Second International Raw Milk Symposium

To raw milk or not to raw milk.

At this point I’m not inclined to launch too deeply into this topic, fraught as it is with passionate activists on both sides, alternately claiming that raw milk is the elixir of life or some kind of white poison. Personally, I feel that it is a fine thing per se: safe to consume when properly produced and stored. I know plenty of folks who drink local raw milk and do not become sick. On the other hand, I also understand the argument for pasteurization and “health efficiency” made by public officials.

The heart of the issue, really, is scale. The layer cake of government regulators simply isn’t set up to address small, conscientious producers serving an equally small and conscientious consumer set. The unfortunate reality is an inelastic, malfunctioning regulatory system, which can seem maliciously prejudiced against small farmers.

Here in Georgia, the law is writ large: Raw milk is bad, no exceptions. It would seem that some exceptions could be made if they were to add desperately needed tax revenue to the state’s coffers–and those same allowances could help small, local economies.

In general, I’m always going to favor anything that expands a farmer’s market.  Specifically in this case, I do think recent enforcement of raw milk laws has been, at its worst, tantamount to harassment. At its best: little fish, Martha Stewart-style prosecution.

Second Annual Raw Milk Symposium - April 10, 2010 - Madison, WI

There’s a $10 discount for those register for Tuesday, March 23.

For more information on the recent stories of raw milk as contraband in Georgia, see The Complete Patient blog by David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution. Or this commentary from Flagpole magazine. Or this YouTube video of raw milk being destroyed per the instruction of Georgia Department of Agriculture officials.

Update:  I’m reminded the tide may be turning in Georgia: Two state reps have proposed bills that would legalize the sale of raw milk.

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