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legality of raw milk sales in your area  RSS feed

 
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how is the push for legalizing raw milk sales  going in your area?

milk is on almost everyones shopping list. the ability to buy fresh, local milk could open up income oppurtunities for small land holders.

here in oklahoma we can sell 100 gallons a month of raw milk off farm with no regulation and it is legal if you jump through some hoops to be a raw milk dairy. A local friend of mine had people knocking down her door to buy fresh goats milk by just placing an ad on craigslist last summer.
 
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Amen to that, need more raw milk sales nationwide.
 
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In Georgia, raw milk is only legal to be sold as pet food.  So in some places you can go to farmer's markets and buy milk labeled for pets, and do whatever you want with it when you get home .

There is more and more grass roots talk for raw grass fed milk, but I don't see it being anywhere near widespread enough to change the laws.
 
Lf London
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tamo42 wrote:
In Georgia, raw milk is only legal to be sold as pet food.  So in some places you can go to farmer's markets and buy milk labeled for pets, and do whatever you want with it when you get home .

There is more and more grass roots talk for raw grass fed milk, but I don't see it being anywhere near widespread enough to change the laws.


Interesting. and creative. What does grass fed dairy cows have to do with reduced incidence of milk borne diseases?
Feeding them grain makes them more likely to carry those diseases and impart them to the milk?
I thought the all dairy animals could be tested for disease and on a schedule for testing for certain diseases that the cow can become infected with more easily, more often.
 
Neal McSpadden
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LFLondon wrote:
Interesting. and creative. What does grass fed dairy cows have to do with reduced incidence of milk borne diseases?
Feeding them grain makes them more likely to carry those diseases and impart them to the milk?
I thought the all dairy animals could be tested for disease and on a schedule for testing for certain diseases that the cow can become infected with more easily, more often.



The short answer is yes.

The somewhat longer answer is that when cows are fed grain, lots of weird things happen.  One of them is that it acidifies their system.  This higher acidity allows various harmful bacteria (predominantly e coli) to proliferate in the cow's digestive tract.  Another effect is that grain feeding stresses the cow's digestion, which is designed to break down the tough fiber in grasses, and makes the cow more susceptible to disease overall.  Incidentally, if you take a grain fed cow to the pasture and allow it to eat grass, the cow's levels of e coli will drop by something like 90% within a couple days.

At the same time, because the grains are easier and faster to break down, the cows grow larger and faster, which is why farmers starting doing this in the first place.  So you end up with a larger, cheaper, but biologically weaker cow that requires antibiotics and pasteurization.

Then in many cases these problems are compounded by the cows' living environments.  There is really a wide gradient of living conditions from free range on the prairie to industrial CAFO.  The closer to the CAFO you get, the more disease and danger exists in consuming cow products.

When you put all this together, it's a fairly simple result.  Healthy cows produce healthy milk.  Cow's milk (and any other kind of milk for that matter) contains many different things.  In a healthy cow, the natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria keep the problematic bacteria in check.  After all, if it didn't, the baby cows would get sick and die - not a viable evolutionary strategy.

Yes, you can test cows and milk (grain fed or not) for disease and then select the disease free milk, but you're only going to get disease free milk from the cows that lead a relatively natural lifestyle.

If you want more info, the classic researcher on the subject is Weston A Price.  You can find some of his books at journeytoforever.org: http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html#price
 
Lf London
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tamo42 wrote:
The short answer is yes.

The somewhat longer answer is that when cows are fed grain, lots of weird things happen.  One of them is that it acidifies their system.  This higher acidity allows various harmful bacteria (predominantly e coli) to proliferate in the cow's digestive tract.  Another effect is that grain feeding stresses the cow's digestion, which is designed to break down the tough fiber in grasses, and makes the cow more susceptible to disease overall.  Incidentally, if you take a grain fed cow to the pasture and allow it to eat grass, the cow's levels of e coli will drop by something like 90% within a couple days.

At the same time, because the grains are easier and faster to break down, the cows grow larger and faster, which is why farmers starting doing this in the first place.  So you end up with a larger, cheaper, but biologically weaker cow that requires antibiotics and pasteurization.

Then in many cases these problems are compounded by the cows' living environments.  There is really a wide gradient of living conditions from free range on the prairie to industrial CAFO.  The closer to the CAFO you get, the more disease and danger exists in consuming cow products.

