CBCnews.ca tries not to sound too enthusiastic about raw milk — but lots of commenters provide good content

Wasn’t CBC Newsworld going to rebroadcast the award winning documentary about Michael Schmidt and raw milk around now. Has anybody heard when and if that’s a go? Here’s an excerpt  from the latest CBCnews.ca website story on raw milk:

Milk Given the Raw Deal?

With the current trends toward organic and raw food diets, some raw food supporters are saying it’s time to reopen the debate on unpasteurized milk.

It is illegal to sell raw, or unpasteurized, milk in Canada because of concerns about E. coli and other bacteria. But that didn’t stop Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt from setting up a deal where customers could own part of a cow, and thus get raw milk. In November 2006, his farm was raided and his equipment was seized, because authorities say he violated the Milk Act. He faces 20 charges related to illegally producing, storing and distributing raw milk.

In October 2008, Schmidt was found guilty of contempt of court for ignoring a court order to stop selling unpasteurized milk. In January 2009, Schmidt returned to court and announced plans to file a charter challenge on the grounds that the police investigation violated his right to liberty.

“The only thing that will stop me is if we — through a constructive dialogue — actually find out that milk might be dangerous,” he told reporters. “And I can guarantee it is not.”

What is it?

Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. The taste and digestibility are different, but there’s no consensus as to whether it’s healthier than processed milk.

What’s pasteurization?

Pasteurization is the process of heating a food for the purpose of killing harmful organisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, moulds and yeasts. French scientist Louis Pasteur invented the process in 1862.

What’s the problem?

Health authorities say that when milk isn’t pasteurized, it can contain potentially lethal disease-causing bacteria.

In August 2006, Health Canada released a statement ” to remind Canadians not to drink raw (unpasteurized) milk because it could contain bacteria that can make you seriously ill.”

The reminder warned that these bacteria, which include Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, could lead to very serious health conditions ranging from fever, vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, miscarriage and death. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems were cited as being particularly at risk.

The British Columbia Ministry of Health calls raw milk “a risk to public safety.” It says “milk is a highly perishable food product and is an excellent medium for transmitting a variety of diseases.” The statement adds that raw milk usually comes from farms that aren’t inspected by government agencies.

What’s the law?

In Canada, dairy farmers can’t sell unpasteurized milk. It’s regulated in the Food and Drug act, section B.08.002.02. It states that no person shall sell any dairy product, from a cow or any other animal, unless it has been pasteurized to meet health standards.

It is legal to sell raw milk in many American states and European countries. The pasteurization law doesn’t extend to cheese, as Canadian law permits the sale of raw-milk cheese that is aged for at least 60 days.

The debate resurfaced in November 2006 after provincial authorities raided Michael Schmidt’s Ontario dairy farm because he had been providing unpasteurized milk to about 150 customers.

Why raw milk?

Supporters of raw milk say the pasteurization process kills most, if not all, micro organisms, including the beneficial ones that aid in digestion and metabolization. They also promote good health by crowding out bad bacteria and help prevent yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract.

The Campaign for real milk says that raw milk comes from cows that are properly fed. Cows that eat green grass provide milk with nutrients like vitamins A and D. They argue that pasteurization enables the milk industry to raise cows in less-expensive, less-healthy conditions.

They also say that pasteurization destroys enzymes and diminishes vitamin content. Pasteurization, says the group, is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Many calves fed pasteurized milk die before maturity….”

Got to CBCnews.ca and be sure to read the comments.

Here are a few selected comments from the CBC site:

Jon from Ottawa: i worked on a dairy farm 4 years ago throughout high school and i would drink the milk raw… the taste is much better, and it tastes fresher… it would go bad in 4 days or so… how can milk sit on the shelf in a store for weeks? there must be other crap added in their to make it last longer. If i choose to drink raw milk that is up to me… back off government!

bonbon49: I´m with Romchick. I´ve been to europe and enjoyed the wonderfully flavored food there. Obviously they are not mass producing food in the same way that we are because their food is richer and more flavorful and probably more nutritious which might be one reason they don´t have to eat like pigs to be satisfied. Hmmmm, I wonder if greed has anything to do with this!! I say let the people buy raw milk from grass fed cows if they please. Since when should we allow government to rule on every breath we take!!…excuse me….every bite we take!

