Despite evidence that raw or unpasteurized milk carries health risks, growing numbers of consumers are skirting laws prohibiting the sale of unpasteurized milk through creative solutions called "cow sharing." In theory, the practice allows them to buy part of an animal and then, as a co-owner, acquire and drink its raw milk.

But some states are cracking down on these arrangements or tightening laws to prevent them. In Maryland, for example, where it has long been illegal to sell raw milk for public consumption, officials adopted emergency regulations in October to stop farmers from selling shares of livestock to consumers.

"We believe that it is a sham to circumvent the law," says Ted Elkin, deputy director of Maryland’s Office of Food Protection and Consumer Health Services. A farmer has since sued to overturn the new regulation. The case remains in litigation.