What are people saying about raw milk?

Raw milk continues to be a subject of controversy wherever discussions appear on the ‘net. Here are a few samplings from recent stories.

Photo of dairy cow from the "Compassion in Farming" Flikr archive

First off, a letter to the editor from the Vernon County Broadcaster:

Longtime raw milk drinker says farmers should be able to sell

by Ernest Haugen

I have seen in our newspapers that there are people in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture who are willing to stop the sale of raw milk on our farms. How unreasonable can they get?

I think that it was in 1986 when I went on a trip to West Groton, N.Y., to visit Ed and Sally Newhauser, who were working at the Cornell University for the E.P.A. (Environment Protection Agency), and I went along with them to a neighbor farm to buy raw milk.

Ed brought his own containers. He started up the bulk milk tank and mixed the milk. He opened up the faucet on the tank with his containers underneath. He wrote down on a piece of paper the amount of milk and his name, along with money and dropped it in a box on a shelf in the milk house. It only took a few minutes. We did not see the farmer.

We sure do not need DATCP. I am more concerned with pasteurizing of milk that kills vitamin D, then they put vitamin D back. What is that made from and how much per gallon? And I am concerned about homogenized milk that puts the milk through high speed to break down the fat cells to prevent the butterfat from rising up to the top. You can turn the bottle upside down.

I have used Jersey milk ever since I was able to walk. I always enjoyed cream on bread and oatmeal. I have been sick sometimes and so have those who drink beer, whisky, brandy and wine. Now let the consumer buy milk from the farms.

Ernest Haugen, Coon Valley”

And next, some commentary on the South Dakota scene, from the Madville Times:

“RAW MILK REPRIEVE: State Ag Backs Off Dairy Killing Rules

Sometimes Christmas gets so busy you forget one of the presents under the tree. An eager reader e-mailed yesterday to alert me to one such gift I missed: South Dakota’s Department of (Big Corporate) Agriculture announced last month it was backing down from proposing rules that would have shuttered small dairies and raw milk producers.

Of course, to win this reprieve, small dairy operators like Lila Streff from Streff Ridge Farm Goat Dairy near Custer had to wage their own fight. Sitting on the sidelines in fighting this threat to small family famrs were the big operators like the Farm Bureau propaganda organs, who claim to want unity among all agriculture producers.

Keep alert, small dairies: Ag Secretary Bill Even says he’s still looking to impose some sort of rules on small dairies. He at least says he’s looking to talk to producers and consumers first before drafting the next set of rules. Wow—actually talking to the people your rules affect before proposing… what a novel concept!”

And here’s one of the comments that follow that story:

“A great way to start is to find people who drink raw milk and see that they are still living and breathing.

I think it is astonishing that people who think nothing of smoking, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, eating HFCS and pseudo fats made out of chemicals go ballistic when raw milk is mentioned. I do not mean you, I mean people like the SDSU extension agent who told me it was absolutely illegal to buy raw milk in SD.

Next-there are two books to read that are worth your time. “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid and “The Raw Milk Revolution” by David E. Gumpert. Also visit realmilk.com which is sponsored by the Weston Price Foundation.

Can you get sick from raw milk? Yes, it is possible. But think about it, there was just ANOTHER ground beef recall recently, people have died from this, and spinach too. There is always a risk with food, the risk has grown exponentially w/the industrialization of agriculture, which the USDA and FDA seems to ignore, turning their attention to picking on those who do not have the $$$ to defend themselves. The beauty of raw milk is that you can visit the farm that produces it. One of the interesting things about raw milk is how many people who drink it who have never broken a bone, or heal quickly.


And good luck in your quest to enjoy real milk.”

This just in from Gordon Watson in B.C.

Latest Update on the Home on the Range story

“This will blow over in another week or so. Our cowshare will keep on going, which is victory enough for me. This morning on CBC radio Vancouver, provincial health officer Perry Kendall admitted, in a roundabout way, that cowsharing is legal in BC.

Gordon S Watson

And now some comments from the Globe and Mail story about the public being urged to discard milk from “Home on the Range“:

GMWKAM says:

“”Unpasteurized milk is illegal in Canada because you cannot guarantee it doesn’t have bacteria in it,” Dr. Kendall said.”

We have seen its pretty hard to guarantee that almost any product does not have bacteria.

Unpasteurized milk is illegal in Canada because it prevents the smaller dairy from competing with larger corporate dairies. Unpasteurized product cannot be shipped a long distance the way Safeway, etc like to do. People should be allowed to make their own decisions based on what they perceive to be healthy instead of what the big election campaign donaters would like to see happen. If the people did happen to be wrong we would find out soon enough.
We need to encourage small agriculture in this country. (and others) We also need to go back to eating what is grown nearby for reasons of both health and the environment. Outlawing unpasteurized milk only helps the big producer, not the consumer.”

legalizefreedom says:

