Find Safe Raw Milk

| 8/2/2013 2:17:00 PM

Tags: raw milk, dairies, regulation, nutrition, Mother Earth News, Charlotte Smith,

Our Right and Responsibility to Choose Our Food

Farm-fresh, unpasteurized milk availability varies from state to state. Often the consumer must do your legwork to seek it out and make sure it's safe.  For instance, in Oregon we only allow micro-dairies, typically milking 1-10 cows, and milk must be picked up on the farm.

The raw milk industry is unregulated in Oregon.  Dairies are not inspected and there are no food safety requirements to sell raw milk.  It becomes your duty to assure your supply of raw milk is safe.  Find out the requirements of your state on

What Do I Look For?

If a farmer follows the proper procedures to produce safe, clean, nutritious raw milk, it is very easy to do so every time.  Unfortunately, with the lack of training and education available to raw dairy farmers, the consumer is the one who has to do the check for proper procedures in many states. 

In our culture we are used to government regulations telling us what to do – can we talk on our cell phones while driving?  Or, should I wear my seat belt? Or has this food been properly processed?  Raw milk is your chance to embrace your rights and freedoms and do your research and ask the hard questions – you have no one else to rely on to do this for you. 

When looking for a farm to purchase raw milk from, I recommend the consumer take the following steps.  None are cost-prohibitive and all are easily attainable by all raw milk producers, whether you have one cow, 50 or 500. 

9/18/2013 5:37:29 AM

Idaho has the Small Herd Exemption where we are allowed to sell unpasteurized (REAL) milk and milk products from 3 cows &/or 7 goats &/or 7 sheep. Herd shares allow for more animals but have more paperwork requirements. We can advertise & sell to any person or business except to restaurants. Our monthly unannounced inspections also test for Somatic Cell Counts (SCC...can indicate mastitis) as well as drugs. However, that is only on the bottle of milk chosen for testing....possibly only 1 animal out of the 3 or 7 milkers. Besides these tests I am on American Dairy Goat Assoc's (ADGA) DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement) testing for weight, butterfat, protein and SCC on each milking animal. On my own I regularly check my gals with the Calif. Mastitis Test (CMT). My milk is used by my husband and I and I want it as healthy as possible for my customers that have become my friends. I have NO problem devoting a couple hours to people visiting the farm and even milking one of the gals. If people have young children, it is especially gratifying to see them get excited that they can "milk" a goat! It helps them connect to the source of their food. I wholeheartedly believe in food choice and if a consumer is informed, they should be able to purchase REAL milk from a conscientious, caring farmer.

8/5/2013 6:27:35 AM

Excellent article. Great advice for both the consumer and the small dairy. I wish Wisconsin had the same sensible approach to micro-dairies as Oregon seems to have. 

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