Raw Milk Drinkers Skirt the Law

The milk carton in your refrigerator carries the word "pasteurized."

Rather than seeing it as a sign of protection, some consumers say it's one more way our food is over processed.

They take their milk straight from the cow.

Newschannel 7 looks at the argument for raw milk.

Raw milk is nothing new. It’s been flowing from farms for centuries.

However, whether it should be legal is a political issue that pits consumer rights, against food safety.

It's part of many breakfasts; a cold glass of milk. But some milk is actually illegal.

"I think it’s just the same as eating raw oysters or eating undercooked meat."

A mom we spoke to, we’ll call her Sarah, doesn't want her real name used because she serves her family raw milk; something she says boosts her children's immune system and keeps them healthy.

However, it's against the law in Florida to sell raw milk for human consumption.

Sarah has to go out of her way to get her hands on it. "I think it's silly to be worrying about people drinking raw milk versus someone smoking a cigarette or eating an oyster. There are more important things out there besides cracking down on people for drinking raw milk."

If a dairy farm is found to be selling raw milk for human consumption, the farmer is warned and then can be fined.

At Mosier's Family Farm in Cottondale, all rules are followed, but the only kind of milk that flows from this dairy is raw.

"We sell milk to a wholesale company, to a co-op, and we have some for animal consumption," Walter Mosier said.

There lies the loophole in the law.

As long as farmers have a license to sell animal feed and have a sticker on the milk they sell stating it's "not fit for human consumption", the milk can leave the dairy without being pasteurized.

Raw milk advocates then take it home, serve it to their children and drink it themselves.

"Personally, I would not give it to my pet," said Dr. Marjorie Moore, Ph.D.

Dr. Moore works for the University of Florida’s Bay County Extension Office, focusing on food safety..

"The bottom line with raw milk is don't drink it. Since its illegal in Florida and you're more likely to become ill," Dr. Moore said.

She says raw milk can contain deadly bacteria like listeria, salmonella, and e-coli, which is only killed by pasteurization, a process that quickly heats the milk.

However, it's that process that consumers like Sarah don't want. When it comes to milk, they say it's more nutritious if it's straight from the cow. "When you pasteurize milk, it kills off all the good bacteria along with the bad ones."

Sarah claims drinking raw milk has helped cut her family doctor visits by half, but scientists argue drinking it can end up sending you to the doctor.

"If they're elderly, if they're young, if their immune system is compromised, they're putting themselves in more danger."

Milk laws differ from state to state.

Those laws are constantly changing, as groups on both sides of the issue spend lots of money lobbying politicians.

For a closer look at that map, and more information on the raw milk controversy, visit the News Links section of WJHG.com.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Scottt Location: santa Rosa, ca on Nov 20, 2011 at 03:46 PM
    I grew up on Raw milk, as did my entire family. There is nothing wrong with it. Do your own homework. Those that cite the "dangers" are parroting what the USDA wants you to think. Get involved. Get educated and stand up for what is right. Here is a link to get you started. http://www.realmilk.com/rawmilkoverview.html Our entire food chain has become polluted with corporate interests and we need to get back our consumer rights. We have no idea what we are eating anymore. Get back to the basics.
  • by None of your business Location: here on Nov 16, 2011 at 04:47 PM
    Here is another prime example, whether you read it or see it on a newscast. Why do they always offer more information "under the News Links"? Do they just hope they gave you enough to satisfy you and you won't look for more but like the idea they offer you more info? 95% of the time, there's nothing there. You shouldn't try to make it look like you worked harder than you did. It makes you look even more lazy and stupid.
  • by George Orwell Location: Denver on Nov 16, 2011 at 03:48 PM
    We are NOT the land of the free.There is too much Govt intervention in our lives.If it isn't bad enough with the Drug War, farmers like the Amish and parents who let their children sell lemonade are getting arrested.This is NOT Freedom! The Founders would tell us it's long overdue for a Revolution , and no I'm not talking about the Ghandi method of peaceful protests,we're well past that point now. We have turned into everything the Founders fought and died over trying to prevent.
  • by I Arlyin Location: Florida on Nov 16, 2011 at 03:34 PM
    Now this just beats all, I to was raised on drinking cows milk. We, my brothers and sisters were hardly ever sick. My mama used to milk the cow every morning and she made butter, butter milk, ice cream. My brother said one time he ran out to the barn with a glass and mama milked him a glass full and he drank it, it was warm and good. I didn't know the law regulated the food people put in their bodies. Seems like this should be up to the person.
  • by local Location: pc on Nov 16, 2011 at 08:49 AM
    Think about it, if we own the cow and drink the milk from the cow we own, the gov't doesn't get their "share". They'd rather tell us it's bad and scare us into drinking their milk, so they their profits. Look at how many other foods and drinks they say are bad for us that are completely natural. They'd rather feed us chemicals that cause cancer, autism, etc... and tell us that they are safer than the all natural stuff our ancestors used.
  • by keith Location: panama city on Nov 16, 2011 at 08:45 AM
    The raw milk probably is better for you than the pasteurized and homogenized versions, but plain and simple... Milk Is For Babies. That's a fact. No other animal besides humans seek milk after infancy.
  • by Sandra Location: Panama city on Nov 15, 2011 at 05:53 PM
    My mother grew up in a family of 7 siblings during the depression and she told me stories of drinking milk straight from their own herd of cows that they kept on the farm.She lamented about how she missed drinking unpastuerized milk.All seven siblings grew up strong and never got sick.She told me she love letting the cream rise to the top and they would eat it and churn fresh real butter.If I can find some trust me I am going to start drinking it too and try my hand at making my own butter.I say if people are eating raw oyster why not raw milk.Guess big government will one day make eating oysters illegal too.Guess I'll be breaking laws left and right.
  • by like I'm gonna give my name on Nov 15, 2011 at 04:20 PM
    How long did people drink straight from the cow before gov't intrusion? Amazing how sickness is put into the equation when lobbyist are involved! Do your research, follow the money.
  • by whatabunchocrap on Nov 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM
    If someone wants to consume poison should we have a law against that?
  • by Mary Location: Graceville on Nov 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM
    My 5 siblings and myself were raised on raw milk. I also use to work at a dairy and my 2 children were raised on it. They are both grown now and were never hardly sick. I would still be drinking it if I could find it. It is so much better than what you buy in the store.
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