Recent raids by the FDA have some communities up in arms about whether raw milk is safe to consume. But supporters of unpasteurized milk are rallying a movement that would make it easier to obtain. Kojo explores where food safety, the law and milk collide.

Guests

  • Bill Marler Attorney, Marler Clark (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Sally Fallon Morrell President, Weston A. Price Foundation, author " Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats"

Transcript

  • 12:06:42

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5, at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. Later in the broadcast, a filmmaker who's being chasing down the secrets of how to live forever. But first, a new twist on a beverage you've probably been consuming your whole life.

  • 12:07:08

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's the common substance that moms are driving to undisclosed drop-off spots to buy on the black market that Congressman Ron Paul is pushing to legalize, and that FDA federal agents are raiding Amish farms to bust. If you guessed that we're talking about raw milk, you're probably a member of the Grassfed On The Hill group or one of the other area groups that helps bring this illegal substance to local residents.

  • 12:07:34

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe debate over raw versus pasteurized dairy is still raging in the Washington region. Joining us to explore how it's triggering conversations about public safety and freedom of choice and our diets is Sally Fallon Morell. She's a journalist, chef, nutrition researcher and community activist. She's also president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a consumer nutrition advocacy organization.

  • 12:07:59

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIShe's also the author of "Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats." Sally Fallon, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:08:10

    MS. SALLY FALLON MORELLKojo, thanks for having me back.

  • 12:08:12

    NNAMDIShe joins us in our Washington studio. Joining us by phone from Seattle, Wash., is Bill Marler. He's an attorney who specializes in food-borne illness litigation. He practices at the firm Marler Clark. Bill Marler, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:08:27

    MR. BILL MARLERThank you.

  • 12:08:28

    NNAMDIAlso, it's a conversation that I'm made to understand a lot of people will want to join. So you can do that by calling us at 800-433-8850. What concerns do you have about the safety of raw foods for sale at the grocery stores and markets where you shop? You can go to our website, kojoshow.org. Join the conversation there. What role do you think the government should play in regulating the safety of raw milk?

  • 12:08:51

    NNAMDISend us a tweet, @kojoshow, or email to kojo@wamu.org. Sally, raw milk or unpasteurized milk is not a new phenomenon. Over the past decade, it's gained popularity as people started to shift their ideas of where food should come from and how it should be processed. We talked about raw milk with you on this broadcast several years ago, but it still is illegal to sell raw milk in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. Where do we stand as of now with the current war over raw milk?

  • 12:09:22

    MORELLWell, I think the most significant thing, Kojo, is that the consumption has increased dramatically. The CDC had -- it did a survey, a FoodNet survey in 2007 which found that 3 percent of the population drinks raw milk, which translates to about 9.4 million people. And that is surely a much bigger number today.

  • 12:09:45

    MORELLIt -- this desire to have what I call real milk, which is not only raw but comes from pasture-based farms and is full fat, all of these components are necessary for the milk to be safe. It is piggybacking on the local foods movement, the desire to get away from industrial foods and to get back to unprocessed, farm-raised, local, nourishing foods.

  • 12:10:15

    NNAMDIFor those out there who have never consumed raw milk -- and I consumed it as a child growing up in Guyana, South America, where we had it delivered to our backdoor just about every single day. We didn't call it raw milk then. We just called it milk because...

  • 12:10:30

    MORELLRight.

  • 12:10:30

    NNAMDI...we didn't have pasteurized milk...

  • 12:10:31

    MORELLRight.

  • 12:10:32

    MORELLRight.

  • 12:10:32

    NNAMDI...at the time. But for those who have never tasted -- and my mother always warmed it up before she gave it to us, so I guess she self-pasteurized it in a way. But can you give us a sense for what it tastes like because I'm operating from memory here.

  • 12:10:45

    MORELLIt's a wonderful taste. It's a taste that actually can bring tears to your eyes. It's creamy. It's sweet, and there are alkaloids, very delicate alkaloids in milk that give overtones of vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Imagine that all in one beverage.

