Should Drinking Raw Milk be a Felony?

Raw Milk is illegal in twelve U.S states and only legal for pet consumption in four.  My question to you is, why?

I can buy a cow for a third-world country for $500, so that people will have fresh milk to drink.  For hundreds of years people here in the United States have used cows to not only supply meat, but to also supply milk. But now the FDA and the government not only want to take away freedom of choice when it comes to milk consumption, but they also send raids of FDA enforcement agents against small local farms.

What are the benefits of Raw Milk?

Raw milk contains enzymes, good bacteria and nutrients that are otherwise killed in the pasteurization and homogenization process. Raw milk has been known to cure many diseases, and many people that are lactose intolerant are able to consume raw milk and cheeses.

What are the risks with Raw Milk?

Because Raw Milk is not heated to kill off harmful bacteria, there is the chance that raw milk could be contaminated.  People run the same risk when they buy foods off of the grocery store shelves.  We hear about consumer recalls on a daily basis, where things like spinach and peanut butter are contaminated with e-coli and salmonella.  When we look at the history of raw milk, we find that disease and sickness only happened when locations and animals were kept in unsanitary conditions.

Unfortunately because of regulations today in the processed dairy industry, many companies don’t feel a need to keep conditions sanitary.  It’s not regulations that make food safe, it’s the farmers.  If you need further proof of this, just watch this undercover video done at a Land O’ Lakes farm.

“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.” Paraphrased: If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.

-Thomas Jefferson from Notes on the State of Virginia.

I’m not saying we should all drink raw milk. The debate goes on and on as to whether it’s good for consumption or not. This isn’t about forcing anyone, or asking for a radical change across our nation. It’s about freedom of choice. Small farmers should be able to sell raw milk to those who choose to buy it.  Local Food Activists are meeting at Capitol Hill this Wednesday, March 16, 2011, with legislators to discuss the The Food Safety Modernization Act.  Should this Act pass, it will give the FDA even further power to make raw milk illegal and shut down small, local farms.

Question: Do you think that raw milk should be illegal, or do you think that people have the right to choose?

Find out what your state laws are for Raw Milk.

See More Raw Milk Facts

100 Comments:
  1. No… the government needs to butt out. As long as smoking cigs is legal, so should drinking raw milk. Smoking risks are FAR GREATER than drinking raw milk. Can’t even believe we have to have this discussion… lol!

  2. No… the government needs to butt out. As long as smoking cigs is legal, so should drinking raw milk. Smoking risks are FAR GREATER than drinking raw milk. Can’t even believe we have to have this discussion… lol!

  3. This is the same USDA and gov’t that is for GMOs so I’m not supporting much that do these days. I personally think so many allergies and diseases would cease to exist if we could choose our own foods and paths those foods take to get to us. Personally I’m not a huge fan of diary as it is, but I think raw might be a better choice for some. My girls have allergies and intolerances to diary and soy and I was looking at raw information.

    • Have you tried to take a look at the history of allergies in the world, especially in the developed world, where the foods are mostly imported from other states/countries/continents or are consumed after they have been processed to the point where even the mould won’t grow on it? The rapid rise in allergey can be direclty traced in time line to the increase in imported & processed foods & the decreased use & availability of local grown foods in their natural form, with minimal processing, like basic grinding & cooking of grains & use of fresh, local seasonal foods. BTW, these affect the prices of the foods & the economic levels of the local communityies too.

  4. I think we should have the right to choose. I was raised in cow country & we drank raw milk all the time along with goat milk. We lived through both!

  5. If people can smoke cigarettes and drink booze, then why would raw milk be any worse? This is ridiculous.

  6. If people can smoke cigarettes and drink booze, then why would raw milk be any worse? This is ridiculous.

  7. It is ridiculous that anyone should tell me what I can and cannot eat! We have bought raw milk from a small local farm (PA) for several years now, and my parents who live in NJ travel to PA to buy raw milk and raw milk products from the same farm. In NJ it is illegal to buy it or sell it, but my parents and many others they know travel out of state to buy it anyway! It is basically prohibition all over again… alcohol, you can buy and consume as much of you want of that, but raw milk? No Way! That would be dangerous! I might add that the farm where we buy our milk is meticulously kept! Not a drop of milk is left on any surface after they fill your containers. They wash everything down to make sure that no bacteria will grow anywhere near their milk tank or cold storage. And with the consumer walking in and seeing the conditions of the farm, you can bet they are way more sanitary than someone who doesn’t have the same level of accountability. OK, I’ve ranted enough :)

  8. If the the gov’t/USDA is going to allow GMOs, I’m not suprised they are going to try to stop other choices as well. Totally out of control.

