Jail Time: Oregon Farmer Files Lawsuit over Raw Milk Advertising Ban

illegal milk

illegal milkSome 20 states ban the sale of raw milk altogether, with many other states carrying laws restricting the sale of raw milk. Given this perspective, the laws in Oregon seem rather permissive. Though that state doesn’t allow retail sale of raw milk, it does allow small organic dairies to sell their products to consumers under certain conditions. Unfortunately, farmers could face jail time and fines just for advertising their raw milk, or for having more than 3 cows. This led to an Oregon farmer filing a lawsuit to overturn the advertising ban.

Organic farmer Christine Anderson recently filed a lawsuit in Oregon, saying the rules on raw milk need to be changed. She runs Cast Iron Farm, where she owns two cows and sells the raw milk from those cows. Lately, however, after the Oregon Department of Agriculture clamped down on her website, she’s been forced to stop selling much of her surplus, wasting it entirely or feeding it to her pigs.

Read: Girl Uses Raw Milk to Overcome Lyme Disease

One of the arguments against raw milk is that it can contain harmful bacteria including E. coli and salmonella. But it’s not the milk that’s the problem—it’s how it is produced. Ethical organic farmers are able to minimize if not completely eliminate this contamination risk.
On Anderson’s website, she used to offer consumers a lesson in safe raw milk handling, detailing the processes she uses to ensure the milk she provides is safe for consumption. But the state’s Department of Agriculture said that information could be construed as advertising so they forced her to take it and her prices down.

This, her attorney says, is truly ironic as consumers are kept from making safer raw milk choices by the Department’s order.
Meanwhile, raw milk is certainly gaining popularity as people consider it healthier than the processed, pasteurized milk found on grocery store shelves. Pasteurization destroys beneficial probiotics and proteins within the milk that can aid in digestive health. What’s more, conventional milk is very often loaded with growth hormones, antibiotics, painkillers, and much more – all of which were force-fed to the cows.

Read: Goat Milk vs. Cow Milk

One study even linked raw milk consumption to decreased asthma and allergy symptoms by 41%.

For centuries, farmers have been drinking and selling raw milk without concern. But as the trends move back to the farm, officials are worried they will lose control over the dairy industry.