When you put all this together, it's a fairly simple result.  Healthy cows produce healthy milk.  Cow's milk (and any other kind of milk for that matter) contains many different things.  In a healthy cow, the natural enzymes and beneficial bacteria keep the problematic bacteria in check.  After all, if it didn't, the baby cows would get sick and die - not a viable evolutionary strategy.

Yes, you can test cows and milk (grain fed or not) for disease and then select the disease free milk, but you're only going to get disease free milk from the cows that lead a relatively natural lifestyle.

If you want more info, the classic researcher on the subject is Weston A Price.  You can find some of his books at journeytoforever.org: http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html#price



Thanks, Tamo for this wonderful comparison of grain fed cows vs. grass fed. Now it all makes sense. BTW Journey To Forever is a wonderful website. Keith Addison has a big library of digitized books for reading or download just like Steve Solomon's Soil and Health Library. Add to that scribd and Google Open Library and the Internet Archive's Digital Library project. What resources!
What a distance we have covered since Gutenberg. My Father was the Rare Book Room curator at UNC Chapel Hill during his
professional career. He managed to find a number of choice books for me through the library for my own collection which is very nice.

It makes all the sense in the world to convert all dairying to grass fed; accomplish two things, clean healthy milk and grass fed beef,
much in demand these days. The cardiology department at UNC Med School is promoting grass fed beef for certain patients with heart problems. This is another good example of stacked functions and recycling of resources. Use a well planned system of rotational grazing for the cows with moveable or even fixed fencing separating the pastures and paddocks. I know something about tillage and soil quality; you could do quite some turf renovation on tracts between grazing periods. Remineralizing the turf with quarry siltation fines would dramatically upgrade tilth and fertility and durability, ability to weather the cow traffic. The cow manure would go a long way toward maintaining fertility and tilth of soil, continuously innoculated by beneficial microorganisms cultured
in the manure and plant residues. Moving the cows off a tract in a timely fashion coupled with proper tillage could add considerably to soil quality.

There are many creative options for setting up a large dairy operation for grass feeding of cows through a robust rotational grazing
and turf renovation system. Think of all the interesting forage crops that could be grown in such a system Think....KUDZU.

Links to my online things:
pics of amazing tractor implements used in raised bed market farming
http://venaurafarm.blogspot.com
Farm & Garden Hand Tool Sourcelist
NEW ADDITIONS and Extra Gardening Information
Double Dug Biointensive Garden Preparation
I go into use of rock dusts in farming here..
http://www.ibiblio.org/ecolandtech/documents/gardening-hand-tools.faq

LFLondon
 
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this is kind of post i was talking about for gov thread. paul
 
steward
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I don't know what the law is, but I do know I can get a gallon of raw milk for about 80 cents here from our neighbor, and free from our caretaker just about anytime I want it. I love leche agria, (sort of like butter milk) and it is good for me.
 
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Didn't see this link on here anywhere, thought it was appropriate:

http://www.realmilk.com/happening.html
 
Lf London
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From Facebook:

"Tom Nielsen:  Unlike pasteurized milk, if you buy raw milk from this farmer, you know exactly where your milk comes from."

"LFLondon: The debate about this is enormous. All the risks associated with consuming raw milk, organic or not, are clearly and completely stated. It seems to me that the animals can be _regularly_ tested for the prescence of disease and if the farmer's drinking milk from his own animals, then all that speaks for itself. It is a matter of knowing the farmer and his farm, an informed decision on the part of the consumer coupled with trust of the farmer. As for widespread, high volume distribution and sale of raw milk, that's debatable; maybe it should be kept very small and very local to work safely. If in doubt, then do not take any chances. I would bet most of the small local raw milk dairies are safe. I owned my own milk goats, milked them daily and never pasteurized a drop before drinking it."
 
steward
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Washington State has pretty reasonable laws at this point.  they weren't so reasonable a few years back, though.

to sell raw milk to the public, a dairy has to be Grade A.  there's periodic testing for pathogens and inspection of facilities involved and an annual fee of $55 the last time I checked.  nothing too onerous.  good state to sell raw milk, I guess.

there are a number of both goat and cow dairies successfully selling raw milk around here.  I know of at least one goat dairy that folded a couple years back, though.  gal running it wasn't emotionally prepared to cull the guys out of her herd and ended up with way too many goats that she also couldn't part with.  still owes us substantial amount of money for hay.
 
