Microbes and Microbiota: Benefits and Risks

Upstate NY SRA visits dairy licensed to sell raw milk

View video of stimulating conversations when Upstate NY Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) members visit organic dairy licensed to sell raw milk from its farm store. Learn about good agricultural practices, safety, safeguards to operating more than 10 years without causing an illness.

Members of the Upstate NY Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) visited an organic dairy farm licensed to sell raw milk from its farm store. Learn the story of a multi-generation family dairy that transitioned from a conventional dairy (earning $12 per hundredweight (cwt, 100 pounds) of pre-pasteurized milk), to an organic dairy (earning up to $39/cwt), then an organic dairy licensed by NY state to sell raw milk (earning up to $81/cwt). This safety conscious dairy family has won awards for milk quality, and caused no illnesses in more than 10 years of operation as a licensed raw milk dairy.


Customers drop off clean empty bottles each week and pick up their bottles filled with raw milk, some 1/2 gallon, others 6 gallons each week. Over more than a decade of operation as a licensed raw milk dairy, a large number of daily servings caused no illness. Learn about how one farmer maintains a good working relationship with her farm inspector who helps her do a great job producing safe raw milk.

The closing frames of the video feature two guests from the UK, where the Food Standards Agency determined that raw milk from licensed farms (raw drinking milk) is acceptably low risk and safe for healthy adults.

Consumers and SRA risk communication researchers likely are aware of reports in the media (and the scientific literature) depicting raw milk as poison, innately and extremely hazardous. You might be surprised to learn that no deaths associated with raw milk have been reported in NY state and other states in decades. The first objective analysis of US data for raw milk outbreaks, ironically prepared and published by two Canadian scientists (Whitehead and Lake, 2018), reports that the common assumption that the rates of raw milk outbreaks increase with increased access to risk is unfounded. A future blog will provide highlights of this study prepared by these independent scientists who have no conflict of interest in the results of their published analysis.

Enjoy the video, and be sure to leave comments and follow this blog to learn more about microbes as our partners in health.