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.

“Fraser Health’s position is that Our Cows continues to violate the March 18, 2010 Supreme Court injunction prohibiting Home on the Range from packaging and/or distributing raw milk and/or raw milk products for human consumption and has issued a formal notice to the new operator demanding that he cease and desist,” Fraser Health spokeswoman Naseem Nuraney wrote in response to a query from The Sun.

Our Cows member Gordon Watson left little doubt about his intended use for the cosmetics he is allotted: “I most certainly do drink the raw milk I receive as a dividend of my asset,” he said.

According to Health Canada, non-sterilized milk is unsafe to drink because it can contain bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria that may lead to potentially debilitating illnesses.

Provincial health officer Perry Kendall warned in a public statement that the perceived benefits of drinking raw milk are greatly outweighed by the “serious risks” of disease. Tests conducted on products from Home on the Range earlier this year by the BC Centre for Disease Control found evidence of fecal contamination.

Advocates of raw milk say the heating process of pasteurization destroys healthy enzymes and leads to lactose intolerance.

Schmidt took over the Home on the Range cow-share cooperative, since renamed Our Cows, after the original livestock manager Alice Jongerden was charged with contempt of court for failing to heed an order to stop operations issued last spring by Fraser Health and upheld by the B.C. Supreme Court.

Schmidt plans to take his fight back to the courts early in 2011.

“We are preparing a case to set aside the original order of [Madam Justice Miriam] Gropper,” Schmidt told The Sun. “We believe it is a constitutional issue.”

Fraser Health took action against Home on the Range for violating the Public Health Act, which prohibits the distribution of raw milk for human consumption, because a person must not willingly cause a health hazard. The Milk Industry Act deems unpasteurized milk a “health hazard.”

It is legal for the owner of a cow to drink the raw milk it produces. The 22 cows at Home on the Range, now called Our Cows, are owned by more than 400 cooperative members who own shares in the cows and are entitled a share of the dairy products they produce.

Jongerden had hoped to sidestep the Public Health Act by labelling the farm’s products “not for human consumption” but that failed to gain any traction with the court.

Since taking over the dairy, Schmidt has signed all the members of the Chilliwack cow share to new contracts that entitle them to a share of dairy-based cosmetics produced by their cows.

Schmidt also will be back in court in Ontario in February to face an appeal by the provincial government related to the operation of his Durham-based cow-share.

In January, an Ontario justice threw out 19 charges laid against Schmidt, who had argued he wasn’t guilty of distributing to 150 customers because they were all entitled to the milk after each purchasing a $350 share in the cows he kept at Glencolton Farms, just north of Toronto.

The judge agreed, seemingly ending a 16-year-long legal battle, until the government of Ontario filed an appeal.

“There’s still a push on the whole raw-milk issue,” said Schmidt, 55. “We still need to force a discussion to resolve it. The consumer pressure isn’t going away.”

Since the ruling, cow-share operations have quietly grown in numbers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Many of the businesses rely on word of mouth.

The demand prompted Schmidt to start Cow Share Canada, an organization that accredits raw-milk operations by providing production, testing and inspection guidelines to existing and emerging dairy farmers.

Last year, 15 farms signed up for a weekend course the organization held on how to produce safe raw milk. It was so successful the course will be offered across Canada beginning in the new year….”

Read it all in the Vancouver Sun.

A similar story in the Chilliwack Times (source for the lead picture)

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9 Comments

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

  1. bear in mind that the assertion that “Tests conducted on products from Home on the Range earlier this year by the BC Centre for Disease Control found evidence of fecal contamination.” is utter horse-shit. We have those lab. reports = they prove that the samples of our milk were mis-handled, contrary to the Memorandum which the Inspectors were well-aware of. The numbers in the lab. reports were absurdly high … irrelevant. That didn’t happen by accident. That ploy was part of fearmongering, setting the stage for the (so-called) Health Authority to come down on us, the next month, in Court.
    When I asked the Chief Medical Health Officer for evidence of his tale of ‘a sick child lying in a hospital bed after drinking raw milk’, on official stationery he admitted he has no such record.
    They lied. It never happened
    as for the assertion by the Fraser Health Spokeswoman that a Cease + Desist Order has been made against Michael Schmidt : the man who would have issued such an Order told me last October that NO FORMAL ORDER HAS BEEN ISSUED. Tim Shum told me that FHA is seeking legal advice about the whole situation. That’s where it stands today … they do nothing to stop us getting our property because there never was a genuine complaint about our milk. Over 3 years of raw milk dairying has proven that it can be done safely.
    As of noon today ( Friday Dec 31 2010) the communications branch of Fraser Health cannot confirm that such a Cease + Desist Order was issued.

