Could You Go To Jail for Drinking Raw Milk?

Cows Raw Milk Cow Shares

It’s been a rough few weeks for me.

  • My oldest son’s anxiety
  • Finding a tick embedded in my youngest son’s head while in church
  • Dealing with horrible fatigue supposedly from detox symptoms.

As a result, I’ve been taking a bit of a blogging break.

I have a lot to catch up on due to the “diversions”, but I must say that I read about this raw milk mess this morning in this post on food freedom at Homestead Host and felt I just had to share it with you all.  (By the way, I am a proud affiliate of Homestead Host.  They host my blog and own my domain.  And have FABULOUS service.  If you’re looking to have better service than the “big box blog companies”, please check her out!  You’ll be glad you did!

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Our government is at it again. What’s it doing this time?

Outlawing raw milk.

So–you mean that you could actually go to jail for being part of a cow share?

Looks that way to me.

The way that I read this law, it would be illegal for residents in the state of Wyoming to:

  • Offer raw milk as part of a cow share
  • Receive raw milk as part of a cow share

What is a Cow Share?

In case you are not familiar with what a cow share is (I sure wasn’t until a few years ago), a cow share is an arrangement between a farmer and consumers in which the consumers pay money in order to “own” part of a cow.  It is basically the only way to get raw milk in most states in the U.S.
Every week (or at predetermined times), the “owners of the shares” come to the farm and get their share of the milk that the cow produces.
Now, pasteurized milk drinkers everywhere want to know…

Why Would Anyone Want to Drink Raw Milk?  

“Eeew!”  you say?  Well, here’s why:

  • when milk is pasteurized, the heat destroys the enzymes in the milk.
  • So, raw foodies love raw things because enzymes help to digest the food.  They consider cooked food to be dead.
  • Lactase is the enzyme in raw milk that aids in the digestion of lactose, which is milk sugar.
  • Lactose intolerant folks like raw milk because they can often drink it without having the horrible digestive upset that they get when drinking pasteurized milk.  (My husband, for example, is severely lactose intolerant.  He hasn’t drunk pasteurized milk for YEARS as a result.  However, he can drink raw milk with absolutely no problems.)
(Note: Of course, you would want to be a part of a cow share at a farm that you know and trust so that you know you are getting high quality milk.)

Is It Going to Be Illegal to Buy or Sell Raw Milk?

It appears that the State of Wyoming does not think its citizens should be allowed to be part of a cow share any longer.

They are prohibiting the transfer of raw milk to anyone who is not a member of an immediate family of the farmer, or a non paying guest.
From the State of Wyoming’s Agricultural Department, here is the troubling verbage:

Section 8. Fluid Milk and Milk Products

(a) Fluid milk and milk products shall be obtained from sources that comply
with Grade A standards as specified in the United States Public Health Service/FDA
Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, as amended.
(b) Fluid and dry milk and milk products complying with Grade A standards
as specified in United States Public Health Service/FDA Grade A Pasteurized Milk
Ordinance, as amended, shall be obtained pasteurized.

(g) Unpasteurized milk and products made from unpasteurized milk (except
cheese qualifying under subsection (d)) may not be sold, delivered, served, or provided for
human consumption.
(i) This subsection does not apply to individuals who obtain milk from
animals solely owned by them, members of their family, or their employer and who
furnish raw milk or products made from raw milk only to members of their family or nonpaying guests.

Troubling to me also is the verbage pertaining to the prohibition of raw cheese:

(d) Cheese shall be obtained pasteurized unless alternative procedures to
pasteurization are specified in the CFR, such as 21 CFR 133 – Cheeses and Related
Cheese Products, for curing certain cheese varieties.

But I Don’t Live in Wyoming.

Neither do I.  However, this should be of concern to  you.  Once one state sees that it can get away with this kind of nonsensical grab for control, other states will more likely follow suit.

But I Don’t Drink Raw Milk.  What Does This Have to Do With Me?

