This email debate about raw milk is reposted from SimpleGoodAndTasty.com where you can read the entire debate and make comments.
Raw milk. In the past month, no two words have caused more controversy on Simple, Good and Tasty than these. In the wake of an E.coli outbreak that’s been linked to raw milk from a small, Minnesota dairy farm, we have seen our readers line up in two distinct camps: those who can’t understand why anyone would risk drinking raw milk, and those who can’t understand why anyone would drink anything else.
I wanted to broaden the debate, to take it beyond the local story about the Hartmann Dairy farm, its customers, and the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture. I wanted to know more about raw milk from the people who are considered the experts: so I e-mailed Bill Marler and David Gumpert.
Bill Marler was profiled here on SGT back in December. He’s the country’s most renown attorney representing victims of food poisoning. We got to know Bill while covering the the story of Stephanie Smith, the young, Minnesota woman who became paralyzed after eating a Cargill hamburger laced with E.coli; Marler was her attorney. Marler is a bit of a paradox; he’s an avid supporter of local/organic/sustainably produced food, but warns locavores that the halo-effect of small farms does not protect them from food-borne illnesses.
I asked both men if they would participate in an e-mail debate about raw milk. They agreed. So I started by e-mailing them the same five questions (see below). When I received their answers, I let them read what the other had written and then write a response. At that point, we exchanged e-mails again, and they got one more turn to counter each other. What follows is mostly their exact words; almost all of them. A minor amount of editing was done for clarity and space, but about 95 percent of their digital conversation is intact. Most of the hyperlinks were inserted by them; a few, again for clarification purposes, are mine.