CBC news asks: “What do you think of Schmidt’s legal battle?” (for people’s right to access raw milk via cowshares)

On the CBCnews.ca website, Andree Lau writes:

Michael Schmidt toasts victory with a glass of raw milk outside the Newmarket court Thursday.

“I hate the taste of milk. Every time my parents made me drink it as a kid, I got a stomach ache. They didn’t believe me, thinking I was up to childhood hysterics.

I remember my aunt — in trying to coax me to drink my milk — adding Ribena to my glass, turning it pink. It worked for a day.

Then we figured out I was lactose intolerant. These days, I just carry Lactaid.

I’m intrigued by the three-year fight by Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt who produces raw, or unpasteurized, milk from his 150 cows. He then distributes the unprocessed milk to a small group of customers who have purchased “cow shares.”

It’s not illegal to drink raw milk in Canada, but it is against the law to sell or distribute milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. (Raw-milk cheese, on the other hand, is legal in Canada as long as it’s aged for at least 60 days.)

In 2006, officials raided Schmidt’s farm, seized his milking equipment and slapped him with 19 charges relating to selling unpasteurized milk. On Thursday, he was found not guilty….”

“….”The rich and sweet taste of unpasteurized milk would blow most people away,” Schmidt has said. “I bet that 90 per cent of the people who would have the choice by blind tasting would all go for raw milk because that is the taste of milk and not what you buy on the shelf.”

Others argue the natural micro organisms in raw milk aid in digestion. At some of Schmidt’s speeches, immigrants have recalled stories of drinking raw milk in their home countries and not having any digestive problems they now experience with pasteurized milk.

But really, Schmidt’s fight tested the rights of consumers to choose what they want to eat. While the state can issue rules and warnings, can they really restrict what people consume?

Read the whole thing here on CBCnews.ca

So, what are people saying in the comments?

Jay: “I don’t like the stuff. Its actually gross tasting. Besides that who would drink raw milk these days? Skim Milk is the way to go and I don’t think raw milk comes in that form.

A question to ponder is if someone actually gets sick and dies who will be sued? I hope Mr Schmidt intends to have lots of insurance. Anyone getting sick from his ‘cow shares’ should also be respopnsible for the costs of their own health care should they need it as a result of drinking this stuff. I refuse to pay for someone else’s risky food choices. One only needs to look to heavily inspected Maple Leaf to understand things can go wrong quite easily. What about when its uninspected and necessary processing isn’t done? I can see a lot of trouble coming.”

GWG: “For years until it was made illegal, I purchased raw milk directly from a farm. The taste and consistency of raw milk are far superior to the pasteurized crap we are forced to buy now. Bravo to Michael Schmidt and his supporters.”

Terry: “As a prairie farm kid growing up in southern Alberta – I milked cows after school and separated it each night just before supper time. My Mom would have to just about sit on me trying to stop me from drinking the raw milk while I ran the milk separator (spoiling my dinner). I loved it and I DOES taste different – read: better. It has been years since I have tasted real rich raw dairy milk. I would buy it in a heart beat if I had the chance.”

Annie Simon: “I drank raw mik for years when I lived next to a dairy farm that allowed us to go in, dip out a gallon from the tank and leave a couple of dollars on the table. After using it for a few months, if I drank some pasteurized and homogenized commercial milk, it made me feel sick — soured my stomach. Raw milk is not just beter tasting — it is much better for you. I read that the fat part of milk is digested in one part of the tract, and the protein part in another — but homogenization binds the fat and protein molecules together. Maybe that is what makes it indigestible. I don’t know if the heating of pasteurization makes digestion problems too.

For the rest of the story about dairy cows, check out the documentary FOOD INC. I’d wager this raw milk producer treats his cows better.”

I.T. Da Silva: “Growing up in Brazil, I drank raw milk and never got sick by it. I remember my father milking it right into my cup, before I went to school. It was worm, and like my father said, is was a breakfast in itself. People in the area where I grow up still do it to this day. I think that raw milk is less dangerous than pop and the energy drinks that is sold to the public today, here in Canada.”

