- The raw milk business is booming despite a number of outbreaks and recalls in the U.S. and federal and state agencies' warnings about the health risks that can come with drinking it.
- Raw milk farms are required by many states to be be licensed as Grade A, which means they undergo the same rigorous inspections and product testing as conventional dairy farms.
- "It's a practical way for dealing with reality. If raw-milk sales are illegal, say many public health officials, consumers will seek it out anyway, putting themselves and their families at risk," Food Safety News reported.
The reasons for the consistent demand increase for raw milk despite health warnings, outbreaks, and recalls are varied. Consumers report everything from fewer allergic reactions and a better taste to cures for a variety of illnesses, which the CDC says are anecdotal. Consumers also point out that raw milk tends to come from family farms rather than "factory farms," — the same problem major food manufacturers face.
As it stands, interstate sales or distribution of raw milk is not permitted because of requirements set by the U.S. Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, including that milk crossing state lines has to be pasteurized.
The dairy industry has voiced concerns about the growth of raw milk. In 2014, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) rallied together to encourage U.S. legislators to reject the proposed Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014, which would have lifted the ban on the interstate sale of raw milk. The bill did not pass but has been reintroduced in Congress (H.R. 3564).