Tired of state-by-state victories, fans of raw milk believe it's time to think big.
“The very best national voice for us is Oprah. It seems that mothers rely on her words more than anything,” wrote Mark McAfee, a raw milk farmer who's spearheading an educational campaign to get the famed talkshow hostess to profile the purported health benefits of untreated dairy. Since the campaign's start in mid-October, more than 800 people have emailed the media mogul asking her to devote one of her shows to the topic.
Raw milk, which is full of probiotics and rich in enzymes, can help fortify children's immune systems and prevent or lessen diseases, according to McAfee. People who are usually lactose-intolerant, for example, can drink raw milk.
“When you go about pasteurizing milk, you have destroyed the vitamins and nutrients in the form our body utilizes it,” he said.
Federal regulators feel differently, however, and have repeatedly warned consumers that raw milk has been linked to foodborne illnesses in the past. Consumer advisories state that pasteurization does not affect the nutrition content of milk.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration does not allow raw milk or products made from raw milk to be shipped in packaged form across state lines. Many states have their own laws banning sales. Most raw milk drinkers need to make surreptitious purchases; in some cases, they purchase “shares” in an actual dairy cow and drink the dividends.
Proponents recently scored a significant victory in Maryland, as well as one in California, where they stopped lawmakers from acting on a bill that would have effectively outlawed raw milk.
Fresh from that victory, they're hopeful Oprah might be interested in talking to mothers who credit raw milk with helping to minimize their kids' autism, asthma and other conditions.