08 August 2007

Raw Milk

Raw (unpasteurized) milk is almost impossible to purchase, unless you know a farmer and get it directly from that farm. Even then, you often must bring your own jar and/or have it labeled with something along the lines of "WARNING: This Might Kill You."

I still remember the first time we bought raw milk. I called the seller, which happened to be a convent of nuns in Washington State which had a herd of cows. I called and asked the good sister, "I heard you had raw milk, and we wanted to get some." Her (suspicious) reply: "Who is this?" Only when I assured her I was a father of young children with severe food allergies, looking for natural food, did she relax and talk with me...and give directions to their farm.

Raw milk is not only delicious, it is also wholesome. Pasteurization kills bad bacteria...but it also kills all the wonderful living things that make milk so incredibly healthy. It basically turns a living thing into...chalk water. Granted, you must obtain raw milk from a healthy cow (or goat) milked under clean conditions for it to be safe. Pasteurization basically allows mega farms to milk dirty and/or mastitic cows and pool all the milk and "clean it up" on the back end. In other words, it's industrial agriculture at its worst.

We finally got so frustrated trying to find raw milk, we bought our own goats.

The New York Times had an excellent piece today discussing this issue:

Mr. Milgrom-Elcott never missed a drop. Each month, he joined mothers with newborns and Wall Street titans in search of a box of unpasteurized, unhomogenized, raw milk. He is also part of a movement of perhaps hundreds of thousands across the country who will risk illness or even death to drink their milk the way Americans did for centuries: straight from the cow.
Twenty years ago, the
Food and Drug Administration
banned interstate sales of unpasteurized milk. This spring the agency warned consumers again that they were risking their health drinking raw milk.

Still, individual states determine how raw milk is bought and sold within their borders. While its sale for human consumption is illegal in 15 states, New York is one of 26 where it can be bought with restrictions. The chief one is that raw milk can only be sold on the premises of one of 19 dairy farms approved by the state. Clandestine milk clubs, like the one Mr. Milgrom-Elcott joined, are one way of circumventing the law, and there are others.

Raw milk drinkers may praise its richer flavor or claim it is more nutritious than pasteurized milk. No matter why they drink it, the demand for it is booming. In 2000, the Organic Pastures Dairy Company in the San Joaquin Valley near Fresno became California’s first raw milk dairy with certified organic pasture land. This year its co-founder, Mark McAfee, expects it to gross $6 million — up from $4.9 last year.

It's really sick that Americans today must form "clandestine milk clubs" to obtain raw milk. Or buy their own dairy animal. But for those seeking a business opportunity...this could be very big.


todd said...

It is ridiculous, isn't it? If this is a big issue for you and you'd like to get government out of your life, have a look at Ron Paul for president in 2008. You should be impressed with his view of health freedom.

TYF said...

I've been impressed with Ron Paul since hearing him speak on campus in 1988, when I was an undergrad and he was running for President as a Libertarian. I wasn't aware of his health freedom positions - thanks for passing them along. Though Paul won't get the nomination, I think his participation in the primaries is helpful for getting these kinds of ideas into circulation.