Raw milk story in the Vancouver Sun

From R. Shore at the Vancouver Sun:

Raw milk is a rich and nutritious product, but it also provides an excellent medium for the growth of bacteria, both good and bad. Photograph by: Ward Perrin Ward Perrin , PROVINCE. Click image to go to original story.

“The milk we buy in stores is heat pasteurized, a process that destroys some vitamins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria. Raw unpasteurized milk contains all of the above. We don’t need to argue about that. The question you really need to consider is: Do the perceived benefits of drinking raw cow’s milk outweigh the potential dangers?

The raw milk debate is raging in newspapers, on the web and in courtrooms across the land. Raw milk advocates don’t want the government telling them what they can and cannot eat. I totally understand that. They have websites full of testimonials from self-appointed experts and apocryphal tales of raw milk curing everything from scurvy to psoriasis and tuberculosis.

A lot of these tales are so outlandish that it tends to undermine their credibility, but I’m willing to overlook that for the moment because there is a grain of truth in what they say. Pasteurization does destroy vitamins C and B12 and it does kill lactobacillus. It probably also harms the natural antibodies in milk.

Like breast milk, cow’s milk contains everything a baby needs to thrive. Well, everything a baby cow needs to thrive. But human babies might benefit from those antibodies, too. In one of the few legitimate peer-reviewed studies on the health benefits of raw milk, scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that an antibody found in raw milk inhibits bovine and human rotavirus that causes diarrhea in small children…..”

More on the Vancouver Sun

Comment from “Raw Milk Canada” about this story on Facebook:

“Randy, no-one is denying that some of the health claims about raw milk could be exaggerated in comparison with published research (of which there is very little). People who have experienced health benefits from any lifestyle change (diet, exercise, medication, etc.) will of course relate their experience.

But tarring all raw milk advocates with the same brush of having “self-proclaimed experts” and “outlandish” websites is unfair to the majority, and stigmatizes all raw milk consumers, farmers, and supporters as being outright fanatical lunatics. Most of us are ordinary consumers who choose to drink raw milk — not because of purported claims — but because we have personally done the research about what raw milk can provide, learned about raw milk safety, read both sides of the debate, found a trusted source, tried it, and now continue to drink it based on the benefits (over pasteurized milk or milk substitutes) that we and our families have personally experienced. This is not wrong or outlandish, and nor should readers be told that we are endangering our children as this article implies.

Please consider talking to the raw milk community, representatives such as the speakers at the recent Fresh Milk Food Politics conference (http://www.freshmilkfoodpolitics.com/), and learning about “the other side” of the story – not the “outlandish websites,” but the other 95% of us.”

Scientific perspectives on raw milk from Nadine Ijaz:

This is a video of her full (nearly one hour) lecture at the recent Fresh Milk Food Politics conference in Vancouver.

Video courtesy of Road Kill Media. See more of their work from the Fresh Milk Food Politics conference here.

Vancouver Sun writer Randy Shore is not unacquainted with the ongoing raw milk story in BC, judging by his previous raw milk articles. Here are a couple of examples culled from the back pages of The Bovine:

Gordon Watson sues Fraser Health over attempts to shut down “Our Cows” raw milk farm in Chilliwack, B.C.

“Raw milk activist Gordon Watson has filed a civil lawsuit against the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities and their officers, alleging they exceeded their authority by acting to shut down the Home on the Range dairy in Chilliwack.

“The main thing is to make civil servants accountable,” said Watson, a founder of the dairy now operating as Our Cows.

He alleges in the suit filed this week that the health authorities acted against the dairy with no evidence that it was a threat to public health, destroyed his property (the milk) and acted beyond their authority.

Watson maintains that because the products of the dairy are not offered for sale to the public, public health statutes do not apply.

The raw milk dairy is a cooperative farm that produces unpasteurized milk and dairy products for the families that own shares in the cow herd.

It is legal in B.C. for farmers to produce raw milk for their own use. Watson argues that cow-share members are the owners of the herd and can legally use the products.

No statement of defence has yet been filed, but a Fraser Health spokesman said in an interview Thursday that a health authority inspection of the farm in 2008 found raw milk was being packaged for distribution….”

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

“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….”

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Raw milk story in the Vancouver Sun

  1. the Bovine

    Editorial comment here:

    The tone of Randy’s recent story in the Sun makes one wonder whether this was an assignment from “on high” to channel the regulator perspective on raw milk, intended perhaps to counter whatever hoopla might have arisen from the recent “Fresh Milk Food Politics” conference.

    Which raises the question of how much “agency” reporters actually have in deciding what to write about and how to slant the stories. Big name writers like Hunter S. Thompson, Matt Taibbi and Chris Hedges no doubt get a longer leash. And of course the Vancouver Sun is no “Rolling Stone”.

    Big corporations consolidate ownership of media outlets for a reason, I suppose. And I suspect it has something to do with controlling the message.

    • Randy Shore

      Just to reassure all my readers – even those who take issue with my position – I assign myself when it comes to food and science stories. No one from “on high” has told me what to write in 30 years of journalism.

  2. As a follow-up, Randy Shore graciously interviewed Home on the Range’s Alice Jongerden and Jackie Ingram — here is the podcast: http://vancouversunpodcasts.com/green-man/the-health-benefits-and-risks-of-raw-milk/
    Here is to a fair and free and balanced news reporting, once again, on Organic Raw Milk and Food Security . Thank you Randy Shore ! We knew all along you could do it !

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