The “local foods” movement has generated more interest in raw milk. But with it, more consumers are exposed to the potential dangers of unpasteurized milk.

Almost every week, it seems, new reports come out about people getting sick.

Last week, the Michigan Department of Community Health issued a warning after three people came down with Q fever after drinking raw milk from a farm west of the Detroit metro region.

The previous week, newspapers in Wisconsin reported that 16 people had become sick from drinking raw milk at an after-school party.  

More consumers are looking for “something local and less processed,” points out Terry Philibeck, director of the dairy division for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Yet, Philibeck and other health officials are cautionary.

“My recommendation is to buy pasteurized milk for safety reasons and just confidence reasons that the milk has been properly handled,” he told Dairy Herd Management. “Pasteurized milk is your best option.”

This past weekend, the Reedsburg, Wis., Times Press ran a story entitled, “Got controversy? Raw milk issue still touching raw nerves.”