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Raw Milk Dropped In Florida

Whole Foods will stop selling raw milk in Florida on Sept. 30th

The Glades Ridge Dairy, one of 19 dairies in Florida licensed to sell raw milk for pet food, was recently temporarily suspended from selling its raw milk and cheese at the Alachua County Farmers Market.

The market’s Board of Directors will decide in October whether to make the ban permanent.

Maybe, just maybe, the pet milk scheme for selling raw milk as “pet food” is coming apart in the Sunshine State.

Just why now is not entirely clear.  Maybe the grocery store workers have a new contract protecting them from doing all that winking and nodding that it must take to sell raw milk with pet food labels when the intended market for the product is human consumption.

Maybe the best scientific and legal advice is not to put one’s market or grocery store at risk by selling unpasteurized dairy products.   Best not to accept that liability.

But not all is clear yet because not everybody is talking.   Briana Madrid, who speaks for Whole Foods in Florida from offices in Ft. Lauderdale, refused to speak with Food Safety News “due to the competitive nature of the grocery industry.”

About the only competition Whole Foods has for selling raw milk in Florida is health stores and niche markets.   Large national grocery store chains won’t touch the stuff.

It is illegal to sell raw milk in Florida for human consumption.  Milk sold for human consumption must be pasteurized.  Without pasteurization, a heating process that kills bacteria, raw milk can be ripe with potentially deadly pathogens like E. coli, Listeria, and Campylobacter.

Raw milk can be sold when labeled as “pet food” and there are no laws against drinking it.  And, raw milk has a “cult-like” following of advocates who swear by its positive health benefits.  These customers are willing to pay a price for raw milk that is consistent with the “whole paycheck” reputation of the pricey Whole Foods stores.

In the last year, the price for milk going to regular dairies has plummeted to as low at $1 a gallon. Raw milk can fetch as much as $15 a gallon.

Wendy Mathias, who maintains a website called Miami Real Food, has launched a campaign to persuade Whole Foods to stay in the raw milk business.   Mathias wants to be able to continue to get her two-liter bottles of raw milk from the corner of a cooler that is mostly stacked with eggs.
Florida law prevents Whole Foods from displaying raw milk beside pasteurized milk.

“Please do not stop offering raw milk to your customers,” Mathias writes in an open letter to Whole Foods.  “Your commitment to continue to offer this important nutrient-dense food is a market of your commitment to serving the community with the healthiest foods they can’t easily access anywhere else.”

She says: “Clean, raw milk from grass-fed dairy cattle has sustained human populations for thousands of years and is a complete, balanced, and nutritious food.”  There are also online petitions going urging Whole Foods to continue to sell raw milk “wherever it legally can.”

Unless Mathias and the other petitioners are successful, Whole Foods will cease selling raw milk labeled as pet food at 16 Florida stores.  They are located in Aventura, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Coral Spring, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami Beach, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Pinecrest, Plantation, Sarasota, Tampa, Wellington, and Winter Park.

Meanwhile, Joe Pietrangelo at the Glades Ridge Dairy is calling in the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which exists to defend farmers who are legally selling raw dairy and vegetable products to consumers.   He thinks the Alachua County Farmers Market is the first to ever prohibit a dairy that has complied with all state regulations and market requirements from making sales.

“We are in full compliance with all Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulations and possess a fully executed permit to sell raw milk/dairy as long as it is properly labeled,” writes Pietrangelo to his supporters.

The Alachua County Farmers Market, held Saturdays 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at 5920 N.W. 13th St., near the Gainesville Highway Patrol Station.   Gainesville also has the Union Street Farmers Market, which runs Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza, 111 E. University Ave.

© Food Safety News
  • People may not have died but there are people that have gotten seriously ill. See AVMA Conference – Raw Milk Consumption – Legal Implications of Raw Milk and Case Studies http://bit.ly/8i4Rm and the associated post, The Alexandre Eco Farms Dairy Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak http://bit.ly/46djc
    Food production should follow the laws and regulations: producing food labeled as pet food, know people are going to eat it, is disingenuous. That path of production could lead other (unscrupulous ?) food producers to “get around” selling to people. This would lead to a culture of food production that would then, when a serious series of deaths or injuries occur, put the trust of the food system in jeopardy. People need to trust the food they eat is safe.

  • Tom Kuettner

    John you say people need to trust the food they eat is safe. and we need to keep trust in the food system. Ask Stephanie Smith about trust in the food system. A dance instructor paralyzed for life with e coli 0157. Just by eating store bought hamburger which they could not even trace where the tainted meat came from because the companies that provide the the meat refuse to let Cargill test it. Read her story here http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=1
    Does this put trust in the food system?
    How about the 49 people (including 14 deaths) in Massachusetts in 1983 who became ill with Listeriosis from drinking PROPERLY pasteurized milk. read about it here http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/312/7/404
    Or the 3 men who died and the one miscarriage in MA in 2007 from people drinking PROPERLY pasteurized milk http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22561188/
    Or the fact that up to 25% of pasteurized milk pulled off the shelf in England tested positive for Johne’s Disease
    Do these instill trust in the food system? the answer is NO
    the way to instill trust in our food system is to buy from a farmer you know, one who eats and drinks the food he sells. Where ground beef is beef from a cow not different waste products from a dozen sources that are treated handled differently. But never tested all tossed in one pot and ground together to save 30 cents a pound. A farmer where you can watch him milk his cows or goats see how he cleans and sterilizes. Not a big business who buy seed geneticly modified so they can crop dust it with roundup so not only is your corn GMO its been sprayed over and over with poison.
    My choice I’m going to go get a glass of ice cold milk from my ice box. The milk that came from the teat of my goats this morning, I’m going to toss a burger on the grill that came from grass fed beef from the farmer I know and had them butchered. Cook some greens and corn from the farmer I know at the farmers market. And I have 100% faith in the system of food that I eat
    Yours Truly
    Tom Kuettner
    Small Dairy Farmer
    selling not for Human consumption
    pet food milk legally in the USA
    which we hope to keep the land of the FREE

  • marlon

    Okay um gonna tell it like it is. Man is and has messed up Gods beautiful planet with all their chemical this chemical that, and all these idiots typing all these idiot nonsense articles about raw milk and food thats are natural and healthy for people , they really done pissed me off. If these dummies wanna eat this franken foods man has created (all processed, chemicalized including all mcdonalds, bk’s kfc’s, wendys and all the others,then you eat it, but if we want to eat the raw and healthy stuff let us eat it, get you some business. We want it raw unheated, and all. Man is the reason why people can’t digest lactose, man the one putting all that soy crap in infant formulas, man made crap is why kids blossom quicker than they suppose to. We need to band against all this unhealthy crap, we strong in numbers

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