Raw milk requires more precautions to prevent bacteria growth

AMES — A change in state law on July 1st now allows you to buy raw milk, but if you are thinking about trying it, an expert says you need to be aware of the importance of proper handling.

Iowa State University Extension Dairy Specialist Fred Hall says those who grew up on a dairy farm know that keeping things clean is key. “And I think that’s one of the difficulties we’re going to find with folks who didn’t grow up with that mindset, the importance of that sanitary routine that you make sure things are clean, because bacteria can get away from you really quick,” Hall says.

Hall says you should check out the dairy where you buy raw milk to see that it passes the standard. “If you’re going to be a consumer, make sure you’re comfortable with the people you’re buying from. “Walk around look at their calves, look at how they milk, make sure that yeah it looks clean I trust this producer,” he says.

Hall says raw milk needs to be kept properly cooled, which means you can’t leave it in your car while you are out and about. “You know, they buy a couple of gallons and decide they have to make a stop at the supermarket or go to the kids’ soccer game. And that milk goes from 40 degrees to 80,” he says. “They’ve introduced an opportunity for that bacteria to grow.”

Hall says even pasteurized milk can have problems in left too long in a warm car while you are out during the summer.