Bring on the Sick Kids: Why the Food-Safety Zealots Prefer Fear Mongering to Real Debate or Research

I’m fairly recent to the food safety debate, relatively speaking. I think I really began looking at it seriously when six children in California became ill during September 2006, and raw milk produced by Organic Pastures Dairy Co. was blamed as the culprit. I have Mary McGonigle-Martin, the mother of one of those children, especially, to thank for persistently (some might say obsessively) bringing the food safety issue to the fore on this blog.

One doesn’t have to be all that well versed in food safety to appreciate a few things: that there is a lot that we don’t know about food safety (like why some people get sick and others don’t, or why the pathogen culprits are so rarely found); that food safety is a complex issue (as I said in the previous post) and that the food safety zealots tend to over simplify the problem). Lykke in a comment on my previous post suggests additional issues, like insufficient consumer education, slow government responses, and a screwed up legal system.

It’s the problem of over-simplification that I find most bothersome. So I guess it is only fitting that we find a great case of over-simplification on stark display via a recent posting by food-poisoning lawyer Bill Marler that, ironically, relates directly to the cases of the six California children I alluded to at the start of this post.

The day after my previous posting about food-borne illness becoming a more prominent issue, President Obama addressed it. (No doubt, he was moved to speak out after reading this blog.)

So how did Marler report it? The way he generally reports such developments: “Mr. President, the reason food safety is so important can best be explained by clicking on the below pictures and reading these children’s stories.” The “below pictures” are the two California children who became most seriously ill in September 2006—Chris Martin and Lauren Herzog—and eventually sued Organic Pastures Dairy Co. for allegedly causing their illnesses.

I’ll assume these two case studies just came up by chance, likely because the deposition-gathering process has just ended in the children’s cases against Organic Pastures Dairy Co. It’s worth noting that the descriptions of the cases are very complete, and well written (though you’ll note that only one of the children had proven E.coli 0157:H7). They are worth reading for what they tell us about both the heartache and the long-term risks to health of serious food-borne illness.

Unfortunately, this ongoing approach to the subject—“You want to know about how serious a problem food-borne illness is, well, take a look at this tragic case, and that tragic case…and if you don’t like those, I have more where they came from”—really does the victims an injustice. I understand that approach works in the courtroom, when you’re trying to convince a jury about the tragedy and injustice of the case at hand, and win big bucks in damages, or convince an insurance company to come up with a juicy settlement.

But in the courtroom of policy debate, the Marlers of the world need to move beyond this simplistic approach. Consider approaches like that outlined by Steve Bemis in a comment on my previous posting, about how to provide information about the risks, while not killing off smaller sustainable farms in the process. Or maybe think about saying something to this effect: “Let’s try to use these cases to fill in our gaps in knowledge about food-borne illness.” The danger in that approach, of course, is that the fear mongers may discover some lessons that don’t fit their preconceived notions. More profitable to just go on feeding people’s fears.

 

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34 Comments on "Bring on the Sick Kids: Why the Food-Safety Zealots Prefer Fear Mongering to Real Debate or Research"


Paul Hubbard
March 18, 2009

David,

This raw milk must be pretty potent stuff. I hear tell that you can catch E.Coli from someone *else’s* child who drinks it:

"Erin Barringer of West Hartford, whose daughter contracted E. coli from a child who drank raw milk, according to health officials, is helping to campaign for the stricter legislation. It can be frustrating at times because I think everybodys lost sight of who the victims are, said Ms. Barringer, whose daughter, Emma, was 2 years and 10 months old when she got sick, even though she herself never drank raw milk."

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/nyregion/connecticut/15milkct.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

It’s no wonder Mark’s got liability insurance on nature’s perfect food.

r,

Paul Hubbard
Virginia Peninsula

Concerned Person
March 18, 2009

Paul,

It was hard to tell if youre being sarcastic or if you really dont understand that E.coli 0157:H7 can spread from an infected person to another person through contact. This can happen with children (they put fingers in their mouths) and the elderly in convalescent homes (lack of hand washing by caregivers). Two of the four children who died from E.coli 0157:H7 in the 1993 Jack-in-the-box outbreak did not eat hamburgers. They played with children who did.

These childrens stories are about the damage that can be caused from ingesting E.coli 0157:H7. In this case, the food vehicle happened to be raw milk. Where hamburger is the vehicle, then I guess you would say, Hamburger must be pretty potent stuff. Or if it happens to be lettuce, Lettuce must be pretty potent stuff. Lets not forget about spinach, Spinach must be pretty potent stuff.

