Cow

Los Angeles recently made headlines but not for another celebrity mishap or movie premier. This story was about a raid at a Venice food co-op selling raw milk products. Apparently, officers entered the site with guns drawn. Was there a crazy cow teat squirting uncontrollably? A goat with a grudge? Or are people just that passionate about their raw foods that the officers felt the seriousness of the situation needed punctuated by pistols?

Whatever the reason, the situation is serious.

As we’ve all likely heard by now, more than 500 million eggs have been recalled recently. It’s a staggering number, hard to grasp just how much food we eat in this country, let alone how much of it comes from animals. The truth is, our food—even the plant-based stuff—goes through a harsh series of events. Unless you’re growing or raising your own, chances are there are dozens of hands, machines and trucks between you and your meals. Even still, we all have the right to eat what we want, even if that means putting our health at risk.

Enter raw dairy.

If you’re a fan of the stuff, you may have one or many reasons for consuming your dairy products raw, from the taste to the enzymes that heat and pasteurization kill. And it’s true that throughout history, people have consumed raw milk longer than they’ve been drinking our modern varieties. The difference though is that they raised their own goat or cow and she likely lived just outside the hut.

While the science of dairy’s effects on humans is highly debated, one thing remains a fact: even the smallest dairy farms are dealing with disease, infection, over-crowding and quality control issues. Salmonella, like that found in the recent egg recall, can be a contaminant in animal feed and not a reflection of the farmer’s care. The bottom line is it’s hard to tell what you’re getting from food you’re not directly in control of, animal or otherwise. Granted it would seem the fine officers of the Venice Beach Police Department would have better things to do with their guns than point them at harmless foodies.

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Photo: Jill Ettinger