Sylvester Stallone is just one of 40,000 raw-milk drinkers in California who may face a ban on their favorite dairy product. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a recently passed state law that forces raw milk to meet a strict limit for coliform bacteria.
Now, this stuff is already tested for illness-causing bacteria, like E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter, but apparently, coliform aren’t as dangerous. Stallone gets his raw-milk fix from Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, which produces most of the raw milk sold in California, and the company’s managing partner, Mark McAfee, says that coliform bacteria are so common in cows they’d be impossible to limit in raw milk.
Besides that, he argues—and many raw milk consumers agree—that beneficial bacteria are a big reason people seek out raw milk. They believe bacteria help build the immune system and reduce allergies and asthma and that the good bacteria actually inhibit the production of bad bacteria in raw milk.
But will this new law wean consumers off raw milk? Probably not. This past August, the New York Times reported that raw milk is illegal for human consumption in 15 states—but people are still getting black-market raw milk directly from farmers or by investing in cow shares, an arrangement in which consumers pay a farmer to raise the cow whose raw milk they then consume.