There has been a lot of talk recently about how the State of Maine is against raw milk sales. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, Maine is one of only 10 states that allow the retail sale of raw milk from licensed producers.
Because of this, a great quantity of high-quality raw milk is available to Maine’s cheese makers, who have taken advantage of this source to produce more and more artisanal style cheeses that are making a positive impression around the country, and consistently winning national awards.
Mainers’ access to raw milk at the retail level is threatened by the sale of unregulated raw milk. Advocates for unregulated sales of raw milk undermine the longstanding — and rare — spirit of cooperation between Maine state regulators and its licensed raw milk producers, and thus threaten the livelihood of many family farms and cheese makers across the states who depend on these raw milk sales or on access to this legal source of raw milk.
If you have any questions about this issue, please read the Maine Cheese Guild’s Quality Statement, or contact the Maine Cheese Guild directly.
I couldn’t disagree more. Unregulated sales of raw milk do not threaten anyone but those who want to stake out territory. Raw milk has been consumed for millenia with no ill effects. The brouhaha about raw milk and regulation came about, nor from unregulated farmers, but from dirty conditions in CITY dairies. The medical industry stepped in with education about cleanliness and the problem was just about gone–until dairies wanting to transport and sell milk over long distances got the ear of legislators.
No one is liable for dirty milk except the producer, and anyone in this day and age selling raw milk and/or cheeses know enough to keep their environment clean. Rather than discouraging the sale of “unregulated raw milk”–which ensures that many small farmers stay out of the market and squelches competition–the MCG should be focusing on education for those who want to sell, and working with the legislature to ensure that small farmers don’t have to jump through hoops to sell their milk. Consumers should have the right to buy from whomever they wish, direct from the farm, without the State and the Cheese Guild getting in the way.
Government is not supposed to be there to protect our health, but our rights, and we have a common law right to sell what we produce, and to eat and drink what we choose as consumers. Laws are already in place to hold people liable for harm done; we don’t need unnecessary restrictions, nor government (bureaucrats) telling us their decisions are smarter than ours.
I have to point out that the Guild does work almost exclusively on helping cheese makers make better cheese, and work with the State regulators to create an efficient and least burdensome process for helping all of us that sell our products. I fail to see how it is “jumping through hoops” to pay $25 (at the lowest level) to receive unlimited consulting from inspectors, plus $70 in water tests, and over $300 in product tests. If you make a clean product (as you propose everyone knows how to do), then licensing is a huge HELP to your dairy business. There’s no other way to define it, unless you willfully ignore the benefits.
joy i’m sorry you are so upset with the guild. just a couple of comments.
“raw milk has been consumed for millenia with no ill effects”-not true that’s how pasteurization came about in the first place.
“anyone in this day and age selling raw milk and/or cheese know enough to keep their environment clean”-not true(no one wants to sell contaminated milk but it does happen)
“the MCG should be focusing on education for those who want to sell..” not true. the guild has conducted workshops in conjuntion with umo on sanitation in addition to countless cheesemaking workshops and has been very supportive of new cheesemakers. i believe there were about 20 cheesemakers 10 years ago. now there are over 70. doesn’t sound like the competition has been squelched.
at any rate we have more things in common than not. i am so thankful that i can still buy raw milk in maine. if for some reason that changes my business would be in jeopardy of closing.
also we have a guild meeting in february so please join us and share your thoughts.