Posted on May 20, 2011 - by Jenny Holm
If you happened to walk by the Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill this Monday morning, you might have noticed an unusual guest: a Jersey cow named Morgan munched on the lush grass while volunteers passed out cups of still-warm milk, direct from her teats.
Members of the Grassfed on the Hill buying club, who purchase meat and raw milk of pasture-raised animals from DC-area farmers, brought the farm to Washington to protest the FDA’s attempt to file a permanent injunction against Pennsylvania farmer Dan Allgyer, who sells raw milk to buying club members. If the federal court approves the injunction, Allgyer would be forced to stop selling unpasteurized milk across state lines.
The sale of unpasteurized milk is legal in many states, either in stores or on the farm. Other states allow herd sharing, whereby consumers pay farmers a fee to keep and care for “their” cow, and in return receive a supply of milk. (Use this interactive map from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to learn more about the legality of raw milk in your state.) However, federal law prohibits interstate sales of raw milk, citing safety concerns about bacteria that may be present in “uncooked” milk, including E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
Consumers who seek out raw milk do so for a variety of reasons: the fuller taste, health benefits such as gastrointestinal support, a desire to support local economies, or just for making cheese. Protesters gathered at Monday’s rally carried signs demanding the freedom to choose unpasteurized milk.
Are you a raw milk drinker? Why or why not? How should consumer choice and concern for public health be reconciled in this case? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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