  9. If the the gov’t/USDA is going to allow GMOs, I’m not suprised they are going to try to stop other choices as well. Totally out of control.

  10. Sorry, they DO allow GMOs already…going to stop labeling them.

  11. Sorry, they DO allow GMOs already…going to stop labeling them.

  12. You have to remember that with raw milk not only is the bad bacteria not killed, but the good bacteria is not killed either. And much like bacteria in our bodies, they war against each other. In ideal conditions, the good bacteria will win.
    It’s actually the pasteurized milk that I’m worried about because after all the bacteria is killed, then it’s only bad bacteria that will grow back again. That’s far more dangerous!

    The government originally outlawed raw milk many years ago because milking practices weren’t very sanitary. But today milking is down to a science and is done in a very clean way. I personally went to the farm where we get our raw milk and watched them milk the cows. It’s amazing!

  13. Completely and wholly believe that government should not be telling us what we can and can not eat. Raw milk is as legalized as marijuana, and that is silly.

    My family has consumed healthy raw milk for the last 5 years… has helped many skin ailments a couple of my children had.

  14. I support people’s rights to have access to raw milk for human consumption. In my state we can buy raw milk from the farm but it is illegal for the farmer to drive my milk to a store for retail sale or to a coop site for me to pick it up. Why is it okay enough for me to buy the milk but it’s not available for retail? And yet truckloads of alcohol and tobacco products are carted into the stores daily. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Crystal, you should come with me when I go visit my local organic dairy and farm next week. It’s only 2 hours from my house. It can’t be that far for you, huh? *wink*

  15. I drank raw milk as a child, always. Went to the dairy with my folks to buy it. I was and am fine. This is so STUPID and another example of Big Brother trying to control us.

  16. I drank raw milk as a child, always. Went to the dairy with my folks to buy it. I was and am fine. This is so STUPID and another example of Big Brother trying to control us.

  17. We have to many laws already and are becoming puppets because we are told what to do instead of thinking for ourselves. No wonder there is no common sense anymore. Nobody has to think.

  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjHHJUCY0Nk

    In this video is the co-owner of the farm I was referring to. The presenter states that “raw” milk has to have a lower bacteria count than pasteurized milk to be legally sold with a license. What?!

    She also gives a short history lesson on why milk was pasteurized in the first place.

  19. I hate raw milk. Still warm from the cow only sounds good in movies. Go ahead, try it. I’m done.

  20. I am not a conspiracy theorist and in fact usually laugh at those who are, but I wonder sometimes about all of the food “recalls”. Take the Peter Pan peanut butter recall. That was off the shelves for MONTHS. WHY did it take so long? I am seriously thinking the government is manipulating, to see how much control they can really have over our food habits.
    I could be wrong, but I don’t trust the government any further than I could pick up Nancy Pelosi and toss her. I’d love to toss her far away from D.C., but that’s another story. :)

  21. We drank raw milk when I was growing up and I never was lactose intolerent until I drank the store bought kind..is there something we don’t know about raw milk now…

  22. It is illegal to sell it in the state that I live in, unless you “own” the cow – so many co-op this way. Really, really ridiculous. I want to buy raw milk as I do processed milk, without having to drive 100s of miles out of the way to get it.

  23. It is what takes place during pasteurization that makes one lactose intolerant. Most people that are lactose intolerant can consume raw dairy products with ease.

  24. I would venture to guess that health problems have increased dramatically due to the governments’ intervention in our food supply. Most of our children have no idea where their food comes from, let alone what raw milk is. Allergies, as well as skin problems and obesity is now prevalent among children. And I have a suspicion that these problems may only be the tip of the iceberg for future generations if something is not done.