Lf London
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tel wrote:
Washington State has pretty reasonable laws at this point.  they weren't so reasonable a few years back, though.



I have not kept dairy animals for a long time so do not know about the state of testing animals for disease.
That seems to be at the heart of the issue, consumers knowing that your animals are free of tuberculosis, brucellosis and other serious pathogenic diseases. What kinds of testing are available now, who does it and what is the cost? Of course, site sanitation is of equal importance.

tel: I have linked to your First Church Of Dirt blog from Venaura Farm. Long Live Dirt....:LL
 
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Oregon law WRT selling raw milk:

You can sell milk from a NON-certified farm if you

1.  Do not advertise

2.  Have no more than nine milkers (if goats, or two, if cows)

3.  Customer has to pick up their milk at the farm, you can't deliver

4.  Customer has to provide their own containers. 

I think all this is quite reasonable, as it enables the customer to check the farm out and make sure things look good there, and it puts the onus for clean containers on the customer, rather than the farmer. 

You can sell unlimited raw milk if you jump through the hoops to get certified, but you'd have to be a pretty large operation to justify the expense of that.  You have to meet stringent facilities requirements, which makes it expensive to start up from scratch, and you have to have expensive monthly testing done, not only of the milk, but also of your water.  I think it runs somewhere around eight hundred dollars a month, IIRC (I checked into it not long after we moved here).  Having city water would help as you wouldn't have to pay for the water testing every month.  However, if someone already had an operating certified dairy and wanted to add retail raw milk sales to their operation, they could do that fairly easily, since they'd already be meeting all the requirements. 

New Hampshire has raw milk laws that are somewhat similar to Oregon's, except that you are allowed to sell up to five gallons of milk a day, on average (so you could sell two gallons one day and eight the next, and it averages out to five a day). 

Raw milk here goes for seven dollars a gallon or thereabouts.

Kathleen
 
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Progress!

And now if we can just get similar exceptions for beef and pork!

 
Leah Sattler
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tamo did a great job explaining some of the benefits of grass fed milk. I would also like to add that it changes the fat profile of the milk. also, not every cows milk is tested everyday and much of the potential problem exists in bacteria that can proliferate in the milk. so a small samplemight test fine but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem.  milk  can be contaminated before or after it leaves the cow/goat, the dairy, or the pasteurization process and the packaging plant. in a large commercial dairy each step along the way, from the increased risk from unhealthy cows to the machines, to the bulk tank swishing around and distributing one tiny bit of bacteria as it multiplies and trucks and pasteurization equipment for transport is one more place for the milk to get contaminated. each step along the way is introducing risk. for me anyway its not just about pasteurization. its about the whole process that has created a need to. its an admittance that "our practices are so bad we have to pasteurize the milk to keep it safe".
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I read an article not too long ago that explained how the milk pasteurization laws came about -- it had to do with diseased milk being sold from diseased cows -- who were diseased because they were being kept in knee-deep muck and fed almost nothing but brewery waste!  Of course, tuberculosis and brucellosis had also been health problems for a long time, and infected cattle lived on farms as well as in the cities, but with modern medicine, it would have been (and was) fairly easy to eliminate the infected cattle and clean the herds up.  With better feeding and milk-handling practices, pasteurization of milk should never have been needed.  Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, greed gets the upper hand, and some people would rather drink a ruined food than spend a little more for better quality -- and some people would rather keep sick cattle, and pasteurize the milk, than spend a little more on better feeding and management practices.

Kathleen
 
Lf London
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Leah Sattler wrote:
tamo did a great job explaining some of the benefits of grass fed milk. I would also like to add that it changes the fat profile of the milk. also, not every cows milk is tested everyday and much of the potential problem exists in bacteria that can proliferate in the milk. <...>for me anyway its not just about pasteurization. its about the whole process that has created a need to. its an admittance that "our practices are so bad we have to pasteurize the milk to keep it safe".



