Another Look at Mark McAfees Talk of Guns and ViolenceMaybe Bill Marler Needs a Refresher on the Constitution

The wait is over. The Haphazard Gourmet has named the winner of its raw milk slogan contest, a contest that actually grew out of a comment by Mark McAfee on this site about the “Viagra effect” of raw milk. I commend the Haphazard Gourmet for its good humor on this subject, since its writers disagree with most on this blog. Take a look for the winners.

There is another subject Mark commented on recently that hasn’t evoked nearly as much good feeling—in fact, it’s been only alluded to here and there in semi-hushed tones–and that’s the subject of guns and violence. An Observer and Concerned Person have expressed upset. Now poison food lawyer Bill Marler is tut-tutting on his blog, calling the comment Mark made on this blog in connection with the raid in Ohio on the Manna Storehouse “disturbing.”

Bill Marler’s decision to excerpt the entire comment suggests this feeling: Hey, we may disagree on whether the authorities should have gone after Mark on selling raw milk out of state, but when it comes to violence and guns, only the deranged can go along with this.

Well, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what Mark really said. And what he said is that while violent resistance is a last-ditch measure, it’s something many could be forced into if recent trends of government heavy-handedness expand. The way I read it is that all Mark is doing is giving voice to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

A few points about the amendment:

–It’s adamant that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

–It’s listed second, only after the right of free speech and a free press of the First Amendment.

–It was just reinforced by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a major decision.

The reason Mark is raising the issue now is because we’re seeing more and more evidence of encroachments on assorted liberties, such as protection from unreasonable searches, in the form of police raids on farmers.

Mark doesn’t make such statements out of thin air. He notes in his comment on Bill Marler’s blog that he made the comments in connection with the raid on the Stowers family in Ohio earlier this month.

Mark comes from a family that has stood up firmly to questionable government actions. His father, Rodger McAfee, bailed out Angela Davis, a civil rights activist, in 1972, before she was put on trial for complicity in a courthouse murder—and acquitted (in link, see section under “Detention”). He raised the bail by pledging the farm from which Mark now produces unpasteurized milk.

This is a discussion that can quickly become highly charged. Mark alludes to the “tipping point,” but suggests quite appropriately that he doesn’t know exactly where it is. Nor do any of us. But wherever it lies out there, our government enforcers seem to be moving closer to it as they raid farms of peaceful families while waiving firearms.

It is also important to remember that our founders had experienced the abuses of an authoritarian government directly from the British, and considered armed resistance important enough to be made a key component of our constitution.

Mark is just giving expression to that, reminding us of the New Hampshire license plate’s admonition: “Live free or die.”


For the record, Mark has set a strong example of working within the system, such as earlier this year, when he was a major part of the effort to pass SB 201 to change the coliform regulation on raw milk in California. Now, he’s just initiated an effort to change the federal prohibitions on raw milk , filing an “FDA Citizen Petition” requesting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allow an exception to its ban on interstate commerce for raw milk, as follows:

“Raw milk that is tested, state inspected, state regulated, carries a ‘government warning statement’ and labeled for retail sale in one state may be transported to another state if that other state allows the sale of raw un-pasteurized milk and or dairy products.

He and Christine Chessen of CREMA (they filed the petition jointly) argue in part: “Raw un-pasteurized milk that is tested and authorized by a state dairy regulatory agency for retail sale within a state is not the same raw milk that is produced as intended for pasteurization under the PMO (pasteurized milk ordinance). The standards and testing protocols are completely different.”


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25 Comments on "Another Look at Mark McAfees Talk of Guns and ViolenceMaybe Bill Marler Needs a Refresher on the Constitution"

December 27, 2008

This isn’t the first such reference. The person who goes by Gordon Watson and Gordon Fitzwalter on the Yahoo Group Raw Dairy Site posted on 9/12/08: "…"I’d love to hear from the elders at Mark Nolte’s church how that political activity ought to be carried out …….When do outraged Americans get down to brass tacks .. to the most American of all reactions ? Precious metals : blue steel, brass casings and lead? Of course, that would never be the answer for pacifists. Even though the right to remove tyrants is bloody-well enshrined in the fabric of the nation. bullets or ballots, people. Take your pick"

Someone said: "….Society needs law and order, but the it is naive to think that only a coercive, aggressive entity like government can provide it…."

