Family farmers can sometimes earn a good living from people wanting to buy raw milk. In some cases they can’t sell raw milk per se, but they can sell shares of a cow that produces the raw milk and shareholders can come and pick up what’s rightfully theirs.
Your right to purchase unprocessed, organic milk that some medical professionals consider healthier than pasteurized milk could ultimately hinge on new regulations being promulgated in California which could have repercussions across America.
Over a thousand consumers of raw-milk are expected to attend Tuesday’s joint hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee and California’s Select Committee on Food-Borne Illness. At issue: Whether producers of non-pasteurized milk, which contains pro-biotic bacteria thought to boost the human immune system, should be shut down if their milk fails to conform to the same bacteria-count standards as pasteurized milk.
“The government tries to force us into the pasteurization standards,” says Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Company, a Fresno, Calif., dairy that sells unpasteurized milk. “It just doesn’t work. It’s two different products.”
Raw-milk advocates estimate that about half a million Americans drink unpasteurized milk, which has been linked to both medical cures and some disease outbreaks. Those in the raw-milk business maintain that their product is routinely tested for the presence of disease-causing bacteria.