquor. So all over the place, you’ve got two side-by-side stores, same owners, one selling beer, the other selling wine and liquor. Not sure what that laws is supposed to accomplish.

  23. Dave, RN

    I feel fortunate that I can drive 25 miles and pick up all I want here in texas. I prefer goat milk though (no casein), and right now it’s not really in season. I have to wait until the first week of march. I do have a gallon of cow milk in the freezer and one in the fridge. The first time I drank it, it was like drinking ice cream. Oh the fatty goodness…
    I’ve heard (herd?) that they might start cracking down. Somewhere I read something about those buying raw milk are going to have to register… kind of like when you own a gun…
    I’m sure their plan is that if someone gets sick, they’ll see if they are a registered raw milk buyer. Then it’ll be all over the news that raw milk is spreading disease. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of illnesses each year traced back to pasteurized milk.

    Amazing, isn’t it? It’s perfectly legal to buy thousands of products full of high-fructose corn syrup, but raw milk … boy, we need to crack down on that.

  24. Matt Stone

    Mmmm, Tennessee raw milk. That was the first “pet milk” I ever tasted. Took to calling it contraband within minutes after ingestion.

    I will say that I’ve experienced some disillusionment over raw milk though. The dairy farmer I worked with, who consumed the perfect WAPF diet had a heart attack in his 50’s, and when there was an outbreak of campylobacter, which included my intestines, I kind of got over my raw milk infatuation.

    But hey, I’m a slow learner so I’ll be doing “the milk diet” later this year.

    Nice work on the diet soda deletion.

    I’ve learned to love iced tea all over again.

  25. Tracee

    In college I spent a semester in France and gorged myself daily on the cheese, which is not pasteurized. I had a remission of my autoimmune problems for that 4 months. I found that odd at the time, but I was glad. I found out last year my lifetime “issues” were Celiac’s and Crohn’s.

    Raw milk is illegal here in Texas and they have actually had sting operations. They call up farmers and pose to be someone suffering with gi issues and arrest them when they sell them milk.

    Your tax dollars at work. My naturopathic doctor mentioned France specifically, saying yes, they eat a lot of cheese but it hasn’t been pasteurized to death.

  26. Vin - NaturalBias

    Hey Tom,

    Raw deal indeed! It’s sad that we can’t freely choose what we eat. If you read The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, you can see just how ridiculous the politics behind raw milk really are.

    Not to sound like a library, but Enzyme Nutrition by Edward Howell is another great book which presents a very convincing case in regard to the importance of raw food (as opposed to plastic 🙂 ) and digestive enzymes.

    Hey, I like walking libraries. It’s the people who can’t name a book but know every show on TV that scare me.

  27. Tracey

    Terrific and hilarious post! So many of these laws *do* seem to be inspired by Brazil. Thanks for shining the light on the stuff politicians and Big Dairy lobbyists thought was going to be hidden in dark corners forever.

    Tracey
    http://goodlifemenus.com
    Gluten-free, nutrient-dense whole traditional food menu plans

    “Brazil” seemed like a wild exaggeration at the time. Then reality started catching up.

  28. Dr.A

    I was surprised at the number of comments about the lack of nice cheeses in the USA when I did my Joy of Cheese post…. now whenever we wander down to our local cheesery (run by a Frenchman) on a Saturday morning, I shall post about the cheese of the week….. just to tease my American readers!
    Heartless, I know.

    We can take it. Tease away.

  29. Alexia

    Figures I’d live in the state that has outlawed raw Milk (Go Michigan). Looks like I need to buy myself a cow!

    Looks as if you can buy a share of a cow. Get your share early and claim the cream off the top.

  30. Katy

    I’ve heard that here in Michigan we can get it IF we are receiving it from our own cows (herdshares), but the farmer delivers it to a certain church parking lot on a certain day at a certain time. If you aren’t there to pick it up, you lose. You still have to pay for the delivery.

    Ain’t it grand when the state gets between supposedly free adults who want to make an exchange?

  31. Lucy

    Hmmm, why not just establish the BATFRM?

    (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Raw Milk, for those not aware the BATF is drooling over these practices).

    Don’t give them any ideas. They’ll start planting raw milk on people they want to bust.

  32. Susan

    I admit to being nervous about trying raw milk products. I have a compromised immune system and I am on long-term antibiotic therapy. Should I be infected with e. coli, my antibiotic use could land me in the hospital or even kill me.

    It’s one of those things that I wish would be regulated strictly so that everyone could benefit. Maybe California does a certain amount of regulation?

    I’m not very educated on this topic.

    Here’s what the Campaign for Real Milk has to say about California:

    Sales of raw milk and raw milk products are legal both in stores and on the farm. In order for raw milk to be sold legally, it must be ‘market milk. ‘This is milk that meets the standards provided in the Milk and Milk Products Act of 1947.

    Under the Act, market milk is graded and designated into three classes:’certified milk,’ ‘guaranteed milk,’ and ‘Grade A milk. ‘Of the three classes, only Grade A raw milk is available for sale today in California. The standards for guaranteed raw milk to be market milk are more stringent than those for Grade A raw milk.