I guess you would rather have (1) personal injury lawyers (who will bring the lawsuits based on legal "theories" and disputed facts) and (2) insurance companies (who will settle the lawsuits, cancel policies, raise premiums beyond the ability of a farmer to pay and therefore set economic and social policy before a jury of the farmer’s s’ peers ever hears 99% of the cases, with or without merit). Those are your alternatives.

As one of the regulators so regularly demonized on this blog, the heart of the raw milk debate from this side was succinctly articulated by the following exchange between Observer and Steve Bemis.

Observer said on 12/20:
"…….But, doubt that the officials are terribly "exasperated" over raw milk; despite the dynamic exchange on this blog, raw milk and local herdshare/co-op arrangements are a very small slice of the food safety frustration pie. However, your point highlights an interesting catch 22…in general, if an outbreak occurs from any food product (including everything from "big ag" to raw milk, custom slaughter meat, etc.), the public and media are quick to accuse the officials of failing to protect them. Headlines read…the investigation was too slow, the regulations are too weak or not enforced well enough, why wasn’t the public warned sooner, and on and on……"

Steve Bemis said on 12/21 :
"….Finally, when going down this path we also must realize the maxim – be careful what you wish for, since you might live to get it. With freedom comes responsibility, and some risk. I think most reading this blog are willing to trade the perceived small risks attendant to raw foods from which they as consumers are not "protected" by burdensome regulation. The reasons, of course, are the very real benefits, both real and perceived, in eating more wholesome foods of our own choice. This is a shared risk, both for the consumer and the producer. The elephant in the room, of course, is litigation. The pro’s and con’s of how risk is to be shared for the inevitable Bad Thing when it Happens will also need a full and frank discussion….."

Absolutely hit the nail on the head. There is nothing more to it than that. Selling raw fluid milk is legally the same as injecteding any other product into the stream of commerce, no matter how small or controlled one tries to make the "stream." We as a society are "legally" so far past the times when statements like "buyer beware" and "I am an educated consumer and assume all risk associated with this product" hold any legal water that to wish for those "simpler times" is not a constructive endeavor. One must deal with the reality of today’s legal world, not one that is long gone. Dairy products made with raw fluid milk, beyond those whose standards of identity are already encompassed by the current version of the Code of Federal Regulations (hard, semi-soft and soft ripened cheeses aged more than 60 days, etc.), must have some standard of identity associated with their production before the legal construct can be in place to sell these products in today’s world, bring the revenues to farmers and the foods to those who want them. RIghtly or wrongly, the 20th century ended with pasteurization of milk being an assumption of the entire mechanism in place for selling milk and dairy products in the United States, and whatever interfacing comes up from time to time between that mechanism and tort law. That won’t change as a result of short-sighted exceptions for some permutation of "limited sales," which tort law doesn’t recognize when a producer is sued, or the equivalent of moonshining. One of the most difficult questions to which I have not seen the answer is how will farm insurers react when their underwriting and claims departments learn/comprehend that unpasteurized dairy products sales are going on — denial of coverage, cancellation of the policy?

The "shared risk" noted by Mr. Bemis is at least four-part: (1) producer (individual monetary liabiility), (2) consumer (risk of illness and resultant financial and other losses), (3) government (e.g. costs of food-borne illness investigations, regulatory apparatus, court system to handle tort cases, cost of stopping spread of human illness, etc.) and (4) insurance companies (payment of claims). If you talk to the health care industry, they probably would say they are a fifth player since they have to treat any illnesses. This is the same equation that exists for the sale of absolutley all food products (or any product for that matter — we just don’t ingest all of them, they can cause harm in other ways).

December 27, 2008

I understand that the government has the authority to regulate commerce,but when the consumer is the producer is there any commerce?When consumers become producers as in a herdshare or co-op,the risk is shared by the people who make up the co-op.When people fill their own container from a bulk source they are taking responsibility that the container is clean.People who are willing to take some of the responsibility for producing their own food can choose to leave the insurance companies and regulatory agencies out of the picture.They need to be aware that this is what it means to be part of a herdshare or co-op.

Why do some regulators treat herdshares and coops as if they are engaged in commerce?Can you tell me when I have crossed the line between producing and consuming my own food and commerce? Or are you claiming authority over activity that is not considered commerce?

