The « Raw » Facts – Milk…

Raw Milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. 

Pasteurization is a heating process meant to kill bacteria, and homogenization is the process of making the milk one consistency throughout.

Raw milk sales for human consumption, in Florida, are illegal. Since 1987, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required all milk intended for human consumption and entering interstate commerce to be pasteurized. However, the FDA explicitly allows the states to regulate intrastate milk sale and consumption.

Department of Agriculture policy permits the sale of raw milk when labeled as PET FOOD, and not for human consumption, even though there is no state law that covers this issue. The state permits raw milk sales for animal consumption either on the farm or in retail stores. Containers should have a label clearly stating that the raw milk is for animal consumption only. Regardless of how it is packaged, there are no laws regarding how people may use the milk once they buy it and bring it home.

A growing number of U.S. consumers are devotees of unpasteurized « raw » cow, goat, and sheep milk. Milk can be easily contaminated by several common viruses and bacteria, and serious health risks are associated with consuming contaminated milk. Pasteurization is a process that cooks the milk for short periods of time to reduce disease pathogens. However, it may also reduce some of milk’s inherently beneficial qualities, such as available nutrients, active enzymes, helpful bacteria, calcium absorption, and taste. Despite the potential risks to human health, consumers continue to demand and producers continue to market raw milk to the general public. This can trigger liability under a number of legal theories….

Raw milk producers may have a special duty to warn.  When raw milk is sold to consumers for pet or human consumption, a warning or disclaimer often accompanies the product. Once a duty to warn arises, the manufacturer who has provided it may still be liable for harm if the warning is inadequate. A qualitative evaluation may find that the warning did not sufficiently advise of the product’s potential dangers, which is « no better than providing no warning at all. Mandatory warnings and labels do not shield the producer or vendor from liability in negligence actions. Udder nonsense? The emerging issue of raw milk sales in Florida.