B.C.’s Minister of Healthy Living, Ida Chong, responds to media op-ed about “Home on the Range” raw milk case

Before we get to that letter to the editor from the B.C. minister, here’s an introduction from Gordon Watson:

Yes, minister -- Ida Chong, B.C. Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, addresses media during a news conference on September 28, 2009, to announce B.C.'s seasonal flu vaccine campaign as Dr. Perry Kendall, Provincial Health Officer, looks on. Both have also now been involved in the Home on the Range raw milk controversy. Photo from a B.C. government website. See link at bottom of post.

“Without even half trying, our little cowshare dairy just keeps on getting more high-profile media exposure. Most recently, a provincial Cabinet minister felt compelled to defend her government’s policy on raw milk.

Disappointing that she just parrots the same old line, citing as an expert someone who was caught last month putting out dis-information a quarter of a century out of date, ie. the idea that ‘consumers can get TB from raw milk’.   In fact, Canadian dairy cattle have been TB free since 1985.

Ida Chong contradicts herself by saying, on the one hand, that health regulations to do with meat, can be:

“… designed and continue to evolve with enough flexibility to allow for varying size and scale of operators to do business”, while wanting us to accept that similar accommodation for small producers of milk is impossible.

If every pail of raw milk is a bio-hazard in the first instance, how is it that in New Zealand – merely the pre-eminent dairying country in the world – raw milk is legal for sale? How come Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho and several other states are changing laws right now,  so that raw milk is available?  What is it that the farmers there know about dairying, that she doesn‘t?

I’m over-exposed and I’m focused on my appeal of the Order against us, so I’m probably not going to reply to the Times Colonist. I encourage any one who has something intelligent to say, to rebut the Minister of Health Living”

Gordon S Watson

Justice Critic, Party of Citizens Who Have Decided To Think for Ourselves & Be Our Own Dairy


Victoria BC Times Colonist newspaper April 8th 2010

Re: “Overkill hurting small farmers,” April 2.

“I am writing in response to the editorial that dealt with the issues of public health and food protection.

Contrary to what the editorial asserted, the consumption of unpasteurized or “raw” milk is widely recognized by experts as a health risk. Among those experts is our own provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, who points out that the purchase and consumption of this product puts British Columbians at needless risk of serious diseases and infection.

As well, a substantial proportion of illnesses traced to raw milk occur in children and are caused by E. coli, which can result in kidney failure and even death.

Our government supports sustainable food production. Contrary to the editorial, meat regulations in B.C. have been designed and continue to evolve with enough flexibility to allow for varying size and scale of operators to do business. This includes the licensing of portable slaughter facilities to service more remote areas of the province.

Enforcing public health standards is not a matter of “overkill” by government. It’s a matter of protecting British Columbians to the best of our abilities.”

Ida Chong

Photo is from this page.


Filed under News

14 responses to “B.C.’s Minister of Healthy Living, Ida Chong, responds to media op-ed about “Home on the Range” raw milk case

  1. Walter's Dad

    Gordon Watson’s version of New Zealand’s raw milk rules is somewhat misleading. To clarify, there is no carte blanche sale of raw milk in New Zealand. The applicable NZ law, however, does allow the producer to sell up to five litres of unpasteurised milk at any one time, but only from their farm gates.

    If he is making this comparison to infer that the New Zealand Food Safety Authority has no concerns about consumption of raw milk – again, this would be misleading. Statements like “Outbreaks of foodborne diseases such as salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and Escherichia coli O157:H7 infection have been attributed to drinking raw milk.” and “The only completely safe way [to minimise the risk of food poisoning from raw milk] is to avoid drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk.” feature prominently on their website.

    There isn’t anything known in NZ about dairying (or the US states mentioned for that matter) that makes any difference in BC. NZers have to follow their laws, and BCers have to follow their own. Regarding BC’s Home on the Range Dairy, Madame Justice Gropper has stated, quite rightly, “The remedy for the respondents is to convince the government to change the legislation.”

