Is Raw Milk Safe? Which Side Are You On?

The New York Times weighs in on the raw milk controversy more than six months after our coverage began. In January of this year on Serious Eats Nathalie Jordi linked to a fascinating story in Salon that dramatically depicts the starkly different positions of raw milk advocates and opponents. Raw milk proponents claim that not only is it safe to drink, it can cure and reduce the effects of debilitating diseases like eczema, arthritis, and asthma. The subject of the Times story, Nina Planck, is a passionate raw milk advocate. The Centers for Disease Control is equally emphatic about the potential hazards of drinking raw milk, citing evidence that in recent years, children and adults have contracted E. coli and salmonella after drinking raw milk.

And in April of this year we linked to a story in the Brooklyn Eagle describing the raw milk "black market" that allows raw-milk-obsessed New Yorkers the opportunity to buy the illegal cow juice through clandestine "raw milk clubs."

As much as I find the idea of a clandestine raw milk club amusing, the evidence presented in the Salon piece is rather sobering on the one hand (people dying after drinking raw milk) and confounding on the other (raw milk apparently offers people with serious health problems hope and perhaps actual symptomatic relief). And moving to California, where raw milk is legal, doesn't really clarify the issue, though it would mean you wouldn't be arrested or fined for possession of the uncontrollable white substance known as milk.