Friday, October 16, 2009


Selling raw milk is a common phenomenon in India as the reach of organized dairies is limited to urban areas. Even in cities like Mumbai fresh milk is delivered to hundreds of households in the morning by the owners of small dairy farms located in the outskirts and there does not seem to be any problem regarding the safety of milk supplied fresh. Probably the prevailing practice of "cooking" the milk achieves sterilization and as long as the acidity is within limits, milk is unlikely to be spoiled at the consumer end. But in many developed countries practically 100% of milk consumed is supplied after pasteurization by the organized dairies and consumers have developed taste and convenience in using such milk directly without additional heating at home before consumption.

Ban on selling fresh milk, in place in some of the countries, is based on the experience that such products tend to carry pathogenic infections having serious health consequences but economic compulsions seem to be forcing a return to the old practice of selling fresh milk, discouraged till recently."With dairy farmers struggling to make ends meet worldwide, many are turning to selling raw milk – straight from the cow and unpasteurized. In Pennsylvania, the nation's largest raw-milk permitting state, 122 farms have permits. Another 35 are in the permitting process right now. Some farmers are selling 1,000 gallons a week at $3 a gallon. That's powerful incentive".

Excess milk production combined with progressively reducing procurement price offered by milk processors is forcing some of the milk producers to sell directly, though their outreach is some what limited compared to the large retailing net work that distributes packed milk in pasteurized form through the super markets. In a country like USA where "local produce movement" is getting stronger day by day, selling fresh milk locally may sound logical as such products carry lower "carbon loads". Whether Americans will emulate Indians in using the ubiquitous milk "cooker" or domestic pasteurizers of smaller capacity is going to be a part of the kitchen appliances in that country, to make the milk safer, remains to be seen.


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