The pursuit of food rights through engaging in the political process

David E. Gumpert writes in the excerpt below about how some American food rights activists have recently taken their cause to the people by running for political office, in some cases against their former oppressors.

Michael Schmidt has more than once sought political office, and though he was able to garner considerable support, he was not able to break through the obstacles that were put in his way, possibly in some cases, by those with a vested interest in the status quo. 

Residents of Ontario will likely be aware that there is a provincial election currently in progress. This means that we have an opportunity to raise food rights issues in questioning our candidates. One of the few politicians who have publicly supported the raw milk movement in Ontario is Randy Hillier, who was elected as a Progressive Conservative MPP in 2007. His private members bill asking the government to study the raw milk issue did not however, gain enough support at Queen’s Park. Continue reading

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On the future of raw milk in Canada

From Sylvain Charlebois, in the Montreal Gazette:

“GUELPH, Ont. — Science-based evidence in food safety seriously compromises any argument for allowing raw milk to be freely sold to Canadians. Even a small amount of raw milk can seriously harm a child, a pregnant woman, the elderly, individuals with a compromised immune system, or anyone for that matter; just one glass will do it.

Still, it appears that support to legalize its distribution is growing in North America. In fact, Louisiana is considering loosening its laws to permit raw milk to be legally sold to consumers. In Canada, raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt, despite a recent legal setback, seems to be making some inroads, and an increasing number of people support his cause. Continue reading

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Congress to end prohibition in U.S.?

Raw milk prohibition, that is.

From Real Farmacy.com

“Buying and selling raw dairy products across state lines has been outlawed in the U.S. since the late 1980s, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided that Americans were no longer free to make their own food decisions without government approval. But this senseless and unconstitutional policy of prohibition could soon become history if a bipartisan effort to restore food freedom reaches a breaking point in Congress.

The Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014, or H.R. 4307, would lift current FDA restrictions that prohibit all interstate trade involving raw milk. Under the new legislation, farmers who produce raw milk and sell it to eager customers looking for a more nutritious alternative to commercial swill would no longer have to worry about being fined, for instance, or raided at gunpoint by government goons with control issues. Continue reading

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Illinois politicking on raw milk choice

From the Midlife Farm Wife (from April 28, 2014):

If a cow grazes in a field and no regulator watches, does she still give milk? Photo from the Midlife Farm Wife.

Illinois Farm Bureau  recently posted on their web site their view of the current raw milk battle in Illinois and although I do appreciate their moderate transparency , I certainly do not appreciate their very wishy washy stance, but I have never been a big fan of wishy washy in any arena.

Either you support small farmers or you support Big Ag and Big Government.  The article states “We support their right to choose, provided the dairy farmers that are producing this food product are subject to some oversight, and the milk is picked up at the farm in the consumer’s container.”

Interesting how IFB “supports” the consumers right to choose. Since when do Americans need any organizations support to make our own choices? And the reference to some oversight is a blatant lie. The oversight has mushroomed from one small page to several pages of rules and regulations that if passed will be extremely detrimental to small raw milk farmers and consumers alike. 

And why must the milk only be picked up at the farm? Several members of the dairy work group specifically stated they would be willing to endure more testing, and inspecting to ensure a safe product, if allowed to sell at farmers markets  retail settings. But they were ignored and IDPH flipped over on them taking those (still proposed) additional testing and inspecting requirements and applying them to ALL raw milk producers, even those with JUST ONE COW OR GOAT!

Jim Fraley, author of the recent article has visited our farm and drank our raw milk. He has sat across from us as we all attempted to work together on the ill-conceived Dairy Work Group Committee created, controlled and disbanded (before any real consensus was reached) by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in 2013. 

He verbally supported the raw milk farmers and consumers who served on this committee and in fact when the group often came to a standstill where common ground seemed unobtainable, it was Jim who stood in front of both sides and pulled us towards goals we felt we all could live with. Keith and I felt like he was really hearing small raw milk farmers, and that he was well representing our concerns to the group HE worked for, The Illinois Farm Bureau.

But then when the general assembly was hearing the ill-gotten House Bill 4036 amendment #1 just last month, where Representative Burke was asking that all raw milk sales be made illegal in Illinois, Jim Fraley stopped taking our calls….”

Read more on Midlife Farm Wife.

Note: It’s been a couple weeks since this story was originally posted. 

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Canada’s first pot vending machine! How about a raw milk automat next?

Still from a video uploaded on YouTube by user@Chuck Varabioff, via rt.com

Regular readers of The Bovine will know that we have periodically featured stories about raw milk automats that seem to be pretty much the standard form of off-farm raw milk distribution throughout Europe. Any thinking person would wonder why we don’t have them in North America. We could talk about how it’s illegal here and how some jurisdictions (BC) even try to label raw milk an inherently hazardous substance, but more likely the deep reason is that the dairy oligarchs have a low tolerance for competition.

Like raw milk, marijuana has, in recent decades, been a controlled substance with a strong underground market. And so raw milk fans have been watching with interest the progress of what’s looking like gradual legalization of pot, driven, we’d like to think, by public pressure and dawning sanity among the governing classes. We’ve heard about pot being legalized in Colorado and Washington state last year. Continue reading

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Raw moose milk now on tap in Russia

From Tyler LeBlanc, in Modern Farmer:

Yes that’s a moose in the milkhouse. Photo: Alexander Minaev

“Have an upset stomach and Pepto Bismol just isn’t doing it for you? Maybe you should head over to the Russian city of Kostroma – about four hours outside of Moscow – and try a glass of warm, salty, moose milk.

Carefully drawn from the teats of these northern giants, this pine-scented delicacy is renowned in the area as a cure for peptic ulcers. High in butterfat (usually coming in at around 10 percent, compared to cow milk’s average 5 percent), loaded with double the amount of essential amino acids as cow’s milk and chock-full of lypozyme – an enzyme that kills ulcer-creating bacteria – the slightly acidic milk has been used by Kostroma’s Ivan Susanin Sanatorium as a treatment for an array of diseases and disorders for over 30 years. Continue reading

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Reducing dangers from raw milk

From the Modern Farmer:

“In a 2012 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 1 percent of Americans drink raw milk, although that number may be a bit higher — a FoodNet survey in 2007 found that 3 percent of the U.S. population, or about 9.4 million people, regularly consumes raw milk.

Whether or not to consume milk in its unaltered state is a highly emotional issue, and for good reason. Should anyone — and particularly someone like a child or elderly person with an immature or compromised immune system — ingest milk that harbors the deadly bacteria E.coli O157:H7, they could risk losing a kidney. Continue reading

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