From David E. Gumpert, on The Complete Patient blog:
“There are any number of reasons why the negotiations over herdshares taking place in California—between owners of small dairies and the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture– over the last few months should not work.
Many tiny dairies dispensing raw goat’s or cow’s milk through such operations feel as a matter of principle that they shouldn’t have to negotiate a right that is already theirs—the right to contract with neighbors and friends for milk and other dairy and food products.
Even if they aren’t so principled, many shy away from making their presence known to the CDFA. They figure that no matter what comes out of these discussions—even the least onerous regulatory structure—they’d rather not be on any more government agency lists than are necessary. Assuming the CDFA never gives them trouble, who knows what other authorities the agency may send their way. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“Controversy seems to be lurking in the supposed manner in which two of the children became ill from E.coli O157:H7 in OPDC milk. In a comment following my previous post, McAfee stated, “We do know that at least two of the most sickened children did not drink raw milk,….but drank OPDC after it had been ‘fermented and cultured with store bought Kefir cultures ‘ ” There is nothing in the CDPH report letter that details the circumstances of how the milk was consumed by the sickened children.
But in an email today to Stephen Beam, head of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s dairy division, McAfee requested that publicity coming out of that agency explain his understanding about how the milk was used by a customer. “In all fairness, it is crucial that your department and CDPH both include in your press releases, that two of the hospitalized and most sickened children, did not drink raw milk at all. They instead drank a homemade brew of cultured raw milk with added cultures in their own containers and the end product contained millions of bacteria per ml. They also ate cultured vegetables that were soaked in raw whey collected from this cultured Kefir. Continue reading
From Christopher Fisher, on Civil Eats:
“Amidst a spate of law enforcement raids and other regulatory actions taken by local, state, and federal officials against raw milk producers across the country, an alarmed group of small California dairy farmers and consumers have recently formed the Food Rights Coalition and begun to push state regulators and legislators to take action to help them. The coalition formed in response to at least a half dozen cease and desist orders issued by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) over the past year to small dairy herdshares across the state.
At a Petaluma, California meeting last week, several local members of the group expressed concern for the loss of their livelihoods and the safety of their families, seeking the assistance of 6th District Assemblyman Jared Huffman to protect their milking rights. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert at the Complete Patient blog:
“Back in the fall of 2006, the California Department of Food and Agriculture shut down Organic Pastures Dairy Co. after the state identified six children it said were sickened by E.coli O157:H7. Inspectors invaded the dairy and carried out hundreds of manure and environmental tests. The dairy was only allowed to resume productionsome two weeks later, after its owner, Mark McAfee, called a press conference to protest that the CDFA was dragging its heels in lifting its quarantine–he threatened legal action and consumer protests.
Five years later, and the story has unfolded in amazingly similar fashion. The CDFA shuttered Organic Pastures four weeks ago, after California health authorities connected the dairy with five illnesses from E.coli O157:H7 scattered around the state. Extensive testing of manure samples and the OPDC facilities was carried out. Continue reading
From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:
“….Some people don’t like it when I say we’re in a war over food rights. We are, and the reason I repeatedly emphasize that point is that the war analogy helps us understand more clearly what’s going on around us. In wars, it’s common practice for the aggressor to offer a potential settlement or compromise after launching a huge military assault, and the enemy has fought back harder than expected. The aggressor hopes to de-rail any momentum, and divide the enemy with an offer that seems tempting to everyone who hates war, which is most of us.
Even if nothing comes of the discussions, the aggressor uses the pause to gather information and intelligence, and to re-group. McAfee indicates CDFA officials were surprised to learn there are likely more than 100 dairies with herdshare/cowshare arrangements in California. Of course they were. They don’t know much of what’s going on in the real world they regulate. Continue reading