(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
Milk was on tap at the Boston Common this morning, but it wasn't any supermarket or corner store brand. This milk was raw -- from a dairy cow transported to the park in a trailer.
Currently, residents can visit dairy farms and purchase raw milk. With milk-buying clubs, a designated member or organizer travels to the farms, usually in a vehicle with refrigeration capabilities, buys large quantities of raw milk, and returns to a pickup spot to distribute it to local members.
In recent years, the popularity of such clubs has grown, enough to catch the attention of the state's Department of Agricultural Resources. The department had scheduled to revise its ordinances today pertaining to the sale and distribution of raw milk to make the activities of such clubs illegal. But after the widespread outcry from the groups, it decided to postpone any action and instead hosted a public-input session on the topic.
After the Milk-In at the park, the members of the network marched, hoisting banners and posters, to the state agency's headquarters on Causeway Street to attend the session. Commissioner Scott Soares chaired the meeting and listened to dozens of raw-milk drinkers as they touted the economic and health qualities of non-pasteurized milk.
Many health specialists warn against consuming raw milk, saying it puts drinkers at risk of dangerous bacteria.
But the speakers told Soares that raw milk helped their or a family member's medical condition such as asthma or eczema, while others said that at $7 to $9 a gallon, the growing popularity of raw milk has helped sustain the dairy farming industry in the Commonwealth.
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