  • 12:10:59

    NNAMDIIt's fair to say that it's pretty different from grocery store milk.

  • 12:11:03

    MORELLAbsolutely. These flavor compounds are really very delicate. Your mother was right to warm it up. She wasn't really pasteurizing it. She was bringing it to a warm temperature, and that's when you get the best flavor in the milk.

  • 12:11:18

    NNAMDIBill Marler, I'll start with you. Nearly all dairy products sold in the United States are pasteurized using a heat treatment to extend shelf life and kill potentially harmful microorganisms, like E. coli, listeria, salmonella. Pasteurization came about in the early 20th century, an effort to combat the multiple outbreaks of illness that arose from people drinking contaminated milk that derived from poorly unkempt farms.

  • 12:11:46

    NNAMDIThese days, though, many smaller local farms are well kempt and held to high hygiene levels. Is there still the need for the pasteurization methods we created decades ago, Bill Marler?

  • 12:12:00

    MARLERThe short answer is absolutely. And, you know, your mom was right to, you know, warm the milk to kill pathogens in it when you were a child. And, you know, half the states allow for the sale of unpasteurized milk. Half the states have chosen not to do that yet. And there's battles going on every day about whether milk should be pasteurized at any given state.

  • 12:12:32

    MARLERThe issue that you guys have been facing in the D.C. area is the sale of raw milk across state lines, which is illegal and has been since the late '80s when public health officials sued the FDA to force the FDA to do exactly that, to ban the sale of raw milk across state lines. And, you know, that is the way things are today. You know, people should have the right to choose to drink raw milk, and they do that every day.

  • 12:13:06

    MARLERI mean, people can consume raw milk, and they do it in states where they can get it legally. And, you know, the issue, really, that, you know, Sally and I have is really one of how to produce, you know, raw milk safely. And the history just in the last couple of years of raw milk production hasn't been that safe. And, you know, there have been multiple outbreaks linked to raw milk consumption at cow shares and in commercial dairies that produce raw milk.

  • 12:13:41

    MARLERSo it is not, you know, a magic fluid that, you know, is safe all the time. It can be produced safe but always will have a risk because it's unpasteurized.

  • 12:13:55

    NNAMDIHow do you feel about pasteurization methods, Sally Fallon?

  • 12:13:58

    MORELLWell, first of all, pasteurization is no guarantee. We had three people die from pasteurized milk in 2007 in Massachusetts. So just because you're pasteurizing it is no guarantee that it's safe. And what the FDA and regulators refuse to admit is what is in the scientific literature, that raw milk contains many components that kill pathogens.

  • 12:14:24

    MORELLAnd if you do a challenge test with raw milk and put in large numbers of pathogens, these diminish over time and then go away. So we really don't need pasteurization. We do need regulations, reasonable regulations, and we know how to produce raw milk today in a safe way. And, really, this is becoming more and more of an issue with people because pasteurized milk is the number one allergen.

  • 12:14:53

    MORELLMany children cannot drink pasteurized milk. And in Western cultures, milk is a very important food for our health.

  • 12:15:02

    NNAMDIWell, Sally, same question I put to our listening audience I'll put to you. What role do you think the government should play in regulating the safety of raw milk?

  • 12:15:08

    MORELLI think it should be regulated on the state level by people who believe in it and not people who are hostile to it and use the regulations as a way of getting rid of it.

  • 12:15:21

    NNAMDIBill, the war on raw milk reached its boiling point in the District here when recent FDA raids targeted a Pennsylvania Amish farmer who crossed state lines to sell his raw milk to D.C. area residents. A lot of people have expressed their outrage at the FDA's targeting of local small farms and wonder why so much effort is being focused on this issue.

  • 12:15:40

    NNAMDIDo you think the FDA should be directing such large amounts of attention to regulating the sale of raw milk? They sent down two federal marshals, a state trooper and a pair of agents from the FDA to search the farmer's farm.

