Raw food raids are on the rise

Discuss

122 Responses to “Raw food raids are on the rise”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I always have to resist the urge to facepalm whenever I read about something like this.

    Not only is it an entirely avoidable personal tragedy whenever someone gets botulism, but then society has to pay to take care of another person with permanent flaccid paralysis.

    And no, it isn’t comparable to alcohol or tobacco because prohibition of alcohol didn’t work, and prohibition of tobacco wouldn’t, but everybody was JUST FINE for the many decades since pasteurization came into widespread use until recently when some dimwits who haven’t been well-enough educated to realize why things like pasteurization and vaccination became common practice in the first place decided to make discarding key components of the maintenance of good public health a fashionable thing to do.

    For the love of god just leave well enough alone and spare all of us who work in healthcare the burden of taking care of people afflicted with diseases that the public has absolutely no reason being exposed to while we’re having a hard enough time managing care for the multitude of health problems still present or growing in our modern society.

    • jonw says:

      “people afflicted with diseases that the public has absolutely no reason being exposed to while we’re having a hard enough time managing care for the multitude of health problems still present or growing in our modern society”

      hmm maybe you’ve got it backwards. we have no absolutely no reason being exposed to the health problems of modern society. when someone takes the blue pill and chooses to step away from fake industrialized food and eat what the human animal evolved to eat, it’s none of your business. keep your jackbooted dairy police swat teams locked in their cages, and the problem is solved.

    • Anonymous says:

      “For the love of god just leave well enough alone and spare all of us who work in healthcare the burden of taking care of people afflicted with diseases that the public has absolutely no reason being exposed to while we’re having a hard enough time managing care for the multitude of health problems still present or growing in our modern society.”

      I have no idea if any of the benefits claimed for raw milk have any basis in fact; they mostly sound like woo to me. However, I can perfectly understand choosing to take the risk for the flavor alone. The one time I had raw milk (unknowingly, on a small Irish farm) I was quite surprised at the taste. Not really for me, but I can see some people caring a great deal for it, just as some people care a great deal for raw oysters or rare meat. Personally, I bought a meat grinder to bring the risk of the occasional rare hamburger within my own risk tolerance.

      A free society is not a society that goes around assuming that any risk/benefit analysis that is not the majority analysis is irrational. If the US as a whole had my values, football would be rejected as a barbarity, yet I wouldn’t want to see a law banning it, probably not even for children. Is there anything inherently more irrational about taking risk for something that tastes good than for artificial competition?

  2. teapot says:

    Yet the FDA continues to allow the sale of US beef despite the fact that Bovine spongiform encephalopathy was never properly dealt with or eradicated, just swept under the rug. Now, that’s backwards.

    Eat up America!

  3. Anonymous says:

    @cjp [paraphrase]“Oh the humanity!”[/paraphrase]

    You say that like having contact with germs is a bad thing? There is *plenty* of evidence to indicate that decreasing the sterility of the foods we eat and the environment we live in would overall be a good thing.

    Jon

    Note I said “decrease,” which is different to “discard”.

    Captcha Fun: Anorexic Morans :D

  4. Anonymous says:

    After 30-odd comments of raw vs. Louis, can anybody see the happy medium between podunk health inspector and armed law enforcement? Somewhere a college educated, state certified food service manager/public health regulations fluent individual needs a job, yesterday.

    /rightoverhereyall

    Tom

  5. Frank W says:

    Now that America is so totally corporate-owned that there’s no way to tell the corruption of the system from the system itself, you can expect all sorts of local economic activity to be prohibited and suppressed for one excuse or another.

  6. JEM says:

    If raw milk is illegal, why isn’t raw meat? People get food poisoning from undercooked hamburger all the time, so why shouldn’t we just pre-cook everything?

    Laws like this are silly. While warnings (as you find on hamburger) make sense, banning any risky food is like banning down-hill skiing, or making it law that you have to clean out your fridge once a week.

  7. Abelard Lindsay says:

    For a couple of years, we were members of a CSA farm that “sold” us raw milk (they actually preferred barter or work exchange). What they did was buy a cow and put it up at a dairy that was producing milk for a large commercial outfit that sells rBGH-free milk.

    The dairy farmer would milk the cow, the milk would immediately go through the commercial chiller to be brought down to 35 degrees, and a sample would be taken for bacteriological analysis.

    Every week.

    I loved it because it tastes way, WAY better, and making a nice creme fraichê (or ice cream) was much easier.

    We had to sign a release when we became members, saying we knew the health risks involved. No particular health benefits were touted.

    Naturally, they were shut down this spring.

    Please, raw milk naysayers, tell me how much better off I am now or how I was endangering my health and the public health. Then look up how many millions of pounds of USDA-approved ground beef have been destroyed in the U.S. this year because of E Coli contamination.

  8. Brainspore says:

    But as long as it’s a farmer, who you meet, and you see the cows, the risk is very small.

    The linked article mentions distributors, warehouses, and a market in Venice, CA. It’s been a few years since I lived in L.A. but I’m pretty sure their weren’t any dairy farms in that part of the city. We’re not talking about family farms with roadside stands selling milk straight from the cow here. Warning labels seem apt.

  9. gonfle says:

    They had a similar piece on the public radio (don’t know which program) here in Austin. Some lady in the northeast had her source of raw milk shut down.

    She made a good point: It’s perfectly legal to choose to buy McDonald’s three times a day, but not legal to choose to buy raw milk.

    There is another case that happened in Austin a few years ago. We had a local juice company that was selling unpasteurized fruit juice. They got shut down by the feds too. So we can’t even drink raw juice…

    • JohnnyOC says:

      “She made a good point: It’s perfectly legal to choose to buy McDonald’s three times a day, but not legal to choose to buy raw milk.”

      I imagine I could eat McDonald’s 3 times a day and not get sick from the food since it’s heavily regulated and, heh, and it’s sort of semi-food anyway.

      I might die of malnutrition but I’ll still be able to know it’s consistently free of pathogens.

      I’m not willing to play Russian roulette with raw milk though and I would want that regulated. If there was a way to have some kind of test strip on a bottle or something to personally test if there are any pathogens that would be awesome.

  10. jadechimera says:

    First of all: http://www.slate.com/id/2260389/

    @ SKR (#8) – France does allow unpasteurized cheese, but I see no evidence that they allow unpasteurized milk. Milk and cheese are different products, especially with regard to their respective microbiological makeup. Refine your argument.

    @ Maggie (#4) – Alcohol prohibition didn’t work and tobacco prohibition wouldn’t, but everybody was plenty happy to have unpasteurized milk until this new fad of disregarding key components in the maintenance of good public health (e.g. pasteurization and vaccination) started to make more headway in recent years. We have absolutely no need to tolerate the terrible diseases that come from unsafe food, and not only is it a personal tragedy for someone to end up with a disease like botulism and be afflicted with flaccid paralysis for the rest of their lives, but the rest of us as members of society and as taxpayers have to be burdened with that person’s care.

    @ Thalia – You can meet and see a cow, but can you meet and see the bacteria they’re carrying? Just because my hands look clean isn’t a good reason to trust the food I prepare without washing my hands, and just because the cow looks healthy doesn’t mean that what you can’t see won’t hurt you.

    And on a final note:
    For the love of god can we please just leave well enough alone? There’s a reason that practices like pasteurization came into widespread use in the first place, and the last thing those of us who work in healthcare need is to be burdened with the care of people infected by pathogens that they had no reason for being exposed to in the first place when there are so many other health problems continuing and growing in the present day.

