Raw Milk Running

Photo by Harrison Turner

If you own a cow in Wisconsin and you milk her, store and cool that milk in a tank, bottle it, and sell it, you’re a criminal in the eyes of the state, at least since 1949, when it was decreed in Wisconsin that milk must be pasteurized, or cooked, to kill off contaminating bacteria, if it was to be sold.

Mandatory pasteurization across the nation was seen as hugely successful public health policy. In fall 2013, for the second time in three years, Wisconsin’s Legislature and public are in a contentious, impassioned debate about undoing raw milk prohibition. The seemingly unimportant topic of milk has inflamed conflicts about individual freedoms, nutrition and taste, oppressive government, good parenting, and the survival of  Wisconsin’s reputation and economy.

Milk, apparently, is a touchy subject.

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