Last week, we heard Sally Fallon Morrell speak in defense of raw, un-pasteurized milk on a local National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast.
Sally is president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which advocates for traditional diets, including raw milk and fermented foods.
NPR was covering the story because growing numbers of Americans are convinced of the nutritional superiority and safety of raw milk from local farms … and because some are being prosecuted for their purchases.
Why do many people agree with the Weston A. Price Foundation that raw milk is better?
The Foundation and others cite evidence that raw milk is more healthful than pasteurized milk, and no less safe when purchased from responsible farms.
They say that pasteurization made sense in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when sanitation was poorly understood and practiced by players in the milk production/distribution chain, leading to outbreaks of milk-borne disease in urban areas.
Raw milk fans claim that even small farms practice safe milk production, and that the FDA misrepresents illness reports in ways that distort and exaggerate the dangers of raw milk, while ignoring the nutritional and health shortcomings of the pasteurized product.
On the other side of the debate sit most public health authorities, who echo conventional wisdom that pasteurized milk is safer and equally healthful, and crack down on raw milk purchasing clubs.
Educate yourself on the debate
Our sympathies lie with those who want the freedom to choose the best food for themselves and their families … as long as care it taken to protect from pathogens.
So far, we’re pretty well persuaded that raw milk is healthier than pasteurized milk, and that it’s possible to get safe raw milk.
Given the complexity and emotionality of the issue, you should research the issue, hear both sides out, and decide!
Rather than attempt to summarize a complex issue here, we direct you to a website produced by the Foundation, called Real Milk, which provides ample information … including point-by-point rebuttals of FDA positions and presentations.
Raw milk advocates win first round in lawsuit against FDA regulations
The raw milk issue is in the public eye thanks to recent prosecutions of people who buy direct from farms … especially through buyer’s clubs where the end consumer is getting the milk at no extra cost from a fellow club member.
These prosecutions led to a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) and eight other plaintiffs.
The lawsuit argues that federal regulations prohibiting the sale of raw milk across state lines are unconstitutional.
Last week, federal district court Judge Mark W. Bennett refused to grant a motion by the FDA to dismiss the lawsuit, handing raw milk proponents an initial victory.
The regulations in question appear to prevent people from traveling from a state where it is not legal to purchase raw milk, to a state where it is legal, and then return to the original state to consume the raw milk themselves or give it to their friends or family members.
Safety of milk depends in part on farm practices
Raw milk might not be safe if it came from conventional factory farms, where the animals’ diets promote disease, and it can be harder to maintain control over sanitary conditions.
Conversely, just because a farm is small and family run doesn’t mean that its milk is safe or unsafe.
If you decide that raw milk is superior, the obvious solution is to get it from small family farms that observe stringent sanitation practices and feed their animals in ways that promote optimal nutritional value in the milk and maximum immunity to pathogens in the cows.