    • frogmarch says:

      Not only is raw milk legal in France, but you can even buy it from a vending machine (and in Italy as well, where the practice started):
      http://www.autourdubio.fr/?post/Du-lait-cru-bio-en-distributeur-automatique-public

      You don’t typically see lait cru at your neighborhood Monoprix in Paris because (1) there’s not that much demand for it and (2) raw milk doesn’t travel well. But you can certainly find raw milk in stores in dairy-producing regions, at specialty “Bio” (organic) stores, and at local markets.

    • danfan says:

      “There’s a reason that practices like pasteurization came into widespread use in the first place”

      Yes – because milk was sitting for too long and spoiling before it could be sold. Not all bacteria are unhealthy. Beneficial bacteria exist in foods like yogurt, for example. Fermented foods are safe for us to eat, yet they are teeming with bacteria. Salami in Italy is cured this way, and it tastes fantastic – yet our idiotic laws do not differentiate between properly raised and prepared foodstuffs and corporate agribusiness junk food.

    • Anonymous says:

      “And on a final note:
      For the love of god can we please just leave well enough alone?”

      exactly, you leave me alone and i’ll leave you alone. but as long as you keep sending your big govt stormtroopers to bust my farm, then i’ll continue to fight back.

    • Itsumishi says:

      @ SKR (#8) – France does allow unpasteurized cheese, but I see no evidence that they allow unpasteurized milk. Milk and cheese are different products, especially with regard to their respective microbiological makeup. Refine your argument.

      This is by no means a source I can say is 100% accurate or anything but it certainly seems legal according to this website.

      http://www.realmilk.com/where-other.html#france

      Not finding evidence that they can sell raw milk isn’t the same as finding evidence that they can’t. Refine your argument.

  11. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I agree that the government is harassing small dairy farmers on behalf of the big conglomerates. This is very common. The FDA, for example, is in bed with the big pharmaceutical companies and many regulations that are supposed to “protect” consumers are actually there to protect the interest of large corporations.

    Second, you cannot buy any type of drink in this country that is not pasteurized, which is a shame, because pasteurization destroys the enzymes which are so beneficial to our health. I understand the reason but I think people should be allowed to choose.

    Lastly, milk is designed for young cows, not adult humans. Nobody should drink it, raw or not, but if you do drink milk, raw is the healthy choice. Pasteurization and homogenization change the chemistry into a substance that is more appropriate for wallpaper paste.

  12. tafkajp says:

    Cheese, please. I would enjoy tasting some cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

  13. Frank W says:

    You can take a gander at a few things that are legal in America at This is why you’re fat.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The state should make calves drink pasteurized milk. The state should also make people who want raw milk to drink it straight from the teat.

  15. Daedalus says:

    I’m not willing to play Russian roulette with raw milk though and I would want that regulated.

    …why wouldn’t you just not buy it?

    I don’t really understand the train of thought that goes: “I would never want to do that, therefore, the government should stop it from ever happening.”

    Other people might still want to do it, dude.

  16. cjp says:

    What people don’t understand is that drinking raw milk at the source – say from your own cow or your neighbour’s cow that was milked this morning- is a fairly safe thing to do. But when you start marketing that same raw milk and holding it in containers, giving time for bacteria to multiply, it’s a whole different ball game.

    It’s not 1865 anymore and the people touting raw milk are not generally consuming it the same day it was taken from the farm. This is a risk and yes, a lot of things are risky, that’s why we put on seatbelts and wear helmets when we go spelunking. Science is not out to take away your rights. Most scientists would sincerely like to do things like keep people off dialysis because of food contamination.

  17. BPT says:

    More delicious, genetically modified, irradiated, secretly contaminated, chemically adulterated, void-of-active-enzyme “food” for me, please! If it comes out of an animal, it can’t be any good for you! I would prefer to have the government design my food out of chemicals.

  18. Shaddack says:

    For police raids, record them covertly and overtly; with a visibly installed or handheld camera, and with a concealed keychain or coke can or smoke alarm kind. Let’s treat the cops like they treat us.

    A nationwide (or perhaps global) register of police infiltrators can be built; face-matching software works both ways. An interesting crypto problematics here is how to encode the face images/data so they can be checked against the database but can not be used to reveal a person’s identity if there is no match with the db.

    For computers, use them just as terminals to access servers located in another country (France? Russia? Preferably someplace that has cultural tensions with the USA and where the authorities won’t be eager to cooperate on such kind of a case). Do not store any sensitive data locally, operate over HTTPS/TLS/SSH connections. Perhaps encrypt even the server-side data. Not only the adversary gets nothing of value by seizing the machines, they also can’t access anything of value from the victims’ ISP. The damage is also lowered as the computers can be replaced with any junk good enough for web browsing, and the business can even be run from a web cafe or a neighbor.

    Why the govt wastes money on jackbooted thugs instead of paying for a research of e.g. packaging materials that change colors in presence of pathogens?

  19. Anonymous says:

    “everybody was JUST FINE for the many decades… until recently when some dimwits who haven’t been well-enough educated to realize why things like pasteurization and vaccination became common practice in the first place decided to make discarding key components of the maintenance of good public health a fashionable thing to do.

    For the love of god just leave well enough alone and spare all of us who work in healthcare the burden of taking care of people afflicted with diseases that the public has absolutely no reason being exposed to while we’re having a hard enough time managing care for the multitude of health problems still present or growing in our modern society.”

    oh ye GODS, THIS, a thousand times this.

    now ‘scuse me while i pour myself a nice, cool, non-animal-secreted glass of soy “milk.”

  20. elfspice says:

    i personally think that like many other things, the legal labelling should be enough. ‘not for human consumption’. no amount of ‘testimony’ from sellers who know their buyers consume it should matter. it should be pointed out that this same legal situation faces the vendors of research chemicals. ‘not for human consumption’ says the label. that should be enough. a printed label is a legal document. it’s not like the shit i’ve got into recently ‘i swears i told you that i have hep c’… how is hep c from a friend anything like e coli or strep on a commercial product labelled as not for human consumption? put a label on your emissions. end of story. the rest is caveat emptor. why is it still not common knowledge that you can’t blame any seller of anything for poisoning you when the labelling of their product clearly warns you not to consume it?

  21. BPT says:

    Actually, as someone noted above, mainstream milk MUST be pasteurized because of the filthy conditions the millions of cows live in. And yes, their udders are usually infected and dripping pus into the milk that they collect from them. Do a little research and you’ll find this out.
    Why do you think they burden the cows’ bodies with antibiotics? The cows are packed into tiny enclosures where disease can run rampant, they are generally mistreated by their human overlords, and their muscles are atrophied from lack of any movement. They are fed under-nutritive feed made from genmod corn and soy, and their immune systems suffer as a result.

    So they bandaid the problems by using antibiotics and pasteurization.

    Milk gathered from cows on small farms is usually reasonably safe — which logically follows (not 100%, can’t claim that — though how many people die from eating supermarket food every year – peanut butter anyone?), because the cows are less likely to be uncared for and at risk of deadly infections — their immune systems aren’t compromised. The milk is also not loaded with synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Of course, if you are into that kind of stuff in your food, drink all the safe, clean supermarket milk you want!

    • anansi133 says:

      Can you imagine how much money and manpower it’d take to ensure decent treatment of dairy animals? Far cheaper and easier to crack down on farmers who *don’t* mistreat their animals, and sell accordingly.

      Because the vast majority of the business doesn’t want attention drawn to these facts, *that’s* why they had to take away the little girl’s computer.

