Raw Milk Symposium Jan. 30, Guelph

7 Comments

by | January 24, 2016 · 10:05 pm

7 responses to “Raw Milk Symposium Jan. 30, Guelph

  1. Let us all help to change the Canadian law by having a Raw Milk Act for Canada. Anyone following the Act could be exempt from the Canadian Food and Drug Act which states that milk must be pasteurized.

  2. Steve

    November 2015, I signed herd share agreement with a farm in my area and I have been told it is legal. Then on December I noticed the farmer stores the cream in cat litter plastic container, I was disgusted to see that. I requested to be there when he milks my milk and when I was there I noticed he uses cat litter plastic container to handle and store my milk as well, and he uses a very dirty cloth to clean the cow’s belly. The next time I took a stainless steel food safe container and cloth with me and asked my tools to be used instead of his tools. He said you are not going to show me how to do my job and refused to use my container and he said that he is not allowing me anymore to be there when he milks my milk. I canceled the agreement and he charged me fees for cancelation that was on the agreement. This is putting people’s health in great danger. Besides that farmers are charging a lot for raw milk, one of the farmer said she sells the milk for $6/liter that’s abusing consumers.

    Although I would like to drink a raw milk, but I don’t think I wish to put my health at risk. So for this reason I think the government should keep the ban for now.

    • Ken

      Steve,

      I think it’s the opposite. Because the government has a ban, to acquire raw milk, you are forced to sign a herd share agreement with a farm in your area, pay $6/liter for milk, and he can do whatever he wants because he knows competition is scarce.

      If raw milk were legal, here would be a few immediate benefits:
      1. Lower prices.
      2. Easier access.
      3. More competition.
      4. If your farmer is using cat litter containers, and the next farmer isn’t, everyone is now buying from the other farmer. He now has an incentive to listen to you, or lose business.

      It is like drugs. The ban is what makes acquiring illegal drugs so shady, expensive, unhygienic. It is why there are ‘fakes.’ I’m not saying drugs should have no ban, but if raw milk were legalized, a lot of your concerns would not be a problem.

    • Steve, what you describe is the problem when a product is illegal and prohibited. A black market is created. The consumer is at the whim of unscrupulous suppliers who rip them off. There is no regulation, no standards, no inspections, no recourse.

      You’d be doing the community a service by telling us the province or state and area that this farm is in, so that other consumers in that area can avoid them.

      Three questions though: Did you ask to see this farmer’s monthly milk sample test results first before joining the herdshare? And,did you ask to see his Risk Analysis and Management Plan (RAMP) and Standard Sanitary Operating Procedures (SSOP) before joining? If he cannot produce either, then this might be a red flag. Did you ask him if he is RAWMI-listed or planning to become RAWMI-listed. If he answers with “What’s RAWMI?” then walk away. Caveat emptor. Similarly if he/she did not advise you to purchase a copy of Peggy Beals’ consumer guide “Safe Handling.”

    • moosemeadows

      Steve , being duped has nothing to do with raw milk per se, it is simply the context. It could just have easily been any other item of exchange, food, service , what have you.

      That said, it would seem to be that quite a few that access raw milk do so under false presumption. The first of which is safety. No food is safe! Yet so many rawmilk farmers provide their milk under the guise of safety. Some go so far as to suggest that because they sign with an institution they are safe. All that can be done, is appreciate factors of risk and use sensible means to mitigate risks. Different operational practices carry different risks. Clearly you have identified areas of risk your not comfortable with and, have taken your own actions.

      The real problem, or one of them, is the presumption of safety and failure to disclose and agree upon the responsibility of risk. It matters little if an operation is RAWMI listed, has a Ramp, tests regularly, etc, if disclosure and agreement of risk is unclear. When an item for sale is found in a public place, such a store, the presumption of risk is that the buyer is protected either through standard or third party liability coverage. But when making a private agreement this presumption can no longer be made. And so, while best practice may be an issue, the greater issue is in the failure to disclose and agree upon risk and responsibility

      • just a reader

        Maybe I am being picky, but I wouldn’t join a herdshare myself where the agister was not testing monthly – or willing to start testing – and providing these test results to all members. When choosing to join my current herdshare, I asked to see the test results, and was happy that this agister could immediately provide them to me. Seeing the monthly test results provides me with confidence in my agister’s abilities to provide a low-risk product. We are lucky in B.C.: we have two good independent microbiological labs, M.B. Laboratories in Sidney and I.G. MIcroMed in Richmond, which both provide top-notch service. As well, some agisters send samples to their vets for testing.

        As well, upon joining, a prospective member should be given copies of the RAMP and SSOP, and – best yet – given a tour of the farm and show the milking and processing procedures and ask questions. Then, they can make an Informed choice. Also, it helps for the herdshare to have regular membership meetings so members can meet one another, discuss issues, and make decisions regarding their animals.

    • just a reader

      Steve, this is a link to the “Grass to Glass” training that the farmer you had that experience with could have taken but obviously didn’t: http://bcherdshare.org/services/from-grass-to-glass . This trainer can travel to other provinces besides BC to provide training, i.e. she trained some farmers in Ontario in 2014.
      There is no need for raw milk to be banned, as this training exists that can help farmers provide a very low risk product. Governments can also provide testing standards – see http://bcherdshare.org/information/testing-standards/ for examples of testing standard in other places where raw milk is legal, plus for comparison’s sake in “Table 8” some example testing standards for POST-pasteurized milk as well, the milk on grocery stores shelves.

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