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raw milk discussion

  • m

we had an interesting discussion on raw milk on cleveland's cleveland.com food and wine forum (thread 11233): http://www.cleveland.com/forums/food/

the discussion was raised after a recent court ruling against an amish farmer for offering raw milk for "donations" as the sale is generally illegal in the state of ohio (minus a few exceptions). he tried to take the religious freedom angle, but the judge did not buy it. oh well nice try.

i wondered about people's opinions of raw milk? i think it's legal to buy in some states, no? you used to be able to get it in ohio at the wonderful YOUNGS DAIRY farm near dayton, but after people got sick a couple years ago they stopped serving it.

raw farm milk is so unbelievable taste-wise esp when you have been drinking pasteurized milk all your life -- i feel bad that unless you live on a farm most people will never get an opportunity to try it!

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  1. I LOVE raw milk and cheese. I grew up on "raw milk," although since I didn't know any different it was just milk. I was so disappointed when I "grew up" and realized pasteurized milk was the norm. I prefer buying non-homogenized milk when I can, although fresh "raw" milk is still my favorite.

    Here is a link to an article which gives a bit of history as to how "raw milk" sales were banned/regulated in the US:


    And a link to a good resource to find specific regulations for your state:


    1 Reply
    1. re: Non Cognomina

      thx for the info.

      from your link it looks like ohio is not alone in states banning raw milk:

      Sales of raw milk are legal in 28 out of 50 US states, which is better than half. If you include the states which permit the sale of raw milk for animal consumption (implying that human consumption is feasible) then the total is 33 out of 50 states, which is two-thirds. In some of the remaining states (such as Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin) raw milk is available through cow share programs.

    2. Raw milk sales are legal in California. You can get Organic Pastures brand at Whole Foods for $6 a half gallon, $12 a pint for the cream. I haven't tried it since I eat very little dairy, but have friends who swear by it and think that pasteurized milk is an abomination.

      1. Oh how I miss raw milk! When I lived in the Midwest there was a dairy farmer who was passionate about his product. He farmed only guernseys and "sold" his milk in a small, unmarked shed. You had to know how to find his farm and how the system worked. There was a cooler with whole and skim milk and cream, and a book. You made a note of what you were taking and left money in a small tin. It worked by the honor system.

        The farmer was raided fairly regularly by the health inspector. But in court he produced laboratory analyses showing that his raw milk had a *lower* bacterial count than pasteurized commercial milk. So he kept going, last I heard (I moved about over 10 years ago).

        The taste was unbelievable, so rich and full of flavor. I made ice cream from the cream (60% butterfat!) and yogurt from the skimmed milk. Friends of mine churned their own butter. They also moved away but when we meet we still lament the loss of this great resource.

        1. I am sorry to hear that. Raw milk is legal in California but regulated and taxed to death. Quite expensive and very delicous. They test every batch and the bacteria count is very low.

          www.organicpastures.com is one such brand.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JudiAU

            What happened to Alta Dena? We used to get AD raw milk home delivered.

            1. re: rainey

              In my reply above I included a link to a bit of history about this. Here is an excerpt:

              During the 1980s, the main producer of raw milk in the United States was the Alta-Dena Certified Dairy, of City of Industry, California. During this period, it falsely advertised that its raw milk products were safe and healthier than pasteurized milk. These claims were challenged in a lawsuit filed in 1985 against Alta-Dena and its affiliate Stueve's Natural by Consumers Union and the American Public Health Association and later joined by the Alameda County District Attorney. In 1989, a California Superior Court Judge that: (a) "overwhelming evidence proved that Alta-Dena's raw (unpasteurized) milk frequently contains dangerous bacteria that cause serious illness"; (b) the company must stop its false advertising; and (c) that the company's milk containers and advertising must carry conspicuous warnings for ten years The court order also required the dairy to pay $100,000 as restitution to a fund to fight consumer health fraud, and civil penalties of $23,000 to the Alameda County District Attorney.

          2. I didn't realize that it was legal in so many states (I live in Va and, although my extended family has a dairy, I haven't managed to get myself the right milk to make my desired creme fraiche- my one try failed). When I was young, the raw milk was what was used; when my sister and I came to visit, they went and bought the pasteurized stuff, as we wouldn't drink the raw. It is what you are used to, I suppose.
            There is a recipe on another board for corn soup, which calls for creme fraiche, so I may have to try to make it again.
            I'm opposed to strictly forbidding the sale of raw milk here in Va, though. I know about the cow share option, but it is very restrictive and makes access to raw milk pretty much beyond the average Joe, who may just want a little creme fraiche for his menu preparation.

            1. I live in Atlanta and belong to a great CSA that delivers raw milk from a farmer who is a huge raw milk advocate. It is labeled as "pet milk" because it is not legal here. I really think it is ridiculous. Farmers have been drinking it for years and they are fine. I used to live in California and was able to get it more readily and had a choice of providers. Yes, I understand the risks but I don't want the FDA regulating what I pour on my cereal.

              1. I didn't find the original thread on the Cleveland forum so I'm not sure if the Weston A Price Foundation or Realmilk.org was discussed. For those who are seeking raw milk in their state (seems as though people who *really* want raw dairy can find it no matter where they live and what the laws are in that area) WAPF and Realmilk.org are the most up to date, dedicated organizations linking suppliers and consumers. In addition to raw dairy, often times these sources will also offer organic produce and/or grass-fed meat.


                1. Raw milk is very easy to come by in Vermont. Dairy farms here are allowed to sell a given quantity each day (something ridiculous like 6 lbs. – most dairies ignore this restriction). I get milk from a farm abut 2 miles from home – I let myself into the mik room, draw from the bulk tank, and leave my money ($2/gal) in the honor jar.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: GG Mora

                    Can you give specifics? I'm in Massachusetts and a trip to a Vermont dairy farm isn't out of the question. I would dearly love to taste raw milk again.

                    1. re: cheryl_h

                      You might want to contact one of the several MA WAPF chapter leaders - choose the one closest to your home. They should be able to help you locate farms who offer raw dairy products.

                      1. re: cheryl_h

                        The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine had a long article on the sale of raw milk in MA - I think it was two weeks ago. You can probably find it on their website. It listed several dairies in MA that sell raw milk. You can buy it directly from the dairy but it cannot be sold in the stores in MA.

                      2. re: GG Mora

                        I've been looking for such a dairy in Vermont! I'm heading north in a couple of weeks and would much rather buy some raw milk there. Otherwise I have to bring my frozen raw milk from home. I prefer it fresh, of course. Any hints? Please??

                        1. re: Boston_Robin


                          Have you looked into Just Dairy? They deliver raw milk.

                      3. I've done farmwork on dairy farms, so I can appreciate your desire for a glass of fresh milk, unpasteurized.

                        Locally, I can buy unpasteurized milk, which is sold ostensibly as 'pet food', although everyone buys it for themselves. I guess it's one way to get around the legal regulations.

                        1. Pasteurized milk is destroyed milk. Milk is a very complex substance and what makes milk milk is all the contents therein. For example, the best food for a baby is mother's milk. If you were to pasteurize it or substitute it with a synthetic alternative, most all of the nutrients would be destroyed.

                          There is way too much negative hype over raw milk. State and national governments have been duped in believing this nonsense and continue to limit our selections to pretty much non-healthy and depleted foods. People should be allowed to purchase and consume the milk of their choice without stringent (or any government) interventions.

                          Before we discuss raw milk, perhaps an analysis of 'pasteurized' milk is in order.