Whether supporting a women’s right to breastfeed her child or a man’s choice to swallow a glass of sweet raw milk, natural lactation is my passion. Our ancestors did not drink milk like we do now; a freak gene mutation allows humans to digest milk beyond the time of weaning (Kingsolver, Kingsolver, Hopp, 2008). Milk in its varied forms- cheese, whey, curds, kefir, yogurt, cream- offer a variety of culinary delights that are enjoyed from the streets of Athens to Michelin Star rated restaurants of London. When you think of milk you would not believe its history, and current status, could play out in any House of Cards, or NCIS episode. The Utah State Administrative code rule R70-330 in February 2014 defines raw milk as:
"milk … that has not been pasteurized or heat treated. The word milk shall be interpreted to include the normal lacteal secretion, practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy hoofed mammals (Utah, 2014).”
The milk you can buy at a traditional store has been so drastically changed by ultra-pasteurization that it no longer chemically resembles milk directly from the teat (Kingsolver et al, 2008).In Utah we are able to purchase raw milk directly from farmers, or in specialty retail locations that only carry raw. Since I believe that natural lactation products are healthier, the difficulty in procuring raw milk has affected me. From my own home the nearest location for purchasing raw milk is an hour away. I know local farmers who would be willing to sell raw, but the laws are so restrictive, and they treat farmers like a criminals that they choose not to sell raw milk. The laws include details on labeling, handling, where you can sell, how to inspect, and so much more (Utah, 2014).
To get around the restrictions and regulations people “co-op” cows, “contribute to feed funds,” or “trade goods in the form of money;” creating a partnership between small farms and consumers for procuring raw milk. The USDA is militant in keeping raw milk laws honored. They will come in hazmat suits and with automatic weapons laying siege to family farms or food co-ops. In the documentary Farmageddon there are multiple examples of trumped up charges from national, state, and local agencies concerning endangering public health, yet none of the farmers in the documentary had ever had a foodborne outbreak (Canty, Dewey, 2011). Milk farmers are in constant fear of being the next USDA raid. I make the trip to retail sale locations for my raw milk, because I feel it helps the small local farms, without putting them in danger. I am lucky that I am in Utah with laws that allow, though restrict, the sale of raw milk. If I lived in places that ban raw milk my purchases would put these small farms in potential harm.
Agriculture and Food, Regulatory Services. Rule R70-330. Raw Milk for Retail. (2014) Utah
Canty, K. (Director). (2011). Farmageddon [Documentary]. N/A: Kristin Canty Productions.
Kingsolver, B., Hopp, S. L., & Kingsolver, C. (2008). Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life. New York: HarperPerennial.