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Raw milk's popularity rises despite laws against its sale

Posted: 10:46 AM, Aug 18, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-19 03:27:43Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite laws against its sale, raw milk continues to grow in popularity.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.

The CDC and FDA say raw milk poses a serious risk to those that drink it, but many swear it has great health benefits.

Under Kansas and Missouri law it's illegal to sell in a retail or market setting.

You can only buy it if you go directly to a raw milk farmer.

But despite the restrictions, the demand for raw milk is growing.

"Over the last 3 or 4 months we have picked up new customers every week," Dan West, owner of Peaceful Hills Farm, a raw milk farm in Grain Valley said. "The public is speaking and paying with their dollar."

West is well aware of the controversy that surrounds Raw Milk.

"Whatever the debate is, the facts and my personal experience with my customers is completely different," West said. "When I weigh all the benefits and when I hear my customers haven't felt this good since they were kids, I look the health benefits of consuming raw dairy and by far they outweigh any of the negatives."

The government disagrees. The CDC and FDA have several warnings about raw milk on their websites. The CDC says raw milk carries disease-causing germs, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The organization says the risk of an outbreak caused by raw milk is at least 150 times higher than the risk of pasteurized milk.

The Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy co-op in the U.S., says pasteurization saves lives.

"The vast majority of milk in the U.S. is pasteurized and there is a reason. It's because it’s regulated and should be pasteurized," John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer for the DFA, said. "It's a simple human safety issue."

Still that hasn't stopped people from asking for raw milk at farmers’ markets and stores.

West is hoping that its popularity forces change.

"I do think that America is going to have to wake up and officials are going to have to change some of their thinking," West said. "I'd love to see Missouri be one of the states that we could actually distribute it through a health food store."