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Claremore Dairy Says Raw Milk Safe Despite CDC Warnings

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Since 1923, Swan Brothers Dairy in Claremore has staked its name on raw milk. Since 1923, Swan Brothers Dairy in Claremore has staked its name on raw milk.
Oklahoma law states farmers have to sell raw milk outside city limits, and buyers have to go to the dairy to get it. Oklahoma law states farmers have to sell raw milk outside city limits, and buyers have to go to the dairy to get it.
Diane Williamson sells more than 2,000 gallons of it a week to people who want to see how the cows live, where they're milked and how that milk is bottled and stored. Diane Williamson sells more than 2,000 gallons of it a week to people who want to see how the cows live, where they're milked and how that milk is bottled and stored.
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -

If you like your milk fresh from the cow, there's a new government warning you'll want to hear.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows disease outbreaks from raw milk are 150 times more likely than from pasteurized milk.

Since 1923, Swan Brothers Dairy in Claremore has staked its name on raw milk.

Diane Williamson sells more than 2,000 gallons of it a week to people who want to see how the cows live, where they're milked and how that milk is bottled and stored.

Unlike pasteurized milk, raw milk is not heated to kill bacteria.

Buyers say raw milk has no added hormones, is easier on the digestive system and just tastes better.

"If you drink this milk and then store-bought milk, you won't ever buy store-bought milk again," said Mary Bridges.

But a new CDC report says raw milk -- and dairy products made with it -- is making people sick. The CDC estimates raw milk products account for only one percent of the dairy Americans eat, but cause 60 percent of dairy-related disease outbreaks.

Williamson says the numbers have more to do with money than milk.

"It's the big companies that are trying to get rid of the small companies. There are a few small dairies around. Everyone's trying to get big business and running a small dairy out of business," Diane Williamson said.

The Dangers of Raw Milk

Oklahoma law states farmers have to sell raw milk outside city limits, and buyers have to go to the dairy to get it.

Williamson says that gives concerned milk lovers a chance to see if the dairy is kept clean.

"You've got to know your source from where you're getting your raw milk. That's the biggest thing," Williamson said.

The State Department of Health looked up raw milk diseases from that same time frame as the CDC study. From 1996 to 2003, Oklahoma had three outbreaks related to drinking raw milk. Forty-six people got sick in those outbreaks.

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