  33. Amy Dungan

    Ah.. welcome to the craziness we call Illinois Law. Makes as much sense as many of the other ideas our lawmakers here have. I should have stayed in Oklahoma…

    I spent 15 years in Chicago. I feel your pain. Loved the city, but the Illinois politics … that’s another story.

  34. Jan

    You want a convoluted “raw milk” law? Try Ohio, where the laws against raw milk are so rabidly enforced the Ohio Department of Agriculture has sent people undercover to Amish farms, where they wheedle the poor farmers into selling them a quart for a buck or two, then come back a couple of months later and take away their dairy farming licenses.

    You can get around that here if you own “herdshares”. According to ohiorawmilk.info “Herdshare boarding contracts are private agreements between individuals who collectively own the animals in a dairy herd and the farmer hired to manage that herd. What that essentially means is that if you purchase a set number of shares in a dairy herd and sign a boarding contract to pay for the care and management of your portion of the herd you are then entitled to receive a corresponding amount of the herd’s milk production, depending on seasonal availability.”

    It apparently works, and works well, but I think I’d just as soon drive the hour and half into Pennsylvania with a cooler full of ice.

    Good lord … maybe I should pitch a TV show titled Ohio Vice: watch the brave enforcement officers deal with the hard-core Amish dealers. Shootouts with milk flying everywhere.

  35. matt

    I wonder if it is as difficult to obtain raw ground beef made from hundreds of E. Coli-contaminated CAFO cows, as it is to obtain raw milk from small, clean, dangerous? family farms. Oh, wait…oops. irradiated beef supply, here we come.

    Careful; every time I think I’ve exaggerated the stupidity of governments for comic effect, they catch up.

  36. djinn

    I live in the middle of pastured dairy country, and I’d have to drive a long way to get raw milk. My ex-girlfriend used to only have to walk three blocks to get her heroin, and it wasn’t even pasturized! True story. I did say ex, officer…. (I know, everybody thinks they’re a comedian.)

    Okay, here’s how we solve this: we get the heroin dealers to sell raw milk.

  37. Dave, RN

    I feel fortunate that I can drive 25 miles and pick up all I want here in texas. I prefer goat milk though (no casein), and right now it’s not really in season. I have to wait until the first week of march. I do have a gallon of cow milk in the freezer and one in the fridge. The first time I drank it, it was like drinking ice cream. Oh the fatty goodness…
    I’ve heard (herd?) that they might start cracking down. Somewhere I read something about those buying raw milk are going to have to register… kind of like when you own a gun…
    I’m sure their plan is that if someone gets sick, they’ll see if they are a registered raw milk buyer. Then it’ll be all over the news that raw milk is spreading disease. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of illnesses each year traced back to pasteurized milk.

    Amazing, isn’t it? It’s perfectly legal to buy thousands of products full of high-fructose corn syrup, but raw milk … boy, we need to crack down on that.

  38. Tracee

    In college I spent a semester in France and gorged myself daily on the cheese, which is not pasteurized. I had a remission of my autoimmune problems for that 4 months. I found that odd at the time, but I was glad. I found out last year my lifetime “issues” were Celiac’s and Crohn’s.

    Raw milk is illegal here in Texas and they have actually had sting operations. They call up farmers and pose to be someone suffering with gi issues and arrest them when they sell them milk.

    Your tax dollars at work. My naturopathic doctor mentioned France specifically, saying yes, they eat a lot of cheese but it hasn’t been pasteurized to death.

  39. Dr.A

    I was surprised at the number of comments about the lack of nice cheeses in the USA when I did my Joy of Cheese post…. now whenever we wander down to our local cheesery (run by a Frenchman) on a Saturday morning, I shall post about the cheese of the week….. just to tease my American readers!
    Heartless, I know.

    We can take it. Tease away.

  40. Alexia

    Figures I’d live in the state that has outlawed raw Milk (Go Michigan). Looks like I need to buy myself a cow!

    Looks as if you can buy a share of a cow. Get your share early and claim the cream off the top.

  41. Katy

    I’ve heard that here in Michigan we can get it IF we are receiving it from our own cows (herdshares), but the farmer delivers it to a certain church parking lot on a certain day at a certain time. If you aren’t there to pick it up, you lose. You still have to pay for the delivery.

    Ain’t it grand when the state gets between supposedly free adults who want to make an exchange?

  42. johnmc

    I grew up in Ireland eating Kerrygold and the likes every day. Over there, it’s pretty much standard butter. Cows eat grass and live in fields. Once I moved to the US (specifically CA), I wondered what was wrong with the butter. I even noticed that annato was added seasonally to butter here to enhance the color. It still looked snow white to me. The sad thing is that my parents still live there and have switched to ‘heart healthy’ sunflower margarine, which has always just tasted wrong to me.

    Recently, I took the plunge and bought some raw milk from Organic Pastures – http://www.organicpastures.com/. It tasted just like the milk I grew up drinking, which wasn’t raw, but was from grass fed cows. Anyone on the fence about doing this, just go for it, if you can find it.

