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Parents Talk: Is Minnesota's Raw Milk Craze Crazy?

A Richfield mom is fighting for it; Ron Paul endorsed it at MN GOP convention.

Would you drink raw milk or give it to your kids or others?

People who say yes have been running into government regulation and law enforcement in Minnesota lately. They include a Richfield mother who got a stern letter from the state Department of Agriculture (see first YouTube video), and two farmers who are facing charges, as reported in the Star Tribune

I'm a past customer of one of the farmers, though it wasn't raw milk I bought. Michael Hartmann's farm in Gibbon, MN, in the 1990s distributed pasteurized organic milk called under the Minnesota Organic Milk (or M.O.M.'s) brand name. Bovine growth hormones were just coming into use and M.O.M.'s was the least expensive (and best tasting) milk around that didn't have hormones.

Then one day I couldn't find M.O.M.'s milk anymore. I heard from the food co-op where I shopped that state regulators were responsible. So I called the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to complain. I reached an official who told me about various infractions at Hartmann's farm and it sounded like meddling bureaucracy to me.

I mentioned that I liked to serve M.O.M.'s milk to my young kids. The bureaucratic tone of the official dropped away. "I would not give that milk to children," he said. Now I felt I was getting personal advice from an expert, not legalese, and I took it.

So I'm not a raw-milk advocate, but I respect other parents' wishes to serve their families foods that you might not find at every Cub or Rainbow. The question is whether raw milk fans are endangering themselves or others, and if they have the right to take that risk.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul drew raucous cheers when he told the state Republican Party convention last weekend, "We will know when the Republic is returned to us—that is, you can drink raw millk whenever you want to." (See second YouTube video, at the 13:17 mark.)

What do you think? Even if you don't want to give your kids raw milk, should the state of Minnesota interfere with others who wish to do so?

Emily B May 29, 2012 at 03:33 PM
But to the point of another post, parents are allowed EVERY DAY to feed their kids things like Red dye #40, pink slime and aspartame, not to mention that parents can legally smoke around infants and children, all of which can be toxic or even fatal (maybe not instantly, but over time), yet these things are perfectly legal. The instances of people getting sick from raw milk are minute compared with the food poisoning that happens from perfectly "safe" legally obtained food every day.
Angie May 31, 2012 at 07:01 PM
We never scalded the milk. Everything was clean and sterile with our milking equipment and we had very regular health inspections (which we always got a 100% on) as we did sell it to the local creamery. You are right there are people who will sue for everything and anything.
rob_h78 May 31, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I've tried and didn't like it... Of course if I drank it long enough I am sure it would become "normal" and I would likely not like pasteurized milk.
Mary June 06, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Amazing that nobody mentioned tuberculosis, which can be transmitted between people and cows. If parents insist on buying unpasteurized milk, they should also insist on seeing the herd's tuberculin testing records. The laws requiring pasteurization of milk played a huge role in stopping the deaths of thousands of children in the U.S. Now that TB is appearing in our colleges and schools, it seems irresponsible to think that raw milk is healthier. I also lived on a farm, and I remember raw milk from our cows having the taste of whatever the cows ate. There were times we bought store milk rather than drink our own cows' milk.
Fred Smith September 25, 2012 at 01:25 AM
If this were a posting about drownings and water safety while swimming in lakes....... here's what I'd say: "I bin swimmin' and swimmin' sinse I wuz nee hihe to a grasshopper all my life, in farm ponds and lakes. I never drowneded and my brothurs or sisters or other kinfolk never did drowneded neether. So I know that it never happens......... and the gubmint is just makes up statistics to skeer peeple frum swimmin' an' goin' in the water. Just anuther gubmint takeover of peeple's freedum!" Sounds completely insane but apparently this is the track that a certain vein of a certain segment of a certain political party is going down...... so sad.

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