  • 12:15:55

    MARLERWell, a couple of things, first. I represented the gentleman who died in Massachusetts from drinking milk. And that milk was pasteurized but became contaminated post-pasteurization. So in many instances, it was not pasteurized milk. It had become contaminated after the pasteurization. The reality is that very few pathogens in raw milk can kill you and sicken you, and it does. E. coli O157:H7, the infectious dose is less than 50 bacterium.

  • 12:16:34

    MARLEROne hundred thousand would stood on a head of a pin. E. coli 0157:87 didn't exist, you know, when I was a young boy and was, really, a pathogen that has emerged recently. Campylobacter, which has been found in raw milk, listeria, salmonella, cryptosporidiosis, all of those bugs have been found in raw milk sold at some farms that are even, frankly, advertised by the Weston A. Price Association.

  • 12:17:07

    MARLERSo raw milk can cause illnesses, and it does cause illness. There have been multiple outbreaks in the last couple of years. Now, your question about whether or not the FDA should spend their -- and the government should spend their time busting an Amish farmer who, you know, is breaking the law -- you know, I mean, we have a lot of other problems in the world.

  • 12:17:30

    MARLERIt is probably not the one that, you know, if I got to wave the magic wand, I would spend time working on. But the reality is...

  • 12:17:38

    NNAMDIBut the crux of this debate...

  • 12:17:41

    MARLERThe reality is he broke the law, and the government is upholding the law.

  • 12:17:46

    NNAMDIBut I guess the crux of this debate is the age-old question: Is it the role of government to protect people from themselves? Has our government overreached its power when it comes to raw milk? I'm pretty sure you'll say yes, Sally.

  • 12:17:59

    MARLERWe do it with...

  • 12:18:00

    MORELLYes, I would. And I think it's very important to actually look at the numbers. And we have the numbers of illnesses caused by or associated with raw milk. Over the last 11 years, that averages about 42 per year. And that is miniscule compared to the illnesses caused by other foods in the general population.

  • 12:18:20

    MORELLIn fact, because we know how many people are drinking raw milk now, and using government figures, we can show that you're 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are to get sick from raw milk. And with proper oversight and education, I think we can get those numbers way down. By the way, I just want to comment on listeria. There's been no cases of illness from listeria in raw milk in the last 11, 12 years.

  • 12:18:49

    NNAMDIGovernment overreaching itself, Bill Marler, here, trying to protect people from themselves?

  • 12:18:53

    MARLERYou know, I don't think so. I mean, you look at -- look at the people that I represented. You know, kids in 2006, who both drank raw milk from a certified raw milk dairy, and they both developed acute kidney failure. Both nearly died, and both will have lifelong complications of the kidneys. I represent a woman in Northern California who bought milk from a cow share.

  • 12:19:22

    MARLERShe developed campylobacter and developed Guillain-Barre syndrome and is paralyzed. The reality is that, you know, Sally is right. It's a small number. But when you look at the individual damage to the individual people, it is significant. And I...

  • 12:19:38

    NNAMDIWell, let me get some of the listeners in on this conservation. We got an email from James, who says, "Look, we can consume raw beef, raw fish and raw eggs. How is consuming raw milk different than the aforementioned foods? If they are prepared and served safely, what is the issue?" Bill Marler?

  • 12:19:59

    MARLERYou're absolutely right. There are -- half the states you can go -- and many of them, you can go to grocery stores and buy raw milk. There are states that allow it, and that's part of the process. Some states are. It's a local issue. People can do it. The government -- the federal government has decided that, from a public health perspective, selling raw milk across state lines is one way to control for the safety of that product.

  • 12:20:26

    MARLERAnd that's what's being done. You know, I live in the state of Washington. We have retail sales of raw milk. If I was so anti-raw milk, don't you think I would spend my time trying to change the laws here? And we've had outbreaks here. But it's being regulated the best way that it can be, which Sally and I agree, should be on a local level. And it's working as well as it can be expected here.

  • 12:20:53

    MARLERIt's not a choice I would make for myself. It's not a choice I would make for my kids. But, you know, you can get raw milk.

  • 12:21:02

    NNAMDISally, the ban on raw milk in this area and the recent raids haven't stopped the sale of raw milk...