Terry Watkinson: “My grandparents owned a dairy and, in retirement, raised beef. We routinely drank raw milk and ate butter, cheese and ice cream made from the cow’s milk. The milk and ice cream were especially tasty. No ill effects were experienced by any family member as a consequence of ingesting these products.
However, I would not drink unpasturized milk today, unless I was completely familiar with its’ source.
I think the cow share idea is a good one, and should be legal since it addresses the source concerns.”

JC: “When I was a kid, it was perfectly normal to have a half dozen bottles of fresh raw milk at your doorstep every morning. Never had a problem drinking it, and it tasted amazing.

It wasn’t until I immigrated to North America 20 years later that I am drinking the over-processed dairy products here, and growing ever more lactose intolerant as the years go by.

Coincidence?”

Erin: “Human milk is unpasturized and there is huge pressure on new mothers to breast feed their baby because of all of the good benefits of it.

Give people the choice to drink whatever type of milk they want. If they force all milk for consumption (sold or not, because you can sell breast milk) to be pasturized then will we then expect mothers to pasturize their milk before feeding it to their babies becaus it will remove bacterial impurities that are in the mothers body?

IMO: Police over reaction, I’m glad he’s not guilty.”

Alexy Golovan: “It’s up to consumers to decide what to eat and not to eat. Government can issue warning, but it’s our choice. I tried raw milk lots of times and it’s much better than regular milk. Frankly, I do not consider it as milk, it’s just white water with some taste of milk. People who tried raw milk will agree with me. If I had a choice in the supermarket I would buy raw milk.”

Once again, you can read lots more comments on the CBCnews.ca site.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “CBC news asks: “What do you think of Schmidt’s legal battle?” (for people’s right to access raw milk via cowshares)

  1. thebovine

    Further discussion in the Toronto Star:

    Re:Activist foodies hail raw-milk triumph,

    Jan. 22

    Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky ruled there is no evidence that Michael Schmidt’s raw milk had ever caused illness. What of the massive, unquestioned evidence that raw milk can and does sicken and kill people, including children? Schmidt argued that distributing raw milk was acceptable because his customers, sorry, cow-share members, were aware of its “well-established and substantial risks.” I wonder if the 2-year-old pictured in the Star drinking raw milk understood and accepted those risks?

    Graham White, Toronto

    I know this flies in the face of big brotherism but the decision on raw milk underlines the importance of individuals being able to choose which foods they will consume. Your editorial suggests that this is too important an issue to leave with a lower court and that a higher court is needed to make the proper decision. That is wrong. Perhaps our focus should be on fine tuning legislation to ensure the safe collection and storage of milk rather than maintaining procedures that made more sense in the previous century.

    Al Truscott, Collingwood

    from: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/754693–the-raw-milk-debate-continues

  2. What does intelligence and civil rights have to do with the issue? It has very much to do with the issue. And so does emotional Intelligence (see Daniel Coleman’s book, “Emotional Intelligence” if you think you are intelligent or lack some or know someone or some organization who lacks intelligence, thereof). ** If you level the playing field and compare “Apples to Apples ” or Milk to Milk; which milk is better for you? which milk has more vitamins and minerals in it? How many people died over the last 100 years by drinking Commercial Pasteurized Milk? How many people over the last 100 years have died from drinking raw milk? In the USA? In Canada? In Russia? And why or why not. Let us be frank and honest here. Besides, the government has no right to tell us what to eat. Or what to feed our children. Pretty soon, they will come into your home and tell you that you cannot breast feed. Maybe it is time to take the pitch forks out and stand like Ghandi.

    Milkmen USA

  3. Dairymaid

    My cultural heritage is deeply rooted in the use and production of raw dairy foods, and as such, they are extremely important to me. Raw dairy foods – which I use on a daily basis – are irreplaceable and are of traditional cultural importance to me. The pasteurized substitutes of many raw milk products simply will not produce the desired heritage-method results of dairy food preparation I employ at home. The Fraser Valley and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority’s recent order to “cease and desist” the ‘sale’ and or distribution of raw milk and raw milk products from “Home on the Range” dairy has jeopardized the integrity of my cultural traditions.

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