Proponents of raw milk have a chance to affect state law in California on Wednesday in Sacramento.  Bonnie at the Ethicurean and Tana at iheartsmallfarms  write about the issue with regard to Claravale Farm.  I regularly receive email alerts via Meadow Sweet Farm, which has been battling state health officials for nearly a year along the same lines and has their first hearing in Albany on Thursday. Both farms and the availability of raw milk will be in danger if current laws are not revised. (Photo of Claravale cows by Tana Butler.)

Img_9899I haven’t thought long and hard about the issue of raw milk or studied the issues carefully. Raw milk certainly could and has carried harmful bacteria and beneficial bacteria.  If I were drinking it, I’d want to know the source.

I do believe that raw milk, under careful production, should be available to anyone who wants it.  And I know for a fact the world would be a lesser place without raw milk cheeses.  What chaps my ass is when a government inspector tells me what I’m allowed to eat and what I’m not.  It’s almost always the case that such inspectors know far less about the food than the people who produce it and the people who seek it out.  This is harmful, not helpful.

I urge people who care about raw milk and real food to support these farms in Sacramento tomorrow and in Albany on Thursday.  Instead of being models of farming, lauded for what they do, they are instead villified by our of-the-people, by-the-people, and for-the-people government.


80 Wonderful responses to “Raw Milk”

  • Rod Schiffman

    We are allowed to purchase raw milk in Utah as of last year. I had to sign waivers that are kept on file. We have a local source that I don’t have to worry about the quality. Drinking it was a revelation as to how good Milk can be. Even if you don’t drink it, support the right for those who want it to drink it.

  • Renee Ormsbee

    Here here, I grew up on raw milk from my grandparents dairy farm and a with a good farm following good husbandry and milking practices there is no reason why anyone should have to worry about the “safety” of raw milk. I only wish I could get it now as an adult for my children nothing else tastes as good.

  • Sues is not Martha

    I agree people should be allowed to consume whatever they want, as long as they are given the proper warnings. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” really opened my eyes up to a lot of these issues.

    I don’t know anything about raw milk at all (uhh, I live in Boston), but I’m definitely going to take a look at this!

  • Scotty

    Michael, I am a big supporter of raw milk – especially raw milk chesses. I can’t speak to California, but you can get raw milk certification from New York. I get mine (cow and goat available, as well as truly fresh eggs)from Teacup Farm northeast of Buffalo

    I am not a big fan of health inspectors dictating what we can eat either, especially when it comes to charcuterie and the fact that health inspector say no because they don’t understand the process. I also realize the costs of compliance with health codes when they are available are expensive, but that’s part of doing business.

    But, I wouldn’t by raw milk from an uninspected dairy unless I really knew the producers!

  • Maya

    I assume the definition of “raw” would be non pasturized / non homogonized? When I lived in England on a farm we had that kind of milk and it was beyond the best milk I’d ever had. Really incredible, the taste difference.

    I would agree about having the freedom to consume whatever we want, not in the U.S. When people are eating McDonald’s fries and then turning around and suing everyone on the planet because it made them fat, we deserve a nazi state. We wanted security, we got security. That’s what we voted for, apparently. I’ve got many issues with the USDA as well, but don’t blame the government for giving people what they’re screaming for.

    I was considering moving abroad anyway. 😉

  • luis

    I am replacing the plumbing faucets around the house… needless to say I had to do my homework after a fixture some plumber installed kept leaking and was ugly to boot.
    So I had to take time from my busy schedule to sort things out including finding the right new plumber/read dairy!!!!!!!!
    Long story short what is a nuissance in your plumbing could be LETHAL! in your diet.
    We are past the raw milk issue by at least one century or so. YOu get your own cow and you milk it and then OK!.. you are still on your own.

  • Kathy McDaniel

    Agree. Let me be the judge of what I put in my body. Pasteurization destroys all microorganisms, good bacteria, live enzymes, vitamins and the structure of milk proteins; so you may as well drink water instead!
    In the ’20s when controls were not in place for ensuring clean conditions and sanitation practices I can see a benefit but these days is a total waste.

  • luis

    Daniel, you may be completelly right. I don’t know for sure. However market is what it is and you will get into the usual race to the bottom in price and that will lead to cutting corners and then people will get sick and die like the do by the thousands today poisoned by the lowest producer aka China.
    My point is.. again you could be 150% right in the high end milk savy market, but history shows you are 200% wrong in the capitalist economy and the race to the bottom market. People will get sick and die…no doubt about it on my part.

