Natural Foods Merchandiser
Retailer Roundtable: Should retailers be able to sell raw milk?

Retailer Roundtable: Should retailers be able to sell raw milk?

Retailers tell us their opinions on raw milk laws and regulations.  

Erica Nealey, Dairy team leader at New Frontiers Natural Marketplace in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Our weekly raw milk sales are great: We sell 100 units ranging from cream to whole milk in a variety of sizes. Consumers should have the right to choose between raw, which is full of enzymes and lactase-producing bacteria, and pasteurized milk, in which bacteria and enzymes have been destroyed. We’d be disappointed if we weren’t allowed to provide raw milk for customers who clearly want it.

Melanie Bettenhausen, Outreach director at North Coast Co-op in Arcata and Eureka, Calif.

Raw milk is a hot topic in our area. Being located in the only California county where raw milk sales are illegal, we have a large number of people advocating for legalization. For now, people circumvent the law by buying shares of a cow. Because demand is high, we would carry it if it were legal.

Joseph Phy, Grocery, dairy and frozen buyer, La Montanita Co-op in Albuquerque, N.M.

Neither of our Albuquerque locations offers raw milk because retail sales are against the law in Bernalillo County. Many customers have requested raw milk, so I’d be happy to offer it. Packaging should state the risks so customers could make educated decisions about what’s best for them.

Terry Brett, Owner of Kimberton Whole Foods, a four-store chain in Pennsylvania

Raw milk should be legally available at retail outlets in every state. Raw is the healthiest way to consume milk because pasteurization hasn’t destroyed the enzymes, and it’s much easier to digest. I’ve been drinking raw milk since 1978 with no ill effects. We’ve carried it since 1988 and sell approximately 15,000 gallons of raw cow’s milk and 1,500 gallons of raw goat’s milk annually. 

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