Contrasting Michael Schmidt’s pro-raw milk campaign to Women’s Institute founder’s pro-pasteurization campaign

From Tracey Tyler, Legal Affairs Reporter, in the Toronto Star:

Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt at his Durham, Ont. farm, after a judge on Sept. 28, 2011 found him guilty of distributing raw milk. TRACEY TYLER/TORONTO STAR

“Before Michael Schmidt and his raw milk crusade, there was Adelaide Hunter Hoodless.

She isn’t mentioned in this week’s court ruling that convicted Schmidt of violating Ontario public health laws by selling unpasteurized milk. And her name leaves some of Schmidt’s followers looking perplexed.

But more than a century ago, after her youngest son, John, died from drinking contaminated milk as an infant, Hoodless embarked on a campaign to have all milk heat-treated — pasteurized — to kill potentially harmful bacteria, making her one of Canada’s earliest food safety proponents.

“She was way ahead of her time,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food safety and distribution at the University of Guelph and a member of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s expert advisory panel.

Hoodless grew up on a farm in St. George, near Brantford, and is sometimes described as one of the country’s most effective but least-known social reformers.

After her son’s death in 1889, she devoted herself to educating women in the “domestic sciences” and giving them the institutional backing they needed to protect their families.

Her work led to the formation of Women’s Institutes, home economics programs in schools and the creation of the Macdonald Institute at the University of Guelph.

And while Schmidt has waged a high-profile battle against public health authorities and milk marketing boards in his quest to get raw milk into customers’ hands, his most formidable adversary might be Hoodless and her legacy.

Oddly, each of their campaigns has been described as attempts to empower people and encourage them to take more responsibility for the food they produce and consume.

But while Hoodless saw government regulation as part of the solution, Schmidt’s ethos is decidedly libertarian: keep government out and let consumers decide what to eat.

Those competing philosophies are also at the heart of a growing international discussion about the role the state should play in monitoring and managing risks to food supplies.

“I really think we need to have a debate in this country about how we commercially market milk, what does food safety mean and how do we regulate food safety,” Charlebois said.

There’s definitely an appetite, he said, for more government food regulation, particularly since 1996, when Britain announced Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human variant of Mad Cow disease, had found its way into the country’s beef.

But at the same time, said Charlebois, consumers are more sophisticated, health conscious and, particularly if they live in cities, want to reconnect with the land and know more about where their food comes from. And this, he believes, is where Schmidt fits in.

The 57-year-old Grey County dairy farmer has been waging his straight-from-the-cow crusade for nearly two decades and while his primary motivation was not the death of a child, it involved another form of deeply personal loss….”

Read it all in the Toronto Star.


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5 responses to “Contrasting Michael Schmidt’s pro-raw milk campaign to Women’s Institute founder’s pro-pasteurization campaign

  1. thebovine

    If I were the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, this is just the sort of idea I’d be paying my lobbyist / PR firm to write up and get published in the media. You know, try and reclaim some of that moral high ground that Michael Schmidt has been holding so well up to now.

    The fact is that Michael has been relentless in his efforts to dialogue with government and regulators regarding raw milk. At one point early in this round of the campaign (was it 2007?) his supporters personally delivered copies of Britain’s regulatory scheme for raw milk, which dovetailed with Britain’s quota system, to all Ontario MPPs, along with proposals for how it could be implemented in Ontario.

    This author implies that Michael advocates a free for all when it comes to raw milk, whereas much of Michael’s work since his acquittal in January 2010 has been focussed on instituting standards and educating farmers on how to achieve them. I’m referring to the Cow Share Canada accreditation program, which by now is more or less ready to go.

    • nedlud

      This is pathetic, it is so patently foolish, it makes me laugh (sardonically). Michael Schmidt is an a-one guy, no doubt, but people are convinced they need bureaucracy to be uhhh ‘safe’. Eveyone is forced now, by the reckless stupidity of the present age and dilemma, to pay endless tribute to reams and reams of paperwork and to scientific uhh ‘dialogue’ that is not current, and has in fact become self-serving propaganda of the technocrats. People are endlessly gullible and moronic, shall we say?

      So if a little bureaucracy is good, a whole lot more, is all the better. Right? I mean that’s what trees are for, to grind up into pulp and make into more and more paper to write more and more regulations on. Right?

      Utterly laughable and utterly moronic.

      Big fat f**king DUH.


  2. deen

    The whole premise of the government position as being somehow morale and in the interest of the public is wrong.
    The Canadian Government and corporation it belongs to has been waging war on aboriginal people and other poor people since its inception..They have constantly used food as a weapon Constantly denying people access to their healthy traditional foods.All the while trying to maximize profit..Anyone with even a elementary knowledge of Canadian history knows this. History shows us this is a morally bankrupt government.
    For anyone who disagrees with this explain why things like cigarettes alcohol.Trans fats.GMO foods poison filled medicines and the list goes on are all legal in Canada .Seems that we are free to choose our poison.
    Why are these things legal if the government is remotely interested in the health of men women and children.When all these things have been shown to be toxic.
    Anyone who gets in the way of them making profit will quickly realize how free a
    county Canada is.
    “So if a little bureaucracy is good, a whole lot more, is all the better. Right? I mean that’s what trees are for, to grind up into pulp and make into more and more paper
    to write more and more regulations on. Right?”
    Like all the First Nation Treaties they refused to honor.
    However most people seem to cry out or react when they are personally affected by unjust law.
    Try to see the issue of Raw milk in the context of the history of Canada.It is not some isolated issue.It will help when more of us become more objective in our views rather than being just subjective.
    David E. Stannard wrote:

    “Hundreds of Indians were killed in skirmish after skirmish. Other hundreds were killed in successful plots of mass poisoning. They were hunted down by dogs, ‘blood-Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives [mastiffs] to seize them.’ Their canoes and fishing weirs were smashed, their villages and agricultural fields burned to the ground. Indian peace offers were accepted by the English only until their prisoners were returned; then, having lulled the natives into false security, the colonists returned to the attack. It was the colonists’ expressed desire that the Indians be exterminated, rooted ‘out from being longer a people upon the face of the earth.’ In a single raid the settlers destroyed corn sufficient to feed four thousand people for a year. Starvation and the massacre of non-combatants was becoming the preferred British approach to dealing with the natives.”

    • nedlud


      Government today (and it has been for some time) is about domination and terrorizing the non-compliant (native people, fringe groups, ANY fringe group) into submission.

      Any effective and good law is lost in a leviathan maze of terror plots and suppression, misdirection and propaganda. Oh, and–THE VIOLENCE.

      ‘Raw milk is not some isolated issue.’

      Good comment, deen.

  3. thebovine

    If you want to learn more about the atrocities committed against the native peoples in Canada, apparently by a combination of the churches and the government, check out the website “Hidden from History” and watch Kevin Annett’s documentary “Unrepentant” (linked to from that website):

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