Neither do I.  Though we do have raw cheese sometimes in our household.  Our family is not part of a cow share since my son has a life threatening allergy to dairy and right now it would just add a little too much stress to our household.

But I do care about food freedom and I am very upset about government infringing on the rights of citizens.

Also, according to Millie in her post on Homestead Host, the Wyoming State Government is also trying to regulate the selling of salad greens and eggs at farmers markets.  She states that the state is trying to make purveyors of greens have the greens washed in certified kitchens which would make the cost prohibitive for small farmers.

Here is link to the proposed regulations.  I couldn’t find the proposed salad greens wording, but will continue to look.  I wanted to get this post out while there is still time to act.

What can you do about this?

1. Take Action! Click here to sign a petition!

2. Submit comments. Must be in writing (not email or fax). They must be received by next Wednesday (5/23).  Therefore, you will have to overnight letters to Cheyenne. Please ask that the word “soley” be removed and/or the entire (i) section be removed.  Written comments or request for a public hearing can be addressed to: Wyoming Department of Agriculture, 2219 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82002.

3. Request a public hearing–again, email or fax may be ignored, so you should send an overnight letter with confirmation sent to the above address. A public hearing will be held if requested by 25 persons, a governmental subdivision or by an association having not less than 25 members. (Source)

4. Call, write, email the Governor’s office and state legislators – request that the Wyoming State Administration stop making rules and regulations without being legislated upon. State that the proposed rule is not needed and is over-regulation. Contact Governor Mead here.  Find a Wyoming State Senator here. Find a Wyoming State House Member here.

5. Write letters to editors of local Wyoming papers, call in to local Wyoming radio shows, etc. I think writing to any newspaper or calling any radio show is a great idea as well.  Post and share on facebook and other social media sites, ask your friends, family, farms and ranches to get involved.


Fed up with our Government’s Over-involvement in our lives?  Here’s where you can read more:

Did you sign the petition?  Please share on Facebook and Twitter and Email.  

Thank you!!!

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    Speak Your Mind


  1. This is so infuriating! I have to wonder if there might be a potential way around it using the “employer” clause… have the herd share farmer create “employment” contracts wherein they pay each share owner $1/month or something similar.

    We would be so sad without our raw milk!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for posting this. This type of micro-government drives me crazy! What is the resoning behind this banning? I have not heard of ANY bad things that have come from the raw milk from reputable farms! I’m sure if there were, the media would have been all over that! Like Erin said, “This is so infuriating!” and I don’t drink, nor do I even KNOW anybody that drinks raw milk. Why is the government so bent on making decisions for all of us…? We’re all idiots that cannot make our own choices?? AAARRRGGGG!!

  3. More and more, I’m convinced that the various departments of ag, whether at the state or federal level, are simply farm police. They say they protect the consumer, and help farmers . . . but with penalties scaled for big-industry, crazy stupid requirements (like in my state, you MUST plant certified seed for potatoes and beans, which are only sold in big-ag quantities, with fines of up to $10,000 and a decade in jail), the dept of ag is currently bent on destroying small, local farmers. You know, the kind of farmers that were the norm a hundred years ago. :o( I’ve been planning on going into market gardening, but from the things I’ve learned lately, I’m less enthused than before. One mistake, and I’m out of business, my family in bankruptcy, and me in jail.

    And the worst part is, there are entrenched old crony networks in the legislatures, paid by big ag, who have absolutely no incentive to make laws more friendly to small farmers. Um, Prince Charles for President, anyone?

    Yeah. The land of the free . . .

    • Hi Annalea. I agree with you on all points. But I am not so sure about Charles. He’s got some other fairly problematic issues and Britain has some HUGE problems that I would rather not see come across the ocean. Ah well…the world is quite a mess right now. Take care.