    Given how much better the butter tastes from grass-fed cows, I imagine the milk tastes great too.

  43. djinn

    I live in the middle of pastured dairy country, and I’d have to drive a long way to get raw milk. My ex-girlfriend used to only have to walk three blocks to get her heroin, and it wasn’t even pasturized! True story. I did say ex, officer…. (I know, everybody thinks they’re a comedian.)

    Okay, here’s how we solve this: we get the heroin dealers to sell raw milk.

  44. Ellen

    Stupidity abounds.. and not only in the government sector. The doctor running our state health agency here in Wyoming has come out with a statement on the dangers of raw milk. But then she is a member of the medical community which knows nothing about real food. A study published in 2005 asked physicians several general nutrition questions and the results are not encouraging:

    • Ninety-three percent did not know that a low-fat diet, in general, would increase blood triglycerides.
    • Approximately three-quarters did not know a low-fat diet would decrease HDL; almost half thought that a low-fat diet would not change HDL.
    • About one-half did not know carbohydrate was the diet component most likely to raise triglycerides.

    These are the people given the task of helping us all beat heart disease. All this means is that your doctor most likely will believe what the government says about nutrition, and since the govt says raw milk is dangerous, and whole grains are healthy, it must be so. And since the government relies on the testimony of medical professionals (and food industry execs) to make policy, I predict more stupid laws will be enacted.

    The study is here: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/4/1/2

    The sad thing is, I’m not at all surprised. I’ve never liked going to see M.D.s, and I like it even less now because I know I’m going to get a lecture about diet that’s completely wrong.

  45. julie

    I’m lucky I can get it in the grocery here (CA). It’s pricey, so I don’t get it often. I don’t see why I would be afraid of it. I have an immune system of steel, anyway, I already eat raw fish and worse, why not dairy?

    Good point. California is full of restaurants where you can buy sushi. I’d be more worried about raw fish than raw milk.

  46. johnmc

    I grew up in Ireland eating Kerrygold and the likes every day. Over there, it’s pretty much standard butter. Cows eat grass and live in fields. Once I moved to the US (specifically CA), I wondered what was wrong with the butter. I even noticed that annato was added seasonally to butter here to enhance the color. It still looked snow white to me. The sad thing is that my parents still live there and have switched to ‘heart healthy’ sunflower margarine, which has always just tasted wrong to me.

    Recently, I took the plunge and bought some raw milk from Organic Pastures – http://www.organicpastures.com/. It tasted just like the milk I grew up drinking, which wasn’t raw, but was from grass fed cows. Anyone on the fence about doing this, just go for it, if you can find it.

    Given how much better the butter tastes from grass-fed cows, I imagine the milk tastes great too.

  47. Merope

    The laws you mentioned in Idaho, about never giving out licences, and Nevada, about there never having been a county milk comission to licence milk producers, reminded me about the method your government used to outlaw the growing of industrial hemp (for fiber, not the kind that gets you high!) after WWII. Basically, you could obtain a licence to grow the plants, but the government never issued any.

    For a breakdown of the benefits of industrial hemp (of which the US is currently the world’s largest importer, by the way), read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp.

    Wish I could say I’m surprised, but that’s typical government thinking.

  48. KD

    “In Tennessee, beer can’t be sold in the same stores as wine and liquor. So all over the place, you’ve got two side-by-side stores, same owners, one selling beer, the other selling wine and liquor. Not sure what that laws is supposed to accomplish.”

    Prevent a worse hangover from mixing the two, maybe?

    I didn’t think of that. The regulators are looking out for us after all.

  49. Ellen

    Stupidity abounds.. and not only in the government sector. The doctor running our state health agency here in Wyoming has come out with a statement on the dangers of raw milk. But then she is a member of the medical community which knows nothing about real food. A study published in 2005 asked physicians several general nutrition questions and the results are not encouraging:

    • Ninety-three percent did not know that a low-fat diet, in general, would increase blood triglycerides.
    • Approximately three-quarters did not know a low-fat diet would decrease HDL; almost half thought that a low-fat diet would not change HDL.
    • About one-half did not know carbohydrate was the diet component most likely to raise triglycerides.

    These are the people given the task of helping us all beat heart disease. All this means is that your doctor most likely will believe what the government says about nutrition, and since the govt says raw milk is dangerous, and whole grains are healthy, it must be so. And since the government relies on the testimony of medical professionals (and food industry execs) to make policy, I predict more stupid laws will be enacted.

    The study is here: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/4/1/2

    The sad thing is, I’m not at all surprised. I’ve never liked going to see M.D.s, and I like it even less now because I know I’m going to get a lecture about diet that’s completely wrong.

  50. julie

    I’m lucky I can get it in the grocery here (CA). It’s pricey, so I don’t get it often. I don’t see why I would be afraid of it. I have an immune system of steel, anyway, I already eat raw fish and worse, why not dairy?

    Good point. California is full of restaurants where you can buy sushi. I’d be more worried about raw fish than raw milk.

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