Mark McAfee
December 27, 2008

David….well said.

My father was killed in August 2006 in a car accident just 5 miles from OPDC.

His entire life he fought against corruption and wars. He cut his teeth in the fight against the Vietnam war. A war that proved nothing…and killed much. A war that was about paranoia and McCarthyism. That communism would devour asia if we did not push back the reds. In the end he was right…it proved nothing and now Vietnam is a favored trading partner and is still very much communist. How mistaken and stupid are we??

When my father led the national farmers stike in the late 1970s, he drove a tractor into the San Fransisco bay after it had been driven from the east coast. A tractor with his name on it now stands proudly in the Smithsonian Institute as a testimony to America’s small farmers that are practically extict. My father was a rebell with a cause. I proudly carry that tradition for the good of America and the people. In my case, the good of peoples freedom and whole food nutrition.

When the feds threatened him in early 1990’s with federal SWAT action on his farm in Merced CA, he rebelled and refused to follow demands. The US Marshalls feared the worst and called me ( I was not a part of my fathers life for many years ). They did not want another Randy Weaver – Ruby Ridge or a WACO or Montana Freeman Incident.

It was Mark McAfee that brokered a peace and kept blood from pouring. It was Mark McAfee in cooperation with smart and peace preserving US MArshalls that made the difference.

Ask the US Marshalls and US Attorney Daniel Bensing about this. I want change and I want it through peacefull means using the established processes.

But when those processes that are part of proud constituional hertitage are corrupted and no longer function…then it is time to fix our broken country.

Peacefully at all cost.

But when the corrupt start to kill us ( using what ever excuses they use )…and our families…. then we fight and fight hard to bring America back to its true north.

Mark McAfee

Blair McMorran
December 27, 2008

This is off-topic but there seems to be a problem with the security certificate for The Complete Patient. It is registered to * – my browser doesn’t like that and won’t let me post here unless I make an exception for this site, which I did, but I saw Don is also having issues so I thought I better bring this to your attention…

Don Wittlinger
December 27, 2008

Prior post " society needs law and order" Yea we sure do but not the LAWLESS usurping of our INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS that TPTB care nothing about! Their toxic SYSTEM is all that matters to them!!! Regulator how can you possible approve and license filthy, confinement dairies where cows stand hoof deep is their own waste material all their lives and never even taste a single blade of grass? Sure the milk is boiled but what do the health care workers have to say about the sickness and disease suffered by the children and the eldery from consuming this dead milk? Which confinement dairy can I sue for being gravely ill at 68 for consuming the boiled filthy milk? I wont sue them it was my own igornance and the SYSTEM deceiving me.
My health has completely turned around via rejection of the SAD and the consumption of real salt, grass fed beef, free ranging chickens, eggs, our own UNPASTURIZED kombucha tea, large amounts of the most hated. the most dangerous, the most outlawed perfect food in America RAW MILK, RAW CREAM, RAW BUTTER, and RAW CHEESE.
HMMM seems like there is a major problem here a return to health without the aid of an MD or drugs JUST REAL FOOD!
I am now 72 1/2 neither I nor my wife take any drugs plus we have cost the Medicare system not one penny ever.

Brian Keeter
December 27, 2008


Trial lawyers, insurance companies and other forms of private contracted arbitration are great when compared to the violence of swat teams, militarized police, pre-dawn raids and federal prisons.

Whether you agree with it or not, government is ultimately coercion. It is not productive, and it is not voluntary. That is the difference between government and the market place.

An Observer
December 27, 2008


Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing. This statement especially caught my eye.

"…that to wish for those "simpler times" is not a constructive endeavor. One must deal with the reality of today’s legal world, not one that is long gone."

It often strikes me that at the heart of this raw milk movement is a romantic viewpoint of food and farming. In an exchange with another person on this site, it was suggested that a desire for simpler times (simpler foods, simpler government) drives the movement, and the passions.

Unfortunately, I think you are right…the idea of going back to simpler times (which probably were far less romantic at the time…back when people’s children contracted bovine tuberculosis regularly in the US, for example) doesn’t work in today’s world as soon as money is exchanged.

