February 11, 2006
Q: Jack, I’ve been trying to find someone in the metro area who sells milk directly from a cow; for example, a local dairy farm that will sell directly to the consumer or someone who raises cows. Can you help me? – Lactose Free
A: The Mississippi Department of Health doesn’t allow the sale of raw milk in this state. “It’s against the law,” said Bill Herndon, an agricultural extension service economist at Mississippi State University. “People who like to drink raw milk think that pasteurization makes the milk bad or lowers the quality. All that does is kill the bugs.”
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to kill viruses and bacteria. In fact, Herndon said he’d just returned from an Atlanta conference where raw milk sales were discussed. Only 10 states allow it (Kansas, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Vermont). Eight of the 10 have reported food-borne outbreaks which were traced back to raw milk.
Twelve states allow “cow sharing,” in which you purchase part of a cow, so you’re legally drinking raw milk from your own cow and not buying it from a farmer. Those states are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington. Seven have reported outbreaks tracked back to raw milk, Herndon said. Sorry.