  22. inness says:

    Sadly, this is less about consumer protection than corporate protection. Increasingly farmers are seeing law enforcement officials storming their farms searching not for safety or health hazards, but for reasons to shut down sellers who are recalcitrant in selling cheaply to larger producers, in short, forcing local, community farms to become serfs for the transnational overlords. Unfortunately, this isn’t a new occurrence; i.e., Frank Norris’ novel, The Octopus, published in 1901. The only difference is that today delivery isn’t the only controlled aspect of farming. Monsanto steals onto producers farms to search for ‘trademarked’ genetically sterilized and herbicide resistant seed. Check out ‘Food, Inc.’ for the current conditions suffered by farmers in this, our ‘free’ market. One wonders why the TEAbaggers aren’t all over this socialist issue. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food,_Inc.

  23. danfan says:

    All the commenters blathering about E.coli should remember that only corn-fed cows can host the variant that is deadly to humans. Odds are that raw milk-producing farms are going to be raising their cows on pasture, not in feedlots.

    Also: the amount of sheer pro-agribusiness ignorance I’m seeing flung around here is really embarrassing. Just because you’re smart enough to be tech dorks doesn’t mean you’re an expert in every subject under the sun.

  24. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Old MacDonald had a farm.
    E-C-O-L-I.

  25. tebee says:

    France does allow the sale of raw milk, it’s lait cru here. In fact I bought 6 litres of it this morning at my local market(yes I drink a lot of milk and yes I prefer the taste to the treated stuff)

    It’s also on sale at most of the larger supermarkets though a minority product, but you don’t seem to see the French having major health crisis because of it.

    Or is just that French cows are kept in healthier conditions than US ones?

  26. daneyul says:

    As long as you heat it long enough, pasteurization kills the germs in the udder-pus. No problem with the government forcing me to only have access to udder-pus-milk, as long as they ensure it’s clean.

    I do agree, though–Pasteurization IS necessary with large scale agro-farming where conditions are filthy, crowded, and disease is only suppressed through insane amounts of antibiotics.

    We’re city dwellers, but lucky–we can buy our raw milk from a nearby farmer with a few cows–have watched him milk the cow in very clean conditions (we often take it home still warm). And I’ve seen the conditions of factory farmed dairy cows–it’s a joke that anyone would advocate that as a desirable source of our food over the farmer next door.

    For those who say “leave well enough alone”–have you seen the number of e-coli and other outbreaks in the last few years from “properly regulated” factory farmed food? Sheesh. Every time you eat a burger you’re toying with mad cow disease or some other exotic arising from the unnatural conditions these animals live in. And there’s nothing “well enough” about what mass agro-business is doing to our environment.

    Yes, mass distribution becomes an issue with raw products, and I’m fine with warning labels. But if you access to a small farmer selling it “at the gate” I would strongly, strongly recommend it.

  27. Pres says:

    Pasteurisation and other methods that kill bad bacteria, also kill the good ones.

    This is not helping our health. We need good bacteria to be able to digest our food and absorb the nutrients we need to stay healthy.
    Antibiotics etc. cost us a lot of good bacteria , we can use the help from good ones in our food.

    Warning labels are ok.
    Banning products like raw milk isn’t. What’s next, banning organic food?

    • EvilSpirit says:

      “Pasteurisation and other methods that kill bad bacteria, also kill the good ones.”

      There are certainly problems with excessive agricultural use of antibiotics, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Unless somebody is trying to pasteurize your intestinal tract, your argument has nothing to do with the actual topic at hand.

      • Itsumishi says:

        How does their response have nothing to do with the topic at hand?

        Pasteurisation and other methods that kill bad bacteria, also kill the good ones.

        Milk fresh from the cow is full of bacteria. All sorts of it. Most of it unharmful. Pasteurisation kills this as well as the bacteria that is harmful. Some of this is possibly beneficial.

        I’m not too sure if it is beneficial or not.

        I do wonder though if half the reason there seems to be an ever rising amount of ‘food intolerance’ in western society is because we take so many methods to kill the bacteria in so much of what we eat that are stomachs never have the proper gut fauna to process lots of food properly.

        As I said above, I certainly find that I become more and more intolerant to a whole bunch of foods unless I eat yoghurt on a near daily basis.

  28. lasttide says:

    I think Home Movies said it best:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1096GyUsrvM

  29. chip says:

    Whether you do or don’t personally want to consume unpasteurized milk (I don’t) is beside the point. The POINT is that these “busts” do not require the sort of manpower or firepower that is being brought to bear on small community farms. I don’t care if they’re selling bottles of runny goat feces, there is no call for sending a 30-man SWAT team to shut them down. There’s definitely no call for confiscating their computers and anything else they feel like taking every couple of months.

    This is, at worst, an issue of paperwork. If they’re doing something illegal, cite them for it. If they don’t pay the fine or fix the problem, issue a warrant and take it to court. If they’re perpetually belligerent about it and refuse to stop doing whatever it is that they’re not allowed to do, then let a jury find them guilty and pass a sentence.

    Civil legal issues should be handled CIVILLY, not with a pack of armed thugs desperate to try out some of the new gear they bought with all that homeland security money. They’re a small-time dairy farm, not a meth lab. I know these guys that got jobs in law enforcement hoping to bust some terrorist skulls were disappointed to find out that there AREN’T any terrorists, but that’s no excuse to take it out on families whose only crime is selling milk without a permit.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Those who are genuinely interested in the ‘birth’ and history of our current dairy laws might want to take a look at:

    http://www.hillside.com/uploadedFiles/2Who_We_Are/History/Rochester%20History%20Vol45.pdf

    With such institutional history, it is not difficult to imagine that public officials may overreact to organizations and individuals trying to subvert the law, for whatever well-intentioned reasons.

    Having visited ‘well-run’ cow dairies, I would never drink unpasteurized milk from such a farm. I do, however, drink raw milk from our own goats, and have for over 35 years. Yes, there are risks, but we do our best to minimize them with healthy animals and careful handling practices. I would also not sell our milk to anyone, because of those same risks.

  31. Joe says:

    I’ve seen people selling raw milk with large signs talking about how amazingly healthy it is. I’d have no problem if instead they sold it with strong health warnings, and weren’t allowed to (falsely) claim that it is healthier.

    • BPT says:

      Antibiotics and synthetic hormones are healthy?
      Get out much?

      • Brainspore says:

        Antibiotics and synthetic hormones are a completely different issue than pasteurization. Hormone-laden cows can produce raw milk, and the milk from organic dairy farms can be (and usually is) pasteurized before being sold.

  32. invictus says:

    *sigh* Here we go again…

    We make raw milk cheese for a living. We also get inspected by the state on a regular basis and have a self-imposed — far stricter — testing regimen for the full spectrum of dairy-borne pathogens.

    We also get emails on roughly a weekly basis, asking us to sell raw milk “for pet food.” Which is, yes, illegal.

    There is nothing wrong with regulation, as long as it’s actually doing something to protect public health. I drink our milk out of the tank, and I am sure it’s perfectly safe to do so, but I am not an idiot, and would never take chances with milk coming from an industrial, feedlot, dairy farm (the kind producing most of the milk in the US). Pus dripping into the milk is right — look up “mastitis.”

    The only way industrial farms could maintain any semblance of a safe production is via pasteurization (and try not to think about post-pasteurization contamination, you don’t want those nightmares). But that doesn’t automatically make raw milk produced on a small dairy into a safe product.

