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Raw Milk: What Do You Think?

raw cheese

We’ve talked about a couple of incidents recently surrounding raw dairy, and it seems to be a hot topic for a lot of you. You had some very interesting comments about raw dairy, its benefits, and how the government views and treats raw dairy producers, and it felt like a topic that was ripe for more dialogue.

Here’s what some of our readers said about raw dairy. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts here in the comments!

Over at our Facebook page, Brigid Ferkett said:

I think raw milk is great. My family’s health has greatly improved since we have added raw milk to our diet.

Mike Lorey added:

It’s great how so many “safe” products stay on the shelves and cause food poisoning and death each year but a few isolated incidences of improperly-handled raw milk are used to make this extremely nutritive drink look bad.

On a today’s post about food poisoning linked to raw milk in Minnesota, Gordon Watson said:

what we’re seeing all over America is a smear campaign against raw milk dairies, carried on by govt. officials, for no good reason but to run family farmers off the land. REAL MILK = whole fresh pure raw milk – unadulterated by MPC from third world sources- is the best food there is. Local production enables yeomanry to make a living. But that doesn’t suit the Stalinist design of industrialized agriculture

whenever you hear anything about raw milk, ask yourself ‘has the govt. ever lied to me before?’

And Wendy (The Local Cook) made a point about getting to know your farmer:

For me it’s worth it, but I know my farmer and the precautions they take and continuous testing they administer. I would never buy raw milk from someone I didn’t know.

You had a lot to say about the raw cheese incident at Morningland Dairy. I think Sad Truth summed things up well with this comment:

Eliminate all the reasonable, healthy and decent choices and then only the, chemical, GMO, nutrient void, disease causing, dumbing down, unhealthy mass industrial food producers who control these “Regulatory” agencies will be left to take the $$$ for so-called “Food.”

They don’t want a single example of decent because it contrasts so obviously to their filthy disgusting methods.

You were as outraged as I was about the armed raid of a raw food co-op in late August. Reader Beth had this to say:

This is UNACCEPTABLE!! Informed individuals and families should have the right to make choices about their food…regardless of whether it fits into the corrupted mold that the USDA has created. With all the crime in Los Angeles, these are the people getting raided??! It’s time to take back our right to freely eat farm-friendly food.

It sounds like most of you support raw dairy, though there were a few negative comments as well. David S. Walenski said:

If eggs must be regulated so must rawsome. Who do they think they are for skirting our laws. There has to be concerns when you have to sign a waiver of responsiblity. Throw them all in the klinker,throw fines at them,alot of community service.

Full disclosure: I don’t do the dairy thing, raw or otherwise, but I find this debate really interesting from a food security standpoint. For the most part, these farms seem like the sort of small, family operations that are at the heart of the profood movement.

I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this issue, since it seems to be coming up so much lately. Are you a fan of raw dairy? Do you find it worrisome? Do you avoid dairy all together? Share away!

Image Credit:
Raw Cheese. Creative Commons photo by chiotsrun

4 comments
  1. Alan

    I’ve consumed raw milk for four years. It’s safe if handled and produced carefully like any other product. I think it’s money and power that are trying to use gov’t agencies to stomp it out. Read the book “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid concerning history, safety, health and regulation.

  2. Scott

    I just think it’s ridiculous that the American government wants to ban the sale of raw dairy. WHY? Is it a dangerous product… maybe, but the jury still seems out. But that’s beside the point. My real point is:

    I can go to the corner grocery store and buy raw eggs, raw beef, raw fish, raw poultry, and many other raw products. It is my responsibility to cook those things if I’m worried about illness, or not cook them if I’m willing to take the risk. I can order eggs over easy at my local diner. I understand that has a small salmonella risk, but it’s delicious so I order it. Same with oysters on the half shell. And raw-fish sushi and sashimi. I take the risk because those things taste good to me, and the chances of serious illness are minimal.

    I feel the same about raw milk. I should be able to buy the product and choose for myself. Maybe they could institute a label, kind of like the label on eggs, that says “drinking raw milk could potentially have health hazards, so know the risk.”

  3. Greg

    People don’t cook cheese most the time. So, people who buy raw cheese end up eating live harmful bacteria. Unlike other animal products which almost no one eats raw. The big exception being eggs, and I’m sure we all still remember the huge egg nightmare this year.

    The government is nothing if not pro-dairy.

    I’m assuming what Alan means by “produced carefully” is, trying not to get too much feces in the milk… which, of course, happens. Profit is king. And, most people just don’t care enough about where their food comes from. Having had Salmonella poisoning several times in my life it’s anything but “safe”.

  4. Jim

    My wife and I switched over to raw milk about two years ago. I was a little concerned about the risks when we first did it. I was uninformed and was getting over a certain cultural bias we’ve been taught to regard things outside the conventional “wisdom” as bad. Not only are the concerns about raw milk completely disproportionate, they are almost always wrong and not based on fact. I am amazed that we regard something that we’ve been ingesting as people since the dawn of time as suddenly unacceptable, and the scientists need to render it acceptable to us. Not only does cooking the milk destroy good bacteria, I also think that our collective immune systems are weaker because we are not ingesting bacteria that we would otherwise and then develop a stronger system to remain healthy. We see the same cycle going with the hand-washing freaks and the anti-bacterial gels and soap. Enough with the germophobes! As for raw milk, etc., I would appreciate from our government bodies efforts instead in education, so people can be informed eaters. I think all raw products should be completely unregulated, beyond the level of basic sanitation that all milk must meet. I, my wife, and small children regularly drink raw milk and eat raw cheese (from Trader Joe’s!), and have had no negative health consequences. Long live good food!

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