While raw milk is illegal in the U.S., raw milk vending machines can be found throughout Europe. 

A healthy lifestyle requires a healthy diet. With the growing popularity of organic nutrition, the consumption of raw milk and dairy products would supplement a healthy diet and boost Hawai‘i’s dairy market. Raw dairy products have been shown to provide beneficial amino acids, enzymes and antibiotic properties that protect the body from harmful bacteria.

Since drinking organic dairy could improve the sustainability of Hawai‘i’s food supply and provide health benefits for citizens, the state should consider making raw milk and raw dairy products legal.

The benefits of raw milk

Currently, 31 states allow consumers to purchase raw milk from farms, but only 12 states allow consumers to purchase the milk from stores. Meanwhile, the federal government — based on guidance from the Food and Drug Administration — does not permit raw milk sales. 

This prohibition is due to concerns about the health risks associated with consuming raw dairy products. According to the FDA, "raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as SalmonellaE. coli, and Listeria."

A Campaign for Real Milk states that modern advances allow for farmers to prevent such diseases from infecting their raw dairy products.

On its website the campaign claims, "Compared to 30-50 years ago, dairy farmers today can take advantage of many advancements that contribute to a dramatically safer product including pasture grazing, herd testing, effective cleaning systems, refrigeration and easier, significantly less expensive, more accessible and more sophisticated milk and herd disease testing technique."

If the sale of raw dairy products was legalized, states would be able to create regulations that required farmers to adhere to standards that ensure a safer product.

Raw milk is full of glutathione, which operates as an antioxidant and detoxifier of the human body. With the consumption of glutathione, the body will excrete toxic chemicals that have become water-soluble due to the the compound.

Based on CDC reports, Real Raw Milk Facts found that from 1998-2010 pasteurized milk accounted for four death and raw milk accounted for two deaths. These findings also show 2,786 illnesses from pasteurized milk, compared to 2,128 illnesses from raw milk. 

Locally-sourced nutrition

Despite the stigma concerning raw milk's safety, making its purchase legal would support local businesses by providing another avenue by which dairy farmers can make a profit.

According to Hawai‘i Dairy Farms, around 90 percent of consumer food products are imported to Hawai‘i. Legalizing raw milk would greatly benefit the farmers by allowing for more locally-produced goods, and thereby requiring fewer imported products.

Kellen Smith, an advocate of legalizing raw milk and the co-chairman of the Agriculture and Intergovernmental Affair of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board, believes in giving these dairy farmers another way of making their businesses thrive.

“There should be more options for consumers to be able to go directly to the farm to purchase your milk,” Smith told Hawaii News Now.

The Hawai’i Alliance for Raw Milk, or HI–ARM, has high hopes to educate locals about nutritional products that have been through “effective biomedical and medical methods,” including raw milk. These advocates also believe that their system will bring the people of Hawai’i closer together through traditional methods of food production.

Hawai’i residents would be pleased by raw milk's support of the organic trend, as well as its benefits to local dairy farmers who hope to expand their businesses around the islands.