LORIMOR, Iowa — Babe the goat is trendier than she looks.
Babe leads a quiet existence on a hillside in southern Iowa where she lives with a small goat herd. Stacy Wistock, her owner, milks the goat twice a daily.
Wistock uses precautions to ensure that the milk is clean, but only rarely pasteurizes. She used to give it away for free. Now, she’ll make a little money off it. Iowa legislators decided in the spring to allow small producers of milk from goats, cows and sheep to sell it unpasteurized.
Major dairy industry associations and public health officials oppose this practice. They say that milk contaminated by dangerous bacteria such as E. coli salmonella and listeria can be harmful. But in state after state, those warnings have been overwhelmed by testimonials from fans of “raw milk,” who contend pasteurized milk is more difficult to digest because the process alters enzymes and kills helpful bacteria.
Experts from the federal government say that there is no evidence to suggest that pasteurization of milk makes it less healthy. Many people on both sides of the debate believe that the growing interest in drinking raw milk stems from the growing distrust for public health officials, which has grown since the Covid-19…