    Incidentally, pasteurized milk *is* worse for you, but not because of the pasteurization. Homogenization, on the other hand, does have a negative effect, and the two processes go hand in hand in today’s commercial dairy processing.

    Homogenization breaks down the large fat globules in the milk, increasing the absorption of the fat by your stomach. The fat serves as a carrier for xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that is suspected of causing arterial hardening.

    • robulus says:

      “Incidentally, pasteurized milk *is* worse for you, but not because of the pasteurization. Homogenization, on the other hand, does have a negative effect, and the two processes go hand in hand in today’s commercial dairy processing.”

      I buy pasteurised UN-homogenised milk every week. It’s not the most common variety, but I can buy it at most corner shops around Sydney’s inner west. It’s delicious! An amazing number of people who are only slightly younger than me have never seen unhomogenised milk before, and are hilariously grossed out by it.

  33. berco says:

    I think this argument is really interesting. It seems to have two components: (1) issues about whether and how to regulate the sale of certain unpasteurized foods, and (2) issues about the searches conducted to enforce the current laws regulating the sale of certain unpasteurized foods.

    My opinion on the first issue is that there ought to be some reasonable way to allow regulated general commercial sale of these unpasteurized items. It will be challenging because, in addition to the strong opinions on both sides of the issue, it would require changes in Federal, state and local laws. In any case, if the products are really so dangerous that regulated sales are ineffective in preventing disease, we’ll know that very quickly because the diseases involved are pretty spectacular – we would see Darwinism in action.

    My opinion on the second issue is that the writer of the article at Grist has taken some dramatic license in describing police searches of the food producers. I read Manna Storehouse LLC’s complaint against the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture and the Loraine County General Health District (found at ftcldf.com), and they don’t allege being “held at gunpoint” for hours. They allege officers had guns drawn when they entered the property, wherein they discovered the family in the midst of a home-schooling lesson, then detained them in their living room during the search. All of that is standard operating procedure for any police search. The rest of the complaint alleged constitutional issues with the existing Ohio laws. The complaint was so silly, it was thrown out of court (http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/03/judge_tossed_lawsuit_filed_by.html)
    In the search of the Palmer residence, the journalist doesn’t state whether the seized computer belonged to 12-year-old Jasmine Palmer alone, or was a family or business computer. All he does is imply by her statements that she did her homework using it. As to whether seizing the computer was appropriate, that depends on what is written in the search warrant. If the warrant says there is reason to believe the Palmers were using computers in connection with the alleged unlawful sales of their food products, then the computer was lawfully seized.

    Searches are intrusive and upsetting. These food producers don’t like the current laws, so they have chosen to engage in civil disobedience. They can do that, and maybe the law will change if they keep making it an issue. But it’s disingenuous first world crybaby conduct to break the law in order to make a point, then complain about being treated like a law-breaker.

  34. jonw says:

    hmm. I had to look up jackboots. granted that swat teams probably wear tactical black sneakers these days, not mid-calf leather boots. the dairy police was a joke on cyber police. regardless, the point stands, they raided a family farm with deadly weapons. probably real nice guys, just following orders to protect and serve. I never intended comparing them to hitler but guess what – the fact that government hired thugs are a popular internet strawman doesnt mean they dont exist in the real world.

  35. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Some of you clearly think that it’s titanically dangerous to do something that untold billions of people have done without incident.

    My kids are totally going to outcompete your weak, flabby kids.

    PS: I don’t want to alarm anyone unnecessarily, but we drink RAW WATER. Right out of the dirt!

  36. nerdler says:

    I know there’s a bigger issue involved here, namely the unreasonable search and seizure or personal property, but the whole raw milk movement really burns me up. Everyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to read this article: http://blogs.das.psu.edu/tetherton/2009/09/21/disease-outbreak-and-consumption-of-raw-milk-in-wisconsin/.

    Oh yeah, and if you’re bitching because you read on some blog that “pasteurization destroys the enzymes which are so beneficial to our health” – you’re an idiot. You think the human body can actually use BOVINE enzymes?!

    • jonw says:

      ha ha ha. you think bovine enzymes underwent a magically different evolutionary path than the rest of the mammal world? my body uses them every time I eat beef and drink milk, thank you very much. now what would be really weird is if cow bodies could use GRASS ENZYMES…

      • Anonymous says:

        Not the rest of the mammalian world, just different from the path that hominids took. Again, if you can explain to me the following, I’ll allow that bovine enzymes can be used by humans: a) specifically, which “enzymes” are present in milk that have a beneficial effect? What is that effect? b) how the enzymes survive passing through the stomach c) how the enzymes are absorbed into the bloodstream by the small intestine d) how the bovine enzymes enter the human cell.

        Also, “improved sanitation” did not cause the polio epidemic. Nigeria has a pretty bad polio outbreak right now and sewage runs through the streets of some of their cities. Drinking water contaminated with poo causes polio (fixed it for you).

        For what it’s worth, I have no problem with people drinking raw milk, forming their own food collectives, and assuming liability and responsibility for their own actions. In this case the government crossed the line (although “jack-booted stormtroopers” is just Godwin’s Law).

        • Ito Kagehisa says:

          Epidemics of poliomyelitis have been characterized as a “disease of development,” meaning that, ironically, major outbreaks seem to accompany an improvement in sanitation and living conditions. In highly unsanitary circumstances, virtually all children are exposed to the virus during infancy, when infection with polio is most likely to be asymptomatic, and these babies then acquire lifelong immunity to the disease. When older children or adults are infected, they are more likely to be paralyzed or killed by the virus. As a society improves its sanitation (a transition which helps eliminate a number of other diseases), individuals are likely to be exposed to polio later in life, if at all, so the paralytic disease starts to occur in sporadic epidemics. Because the wealthy are the first to benefit from improved sanitation, they are often the first to experience these epidemics. Franklin Roosevelt, perhaps the most famous polio survivor, was a victim of this phenomenon.

          SOURCE: http://microbiology.columbia.edu/pico/

        • jonw says:

          oops, clicked “submit” before typing everything.

          I’m not an expert on enzymes, except for the fact that they are in food and my gut breaks them down into calories. I don’t know their names, sorry.

          since we are all products of a long line of successful milk producing mothers who were also milk drinking babies, I have to assume that evolution got something right in the ingredients of milk… and the point in history where milk evolved was long before bovines and hominids diverged. sure there’s different fine tuning of the formula by species, but I am pretty confident the hominid line of breast evolution has not invented any unique new enzymes for our babies.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      You think the human body can actually use BOVINE enzymes?!

      As opposed to, say, bovine insulin, which was used for decades? Or estrogen supplements, which are equine in origin.

    • limepies says:

      Oh yeah, and if you’re bitching because you read on some blog that “pasteurization destroys the enzymes which are so beneficial to our health” – you’re an idiot. You think the human body can actually use BOVINE enzymes?!”

      i couldn’t find any concrete evidence, but you seem to be incorrect there. specifically in that enzymes are enzymes and are most decidedly not species specific, since all they do is catalyze reactions within cells. so who’s the idiot?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ironically, you. Bovine enzymes aren’t taken up by human cells, therefore they can’t catalyze reactions within human cells. Also, when you drink milk, the first stop is your stomach, which contains digestive enzymes that will break down protein (what enzymes are…). I’d be willing to bet a substantial sum that even if the enzymes survived this digestion, the low pH in the stomach would induce structural changes that render the enzyme non-functional. Not being able to find concrete evidence should have set off some pretty loud mental alarms.

  37. dcamsam says:

    Why is it necessary to seize a child’s computer?

    Because a computer is no less capable of storing records of sales when it’s labeled a “child’s computer.”

