In my opinion, the less food is processed the healthier it is. While I’m not afraid of the fat in butter or whole milk, I am terrified of 100-calorie snack packs. Perhaps one of the most processed foods most Americans consume in abundance every day is pasturized and homogenized milk. From a young age we are promised that dairy consumption protects our bones. But, as a country we consume more milk than anyone else, yet we have the highest incidence of osteoporosis in the world. Something just doesn’t add up…
For the most part, my family doesn’t drink much milk; we probably drink half a gallon a month. Mack is the only one who sorta likes it, so he’ll have a small glass every now and then. However, we do buy a gallon of raw milk from our co-op every month for homemade yogurt and soups (here are some fun ways we enjoy raw milk). Unlike its supermarket counterparts, raw milk hasn’t been subjected to high temperatures and it can’t sit in the fridge for months.
Unfortunately, here in Illinois legislation severely limiting consumer access to raw milk is slowly working its way through the state. The proposed law would prohibit dairy farmers from selling more than 100 gallons of unpasturized milk per month. For many dairy farms servicing families all over this state, this law would be devastating.
Even if you don’t drink raw milk, legislation like this is dangerous. I don’t think a state should arbitrarily set a limit on the quantity of fresh food a farmer can produce. Fresh spinach and cantaloupe sicken people every year, but there’s no limit on how much produce (factory) farms can grow. In my opinion, a law like this gives too much power to a state that already functions on corruption and shady politics. Raw milk today – but what natural food might be legislated tomorrow??
The worst part is that this legislation will take away options from informed consumers. No one at our co-op stumbles onto raw milk. Finding a raw milk source requires time and research, during which you will learn about the potential hazards (and many benefits) of milk in its pure state. While the FDA points out that “raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to you and your family,” here in Illinois there have been no cases of foodborne illness from raw milk since at least 1999. Drinking raw milk carries some risk, but so does smoking and cigarettes are perfectly legal.
If limiting the role of small family farmers sounds wrong to you, please take a moment to politely share your opinion with Molly Jo Lamb, the division chief of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Molly.Lamb@illinois.gov
Support the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, an organization that defends the rights of sustainable family farms and artisan food producers to make their products available to consumers in a manner that protects, preserves and enhances the environment and its natural resources http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/
Thanks to Anji Sandage from the Facebook Raw Milk page https://www.facebook.com/FindRawMilk for sharing her painting above. It captures this movement perfectly!
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