Photo: Sara Novak
I first heard of raw milk from my yoga teacher in Asheville. She swore by the stuff claiming that not one of her three kids had ever even had a cavity and she was sure it was a result of the milk. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first. The raw food diet is one thing, but raw milk? But the fact of the matter is that it is rightfully gaining popularity. People are even breaking the law for it, trucking in raw milk in states where it's still illegal. It seems strangely ironic that a government that just took to regulating tobacco, an industry that admitted to killing its customers decades ago, still refuses to release its strangle hold on the raw milk industry. But change is afoot, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, who ran for president in 2008, introduced a bill that would legalize the shipment and distribution of raw milk and milk products for human consumption across state lines. It's an issue of constitutional rights, Paul said in a statement introducing the bill. "Americans have the right to consume these products without having the federal government second-guess their judgment about what products best promote health," according to MSN.
And Justin wrote that Amish farmer Arlie Stutzman was busted in a rare sting when an undercover agent bought raw milk from the Amish dairy farmer in an unlabeled container. Now, Stutzman is fighting the law that forbids the sale of raw milk, saying he believes it violates his religious beliefs because it prohibits him from sharing the milk he produces with others.
Raw Milk's Green Factor
It's the ultimate in local dairy. Except when it has to be trucked across state lines. In my state it's legal and farms like Milky Way and Butter Patch Dairy bring it directly to the farmers' market or the local natural store. Raw milk often has no hormones, pesticides, chemicals, or antibiotics but you need to check this on individual basis. Talk to your local producers to find out for sure. In industrial dairies, the feed is flown in from all over wasting fossil fuels in an extremely unnecessary way. Raw milk doesn't spoil in the same way as regular milk. How much milk have you seen go to waste in your house? Well, with raw milk it is just used for something else like yogurt or sour cream instead of being thrown away. It also normally comes in reusable glass bottles rather than the milk jugs that end up in the landfill.
Is Raw Milk Safe?
Raw milk is safe if you're careful. The two raw milk dairies in my area do not give their cows hormones or anitbiotics and they do not use chemicals on the farm. The SC Health Department runs monthly tests on their raw milk for e. coli, bacteria, and SCC. Johness, TB, and Brucellosis (Bangs disease) is tested yearly. But you should ask questions to your local dealers to find out for sure because it is not regulated the same way that organic milk is regulated. It is regulated on a state by state basis. Raw milk lovers think that the pasteurization process kills off a good majority of the critical nutrients in milk especially the good bacteria or probiotics. And with the good bacteria in the milk, the bad bacteria has trouble growing. And the dairies that produce raw milk tend to be family farms where the cows are a part of the family, milked daily and producing happy healthy milk like the happy healthy cows they are.