  • SwillMonkey


    I’m not quite sure I agree with you. Controls are in place for slaughter houses yet people still get e coli.

    I was driving out to Point Reyes lighthouse a few weeks back and went by 6 or 7 dairies that have been operating for well over 100 years.

    There were a couple that did not look real sanitary, not sure I would want raw milk from them.

    Just finished a quart of whole milk from Strauss Family Creamery. Mmmmmm that’s some good milk, cream on the top and all.

  • Jennifer


    Since you’re on the topic of being told what’s ok for us we consumers to eat and not to eat, what are your thoughts on the recent debate surrounding the FDA’s approval of eating meat from cloned animals as being safe?

    Also, what happened to your new headshot that you had on this site when you first redesigned it? I like the charicature, but the new shot was nice, too.


  • Maya

    I agree that people should be allowed to choose what food they eat, as long as it’s properly labelled. In fact, maybe raw milk would be part of a kind of “slow food” trend that I would enjoy see a comeback. I actually see that as the opposite of this Frankenfoods cloned animal stuff, that just because stochastity makes it impossible to predict the fallout now that seems to imply that it’s “safe”.

  • Broadsheet

    My aunt kept a milk cow on her farm when I was a kid. One of my favorite memories was taking a clean, galvanized bucket out to the barn, milking the cow, and then pouring the steaming milk through an old (clean!) cotton diaper and immediately drinking it while it was still warm. One of life’s greatest simple pleasures. You could actually taste fresh grass.

  • Jeff

    I definitely support the choice of both–there are people who need pasteurized milk, the old, young and immunodeficient. The key is the choice of the consumer.

  • Charlotte

    I buy milk from a local rancher who keeps a couple of Jersy cows. It’s entirely different than store milk, tastes great, makes unbelievably good yogurt, and I really love it. But I don’t know how comfortable I’d be buying raw milk from a big company — I know what kind of person my milk producer is and I absolutely trust her. But I don’t know if I’d feel as comfortable buying milk that had been through a big mechanized dairy operation where as an earlier poster said, corners can be cut. That said, I think the efforts to legistlate it out of existence are stupid — especially the California bill which was slipped through without public comment. And can we get over the raw milk cheese ban in the US already? I want runny raw milk cheese!

  • ruhlman

    the charcuterie comparison is on the money, it’s exactly the same situation

    jennifer, i don’t have an opinion on cloned meat, other than to say that there’s no reason i see to think that cloned meat is bad for you because it’s cloned, from a common sense standpoint. but then, i really don’t know enough about the cloning process to have a useful opinion.

  • Darcie

    When I was a kid on my grandparent’s farm I despised raw milk. I hated “home grown” milk so much my grandparents had to go to the store and buy me regular milk. Sigh.

    Now that I would like raw milk (for cheese-making), it is unavailable. So I can buy cigarettes, liquor, and guns, but I can’t buy unpasteurized milk? Really?

    I would, however, closely inspect any dairy from which I purchased raw milk. There are a lot of ways for contamination to occur. After all, cows walk in poo all the time, it splatters – need I go on? But with proper sanitation, there’s no reason not to use raw milk.

    Caveat: I’ve read that many infant sicknesses and deaths in the early part of the 20th century were due to bacteria in raw milk. I would not advise anyone to feed raw milk to their children, but I think adults should be able to consume whatever they wish. However, the trend seems to continue towards “protect people from themselves” government. It’s our own fault. Once the tide has turned, it becomes increasingly difficult to reverse the trend. I wish the folks in California good luck.

  • Bob delGrosso

    As you may recall I work at raw milk dairy in Pennsylvania that produces raw milk cheese and bottled milk. Hendricks Farms and Dairy is fully regulated by the state and has to conform to the same standards that are being proposed in California.

    We milk with a robot that scrubs and disinfects the udders of each cow that comes in for milking. It also has sensors that detect levels of microbes in the milk as it comes out of the cow. If the levels are too high the milk is diverted into the waste cycle. The floor of the dairy is hosed with disinfectant sometimes dozens of times a day depending on how often the cows dump in there.

    This is all pretty expensive but when you consider that we are able to charge 7 dollars a gallon for milk and more than 20 dollars a pound for cheese it’s not really a problem.

