Monthly Archives: December 2010

Michael Schmidt’s raw milk Cow Share College to be offered across Canada in 2011, according to the Vancouver Sun

From Randy Shore, writing for the Vancouver Sun:

A Chilliwack raw milk dairy ordered to stop distributing unpasteurized milk is now calling its products cosmetics. Photograph by: Paul J. Henderson, CHILLIWACK TIMES

“A Chilliwack raw-milk dairy ordered to stop distributing unpasteurized milk is now calling its products cosmetics.

Tearing a page from the history books, Our Cows cow-share cooperative now labels raw milk and raw-milk dairy products as Cleopatra’s bathing milk, raw milk skin care lotion and face cream, according to farmer Michael Schmidt.

“Let’s be clear, these are not dairy products, these are cosmetics,” Schmidt told The Sun.

“The contents of these cosmetic products are unpasteurized dairy products.” Not everyone is convinced. Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt’s new letter to officials responsible for our Ontario government

Open Letter
Dear Honorable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
Dear Honorable Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture in Ontario
Dear Honorable Deb Mathews, Minister of Health in Ontario
Dear Honorable Leader of the PC in Ontario, Tim Hudak
Dear Honorable Leader of the NDP in Ontario Andrea Horvath
Dear Hazel Lynn, Chief Medical Officer in Bruce Grey Owen Sound
Dear Members of the Board of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario
Dear Anti-Raw-Milk Legal Team led by Allan Ryan Continue reading

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Raw milk standards hard to establish?

David E. Gumpert talks about raw milk standards in his latest post on The Complete Patient:

“…But connive to establish a set of standards for raw milk producers? I don’t think so. That’s why I had to chuckle at some of the comments by Barney Google and lola granola.

I appreciate their sincerity in arguing that this is such a touchy issue it requires secret planning–I just wish I had the conspiratorial power ascribed to me (and others) and, more important, that something significant was being accomplished.

As Mark McAfee correctly points out, nothing formal is anywhere near being accomplished on the standards-setting side. Just a bunch of informal emails with ideas and discussion. A lot of sincere people without much power, trying things out. Continue reading

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The Joy of Butter, from Plumpest Peach

From Plumpest Peach visits Family Cow:

The cow above , Tiki, looks like a Brown Swiss. Photo via Plumpest Peach.

Butter. Every time I think about freshly churned butter, I think back to elementary school when our teacher showed us how we could make it. She held out a glass mason jar with heavy cream in it and just started shaking it. We all sat in a circle on the classroom floor and took turns shaking the jar of cream. Of course everyone wanted it to turn to butter while they were shaking it, and after a lot of shaking, it finally did. I remember thinking how cool that was. Continue reading

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Wikileaks show how U.S. bullied Europe to permit use of Monsanto’s GMO seeds

From Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” website:

“JUAN GONZALEZ: U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal the Bush administration drew up ways to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds. In 2007, then-US ambassador to France Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to ban cultivation of genetically modified corn produced by biotech giant Monsanto. He also warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across Europe.

In the leaked cable, Stapleton writes, quote, “Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission…Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.” Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt WILL be allowed to introduce new evidence to counter the Province’s appeal of his acquittal

Michael Schmidt sends his thoughts on recent raw milk developments:

The Hartmann ruling in the US makes it once again very clear that we all will suffer if we cannot counter vicious Government attacks with due diligence.

Our standing in court becomes a farce under the current climate of anti germ fanatics. As much as I can see the point of liberty versus regulations, we are not living in a vacuum independent from the rest of the world. Our standing in court will always be judged by our concerns, our diligence, our openness and our willingness to co-operate IF the other side is willing to work with us. Continue reading

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United States looks down on Canada’s meat inspection standards

From Doug Powell on Barfblog:

“The dean of Canadian food and farm reporting, Jim Romahn, has written a powerful piece about the continuing failures in Canadian meat inspection – failures that had to be pointed out by Americans.

More than a year after 21 people died after eating Maple Leaf Foods Inc. products contaminated with Listeria monocytoges, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was failing to enforce its own standards and there was sloppy follow-up when hazardous conditions were identified.

Those worrisome facts are contained in a report prepared by two U.S. inspectors who visited in the fall of 2009 to check Canada’s compliance with its own standards. They visited headquarters in Ottawa, 23 meat-processing plants and two labs. Continue reading

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Judge rules against Michael Hartmann; a call for standards in raw milk farming

Latest news from David E. Gumpert at the Complete Patient blog:

“Michael Hartmann’s legal challenge to Minnesota authorities over confiscation of his dairy farm’s products last May was totally rejected by a state judge.

The case was tried over several weeks last August, but the judge only yesterday decided on behalf of the state–that the 120 cases of milk, 900 packages of raw cheddar, and 125 tubs of yogurt, among other items that were confiscated, must be destroyed.

Though Hartmann customers who attended the trial last August felt the judge was engaged and fair-minded, there’s not a single encouraging word in the entire 23-page decision for Michael Hartmann or the six consumers who were “intervenors” on his behalf. In fact, adding insult to injury, Hartmann and the consumers must pay the cost of the product destruction. Continue reading

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CODEX said to include “best practices” to regulate raw milk; New Zealand law

Dear Michael,

I am one of the cowshare people from Vancouver.  If you remember, I was the one who asked if we can use Codex Alimentarius to our advantage.  I did quite a bit of digging around since then, and to tell you the truth, I found much of the worry and concern about Codex to be over-blown, to the point of fear-mongering.  Specifically, here are a few issues I found:

1.  If you remember, much was made about “Codex coming into effect January 1, 2010” and there was MUCH concern about it.  Many people heard that date and panicked.  But of course, that date came and went with nothing to show for all the hype.  However, with my research, there was NOTHING to back up this claim of January 1st, 2010, except the desire of the original Codex creators to have the Codex in place by the end of 2009.  That desire was expressed somewhere around 50-60 years ago.  It turns out, the Codex has already been in place since January 1, 1995, when Canada officially joined the WTO, and ratified the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (SPS).  The SPS gave “teeth” to the Codex by including it as one option (although, the easiest option) for a State to implement acceptable international safety practices for internationally traded goods. Continue reading

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Cheap food versus quality of life

Tom Philpott, writing on Grist.org:

Graphics above via Grist.org

“For decades, the federal government has watched idly while a few gigantic companies grabbed ever-greater control of the food industry. As big players gobble smaller ones, they concentrate power at the top of the food chain — and apply relentless pressure to cut costs, giving rise to many of the things I hate about the food system. Workers, farmers, the environment, animals, public health — all get abused so that mega-retailers like Walmart, meat producers like Smithfield, and corn processors like Cargill can keep costs down while profitably selling cheap food. Continue reading

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