Exactly. Raw milk is much better food, so much so that it isn't worth adding pasteurized dairy products to one's diet (that is if you're a perfectionist, as you should be). So, if you're going to raise dairy animals to produce milk for our own use or to share/sell/barter with consumers, how do you ascertain that all your animals are free of the dread diseases (TB, brucellosis, in pork: trichinosis, and all the others) through in house or outside testing, when testing exists for a particular disease? Can a local rural/farm vet do this through sampling of animals during a site visit?
There's always soy milk, yoghurt and cheese.  And water.  Eat raw foods. Grow your own.
 
Leah Sattler
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some things can be tested for such as tb. other things like listeria, well that can come in on your hay or feed. you could also get plenty parasites or bacteria from the soil on a carrot or spinach or get something from eating a rare steak or an egg over easy that had its shell imperceptably compromised. bacteria live all around and in us and our animals.  in some cases cooking or pasteurizing is appropriate or the best choice (I wouldn't drink unpast. milk from a large dairy or any ground meat rare).

I dont' neccesarily agree that there is no point to milk if it is pasteurized. it still has nutritional value just as most any food does cooked or not. but its not the governments job to decide if we eat a rare steak or raw milk. it just needs to be assessed from a risk/benefit standpoint. they have warnings on restaraunt menus and packaging that eating undercooked meat or eggs could increase your risk for food born illness. it is left at that and that is how it should be for raw milk.  everyones risk tolerance and situation is different. I am realistic though, and I do believe that for the masses of people that want mindless cheap food from factory farms then basic store milk should be pasteurized. and I think it is irresponsible of some to push raw milk onto those people by guilting them into thinking past. milk is bad just as it is wrong to push past. milk onto people by guilting them into thinking it is dangerous. it is just not so cut and dry black/white as that.   
 
Lf London
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Leah Sattler wrote:
some things can be tested for such as tb. other things like listeria,



Thanks for the informative reply, Leah. I agree with 100% of what you've said.
Regarding raw milk and also pork, which can contain serious infectious diseases
that can degrade a person's heath for a lifetime in some cases, I wanted to know, for the benefit of
anyone considering raising some of these animals for a source of food, if all of the really serious diseases
that can be carried by livestock can be tested for in the animals, routinely and cost-effectively.

You mentioned TB and listeria, but what about any others that would be of real concern,
and are the tests 100% conclusive?

 
tel jetson
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[quote author=LFLondon]tel: I have linked to your First Church Of Dirt blog from Venaura Farm. Long Live Dirt....:LL

thanks a lot.  I suppose if folks are linking to the site, I ought to update from time to time...

this page is a pretty good overview of the raw milk laws in Washington State.
-turns out that even if you give the milk away, you've still got to be licensed in Washington.
-the state tests milk monthly for Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli.  they also test for antibiotic residue and pesticides.
-testing for brucellosis and tuberculosis are the responsibility of the dairy.

just browsing through it, most of the regulations seem reasonable and the scale of the operation is taken into consideration.  a lot of typos, though.
 
Lf London
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tel wrote:
this page is a pretty good overview of the raw milk laws in Washington State.
-turns out that even if you give the milk away, you've still got to be licensed in Washington.
-the state tests milk monthly for Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli.  they also test for antibiotic residue and pesticides.
-testing for brucellosis and tuberculosis are the responsibility of the dairy.
just browsing through it, most of the regulations seem reasonable and the scale of the operation is taken into consideration.  a lot of typos, though.



That sums it up for me. Testing for Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria, TB & Brucellosis can be done to assure a raw milk consumer that the
product is safe without any unpleasant surprises. I would worry a lot less about the first three than the last two. I think that it would be best to keep raw milk production limited to home use and small scale local sales or barter. Small operations can easily attend to every detail regarding disease prevention and sanitation for product quality assurance.
 
tel jetson
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the webpage I linked briefly mentioned liability and insurance.  that could be a hurdle.  raw milk does make folks sick from time to time, even when folks follow best practices.  I don't think the cost of insurance would make or break an operation, but one would certainly want to take that cost into consideration.  regardless of your opinion on the current litigiousness, neglecting to be insured probably isn't such a great idea in this instance.
 
Lf London
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tel wrote:
the webpage I linked briefly mentioned liability and insurance.  that could be a hurdle.  raw milk does make folks sick from time to time, even when folks follow best practices.  I don't think the cost of insurance would make or break an operation, but one would certainly want to take that cost into consideration.  regardless of your opinion on the current litigiousness, neglecting to be insured probably isn't such a great idea in this instance.



