Toronto Life sums up the situation nicely in their Daily dish:
“Raw-milk enthusiast Michael Schmidt began presenting his defence yesterday at a courthouse in Newmarket. The Ontario farmer is defending himself in court after a 2006 raid on his property resulted in a charge of illegally selling unpasteurized milk. This is Schmidt’s second time in court, and he is lawyer-free once again. Is it just us, or is this issue lasting forever?”
Monday’s story on CBCnews.ca was titled: “Case more to do with rights than sales, raw milk crusader tells court”. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“…Michael Schmidt is conducting his own defence during the trial in Newmarket on about 20 charges stemming from an armed raid of his farm in November 2006.
In his opening statement, Schmidt said the core issue was not milk but the “respect to [which] the individual’s freedom has been lost or wilfully ignored.”
During a court recess, he proceeded to take a large swig of unpasteurized milk from a mason jar.
Meanwhile, outside the courtroom, spectators gathered to hear details of the raid. The Crown said it will reveal evidence from the undercover investigation….”
But as usual, the comments are more telling than the story, and by now there are 246 of them. Here are a select few:
“Sebulba: I’m guessing, maybe one quarter of all people get sick from pasteurized milk, it is called lactose intolerance, and is a direct result of the pasteurization process killing the enzymes in raw milk that one requires to digest the sugar and proteins in milk. It’s not fatal so who cares, eh? The rumour is that people with lactose intolerance have somehow stopped producing the enzymes required to digest milk.
Pasteurization destroys about 40 percent of the basic nutritional value of milk, including vitamins and minerals. It also destroys the enzymes required to easily digest the nutrients, and kills the white cells protecting the milk from pathogens.
Three pathogens that can exist in milk, (listeroisis, salmonella, and just one strain of E-coli # 0157H), we have been told are bacteria, and should be destroyed using pasteurization. These pathogens are often called bacteria.
These pathogens rarely get into milk. So saying all raw milk is poisonous, is wrong. The milk is not harmful to young children, pregnant or elder people, the pathogens are harmful.
So pasteurization can kill 99.99% of these pathogens. Unfortunately 0.01% if left in the milk, and any other pathogens that make it into the pasteurized milk will be able to flourish in the now dead. The pasteurized milk is tested for theses pathogens, and if it has these then the whole truck load of milk is thrown out, as it poses a risk. They may just be using a simple age old test to see if there are any bacteria left alive in the pasteurized milk, I’m not sure.
Like every living food, raw milk is loaded with tons of good bacteria. It has no bad bacteria, except for the occasional pathogen, that we are concerned with. It also has white cells to fight pathogens. If you were to add 10 units of listerous to pasteurized milk, people would become ill, and as little as one unit could kill a young or elderly person. With organic raw milk you can add as many units of listeroisis as you like, and drink it after the milk has had a couple of hours to kill the pathogens, without getting sick. At a thousand units of listeroisis the milk tastes and smells too bad to be drunk. So listeroisis in raw milk really isn’t an issue.
Why not test the raw milk and be safe? I think organic milk should be organic raw milk that is tested for pathogens to ensure safety.”
“Capitalism 101: Humankind has survived for hundreds of thousands of years on raw milk from cows, goats and other milk producing animals. But Health Canada obviously knows better than Mother Nature and has deemed raw milk dangerous, such folly. This is what happens when you give the government an inch of power, and they take a yard. It is time to tell the government to step back.
Pasteurization is not all that it is cracked up to be, if you pasteurized bad milk you still have bad milk with fewer live bacteria. Would you feed your baby bad milk that was pasteurized, I know I wouldn’t.
I drank raw milk on my Grandparents farm and never got sick and now have bones that are much more dense than most people. I have had accidents where I should have broken a bone and nothing happened. I now drink organic milk because that is the only milk I can find that even tastes like real milk.”
“Alison Folkes: I am now almost 81 years old. When I was growing up in Montreal we used to go to a farm in the Eastern townships which had a herd of Jersey cows. They were all TB tested and the milk was the best I have ever tasted. We drank that for a month each year. The barn was probably not as clean as they are today but the shed with the separating machine was very clean. I used to be allowed to turn the handle separating the milk from the cream. We had real cream on our porridge in the morning and I also got to turn the handle for the home made ice cream on Sundays. I think we got pretty good milk delivered in the city until sometime in the 60s (I think) I noticed that the “best before” date on milk was all of a sudden weeks or months ahead. I learned through much questioning of supermarket managers that the milk was now irradiated. Any heated milk from then on has left a scum on the pot that was never there before. I also have not bought any milk since then because it doesn’t taste like milk. I now use half and half for everything but long for the days when we had that great tasting milk. My parents lived until their 90s and I am still here with a good immune system. I think people should be able to choose unpasteurized milk if they desire to do so. If I had enough money to purchase the program Mr. Schmidt runs I would surely love to buy that milk and have it for my grandchildren.”
“Titanium48: For reasons amply explained in preceding comments, unpasteurized milk has no place in the grocery store. However, the raid on Mr. Schmidt’s farm and the subsequent prosecution is a mind-boggling waste of money. He found a perfectly reasonable loophole in the law and should have been left alone. Unlike picking up a jug of milk at the store, one does not casually buy a share in a dairy operation. Planning and forethought are required, including an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the risks before buying. At most, the only modification needed would be to require shareholders to sign a waiver acknowledging the risks and agreeing not to share the milk with children or with adults who have not signed similar waivers.”
“Nguneer: Oh boy, I love some of our laws. Four stories up, there is an article about drugs being found in the wastwater. SO – I don’t think htere is a law that prevents me from helping myself to efluent or any other run-off. We can dump raw animal sewage onto feild (walkerton anyone?) yet there are legal restrictions to milk. Admittedly, there is a risk of bacteria, but, there is bacteria in our groceries – it is up to the consumer to cook/wash what have you. I can buy meat without signing a waver OR posting a bond to ensure I cook thouroughly. Perhaps we could spend less money prosecuting a fellow selling milk to a handfull of of people and maybe focus on larger problems? then again, this is typical, isn’t it? We are quite good at deporting the single mother with 2 kids rainsed in Canada as they have an address, but the drug lord is a bit tougher…”
“Richard 333: briarga wrote “Mr. Schmidt knew he was breaking the law, he got caught, and is on trial specifically for that. This has nothing to do with his rights being violated or his fairy tale about the government trying to control every aspect of our lives.”
That was exactly the same for Henry Morgentaler. He knew he was breaking the law and went to trial and to prison. He believed that women’s rights were being violated and he fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court agreed with him.
So Mr. Schmidt believes that the right to live one’s life is overly controlled and he is willing to stand trial and fight for that right to have more freedom and less government intrusion. I doubt he has the money to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court, but he too is standing up for something he believes in.
This is one way in our society to fight for one’s rights.”