  • 12:21:07

    MORELLNo. No.

  • 12:21:08

    NNAMDI...as much as pushed it into an unknown zone between crime and civil disobedience. Even with the latest measures by the FDA to curb the sale of raw milk, recent studies seem to suggest that an estimated 1 to 3 percent of milk consumers still drink it raw. What do you think accounts for what seems to be a sharp rise in consumption?

  • 12:21:28

    MORELLI think the sharp rise in consumption is the discovery through our website, through the work we've done, that raw milk is inherently safe. It has a very small risk. And it has numerous health benefits, especially for growing children. And, you know, we get these testimonials every day. I want to go back to the E. coli O157:H7. One of the things that causes anyone who gets this from whatever source is they give antibiotics.

  • 12:22:00

    MORELLAnd then you get the very rapid die-off and the kidney problems 'cause the kidneys can't handle this. And I think if we really want to stop this syndrome of very serious illness from E. coli O157:H7, we need to have a massive educational campaign not to give antibiotics to children who get sick from this.

  • 12:22:22

    MORELLAnd I'd love to see lawyers like Mr. Marler do that kind of campaign and go after the hospitals that are giving antibiotics to children who come in with this illness.

  • 12:22:33

    NNAMDIIs that fairly conclusive evidence that Sally just cited, Bill Marler?

  • 12:22:37

    MARLERAbsolutely unequivocally not. The reality is is that I've been doing E. coli O157:H7 cases for two decades. I've represented thousands of HUS victims. There is some studies that suggest that giving antibiotics may do exactly what Sally said. There are other studies that say the opposite. I can tell you from vast experience that many children who never got antibiotics still went into end-stage renal disease, and some died.

  • 12:23:13

    MARLERSo the antibiotic issue is a red herring. It's a red herring that, you know, Sally, unfortunately, has been using to try to convince people that raw milk is inherently safe. And it's not inherently safe. It's unsafe as other raw products, like sprouts and raw hamburger, all of which needs to be regulated, and consumers need to be educated.

  • 12:23:37

    NNAMDIGot to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue the conversation. Bill Marler, got to take a short break. There are several -- well, the phone lines are filled. So if you'd like to join the conversation, you'd better go to our website, kojoshow.org. Join the conversation there. Send us a tweet, @kojoshow, or email to kojo@wamu.org. It's a conversation about raw milk. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:25:44

    NNAMDI...milk with Ms. Sally Fallon Morell. She's a journalist, chef, nutrition researcher and community activist and president of The Weston A. Price Foundation, a consumer nutrition advocacy organization. She's also the author of "Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats." She joins us in studio. Joining us by telephone from Seattle, Wash., is Bill Marler.

  • 12:26:06

    NNAMDIHe is an attorney who specializes in foodborne illness litigation. He practices at the firm Marler Clark. I'd like to start getting our listeners in on the conversation. And we'll start with Dani (sp?) in Washington, D.C. Dani, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:26:21

    DANIHi. Can you hear me?

  • 12:26:22

    NNAMDIYes, Dani.

  • 12:26:24

    DANIHi. First of all, thank you so much for doing this episode. My husband and I are drinkers of the real milk that comes out of Pennsylvania, and we live in the Washington, D.C., area. What I just wanted to say is part comment, part question. First of all, the question part is that in the FDA regulations against transporting this milk across state lines, it seems that it's more dangerous if you're transporting it.

  • 12:26:45

    DANISo I wanted to ask, what exactly happens in the transportation process? What can make the transportation process better for all of us and safer? And the second is a comment, which is because we live in Washington, D.C., and in the Tri-State area, raw milk drinking or raw milk buying is banned. We have to get our products from Pennsylvania. We have no other choice.

  • 12:27:03

    DANISo if the government were to legalize it locally, we will be able to get it safely, locally and more easily. And thank you again so much for engaging in this conversation.

  • 12:27:13

    NNAMDIWell, I'll ask Sally to address the latter part of the question. Is there anything being done in this area to make the sale of raw milk legal?

