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?