The Vermont legislature is considering changes to a 2008 state agricultural bill to allow the processing of raw milk. A local farm advocacy group had, until recently, held classes explaining to consumers how to process raw milk into cheese, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products. These classes were shut down on February 10.
The debate over raw milk has been longstanding in the United States. Since the development of pasteurization, regulatory agencies have determined to limit the sale and consumption of raw milk. Pasteurization, supporters claim, kills harmful bacteria and eliminates pathogens in milk, making it safer to consume.
Raw milk supporters, however, argue that the pasteurization process destroys important nutrients and creates a less palatable product overall. Some argue that certain bacterium destroyed in the pasteurization process is beneficial to human health.
Many states, Vermont among them, ban the processing of raw milk and limit its transportation across state lines. The proposed Vermont law would remove bans on processing raw milk and would no longer force farmers to regulate consumers. To date, farmers are prohibited from selling raw milk to consumers they knew would further process it. Limiting these regulations, supporters say, would give consumers freedom to make health choices for themselves.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer