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Legislature’s raw milk debate centers on safety

[cleeng_content id=”825011100″ description=”Read it now!” price=”0.49″ t=”article”]CHARLESTON — A bill moving through the West Virginia Legislature will allow co-owners of cows to receive raw milk, meaning the state would join a growing number of states which have allowed the sale of a product that has been banned for decades.

But is it safe?

Proponents of the product say it is.

Among those supporting changing the law: The West Virgina Alliance for Raw Milk. Its leaders say West Virgina farmers and consumers want the freedom to choose their own foods and to farm without interference.

Among those supporting changing the law: The West Virgina
Alliance for Raw Milk. Its leaders say West Virgina farmers and
consumers want the freedom to choose their own foods and to
farm without interference.

Hillsboro midwife Danette Condon has consumed raw milk from either cows or goats for more than 30 years without any adverse health effects for her or her family.

“Heavens, no,” she said. “Farm kids have fewer (food) allergies.”

She backs that up with her association with the Amish community, where foods are organic and milk is consumed after arriving straight from cow to table.

Amish children are healthier, she said, and have fewer food allergies than their pasteurized milk-consuming peers.

“(Amish kids) drink raw milk every day,” she said.

She said the bacteria in milk is beneficial to the human gut, which is mostly filled with essential bacteria that aids digestion. Raw milk feeds the “good” bacteria and promotes balance, she said.

“Everything we do to put bacteria from Mother Earth to inoculate a person makes them stronger,” Condon said. “The good bacterias keep us stronger. It’s about balance (and) we’ve lost the balance.”

A Michigan native, Condon came to West Virginia with the “back to the land” movement in the 1970s. Since then, she said, most of the community members who came to the state more than 30 years ago have used raw milk.

“We don’t have dead people,” she said. “We have healthy people.”

However, milk was processed and pasteurized for a reason. And the reason was the harmful bacteria that can exist in raw milk.

Those include E. coli and listeria, which can make people severely ill, or even kill them. The pasteurization process heats milk to high temperatures for a short time to kill those bad bacteria.

 

– This story is distributed through the West Virginia Press Association

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