Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation : Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 109-130 : Raw Milk in Context
Byrne, Donna M.
The purpose of this Essay is to explore the societal forces that resulted in the transition from small, low tech, labor intensive raw milk to the commercially produced pasteurized homogenized, often low-fat milk available in grocery stores today. My goal is to shine the spotlight on the changes in society that created an apparent need for increasing the use of technology that became available at the turn of the twentieth century. The current tensions surrounding raw milk— and the adoption of technology and industrialization in milk production during the past century and a half—highlight changes in fundamental farming practices. There is a great tension in this area between corporate agriculture and private farms. This Essay begins by describing the current legal status of non-pasteurized milk and the controversy that surrounds it. Parts II and III then look back to where we’ve been. Part II adds a brief history of milk drinking in general, while Part III explores the social changes that led to adoption of pasteurization. In Part IV, I acknowledge there are no clear answers and identify areas ripe for further research.