Got (Raw) Milk?

If only buying milk was as simple as it sounds. Of course you have your skim, 1%, 2%, and whole. But, what about almond milk and buttermilk? Powdered milk? Milk with added omega 3’s and calcium? Kefir?! And to think we haven’t even mentioned raw milk yet!

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More and more I’ve been noticing the debate between pasteurized and raw milk. Some swear by the stuff, while others have gone as far as making sure it’s banned in their home state. So, let’s consider the facts…


  • Pasteurizing process kills off threatening bacteria, such as E Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria
  • Supported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Increases shelf life


  • Pasteurizing process kills off the beneficial bacteria, eliminating the health benefits of raw milk offers
  • Still vulnerable to disease and contamination
  • Raw milk aficionados claim the biggest outbreak of disease related to milk was caused by pasteurized milk, not raw milk


  • Loaded with natural vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acid
  • Sales benefit local, small farms
  • Historically used to treat heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic fatigue and obesity
  • Strengthens immune system against asthma, hay fever, and atopic sensitization
  • Because raw milk producers are up against strict laws, producers are most likely to carefully monitor the production and, therefore, bacteria content


  • Advocates for pasteurized milk claim there is little scientific evidence that supports the consumption of raw milk
  • Poorly handled raw milk can lead to infectious, and possibly fatal, diseases from harmful bacteria
  • Only 13 states allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores

I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to get my hands on this stuff. Lucky for us Pennsylvanians, we are one of those 13 states that permit the sale of raw milk in retail stores (along with Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine,  New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington). Swarthmoreans are even luckier because we sell raw milk right here at the Co-op!! We buy our raw milk from Dutch Meadows in Lancaster County. Their free-range cows are grass fed and organically raised, reassuring us milk drinkers that their raw milk is safe for consumption.

Cheers everyone!


  1. Mark

    After being a veterinarian that has spent a lot of time in commercial dairy parlors, I can say that pasteurized milk also has a lot of manure in it. The rationale is that since it is pasteurized, it is safe. But cooked manure in the milk is no less revolting than raw manure in the milk. Raw milk dairies may or may not be cleaner, but at least they are held to higher bacteria standards.

    • hillarywickline

      Scott, I personally never heard anything about an outbreak in the Philadelphia area last year. The CDC claims there were 86 reported food poisoning outbreaks from raw milk between 1998 and 2008, resulting in 1,676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and two deaths. However, some raw milk advocated believe that these stats aren’t directly linked to raw milk and are meant to scare the general public from consuming it.

  2. Sheryl

    I often wonder if I was able to get my hands on raw milk would it give me the stomach problems that milk from the stores give me. I only seem to be able to handle goats milk. I have had raw which I enjoyed but that was in AZ & I am in CA. So I buy my goats milk from Trader Joes which is delicious but at $2.89 for a quart I don’t buy it very often.

    • hillarywickline

      Sheryl, you may be in luck! Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk contains the enzymes and lactose producing bacteria we need to break down the sugars and properly digest milk. But, then again, everybody is different and will have a different reaction to things we consume.

  3. karen

    Hi, I live in Arkansas and raw milk is definitely not legal to sell in retail stores. In fact, it’s illegal to sell raw cow’s milk EVER. We can buy raw goat’s milk, as long as we buy it directly from the farm and the farmer doesn’t sell more than 100 gallons per month. Here’s a map of the state-by-state raw milk allowances:

  4. Kim Hennessy

    Hi, I live in MA and as far as I know raw milk is sold only on the farm. They are not even allowed to bring it to a farmers market. But if the law has changed, please let me know because a drive 2 hour round trip to get it, and it is sooo worth it! Thanks, Kim

  5. Pingback: The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side | Swarthmore Co-op Blog

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