Since 2006, efforts to suppress raw milk initiatives in both Canada and the U.S. have seemingly moved in lock-step. The 2006 raid at Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms was echoed by a similar style of crackdown on herd share farmers south of the border.
Even in States like California, where raw milk was and is already legal, it has been the target of far more than its share of regulatory attention in recent years.
Here in Canada we had the case of a meat packing company which killed several people a few years ago, and yet much more enforcement resources seem to have been directed towards raw milk, which has killed no one and is of lower risk than many other common foods.
One wonders who it is that doesn’t like raw milk, and why. Here in Ontario, one might imagine that the so-called “Dairy Farmers of Ontario” have had something to do with all the naysaying.
Perhaps they feel that raw milk is incompatible with, or a threat to, the supply management system that underpins the value of their milk quota, and the security of their livelihood. Continue reading
From Andy Bellatti on Grist.org:
There was a time, not too long ago, when American’s milk options were limited to various forms of cow’s milk (i.e. full-fat, reduced-fat, skim, lactose-free). But times have changed. Soy was the first non-dairy milk to “go mainstream” in the mid 1990s, and you can find “milk” varieties including almond, coconut, hazelnut, hemp, oat, and sunflower seed on supermarket shelves,
Much like an only child who is the center of attention until a sibling comes along, Big Dairy has started to lash out. “Alternative milks” are no longer relegated to the vegan world; many vegetarians and omnivores also purchase and consume plant-based milks. This is bad news for Big Dairy (a.k.a. The California Milk Processor Board).
Behold their latest campaign — “Real Milk Comes From Cows” (tagline: “many imitations, still no equal”). The idea, apparently, is to point out all the ways in which plant-based milks have cooties. One of their inane recent ads can be seen in the screenshot below:
Image via Grist.org
Coconut milk is described as “spooky” for looking so “real,” or similar to cow’s milk. Hazelnut milk is supposed to creep us out because of the “stuff on the bottom,” Almond milk is dissed for having a “funky” color, and soy milk is unveiled as a product that doesn’t come from a cow (when did it ever claim to?). Continue reading
From Jeff Carter on the Business Insider:
“Last night I went to see the documentary Farmageddon in Chicago.
I also stayed for the full panel discussion. The film is shocking. Documentaries are supposed to shock you. Michael Moore has made millions presenting slanted facts to us.
Documentaries are designed to get you to do something. This documentary illustrates the plight of the organic farmer, specifically the organic dairy farmer. If a dairy farmer wants to sell raw milk, they will be run out of business and many times imprisoned by the federal bureaucracy. Continue reading
From Russ on the “Volatility” blog:
“New Jersey is one of several states which explicitly criminalize the sale of raw milk. It’s therefore at the extreme end of a motley array of possible state attitudes. While the federal bureaucracy (no law) also criminalizes the transport of raw milk over state lines*, it’s up to the states to decide what happens within their borders. (The FDA often lobbies against decriminalization.)
[*This includes, according to a recent FDA assertion, the customer himself going to another state to purchase raw milk and then bringing it back home. The government soothingly claims it has no intention of trying to arrest or otherwise sanction such individual purchasers, but it wants to reserve the right to do so. Of course, it was just a year ago, in promulgating its totalitarian brief in the FTCLDF lawsuit, that the FDA claimed it had no aggressive enforcement plans against dairies and raw milk co-ops. That was proven to be a lie within weeks.] Continue reading
A cartoon and a column from Phil Hands in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Cartoon by Phil Hands, from the Wisconsin State Journal
“A month ago, I would have told you comparing the raw milk ban to prohibition was silly. That was before government officials starting raiding family dairy farms that were selling the unpastuerized milk to willing customers….” Continue reading
Is raw milk a threat to big business and big dairy coops? Photo of raw milk bottle label from "the internet".
From this latest update on the American raw milk scene from David E. Gumpert of the Complete Patient blog, it’s evident that even farmer cooperatives are emulating big dairy in their push to squelch the growing competition from raw milk’ market ascendancy. But will their fears turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy as they give farmers currently selling a little raw milk on the side an ultimatum to “get big or get out”. I suspect that will lead to a lot of farmers choosing to expand their raw milk operation to where it sustains the farm, rather than to kowtow to companies pushing a product that fewer and fewer consumers want to buy. And now, that excerpt from The Complete Patient: Continue reading
David E. Gumpert reports from his embedded position in the raw milk trenches of New Hampshire, as seen on the Huffington Post:
“The movement to fight off the federal and state campaigns against raw milk over the past three years has been viewed by the mainstream media as pretty much a fringe thing. A bunch of crazy farmers who refuse to send their milk for pasteurization, and even crazier consumers, who insist on supposedly endangering their health with the unprocessed milk.
The battle has raged mostly in the West and Midwest. In California, movie stars like Martin Sheen joined demonstrations with bad-boy raw dairy farmer Mark McAfee, who runs the largest raw dairy in the country, during 2008 in a vain effort to pass legislation that would have loosened regulatory restrictions on raw milk. Over the last six months, in Wisconsin, a growing citizen movement on behalf of raw milk has led to passage of legislation that would reverse the state’s long-standing prohibition on raw milk sales, and allow consumers to buy it from the farm. The governor has indicated publicly that he’ll sign it, but in the charged atmosphere over this issue, anything is possible. Continue reading