    shareholders in ‘Our Cows’ continue to get our property = dividends of our jointly-held asset = beautiful Jerseycows in prime condition. Fraser Health officers are on tape as saying that when they get notice of a threat to Public Health, they are obliged to act. Comically, they don’t act to prevent 20,000 people in Whiterock from drinking water which when they knew for months that it was proven to be contaminated with E. coli. Instead, they just issued a ‘boil water alert’. ‘Want to drink that stuff coming out of the tap? Go right ahead = your choice.’
    it’s not about risk of harm to the public health : it’s about idiots in office drunk with their own power. It’s about bribes perverting the powers and resources and prestige of the Crown, in order to harry independent farmers, so as to confuse the electorate, as the Stalinist milk marketing system crumbles

    • Walter's Dad

      Gordon – would you be willing to scan and post that letter from the Chief Medical Health Officer? Thanks.

      • Walter's Dad

        Is that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

      • Walter's Dad

        Perhaps this was a little too good to be true.
        A damning confession from the Chief Medical Health Officer is a great headline to incite animosity… assuming it actually states what you say. Why the reluctance to share it with the rest of us?

  2. Michael

    Let’s be clear. The politics of this battle is wonderful clear in this article.
    Why even argue about the position of either Fraser Health or the Ottawa Dairy spokesperson.
    These blatant twisted statements demonstrate with what we are dealing with.
    Yes I am looking forward meeting Fraser Health in court if they choose to go this route.
    I am just reviewing the CFIA data from the last 14 years. So far the average health hazard alerts came every 4 days from Government inspected and controlled foodplants.
    This is an issue of personal safety Not to trust Government agencies anymore.

  3. thebovine

    Another media outlet, Abbotsford Today, picks up the story: http://www.abbotsfordtoday.ca/?p=52634

  4. after the Health Authorities in the lower Mainland of BC trotted-out the old fable as excuse for dumping our milk, I put to the Chief Medical Health officer, a demand that he produce evidence to substantiate the noise he’d made about ‘ a poor little waif lying ill in hospital after drinking raw milk from Home on the Range dairy’. In his response to me of June 3 2010, on stationery bearing the logo of the Ministry of Healthy Living, he said “I have no nominal case information on the child whose illness prompted the investigation by Fraser Health Authority”

    being one of the most experienced users of Freedom of Information process for 17 years, I know what that means : there never was any such ‘sick child’. But Perry Kendall lacks the integrity to admit there never was any such ‘child’ … they made it up as part setting the stage for the piece of political theatre later staged in the Supreme Court of BC … outlawing our Agister.
    The guys who run the Criminal Justice Branch know all too well that when I start gathering evidence with which to lay a charge I won’t be going away : they’ll have to appoint another Special Prosecutor to deal with my allegation of Fraser Health et al. conspiring to commit the indictable offence of ‘criminal defamation’. Thus, Dr Kendall has been told to be be “economical with the truth” .
    Of course, this bit of hard evidence of mal-feasance of public office won’t satisfy the misanthropes who’re case-hardened in their covetousness / resentment of our success = the fact that, even with 6 inches of snow, the REAL MILK is flowing here today

    • Walter's Dad

      Would prefer if you posted the whole letter…
      But fine, we’ll hope that you’re transcribing it accurately and in the proper context – so the Chief Medical Health Officer for the Ministry of Healthy Living is saying that he doesn’t have the name of the child. What about this Fraser Health Authority, if they’re the ones who started an investigation, wouldn’t they be the people to ask?
      One other thing: Doesn’t your province/state have rules on privacy of medical information? Most of the time Dr.s can’t release patient information to just anyone.

  5. Pingback: Help Our Cows :: Hella Delicious Food for Health, Roots, Peace and Community

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