  • 12:27:21

    MORELLYes. We are working on legislation in the state of Maryland. And by the way, 3 percent of the people in Maryland drink raw milk. That's according to that survey I mentioned. And so all of that's coming from Pennsylvania or Virginia, and that's hurting Maryland farmers. So that's another thing that we need to consider. In Virginia, you can get raw milk through cow share programs.

  • 12:27:42

    MORELLAnd there are literally hundreds of cow share programs in the state of Virginia.

  • 12:27:48

    NNAMDIBill Marler, is the process of transporting raw milk across state lines in and of itself somehow harmful?

  • 12:27:58

    MARLERWell, the answer is no, of course not. I mean, especially in your area where, you know, it gets confusing where the state lines are and where they're not. You should drive around Washington, D.C. But it was a decision that was made by public health officials in the '80s to try to prevent the sale of raw milk generally. But FDA obviously doesn't have control over what happens in-state as it relates to raw milk.

  • 12:28:27

    MARLERSo, you know, is there a better method of doing raw milk? Absolutely. And I think it should be done on a local level and letting pubic health officials and, you know, citizens, you know, debate that issue. And that's going on all over the country.

  • 12:28:45

    NNAMDIQuestion for our listeners, do you think that raw milk should be made legal in Washington, in D.C. and in the state of Maryland? Here's Harry in Black Mountain, N.C. Harry, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:28:58

    HARRYThank you. I would appreciate your guests' comment on the recent handling of an outbreak here in North Carolina that was initially associated with raw milk with -- from Tucker Adkins Dairy of South Carolina, a case where it was brought across the state line by a courier. This morning's York Herald in York, S.C., which is where the dairy is, says that, and I quote, "Raw milk from York County dairy is free of bacteria.

  • 12:29:33

    HARRY"The FDA said made three people sick, according to the FDA and state health agencies. The FDA issued an alert on a Saturday and to this point has still not issued any sort of a press release saying what the test actually showed."

  • 12:29:54

    NNAMDIThe FDA announced a raw milk recall on July 16, warning that there have been three confirmed cases and five probable cases of something called campylobacteriosis, at type of food poisoning tied to unpasteurized milk sold by Tucker Adkins Dairy in York, S.C. The FDA is warning consumers not to drink Tucker Adkins raw milk. The milk was delivered to the victims by courier.

  • 12:30:22

    NNAMDIAlthough raw milk is legal in South Carolina, it is illegal for South Carolina dairies to sell raw milk through interstate commerce. Care to comment? First, Sally, and then Bill.

  • 12:30:32

    MORELLYes, well here's a case where they don't have any proof. They have an association. In other words, these three people who got sick drank raw milk, but they did not find it in the milk. And they didn't find any matching strains or anything like that. So we find a lot of the so-called cases of illness, "associated, but not proved."

  • 12:30:53

    NNAMDIWell, there are actually more than three. The eight potential victims come from three different households in North Carolina and all reported drinking raw milk from Tucker Adkins area -- Dairy that they bought on June 14, 2011. All fell eight -- all eight fell ill in mid-June. One person was hospitalized.

  • 12:31:10

    MORELLMy information says three. But when you have a cluster like that and nobody else is getting sick from the milk, what you want to look at is the water. And even on Mr. Marler's website, he says the most common vector of foodborne illness is water. And that would be the rational thing to test and see if there's something in the water.

  • 12:31:32

    MORELLCampylobacter is very common at this time of year. It does not last in raw milk. In fact, if you keep raw milk in the refrigerator for a couple of days with some air at the top that will get rid of the Campylobacter if there is any in there.

  • 12:31:47

    NNAMDIBill Marler?

  • 12:31:50

    MARLERYou know, the reality is, is that in almost every foodborne illness outbreak, there is very seldom raw milk or any other food to test because the people consumed it, and that's how they became ill. You know, this is an argument that, you know, Sally and I have over the Internet fairly frequently about whether or not outbreaks actually do happen or not, whether or not it's some kind of grand conspiracy on the part of public health officials to stop the sale of raw milk.