Regarding some of the comments about fast-foods and other unhealthy eating options, the day has arrived when these industries too must face new regulation (such as removing soda machines from schools; posting calorie counts at restaurants), and no doubt we will see emerging litigation relating to obesity and other chronic health problems that challenges personal choice and one’s own accountabilitysome will demand that food companies and regulators go beyond educational campaigns to protect people from making poor food choices that lead to chronic illness in themselves and their children…just like society demands having laws in place to promote a food supply free of pathogens and toxins that cause food poisoning.

Blair McMorran
December 27, 2008

"…that to wish for those "simpler times" is not a constructive endeavor. One must deal with the reality of today’s legal world, not one that is long gone."

It is romantic, nostalgic and old-fashioned. I think it’s been very constructive for my family. To take a non-food example, this Christmas was reminiscent of my childhood Christmases – fewer gifts, less consumption, no VISA bills. Truly liberating!

I am humbled by the Colorado farmers, who offer up this food without liability insurance, with no government support, just old-fashioned agreements, and give me an opportunity to support the old-fashioned farm, and nourish my family (another old-fashioned idea). I am humbled by the home schoolers, who fought this same fight and won the right to raise their children as they see fit, without government intervention.

I agree with Mark – I really don’t like to fight, but if you come after my freedom and family, I will stand up and fight. (But if we all sat down to a good meal, we could probably figure something else out.)

Regulation may have lessened (?) food contamination, but somewhere along the way, they lost sight of nutrition, and it’s slowly killing us. Our old-fashioned bodies still need old-fashioned nutrition – and No, CP, it can’t be found in a lab-synthesized probiotic pill. We need old-fashioned sunshine, vitality and balance.

When you lose good health, you don’t have the energy or the will to contribute to society. That’s just old-fashioned truth. Look at America now.
p.s. Will someone on the regulator side please answer Miguel’s question?

An Observer
December 27, 2008


I’ll take a stab at miguel’s question with the caveat that I don’t know much about business law. I’ve been a member of grocery store and restaurant co-ops. In the co-op situation, money was exchanged, and helped support operating costs like land, over-head for the individuals who actually "owned" the property, paid the taxes, and would have ultimately been liable if something went "wrong." As a co-op member, I never felt a sense of liability per se, although there was a sense of community and volunteer time to make the co-op work well. Question: if the co-op had been a herdshare – do the real owners of the animals that do the day-to-day care and feeding on their property take the ultimate responsibility? After the outbreak linked to the Dee Creek, it appeared the liability fell on the "owners," not the herdshare members as a group. Please feel free to let me know if I’m misunderstanding the question/concept.

Sylvia Gibson
December 27, 2008

"Rates of infection were higher among closely confined cattle than in free-range animals."

It would appear that if the "confined" methods of dairy farming were changed, it would naturally decreased the incidence of BTB. Unfortunately, that was not done. The govt officials apparently in many cases refused to "retest" cattle and the false positives were killed. So over the years the confined animal factories continue as does the diseases and illness which go along with any animal with poor diet and unnatural environments.

"these industries too must face new regulation (such as removing soda machines from schools; posting calorie counts at restaurants), "

Woohoo, removing sodas from schools and posting calorie counts, yes indeedy that will teach people about the poison additives in the processed foods. That is not impressive, it is rather pathetic.

Did the spinach growers pay for all the medical bills of those infected a few years ago? Who was ultimately responsible? Who had to pay out? Aren’t they still in business? I haven’t seen anything in the news about payouts.

Why aren’t the regulators preventing these sick cows from entering the food chain?

Don Wittlinger
December 27, 2008

UGH I just had another post get sucked into an internet black hole.

Don Wittlinger
December 27, 2008

I will try posting again…. "Simpler times is not a constructive endeavor" Simpler times did not cause diseases wrong dairy practices did, wrong dairy practices have not been corrected, modern sciences solution, boill the filthy milk and feed it to the public! Simpler times, was there ever such a time?
" Heart of the raw milk movement is a ROMAN-TIC view point" REALLY? I have no ROMAN-TIC view point, and I am not chasing windmills nor do the brave farmers farmers have ROMAN-TIC ideals that have been staring down gun barrels and badges and black robed judges. This is sreious stuff!
The struggle for freedom to choose raw milk is a life or death matter for those of us that HAVE BEEN sick! If we are to survive we can not lose this last vistage of freedom.
For any who may think this is just a ROMAN-TIC ENDEAVOR or game I would advise you read and study the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and The Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. The tell us which you want to live under and which are we living under?
Individual responsibility is required when one loves and practicies freedom. Indivdual responsibility is not required were there is no freedom ,that is left to the insurance companies, the corporation or the state.
Is our motto now Government of the Corporation by the Corporation for the Corporation?
A lady last week told us to Google the United States Corporation let me add a few more Google The Coinage Act of 1792, The Federal Reserve, and CAFR.
What does that mean?