  25. We drank raw milk when I was growing up and never had any issues. Country living is the best. Years later we still have the opportunity to drink raw milk. Delicious & healthy for you!

  26. My teen son works on a dairy farm and brings home a gallon of raw milk from the bulk tank every couple of days…we’ve been doing this for years! Why on earth would it be illegal for crying out loud?!? Pffffft to big brother

  27. only a felony if you chop the hands off of people who leave the bathroom without washing their hands… that’s much worse.

  28. Ok, so the idea of raw milk totally weirds me out =) but it’s so much worse that I may not have the CHOICE to buy it and consume it. If it’s not harmful to the general public (like smoking is, ahem) then I don’t think there should be legislation about it.

  29. Would love to find some raw milk in AZ. It should always be legal!

  30. Oh my goodness! Just let people decide what they want to eat!

    I wish the government would realize that if they just butted out, the industry would regulate itself. Companies would go out of business if they consistently delivered poor quality food because the consumer would decide he didn’t want any part of it.

    The issue is that since the government wants to control the entire health care system, they also want to control what they consider to be questionable…

  31. We have had a cowshare for several years now. I LOVE our raw milk. It is a shame that we have to go to the extremes that we already do for healthy milk. I’m afraid that it will not be long before I do become a felon because of my “Moo-shine”!

    Even if we didn’t use raw milk I would still want it to be legal. The gov’t, especially the FDA has been going crazy the last year or two shutting down local milk and cheese farmers on false charges. The gov’t gets to many kick backs from the large dairies. They have been bought and are going to pay the price as we continue to lose more of freedoms. It hurts to know that we really don’t live in the land of the free…

  32. Totally, totally agree. I SO wish could get raw milk w/o having to buy a cowshare that makes it almost $20/gallon. And not only milk, but the cream, too. I haven’t been able to try making my own cheese ’cause all I can find is “ultra-pasteurized” stuff- including “organic!” The gov’t has really overstepped it’s bounds here…

  33. Ok…….its legal to serve our children strawberry and chocolate milk in their school lunches but it illegal to drink raw milk…..????!!! Hmmmm !!!! I have never seen a chocolate or strawberry cow…but somehow its ok to poison our kids with this garbage….hmmmm

  34. Ok…….its legal to serve our children strawberry and chocolate milk in their school lunches but it illegal to drink raw milk…..????!!! Hmmmm !!!! I have never seen a chocolate or strawberry cow…but somehow its ok to poison our kids with this garbage….hmmmm

  35. WHY is it LEGAL to eat raw fish and ILLEGAL to drink raw milk? I just don’t get it. If I choose to drink milk directly from a cow, that’s MY prerogative!

  36. WHY is it LEGAL to eat raw fish and ILLEGAL to drink raw milk? I just don’t get it. If I choose to drink milk directly from a cow, that’s MY prerogative!

  37. I for one am for it being illegal. People have died from raw milk. My Grandparents were friends with some type of health inspector and he was telling me all the horrors of raw milk. Now if they would certify certain farms that went by strict rules, I could see it being available, but I just cannot see big corporations keeping the milk and surrounding area clean or safe.

    • People have died from alcohol and cigarettes, but those are legal. People have died driving in cars, but that is legal, too. Where do you draw the line of government involvement? Wouldn’t it be better for the government to impose safety regulations on raw milk rather than making it illicit? I can get raw milk, but I choose to buy low temperature pasteurized, unhomogenized milk instead. This is my choice. But I don’t think I have the right to impose my choice on others. Why should a select few be allowed to impose food choices on others? Educate people, put safety standards in place, and let people make their own choices.

  38. I absolutely am FOR raw milk. I began drinking it over a year ago. I hate milk and never drank it. I love this milk and drink over a gallon a week myself. I do have to jump through hoops in my state to buy it, including driving to a farm weekly. I’m glad it’s finally legal, but it needs to be readily accessible. My farmer just started a herd share program, and he’s doing weekly and monthly testing on his cows and milk. Now, I have more peace of mind in consuming it.

  39. I fully support raw milk being available to those who want to buy it. The government needs to get out of so many things!

