“Time to lift ban on raw milk” — align Canada with other G8 countries — letter to Owen Sound Sun Times

Here’s another well-written letter to the Sun Times editor, addressing the raw milk issues that have been raised in recent editorials. Seems like a sound argument to me:

“When Michael Schmidt’s cows start producing “abstract-expressionist paintings” I will buy the entire herd instead of just the left-front udder of “Bessie” as my cow-share!

Your editorial (Oct. 21) fails to consider “the law is an ass” issue and takes several other questionable issues for granted.

The law’s main weakness is that the other seven of the G8 nations have not found reasons to exclude unpasteurized milk from their markets. Just as they regulate milk producers for pasteurization, they also regulate producers of raw milk. They produce raw milk without health problems!

The Ontario Legislature’s reluctance to produce regulations that will bring us in line with our major trading partners is what makes the law that excludes raw milk so lame.

Another weakness of this law appears in your editorial statement, which you have even highlighted, that “anyone who doesn’t believe that pasteurization saves lives should speak to someone old enough to remember the days before it was introduced.”

I am devastated by the number of people who died from drinking contaminated milk before the Second World War, whether it was from a filthy environment or tubercular cows. But the unhygienic conditions prior to the 1950s are no longer tolerated and cow tuberculosis has been mostly eliminated and constant testing keeps us safe from it.

In the meantime, farmers and farmers’ families have drink their own raw milk (my own children were raised on raw goat’s milk) and in the same 60 years not a single farmer or family member died of drinking raw milk!

Your next argument is so generic that if you mean it, you will not eat anything uncooked. Risk of salmonella, E. coli and listeriosis are no longer mysterious. These exist among most other foods, in eggs, water and lunch meat, and I am horrified by the fact that people have even recently died of these bacteria! E. coli in Walkerton was the result of human evasion of regulations.

Listeriosis went by the inspectors because in a mass-production situation minimum standards were applied and the inspectors overlooked the fact that this bacteria grows in the packaged meat long after it leaves the plant.

These risks continue to be present, yet all food preparing and packaging industries continue to produce their “risky” food.

Michael Schmidt and his certified organic farm tests their milk even without regulators. These tests show that his milk is often “cleaner” than pasteurized milk. In other words, this particular raw-milk operation is a model according to which the outdated law can be amended and regulations set up.

Even the Milk Marketing Board and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario resist unpasteurized milk because there is a law against it. You cannot change cows giving raw milk, but you can change the law to provide raw milk to those who are lactose intolerant, or to whom raw milk is a matter of maintaining their good health.

Daniel Kolos Priceville”

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