    I guess I’m having trouble understanding what the farmers in California are upset about. Is this about not wanting to be regulated or are they worried that they are going to have to spend money to comply?

  • Techie

    I imagine the shelf-life of raw milk to be much shorter than that of pasteurized.

    How much shorter?

  • Maya

    Having some background in vet medicine and a bit in genetics, I can tell you that cloned meat can absolutely cause some nasty problems. But I’ll wait until a real post on that subject so as not to distract.

    The other problem I see with raw milk is that if the trend did take off and become widespread, some farmers may be tempted to sneak in some antibiotics as insurance or as a cheap way to ensure safety (can you imagine the bad publicity and financial fallout if a farm were known to be a source of infection?)

    Right now antibiotics are absolutely forbidden if an animal is used for food (that’s why it’s hysterical when labels say, “no antibiotics”! Well of course not, it’s forbidden by law) but it’s a pretty cheap way to get off scott free.

    And of course we all know that between warming climates and overuse of antibiotics that we could get resistent strains of bacteria running around. Fine for Bourdain’s travels, not so fine in the whiny U.S.

  • luis

    Right, a seviche that its over cured tastes a little lemony….but tainted milk tastes like????….probably chicken.

  • French Laundry at Home

    It’s my understanding that raw milk sales are regulated on a state-by-state basis, but what role does the FDA play? Is it just that they allow states to make their own laws and the feds won’t interfere unless a bill is brought up to change that?

  • Maya

    The FDA enforces the laws, so in states that allow it the FDA just makes sure that raw milk does not cross state lines, and where it’s banned the FDA does inspections on farms, where the stuff is sold, etc. I always thought the USDA were the primary farm “visitors” but I guess the FDA does the food safety thing mostly.

    The only real ethical issue I see with raw milk is that listeria can potentially kill an unborn baby if mom doesn’t know she’s pregnant, so I could understand if people may object to it on those grounds.

  • Bob delGrosso

    How long raw milk lasts on the shelf depends on how clean it is coming from the cow and how quickly it is cooled following milking, AND how it is held and bottled AND how it is stored at home.
    In my house one gallon of lasts about 10 days.

  • Eric

    I totally agree that raw milk and, more importantly, raw milk products should be available. (Personally, I more interested in the latter.)

    I propose to broaden the scope of the issue though. The federal bureaucrats keep us from importing many food items from abroad, even if it is just for personal use. This is one of the joys of travel they take away from us.

    Their rationale for this is not to import bugs. Frankly, I doubt they can prove that any of their controls has ever stopped any bug from crossing the border. I doubt there are legitimate health concerns here, just a bureaucracy that wants to keep on existing.

    Having said that, I’d hate to put the beagles that inspect our bags out of work though. They’re darn cute!

  • Tags

    If they’re going to start banning foods, they should prioritize.

    First, get rid of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, since these are documented as causing much greater danger than raw milk.

    Of course, the agribusiness titans won’t allow that. They stand to lose too much money.

    So, safety isn’t the issue, lobbyist leverage is the issue.

  • Alex

    In theory, I agree with Michael here. In practice, all of us who would normally be in a camp that would support raw milk should also keep in mind our usual complaints — that companies cut corners to save money, and put our health at risk by doing so, and that the government is ineffective at stopping this.

    The problem here, I think, is where does the allowance for raw milk stop? We’d want to believe only the kinds of farms we like would start producing raw milk, but why wouldn’t big conglomerates and factory farms jump in the same way they have in the organic sector, especially because this way they can save on pasteurization costs? And if they do, who decides the standard for who can produce raw milk, and what are those standards? If prior experience is any indication, politicians who depend on contributions from big ag will set what few weak standards are enacted, and the enforcement of those standards will be done in a way that tends to actually disadvantage small farms that are careful with how their milk is produced. At that point, the notion that consumers can have choice is out the door; only the most informed will know that their grocery store’s brand of raw milk will be vastly inferior to the good stuff, even potentially dangerous.

  • Rich


    I’m afraid you might have some bad information.

    “Right now antibiotics are absolutely forbidden if an animal is used for food (that’s why it’s hysterical when labels say, “no antibiotics”! Well of course not, it’s forbidden by law) but it’s a pretty cheap way to get off scott free.”

    That statement is completely untrue. If not for antibiotics most commercial cattle would not survive the feed lots.

