Monthly Archives: February 2009

Raw milk roundup #10 – 10 new stories

CBC radio’s “the current” on the recent Listeria scare  — blaming raw milk cheese in Quebec

Part 3: Raw Milk Cheese – Jourdenais

Earlier this week, a group of cheese connoisseurs gathered in Toronto for a chance to sample some raw milk cheese, and get a little education, courtesy of the host, Canadian Chef, Gurth Pretty. We aired some tape from a celebration of raw milk cheese, held earlier this week in Toronto.

But last September, artisanal cheese was on Quebecers’ lips. for a much less palatable reason. It’s been more than five months since the day known as “Black Saturday” in Quebec’s artisanal cheese industry. Three hundred cheese shops, producers, and grocery stores were forced to destroy fridges full of cheeses that the government feared may have come in to contact with other locally produced cheese that had been infected with listeriosis. This outbreak was not related to the Maple Leaf Listeriosis crisis at the time. Continue reading

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“Let’s be clear: Pasteurization only kills pathogens” — the Globe and Mail

The trial may be over, but it seems the public interest in raw milk is still strong. Raw milk is the news story that just won’t go away. Here’s what seems like it could be an attempt to regain some journalistic “balance” after all the pro-raw-milk publicity around the trial. One interesting sidelight to this story is that comments were “closed” already 6 hours after the story was posted. I wonder if comments were ever “open” at all on this story. See excerpt from that Globe and Mail story below the “keep reading” link.

The unwillingness of the pro-pasteurization folks to enter into dialog on the issues seems to be a recurring theme. At the recent International Association of Food Protection raw milk symposium in Virginia, almost the whole FDA contingent withdrew at the last moment when it became apparent that a handful of pro-raw-milk people would also be there. John Sheehan, the FDA’s dairy chief, who had been scheduled to give the keynote address at the symposium was one of these last minute dropouts. With a dozen scheduled FDA attendees gone, there were only 30 or so people at the IAFP Symposium (vs 150 in Toronto). But according to Michael Schmidt, who took part in the conference, the organizers were still very unwilling to open the floor to dialog. They insisted that questions be written on slips of paper and passed up to the speaker for answering. Continue reading

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Cheese wars in France over Camembert

Here’s an excerpt of  a story from Spiegel Online international about a failed attempt to “modernize” a classic raw French cheese by changing to pasteurized milk. This article came to our attention through a comment by Don Wittlinger on The Complete Patient blog.

The village of Camembert is tiny, and represents the ideal image many French still hold of their country. Photo Maurice Weiss/Ostkreis

The village of Camembert is tiny, and represents the ideal image many French still hold of their country. Photo Maurice Weiss/Ostkreis

“By Ullrich Fichtner
It was a typical globalization-era war that pitted tradition against profits. A large cheese factory wanted to change the Camembert recipe and began a dirty fight against small producers. This time, though, tradition emerged victorious.

When Luc Morelon was still convinced that this was a winnable war, he was willing to give interviews in his office on the 30th floor of the Montparnasse Tower, with its view of the Eiffel Tower and of a deceptively peaceful-looking sea of shimmering Parisian rooftops in the morning mist. Wearing a tie with a pattern of little colorful goats on it, Morelon, a heavy-set, white-haired man, sat at his desk facing a laptop filled with data and charts of his company, Lactalis. With 125 plants worldwide, 32,000 employees and €9.6 billion ($12.2 billion) in annual sales, Lactalis is Europe’s largest cheese producer, a global giant and a company that is easy to hate. Continue reading

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USDA bets the farm on animal ID

This is an excerpt from a story by by William Pentland and David E. Gumpert on the NAISSTINKS.com site:

CAFO = Confined Animal Feeding Operation - Coming soon to everybodys backyard?

CAFO = Confined Animal Feeding Operation - Coming soon to everybody's backyard? Let's hope not!

“In winter 2006, faced with a mandatory program that required him to attach electronic tracking tags on his animals, Michigan farmer Brad Clark sold his cattle herd, and nearly forty years as a cowboy-style rancher came crashing to a halt. Now he’s a full-time electrician.

“Cows lose tags like crazy,” said Clark. “They get caught in tree limbs. You get an 1,800-pound bull that doesn’t want to be tagged, it’s an ordeal.”

In March, when Michigan became the first state to make parts of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) mandatory, requiring farmers to attach radio frequency identification ear tags on cattle and dairy cows, Clark was already among the casualties. Continue reading

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Swallow peanuts but choke on raw milk

Here’s an excerpt from a Feb 22, 2009 story by Tim Rowland, from the Herald-Mail.com website:

Peanut butter

Peanut butter

“It’s rich to hear state health departments and the federal Food and Drug Administration shake a warning finger at the Maryland General Assembly over the dangers of raw milk.

It is equally quaint to hear the farm bureaus raise the same complaints, considering that many of their dairy-farmer members grew up drinking the stuff.

The message is that any milk that hasn’t been cooked beyond recognition under the watchful eye of government regulators is unfit for human consumption – and as regulators guard the front door with shotguns to prevent a dairy breaking and entering, tons of bacterially poisoned peanut butter are slipping in through the back, which should be proof enough that it’s the producer, not the product, that makes the difference.

Fans of raw milk in Maryland have to purchase it on the black market or drive to Pennsylvania, where it’s legal, according to a story by Meredith Cohn in The (Baltimore) Sun. They believe it to be more nutritious, a claim that the government disputes. Common sense, however, would suggest that cooking anything diminishes its food value. Continue reading

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GMO plants and cloned animals — the corporate future of farming in America?

Thanks for Linn Cohen-Cole for the material in this post. To start off, here’s an excerpt from an editorial column from the New York Times by Verlyn Klinkenborg titled:

Closing the Barn Door After the Cows Have Gotten Out

Cloned pigs.

Cloned pigs.

“Last week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the eventual sale of meat and dairy products from cloned animals, saying, in effect, that consumers face no health risks from them.

The next day, the Department of Agriculture asked farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market until consumers have time to get over their anticloning prejudice. That is one prejudice I plan to hold on to. I will not be eating cloned meat.

The reason has nothing to do with my personal health or safety. I think the clearest way to understand the problem with cloning is to consider a broader question: Who benefits from it? Proponents will say that the consumer does, because we will get higher quality, more consistent foods from cloned animals. But the real beneficiaries are the nations large meatpacking companies the kind that would like it best if chickens grew in the shape of nuggets. Anyone who really cares about food its different tastes, textures and delights is more interested in diversity than uniformity. Continue reading

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Zombie Legislation rises from the crypt: Bills C-51 and C-52 are back as Bill C-6

Helke Ferrie wrote the book on this issue.

Helke Ferrie wrote the book on this issue -- quite literally.

Editor’s note: I’ve long read and admired Helke Ferrie’s regular columns on the politics of health in Vitality Magazine.

Helke is also publisher and author of numerous cutting-edge books on contemporary health issues. I don’t think there’s any doubt that she’s the “go to” person for insight on this latest attempt on the health of Canadians.

Important Public Meetings — TWO DATES:

Tuesday Feb. 24, 2009 at 7 pm at Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket. FREE.
and
Wednesday Feb. 25, 2009 at 6:45 at the North York Public Library $20. at the door

Helke Ferrie will speak about the “new”  Canadian Bill C-51 (as well as C-52, now known as C-6), which proposes many changes to the Food and Drug Act among others.

What Part of NO! Don’t they Understand? How will this legislation affect us, personally and professionally Learn how we can all affect the political process. Continue reading

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