WARNING: Your Right to Choose How to Feed Your Family is Being Threatened

Update 2/2/18:  Good news!  The Senate bill was killed in committee – by only one vote – but it’s dead!  The House bill was “struck” by its patron, Del. Knight.  I understand that being “struck” is pretty aggressive language and means that the bill will not likely be reintroduced this year.  Thank you for all of you that contacted your representatives.  They must have heard you!

Pop Quiz!

Do you think that it is the job of Virginia legislators to tell you what you may or may not eat?

Do you think that our state government should further burden the small farmers of Virginia and their customers by heaping even more cumbersome paperwork and red tape on them?

Do you as a taxpayer want to pay for a new bureaucrat in Richmond to keep and maintain records of private contracts between two parties?

Do you want less freedom in your decisions about how to feed yourself and your family?

If you answered “No” to either of these questions and live in Virginia, I ask you to please take a couple of minutes to email your representatives in Richmond and urge them to vote no to bills HB825 and SB962.

Whether or not you drink or plan to drink raw milk, these bills are intolerable. They are alarming to resident of our commonwealth who purchases food or enters into a contract with another party. Thankfully, they are still in committee and have not yet reached the floor for vote, so let’s ask our representatives to kill them in committee!

Here’s how to write your representative in 2 minutes or less

  1. Find your representatives and their email addresses by visiting: Who’s My Legislator? and entering your address.

  2. Click the email link for the representative. Feel free to write your own request, or copy and paste this one below:

Please vote no on the unwanted and unnecessary bills HB825 and SB962.

Don’t forget to email your senator AND delegate as there are bills coming from both sides!

If you feel strongly that it’s not the commonwealth’s role to tell you want you may or may not eat, then please stop reading and write your representatives. You can come back and read this later. Seriously, go do it…

Thank you!

What is a Cow Share or Herd Share?

It is actually quite difficult to drink raw milk in Virginia as it is illegal to sell it, but it IS legal to drink milk from your own cow. So, there is a workaround for people who don’t want to or can’t milk their own cow. Dairy farmers may legally sell “cow shares” or “herd shares”. The share owners pay the farmer a monthly fee for keeping their cow and milking it. Share owners receive their share of their cow’s milk. It is ridiculous enough that people who want to drink raw milk in Virginia must jump through all of these hoops, but at least there is this option.

These Bills are Not Just About Raw Milk. They are About Freedom of Choice in the Food that We Eat.

This is a slippery slope. Today it’s about raw milk. But what do you think will happen when the good folks in Washington wake up and smell the science that sugar and vegetable oils are costing us billions in healthcare costs that, by the way, we don’t have? You may be saying goodbye to your soda, donuts, and birthday cake. I’m not saying that all of our food choices are good ones, but raw milk or pasteurized, sugar or vegetables, this is a free country and we all have the right to decide what we eat.

What’s So Terrible About These Bills?

These bills are offensive to me on many levels.

As a Citizen

These bills are an infringement on my rights and privacy. I am not required to fill out and submit a contract to purchase romaine lettuce – which can also carry deadly bacteria. I can even make the choice to eat it unwashed, if I dare, without informing the government. I do not see a label on Coke products warning of the dangers of obesity, metabolic disease, and premature death. When I enter into a contract to purchase a car, is that contract kept on file in Richmond? These bills are unnecessary and a flagrant overstepping of government.

As a Consumer of Raw Milk

These bills seek to intimidate people who consciously choose to drink raw milk. The section of the bill that states that the purchaser of a cow share shall share liability with the owner of the farm is shocking. It is a scare tactic to discourage people from consuming what is a natural, healthful food.

Raw milk is not a new idea. For thousands of years before, people drank raw milk as a nourishing and healthful food. The difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized milk is vast. There are many benefits to pasteurization that I will not go into here. Pasteurization has saved many, many lives and is necessary in conventional, large-scale dairy operations.

However, the heat in the pasteurization process actually changes the proteins in the milk, breaks down the structure the fat droplets, and kills beneficial bacteria. Pasteurized milk loses some of its ability to nourish us. The difference is visible to the naked eye as you see the cream layer on the top of a container of raw milk. Raw milk can indeed boost our immune systems, and is a great source of brain-building fats. The probiotics (or “good bacteria”) in raw milk actually help to protect the milk, and the person who drinks it, from pathogens.

I want to be free from governmental oversight and criminalization if I choose this healthful food for my family.

As a Mother

I am outraged at the intrusion into my personal decisions about feeding my family. My son’s intestinal tract cannot tolerate pasteurized milk. For years, we have known that he has frequent diarrhea after drinking pasteurized milk. However, he can drink raw milk without problem. It is common knowledge that many people who cannot tolerate pasteurized milk can often drink raw milk without symptoms. In her book, Deep Nutrition, Dr. Shanahan describes why:

“Processing can render milk highly irritating to the intestinal tract, and such a wide variety of chemical changes may occur that processed milk can lead to diarrhea or constipation. During processing, the … colloidal calcium phosphate fuses with the fatty acids to form a kind of milk-fat soap. This reaction, called saponification, irritates many people’s GI tracts and makes calcium and phosphate much less bioavailable and more difficult to absorb.” Dr. Cate Shanahan in Deep Nutrition p. 271

These bills make it a crime to allow anyone other than the herd share owner to drink their milk. So, if my name is the only one on the herd share agreement, that makes me a CRIMINAL when I allow my kids or my husband to drink it.

As a Taxpayer

I do not want to pay for this unnecessary and unwanted government oversight.

As a Farmer and a Friend of Farmers

I am appalled that the proponents of these bills would want to make it even more difficult for small farmers to operate successfully. They are an attempt to further stifle small dairy farmers and to intimidate them and their customers. The labeling section of the bill is ridiculous. If it is necessary to label every carton of milk that I pick up from my local farmer as dangerous, then perhaps we should include a label on all packaged and processed foods warning of possible contamination in factory processing. In this same way of thinking, it would be logical to include a label on fresh produce warning people that they could become dangerously ill if they don’t wash it. Will I need to file a contract in Richmond when selling eggs from my chickens to my neighbor? This is insulting to Virginia farmers and to consumers in general.

I would love to know whether the representatives who introduced these bills have had meetings or contact with the dairy lobby.

Why You Should Care about These Bills if you Don’t Want to Drink Raw Milk

Most people I know don’t drink raw milk, nor do they care to do so. But most people do care about making their own choices about what they eat. We don’t need the government to protect us against ourselves. Please send a clear message to our state representatives to let them know your opinion on this.

What are your thoughts on these bills? Did you contact your representatives about them? Leave a comment and let me know!


  1. Done!

    1. Thank you!!!!!

  2. Emails sent!

    1. Thanks Stephanie!

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