    The good news for Gordon Watson is that politicians are often fickle, and may wilt to pressure from vocal minority groups even when these groups have no substantial evidence to support their cause. We’ll just have to wait and see whether Gordon Watson and Home on the Range can dissolve Minister Ida Chong’s resolve.

  2. apparently Walter’s Dad is going to ‘go down with the ship’ … quibbling for the sheer sake of wallowing in crankiness, as those of us on the side of “LIFE” find a way for REAL MILK to be available.
    Big Dadeo doesn’t bother to mention that the Australian/ New Zealanders have a committee investigating ways to make raw milk more freely available underway this minute
    The part he did get right is, how fickle politicians are. When the tide of popularity changes, people such as him – who derive their Truth from power – are left “suckin’ air” … as the old loggers put it.

    Ida Chong is just another pretty face who made her name reading a teleprompter. the smartest thing she ever did was to ‘get her eyes done’ via blapheroplasty = a great career move. She’s just one of the trained seals in the Legislature…. her opinion is irrelevant

    • Walter's Dad

      Well Li’l Gordie, again it appears that you are throwing references out in the hopes of misleading readers into believing what was written in your intial post.

      The Australia/New Zealand committee you are referring to is, I gather, the one involved with FSANZ Proposal P1007. Interesting that you would bring it up, since the 1st Assessment Report (Dec 16, 2009) produced by this committee has recommended AGAINST making raw milk more available. The Report states: “For Category 3 products, which include raw drinking milk, the level of public health risk cannot be reduced sufficiently.” and that changes to the existing regulatory controls are “not considered acceptable as Category 3 products present too high a risk to public health and safety”. Whether or not the 2nd Assessment Report will say anything different, we’ll have to wait and see.

      Click to access P1007%20PPPS%20for%20raw%20milk%201AR%20FINAL.pdf

      With regard to your apparent disdain for Ms. Chong, and I suspect officials in general, you may wish to remember the old adage “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. Your verbal bull$#it will attract flies, but only ones that will contaminate your raw milk efforts.

  3. Amos Turtle

    The opinion of government officials on the subject of raw milk is rapidly becoming irrelevant. People who seek raw milk and those who provide it don’t care what the government declares, this is food and farmer civil rights, a fight to the finish, the overthrow of food dictatorships and federal health nazis. We will have our raw milk and drink it too!

  4. one thing you have to grant to Walter senior, he never misses a chance to miss the point ; vis, latest example = that we have the principle in our favour. REAL MILK is available in New Zealand without people dropping dead in the streets. Now it’s only a matter of degree
    Since NZ in the same British Common law tradition, that carries tremendous weight in Her Majesty’s Courts in British Columbia
    onus is on the nattering nabobs of negativity to come up with the actuarial tables, proving that REAL MILK is ‘high risk’. Of course it’s not. And they know it.
    There is no stopping an idea whose time has come

    • Walter's Dad

      I can see it now: “Well My Lady, farm-gate sale of raw milk is allowed in New Zealand so it should be allowed here. We have the principle in our favour.”
      (–muffled laughter in the courtroom–)

      In New Zealand prostitution is legal, there is no minimum drinking age, and you can drive when you’re 15. I’m quite sure that people aren’t dropping dead in the streets from these either – doesn’t mean that it has any relevance to law in BC, nor does it provide any “principle” in your favour.

      Junior, you need to get back to work on that appeal…

      • A decade of lobbying the government of BC on the issue, resulted in 10 cowshares in BC up and producing, and a few more on the prairies.
        The efforts of myself – and the farmers who actually do the heavy lifting – are paying off as thousands of people enjoy wonderful REAL MILK.
        The tide of REAL MILK is flowing again, in this land of milk and honey. Sneers of miserable Stalinists – personified by Walter Snr – are just persiflage – they come with the territory in political activity.
        I have two letters on official stationery, from a Minster of the Crown and the head of the Food Safety Branch of BC, categorically exempting cow-sharing from the Milk Industry Act. What does the old codger have to contribute except dumping his own personal bitterness into what started out as a reasonable discussion?
        the REAL MILK is flowing today, in British Columbia and Alberta. Praise God!
        I didn’t spend 30 years in Court for nothing. We’ll see who laughs last in the Court of Appeal

  5. Rick Muik

    Well Gordon, make that 11 in BC I’m starting one to!!

