America’s Black Market in Raw Milk

Criminals continue to peddle their illegal wares in America, as heroic law enforcement officers seek to stamp out a dangerous black market. No, the product isn’t heroin or cocaine. It’s far worse. It is … raw milk.

It turns out that some people prefer raw over pasteurized milk. Never mind that Americans drank unprocessed milk – straight from the cow, as it were – for, well, centuries. Two decades ago the Food and Drug Administration banned the interstate shipment of “raw” milk.

However, it is legal in some states, and can be sold in other states for purposes other than human consumption. Which opens up black market opportunities for determined consumers and entrepreneurial producers.

Reports the New York Times:

[Mark McAfee’s] raw milk is sold in 300 stores in California, where it is legal. He also has an $80,000 a month mail order business, shipping creams and cheese as well as milk to all 50 states. He believes he reaches 35,000 customers a week for his raw milk products. Because the laws allow interstate shipping of raw milk that is not meant for human consumption, Organic Pastures milk is labeled as pet food.

“I like to go into the warehouse and see the addresses — it goes all over creation,” he said. “We don’t have the same customers day in and day out. We’re the entry point. We hear back that shipping is too expensive but that they found a local provider, either a farm or on the black market. They have got to have it”.

Mr. McAfee said he knows firsthand of more than six dairies in Pennsylvania, some of them Amish, that supply the black market in New York and Boston. “They’re sending in 200 cases of milk every month,” he said.

A black market in milk. Who would have thought it!?

Food scientists dismiss arguments that raw milk is better for consumers, but so what? People should be able to choose the kind of milk that they prefer to drink. It should be their decision, not that of the FDA. Surely the last thing America needs is a milk police, scouring the land for illicit pushers of unpastuerized milk.