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Originally published May 5 2010

Dairy industry pushing hard to outlaw raw milk

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The mainstream dairy industry has gone on the offensive against raw milk, aggressively lobbying Congress to impose further regulations upon unpasteurized milk producers.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized (exposed to high heat to kill off a high proportion of microbes) or homogenized (a technique used to prevent separation). Pasteurization advocates claim that it makes food safer, while critics allege that it kills off beneficial microbes and reduces food's nutritional content.

The major trade groups International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have urged Congress to bring raw milk producers under federal authority and subject them to the same expensive inspection and certification processes as pasteurized milk.

"Before pasteurization became widely utilized during the 1920s, human consumption of raw milk was one of the major sources of food borne illnesses and one of the primary causes of infant mortality," the organizations said.

Milk pasteurization was introduced because modern factory farming practices greatly increase the risk that cows will become ill, infect other animals, and contaminate the dairy supply. This risk is much lower on small-scale farms.

"Although unpasteurized, or raw, milk products pose a significant food safety hazard, facilities producing these products are not covered by any of the food safety regulations proposed so far this year by Congress," the IDFA said. "These facilities also remain exempt from existing regulations enforced by all states, which are known as the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, that set the standard for maintaining the safety of the nation's milk and milk product supply."

Raw milk is currently regulated on a state level, and in many cases must test lower for certain bacteria concentrations than pasteurized milk.

Even as they argue for raw milk producers to be subject to both state and federal regulations, the IDFA and NMPF are also asking Congress to change the law so that pasteurized milk be subject only to state supervision.

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