Feb 22, 2010 6:27 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Debate about the health attributes and risks of raw milk is spilling into statehouses and courtrooms across the country.
Proponents of unpasteurized dairy products are pushing to make them easier for consumers to buy.
Supporters of the raw milk cause say the pasteurization process of heating milk to destroy bacteria and extend shelf life destroys important nutrients and enzymes. They argue that means raw milk is healthier.
Public health officials disagree. They say raw milk carries an increased risk for bacterial contamination that can lead to illness and even death. Lawmakers in at least six states have introduced measures this year seeking to change raw milk laws.
Lawsuits also have been filed challenging various states' laws. Raw milk sales are prohibited in 23 states.