  • 12:32:26

    MARLERThe reality is that raw milk outbreaks do happen, and people get sick. And there is no grand conspiracy to stop people from drinking raw milk. Public health officials simply feel that the consumption of raw milk is not worth the risk. That's their opinion. Sally obviously has a different one. But to discount the science behind epidemiology, the science behind, you know, good public health officials doing their job, isn't helping the raw milk movement move forward in my opinion.

  • 12:33:02

    MORELLWe have looked at all of the studies that purport to show a correlation, and many of these studies are highly biased. And as I said, looking at the literature for the past 11 years and being very generous towards public health officials is 42 illnesses per year from raw milk.

  • 12:33:22

    NNAMDIOn to Scott in Takoma Park, Md. Scott, your turn.

  • 12:33:28

    SCOTTYes. Hi. My comment isn't more -- so much directly related to the raw milk issue, although as a child, I often drank raw milk. But I really wonder about our germ-averse society. I'm 61 years old. I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. And other than, like, don't eat animal feces, I never got this guidance about being careful and wash your hands five times a day.

  • 12:33:54

    SCOTTI'm allergic to absolutely nothing. I didn't begin to react to poison ivy till I was 58 years old. I was exposed to all of these as a young child while my immune system was developing. I think an awful lot of these issues with things like these are caused by our society limiting children's exposure to the environment. They're not sensitized when their immune system is developing. That's why these problems are occurring.

  • 12:34:22

    NNAMDIWe're a germ-averse society, Bill Marler. When shopping at the local groceries store, you can purchase raw foods, as we mentioned earlier, anywhere from beef to eggs. What's the difference between the difference in risk between those foods and raw milk? Why does raw milk seem to have so many regulations put upon it while these other foods do not?

  • 12:34:43

    MARLERI would disagree with you, Kojo. The, you know, hamburger red meat is highly regulated, as is the spinach, lettuce, sprout industry. You know, there's no more or less owner-risk regulation on raw milk in my state than there is, you know, or California than there is on products, you know, that you described. It's all about being, I think, reasonable.

  • 12:35:14

    MARLERAnd dealing with the reality of the science that raw milk, you know, is a product because of the location of the cow's teeth to the cow's anus, the likelihood of getting it contaminated is high. It's there. And, you know, to deny that pathogens can be in raw milk and that they cause outbreak doesn't help move the raw milk, you know, argument forward.

  • 12:35:42

    MARLERI mean, to this day, you know, the Weston A. Price Association denies that an outbreak in 2006 was actually linked to raw milk and claims it was linked to spinach. And that's completely false. I represented all of the people in the spinach outbreak and all of the people in the raw milk outbreak. And if I had been able to prove that the raw milk was actually spinach, I would have done that.

  • 12:36:07

    MARLERSo it doesn't help to deny outbreaks actually happen. And I think the industry, the raw milk industry, needs to learn from those outbreaks in order to move forward.

  • 12:36:19

    MORELLThose two cases were never proven to be raw milk. In fact, the state of California was all over the farm, tested everything on the farm, and they did not find that strain in -- on the farm. Both the children had eaten spinach, so we don't know what caused their illness. But -- by the way, that case was settled down in court. And...

  • 12:36:39

    MARLERSally, that's not -- Sally, you know that's not true. If they had eaten...

  • 12:36:43

    MORELLI have it from the horse's mouth, so...

  • 12:36:46

    MARLERYes. It's from the horse's mouth because I have an obligation to uphold the law. And if I had been able to prove that those children were part of that spinach outbreak, I would have done so. But they were a completely different genetic fingerprint. They did, in fact, find E. coli O157:H7 on that farm, but different stream on that dairy.

  • 12:37:07

    MORELLRight. And so...

  • 12:37:08

    MARLERBut the common denominator between all those children that got sick was...

  • 12:37:11

    MORELLAnd it was not in any cows that were being milked.