    When properly raised, raw milk products are “safer” than pasteurized ones. There would be no need for drugs. In fact antibiotics would harm the beneficial bacteria that inhibit the invasion of unwanted bacteria strains. At trice the price of commercial milk I don’t think it is going to be more than the boutique item it currently is….but we can hope

  • Rich

    “Right, a seviche that its over cured tastes a little lemony….but tainted milk tastes like????….probably chicken.”

    Actually it tastes like yogurt. When pasteurized milk goes sour you have to toss it because you have no idea what bacteria is in it. Unless you put a commercial culture in it. With the raw stuff if it sours you just leave it out and let nature take its course.

  • James

    In regards to the cloned animal meat, I don’t see how they can have a discussion on something there has been no experimentation on. As far as cloned animals go, Dolly was it as far as careful documentation. And since the sheep she was cloned from was 6, and the telomeres were appropriately short when Dolly was cloned, then she died (6 years later) at a ripe age of 12, for a sheep. That she Ovine Carcinoma, could easily be explained by her age. 12 is a fairly common age for the onset of this very common disease in sheep.

    The cloning at A&M has pointed out the flaw in attempting to clone herd animals for food – it’s expensive. Really, really expensive.

  • Jean Harrah

    Bob del Grosso–raw milk in CA *is* regulated and tested for pathogens and has been for many years. The new law that was pushed through secretively requires an unrealistically low level of bacteria after bottling, including harmless and beneficial bacteria, and would in effect put the raw milk dairies out of business. Meeting the new low bacteria level at the bulk tank is not a problem for the two California dairies. The problem is the testing further down the line after the milk has been through the particular bottling machinery required in the state of CA. The new law affects only raw milk.

  • Tana

    Listen, please, to the people who say that they’ve tasted milk right out of the cow. “Filtered through a cotton diaper” is perhaps the most real and applicable statement, or you could read HUNDREDS of words about my actual visits to Claravale Farm on my weblog.

    Thank you, Michael, and would it kill ya to give a photo credit? Those are Claravale Jerseys, and I took that photo…those cows smell good, in general.

    Again, many kind thanks.

    I cannot go tomorrow as planned, because one little boy (Logan) turned into a Mean, Green, Snot Machine today. He can’t go to preschool tomorrow, nor can I trot him up to Sacramento as the poster child for health. Those green boogers pretty much exclude him from representing health, but I think I’m doing the right thing.

    Michael, please don’t be mad about my comments.

    As Logan says, “Nanks!”

  • Bob delGrosso

    Okay, I did some homework on the raw milk issue in Ca, and I think I see things more clearly now.

    If this Ca. legislation passes, it will certainly cut down the supply of raw milk to off-farm retail customers. But it will most likely boost the sale of milk sold on farms and increase the profits to the farmers who now do not have to absorb the cost of bottling and distribution.

    It might also give a boost to the raw milk cheese producers who will try to absorb whatever milk goes unsold as liquid product.

    The State of Pennsylvania (where I work making salumi etc. at a raw milk dairy and fromagerie -not sure what to call a place of cheesmaking in English)) does not permit us to bottle and sell raw milk off farm. But we sell all the milk we produce from a herd of 75 cows on farm as milk and off farm as cheese. Our biggest customer is Whole Foods.

    So it looks like the Raw Milk farmers in Ca should gain from the proposed legislation but customers who love raw milk but cannot get to the farm will clearly lose.

    Tough one.

  • fv

    Yet another example of our “open & free” government choosing what and what we “should’nt eat” Wait, why are we Iraq again?

  • rockandroller

    I don’t understand why something like this can’t be treated like alcohol or tobacco – available with certain warnings and/or restrictions and let the buyer beware.

  • Rich

    “In regards to the cloned animal meat, I don’t see how they can have a discussion on something there has been no experimentation on.”

    Not to further hijack this more but you are right about the “meat” part. In a sense “clones” are pretty much identical twins. The big problem would be genetic diversity. The problems or weaknesses of one will the the problems and weakness of all, in a sense. Think of the Haas avocado. All “Haas” trees are essentially clones of the original. This is great for consistent product, but a disease that affects one will as easily attack all

  • Bob delGrosso

    Rich makes a great point

    Genetic diversity of all food crops is already pretty low. Cloned animals will make it even lower.

    As for the worry I have had read here and elsewhere that meat from cloned animals might be dangerous to human health -I think this is misplaced. It costs about 15,000 dollars to clone a cow vs 2000 dollars to produce a cow by conventional means.