Ken Conrad
December 28, 2008


Goethes statement refers to those who believe that their freedom has been achieved and can be maintained via control, and in this sense he is indeed correct. Freedom cannot be earned; it is a gift that can only be realized with our acceptance of the truth.
If you wish to truly be free then be prepares to fly by the seat of your pants.

Ken Conrad

Concerned Person
December 28, 2008

[The struggle for freedom to choose raw milk is a life or death matter for those of us that HAVE BEEN sick! If we are to survive we can not lose this last vestige of freedom.]

Don, thank you for finally saying what I believe most raw milk advocates believe. Their access to raw milk feels like a life or death situation. If I experienced what you have with your health, I would feel the same way.

[Our old-fashioned bodies still need old-fashioned nutrition – and No, CP, it can’t be found in a lab-synthesized probiotic pill.]

Blair, how do you know beneficial bacteria cant be found in a lab-synthesized probiotic pill? Have you tried this option from a reliable source? Are you denying the possibility that this method may also have positive health benefits?

I do not deny your perception of raw milk having positive nutritional benefits because you have witnessed it first hand by using it with your family. My family uses probioticsmany different strains. The health benefits we have received from its use have been amazing.

In a perfect world where raw milk can be guaranteed 100% pathogen free, I would choose raw milk over the use of probiotics; especially raw milk made into yogurt or keifer. But we dont live in a perfect world. Raw milk pathogen contamination does occur and children are the typically the victims. This is why I choose the use probiotics over raw milk.

Im not telling anyone what choices they should make for themselves or their children. Im just advocating another health option that does not come with the risk of pathogens.

Heres some information Ive learned from reading about the use of probiotics. Did you know:

that Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be helped with Bifidobacteria infantis and lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus, paracasei, plantarum, rhamnosus, and salivarius?

that a urinary tract infection can be prevented with the use of Lactobacillus casei Shirota, crispatus, fermentum, reuteri and rhamnosus?

that asthma incidences can be reduced with the use of Lactobacillus rhamnsus?

that the symptoms of eczema can be reduced by Bifidobacteria lactis and Lactobacillus casei, fermentum, reuteri and rhamnosus?


An Observer
December 28, 2008

"Did the spinach growers pay for all the medical bills of those infected a few years ago?"

Settlement of 76 E. coli O157:H7 cases (including three deaths and twenty-two HUS cases) stemming from the September 2006 Dole E. coli spinach case

Making Hay Out of Spinach

Estimated $350 million of reduced revenue suffered by the spinach industry due to the E.coli outbreak

December 28, 2008

How do they make probiotics so that they can be sure that there is no contamination somewhere along in the process?Do they use pasteurized milk in the process?

Sylvia Gibson
December 28, 2008

"The overall toll of the spinach incident was 199 people in 28 states being infected, resulting in 141 hospitalizations, 31 people having kidney failure, and three deaths"

Depending on which report you read, there were "at least" 199 people ill in 28 states. Who paid for the medical bills? If you have an injury and litigation is resulted then you ususally have to repay the health insurance company for any monies they paid. The lawyer "settled" 76 cases, what of all the others? What of those who thought they just had a stomach "bug/flu"? Wow, the lawyer knew the strain link before the FDA? That speaks volumes of the poor quality coming from the govt. I wonder why the payoffs are confidential? The link still doesn’t say who paid for all the healthcare rendered. Where did the money come from, and who did it go to?

Spinach industry losses are the cost of doing business. If you have cow poop run off too close to your fields, it is bad. I’m not a farmer yet I know that fresh poop is full of bad bugs. I wonder if the feds went in with guns drawn? And forced people along with children to sit huddled in an area for hours? Did they snatch cell phones and take personal foods?