      • Adrienne, I was totally tongue-in-cheek about HRH Prince Charles. :o) I just wish that some of our leaders would get a clue about sustainable food. Unfortunately, monied interests have everything sewn up (the FDA and Dept of Ag are lousy with former CEO’s and attorneys for Monsanto, Dairy Associations, etc. Talk about a conflict of interest . . . )

        Sometimes I think Canada has a great idea: a shared monarchy. They have their own Prime Minister and Parliament, but share Queen Elizabeth with all of her other countries. Our original government was wonderful . . . but it only barely resembles that now.

        Have a great day!

        • Thanks for clarifying! When I get depressed about our country I think I’ll move….but then I’m not sure where I’d move to :-(.

  4. Gosh, this is frightening. Thanks for sharing the word. I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time and hope things look up soon.

    • It sure is – isn’t it? Thanks, Ela. I am feeling quite a bit better. I have a suspicion about what it is, but not sure. Thanks for the well wishes.

  5. Geez, it makes me sad. I also just discovered that my home state (Oregon) is working on banning ALL sales of raw milk (and not allowing consumers or raw milk providers to go to the hearing). It seems much more like big dairy trying to eliminate all competition.

    I personally don’t drink raw milk, but I understand why some people do.

    Sometimes I wonder when it’s going to get to the point where we’re not even allowed to grow our own food!

  6. Adrienne, thanks for bringing this to my attention. We are so thankful to be cow share owners and i honestly can’t fathom that right being taken away from us, especially when the truth is it is so much healthier for our bodies than the pasteurized form they are trying to mandate. This is stunning when one really thinks about what is happening here! Talk about calling black white and vice versa.

  7. I couldn’t help but notice that you mentioned your older son’s anxiety. Given the fact that you found a tick on your younger son, it seems that you might want to have your older son tested for Lyme disease. My older son (now 22) never had a bullseye rash, never complained of joint pain, but in high school he just got sicker and sicker—–mentally. He developed anxieties, panic attacks, impulsivity, and started to look confused at times. I finally figured out what it was when a friend of mine was diagnosed with Lyme and had some of the same problems. My son—who by then was on a ton of psychiatric meds, started to get better when he put on antibiotics. Then I had myself tested. I never even recalled a tick on me, much less a rash. But I was anxious and exhausted. I chalked it up to the stress of my life. Lo and behold, I was positive, too. Now I’m back to my energetic self after a course of antibiotics and then herbal medicines. Please consider testing your children for Lyme.

  8. I just signed up for a share program. I have researched a lot and feel raw is the way to go for my family. When I looked into Oregon’s laws I was surprised to see a story about a family I knew well. We visited their farm often and I remember them talking about the battle they had with the city over their farm. In ’99 an accusation of e coli came out and they lost their farm to the city that is now the sewer treatment plant. That situation changed Oregon law to the current share program. Questionable? The farm fought the city for years and claimed that all tests were negative and no milk was found contaminated. It makes me angry that we are not given all the information and much of it may be tainted by government motive.

    • How sad. So you are saying that there are now shares since raw milk used to be legal to buy but the farm lost to the city? I’m a little confused. If you could please come back and clarify that would be great. I am myself involved in some “info from the local government” that doesn’t appear to be honest and up front. I am hoping and praying we can change that here.

      • In the article the sales of raw milk was banned except through cow shares in 1999. I looked for more information of the battle that the farmer of Thomas Jersey farm went through with the city, but found nothing more than this article. The farm had been fighting over their land that was located just behind the city sewer treatment plant and the school. The city, growing at that time, need to expand the plant and wanted the land. the farm would not sale and began a battle with the city over the land. Then the E coli accusation came out and the sales on Oregon was barred except through cow shares. The farm closed shortly after and is now the new area of the sewer plant and park.

        • How sad. But you said that you are now buying raw milk….it’s with a different farm, I assume? This is so sad. I just heard that e coli can come in vegetables from farm run off….and that one is not able to wash it off of the veggies. This is a sad world. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Crank Hater says:

    To Adrienne and all her readers:

    Please stop spreading misinformation. Please stop believing in this. Please use your brains.


