OCEAN CITY, Md.- Despite a growing market for raw or unpasteurized milk, the Maryland Farm Bureau's Dairy Committee voted at its annual convention in Ocean City to not allow its sale.
The debate comes down to health issues. Some proponents of raw milk claim that while the pasteurized milk found in grocery stores may be a safe option, it is not as potent as its organic counterpart.
"All the vitamins and minerals are heated out of [super-pastuerized milk]," said Skip Moore, co-owner of OC Organics. "So you're not getting any nutrients. You might as well drink water."
But some say that pasteurized milk has a far less chance at getting you sick.
The MFB's Dairy Committee said that until there is a process sanctioned by the Maryland Board of Health, the bureau will not endorse the sale of raw milk.
"Day one, when it comes out of the cow, it's probably pretty good stuff," said Chuck Fry, a dairy farmer and vice president of the MFB. "But as it ages through your refrigeration process, the bacteria grow and grow and it becomes a population where, at the end of two weeks, it could be a major problem."
Both Pennsylvania and Virginia allow the sale of raw milk, though in limited forms, and not for human consumption.
Moore said not being able to sell raw milk in his Ocean City store translates to missed sales. He said a lot of people ask for raw milk.
Dairy farmers say it is a market they would love to get into, but some worry about the risks that accompany milk's shortened shelf-life.
Members of the MFB did recognize that some some farmers in Maryland illegally sell raw milk. They say there is an underground market they use to sell the product. Some reports show getting milk that way can cost as much as $40 per gallon.
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