Even the health care industry isn’t consistant. So it comes down to being educated about your foods, where it comes from, how it is grown, how it is processed.

December 28, 2008

"Why do some regulators treat herdshares and coops as if they are engaged in commerce?Can you tell me when I have crossed the line between producing and consuming my own food and commerce? Or are you claiming authority over activity that is not considered commerce?"

Regulators do not want to debate points of law because they are busy establishing a different type of law.They want to establish that they give the orders and we are bound to comply without questioning those orders.They are asserting ownership of our property and even our bodies.When a large majority of the population is intimidated into accepting this sort of law it will be easy to deal with the ones who resist.So their strategy is to act as if we live under martial law so that when enough people accept it,they will declare that we are in fact now living under martial law.

The failing economy and collapsing agricultural system are the result of ignoring natural laws.Declaring martial law can’t prevent those disasters.Factory farms are collapsing for both economic reasons and because the animals refuse to live under such conditions.
The threat of lawsuits or high insurance premiums is a joke.Take away our cows,take away our land.The skills needed to produce high quality food in a sustainable manner will always be of more value than the materials used in the process.The natural world is a powerful ally and we will be supported by it.In time, the artificial, unsustainable system that you rely on will fail and nature will heal the scars it left.

Blair McMorran
December 28, 2008

CP wrote:
"Blair, how do you know beneficial bacteria cant be found in a lab-synthesized probiotic pill? Have you tried this option from a reliable source? Are you denying the possibility that this method may also have positive health benefits?"

CP, No, I don’t deny that synthetic probiotics might be helpful. I just think that real food probiotics are superior, because they are real food, . There are reputable doctors that have written cogent and fascinating books about probiotics. Campbell-McBride’s "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" is my favorite. I can’t find data on human food nutrient absorption, but I can on animal, and I read that nutrient absorption in cows from real food is 25 times higher than that from supplements. WOW.

Any "good" probiotic costs at least $35 for one month supply. To heal the many problems associated with leaky gut, you have to radically change your diet and consume at least 6 of these probiotic capsules per day (with a minimum of 8 billion organisms each), for a minimum of 6 months and usually about 3 years. Raw milk costs me $8/gallon, and the kefir grains are free (or pay for postage) in the raw network. I probably drink about a quart of kefir a week, maybe less – I aim for a glass a day. I also use it to soak grains, and my dog gets some too. (His breath and his toots don’t stink.)

I have a tough time popping pills for longer than a few weeks, let alone years, especially when they cost that much. I can drink an 8oz kefir smoothie, and get a tasty gutload of more probiotics than you’d find in any quality capsule, which might contain 4-16 different probiotic species in a pre-determined amount, compared to at least 40 found in kefir.

Look at all these critters!
Typical Microflora Isolated from Kefir Grains
Divided into Four Genus groups:

Lb. acidophilus
Lb. brevis
Lb. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. cellobiosus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. fructivorans
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. hilgardii
Lb. kefiri
Lb. kefiranofaciens
Lb. kefirgranum sp. nov *
Lb. parakefir sp. nov *
Lb. lactis
Lb. plantarum

Lactococci lactis subsp. lactis
Lc. lactis var. diacetylactis
Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris
Streptococci salivarius subsp. thermophilus
S. lactis
Enterococcus durans
Leuconostoc cremoris
Leuc. mesenteroides

Candida kefir
C. pseudotropicalis
C. rancens
C. tenuis
Kluyveromyces lactis
Kluyveromyces marxianus var. marxianus
K. bulgaricus
K. fragilis/marxianus
Saccharomyces subsp. Torulopsis holmii
Saccharomyces lactis
S. carlsbergensis
S. unisporus
Debaryomyces hansenii **
Zygosaccharomyces rouxii **

Acetobacter aceti
A. rasens


Encyclopaedia of Food Science, Food Technology, and Nutrition [1993] [pp. 1804-
1808] Edited by R. Macrae, R.K. Robinson, M.J. Sadler

* International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology 44 (3) 435-439 [1994]

** T. Loretana, J.F Mosterta and B.C. Viljoen [2003] Microbial flora
associated with South African household kefir. S. Afr. J. Sci. Vol. 99 No. 1/2

List of Bacterial Names with Standing in Nomenclature – Genus Lactobacillus

Units Count of Microbes in Gram Stained Kefir Grains

Bacilli [single cells, pair, chains]
Streptococci [pair, chains]
Yeast [single cells]

The Means Range

Bacilli 66, 62-69%
Streptococci 16, 11-12%
Yeast 18, 16-20% [10]

And look at what kefir heals!

