Saturday, October 27, 2012

Raw Milk Institute

The time has come...

Charlotte Smith (Champoeg Creamery), Mark McAfee (founder of RMI) and his wife, Blaine

Finally, some hope for raw milk sellers.

I was once chatting with a local farmer who sells raw milk from his farm.  At one point, he mentioned that he lives in fear that some other farmer will goof up, people will get sick and that will be the end of his raw milk business.  It's always on his mind.

Part of the problem is that there are no national standards set for raw milk production.   In some states, like Oregon, anyone can buy a cow and sell the milk.  In other states, it's completely illegal.

When I heard about the Raw Milk Institute, I was thrilled.  It was founded by Mark McAfee, the owner of Organic Pastures Dairy in 2011.

The mission:  The mission of the Raw Milk Institute is to improve human health and the immune system by training and mentoring farmers; educating consumers; establishing national raw milk guidelines; outreach to farmers, consumers, regulators, universities, the media, and other groups; listing producers, and supporting research.

There are three fundamental components to the Raw Milk Institute farmer mentoring program:
  • Common Standards that all RAWMI Listed farmers follow
  • Risk Analysis and Management Program (RAMP), food safety program specific and appropriate to farm size
  • Training and Education

Charlotte shaping Mozzarella

It seems like the solution to my farmer friend's problem.  He has extremely low bacterial counts in his milk, and if the public was aware of this, they would be more inclined to buy from him.  If he was listed on the RAWMI website, consumers would know he follows the standards established by the Institute.  There would be separation between him and other raw milk sellers.

Currently, the best source for locating raw milk producers in the world is the list at the Weston A. Price Foundation website.  Sally Fallon Morrell, the president and founder of the foundation has stated that within the next 2 years, she will only recommend RMI listed dairies.

The RMI has set standards (see Common Standards), dairy farmers are being trained to meet those standards and eventually, consumers all over the country will know where to safely buy raw milk.  If consumers use this resource, more and more farmers will want to be listed at the RAWMI website.

I heard about it from the first and only farmer (so far) to be listed on their website (although many more are in the process of getting accepted).  Charlotte Smith from Champoeg Creamery has met the standards of the Institute.  She is also one of the 16 members of the Executive Advisory Council, which includes many well known proponents of the raw milk movement (Sally Fallon Morrell, David Gumpert, etc.)

Her protocols and test results are part of her profile on the site (shown below).  This kind of documentation can only help to prove how safe her milk is.

Pouring curds

I think Charlotte's listing at the RMI website (below) is the best advertisement she could ever have for her business. I hope the list grows with "leaps and bounds."

Listed Farmer: Champoeg Creamery

Location: St. Paul, Oregon
Contact: Charlotte Smith,, 503-860-6286,
How to Buy: Direct farm sales only; contact Charlotte for details

Champoeg Creamery Photo 

Profile: On five acres outside of St. Paul, Oregon, Charlotte Smith operates Champoeg Creamery, a small, raw milk dairy. The Jersey cows—chosen for their small size, mild temper, and for the rich, creamy milk they produce—stand knee deep in green pasture nine months of the year, and are moved daily to a fresh paddock. Charlotte is passionate about her calling. Her children suffered from eczema and numerous colds and ear infections before they started drinking raw milk. Since then, the whole family has been in excellent health. After losing her source for raw milk several years ago, Charlotte decided to research and begin her own pasture based dairy.  The intense rotational grazing system she practices insures that she is producing the highest quality raw milk.

Protocols / Documentation:
Test Results:

(For exact test results, visit the Champoeg Creamery website.)
Date Standard Plate Count (SPC) Coliforms
Sep 2012 < 15,000 cfu/ml  < 25 cfu/ml
Aug 2012 < 15,000 cfu/ml < 25 cfu/ml
Jul 2012  < 15,000 cfu/ml < 25 cfu/ml

For more information:

Raw Milk Institute 
PO Box 436 
Kerman, California 93630
(559) 269-4927

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