There’s a lot of heated debate concerning raw vs. pasteurized milk. Folks on both sides are adamant and impassioned, and for good reason: the diet choices we make play a huge role in our health. What we put into our bodies is a very personal choice–a mix of cultural traditions, dietary trends, personal preference, and health restrictions.
For American Micro-Dairies (AMD), the raw vs. pasteurized issue is one of personal choice: we support your right to make an educated decision about what sort of milk you and your family consume. We want both options to be viable options–viable for you as a consumer, and economically viable for the producer.
What we are against is putting milk on a truck. We envision a world where your milk comes from your community. This means you get a fresher product, produced by cows you’ve petted, farmers you’ve chatted with, from land you’ve stepped foot on. For us, milk is a local food issue. We want people to be drinking milk from their neighbors. We want the dairy farmers to be the ones making the money, since they’re the ones who contribute to working agricultural landscapes, who care for the animals that produce the dairy products we all crave. They’re not out to get rich, and they don’t wreck our watersheds or pollute our air with fossil fuels, either.
Our goal is happy farmers who milk happy, comfortable cows, goats, or sheep; farmers who can pay their bills, who enjoy the time they spend with their animals, who know their customers. The focus has been on raw vs. pasteurized, but the real issue for us at AMD is an issue of scale: smaller-scale dairy operations are more beneficial to farmers, livestock, and community members. Just because a dairy is small doesn’t mean it only offers raw milk: many micro-dairies are choosing to pasteurize on a small scale, in response to the preferences of their customers. Drink cooked or uncooked milk, we don’t care; all we care is that you’re drinking safe and delicious farm-fresh milk that was produced near where you live.
It’s hard to find good, objective data on this subject, because data always benefits one camp or the other. And so we ask that you do your research: talk to consumers on both sides of the issue. Read what the FDA has to say about raw milk, and what the Weston A. Price Foundation has to say. Do a taste test of raw and pasteurized milk with your family. Visit a large and a small dairy operation. You can’t afford to be swayed by other people’s passion, and you shouldn’t take other people’s word for what’s best for your body–decide for yourself what feels like the right choice for you.
At AMD, we believe that customers deserve legal access to both raw and pasteurized milk. As of right now, many states make it very difficult for farmers to sell raw milk. This means that farmers have less opportunity to make a profit, and customers are left with only one choice (pasteurized). We are against you having only one choice (though if you live in a city, access to raw milk may not be possible). Therefore, instead of working in opposition, let’s work together to establish a range of choices that will allow each of us to fulfill our individual needs.
-Taylor M. Katz, Program Director