    As for this:

    If it is the right of every woman to abort upon the basis of “it’s her body”, then why can’t we decide what to ingest because it’s our body?

    This is clever and wrong. I have a right to health care. But my right to health care does not confer a right to provide any health care to anyone who wishes to provide it; the government can and should forbid a person from providing health care if they are unqualified to do so and from providing health care that is ineffective or harmful.

    Similarly, I have a right to eat. But my right to eat does not confer a right to sell any food to anyone who wishes to sell it. They should be subject to reasonable regulation to protect the health of the consumer.

  38. recoiled says:

    My father was a gastrointestinal surgeon, I have heard an awful lot about the dangers of unpasteurized milk. But then again, I’ve also heard about parasites that are in sushi. I’ve been told how undercooked meat can cause disease, and how the shells of eggs have enough bacteria to kill an army. How fries from fast food joints contain more salt than humans should have in a day. How cigarettes cause any number of cancers, how alcohol is a deadly poison.

    These are just a few examples of food issues that should be scrutinized to the same degree as we compare milk. And yet, all of these examples are consumables that adults can choose to eat, and in many cases, allow children to consume legally as well (excluding cigarettes and alcohol from my short list).

    Raw milk is dangerous. But so is driving a car, walking outside in the rain or sun, or simply waking up in the morning. There are benefits to any of these things, but there are also risks. Maybe they aren’t inherent to some, but they are important to others.

    And on a side note, to those who comment on how milk is perverse, due to the argument that we’re the only species to consume other animals milk; we are also the only animals that use the internet. By the same argument you should stop using that too.

    As anecdote – which may or may not be relevant -, I was in Tanzania a few years ago. I offered a local a piece of american cheese for a sandwich, and was told off. He could not believe american custom of eating such a disgusting thing as rotten milk in a plastic wrapper.

  39. ultraswank says:

    E-coli is also only one of several pathogens that raw milk can carry. Slate had an interesting article on this today that included this little tidbit:

    “It wasn’t until 1914—compelled by a typhoid epidemic linked to unpasteurized milk—that New York City finally enforced a pasteurization rule. Seven years later, the city’s infant death rate, which had hovered at an appalling 240 of every 1,000 live births, had dropped to 71 deaths per 1,000, a victory many credited to pasteurization.”

  40. Anonymous says:

    There is a disease called brucellosis humans can get from raw milk from a diseased cow.
    Just Saying.

  41. laukarlueng says:

    I think the state should back off and let people make and sell their own food. The raw milk laws are said to be for safety’s sake, but they work to keep competition against the big dairies down. These silly bans on raw or homegrown goat, cow, camel, etc products are the worst kind of state paternalism. If it is the right of every woman to abort upon the basis of “it’s her body”, then why can’t we decide what to ingest because it’s our body?

    All I can get around here is Ultra pasteurized stuff. I would like a broader choice.

  42. cjp says:

    Do you think she’s learning about Louis Pasteur on that computer? Or how about basic

    “Dairy and beef cattle are primary reservoirs of E. coli O157:H7,[34] and they can carry it asymptomatically and shed it in their feces.[34] Food products associated with E. coli outbreaks include raw ground beef,[35] raw seed sprouts or spinach,[30] raw milk, unpasteurized juice, unpasteurized cheese and foods contaminated by infected food workers via fecal-oral route.[28]”

    Raw milk. Wholesome goodness for your mouth. Bad news for your renal function.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually CJP and the Many more that are concerned w. E coli and Pasteurization….Luis Pasteur recanted on his deathbed that he had everything wrong about pasteurization…..and he actually killed many animals and people performing experiments and trying out vaccinations. As well, the strain of E Coli that can kill you or make you deathly sick came about in the early 80′s….when industrial farming was getting very popular due to the low cost and high profit. It came about when cows that are not able to graze and fed an unnatural diet of corn and soy, and are not properly taken care of…that is when E Coli 157 was introduced into our food chain. So please take a moment and think about nature and what we have demanded from companies that produce food. Fast Cheap Food…where as Raw Milk is not a Fast Cheap Food, and it doesn’t come from Cows that are treated fast and cheap. Raw Milk is usually much more expensive, because small farms tend to graze cows on grass and properly take care of them, and therefore your milk is more expensive and and gives you nutrients that are needed.

      • Anonymous says:

        And you lost all respect when you mentioned that vaccines were dangerous. This kind of thinking kills people – I’m working at an African hospital and we are currently in the middle of a measles outbreak where the CFR is around 20/1000, much higher than 1/1000 (what you see in developed countries). There are a few Christian sects that are opposing vaccination, and to halt the outbreak the government has had to force vaccination at gunpoint (I’m aware that the ethics of that action are shaky, but on the other hand the parents are willfully putting their children at risk of death).

        E. coli O157:H7 (spelling it “E Coli” gives away the lack of scientific training…) might be a product of industrial farming (industrial farms certainly spread the bacteria faster and the massive overuse of antibiotic prophlyaxis helps create antibiotic resistance), but that does not mean it hasn’t made it’s way onto family farms. “Natural” != better. Parasites are natural, bacteria are natural, they can all kill us. We have taken steps, like pasteurization and vaccination, to mitigate these risks. Again, if you can produce scientific evidence that raw milk has any health benefits compared to pasteurized milk, I’ll recant, but until then you are spreading misinformation that could have profoundly dangerous consequences for someone’s child.

    • Ty_MY says:

      What happens to just-born wee little calves with underdeveloped immune systems, who suckle this biologically hazardous milk?

      Did a lot of humans get wiped out before pasteurization was introduced?

      • Quothz says:

        “What happens to just-born wee little calves with underdeveloped immune systems, who suckle this biologically hazardous milk?”

        Baby mammals inherit a strong degree of resistance to their mothers’ pathogens. If you came popping out of a cow’s uterus recently and have access to its milk, then you’re fine.

        “Did a lot of humans get wiped out before pasteurization was introduced?”

        Well, yes. Yes, they did, especially in urban centers. In 1938 in the United States, just before pasteurization was widespread, milk was responsible for about 25% of food- and water-related disease. Today, it is roughly 1%, and much less fatal. Infant deaths in particular have dropped a lot since we started pasteurizing.

        Some of that can be chalked up to better refrigeration, better disease-control practices (both in terms of cow diagnosis and stuff like recalls of contaminated products), and mandatory expiration dates, but most folks who study this stuff point to pasteurization as the single biggest factor.

    • mdh says:

      Why does your right to be afraid of life trump someone else’s right to drink raw milk?

      You also might carry that strain of E. Coli, asymptomatically. Does that change your understanding of the situation?

    • simonbarsinister says:

      I’ve been drinking only raw unpasteurized milk (cow and goat) for many years from a small farm near me and I have never had any problems. Years ago before I drank raw milk and Yogurt and Keifer made from raw milk I had digestive problems. No more.

      My grandmother and grandfather grew up on raw milk and they lived into their 90′s.

      I wish the state would get the hell off these farms backs and let people make their own decisions.
      Pass laws about frequent testing for E. Coli so consumers who want raw milk aren’t guessing which farms are serious about healthy clean procedures and testing.

      • Vinnie says:

        I like this argument because all the people on the other side can’t fight back. “I drank raw milk for years, then I died from renal failure as blood seeped from all my orifices.”

        • Anonymous says:

          A billion particles of screaming woo.

          In the real world, people drank raw milk for thousands of years and chose to continue to do so after observing the effects. SCIENCE says that most humans can drink raw milk safely and may have evolved to benefit from doing so.