    • Please be careful about the language you use in comments. I had to edit yours. I am using my brain and so are my readers. I know there are some problems w/ raw milk but the data shows issues w/ pasteurized milk as well. I hope to share more later. You need to make sure that you have a good source for raw milk.

  10. What is so frustrating is that most of the government food regulations have NOTHING to do with the safety and health of the consumer and EVERYTHING to do with the powerful food lobbies. Essentially, money is at the root of all this. It is time for us to take back control of our food sources! Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday, and come back next week to see if you were featured!

  11. M. Lillian says:

    To “Crank Hater”
    Whether raw milk is good or bad is a moot point. Nobody but an idiot would try and deny that tobacco is bad for you, for example, but it is legal in this country with a warning label. Many other items we all know are bad for health but are perfectly legal.
    The point is individual liberty. If you don’t like raw milk, don’t drink it – nobody is forcing you to drink it, just as nobody is forcing me to use products I don’t like. This is still the United States of America not Communist China and we are still supposed to have individual liberty. If they ban raw milk, why not ban cigarettes, sodas, booze?
    Oh wait, we tried that, didn’t we? Remember Prohibition? Yeah, that went well… NOT!

  12. While I do agree that government has become too involved in our lives, since I work with foodborne pathogens I feel I must comment on the raw milk issue from a health safety standpoint. There is a reason that milk is pasteurized, to rid it of harmful bacteria. Giving a child raw milk is like playing Russian Roulette with one of the most precious things in your life. Check out the damage, campylobacter, listeria, salmonella and E.coli can do. For instance, Campylobacter can cause long-term effects which include Guillain-Barre syndrome, an acquired and sometimes permanent paralysis, reactive arthritis and chronic arthritis. There is no indication by looking at or tasting the milk whether it is safe or not. For me, these risks are just not worth the minimal difference the nutrients will make in my child’s diet, I’d rather give her a vitamin!

  13. We used to drink raw milk in India, not here, great info. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul Blog hop.

  14. Deborah says:

    I just happened to stumble onto this blog today (forgive me if I’m off base since I’m a new reader) and wanted to offer this:I couldn’t help but notice that you have tick exposure and somehealth issues. I was recently diagnosed with lyme. Not the run of the mill stuff. But the chronic stuff that they talk about in documentaries like “under our skin.” And I found this great doctor who has really effective wholistic treatments. So if you have concerns or interest, I would be happy to pass along some info.

    • I’d be happy to hear more. My son is the one who was bitten. I am doing a natural essential oil protocol w him that I hope is enough. No diagnosis. My son and I have health issues and we are working w/ someone so I don’t like to get too overwhelmed, but I am interested. Thanks. I am at wholenewmom at gmail dot com.

  15. I’m sorry about the ‘diversions’ you have had this week, and I do hope you are feeling better now. It is alarming the way governments are legislating food – they seem to be very concerned about getting rid of things that are good for us, and ignoring or promoting things that are not very good for us in many cases. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post and inspiring action!

  16. Wonderful article! My Brother-in-Law runs a raw milk dairy here in Texas and so we are advocates for raw milk. I’m so disgusted with the regulations in regards to raw milk, especially considering alcohol and cigarettes are legally sold.

    Thank you for participating in Creative @ Home Wednesday for 05/23/12! I’d love to have you join us again this week!

    Susan Godfre

  17. Adrienne, Thank you for this informative post! We (our family) drinks raw milk. Would you please consider adding this to my Wednesday link-up at Deep Roots At Home? It is important that we help others to understand and I want my readers to know! If you would share regularly, even better! Many blessings to you!

    • Hello Jacqueline! Nice to meet you! I think I saw one of your posts on another site recently. I will put you on my list for Wednesday. I am trying to cut back on linkups but I will try to remember to make it a priority. Feel free to remind me! I hope to keep in touch. Blessings to you as well!

