Should raw milk be illegal to sell?

  1. When do individual rights to make personal health decisions end? How far should the nanny state go to insure our safety?

    I recently found a source for raw goat milk. In my state, that's difficult to do because it's illegal to sell raw milk from anything other than a certified dairy. In the neighboring state, if you have 7 goats or less, you are allowed to sell the milk. But in my state, that is forbidden.

    I've been sworn to secrecy, it was rather like arranging a drug deal. The significant other of the person with whom I arranged this transaction (my dealer) is very paranoid and won't even allow texts about their covert operation, only phone calls, since texts are written evidence of wrongdoing.

    The gal I'm dealing with is actually a nurse, their operation is meticulous. We talked about it at length. She feels that part of this is to protect the dairy industry, which is already losing sales to the non-dairy milk market.

    If the State is really interested in protecting the public, they would go after the big food manufacturers. Processed foods are at the root of many of our 1st world chronic diseases. But, you don't see them going after those economic giants. In fact, activists vehemently defend the right of even food stamp recipients to buy soda pop, candy, and every other manner of junk food. I find that the height of hypocrisy and ideological inconsistency.
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Got Milk? The dairy industry has a large lobby as well. It's in their interest to make sure small farms and individuals cannot sell to the public, under the guise of safety.

    I would love to get raw milk. It's SO much better for making homemade cheese. Alas, my only option for that is to buy a cow or buy a share at a dairy farm.
  4. by   Okami_CCRN
    I do not necessarily agree that selling raw milk should be illegal, but I think it should not be encouraged. Growing up in a small rural community in Puerto Rico we had quite a few farm animals, I remember having some goats and my grandmother would not use them for milk because she said it makes people sick.

    She grew up in a time and place where modern commodities such as pasteurization weren't as pervasive and so grew up knowing about the dangers of certain foods.

    Raw Milk Questions and Answers


    | Raw Milk | Food Safety | CDC
  5. by   macawake
    Quote from Emergent
    If the State is really interested in protecting the public, they would go after the big food manufacturers. Processed foods are at the root of many of our 1st world chronic diseases. But, you don't see them going after those economic giants. In fact, activists vehemently defend the right of even food stamp recipients to buy soda pop, candy, and every other manner of junk food. I find that the height of hypocrisy and ideological inconsistency.
    While I agree with you that a regular diet consisting largely of processed, sugary foods have detrimental health effects the main difference between processed foods and raw milk is that unless someone maliciously adds some type of pathogen/poison to a glass of soda pop, one glass will never kill you. A single glass of unpasteurized milk can, if you're unlucky, do just that (or make you rather sick).

    Raw Milk Questions and Answers


    | Raw Milk | Food Safety | CDC


    Can drinking raw milk hurt me or my family?

    Yes. Raw milk can cause serious infections. Raw milk and raw milk products (such as cheeses and yogurts made with raw milk) can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, or death. These harmful bacteria include Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Mycobacterium bovis, Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Shigella, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica.
    To me, even if I had thought that raw milk tasted a lot better than pasteurized milk, the risk simply isn't worth it.

    The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk

    Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis.

    Research shows no meaningful difference in the nutritional values of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk contains low levels of the type of nonpathogenic bacteria that can cause food spoilage, so storing your pasteurized milk in the refrigerator is still important.
    Campylobacter spp. Prevalence and Levels in Raw Milk: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - PubMed - NCBI

    I realize that there is a lot of politics/lobbying involved in the food industry (as in most others) but I do trust science.

    The following link and quote isn't added for the scientific value, I only included it because I'm a fan of Rationalwiki

    Raw milk movement - RationalWiki

    As with many other health problems, some drinkers are more likely to end up in the emergency room than others: for instance children, pregnant women and the elderly, and those suffering from other illnesses. A major problem with estimating the real number of raw milk health problems is doctors not properly identifying the cause and cases not being properly recorded. Farmers who consume raw milk often insist raw milk is safe due to their life-long consumption of the milk (as well as that of their families and friends) without getting sick. It's sort of like saying "I've been riding my motorcycle without a helmet my whole life and never got brain damage so you're totally fine not wearing one."

    Should raw milk in my opinion be illegal to sell? I think that if sold it should be clearly labeled as not being pasteurized, may contain bacteria or other pathogens, so that buyers can make an informed decision and decide if it's a risk they're comfortable taking.

    I must confess, I have on occasion indulged in a wedge of Brie or Camembert cheese


    Oops, looks like Okami and I are quoting the same links
  6. by   Avid reader
    In fact, activists vehemently defend the right of even food stamp recipients to buy soda pop, candy, and every other manner of junk food. I find that the height of hypocrisy and ideological inconsistency.