    The take home (retail) yield of a live cattle is about 50 percent. Which means that the price of cow doubles when it is butchered for meat (not including labor and other handling costs). So the meat from cloned animal would be about 30, 000 dollars vs 4,000 for the conventionally raised cow.

    A typical cow yields somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 pounds of meat.
    So the meat from the cloned cow might cost 43 bucks a pound vs 5 for the conventionally raised meat.

    Point is, until people are willing to pay upwards of 40 dollars a pound for hamburger there will not be much cloned meat on the market.

    Of course as the technology spreads, the cost of production will come down. So maybe there is something to worry about.

  • Maya

    Rich, sorry about that, my statement was pretty vague. The FDA does random tests for antibiotics; there are “safe” levels (quite insignificant, from what I’ve been taught) and any levels above that will get the farmer in huge trouble. Of course, they are allowed to treat the animals with anitibiotics as long as they are taken away from food production until levels go back down.

    Now new testing methods are detecting levels that could not be tested before, so the rules, from what I heard, are about to get stricter.

  • Maya

    Rich, I agree that antibiotics are useless, but not unnecessary; listeria does not get wiped out simply by competition from beneficial bacteria. But antibiotics won’t help if the milk gets contaminated once outside the cow. I do think that contamination may be relatively rare, but try telling that to someone who gets sick. As I said, if a woman is pregnant, it could harm the fetus.

    For the record, though, I’m still in favor of freedom of choice, but we asked for our government to be a dictator, and we got a dictator. We can’t be complaining now.

    Excellent point about the cloned meat too, Rich. 😉

  • Rich

    Yeah, what Bob said.

    Back to the Raw milk issue. As Ruhlman pointed out you need to know the source for stuff like this. In a perfect would we would know the source of all our food. In my case I live in a State that prohibits the sale of non-pasteurized dairy for human consumption. We have to go to great lengths to obtain raw milk. I had to join a super secret co-op that makes by-monthly group orders from a farm in a neighboring state. We know the farm, farmer, and how the animals are raised. I would probably be less inclined to buy it if it were just something I found in the store. has a ton of good information on the subject. I think now that we are actually paying for pro-biotic, bacteria supplements it has time for things to finally come full circle.

  • Hank

    Hey Michael (and the rest of you),
    I work at the Capitol in Sacramento so I’ll swing by the Ag Committee to see what goes down today. I’ll post later with a report, if you’d like. Cheers,

  • Rich

    You did say “absolutely forbidden if an animal is used for food” That was pretty specific. The danger has never been from the antibiotics, but rather the super bacteria that that don’t manage to kill. At least when it comes to meat. I would also disagree that antibiotics are useless. Given what we allow in commercial meat production they are a necessity. The point is they are there, and used in staggering amounts in our food.

    The issue is different when applied to raw milk. Listeria,and e coli(which scares me more) may or may not be wiped out by beneficial bacteria. The reason they get in the cows at all is because we overcrowd cattle, with unsuitable drainage, and on grain that screws up their biochemistry. Ph levels are a huge factor. The heard of cattle my raw milk comes from has plenty of room, a hilly farm, grass fed, no antibiotics, no pasteurization, and has never tested positive for listeria, or e coli.

  • Maya

    Hi Rich – I meant that antibiotics were useless FOR RAW MILK because the milk can get contaminated once outside the cow.

    However, I’m thrilled to hear that the cattle you deal with have a hilly, grassy farm and plenty of room. That makes me happy. Overcrowded farms certainly have more potential for contamination into the food supply.

    The only thing that concerns me then is the production of methane and the potential to contaminate streams and the water table with nitrates and microbes, which sadly is still, and always will be, a risk when keeping cattle.

  • Rich


    Sorry, didn’t mean to come off harsh.
    All I’m getting at is that the bacteria has to come from somewhere, the cow. There also has to be a reason after so long the cattle are not able to resist it. We caused these problems ourselves.
    It is a holistic system. If you do all those things, you limit the production of wastes, microbes, and nitrates to levels the system can deal with. That protects the ecosystem, including the water, so as not to cause reinfection.

    You have a safer product because of that system, not in spite of it.(I think that part is important)

    It is a complex biological system that works until you force it into an industrial model it is ill suited for.
    If you handle the cows improperly, or use the wrong feed, you need the antibiotics. If you do any of those you need the pasteurization. If you pasteurize you have more after the fact contamination issues. There is not one issue that you can look at in a vacuum and make a judgment.

