For years, proponents of raw milk have been arguing its benefits. This argument hit a new level this past December when a Wisconsin man came under fire for operating a store that allows customer to purchase cows and consume the unpasteurized milk from the animals. The controversy started when a sixteen year old boy became ill and his mother told health officials that he drank raw milk that she purchased from Max Kane Farley’s (hereinafter Max Kane) club, Belle’s Lunchbox. Although no link was found between the raw milk and the boy’s illness, officials from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture requested details about the club, licenses, handling practices, and Kane’s tax returns. Kane refused to answer the Department and was subsequently subpoenaed for deposition, which he refused to engage in. Consequently, Kane had his day in court where the Judge ordered him to comply with the subpoena.
Kane’s journey to selling unpasteurized milk began when he was ten and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He suffered from abdominal pain, joint pain, and was very thin at 110 pounds on a five foot, ten inch frame. Thirteen years later, he was introduced to a primal diet, in which individuals consume raw milk, raw meat, and raw eggs. Kane started the diet, gaining eighty pounds, and losing all traces of his Crohn’s disease. His miraculous recovery and subsequent good health (he has not been to a doctor in the past five years) encouraged Kane to devote himself to advocating the benefits of a raw milk diet. His internet club was just one example of his dedication to the raw milk movement.
Other proponents of a raw diet note that unpasteurized milk is healthier and tastier. They also argue that it is a viable cure for asthma, childhood behavior problems, and digestion issues. Health officials, on the other hand, argue that uncooked animal products are dangerous and may contain bacteria that can cause illness and death. Although officials cite these risks, the Wisconsin legislature is currently looking at a bill that will legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk. Twenty-eight states already allow individuals to purchase raw milk at a farm, and nine of those allow consumers to purchase it in stores.
Kane’s case is unique because it allows people to buy “cowshares” over the internet, which some Wisconsin officials deem as black market dealing. Kane believes that the state is impeding on his Constitutional rights and that the benefits of raw milk, specifically as it relates to Crohn’s, far outweigh any risks. The legalization of raw milk, the freedom to purchase such products in any manner that consumers choose, and the benefits of unpasteurized dairy products are certain to be argued over as this case moves forward.