  40. I believe that it should be legal to sell or buy raw milk. The reason the goverment doesn’t like the buying or selling of raw milk is because they don’t have their hand in the cookie jar. If the people of this country really knew the truth about raw and processed milk they might make a different choice. If people stopped believing the lies and propaganda that are used to scare people then maybe they could make a more informed choice.

    There are a lot of myths about buying/selling or drinking raw milk. Milk that comes from large corporative dairy’s, is intended for pasteurization, is not the best choice for getting your raw milk, because they are not going to be as careful about cleanliness as some and very likely they give their cows hormones. I am not saying all because I know that there are those that don’t. In buying raw milk, you must know your source. The farm where I get my milk is spotlesss. The cows aren’t given hormones nor does he use drugs to treat them. The cows are grass fed in the spring, summer and fall.

    I grew up drinking raw millk just as did many of my relatives and neighbors. In fact, I would say that most of the people I knew growing up, drank raw milk from their own farms or got it from us or another farmer. Not one person got sick or died. Over the years I have known many people who drink raw milk. I live in rural Minnesota and a lot of people still drink raw milk. Not once have I heard or known anyone who has gotten sick or died from drinking raw milk. About one year ago, we started drinking raw milk again. While I have not heard of anyone getting sick or dying from drinking raw milk I have heard of people getting sick from eating at fast food joints. Yet there is no talk about shutting down these kinds of places or stopping the sale of cigarettes.

    My son moved back home about 4 months ago and since he started drinking the raw milk his acne has completely disappeared and he’s lost 7 pounds. The biggest change I’ve seen over this past year is that we have been rarely sick. Granted we eat healthy and are careful about what we put into our bodies but I do believe that drinking raw milk has benifited us.

    I have 2 friends that had never tasted raw milk until they tried some from me about a year ago. In fact, one of them was supposedly lactose intolerant. Both of them are now raw milk drinkers and my friend tolerates the raw milk with no problem.

    Most of all, I support the choice of buying and selling raw milk because it should not be up to our government to dictate what we can eat/drink. If it’s not raw milk, what will be next? Will they say we can’t grow our own food? Will they say we can’t sell our produce at farmers markets? We the people, need to wake up and realize it’s not just about the milk.

    • I agree with you 100%. It is the same story the world over. You knoe about the “sacred cow” thing of India. Why is there such international (read it as american) pressure to increase cow slaughter & decimate cows as pets substitute the with dogs & cats? It is amusing to see how the power hungry people play it…to make themselves look like they are fighting for you freedoms, they first scare the government & the people with traumatising information via the sacred “scientific research.” Had raw milk been so harmful, what could explain the population explosion in India? Shouldn’t there have been deaths in numbers large enough to prevent such massive increase? Or was the increas in population of the communities who do not worsip the cow but kill eat & eat it, taht is, the christians & the muslims?

  41. I was reading through your comments and as far as I could tell only one person was for it being illegal and even then was fine with it if inspections were being done for small farmers. I guess there isn’t much for me to add to that. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I think your average person would swing either way though probably towards it staying illegal. We’re told that unpasturized milk is a health risk. Many people can’t understand why we’d even want to drink it. Personally I prefer organic or local pasturized milk but I strongly support the freedom to choose.

  42. The government needs to just stay out of our lives – ESPECIALLY concerning food choices. They are the last people I would ever take health or food advice from. Twinkies are considered safe food and you can eat as many of them as you feel led….but RAW milk? Oh now that’s dangerous. Cigarettes, alcohol….perfectly legal, just don’t try to drink some completely fresh milk. I can’t believe the state of this nation – it’s just utterly absurd what they think is “bad” for us versus what is “good”.

  43. Raw milk isn’t nutritionally different from pasteurized. That’s just junk that raw milk sellers tell you to try and get you to pay extra for their product. In fact, raw milk is pretty risky. Plenty of people have gotten real ill from drinking milk from cows that looked clean and healthy. You can’t tell that a cow has e. coli just by looking at it. Just ask the Organic Pastures people. A few of their cows tested positive, but they looked fine.

    Plus, they funded a scientific study to test if lactose intolerant people could drink raw milk. The scientists found that it made no difference whether the milk was raw or not.. they still couldn’t tolerate it. But the people at Organic Pastures ignored it.. they just keep on lying.