“Yes our government wants to protect us from bacteria in milk – sounds wonderful doesn’t it! What about freedom to choose. Safety is the responsibilty of a free citizen not an action of government. What about the prescription drugs running through our water, flouride, aspartame, gm food , nano technology , our toxic earth,air and corn oil they seem to be okay with that and well let’s pay tax for our sins to clean up the air. It won’t fix the problem but it sure will make someone’s pocket feel good. Under their watchful eyes and increased food safety inspections more people have died and become ill from meat, peanut butter, tomatoes, spinach …than that caused by raw unpasturized milk. Raw milk has many health benefits and can also be rendered from the cow in a safe fashion. Nothing is ever for certain but I would rather drink raw milk from cows eating an organic non-gmo diet than drink the water or eat this chemical cocktail we call food. What a joke people – we can not protect everyone from everything all the time and yes sad as it may seem we all must take chances, we all die of something sometime and believe it or not part of being human is having God Given rights meaning you have the freedom to choose what you eat. If you feel raw milk is dangerous and you have exhausted all avenues of research to come to this conclusion then don’t drink it. But if you haven’t done the research and have exhausted all the resources fear not because you are only being told what they want you to hear and on that note if you still oppose raw milk take another pill, read the paper and prepare for your full body scan IN THIS NEW WORLD YOU HAVE HELPED TO CREATE. The more we give away our freedom and liberty the more it seems we have problems popping up all over just so they can control us, what we eat, do, go, read, talk about and believe in. “Control the oil you control the nations control the food control the people” Kissinger 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide”

GMWKAM says:

“”jjjjjjjjjjj wrote:

“People who think like this are a serious public menace.”

Not nearly as serious as those who want to control our choices for their own personal greed. Think about this a little. If you believe raw milk is not worth the risk no one is holding a gun to your head and making you drink it. But the government, in order to support those who give them money to run election campaigns, is preventing everyone from having that choice and doing one more thing to prevent small agriculture from being a viable enterprise in this country. That is wrong for moral, environmental and economic reasons.”

benwatts says:

“Without access to the original test results, all this fuss is a bit too much. Regular pasteurized milk in BC is permitted to have a small amount of coliform bacteria. Part 4 Division 5-83 of the BC Milk Industries Standards Regulation states “The bacterial content of pasteurized milk in fluid form shall not exceed 10 000 bacteria per millilitre or one coliform bacteria per millilitre more frequently than twice during the last 6 consecutive tests on samples” (www.bclaws.ca) In the states of California, legal raw milk is permitted to have maximum 10 coliform bacteria / mL. The states of Connecticut, Idaho and New Mexico allow no more than 50 coliform bacteria / mL. (California Department of Food & Agriculture)”

AllisonB replies:

“benwatts, I totally agree. And where are these test results? If they are so concerned about the health of the sharemembers they want them to dump the milk, shouldn’t they supply the evidence?
For those who think that ‘raw’ milk is the same as the milk produced intended to be pasteurized just not – it’s not. Milk produced for pasteurization that is delivered to the grocery stores comes from cows who spend virtually their whole lives in a barn living in their own feces. Sanitary conditions are not a big concern as the milk will be pasteurized anyway.
Raw milk dairies keep their cows out on pasture most of the time and pay close attention to hygiene and sanitary procedures. And, don’t forget they produce their milk to feed to their OWN families, they have every reason to ensure a safe, healthy product.”

Caroline Cooper says:

“Updated January 6, 2010: I still have not been able to find any proof that someone has become sick from the stated food contamination. I contacted Sally Fallon, the founder of the Weston A Price Foundation. She had a number of questions that should be put to the BC Center for Disease Control: “1. How many people in the area became sick? 2. How many of these people drank raw milk? 3. Did they test the milk? 4. If so, did they find a pathogen? 5. If they found a pathogen, did it match the pathogen that made people sick?”

Updated January 7, 2010: Many of the answers are in the following email from Home on the Range. The email was written by Gordon Watson, a long term member of the Home on the Range cooperative: “On January 6, 2010, I got a copy of the lab results which was given to one of our former depots, by Vancouver Coastal Health. A ‘cfu’ means colony forming unit. The FOOD QUALITY SAMPLING RESULTS for milk from our herd show that, the colony forming units range between 1,300 for the butter, up to 3,000 for other products. The fluid milk was 2,400. Thus, the tests from the BC Center for Disease Control show that our milk is well under the 10,000 cfu standard for pasteurized homogenized milk retailed in BC.”

I still cannot find a reference to anyone becoming sick, therefore a tie to the strain of bacteria found in the raw milk products is irrelevant at this point.”

Erik_D says:

“Yes this “small” farm is hardly infringing on the big boys territory, but whether we like it or not we have a quota system in BC that the farmers have paid BIG money for. Looking at the percentage of comments in favor of raw milk it appears as if left unchecked this “small family business” would turn into a big industry….”

Read all 19 comments on the Globe story here.


Filed under News

2 responses to “What are people saying about raw milk?

  1. EXISTENTIAL COW: My wife wants cow friendly organic milk and cream. Fine, I can live with this. Still, I’m skeptical about how grateful the cow will be for our concern and attempts at relieving bovine misery. If you believe in the Buddhist aphorism that ‘All life is suffering’, then it is tough to imagine the cow’s happiness depends on being milked the correct way. The existential cow probably has figured this out. Yes, cows suffer, they are fenced in with nothing to do but ‘moo’. Maybe we should just free the cows.

  2. thebovine

    Improved cow care goes a long way beyond “being milked the right way”.

    Type of food — hay instead of corn or grain

    How that food is grown — not with chemicals

    Breeding — not for maximum production

    Access to outdoor — not being tied up all the time

    Attitude of the farmer — just to make money?

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