  6. Walter's Dad

    Don’t get me wrong Junior, I wish you the best of luck. After 30 years in court, you’re bound to win one eventually. But if you’re going to post information, just make sure that it’s accurate and not misleading. Then you won’t get “sneers” from people like me (and I’m no Stalinist).

    Out of curiosity, wasn’t Madame Justice Gropper’s decision based on violation of the BC Public Health Act Transitional Regulation which, unless I’m mistaken, is not predicated upon the BC Milk Industry Act? Not to worry, I’m sure your lawyer will catch that one.

    • Gordon S Watson

      obviously you’ve just had one of those ‘senior moments’ for which you’re famous, Walt. Best read the course material before you open your mouth again, so proving your ignorance on the whole topic, not just the crucial details
      : the preposterous ruling of the judge in the BC case stands, for now. But 3 judges in the Court of Appeal will soon grasp the fact that the regulation at issue is founded in the Milk Industry Act. That Act distinguishes between producers of raw milk versus vendors. ONLY vendors are required to pasteurize milk on its way to market. Get it?
      for those of you who – like Walt. Snr., are fine with whatever the govt. says, no matter how ludicrous – if you’ve got the stomach for it = here’s a link to photos of parasites you can catch from sushi, oysters, and every unclean food …all perfectly legal!

      • Walter's Dad

        Well young one, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. I hate to disappoint you, but your strategy to negate the requirements of the PHA Transitional Reg using the Milk Industry Act was obvious from the start. Obvious and unfortunately misguided.

        After 30 years in court and countless failed attempts to apply similar “logic” in other cases (unrelated to raw milk), I thought you would have learned a bit more. Instead you remain painfully UNlearned. Get a lawyer, please.

  7. Hi, nice post! I really like your post about Minister of Healthy Living’s response.

    My favorite part is “If every pail of raw milk is a bio-hazard in the first instance, how is it that in New Zealand – merely the pre-eminent dairying country in the world – raw milk is legal for sale? How come Wisconsin, Michigan, Idaho and several other states are changing laws right now, so that raw milk is available?”

    Keep the good work!

  8. to Alison Beil : all-too-obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about, on this topic. Just a couple of tiny factoids which may help you : the largest dairy farm in the world is New Zealand, where raw milk is sold quite legally at the farm gate, and the Legislature there is considering expanding such sales. Not one single example of anyone getting sick from it, over the last half-century
    twice, since 2008, the Province of BC concocted a regulation outlawing raw milk for human consumption, but didn’t bother to tell us, let alone consult with us …merely one of largest herdshares in North America. Both times, EVADING the duty stipulated by the Supreme Court of Canada, ie that a govt. contemplating new legislation MUST consult with those directly affected.

    I’ll tell you who the outlaws are = the dairy cartel committing ‘abuse of dominance’ contrary to the Competition Act RSC … fomenting confusion in the raw milk controversy to distract consumers from finding out that the stuff labelled “homo milk”, is only the image of milk, having had the nutritional stolen from it, and rendered actually toxic. Educate you-self : Read the book “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon

  9. Alison Beil – you’re exactly the one we’re looking for … apparently you have hard evidence of the “many, many, many, many” people who’ve been made ill from consuming raw milk * for which reason Alberta outlawed it. What’s that? there are no such records? yeah, same as in British Columbia ||||| when I put in a formal Freedom of Information demand for the hard evidence rationale why the Milk Industry Act RSBC had been ammended from its original premise, where raw milk was legal for retail from a farm, the response was : NONE EXISTS
    * direct quote by the Chief Medical Health Officer of BC, Dr Perry Kendal in 2009 when he got up on his hind legs braying like a jackass, demonizing our private raw milk dairy. Later, he admitted on official stationery that there are no such cases on record in BC, for the last 50 years
    you like the World Health Org. ? Then you’ll love Codex Alimentarius.

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