BC Mom: I’ve done a bit of research into this myself. While I am not convinced either way yet, I do think people should have the choice to drink raw milk if they are convinced it is healthier for themselves and their families. If someone is willing to pay 4x the cost of pasteurized milk that you buy in the grocery store to drink raw milk you can believe they’ve done their research and are convinced they are doing the right thing.

Livnlife: Tobacco- legally sold in Canada 

Pharmaceuticals – legally sold in Canada 
Peanuts – legally sold in Canada 
Pesticides – legally sold in Canada 
…but Man am I glad we stopped the selling of raw milk. Whew! The natural stuff is what kills ya…

romchick: I am not saying that pasteurized milk is wrong but here me out: 

I lived in Eirope for the first 16 yrs of my life eating ONLY healthy, natural foods. We bought milk fresh from the farmer and the only thing we did, is we boiled it prior to drinking, in order to kill bacteria. Let me tell you something, it was THE BEST milk that I ever tasted, NEVER got sick, on the contrary. Canadian milk that one might buy in stores tastes like water, no favour, anything…..the broblem is that almost everything in North America is over processed and tastes fake, unless you buy it from the source. They screwed up evrething that was originally natural just because we want more instead of better…and we wonder why there are so many obese people and why most of us experience so many health problems……look at most european countries, if you ever have the chance, try their food, you`ll see what a big difference there is…..

tmarshall30:Just to comment to “2MuchTime.” We gamble with our health everyday with the food we eat. There is no way to be sure that any food we buy is not going to cause complications. What we want is the choice.

TallDeepVoice: Further on the topic of regulations vs. common sense in food production and distribution, I highly recommend “The Devil’s Picnic”, by Taras Grescoe. Especially interesting is the chapter on raw-milk cheese. When in France, I make a point of buying and returning to Canada with as much of it as I can carry. If it’s vacuum sealed prior to departure, you can usually bring it back… unless there’s some total food nazi at the airport who confiscates it “just in case”. (Probably takes it home, too!)

Bordon’s: I suppose in the whole big scheme of things today, both sides of this argument has merit. But, I have to agree that there should be a legal system for raw milk. I have allergies and food intolerance’s and if I had to rely on purchased food, I would most likely die of malnutrition. I can’t tolerate today’s pasteurized milk, commercial beef, pork, chicken, and cheese, gluten and soybeans. Packaged food and toothpaste are out too. 

So I have a milk cow. She feeds yearly baby beef and a pig for the freezer and ,of course, the chickens. Her poop makes the gardens grow. I make everything we eat from whatever this land supplies us. It is a lot of work, but we eat very well. We are getting older and one day might have to quit this….and then, what do I do?
Some how, our commercial food system has to get back to being slower, more real and local. Food intolerance’s are not uncommon and I know for sure that mine are set off by most food available in large supermarkets


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3 responses to “CBCnews.ca tries not to sound too enthusiastic about raw milk — but lots of commenters provide good content

  1. Bernie Bailey

    since I am the guy that owned the last legal processing dairy in western Ontario and forced out of business by corrupt civil servants (Google Bernie Bailey Wingham) I would like to point out that Schmidt has come up against the egos of the civil servants , but if they would step back and look at this and had any real education or knowledge of milk products it would be a simple test that is done every day in every dairy to test for bacteria levels and this documented test that takes twenty four hours to do as well as testing done by government and private labs could verify the purity of the milk being sold ,just like pasteurized milk is now ,but wait the government spent the last twenty years getting rid of small dairies in favor of global players so its no time to create jobs in Ontario now lets keep importing powdered milk from abroad to make Canadian cheese

    I am one vote

  2. jessiedog


  3. Robert P

    I am Canadian born but spent many summers as a child on dairy fields in my fathers ancestoral country (San Miquel, Azores, Portugal). I would drink raw milk still warm from cow. Milk never tasted so good. I never got sick during my stay either. The cows were free ranging and care was taken to clean the cows and the milk containers. Local cheese was also phenominal. If care is taken in the milking, storage and transport of milk along with testing for any bacteria would not be any problems in consuming raw milk or raw milk cheese. Let’s look at the whole flow and process of milk production to cheese production instead of simply looking at bacteria killing fix which effects the foods taste and quality.

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