Going Rogue for Raw Milk
Experience and Values as Consumer Filters for Conflicting Raw Milk Discourses
Keywords:Consumer Decision-Making, Dairy, Food Systems, Risk, Raw Milk, Unpasteurized
Consumption of raw milk has long been a hotly debated topic: government entities, medical professionals, and advocacy groups often present different reasons in support of or opposition to raw milk, creating a particularly difficult environment for consumers to navigate. Through semistructured interviews, this paper examines consumers in Vermont who have decided to consume raw milk, exploring their experiences with raw milk and their reasons in support of it. It was found that consumers of raw milk often prioritize personal experiences and local networks over scientific expertise when it comes to raw milk consumption. The process of conducting their own research about raw milk has also helped create a community of more conscious consumers. This case study ends with a set of suggestions that may be helpful for other communities. Specifically, we discuss marketing strategies to promote raw milk, as well as risk communication strategies for regulators and public health officials seeking to minimize its consumption.
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