          In the corporate shill world, people have been drinking pasteurized homogenized milk for only a couple hundred years, making it absurdly unlikely that we have evolved significantly in response (unless somebody knows about a massive die-off or sterilization confined to people who drank treated milk). But MAGICAL THINKING says that arbitrarily defined “cleaner” is arbitrarily defined “safer” and arbitrarily defined “better” and logic and reason be damned!

          THIS IS HOW WE GOT THE POLIO EPIDEMIC PEOPLE.

          Look it up. The polio epidemic was caused by too little exposure to germs. So-called modern sanitation caused unbelievable suffering…

      • PARLIAMENT says:

        Oh, please.

        Years ago before I drank raw milk and Yogurt and Keifer made from raw milk I had digestive problems. No more.

        Because sterilizing milk makes it harder to digest? Correlation isn’t causation, and in this case there’s probably no relation whatsoever.

        My grandmother and grandfather grew up on raw milk and they lived into their 90′s.

        Do you seriously consider this a valid argument? One single couple’s experience is hardly representative for the entire state’s milk consumers, and actual science like, I don’t know, killing actual bacteria and measuring infection rates instead of touting the vague and imagined health benefits of raw food. Your kind of illogical reasoning is exactly what pulls people into falling for stuff like this.

        It worries me that kids with parents who believe in this crap could be hurt before they’re old enough to escape it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Falling for… stuff… like this?

          So its way different that falling for the belief that milk is inherently full of e.coli and must be pasteurized. Correlation does not equal causation but anything that the FDA (not a scientific body, but a government agency susceptible to lobbying and whatnot) says equals scientific fact?

          Believe me, the small farms that sell raw milk to private food clubs are worlds apart from the industrial dairy centers that produce the milk that probably does have to be pasteurized, because its full of shit from improper and careless handling of the cows, and full of pus from mistreated, distended udders. These are family farms, and people who are trying to find a way to make a viable living running a farm in a local, organic, sustainable way. They are able to charge a premium over standard market milk prices for a raw product to those who want it. This is one way that a small organic dairy farm can stay in business. All you’re argument is doing is perpetuating a industrial food system that is on the verge of destroying our environment.

        • teapot says:

          It worries me that kids with parents who believe in this crap could be hurt before they’re old enough to escape it.

          If this is your ultimate concern, may I suggest going after religion before milk.

        • Itsumishi says:

          Because sterilizing milk makes it harder to digest? Correlation isn’t causation, and in this case there’s probably no relation whatsoever.

          Firstly I don’t think simonbarsinister specifically said he had trouble digesting milk. He said he had digestion problems.

          Whilst I doubt either of us have the sort of knowledge of the exact bacterias involved and digestion to have a proper debate about this, there are plenty of foods that do help digestion precisely because of the bacteria they contain.

          Yogurt is a prime example, full of living bacteria that assists with digestion. I know that if I don’t get yogurt regularly I have to cut a lot of things from my diet. Because I enjoy food too much I choose to eat yogurt most days (which I don’t really enjoy) and I can eat whatever else I want. Sterilising yoghurt would certainly stop this benefit.

          This is precisely the argument that raw milk advocates make. Whether it’s true or not I can’t tell you and as Raw Milk is banned in Australia in virtually all forms it’s hard to come by. I’d be interested in testing it though.

        • Anonymous says:

          comment from PARLIAMENT
          “One single couple’s experience is hardly representative for the entire state’s milk consumers, and actual science like, I don’t know, killing actual bacteria and measuring infection rates instead of touting the vague and imagined health benefits of raw food. Your kind of illogical reasoning is exactly what pulls people into falling for stuff like this.

          It worries me that kids with parents who believe in this crap could be hurt before they’re old enough to escape it.”

          To claim some science is needed to prove benefits of unprocessed foods is RIDICULOUS.

          Claiming some unspecified threat to children is classic BS from corporate hacks trying to change the actual subject, which is government’s over bearing rules and deadly enforcement actions.

          As to raw milk and it’s dangers, the process known as tuberculin testing solved the only non-human induced danger to our milk supply. The usual human induced problems are caused by slip shod attention to cleanliness in bulk milk plants and bulk milk carriers.

          Reasonably attentive dairymen and retailers solve the main ‘problem’ claimed by the ‘law.’ Then there is the problem of intrusive law into private decisions of living.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ah Yes, because the first thing I look for when I get raw milk from the small dairy in my neighborhood is that the cows are wallowing in their own feces and have had ample opportunity to spray it in my food. With the popularity of chocolate milk on the rise, a little poo really helps convince the youngens’ that the milk is full of yummy goodness.

      My wife and I will make our own informed decisions about what we feed to our family. TYVM.

      PS: Captcha FTW: “The purity”

    • Reverend Loki says:

      If I’m not mistaken, grass fed cows have a dramatically reduced level of E. coli in their GI tracts. Not enough that there is no risk, but there is a greatly reduced risk.

  43. Maggie Koerth-Baker says:

    I go back and forth on this. Ultimately, I think I’d be more comfortable with raw milk if it had to come with the same kind of warning labels that have to be attached to other legal-but-dangerous things, like tobacco and alcohol.

    You should be able to sell raw milk. But you should also have to inform people of the risks they’re taking, and the FTC should DEFINITELY crack down on the sellers who try to make claims about health benefits that aren’t proven.

    • Moriarty says:

      I agree, that’s the obvious solution.

      Ordinary milk that you buy in the store comes with a reasonable expectation of safety, because it is regulated. Thus, selling raw milk without appropriate warning is deceptive and putting people at risk without their knowledge. However, that it is illegal to knowingly buy it and drink at your own risk is udderly ridiculous.

      (And obviously, there are parallels with our also ridiculous drug laws.)

  44. Anonymous says:

    Filthy lactoperversional cow-squirt. Raw or pasteurised, you’re all weird.

  45. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Forget the food safety issue. Why is it necessary to seize a child’s computer? Didn’t we used to seize computers for a reason, like child porn? Now it’s just a standard checklist item for warrants.

    • elix says:

      If the state can’t seize a minor’s computer and interfere with her education, the agri-terrorists have won! Are you an agri-terrorist or something? </facetiousness>

      • TooGoodToCheck says:

        right. because computers are only ever used by one human being each, and members of a family could absolutely never make use of another family member’s computing resources

        • elix says:

          …and what do you expect the cops to find? Hoards of e-mail messages showing that the farmers were… talking to people? Or, communicating with other farmers? Or they’re secretly Russian agents trying to poison the food chain from the bottom instead of trying higher-level espionage?

          It’s not like they purchased and dismantled a stolen iPhone, here. They sold their farm’s products, it just happens to be in a way that the local authorities did not seem to approve of.

          • TooGoodToCheck says:

            I kind of expect that the cops are looking for evidence that the farm was illegally selling raw milk for human consumption.

            “They sold their farm’s products, it just happens to be in a way that the local authorities did not seem to approve of.”

            You mean, they broke the law? And then subsequently had a computer taken as evidence by law enforcement agents? Which actually seems like a pretty reasonable place to look for evidence of illegal commercial activity

          • teapot says:

            You mean, they broke the law? And then subsequently had a computer taken as evidence by law enforcement agents? Which actually seems like a pretty reasonable place to look for evidence of illegal commercial activity

            From the article:
            [Sharon Palmer] said, “She (the 12-year-old girl) said, ‘If you take my computer again, I can’t do my homework.’ This would be the third computer we will have lost. I still haven’t gotten the computers back that they took in the previous two raids.”