  44. With the rapid development in the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, & basically the healthcare industry & related industries, I ave noticed a greater push to descourage people from eating anything or doing any activity that may reduce their dependence on the “healthcare industry & system” As I began to look deeper into it & think more about it, it turns out that it is not about the serious concern for the public health at all. It is all about good christian behavior (regardless of one’s religious affiliation)…it means, keeping more & more sheep within your fences. That translates to more & more patients/clients/customers….which directly translates to more money & directly leads to more power…Else, why would t matter to any one if some one wanted to have a couple of cows as pets & used the milk for personal diet, & take personal responsibility for one’s health? Ah yes, the legal fraternity too stands to gain a lot by way of money & publicity…

  45. Unless you are breaking moral laws the government needs to stay out of your home and your property. Big brother has got to stop!

  46. So why is smoking ok? But HOLY COW (no pun intented cross my heart lol) DONT drink the raw milk it actually might be good for you but its a felony……..

  47. It comes down to control. We are losing our rights faster and faster. I saw an article recently about how pasteurized milk is now linked to cancer. We have no rights as parents any more…evidently we are too stupid to do what’s best for our children…but the government knows, of course.

  48. SHould be totally legal! Why is it ok to each raw fish but not drink raw milk?!!

  49. It should be up to the individual. Will they come in and take my cow away if they know I am drinking it’s milk raw? I thing the gov’t has better ways to spend their time and money…..ridiculous!

  50. Try to tell someone that they can’t have their filet mignon medium-rare. There’s a disclaimer and then they let them eat it. They should just do the same for any other food that anyone wants to eat.

  51. Try to tell someone that they can’t have their filet mignon medium-rare. There’s a disclaimer and then they let them eat it. They should just do the same for any other food that anyone wants to eat.

  52. And here is another thought…….you can eat RAW steak from a COW but you cant drink the same cows raw milk??!! Um can anyone else say stuuuuuuuuuuupid……….

  53. And here is another thought…….you can eat RAW steak from a COW but you cant drink the same cows raw milk??!! Um can anyone else say stuuuuuuuuuuupid……….

  54. this is America and it Should be up to the individual, it is getting ridiculous !!! But its okay to have chemicals loaded in our foods and meats right

  55. this is America and it Should be up to the individual, it is getting ridiculous !!! But its okay to have chemicals loaded in our foods and meats right

  56. We are all healthy and we had to drink it, why buy milk if you have it at your disaposal. This is my idea but I am not in congress, just saying!

  57. We are all healthy and we had to drink it, why buy milk if you have it at your disaposal. This is my idea but I am not in congress, just saying!

  58. People ought to be free to buy whatever they want. My wife and I bought shares of a cow and goat for several years so our family could enjoy fresh raw milk. It was awesome!

  59. You know what’s more dangerous than raw milk? Try alcohol. Try marijuana. Try cigarettes. Try McDonalds. Try soda. What’s wrong with this picture.

  60. You know what’s more dangerous than raw milk? Try alcohol. Try marijuana. Try cigarettes. Try McDonalds. Try soda. What’s wrong with this picture.

  61. If it were about protecting us then there are far more harmful things that are sanctioned by the FDA. Its not about protection its about who has the money and who wants more.

  62. If it were about protecting us then there are far more harmful things that are sanctioned by the FDA. Its not about protection its about who has the money and who wants more.

  63. seems to me our wonderful government is trying harder and harder to have full control over everything we do! When will this insanity end? What are they going to try to take away next! Why do we even have rights if they are just going to keep changing them?I thought we lived in a free country, apparently not!

  64. seems to me our wonderful government is trying harder and harder to have full control over everything we do! When will this insanity end? What are they going to try to take away next! Why do we even have rights if they are just going to keep changing them?I thought we lived in a free country, apparently not!