The following excerpt is from ,
challenging the claims made by a probiotic capsule to yogurt & kefir:

Claim 1. "Our product contains 15 billion bacteria at the time of
manufacture. It would take ten tubs of yogurt and a dozen bottles of
kefir to get the same amount of bacteria."

To answer this claim we went digging into the scientific literature.

From several different references, we were able to determine an
average concentration of yogurt. Homemade yogurt that is fermented for
24 hours, as recommended in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, will
have an average concentration of 3 billion cfu/mL of yogurt. What does
this mean? Well, if you were to eat a small bowl (500 ml) of 24 hour
fermented homemade yogurt, you would receive 1.5 trillion beneficial
bacteria – 100 times more bacteria than a 15 billion capsule.

Furthermore, freshly made kefir can have an average microbial count as
high as 10 billion cfu/ml. This includes a mixture of various bacteria
and yeast strains. This means that a 500 ml glass of homemade kefir
could contain as many as 5 trillion beneficial microorganisms or even

Claim 2. "Our probiotics have more bacteria than commercial yogurt and

We wrote to several yogurt manufacturers to see what the standards
were. The National Yogurt Association has set the standard for
commercial yogurt with live cultures as: "Refrigerated yogurt must
contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of
manufacture, and at least 10 million cultures per gram at consumption
(i.e. throughout shelf life)." In their response to our inquiry,
Stonyfield Farm stated that their yogurt far exceeds this standard,
"Stonyfield Farm yogurt consistently far exceeds the NYA minimum
culture counts (hundreds of billions)." At a minimum, depending on
shelf life, the manufacturer, and other factors, one would receive 5
billion bacteria in a small bowl of commercial yogurt. Because of the
variability of commercial yogurts, shelf lives, and lactose contents,
we recommend fermenting your own yogurt for 24 hours.

We were not able to find any information on commercial kefir at this time.

Claim 3. "Our X technology (enteric coated capsules, special matrix,
etc.) allows the bacteria to survive the trip down your
Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract. The bacteria in yogurt and kefir have no
protection and will not survive."

Again, to answer this claim we checked the scientific literature. Do
fermented milk products have any properties that might help the
bacteria survive in your GI tract? The answer is yes. Fermented milk
contains many substances that nourish and protect the lactobacillus
species. A recent study demonstrated the ability of calcium phosphate
to protect lactobacillus acidophilus from bile acids but had no effect
on salmonella. Milk products also serve as excellent buffering agents
and will help neutralize stomach acidity. A common recommendation from
poison centers is to drink milk when confronted with a poison
situation. Furthermore, the bacteria in yogurt are alive and well, not
in a dormant cycle as the bacteria in probiotic supplements are,
making them more fit to adapt to sudden changes in their local

Claim 4. "Our probiotic supplements are more effective. Yogurt, kefir,
and other fermented milk products are nothing more than fancy desserts."

All fermented milk products should be considered functional foods.
Why? Because they are foods that functions as a health promoting
substance. Probiotic supplements can only offer one thing: bacteria.
Fermented milk offers so much more than just bacteria: minerals,
vitamins, protein, amino acids, L-carnitine, fats, CLA, antimicrobial
agents, and much more! A recent study demonstrated the ability of
fermented milk to kill H. pylori infections when bacteria alone could
not. Another study monitored two groups of people for allergy
symptoms. The group that consumed yogurt on a daily basis suffered far
less allergies than a control group. In addition, the complex
microflora found in kefir have demonstrated a keen ability to
stimulate our immune systems, ward of infections from bacteria such as
salmonella, and in some cases, even fight cancer.


There is little doubt that probiotic bacteria and fermented foods
offer benefits to our health. Making kefir and yogurt at home can be a
nutritious, healthy, and fun hobby. Probiotic supplements also offer
health benefits and can be very convenient, especially when traveling.
However, to claim that probiotic supplements are somehow superior to
what you can make yourself is unfounded. Fermented foods offer the
same benefits as probiotic supplements and sometimes more."

