An NPR piece titled Raw Milk Producers Aim To Regulate Themselves features raw milk producer Charlotte Smith of Champoeg Creamery. The NPR piece covers raw milk producers and the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), which was founded with the aim of establishing standards for raw milk production throughout the entire process.
RAWMI lists raw milk producing farms on their website after the farm completes a hazard analysis, planning and testing, and passes a site visit. At the time of the NPR piece, there were six farms listed, with 10 in the process.
Below is an excerpt from the NPR piece.
The first farm to be listed was , a small dairy about 30 miles south of Portland, Ore. Owner Charlotte Smith is a fifth-generation farmer. But when she first started producing raw milk a few years ago, she discovered it was an entirely different animal.
“I could call the extension office, and get some help on what was going on with my vegetables, or what is this beetle eating my tomatoes,” says Smith. “But there’s no one that will help you with raw milk production.”
And with about 100 families buying her milk — and monitoring an at a neighboring farm that landed kids in the hospital — Smith was committed to getting it right. Because while Smith says raw milk may offer health benefits, she also acknowledges the very real dangers.
“You can bring home a chicken and sell the eggs, and feel pretty safe about it. But raw milk, coming out of a cow, and manure flying during milking time — it is a huge challenge, far different than any other farm animal we have.”
As someone looking for guidance, Smith was a bit surprised that national regulatory agencies wouldn’t lend their expertise to establishing safety criteria. To them, she says: “Raw milk is here to stay, whether you want to admit it or not. So why not work together, come up with some very basic things, where if you’re going to produce and sell raw milk, you’re going to agree that you have met these standards. In my mind, it seems so easy.”