  • Maya

    Rich, Hi! No worries, this lot is WAY friendlier than the PETA forum, trust me! LOL!

    I would love to find out if free ranging cattle are less likely to cause groundwater contamination. I know that viruses can be killed by U.V. exposure. I know, no such luck with bacteria but I think that vitamin D from sunlight and fresh air may keep animals healthier in general.

    That’s what I meant before by the “slow food” thing (maybe that’s the wrong term) but if we want raw milk I’m all in favor of going back to times before the industral model that, as you said, is not as workable. Of course that would be before the (human) population explosion, so maybe in order to go back to better times we may need to reduce meat consumption. I’m already willing to pay a fortune for humane certified eggs, so why not.

    I think it would be worth it for a more rustic lifestyle, but then again I’m a very rural kind of person. 😉

  • Rich

    Its the number of the cattle on the range that makes the difference. If they are healthy and fed properly they are not bacteria factories to begin with. If the grazing and rotation are done properly you don’t end up with the excess nutrients for groundwater contamination to occur in the first place. Bacteria is not a bad thing. It is about the type and concentration. Natural fermentation is a beautiful thing.
    The earlier comments on charcuterie comments were not a deviation at all. Obviously this system results in a superior dairy product. It also produces a superior meat product. The industrial system has the supposed advantage of superior efficiency and reduced cost. I suspect that if you include the costs to the family farm, environment, health, and other costs that efficiency might be less than we are lead to believe. My girlfriend was an economic major, maybe I can get her to do the math modeling for me.

  • Aaron

    One thing to keep in mind about why the gov’t won’t change their rules is simple, someone will get sick and sue. Then the game becomes CYA. Society will want to blame someone for not keeping everyone safe. Just think about what happened with the spinach crisis of last summer the gov’t can’t let that happen again because society as a whole will want to blame someone for the failure of keeping us all safe. I grew up on raw milk and think everyone should have free will to choose what goes into their bodies.

  • mirinblue

    The next time we turn around, will the FDA will be trying to mandate breast milk, too? I mean, after all, diseases and drugs of the mother can be passed to the child. And how do we know how clean the mother really is, after all? If we give up on certain rights to choose, I believe we open the door to be run over the next time someone decides to sneak a bill through. I’m calling La Leche League!!

  • Hank

    OK, I’ve been talking with folks at the Capitol and here is what’s going on: The Legislature is pissed off at the state Agriculture Department for slipping the new raw milk standards into a bill that went through the process last year with no debate (because it was only supposed to contain non-controversial items in it). The bill in question is expected to pass the Assembly with no problem – both the Democratic and Republican leaders are co-sponsors – but I need to see what’s what over in the state Senate.

    Now…don’t think this for one second means that the Legislature cares one whit about raw milk. They are on the raw milk people’s side because of process, not policy.

    What will happen next: It is likely that someone will post a bill that reintroduces the 10 coliform standard (which is the standard for raw milk in several states), and that it will probably pass. This will not please the raw milk people, but that is what I hear is going down…

    Hope this helps.

  • Rich

    I’m sorry. It sounded totally funny in my head.(sheepish smile)
    The only real problem I saw with cloning would be the genetic diversity issue we agree on. As for the economics, you said it better than I could have. I would have said something silly, like we are more likely to have a problem with people too many white truffles before we have issues of too much cloned meat on the market. I have nothing but respect for you Bob.

  • Bob delGrosso

    Good. I was alarmed by what I perceived to be a tone of contempt. I’m glad to read that I was mistaken. Thanks for the clarification.

    I hate having enemies I don’t know, and I’m very glad to read that you are not one of those.


  • Rich

    Like I said things can sound better or worse in one’s head. I was, and continue to be, a big fan. 😉

  • DJK

    MR: “jennifer, i don’t have an opinion on cloned meat, other than to say that there’s no reason i see to think that cloned meat is bad for you because it’s cloned, from a common sense standpoint. but then, i really don’t know enough about the cloning process to have a useful opinion.”

    Diane Rehm did a show on this topic sometime last year, and two assertions that stood out to me at the time were:

    1) The apparent high failure rate in cloning animals, and

    2) The lower life expectancy of cloned animals.

    It’s entirely possible that, out of ignorance, I’m all skeerd for no reason, but my own attempt at a common sense analysis leads me to wonder if a process we’ve yet to perfect that yields less healthy animals might produce less healthy food.

