The Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) uses and promotes science-based food safety principles to help create a secure foundation for the growing raw-milk movement. To do this, we take a three-pronged approach:
RAWMI serves as an information resource, both for the dairy industry and for consumers looking to make an informed decision about the safety and benefits of raw milk.
RAWMI facilitates best practices in the raw milk industry through the evaluation of research findings and “in the field” experience, helping to create individualized food safety plans for each raw milk dairy in our listing.
RAWMI encourages, promotes, and undertakes research, using approved scientific methods, to inform and enhance our education, outreach, and training programs.
For The Farmer
Farmers have been denied fair markets for their dairy products for more than a century. All of the value-added efforts are being added after products leave the farm. So, it is the creameries and processing plants that are making that additional money. The creameries process, brand, label and collect the profits while the farmer remains faceless and without recourse to affect the price they get. The farmer can’t design a more appealing label, can’t invest in an advertising campaign and can’t create umpteen new products to change their revenue stream. The processors get to do that and the farmer takes a back seat.
Today, all milk headed for the processing plant is collected at individual farms and comingled. It matters not what quality the milk is because in this system farmers are faceless. This removes the incentive for a farmer to take extra care because they are not recognized or rewarded for their efforts. Furthermore, because the quality of milk averages out with comingling, value and price are lowered again.
Sustainable Farming Opportunity
Raw milk presents a unique farmstead product that brings all the added value back to the farmer with an incentive to work on quality. It also brings all of the nutrition back to the consumer.
Fueled by consumer education, a rise in childhood allergies and lactose intolerance to pasteurized milk and the Internet, North America is experiencing a rapidly emerging demand for safe, fresh, unprocessed natural raw milk. This demand creates good secure markets for farmers all over North America.
RAWMI’s farmer program provides a powerful tool for you, the farmer, to connect with consumers seeking raw milk and gives you a place to demonstrate your good track record.
When you enter RAWMI’s Farmer Program, we will assess your farm’s unique attributes including facilities and animals. Then, we will help you to develop your own Food Safety Plan. This plan and its accompanying check lists will help you to create the conditions that are optimum clean, safe, delicious milk.
You will also learn how to demonstrate that your milk is pathogen-free and low in bacteria counts and build an impressive track record.
After you have a proven track record, you are eligible to be “Listed” on RAWMI’s website, depending on your state laws.
Your Listing Portal will contain a biography about your farm operation and a link to your website, if you have one. Consumers will be able to access your Food Safety Plan and accompanying check lists along with supporting documentation that your milk has been pathogen free and low in bacteria counts. They can use this information to make purchasing decisions based on facts they can understand.
Proven Track Record
Over time, RAWMI farmers will not only have individual track records for safety and quality, but a collective track record will be established as well. This data will form the basis for legislative change and for an evolution in the current processor-centric laws and regulations. Until a track record is formed, we are all stuck with the unfair, unbalanced current regulations which our opponents use against us to oppress raw milk. With the data RAWMI will post, consumers will be able to see past the fear tactics that worked in the past and will walk into a new era of science-based data and research.
Work with Regulators
RAWMI is always working to build better relationships with regulators on your behalf. We help to identify common goals that we share, and we use a scientific approach to achieve respected end-points or common standards.
Join RAWMI today, by applying to be RAWMI Listed here. Let us put the right tools in your hands so you can develop and demonstrate a track record of safe milk and you can help consumers to locate a source of reliable raw milk. You will also receive training on how to educate your consumers about your products. It has been a long time since most farmers have connected to their consumers and spoken with them about raw milk, nutrition and the immune system. With RAWMI you have a partner in food safety, raw milk research and consumer education. Together we are stronger.
As a regulator you are tasked with food safety and enforcement of current laws and regulations. We understand this public service.
RAWMI was founded to address the chaos and confusion of 50 different states with fifty different regulations that pertain to raw milk for human consumption. Some states outlaw raw milk entirely; others regulate it and permit its sale in stores. Others mandate that farmers can sell raw milk off the farm but cannot advertize the availability of raw milk.
The current state of raw milk affairs is not good for farmers and certainly not good for consumers that seek out safe clean raw milk.
We ask that you look at the data that is presented at RAWMI and compare the bacteria test results that the RAWMI listed farmers get from testing their products. You will find that when a farmer uses checklists, a food safety plan that assures certain conditions prevail at his farm and tests the final products, the result is a consistently safe raw milk product.
RAWMI does not promise perfection. No food can promise perfection in food safety. RAWMI promises a management of risk and a dramatic reduction of risk. Please remember that the CDC does not have one recorded death from consumption of raw milk since beginning its recording of illness data in 1973. At least 80 deaths have been recorded from pasteurized milk (if the Jalisco pasteurized cheese incident is included). More than 422,000 illnesses are listed under pasteurized milk at the CDC since 1973, but only 1100 are recorded under raw milk.
When hearings are held in state legislatures, the first thing that a processor will say is that raw milk is inherently unsafe. This is partially true. When raw milk is produced as intended to be pasteurized there is no concern for cleanliness and pathogens are routinely found in this mixed together milk from 50 farms that goes for processing. This is not high quality raw milk for human consumption. Raw milk for human consumption is carefully managed under food safety plans, advanced testing protocols and is never commingled together with other milks.
As a regulator, you will hear that moms cannot feed their children pasteurized milk because of allergies and difficulty in digestion and demand safe raw milk for their families. You will also hear processors trying to protect their interests and market share.
Ultimately, the decision must rest with the will of the people and the health of our next generation. Please do your own research and appreciate the data. The real data. That data is available right here at RAWMI where Listed Farmers demonstrate the safety of their products as a matter of routine. These Listed farmers represent new jobs for America. These Listed farmers also represent tens of thousands of happy healthy VOTING consumers. As a regulator we ask you to become neutral on this subject and allow the science and the data to measure safety. It is ultimately unfair to deny science or the demonstrated data. It is ultimately unsafe to deny a mom a food that is non allergenic and only allow highly allergenic no digestible foods to be provided in the market place.
Please be friendly to change as new emerging data on raw milk and its safety comes forward.
As a fundamental resource for both the producers and consumers of raw milk, RAWMI has carefully considered and published the following guidelines and raw milk production standards. These Common Standards took more than ten months to develop and were considered, commented on, and edited by an international group of medical doctors, PhDs, veterinarians, epidemiologists, scientists, food safety experts, nutritional consultants, researchers, raw milk producers, and finally consumers. A version of these Common Standards was adopted by the CDFA Small Herd Working Group and will be utilized as the standards basis for self-certification for California Micro Dairies.
These standards are not a guarantee of perfectly safe food. However, when followed diligently, these guidelines will dramatically reduce the risk of illness from consumption of raw milk and improve the safety of raw milk. The Common Standards serve as the basis for RAWMI farmer listing, and are a portal to a world of continued learning.
The production of safe raw milk is a long-term mission, never fully completed or fully perfected. There will always be something to learn and much to teach. As new information is discovered and technology evolves, these Common Standards may change to reflect that information and discovery.