Tag Archives: risk

Why Michael Schmidt’s Appeal Matters

Ontario farmer and raw milk advocate, Michael Schmidt, with one of his supporters, following a court case in 2011.

We don’t see a lot of this out there, but here’s an apparently independent blogger, who doesn’t appear to be a cowshare member, or all that closely connected or impacted by the case, expressing concern for the fundamental issues at stake in the Michael Schmidt raw milk saga, which so far has mostly been about how Michael has been prosecuted in the absence of any damage, and how his case has gotten an inordinate amount of regulatory attention, given what else is happening in the world these days. From Sofa King Next Level:

“Michael Schmidt is an Ontario farmer who was targeted in 2006 by the Province of Ontario (through the Grey-Bruce Health Unit and the Ministry of Natural Resources) for making unpasteurized milk available to his small buying group of customers who owned shares in his milking herd. We are talking less than 150 customers over a number of years, and less than 30 cows. When the judgement for this case came down in 2010, Michael Schmidt was found not guilty and acquitted of all charges. This should have been the end of the story. Continue reading

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Raw Milk — from Science to Policy

The Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph will be hosting a one-day symposium on science and policy questions around raw milk on Tuesday April 22, 2014. Academics, industry and government representatives are expected to attend.

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According to the event web page: “The goal of the conference will be to engage in discussions on the need for a structured and transparent process, to ensure that scientific research and knowledge are used to enable effective policy decisions. We are engaging a wide spectrum of global experts, who will use current policies relating to raw and pasteurized milk as the exploratory case study.”

Among the nine presenters will be Durham area farmer and raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt. Here’s Michael’s bio from the presenter page: Continue reading

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Controversy in social media over “raw milk is a low-risk food” assessment

by Nadine Ijaz

Researcher Nadine Ijaz

It is healthy that we are seeing some vigorous conversation about raw milk safety this week.  In an earlier post, I responded to some inaccurate depictions of my work on this front.  The discussion continues across social media, with the twitterverse circulating a position paper to reproduce some of the raw milk science myths which I debunked in my recent presentation to the BC Centre for Disease Control here in Canada.  That position paper gives some historical context for pasteurization, cites some accurate evidence, and describes one family’s story of raw milk induced illness; it also makes some important errors. While one is entitled to express an opinion online, it is important to differentiate what is scientific evidence.

Of course it is terribly unfortunate that a beautiful young child would and did become severely ill from consuming unpasteurized milk contaminated with E. coli 0157 as the paper’s author reports; and I feel certain that raw milk producers and consumers would agree that it is regrettable.  One would certainly wish Ms. McGonigle-Martin, her son Chris, and their entire family well; and wish to do the utmost to prevent any such future occurrence. These stories are absolutely worth telling, to honour the family’s experience. Continue reading

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“New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk is a Low-Risk Food” — Wall Street Journal

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Washington DC, June 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Three quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs) recently published in the Journal of Food Protection have demonstrated that unpasteurized milk is a low-risk food, contrary to previous, inappropriately-evidenced claims suggesting a high-risk profile. These scholarly papers, along with dozens of others, were reviewed on May 16, 2013 at the Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, BC (Canada), during a special scientific Grand Rounds presentation entitled “Unpasteurized milk: myths and evidence.”

The reviewer, Nadine Ijaz, MSc, demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has long been mistakenly used to affirm the “myth” that raw milk is a high-risk food, as it was in the 1930s. Today, green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of food-borne illness in the United States. British Columbia CDC’s Medical Director of Environmental Health Services, Dr. Tom Kosatsky, who is also Scientific Director of Canada’s National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,welcomed Ms. Ijaz’s invited presentation as “up-to-date” and “a very good example of knowledge synthesis and risk communication.” Continue reading

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The Gene Revolution with Dr. Thierry Vrain; GMO Free Langley Shines

by Raoul Bedi, BASc

Dr.Vrain spoke about “The Future of Agriculture” at TED talks on May 23, 2013

A: Introduction

Building on the theme of collaboration and synergy, in the work of food security,  anti-GMO awareness and public education, through the examples of interviews (Vandana Shiva May 1, 2013), writings (Dr. Thierry Vrain’s May 23 GMO Dangers essay), podcasts, activism and rallies, I continue this process with a summary about the recent June 5 “Community Forum on GM Food” and lecture by retired GM Scientist Dr.Thierry Vrain  in Surrey BC that was sponsored by Phil Harrison, the Council of Canadians ( www.canadians.org ) and others.

Emcee Phil Harrison and Dr.Thierry Vrain fielding questions from the audience (Photo by Raoul Bedi http://www.biofield.ca). Click image for more photos from Surrey GMO forum.

Apart from disseminating the information shared with the audience by Dr. Vrain, it is also useful to provide some background on the organizational and activist elements involved, so that towns and regions across Canada may more easily and quickly replicate and build upon this work. Continue reading

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The low risk from raw milk

From the Canadian raw milk consumer advocacy group:

Dairy is the lowest risk of all these food categories.

“The unfortunate truth is that, no matter what we eat, all food has some inherent risk.  The question is of course, comparative risk.  At a conservative estimate, there are at least 10 million raw milk drinkers in the United States (no similar survey was done for Canada), based on a 2006 consumer survey (this estimate does not even take into consideration any increase over the last 7 years, and we all know that consumer demand has vastly increased).  But for these 10 million raw milk drinkers, we do not see thousands or millions of them dying each year. In fact, there have been two raw milk related deaths since 1997, and at least one of these two was actually linked to illegal raw queso fresco cheese….’ Continue reading

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Mother Jones’ surprising raw milk story

From Kiera Butler, on Mother Jones:

“Over the past year, I’ve been involved in an illegal, underground, super-secret speakeasy. I smuggled contraband to my house, even distributed it among my friends. Nope, not meth: milk. Creamy, delicious, unpasteurized milk.

When I first tried raw milk, I found the taste odd, but soon I came to crave its distinctive flavor. Better yet, I was told it could cure my allergies and eczema. “People see amazing results when they give this stuff to their kids—they have ear infections and asthma and allergies, and with raw milk it goes away,” says Mark McAfee, CEO of Fresno, California-based Organic Pastures, the nation’s largest raw-milk dairy. McAfee pointed me to a peer-reviewed study suggesting a link between raw-milk consumption and diminished allergy rates—as the theory goes, raw milk contains proteins and compounds that somehow keep the immune system from overreacting to allergens. Continue reading

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