    If nothing else, it would be nice if the FDA required cloned meat to be labeled as such.

  • Joel

    “What chaps my ass is when a government inspector tells me what I’m allowed to eat and what I’m not.”

    Hmmmm…I have a feeling that your ass would be much more chapped by a bad case of dysentery.

    The fact is food borne illness is no longer the serious problem it once was because these government inspectors are telling the producers of your food how to operate. You should be thankful.

  • Ms.Anthrope

    Can someone please explain WHY we feel the need to clone cows? I mean…are they endangered or something? The ones around my house seem pretty capable of making little cows unassisted (well…except for the um…donor)

  • Tags

    Help me out here, Joel.

    We should be grateful today for what a government agency did almost 100 years ago, notwithstanding that it now functions as a rubber stamp today for huge agribusiness lobbies?

    We should be grateful that they set unrealistic thresholds so they can put healthy small farms out of business and allow the unhealthy corn-fed cow catastrophe to continue?

    We should be grateful for the dead spot in the Gulf of Mexico because of the slavish bureaucracy again kowtowing to agribusiness?

    Damn. And Thanksgiving isn’t coming around until November. We got a lot of catching up to do til then.

  • Darcie

    Ms. Anthrope: Can someone please explain WHY we feel the need to clone cows? I mean…are they endangered or something? The ones around my house seem pretty capable of making little cows unassisted (well…except for the um…donor)

    The reason is to capitalize on outstanding traits of certain animals. One story I saw was about the cloning of a dairy cow who produced record amounts of good quality milk. She produced something like 20% more milk than the average cow. In this case, I’m not sure if they wanted to milk the clones or just use them for breeding since the cloned cow was getting old.

    I’d be interested to see if the cloned cows were also huge milk producers or if environmental factors during the cow’s upbringing contributed to her record-breaking production. Genotype vs. phenotype and all that.

  • Joel


    If you choose to look at it like that, ok with me. But, I don’t think you can blame the FDA for the industrial farms we now have. That’s just progress, we can’t farm using oxen and expect to feed everyone.

  • Maya

    The FDA is basing their decision about cloned cows on the fact that they did tests and could not find any blatantly obvious problems. But for those who think it’s obviously safe, look up the scientific definition of stochastity.

    GMOs such as engineered wheat have been implicated in wheat allergies. That’s because when food is genetically altered, proteins and screwy (that’s the techinical term) chemicals may be added. How will those affect the people eating it? Who knows, who cares? Well, I do, now that I can’t eat bread or pasta for the rest of my life.

    I don’t know that much about cloning, but from what I’ve read, proteins, chemicals and reagents may be used. Do you think those cows can produce more milk than any other normal cow because they are normal? What about the fact that so many die early?

    The risk of listeria can be mitigated, but I don’t think you can boil away proteins that will make your immune system attack your digestive system. Just a thought.

  • Ms.Anthrope

    Thank you Darcie…That makes sense. Or rather, that explains it anyway. Looks like I have some reading to do on this issue.
    The Simpsons will just have to sit in the DVR for another couple of days.

  • luis

    I remember when I was three going on vacation to a country farm ranch place frequented by vacationers.
    I have never forgoten the fresh taste of butter made on the farm and milk minimally processed right off the cows. Such amazing tastes that to this day I have never tasted anything that compares.
    The farm was a fairly well established and controlled place, but even then… How do you absolutelly control the quality? Perhaps this could be done through batching, dating and testing each day’s production prior to packaging and shipping. I suspect the “eat by date” would take a whole new meaning as well… Interesting thoughts.

  • Rich

    “How do you absolutelly control the quality? Perhaps this could be done through batching, dating and testing each day’s production prior to packaging and shipping. I suspect the “eat by date” would take a whole new meaning as well… Interesting thoughts.”

    You cannot absolutely control quality. We have been conditioned to expect lamb in the spring and tomatoes all winter. Nobody tests batches of anything now. All they do is inspect procedures. The current system is designed to regulate the industrial scale production that the consuming public is ill suited to self regulate. We are just too far away from the source of production. The sort of small scale production we are talking about is easily consumer regulated because we can literally see it. The current regulations are simply incompatible with the way these small boutique farms operate.
    It is not the processing that is the issue. The means of production result in a product that requires little or no processing to maintain safely. That being said the farms I purchase from conduct their own testing. Testing that government regulations do not require.