  • 12:37:15

    MARLERIt was found on -- in the cow's feces and -- but that's my point is, is that in most foodborne illness outbreaks, whether it's Mega, Cargill or ConAgra or local raw dairy, you very seldom find pathogens in leftover products. Usually, the product is gone and was consumed. So that -- if that's always the standard, frankly, no outbreak would ever happen.

  • 12:37:43

    NNAMDIThis is an argument that we probably wouldn't want to settle here. But Grassfed on The Hill is a local group that brings raw milk to District of Columbia residents. How has this group grown over the past years? And how does it get around the law that bans the selling of raw milk here in Washington, D.C.?

  • 12:38:00

    MORELLWell, there's nobody testing trucks going across state lines. We just not -- our country is not set up for that. I think the argument that's being used is that the farmer is selling that milk in Maryland. And then what people do with it is not the farmer's business. So I can go to -- excuse me, in Pennsylvania -- I can go to Pennsylvania and buy milk and drive it personally across state lines, or I can have an agent do that.

  • 12:38:25

    MORELLWe have a case in court right now, in federal court to try to get this clarified and settled, whether the across state lines has to do with private individuals or commerce as we think of commerce.

  • 12:38:41

    NNAMDICigarettes and alcohol -- I said, we won't settle this argument here. I didn't say we wouldn't continue it. Cigarettes and alcohol are both substances that may be detrimental to your health, but are still legal for people of a certain age to consume. A lot of proponents of raw milk question why people can choose to consume those harmful substances but not unpasteurized milk.

  • 12:39:01

    NNAMDIDo you think we should allow the consumption of raw milk to people at a certain age when they would understand the risk involved in drinking it, Bill Marler?

  • 12:39:11

    MARLERWell, again, you know, half of the states allow the legal sale of raw milk and, you know, with no restrictions on age. You know, personally, again, I think that the risk of, especially for children, of drinking raw milk is not worth any of the anecdotal benefits that, you know, Sally and other proponents of raw milk have.

  • 12:39:39

    NNAMDISo your answer is that it really depends on the local jurisdictions on whether they decide to do it.

  • 12:39:44

    MARLERI think that it really has to be done that way. And, you know, I think that if raw milk proponents, you know, would sort of embrace the fact that some of these outbreaks, in fact, had happened and learn from them and work with public health officials, you know, I think you could craft a solution similar to what has been crafted in California, similar to what has been crafted in Washington that allows me the sale of raw milk with an appropriate warning.

  • 12:40:13

    MARLERAnd, you know, it's not optimal of what I would want to see for public health, but I think it deals with the reality, as Sally said, that somewhere between 1 and 3 percent of Americans are consuming it anyway. Let's try to make it as safe as humanly possible.

  • 12:40:30

    NNAMDISally, where does raw milk fit into your diet?

  • 12:40:32

    MORELLWell, I drink it every day.

  • 12:40:35

    NNAMDIHow long have you've been drinking it every day?

  • 12:40:36

    MORELLI've been drinking it for about 10 years once I found a source again, and, yeah, I credit good, strong bones.

  • 12:40:44

    NNAMDIWhat do you find to be advantages of it?

  • 12:40:47

    MORELLFor me it's a wonderful source of calcium. You know, I'm getting to the age where osteoporosis is a problem, and it also is wonderful, easy to digest. When I'm overworked and my nerves are all riled up, there's nothing better than a glass of raw milk to perk you up and calm you down at the same time.

  • 12:41:07

    NNAMDISally Fallon Morell is a journalist, chief nutrition -- chef, nutrition researcher and community activist. She is the president of The Weston A. Price Foundation, which is a consumer nutrition advocacy organization, and author of the book "Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats." Sally Fallon, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:41:27

    MORELLThank you, Kojo. Always a pleasure.

  • 12:41:29

    NNAMDIBill Marler is an attorney who specializes in foodborne illness litigation. He practices at the firm Marler Clark. Bill Marler, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:41:36

    MARLERYou bet, thank you. Bye now.

  • 12:41:37

    NNAMDIWe're going to take a short break. When we come back, the documentary "How to Live Forever." How long do you plan on living? I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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