Unpasteurised milk and the American right

Former darling of health-conscious liberal foodies is now a 'conservative culture war signal': a sign of mistrust in experts

Photo collage of a can of milk being filled from a smaller milking can. In the background is the US flag with the field of stars replaced with icons of bacteria, parasites and pathogens.
Although still a niche product, raw milk has dramatically increased in popularity among right-wing Americans amid a wider rise in scepticism
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

Once a "fringe health food for new-age hippies and fad-chasing liberal foodies", raw milk has "won over the hearts and minds" of the US right-wing. 

Selling unpasteurised milk – straight from the cow, without heating to kill bacteria – directly to consumers was largely illegal in the US before 2008. The bacteria can be fatal, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). John Sheehan, the former director of the FDA's plant and dairy food safety division, famously compared drinking raw milk to "playing Russian roulette with your health". 

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