The debate over unpasteurized, or raw milk has been heating up in recent months. Those who drink it tout its nutritional benefits, but government health officials warn that consuming raw milk is not worth the risk of contracting a dangerous food-borne illness.
One day a week, in a church parking lot in Lexington, dairy farmer Gary Oaks hands out glass bottles of raw milk from of the bed of his pickup. It’s milk that goes directly from the cow to the bottle and then is quickly refrigerated. About forty people will stop by to collect their orders.
It’s illegal to sell unpasteurized cow’s milk in Kentucky and some 20 other states, but Oaks and his visitors operate in a gray area of the law. Customers instead buy shares in Oaks’ dairy cattle herd, so they’re essentially drinking milk from a cow they own.
"It’s agreed upon that this animal belongs to them and so we don’t have any right to sell them, and we keep them abreast on how the herd is doing," Oaks said.