  18. Just spent some more time here, and I would consider it a blessing if you’d share your healthy tips with us regularly…I have asked for healthy recipes only just last week :)

  19. Hi Adrienne, I hope life’s been kinder and sweeter to your family since you posted this!

    I signed the petition!


    • Thanks for signing! And thanks for your kind wishes. Things are mostly better, but life continues to be a challenge. Just a little more manageable of a challenge!

  20. chemfreemom says:

    Here in WV, you’re not allowed to sell raw milk, but I think you can buy. lol Farmers get around it by selling you a share in their cow, which means you are part owner and, therefore, are allowed to drink the milk. I’m lucky enough to have found someone who just sells me the milk, on the QT of course. She also sells raw butter. You’re not allowed to sell raw butter here either, but you can sell raw cheese…Kelly
    freaking over the blue icing!!! I tried again today and it came out a very greenish blue, and since the event is coming up soon, I may have to settle for that. I want to try the Xylitol like you did, Adrienne, but I found out that the Xylitol my health food store sells is not organic, and therefore, may be made from GM corn…checking into it.

    • Hi again. You really aren’t allowed to buy the milk, correct? You are allowed to own the cow and so you “own” the milk. Just a way around the law.

      Re: the icing, you can also purchase birch xylitol so you wouldn’t need to worry about the GMO issue–for now :-). I buy from Global Sweet. Green Polka Dot Box has it – you can see my post on them here. The giveaway is over but you can get a free 30 day membership and get a really good price. It’s non GMO. Hope that helps!!!

  21. Hi Adrienne,

    We’re having our inaugural Eat Make Grow Blog Hop. We are looking for folks to link up who want to share what they have been eating with their families, growing in their gardens or making with all their creative impulses. If you’re interested, I hope you’ll hop on over and link up a couple of your posts. It’s a way for you to grow your readership and find other like minded mamas.

    Hope to see you there,


  22. Hannah Steele says:

    Hi there! I am in Illinois. I found a farmer who sells raw milk for $8 a gallon. I really want to make the switch to raw milk but I feel this price is above market standard. Is this true? or am I just cheap? Also, have any of you made your butter from the raw milk you purchase? If so, what tools would you use for it?

    Adrienne, I have been thinking a lot about a Vitamix. I’ve been craving your almond drizzle recipe since I saw it a few weeks ago, but what other things to you use it for. If I have to save for a purchase like that I want to make sure I can use it all the time!!! I’m trying to cut down on breads(even whole grain ones) and other types of carbohydrates and I’m trying to find new ways of incorporating healthy fats into my diet. Any input here is appreciated!


    • Hi Hannah. Others will need to chime in about raw milk prices – I don’t buy it.

      Regarding the Vitamix, I use it all the time. Since it’s much easier to clean than a regular blender, we make smoothies / shakes (much smoother than a regular blender) and lots more. You can search my blog in the search bar for coconut butter, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, nut and seed butter, my Fast & Yummy Bean Dip, Powdered Sugar Substitute, Chocolate / Carob Chia Pudding, Berry Mousse, and the No Bake Coconut Delights I just posted. If you check out all of those, that should keep you busy for awhile :-).

  23. This may sound a bit out of 1984, but large criminal elements of our global cabal style government wants us dead. Their goal is to depopulate the world to the tune of a half a billion people remaining. Research it, look into fluoride in the water, awful western medicine, suppressed free energy devices, autism in the thousands of percentage increase, rampant cancer, mandatory vaccines we’ve never heard of, flu shots, and raw milk… America is simply going the way of 1943 Germany, there’s no other way to look at it.

    • Hi. I’ve heard of some of these theories. One thing I don’t understand is how the growth of autism fits in. If the government wants us dead, how does an increase in autism fit into that? Are you suggesting that they are trying to kill us but aren’t succeeding? And if so, why would they want a bunch of people dead if they are about control–wouldn’t they just be happy being in charge of more people? Thanks and I would appreciate it if you didn’t leave a fictitious email address. No one can see it but me :).

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