Gordon Watson replies to the latest numbers being quoted by B.C. health officials for bacterial levels in Home on the Range milk samples. Gordon is replying to John Carsley’s comments following this post on the Bovine:
“Just now, our farmer got off the phone with Mark McAfee, one of the world’s experts on dairying. He operates Organic Pastures in California, which sells raw milk according to the high standards demanded by that state’s licensing program. Although we’re confident our milk is good, still, we needed to understand how tests on samples of raw milk from our herd could result in such high bacterial counts, relative to the levels raw milk farms do meet in Washington and California
Mark explained that the numbers put out by Vancouver Coastal Health are irrelevant, because the tests weren’t done properly. The protocol used by Organic Pastures is to take a sample of the milk immediately it comes from the cows. All samples are kept at 33 F, while being delivered on ice, overnight, to the state laboratory. The milk is tested the next day.
Compare that to the way samples were done here. First, the paper trail within Vancouver Coastal Health shows samples of our milk were not tested until some time between December 22 2009, and December 29 2009 … at least 6 days after being seized … maybe even 13 days.
Second; the samples arrived at the BC Centre for Disease Control lab over 40 degrees F. Which, alone, invalidates the tests. The testing done by independent lab JR Siliker
Mark McAfee says that if one were to take samples of dairy products made from pasteurized milk, on retail store shelves, coliform counts would in the range for the numbers attributed to our milk.
I have to wonder if B C Centre for Disease Control knew that much, or not? Either they did, therefore deliberately mis-informed the public by using a standard that does not apply. Or they didn’t know what they were talking about. Yet were only too happy to blaze – apparently – damning statistics across the media firmament.
Later today I hope to speak with Joe Fung, at the BC CDC lab. and get right down to brass tacks as to how those numbers were arrived at. Meanwhile, the Health Authorities can say what they want … here in the Fraser Valley the rain is coming down on our cows out in the field, and the REAL MILK is flowing – legally. This episode has proved the big point: cowsharing is legitimate in Canada.
A measure of success is political activism is when your opponents start using your terminology. I am greatly amused that spokesmen for the Health Authorities are now referring to the Washington State levels for bacterial counts in raw milk … that would be legal raw milk. We have won the conceptual point … I predict we shall see raw milk for sale in BC in 2010. Which is all I ever asked for when I started lobbying the government on this issue, a mere decade ago!
Gordon S Watson
Justice critic, Party of Citizens