War Against Terror. War Against Drugs. War Against Raw Milk?

On the heels of the spectacular attack on Bin Laden's Pakistan compound, Feds closer to home sprung the trap on another major threat to our personal safety – Amish farmers selling raw milk to their neighbors.

In a year-long sting operation that culminated in a pre-dawn raid last week, the FDA captured an Amish farmer in Pennsylvania selling unpasteurized milk to willing purchasers in the Washington, D.C. area.  It was a rare headline-grabbing event in the ongoing battle between natural food fans and the nanny state. 

Raw milk advocates tout the health and flavor benefits of milk that hasn't had the good stuff cooked out of it with high-heat pasteurization.  Personally, I think raw milk tastes great – it has a lot more flavor than regular milk.  It is also wonderful for baking.  Raw cream sets up in seconds, making the richest, best whipped cream ever.  And don't even get me started on raw-milk cheese.

The FDA, on the other hand, wants to eliminate the option of unpasteurized dairy entirely.  It is not enough to alert consumers to possible risks of unpasteurized products and let the consumers chose for themselves.  “It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” said Tamara N. Ward, spokeswoman for the FDA. 

State regulations governing the sale of raw dairy products vary widely, from allowing unrestricted sales to prohibiting them entirely.  According to consumer advocates, ten states, including Washington, Idaho, and California, allow retail sales of raw milk. 

Oregon allows limited sales of raw milk.  By state statute, customers can go to a farm to buy raw milk, but only if the farmer has no more than three cows.  Farmers are not allowed to deliver, nor can they advertise their product.  A list of Oregon suppliers is here.

So what brought Rainbow Acres Farms into the FDA’s crosshairs? Pennsylvania allows the retail sale of raw milk.  But Washington, D.C., Maryland, and other neighboring states prohibit all raw milk sales.  Once Rainbow Acres sold its milk across state lines, it violated the FDA’s prohibition against interstate commerce in unpasteurized milk.  The lesson?  If you want raw milk, buy local – really local – don’t cross any state lines.  And if you are in Maryland, you are out of luck.

Raw Milk

Back in the 60s/70s, before the government decided they know best about what we can and cannot eat or drink, we were free to go to the farm and buy the milk right from the farmer. This was in Nebraska. I do not know what the laws were then or now for that state. We, a family of five, never got sick and loved the taste. We also loved the cream that would settle to the top. By the way, none of us was overweight either.

Raw Milk

I would love to know how much tax payers money was spent on a year long investigation like this. I personally find it outrageous that our government can outlaw raw milk but are perfectly fine with allowing GMO and chemicals such as Roxarsone, a known carcinogenic into our food chain.

I for one would like to see all labeling changed to state any possible GMO on food labels. I would like to have transparency in the meat packing industry, and I would like to know that my government doesn’t approve known cancer causing agents into the food chain. I would like to see if the package of fish I buy is genetically engineered or as it was created in the wild. As consumers we should have the right to know and the right to decide.

I moved to the country a year ago and I now produce most of my own food. If I am unable to purchase antibiotic free meat & eggs I will raise it myself. It has been a year of learning about food: egg yolks aren’t supposed to look pale yellow but deep orange yellow. Tomatoes grown on the vine taste amazing. My peppers aren’t all exactly the same size.

We became too far removed from our food and addicted to processed foods that I believe contribute to our obesity. I know it did mine. I’ve lost 20 pounds since I’ve started my quest for raw foods.

I wish I could buy raw milk like my mother did when I was growing up. The taste is rich & creamy. As a teenager seeing raw milk come in large glass containers with the cream floating on top I became curious and learned how to make my first batch of butter and buttermilk. I was lucky enough to come back home.