The Rise of Raw Milk

In the first AP story datelined “NEW HOLSTEIN, Wis.” in recent memory—a place that this Wisconsinite, frankly, has never heard of before—the venerable news service reports that raw milk is a booming new way for hipsters to get their calcium and a host of possible health benefits.

Prices for the stuff are topping $5 a gallon, pushing more dairies to sell raw milk, in agreements that are increasingly running afoul of local and federal health officials. While the stuff is heralded as delicious and a font of ill-documented health benefits, it’s also a carrier of salmonella, E. coli, listeria, and other bacteria.

‘Raw milk continues to cause outbreaks year after year,’ said John Sheehan, who oversees plant and dairy food products for the US Food and Drug Administration. ‘It is a concern for the FDA.’

Raw-milk proponents, of course, are framing their opposing opinion in nuanced, reasonable, carefully qualified terms: “Raw milk is like a magic food for children,” said Sally Fallon, president of a nonprofit that advocates the consumption of whole foods.

The country’s in for a momentous reckoning as the naysayers and boosters clash over the stuff—magic or not—for years to come.

Good Lord, I just gave myself a headache.

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