    Emergent, if you gave a homeless hungry person a meal, would you insist that it should be eaten with utensils? I agree that only certain foods should be available however you cannot legislate tastes or rights. Education on the other hand should be the string for food stamps and would be far more effective.
  7. by   morte
    pasteurizing is for wine..... animals that will be providing raw milk need good testing, that is all.
  8. by   HelloWish
    I drank raw milk for at least 5 years and never got sick. However, I knew the farmers and their practices. I wouldn't drink raw milk from any commercial manufacturer however!
  9. by   Purple_roses
    I've heard people talk about drugs more casually than your "dealer" is

    I was 100% unaware of the underground milk industry, or the fact that it was an underground operation to begin with. But here, have a cigarette.
  10. by   Pixie.RN
    It blows my mind (still) that the "snack food" industry is a billion-dollar industry. SNACKS. Stuff that we DO NOT need!! IMO, we regulate the wrong things in accordance with lobbyists, pressure, and the almighty dollar.
  11. by   morte
    Q fever, Brucellosis, and Tuberculosis, are the three things I can think of, off the top of my head, that you need to test for.
  12. by   Sour Lemon
    How many people get wound up with the law for this type of crime? It's seems more like a big "caution" sign to me. Sell what you'd like, but make sure you don't screw up or you're going to pay for it.
    I support your right to buy what you'd like ...even if you're not wearing your helmet.
  13. by   macawake
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I support your right to buy what you'd like ...even if you're not wearing your helmet.
    If you're buying the milk for yourself, I don't see a problem. Though I'd advise against it an adult is also free to eat raw chicken, if they think it makes sense. But when it comes to serving the raw milk to children, I agree with this physician:

    Raw Milk in Modern Times – Science-Based Medicine

    Once upon a time milk was associated with 25% of infection outbreaks; in part due to pasteurization those rates fell to 1%. Thanks to the raw milk advocates, infections are looking up. The sad thing is parents will feed their children milk supplemented with cow poo. Adults have the right to be stupid; it is what makes America great. But it is a shame that children should suffer as a result of their parents goofy idée fixe.

    Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk | Features | CDC

    Who is most affected by raw milk outbreaks?

    A large number of raw milk outbreaks involve children. At least one child younger than 5 was involved in 59% of the raw milk outbreaks reported to CDC from 2007 through 2012. In these outbreaks, 38% of the illnesses caused by Salmonella and 28% caused by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, which can cause kidney failure and death, were among children aged 1–4.


    A Literature Review of the Risks and Benefits of Consuming Raw and Pasteurized Cow's Milk - CLF Publications - Research - Center for a Livable Future - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

    Based on our findings, we discourage the consumption of raw milk. The risks of consuming raw milk instead of pasteurized milk are well established in the scientific literature, and in some cases can have severe or even fatal consequences. The potential benefits on the other hand, are still unclear and would benefit from further investigation. We are left with a large uncertainty about the potential benefits of raw milk but with a clear understanding of the microbial hazards from consuming raw milk.
    (You can find a link to the full report (PDF) on the page I've listed complete with the reference list for this litterature review).


    I guess I don't really see the raw milk appeal. The risk/reward ratio is in my opinion not tilted in favor of unpasteurized milk.

    I honestly think that the albeit valid discussion regarding "junk food" is a separate issue from whether or not it's a wise idea to sell milk that carries a higher risk of microbial contamination, when there is a safer alternative available.
  14. by   KatieMI
    The fact is, everything in life has its own risks. People should be educated about them if they wish, but to take or not to take them should be their decision, as well as dealing with consequences.

    From my experience with goverment-enforced brainwashing in Soviet Union, I find the FDA efforts to be pretty spineless. Their thinking that the globe must consist of the continental USA alone and the realities of other countries, developed or not, are non-existing, is just hilarious. How comes that in Europe raw milk is available pretty much everywhere, with apparently no deadly dangers lurking in every sip? 3/4 of the famous French cheeses are made from raw milk, how it is then that any French are still alive? And what about recent listeriosis outbreaks connected with "safe" products from regular American dairy industry?

    I consider myself lucky living so close from Canadian border and Amish county at the same time. There, one can get raw milk and more of "potentially unsafe" products at any time, with no Big Brother hanging over. Only one problem is that there are longer lines sometimes

    P.S. cattle should be vaccinated against Tb and brucellosis, and the owner should be able to show appropriate documentation about it for anyone interested in buying the farm products. Every Amish farm I know of proudly presents them for everybody to see. Q fever, AFAIK, is a question only in certain regions, not that many of them within continental USA. And, sorry, there are some things you can only do right with raw milk, and with it being way more fatty than "normal" 4%. I just made a can of my own 20% sour cream to go with fresh homemade sourdough bread baked with air-derived yeast and from privately grown and milled, not "enriched", bromated, vitamined and otherwise adulterated flour

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