            So let me check your logic… You think there would be evidence on the computer they took? Even though there were two previous raids where computers were seized, you really think that the family would continue using a computer to keep track of their “illegal dealings” (assuming they were even doing it in the first place)?

            It was punishment, pure and simple. Stop dreaming up excuses for it.

          • chip says:

            “You mean, they broke the law? And then subsequently had a computer taken as evidence by law enforcement agents? Which actually seems like a pretty reasonable place to look for evidence of illegal commercial activity”

            It’s illegal to J-walk. That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for the cops to impound your shoes every time you do it. The issue is that this is the THIRD computer they’ve confiscated. If there was evidence of illegal activity on the first two, they should file charges. IF there wasn’t, they should stop harassing this family already. Suspicion of selling milk without a permit should not grant law enforcement agencies carte blanche to walk into a home and take whatever they want every couple months. What this family is going through is the very definition of “unreasonable” search and seizure.

            Even if you believe that selling raw milk should be against the law (which it currently is), no reasonable person could possibly argue that it is so egregious an offense that it warrants this level of police action to combat it.

  46. Loraan says:

    For the love of god just leave well enough alone and spare all of us who work in healthcare the burden of taking care of people afflicted with diseases that the public has absolutely no reason being exposed to while we’re having a hard enough time managing care for the multitude of health problems still present or growing in our modern society.

    This argument holds no water at all, unless the people making it are also against lots of other perfectly acceptable things that cause far more injury and cost society far more than raw milk. If you’re so concerned with use of public healthcare services, why don’t you try to pass a law against the frivolous activities of rollerblading and skateboarding, both of which probably cause FAR more injuries than drinking raw milk, and have absolutely no benefit to society except that people enjoy them.

    No, you’ll never hear anybody speaking out against those things, because they are socially acceptable. The “public health” argument is a farce. What these people are usually saying is really, “You are weird and I disagree with what you are doing, so stop it!”

    I wrote a blog post about this “selective outrage”, if it’s a topic that interests you:

    http://jackbootedliberal.com/2010/03/selective-outrage/

  47. Anonymous says:

    What business does the US government have sending armed people to raid a farm in search of raw milk?

    No matter which way you slice this, holding a family at gun point over licensing issues around selling raw milk is the height of dangerous stupidity, why did they need the guns exactly? in case little Susan tries to drink the evidence? Would they shoot her if she did?

    US enforcement needs to pull it’s head in and look at what levels of force are used compared to the actual type of infraction we are talking about.

    If it’s a matter of paperwork rather than some kind of violent crime, leave the guns at home!

    Are you really going to shoot someone to death over a disagreement over whether they need a licence to sell some milk, because if you are then you need to ask yourself some serious questions about how you came to this point.

    If this happened in New Zealand everyone involved would be fired and a public enquiry held.

    Wakeup USA

    • Anonymous says:

      @anon #8 – this would never happen in new zealand, because police (that is, the armed offenders squad) would never be called to mount such a raid unless the perpetrators had guns.

      new zealand, however, has the toughest biosecurity laws in the world and maf will definitely come down hard on anyone selling unsafe milk.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually by law you can sell up to 5 litres of raw milk per person from the farm gate in New Zealand, and biosecurity laws and MAF regulations are two very different things, one stops things getting into the country, the other regulates the measures a company must take in preparing foods for human consumption, and whilst in my work with MAF I have noticed that their regulations are adequate, they are hardly super strict, if you saw some of the factories they say are safe, you might be a little surprised, as only parts that come into contact with the food have to be stainless steel and plastic.

  48. SKR says:

    “In France, the sale of raw milk destined for human consumption is authorised but strictly controlled by a ruling of the Ministry of Agriculture of 1985, which provides for different levels of restrictions.”

    • Irene Delse says:

      You have it right, in France, the production and commerce of raw milk is legal but strictly regulated. There are health inspections in the farms and in the shops & markets selling it. And the raw milk is labeled as such, so people can make a choice.

      Also, the milk you can buy in France is cooled minutes after it comes out of the cow, to stop bacteria proliferation, and often also purified using ultrafiltration (Google that word to learn what cool high-tech can do for managing both food safety and that “authentic” taste…) except of course if you are the farmer and drink the milk of your own cows raw and warm because you like to live dangerously!

      There are indeed raw food cultists in France, but I doubt it’s risen to the same levels as what’s going on in the USA. Maybe it’s because we never went to the extreme of banning all sale of unpasteurized milk & cheese, but tried to keep a balance. So we never really had the backlash of “back to nature”, or in fact an idealized past.

      Oh, and as long we are telling anecdotes… Both my parents lived in the country when they were young, they helped milk cows, they knew that even in the best of small farms, cows were never spotlessly clean (duh!) and so were very happy to avoid giving potentially contaminated milk to their kids, thank you very much Mr. Pasteur!

  49. Zergonapal says:

    Seems to me that cloud computing would be a better choice.
    Anyway I live on a small hobby farm and for most of my life we ate the meat and drank the milk of cattle we raised. All it takes is keeping basic hygiene like washing the milking equipment and the udder of the cow before you milk.
    I bet you that even the dairy farmers selling their milk to the big companies drink it raw as well.

    • Brainspore says:

      I live on a small hobby farm and for most of my life we ate the meat and drank the milk of cattle we raised. All it takes is keeping basic hygiene like washing the milking equipment and the udder of the cow before you milk.

      The risk of disease doesn’t really translate from a hobby farm to a commercial setting. When you drink the milk or eat the meat from a single animal you only have to be sure that the individual wasn’t sick. When you combine that milk with that of countless other cows or butcher the meat on equipment that may process thousands of animals a day the associated risks go up exponentially unless major precautions (like pasteurization) are taken.

      I’m OK with Maggie’s solution, but something tells me the folks who sell raw milk don’t want their product burdened with a surgeon general’s warning that takes up one full side of the carton.

      • Thalia says:

        The risk of disease doesn’t really translate from a hobby farm to a commercial setting. When you drink the milk or eat the meat from a single animal you only have to be sure that the individual wasn’t sick. When you combine that milk with that of countless other cows or butcher the meat on equipment that may process thousands of animals a day the associated risks go up exponentially unless major precautions (like pasteurization) are taken.

        I’m OK with Maggie’s solution, but something tells me the folks who sell raw milk don’t want their product burdened with a surgeon general’s warning that takes up one full side of the carton.

        There is no carton. There is also no butchering equipment that handles thousands of animals a day. Instead these small farmers sell milk in glass bottles, and when you buy beef you can meet the animal whose meat you’re going to be getting beforehand. That’s the point of these small-scale operations. I would agree with you that it doesn’t translate well into industrial operations, nor should it. But as long as it’s a farmer, who you meet, and you see the cows, the risk is very small.

      • mellon says:

        Actually, if you’d ever talked to a raw milk advocate, you’d know that they could care less if there are warnings. They know what the mainstream establishment says about pasteurization. They just don’t believe it. So those warnings would do no good.

        The reality is that unpasteurized milk was all anyone drank until Louis Pasteur came along. And people did die of bacterial infections as a result, but lots of other people lived out their lives without any such problem. Personally, I don’t want the risk, but who am I to prevent someone else from knowingly taking that risk.

        If you think we as a country have a right to do that, where does it stop? Are we no longer allowed to go to Haiti to help out there, because we might get dysentery? No more visits to India? No more mountain climbing? These are all risky activities. Where do we draw the line?

