Raw milk vending machine is drawing plenty of European customers and increasing amount of envy from raw milk advocates in the United States.
Europe’s embrace of raw milk vending machines isn’t new. Such daring dispensers of unpasteurized dairy can be found in France, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and all over the place in Italy.
In Solvenia, local dairy farmer Marko Bitenc refills his machine with fresh milk once a day. Because he owns and operates the machine, there is no middle man between farmer and consumers — just a few buttons and a spout.
If the milk rises above a certain temperature set by the Slovenian Administration for Food and Safety, sales stop and Bitenc’s phone buzzes with a text message alert. A UV light sterilizes the milk spout between purchases.
Seven states in America and all of Canada ban the sale of raw milk due its potential to carry a range of harmful diseases such as listeria. In other states, selling raw dairy products requires dairy farmers and sellers to navigate a tricky set of regulations. A misstep can lead to dramatic SWAT-style raids, court cases and even jail time.
But raw milk advocates don’t see Europe’s vending machines as a way to eliminate the risks. Rather, they would like the chance to assume those risks and enjoy the taste of raw milk at the press of a button.