You look at what’s going on in Australia over raw milk, and you can’t help but get a feeling of deja vu. A farm couple on trial for distributing raw milk via a cow share arrangement. A protest, complete with raw milk being served outside public health offices, by raw milk advocates. Regulators tainting raw milk being sold as lotion with some kind of “bittering agent” that makes drinkers want to puke. Even talk among top government officials of a national ban in Australia.


When I say deja vu, I am referring to the times when American regulators thought they could scare off raw milk drinkers by altering the milk’s appearance, smell, or taste. All they did was rile people up so much that they got the milk thrown back at them. 


Back in 2007, Georgia agriculture officials had what they thought was a super cool idea of putting charcoal in raw milk.It make the milk so unappetizing that no one in their right might would buy it. 


Except they had to bring the idea before a public hearing before they could do it, and several hundred opponents showed up at the hearing, and the Georgia officials looked over the crowd and didn’t even bother to vote. It was DOA, and no one in the U.S. has tried that particularly stupid tactic again. 


Then, in 2010, Wisconsin regulators trying to intimidate dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger concluded an hours-long search of his farm store by throwing blue dye into his dairy’s bulk tank containing hundreds of gallons of fresh milk intended for members of his food club (see photo above, from a video of the event, shown below). 


We all know how that worked out. Jurors at his criminal misdemeanor trial in May 2013 were visibly aghast when that video was shown, and it may have been the most damaging piece of evidence introduced….for the prosecution. Hershberger, of course, was acquitted of all the licensing charges against him (and convicted of one count of failing to comply with the hold order against him). 




I’m not sure if Australian raw milk advocates have the fortitude to stand tall against the abuse being thrown their way by public health officials there, not to mention the local media. It’s not easy to stand up against the people who are supposed to keep food safe, with the media whipping people into a frenzy by arguing that raw milk advocates don’t care about the public’s health. 


The Australians should know that American raw milk advocates have already walked much of this path and are behind them. The Australians should also know that the regulators are creating a potato potentially hotter than they can handle by intentionally contaminating people’s raw milk, and pushing for a ban.