Over the years I have seen people desire the health benefits available from clean, raw milk, but they have been at a loss as to "how to know" whether the source is one to be trusted. Finally, we have a major raw milk producer publishing standards that other producers could embrace and become "RAW USA Certified". The irony is that these standards are so much more stringent than anything the government pretends to do. They even call the bluff on the way that the "Organic Standards" have now become "Pseudo-Organic". Just this week the USDA moved to eviscerate the trust people have placed in the Organic label by allowing the major dairy interests to call their products organic, even though the cows will never see a blade of grass. I have taken the liberty of posting a piece of their website below. You can see the entire website at http://www.rawusa.org/index.html RAWâ¢USA STANDARDS Quality, Purity, and Ethics in Raw Milk Production Raw Milk Production Standards for Human Consumption Only raw milk produced and sold under the following 20 conditions and standards may bear the RAWâ¢USA Raw Milk Certification: No antibiotics may be used on a cow or other mammal from which milk is drawn within one year of producing raw milk intended for human consumption. No growth or milk stimulating hormones may have been used at any time within one year of RAWâ¢USA certification. No pesticides may be used on a raw milk cow or in her environment unless OMRI listed or USDA NOP compliant. All USDA NOP standards apply as binding guidelines to the pasture environment care and conditions. All dairy pastures shall be USDA certified organic or USDA certified transitional. All lactating animals that are producing raw milk for human consumption must be allowed access to pasture 150 days per year at a minimum and 100% of the time when possible. Lactating animals must be provided a clean place to lie down and rest. All bedding areas should preferably be natural pasture or be something that the cow would find in a natural environment. Sawdust, straw, rice hulls and sand are examples that meet this requirement. Rubber and concrete do not meet this requirement. No free stalls or loafing stalls are allowed. Lactating animals must not be kept in crowded conditions and must be allowed to range freely, seek solitude and undisturbed rest. There must be ample clean fresh water available and at no time may there be crowding occurring for competition to water access. There must be adequate space available for the animal to experience all natural behaviors including: birthing, breeding etc. All natural feeds shall be fed to the lactating animal. That includes only feeds that the animal would naturally eat in nature. This includes natural corn, barley, wheat or forages but not soy or cottonseed or other unnatural processed feeds. RAWâ¢USA standards emphasize green pasture as a major part of the ration and dried alfalfa and or dried grass forages as supplements. Some haylage made from available pastures or forages are permitted. Feed should be raised and certified organic if possible and if available. All feeds shall be of natural origins and part of the natural diet eaten by cows. For example, organic donuts, organic soybean meal and organic potato chips are not permitted. Bacteria standards for RAWâ¢USA certified milk includes monthly testing for pathogens including the presence of Salmonella, Ecoli 0157 H-7, Listeria Monocytogenes. If the local regulatory agency performs these tests then no additional tests are required. Bacteria standards for raw milk includes testing for SPCs which shall be less than 15,000 SPC on a three out of five samples basis. Tests shall be completed one time per month. Any time a test is higher than the standard then tests will be increased in frequency to one time per week until tests show compliance with standards. If the test sequence fails the standards then raw milk will not be sold to the public for human consumption until a test shows compliance with standards. Testing results must be kept for a minimum of three years There are no Coliform, LPC or Somatic Cell Count (SCC) test standards for raw milk under these standards. All RAWâ¢USA standards meet or exceed the same standards as Grade A Raw Milk for human consumption in California under CDFA. All animals in the herd must test negative for TB and Brucellosis on initial test and then once every two years. Any new additions to the herd must be tested prior to being added to the herd. All positives must be removed from the herd immediately. All raw milk must be chilled to below 40 degrees within one hour after milk is drawn from animals. Immediate Flash or heat exchanger chilling is recommended. No RAWâ¢USA raw diary product will ever be exposed to heat above 102 degrees F at any time, assuring that enzymes and bacteria are undamaged, alive, active and healthy. All stored or packaged raw milk to be kept at or below 40 degrees until consumer sale (34-36 degrees is preferred). All milking parlors and equipment, milk houses, milk handling and bottling equipment shall be kept clean according to the standards required by the local county or state milk sanitation standards for Grade A milk production. No sterilizers may be used including quaternary ammonias. All hot water washes and cleaning of equipment and tanks shall be documented on a daily records log. If possible, a recording chart should be used to document temperatures and cleaning procedures. All operations shall be rooted in social and environmental awareness. Fair wages and benefits, support of family and community life, investing in employee skills, and developing pride of artisanship are encouraged. RAWâ¢USA dairies should engage in environmental stewardship through ongoing development of sustainable, petroleum-independent farming methods, and strive to pioneer positive solutions specific to the bioregional needs and resources of the local community.