Europe, and Italy especially, have long been the land of the free when it comes to raw milk access. Thousands of raw milk vending machines in Italy alone have been in trouble free operation for ages now. So why the crackdown now?
“Andrea Verlicchi, an Italian Web designer, used to leave his apartment in the mornings, stroll to a nearby vending machine and fill his recyclable glass bottle with fresh, raw milk.
“The milk is great,” said Mr. Verlicchi, like drinking it “directly from the cow.”
Vending machines that dispense fresh, unpasteurized milk have proliferated in Italy and throughout much of Europe in recent years. The stainless steel mechanical fridges can be found in supermarket parking lots, town squares and on roaming milk-mobiles. According to a “milk map” website designed by Mr. Verlicchi there are currently around 1,300 machines in Italy alone.
But even in Europe, where stinky cheeses, steak tartare and snails are all cheerfully scarfed down, the machines are under siege.
In Italy, regulators have cracked down on sales, suspending or shutting down machines that don’t meet exacting hygiene standards. Those that remain must carry big warning signs in red letters, advising buyers to boil their milk before drinking it.
Elsewhere, self-service milk machines have had it even tougher. In 2011, one popped up in the food hall of luxury London department store Selfridges, briefly sitting alongside designer cupcakes, Iberico hams and other goods favored by food fashionistas….”
“So I figure if the Italians are going after raw milk, it must be because business interests are prodding them, or maybe just out and out paying them off. Maybe it’s Parmalat? That’s the huge Italian dairy company, once Europe’s equivalent of Dean Foods. There was a big bribery scandal there a decade ago that pretty much flattened the company and put its top execs in jail, but it has since been taken over by a French conglomerate, and is still considered a worldwide dairy powerhouse.
You have to remember that the American monopoly, Dean Foods, is an international player, trying to export ever more of that pasteurized milk that Americans aren’t drinking.
After all, they are all reading the same research results we all have been reading, about how raw milk protects against asthma and allergies. And now there is yet another study out of Europe showing the same results as the earlier studies—raw-milk-drinking children show signs of stronger immune function than pasteurized-milk-drinkering children. The latest one concludes that infants on raw milk have 30% fewer infections compared to infants on the pasteurized stuff….”