(Note – this data refers to fermented PASTEURIZED milk – and raw milk has even more nutrients!)

Because it isn’t food, laboratory probiotics lack the essential co-nutrients, enzymes and amino acids that real lacto-fermented foods have. Digestion starts in the mouth; the saliva contains amylase, which coats the bits of food and acts as a tag for further enzymatic action in the stomach. If you don’t chew your food, you simply can’t digest it well. If it isn’t food, it doesn’t contain the necessary amino acids and enzymes to digest it, and therefore absorb it into the bloodstream, and get that energy kick I need. We’re not only what we eat, we’re what we can digest….

Sorry for being so long-winded. But you asked. :-)

Concerned Person
December 29, 2008


I think were in agreement. This is what I stated earlier.

In a perfect world where raw milk can be guaranteed 100% pathogen free, I would choose raw milk over the use of probiotics; especially raw milk made into yogurt or keifer. But we dont live in a perfect world. Raw milk pathogen contamination does occur and children are the typically the victims. This is why I choose the use probiotics over raw milk.

I add the probiotics to my childrens pasteurized goats milk yogurt, along with a digestive enzyme. Its a safe alternative to raw dairy and offers similar health benefits.


Mark McAfee
December 29, 2008

Dear CP,

The world is not perfect and neither is pasteurization.

If I were you I would review the CDC data on pasteurization.

There were three deaths last year ( whittier farms ) and hundreds of recalls and hundreds of thousands of illnesses and many more other deaths.

I respect your choice but do not be fooled.


Blair McMorran
December 29, 2008

Thanks for your response. I’m not sure we agree; I see so many benefits over the commercial options, but whatever you feel comfortable with and works for you is perfect. Every body is different, and belief systems are important to our health and sanity. I just trust Ma Nature more than the popular "science by consensus", plus I love inexpensive whole nutrition. I don’t trust commercial patented sources. But we do agree in theory, if not practice. I respect that.

More questions – your recent post has been more understanding about personal choices, and knowledgeable about probiotics, but you still maintain that you’re just here to protect children. Do you think it’s possible that maybe there are more children benefiting from raw milk than suffering from it? Also, Why do you select raw milk, and this blog, as your target for change, among so many other more harmful food sources and public opportunities for change? Do you benefit financially being here, in any way? What is your profession?

It’s not a trick question – we all have financial and philosophical interests here. It’s important to me to know yours.


Thanks for your

An Observer
December 29, 2008

I read this in the citizen petition David posted: "Raw milk can not guarantee a perfect promise of safety, neither can any other food…"

This is true. Also, most of the outbreaks linked to retail (licensed) raw milk dairies in recent years have been relatively small in scope (limited to a single state or even just a local geographic area), although there have been tragic outcomes such as HUS cases in children. The petition uses the spinach E. coli outbreak in 2006 associated with 3 deaths and over 200 illnesses as an example of allowable interstate shipment. One thing to keep in mind….the wider a product is distributed from a central location, the more potential to see illnesses spread across dozens of states if a batch gets contaminated (26 states and Canada for the spinach outbreak). Similarly, the enormous tomato/pepper -associated Salmonella outbreak this year involved illnesses in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The map is striking:

Just throwing this out as food for thought – there are pros and cons in promoting large-scale, mass production of a food (especially a raw, perishable food). Local doesn’t mean safer as BarfBlog has said many times, but you don’t see a map like this with a locally distributed product if "The Bad Thing Happens" (thanks Steve B, borrowed that euphamism for outbreaks from one of your earlier comments).

Concerned Person
December 29, 2008


Im a health teacher. No financial gains. I found this blog when my students did research on the 2006 Organic Pastures E.coli outbreak. and AB 1735. At the time, it was a current event topic. Health is my hobby and passion. Once a person starts blogging here, it is very addicting. I do enjoy the simulating conversation.


Don Wittlinger
December 29, 2008

CP Just a suggestion to futher your young students education. Take them on a tour of the filthy confinement dairies let them see and smell but not touch the manured covered cows. Take them on a tour of the feed lots were our nations beef is fattened up. Show them what our regulators license and approve for their dinner table.
Take them on a tour of the local hospital ask them why are these people here, is there any connection to what you have seen on the prior tours?
The childrens answer may conflict with the answer one would get from the food safety experts.