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Raw Milk

Pete Springer/OPB

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Update 8:50am: This show will include an exclusive interview with the mother of one of the children sickened by raw milk in the recent outbreak.

The United States Department of Agriculture and many doctors consider milk a part of a healthy diet. But some people are not picking up a gallon from the grocery store. They are headed straight to the cow for raw milk.  

Raw milk is milk in its purist form, without pasteurization or fortification. The milk is loaded with fats and enzymes that some people think have health benefits like helping alleviate asthma and allergies.  But raw milk does not come without risk. Without pasteurization, milk may contain harmful pathogens and bacteria like Salmonella. Recently, Oregon health officials have confirmed 21 people sickened by drinking a botched batch of raw milk from a Wilsonville farm.

Raw milk is illegal in 21 states, and only a few allow it to be sold in grocery stores. But people continue to drink it. 

Do you drink raw milk? Have you seen any health benefits from drinking raw milk? If you don’t drink it, why not?


  • Jill: Mother of one of a two-year-old girl sickened by raw milk
  • Chrissie Zaerpoor: Co-owner of Kookoolan Farms
  • Gary Oxman: Health officer for Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties
  • Paul Lewis: Deputy health officer for Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties and a pediatrician at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, specializing in infectious disease
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