  65. Definitely up to the individual. It’s all a business thing, though – the big milk producers can’t promise that their milk is safe enough to drink raw b/c of keeping the cattle in confinement, the sheer numbers that they are pushing through the milk house, hired help who might not understand or recognize an infected utter and will milk it anyway, etc … so they get the govt to agree to pass laws that milk has to be pasturized so that they can stay in business. Personally I wouldn’t want to drink unpasturized milk from a big dairy. But from small, family owned dairies, totally would drink it in a heartbeat! In fact, I grew up on raw milk – we always had a cow and drank lots of milk. And I agree with all the others – the government has no right to be telling us what we can and can’t do, other than ensuring that we aren’t all going around killing or stealing from each other. I’m quite certain there are better ways for them to be spending their time and money, and if they can’t find those ways, then maybe we need to scale back our government so they don’t have to be looking for such idiotic things to do to keep their jobs.

  66. Definitely up to the individual. It’s all a business thing, though – the big milk producers can’t promise that their milk is safe enough to drink raw b/c of keeping the cattle in confinement, the sheer numbers that they are pushing through the milk house, hired help who might not understand or recognize an infected utter and will milk it anyway, etc … so they get the govt to agree to pass laws that milk has to be pasturized so that they can stay in business. Personally I wouldn’t want to drink unpasturized milk from a big dairy. But from small, family owned dairies, totally would drink it in a heartbeat! In fact, I grew up on raw milk – we always had a cow and drank lots of milk. And I agree with all the others – the government has no right to be telling us what we can and can’t do, other than ensuring that we aren’t all going around killing or stealing from each other. I’m quite certain there are better ways for them to be spending their time and money, and if they can’t find those ways, then maybe we need to scale back our government so they don’t have to be looking for such idiotic things to do to keep their jobs.

  67. What should be illegal is people putting cancer causing crap in our food and drinks without our ok! Forcing us to drink a hazardous cocktail of only God knows what when you buy altered milk. If they want to drink it fine, knock themselves out. But, I will make my own decisions on what is healthy, obviously the ones making these decisions can’t tell their front from their back, why would we let them make those decisions for us. Oh yeah, that’s right so they can rake in the doe so that they can afford antibiotic free, hormone free, pesticide free raw milk.

  68. What should be illegal is people putting cancer causing crap in our food and drinks without our ok! Forcing us to drink a hazardous cocktail of only God knows what when you buy altered milk. If they want to drink it fine, knock themselves out. But, I will make my own decisions on what is healthy, obviously the ones making these decisions can’t tell their front from their back, why would we let them make those decisions for us. Oh yeah, that’s right so they can rake in the doe so that they can afford antibiotic free, hormone free, pesticide free raw milk.

  69. NO….people should have the right to eat/drink whatever they want…it’s THEIR lives

  70. NO….people should have the right to eat/drink whatever they want…it’s THEIR lives

  71. I’m so with Melissa! Peeps need to wake up! 1996 GMO crops took over and food intolerances/allergies are skyrocketing! Coincidence? Heck no. Food choice needs to be protected.

  72. I’m so with Melissa! Peeps need to wake up! 1996 GMO crops took over and food intolerances/allergies are skyrocketing! Coincidence? Heck no. Food choice needs to be protected.

  73. I think the FDA and FBI is pocking its nose in the wrong place..instead of being so concerned with organic farms and raw milk they should really be paying attention to big bussiness agriculture that is ALWAYS being recalled for salmonella and e-coli.

  74. Next it will be against the law to give your neighbors produce that you grew and had too much of, oh wait, didnt they try that last year or the year before? This is the land of the free, but now we have unions, HOA’s, Obamacare? Think America, why did the pilgrims come here? and why do we let them take over more and more.

  75. I think it should be that you can drink/eat/smoke/whatever you want as long as you are not relying on the money of the taxpayers for the possible medical care that may result from the risk you are taking.

  76. Saying we cant drink raw milk is kind of like saying we cant have sex with out condoms ever. Sorry for the odd compairison but thats how I see it. It should be up to the person to decide. Just like with sex- if a person is with a partner/spouse they trust they may not see the need to protect with a condom- just like if a family has their own milk cow and knows it is fresh and free of any possible disease they should definatly be able to nourish their families with it!

  77. Raw milk consumption should be up to the individual, however I find it pathetic that we need to put disclaimers on everything. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to drink raw milk or consume rare beef or smoke or whatever, then make sure you’re making an informed decision

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