The Food and Drug Administration says that “raw milk is inherently dangerous and it should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any purpose,” and it is illegal to purchase for human consumption in most states. But that doesn’t stop raw-milk aficionados from drinking it. Enter the Amish raw-milk smugglers:

Wearing a black-brimmed country hat, suspenders and an Amish beard, “Samuel” unloaded his contraband from an unmarked white truck on a busy block in Manhattan. He was at the tail end of a long smuggling run that had begun before dawn at his Pennsylvania farm.

As he wearily stacked brown cardboard boxes on the sidewalk, a few upscale clients in the Chelsea neighborhood lurked nearby, eyeing the new shipment hungrily.

Clearly, they couldn’t wait to get a taste.

But he wasn’t selling them anything they planned to smoke, snort or inject. Rather, he was giving them their once-a-month fix of raw milk — an unpasteurized product banned outright in 12 states and denounced by the FDA as a public health hazard, but beloved by a small but growing number of devotees who tout both its health benefits and its flavor.

Samuel is part of a shadowy community of outlaw Amish and Mennonite dairy farmers who risk fines, loss of equipment and product, and even imprisonment to transport raw milk across state lines and satisfy a burgeoning appetite for illegal raw milk in places like New York.In January, The Daily rode along on one of these smuggling runs.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on February 4, 2011 in Ideas.

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