“PORTLAND, Maine — Raw milk and malt liquor are among the products to be allowed at the Portland farmers’ market after the City Council on Monday night expanded its list of approved market items.
Vendors lobbied for the change, arguing in part that fresh, unpasteurized cow milk is allowed in stores and many other farmers’ markets around the state.
Raw milk has not gone through the pasteurization process that slows microbial growth that can be dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems. But the process also strips the milk of some of its natural nutrients and preservatives — such as the sulfate form of vitamin D3 — advocates told the council.
Heather Donahue, co-owner of the Pittsfield-based Balfour Farm, told the council Monday advances in farming over the past century have dramatically reduced the dangers associated with unpasteurized milk.
“At one time in our history, raw milk was a significant carrier of diseases because of how people were handling the cattle, and the condition of the people milking the cattle,” Donahue said. “Many, many improvements have been made in farm sanitation and farmer education.”
Other products no longer prohibited for sale at Portland’s farmers’ markets — after a pair of council votes Monday night — are hard ciders, wines and other unpasteurized dairy products. The items will be allowed at the markets with the caveat that they must be sold by Maine farmers, made from locally grown products and comply with state safety regulations….”