EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon health officials say it was tainted raw milk that landed three Oregon kids in the hospital. The farm that supplied the milk, Foundation Farm near Wilsonville, has voluntarily stopped distributing while the state investigates. However, Oregon State Epidemiologist, Dr. Katrina Hedberg, says to be careful when consuming raw milk.
One of the biggest difference between raw milk and the stuff you find at the grocery store is the processing, or lack there of. Instead of being pasteurized or homogenized, raw milk goes from the cow to your glass.
According to Oregon law it can only be sold off of a farm, and farmers are not allowed to advertise that they have it. So they rely on their neighbors and word of mouth to spread the news.
The law also states that farmers are allowed no more than three milk producing cows.
"If the person has one cow it doesn't matter," says Rachel Cornstein, owner of Boondockers Farm, "you really need to do your research."
Cornstein adds that not all raw milk suppliers are the same, and if you are planning on buying raw make sure to ask questions. She says it is also a good idea to ask for a tour.
"If you really want to know, which you should, the farmer should be more than happy to show you," explains Cornstein, "just don't expect that any time is going to be a good time. Farmers are busy."
Cornstein tells KVAL the most important thing to look for is that the cows are healthy. She also says to keep common sense in mind. If you wouldn't do it in your own kitchen it's probably not safe. If you are unsure, just ask.
"It's an incredible food source that people need to be able to trust and take advantage of," adds Cornstein.