        • TooGoodToCheck says:

          I think we often draw the line at commerce. As in, the government tends to regulate commerce, and we tolerate it far more than intrusion into private activities.

      • retchdog says:

        In a Florida Whole Foods, I saw some raw milk perfunctorily labeled as “for animal use only, not for human consumption.” Apparently it still sold well enough for Whole Foods to give it shelf space.

        I think that a Surgeon General’s warning would be a step up for everyone involved.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not true. Milk contamination isn’t a matter of making sure that the animal isn’t sick, it’s an issue of what bacteria are on the animals skin/udder/person’s hand. The dreaded E. coli O157:H7 is a fairly common gut commensal in cattle, so it’s naturally one of the common bacteria in cow feces. Cows don’t have to “wallow in poo” to get a few bacteria on their udders/skin – they often just have to walk through a pasture where it is present. Most strains of E. coli are pretty harmless under most settings, and I would venture a guess that if you were to take skin swabs from cows the majority would be positive for some strain (not necessarily the enterotoxigenic or even pathogenic ones). These animals would not appear to be sick. Unless you trust artisan dairy farmers to “know that the udder is free of bacteria” (and if you do I have more than a few bridges to sell you), pasteurization is a much safer alternative.

        If you can provide any evidence that unpasteurized milk has health benefits compared to pasteurized milk (peer-reviewed articles confirmed), I’d be willing to admit some benefit to “raw milk” but for me the risk is too high for no chance at benefit.

  50. SKR says:

    @cjp

    Yes it can be dangerous, but then again so is driving. Also, France has allowed for ages and they are getting by ok.

    @ Antinous

    Because they are looking for transaction records to prove that they are selling to people that are not members of the club. The private club is how the farms are getting around the prohibition. What happens is the feds will show up and beg that they sell to them even though they aren’t a member with some sob story about how they had to drive so far, blah blah blah. The farmer feels sorry for the undercover agent and sells them a jar of milk. Next thing they know they are being issued a search warrant. Now we all know those farmers are sneaky bastards that hide their business transactions on their child’s computer to throw the feds off the trail so….

    • Aloisius says:

      Yes it can be dangerous, but then again so is driving. Also, France has allowed for ages and they are getting by ok.

      I’ve been in many grocery stores in Paris and I didn’t see a single bottle of raw milk. In fact, most of the milk I saw was so processed it was stored at room temperature.

      I’m not saying it is illegal there, but it certainly didn’t look like it was popular.

      Now cheeses made from raw milk… that is a different story altogether.

  51. Rider says:

    You can’t buy raw milk, but it’s perfectly okay to not get vaccinated and cause a whooping cough outbreak. I’m so glad I’m being protected,Good Job!

  52. Anonymous says:

    Did we All just forget…that we’ve only been drinking Pasterised Milk, cheese,apple juice, orange juice, etc. etc. for a handful of decades…seems we survived the other Centuries pretty well…hymm?
    Do any of you have Grandparents you’ve actually talked with about their childhoods, young adult lives, adult lives?, maybe a great Grandparent or Great Aunt or Uncle. Geese, as a species we’ve consumed Way More Unpasterised Everything than Pasterised Anything….What Are You So Afraid Of?
    You have a much Greater Chance of being injured in an Automobile accident on your way to work, than becoming noticably ill from a pathogenic bacteria…Should we Outlaw Cars?

  53. Atvaark says:

    Raw milk is more likely to contain dangerous germs, indeed. That doesn’t mean it is dangerous. Hygiene rules and regular inspections in places where raw milk products are elaborated can make them perfectly safe.

    Standing next to a cliff is more dangerous than sitting at home. It doesn’t make bungee jumping any more dangerous than sitting at home (or not much, really).

    However, if such products are forbidden, then there exists no legal structure that can carry inspections out, set up rules and guarantee consumer safety. Forbidding them makes them more dangerous.

    Here in France, any market or supermarket sells raw milk and raw milk cheese. Most people eat raw milk cheese, not just organic food junkies. These products are made in very strict hygiene conditions and samples are analyzed by hygiene services. It’s not like we’re allowing dangerous dirty food to be sold.

    Actually, pasteurized products may, in some conditions, be more dangerous than raw products, as the later ones naturally contains a huge amount of harmless bacteria, and any dangerous bacteria that would spread over the food would have to share territory with other species, which limitates the magnitude of the infection.

    Most important point: it just tastes incredibly good and there is no way to produce the same alchemy when starting from dead milk.

    • Irene Delse says:

      Actually, pasteurized products may, in some conditions, be more dangerous than raw products, as the later ones naturally contains a huge amount of harmless bacteria, and any dangerous bacteria that would spread over the food would have to share territory with other species, which limitates the magnitude of the infection.

      You mean, if the pasteurized product is later contaminated with other bacteria? Yes, it’s always a risk. That’s why milk products must be either always kept refrigerated, or packaged in sealed airtight and watertight packing. Another part of the extensive legislation on food safety, of course.

      • Atvaark says:

        Yes, that’s what I meant. Contamination can happen at any stage of the processing chain. It also has high chances to happen at home. Then it’s better to contaminate a product that’s already populated by harmless bacteria (like raw milk) than an empty playground where killer bacterias can joyfully proliferate without any competition.

        Then again, it’s useless getting paranoid as in most cases the immune system can fight. Low regular doses of E. Coli can be called training. ;)

  54. Baldhead says:

    i solved the “milk makes bad digestion” problem by cutting down on milk. But seizing a child’s computer is clearly being done for punitive reasons rather than for any genuine belief they’ll find evidence. It’s bullying.

  55. redsquares says:

    Pathogens in my food is one reason I only eat reconstituted, uv irradiated protein gruel with a blend of vitamin supplements.

    And no, I don’t have a problem with it being made out of people…

    • Sagodjur says:

      The “single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals,” from the Matrix was Soylent Green? Maybe Charlton Heston could have fought the damn, dirty machines.

      /mixing meme-aphors

  56. Anonymous says:

    “If you’re so concerned with use of public healthcare services, why don’t you try to pass a law against the frivolous activities of rollerblading and skateboarding, both of which probably cause FAR more injuries than drinking raw milk”

    Because someone can unknowingly use disease-laden raw milk to serve dozens or hundreds of people, who could all become sick, without realizing they were taking a huge risk. Some new-age moron makes a dish for a family reunion, and for the sake of mythical “enzymes” and a stupid foodie fad, makes everyone sick.

    Nobody ends up with a broken leg having unknowingly strapped on rollerblades. If someone breaks their leg having unintentionally stepped on a skateboard, they can sue the skateboard’s owner for leaving it where it can be stepped on.

    That’s the difference. Raw milk in the food supply removes the ability to make informed choices about risks one is exposed to.

    • Abelard Lindsay says:

      “Because someone can unknowingly use disease-laden ground beef to serve dozens or hundreds of people, who could all become sick, without realizing they were taking a huge risk. Some supermarket-shopping moron makes a dish for a family reunion, and for the sake of mythical “low prices” and a stupid corporate profit fad, makes everyone sick.”

      There, fixed it for you! You’re welcome!

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      More innocent bystanders have been harmed by raw milk than by rollerblades or skateboards? People aren’t allowed to sue somebody who poisons them?

      This is getting more insane by the minute!

      People are really shocked to discover that diseased cows can give you diseases?

      People think it’s reasonable to sterilize milk from diseased cows and drink it?

      I’m starting to really enjoy this thread… I’m waiting for someone to claim raw milk turns you into an anabaptist. Wheeeeeeee!!!!

  57. holtt says:

    Can’t get anything pasteurized

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