October 18, 2010

Poll Results: Is raw milk safe?

Raw milk has been in the national news quite a bit lately. Raw milk dairy farmers have been harassed, spied upon, or even shut down; retailers have been raided, and the FDA, in cooperation with the dairy industry, is pushing to ban raw milk throughout the United States.

Under Oregon law, raw milk can be purchased at farms with no more than three milking cows. Retail sales have been banned. Advertising the sale of raw milk is also illegal.

Last week we asked our audience to give their general thoughts about raw milk. Here are the results.

Q: Do you think raw milk from grass-fed cows is safe to drink?
yes 84%
no 6%
not sure 10%

Q: Do you drink raw milk on a regular basis?
yes 36%
no 36%
would like to, but don't have a source 23%
would like to, but can't afford it 5%

Q: Should Oregon allow retail sales of raw milk?
yes 76%
no 10%
not sure 14%

My Thoughts

I was encouraged to see that most respondents believe raw milk is safe and should be available in retail stores.

On the other hand, it was alarming to see that 28% would like to drink raw milk, but either can't afford it or don't have a source. Clearly there is something wrong with this picture.

I fully support the legalization of raw milk at the retail level. Fresh raw milk from properly raised, grass-fed cows is a perfectly healthy food. It contains enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Raw milk also contains more fat and fewer additives than its pasteurized industrial counterpart.

When seeking a raw milk source, it's important to keep a few things in mind.

1. The health of the cow is paramount. Make sure your milk is coming from cows that are raised on green pasture. The animals should not be given hormones, antibiotics, drugs or chemicals of any kind. Make sure the cows are not fed large amounts of grain, especially corn and soy. Cows were designed to eat green grass, period. Hay and silage may be given in the winter, as most cattle are kept in barns during that time.

2. Expect to pay around $10 per gallon.

3. Be prepared to visit the farm often. You'll be doing a lot of driving, but it's worth it!

4. Make sure to bring an ice-chest with a few ice packs to keep the milk cold, and keep the glass bottles safe.

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