BALTIMORE (WJZ)– After an 11-day shutdown, a Pennsylvania dairy is allowed to re-open after raw milk it sold sickened 43 people, four of them here in Maryland.

Alex DeMetrick reports the risk of becoming sick is why Maryland bans the sale of raw milk.

When it comes to raw milk, Maryland farmers know which way the wind blows.

“I would be fine with raw milk if someone could make it as safe as my pasteurized milk. The dilemma is, no one can,” said dairy farmer Chuck Fry.

And in Maryland, no one is allowed to sell it. But in Pennsylvania it is legal, and 43 cases of a bacterial infection have been traced back to raw milk sales from a dairy there.

Raw milk brought into Maryland produced diarrhea and fever in four of those cases.

Fry says the risks aren’t worth it.

“What’s wrong with raw milk? It’s just like water,” Fry said. “I love water. I drink tons of water, but I would never go down to the Potomac and drink it right out of the Potomac.”

Here’s why. Milk comes out of a cow at 110 degrees, and the longer it stays warm, the greater the chance for harmful bacteria to grow.

So dairy farms immediately move it into huge cooling tanks, where the temperature is lowered. That milk is then shipped cold for processing, where it is pasteurized and bottled. And in most states including Maryland, it is the only kind sold.

Besides state law banning raw milk sales, there is the issue of liability if someone becomes ill.

“And it only takes one incident for a non-insurable problem to lose your farm,” Fry said.

And after four generations, Fry isn’t gambling the farm or the safety of his milk.

Pennsylvania’s health department reports seven disease outbreaks linked to raw milk since 2006.

Comments (6)
  1. Jackie Schmidts says:

    Maryland dairy farmers are smart, we know the issue and are correct when we support the ban on raw milk. Raw milk is potentially dangerous, why allow it for sale. Click here for some more good info:

  2. Earl says:

    “Raw milk is potentially dangerous” … and cigarettes aren’t? It’s perfectly legal to sell lots of things that we all know are dangerous, so what’s the big deal? How many people die or get sick because of the alcohol & tobacco you can buy? That dairy obviously has a problem, but it does not mean that all do.

    Print a warning on it & give people the choice to buy raw milk and take the risk of drinking it if they want to. I swear, this is the dumbest thing in the world when you consider tobacco that we are 100% certain is very very dangerous is for sale everywhere.

    Let people make their own decisions, a lot more people got sick last year from tainted meat & other foods than milk. I hate milk so I would not drink it, but those who believe it has health benefits should be able to drink it if they want to, especially as long as the state will let ’em buy those cartons or Marlboros LOL!

  3. Jackie Schmidts says:

    Do you allow kids to buy cigarettes? No. Do you allow kids to buy alcohol? No.
    Parents who incorrectly think raw milk is safe and then give it to their kids who can’t defend themselves against the dangers is wrong. We can more easily prevent this by not allowing it to be sold.

    We are not talking adults making decisions, we are talking about kids who can’t. Additionally if a person wants raw milk, they can buy the cow, sheep, goat, yak or camel and milk her, but don’t penalize the legitimate dairy industry by allowing these radicals to take control of the entire industry, they are a very miniscule minority that do not have their facts straight.

  4. Mandy W says:

    Then very simple, don’t sell it to kids. Require adult purchasing.

    They make it seem like raw milk is the cause of all ills when it frankly isn’t. cigarettes are far more dangerous and yet are legal. 2nd hand smoke? Hello?

    AFAIK, unless you throw your feces at strangers who eat it, food borne illnesses are not contagious from you to other people.

    If they want to treat raw milk like toxic poison (which I disagree it is) frankly then mandate that it be sold in the same manner. Put a warning label on every single cannister and there you go.

    I’m not sure why people are SOOOO adamant about forbidding raw milk sales. It makes you wonder if there is an ulterior motive behind all this Raw milk kills you, talk. Dairy industry anyone?

  5. Mark A says:

    Why don’t you stay out of my damn life AND my kids lives? I really wish people would actually think about the ideas of liberty and freedom once again. The people that spout “live and let live” really don’t mean it. Most people today are statists and fundamentally believe that the state is God walking on earth. The government must tell us how to live. ZEIG HEIL!!!

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