On the future of raw milk in Canada

From Sylvain Charlebois, in the Montreal Gazette:

“GUELPH, Ont. — Science-based evidence in food safety seriously compromises any argument for allowing raw milk to be freely sold to Canadians. Even a small amount of raw milk can seriously harm a child, a pregnant woman, the elderly, individuals with a compromised immune system, or anyone for that matter; just one glass will do it.

Still, it appears that support to legalize its distribution is growing in North America. In fact, Louisiana is considering loosening its laws to permit raw milk to be legally sold to consumers. In Canada, raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt, despite a recent legal setback, seems to be making some inroads, and an increasing number of people support his cause.

Some have turned this debate into one about the freedom of choice, while proponents of the status quo in Canada perceive this to be a public-health matter.

It is much more complicated than that, however.

Since 1991, regulations require that milk be pasteurized in order to be sold in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearly states that raw milk can harbour dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks; but such a claim is vigorously disputed by raw-milk advocates. They believe our current law breaches consumers’ rights to choose, and they say that freedom always comes with certain risks, even in food. Some studies suggest that pasteurization takes away some of milk’s nutritional benefits, which would support the view of pro-raw milk groups.

That said, the findings of many other studies are inconclusive; thus, to draw any definitive conclusions would be premature. We do know more than we did in 1991, but much remains to be discovered by food scientists.

More in the Montreal Gazette.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “On the future of raw milk in Canada

  1. Beverley Viljakainen

    This term ‘science-based evidence’ is, for many of us, has become the elephant in the room in terms of raw milk in particular and having our freedom to choose ancestral foods that got us here taken from us in general. Surely, the science carried out and so heavily relied upon by those who are in positions of authority needs to be examined more thoroughly than it presently is. Who is carrying out the science done and why? Who is paying for the research and why? What are the preliminary assumptions and hypotheses of the studies that comprise the ‘science’ and why? Has the research included the actual products and methodologies of the farmers now being hauled into court by government agencies at the enormous expense of taxpayers with no evidence whatsoever that any harm has been done? And why not? Has the thing called ‘evidence-based science’ considered/researched/studied the actual health effects of those who have opted to switch from preservative-loaded and otherwise adulterated foods to those less chemically-treated to support their attempts to take more responsibility for their own health and that of their families? And, if not, why not? One could go on . . . but until the public sees that these kinds of issues are being addressed, its confidence and trust in so-called public health that allows all sorts of products known to be harmful to human health to be sold for consumption will continue on its currently downward path. The people are not stupid and we do awaken to the realities imposed upon us eventually . . .

  2. How about changing the term to “Politically Based Science” ? Really though a core issue is a “Fear-based Politics” which drives public policy under the guise of “Science-based policy”.
    What drives “Fear-based Politics” is …… another question. Sometimes it is corporate or oligopolistic greed which seeks to enshrine guaranteed profits, by restricting market access and/or keeping prices artificially high, for as long as possible.
    A second large overlapping factor are so-called “Free Trade Agreements” which decimate local environmental protections using secret tribunals instead of sovereign courts. Countries that sign these FTA’s become perpetual lame ducks and easy targets for outrageous lawsuits from US corporate raiders of all kinds . Not only has Canada become a lame duck but , in the case of GMOs , Ottawa is now, for all intents and purposes, a satellite office for Monsanto and other GMO food predator biotech companies.

  3. Kazimierz Brzeczyszczykiewicz

    I always though people in Canada have more freedom of choice then anywhere else in the world. I guess my information where outdated.
    Here in Poland we have a vending machines on the streets of most cities where farmers bring they raw milk everyday. Everyone can drop they coins and get fresh raw milk purred to glass bottle. Kids here know the raw milk is better then the one in a store(pasteurized).
    Good luck Canada. Wish you all the best with fighting the oppressive government rules.

    • rawmilkmike

      Does raw milk have a negative risk factor?

      According to the CDC an estimated 1.7% per year or 1 in 59 raw milk consumers in Minnesota may acquire a foodborne illness while 15% per year or 1 in 6 Americans get sick and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases.

  4. ken

    It’s hard to beleave that our government would do this …My question is if a farmer can feed his food to his family without being charged then instead of selling milk have people do work on the farms for an hour then give the milk away to the workers as a trade not sale .This thought comes from the oldest saying I know ..If you don’t do your chores/homework/ then you can go to bed with no dinner or in the city it would be you cant go out with friends/or on your games..so help the local farmer and you will be rewarded …

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