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Raw milk banned from lattes

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It's legal to sell raw milk in Washington state, provided you follow state regulations on the product, but it's apparently not OK to sell raw milk lattes.

Kurt Timmermeister of Kurtwood Farms, one of 22 dairies licensed by the state to sell raw milk, recounted on his eloquent farming blog this week how an anonymous e-mail recently led the Department of Health to ask three cafes to stop selling espresso drinks made with his raw milk. The Vashon Island cafes had used the milk only when requested by customers, he wrote, and had posted warning labels about the potential health risks of drinking raw milk. They had been inspected by the health department in the past without problems, he wrote, but after the e-mail inspectors revisited the issue and told the cafes to pull the milk.

I checked in with the King County Department of Health, and was told that, indeed, "the sale of raw milk in restaurants is prohibited under the state food code, unless the milk is sold in its original container for consumption off premises (such as what may be sold in a grocery store)."

The inspector on Vashon had erred in initially allowing the raw milk to be used in cappuccinos and lattes, according to the health department.

The issue has come up locally before. Caffe Vita planned to sell raw milk lattes using Kurtwood Farms milk several months ago, but the health department scotched that plan before the planned sales.

Raw milk is a polarizing and hot-button issue, but there are sane voices on both sides. Timmermeister, for one, raised this salient point:

The odd thing to me is that the State feels that this product is healthy enough for humans to drink. What is odd is that it is healthy for you to drink in your home, but not in a cafe. Pick one: it is healthy, or it isn't. If it shouldn't be consumed by humans, shut me down; pull my license. If it can be consumed by humans, let them buy it already.

The Vashon-Maury Beachcomber has an article on the topic here.

Posted by Rebekah Denn at September 11, 2008 5:01 a.m.

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