  • luis

    Rich, I believe you and even agree with you that it is possible to manufacture this product and distribute it in a LIMITED BASIS.
    But even you if I read you correctly do not believe this product can go mainstream at this time as you don’t believe it is feasable to control mass production of un-pasteurized products safely.

  • Rich

    I totally agree. MASS production is the problem itself. The large scale industrial model is the reason we began to use the antibiotics, synthetic feeds, and pasteurization. Those products would be unsafe without them. The point is that the milk I get is not the same milk I can buy at the supermarket. They are discreetly different things in my mind. I’m not saying it is safe to drink unpasteurized milk. I’m saying the milk I buy does not need it to be safe. If you reread Bob delGrosso’s earlier comments he said there was milk from other farms he would be hesitant to drink. It is about the means of production. There is a sensible system in place for the issues and realities of the large scale industrial production. There is no system on place that addresses the issues and realities of this type of small scale production. As Ruhlman pointed out the issues are the same for slaughtering animals, and curing meat.

  • luis

    Rich, mine too… there is the butter and milk I once tasted when I was three….and there is everything else I have had to live with since.
    Ps.. you won’t see me doing margerine or any other God forsaken wanna be butter thang….out there. Great, we both agree. I like it.

  • Tags

    I can blame the FDA for regulating in the interest of the agribusinesses (and their lobbyists) to the exclusion of those who don’t conform.

    And forget that straw steer about using farm oxen to feed people. If the agribusiness bean-counters found a way to squeeze more money out of oxen than what they’re doing now, it would be USDA policy before your next meal.

  • DM


    Google has failed me completely. Do you know of any raw milk/cow shares programs here in Ohio that are anywhere close to Columbus?



  • DM


    Yup, I’m even a member. Their milk is good, but unfortunately due to stupid state laws they can’t carry raw milk which is so vastly superior to pasteurized for making cheese.


  • Rich

    I feel your pain. Try living in a state that prohibits the sale of any raw dairy products other than longer aged cheese. I had to join a buying club that to get bi monthly shipments smuggled in. If you try calling some of the the cow shares in Ohio, they might be able to turn you on to a local one. Good luck.

  • Kelsey


    I just moved to Columbus from the Cincinnati/Loveland area and I used to belong to a cow share program down there, but have been unable to locate one in the Columbus area. If you find anything, would you please post that info or contact me directly? I can give you my email address if that’s best. I looked on and didn’t see any truly viable options. The Clintonville Community Market has milk from Hartzler Dairy which is pasturized yet not homoginized and comes in glass bottles. It may be the best option until a cow share is found. Not perfect, but I hope this is at least somewhat helpful.


  • Vivian

    DM and Kelsey,

    I, too, am new to the Columbus area and have been looking for a cow share program. (I’m up from Georgia where raw milk is still available, but must be sold with labels that indicate that it’s “for pets.” The legislature is now trying to pass a bill that will force producers to dye the milk gray in an effort to deter human consumption.) If either of you find anything new, would you please pass the message along? Thanks!


  • Linnea

    How the health of milk was pasteurized out.
    (Pasteurization made it possible to feed milk cows “swill” or “slop” instead of raising them on a pasture)


    “In the whole range of organic matter, milk is the only substance purposely designed and prepared by nature as food.”

    For thousands of years milk and its products have nourished mankind allowing for generations of strong, healthy humans. All of this on raw milk. Mankind would have died out or at least have turned away from milk long ago if it had been unhealthy.

    Why has raw versus pasteurized milk been such an issue only in the last hundred years? Here is the story as related in Ron Schmid’s book “The Untold Story of Milk” (New Trends Publishing, 2003)

  • Allen

    For ALL you Raw Milk drinkers & searchers this site has a wealth of informaiton on what, how, where etc you may obtain Raw Milk etc & can get you real raw milk , cheeses , butters etc shipped to you from California-it will be labled as pet food, but you get it real, fresh or frozen & the best raw milk out there.

  • Allen

    Regarding Honey & or Oilive Oil check this site out as they have the very best Snugglespoon forest honey from Australia & what I consider the best Olive Oil-Unfiltered, unpressed & unheated. I drink 2 shot glasses of that stuff every day + 2 shots of Gold Labeled Organic Coconut Oil from + I drink 1/2 gallon raw milk every day for optimum health.