Product liability insurance for a farming operation _might_ cover raw milk liability but you'd need to read the fine print and ocnsult with your agent before counting on it.  Farm Bureau offers this type of insurance very affordably. There may be a separate policy of this type for small dairies or for all dairies. Having customers sign a disclaimer would be a very good idea but I'll bet a good lawyer would say that that would not stand up in court.

LL
 
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This week-Feb 20:
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Files Suit Against FDA over Raw Milk Ban
http://ftcldf.org/press/press-22feb2010.html
Challenge to Interstate Prohibition on Raw Milk for Human Consumption 
 
                                    
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Does anyone know of a raw milk farmer in the Kansas City area ?    I'm about 40 miles east of KC.

I have found out that raw milk can be sold legally in Missouri; straight off the farm property, with the customer providing their own containers.....just can't find anyone with milkers ! 
 
          
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UGH, NY!

In NY the law says it is illegal to make raw milk "available" without a license.

can't sell it, can't give it away, for any reason, including pet food.
I can't legally give raw milk to a neighboring farmer who wants to feed it to an orphan animal, for crying out loud.

The ok-with-endless-regulations-crowd argue hey! just get licensed then.

Ha!

The first thing you learn when you apply for a license - the regs are very vague and ambigous. They tell you, call us out to see your farm and we'll go over your plan with you.

Right! Then it all depends on who is your inspector, and if they like you or not.  I know of farms that have really easy criteria.
Others are given inequitable and outrageous criteria -

for instance - a one cow dairy needs a separate septic tank for the milking parlor.  A tear in a screen door can cost you your license if your inspector is grumpy or you piss him/her off...


 
                                            
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In my state Cow Shares are sold. Requirements include- milk must be provided in approved containers, with approved caps. Or they may be labeled not for human consumption, or "pet milk."
 
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SmyO If inspectors are so unfair it looks as if hteir needs to be a body tha tshoul dinspect inpectors, May be its not the laws so much as the inspectors tha tare making everyone cross. Maybe you have to give them a tip jus to make them be good inspectors, that happens here with people who deliver things to the house they make trouble fo ryou if you dont give them a tip. Suppose the right answer is to denounce them other wise you get into a situation in which bribery an corruption is rife.  agri rose macaskie
 
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We used to "recieve" raw milk here is colorado via buying a couple cow shares. We did not buy milk, but bought shares of a cow and her fruits.
kent
 
rose macaskie
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my grandmother had cows and we  drank the milk and had the cream to use to eat with fruit or to cook with but the milk marketing board tested the milk and told the farmers if a cow of theirs had mastitis or anything else i suppose. Later on she had to have a special tank an dit was impossible to take off the cream before the milk got picked up in the morning.
  i heard on a documentary about keeping cows that what the authorities most check for now is antibiotics. agri rose macaskie.
 
                                
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In NY raw milk is ILLEGAL.  Point Blank!  There is no “license” to sell raw milk in NY.  Keep dreaming.  This is the most corporo-fascist state on the planet.  NYC even banned salt!  A natural preservative (and necessary mineral for life).  You think NY would allow raw milk?  NY would pasteurize the cow (and God only knows Bloomberg is probably funding this experiment right now) itself if it could.

However, rumor has it that there are underground raw milk speakeasies in Manhattan where people illegally purchase cow shares and get their milk once a week or so.  I read this a while ago – they are popular amongst Europeans who are used to drinking raw milk.

In Maine you can buy raw milk in stores (as a New Yorker I truly felt like I was carrying contraband the first time I held a bottle – I was literally dancing in the street!).  A few years ago it was $5 a half-gallon ($2.00 refund on the glass bottle).  In Vermont farmers can sell it direct, but they cannot legally sell butter made from raw milk.  My brother gets it through his CSA.

BTW: In the Greater NY Metropolitan Area the FDA / USDA inspectors truly are the Gestapo – NY, NJ, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are the worst – they literally follow and arrest the Amish on “suspicion” of illegally selling raw milk and use stupid excuses like flat tires to “warrant” a search and seizure. 

It is easier to purchase Heroin here than it is raw milk.  No Joke!
 
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