I think you get the picture.E.coli 0157:H7 is the pretty potent stuff. (Sorry miguel, I know these type of statement drive you insane.)

cp

miguel
March 18, 2009

cp,

Can you direct me to some evidence that ecoli 0157:H7 can grow in raw milk without the presence of an agent that kills or inhibits lactic acid bacteria?

If you can’t I will assume that no such evidence exists.What evidence do you have that convinces you that ecoli causes disease?

miguel
March 18, 2009

Lykke,

Everybody knows that antibiotics can cause diarreah and sometimes it can be very serious.I wonder if ,when a child comes into the hospital with diarreah,there is any test done to see if there is some antibiotic or antibacterial agent in the stool sample.The test is quick and simple.There might be a faster test now, but we used to test milk for antibiotics and it took 3 hours to get the results.The test tells you whether lactic acid bacteria will grow in the sample .If it will it is free of antibiotics.If the bacteria die then there are antibiotics in the sample.While waiting to see what the test says it wouldn’t hurt to see if the child can drink some kind of probiotic drink.

Do you think it would be reasonable for a doctor to assume that the diarreah was the result of some agent that was killing the lactic acid bacteria and so test only for antibiotics,preservatives,pesticides,sanitizing chemicals etc.rather than testing for bacteria? Some bacterial testing might be helpful because the existence of certain bacteria could be a marker for the presence of a certain pesticide or antibacterial agent.An abundance of ecoli would tell us that whatever killed off a lot of the lactic acid bacteria was not effective against the ecoli ,so we could search for an agent that ecoli was known to be resistant to.

I have the impression that hospitals now are testing for a specific bacteria and that the tests take a long time to complete.Is this true?

Anonymous
March 18, 2009

David,

"But in the courtroom of policy debate, the Marlers of the world need to move beyond this simplistic approach."

Curious what others think, but I find this statement to be a double standard. There are many approaches to making policy – testimonials are one example. Why shouldn’t testimonials about negative experiences be included? Of course, I very much appreciate Steve Bemis’ thoughts too. But, cannot understand why you would want to censor the links Marler provides on raw milk (which represent a small percentage of the total number of testimonials anyway – they are just one more piece added to the discussion). Censor is a strong word – I’m sure you don’t want the courts to remove the material from the web – but my interpretation is that you perhaps think it should never have been presented.

Anonymous
March 18, 2009

miguel,

"Can you direct me to some evidence that ecoli 0157:H7 can grow in raw milk without the presence of an agent that kills or inhibits lactic acid bacteria?"

E. coli O157:H7 may cause serious infection at a dose as low as 10 cells – this does not require any growth in the raw milk. Similarly, Campylobacter has a very low infectious dose. So just a bit ‘o poo with it’s original concentration of these bacteria typical of a cow’s gut can be a problem. If there is temperature abuse allowing growth – even worse, but not necessary. Bacterial growth in the food is not a prerequisite because of the low infectious dose – that is why sanitation is very critical for any raw product. I can’t find any reference(s) showing lactic acid bacteria reduce E. coli O157:H7, once introduced, below the infectious dose of 10 cells (E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, etc. are not natural in mother’s milk, whatever species – it gets in there from the environment, usually poo or dirt exposed to poo).

"Everybody knows that antibiotics can cause diarreah and sometimes it can be very serious."

Yes, and that complicates the picture, but doesn’t "vindicate" E. coli O157:H7 or other pathogens as culprits in disease. Do you defend Clostridium difficile? Why would you accept C. diffcile as a potential disease causing agent under the right circumstances, but deny E. coli O157:H7 a pathogen under other circumstances?

I don’t agree about lactic acid bacteria (LAB) being a cure all for these problems. Sure, they play a role in the ecology of the gut and the environment. Would you suggest spraying all the food with LAB or otherwise manipulating products to create a theoretically desirable concentration of that bacteria, which is not even part of the normal flora on many foods? In the spirit of things, I think manipulating LAB would be another version of Frankenfoods – and could have unexpected consequences, do you think? Mother nature, untouched, shows an unpredictable diversity of LAB and other bacteria. Indeed, it is so complex, that there is a time and place for simplicity: sanitation and good food safety practices to prevent pathogens from entering food in the first place.

Concerned Person
March 18, 2009

miguel,

This is my evidence.

http://www.safetables.org/victim_wall/index.cfm

Just curious, whats your theory on why the children got sick in Connecticut who all happened to drink raw milk and they found matching blueprints of E.coli 0157:H7 in stool samples. What agent(s) are you speculating that killed or inhibited lactic acid bacteria? Would that agent be in the milk or in the ill childs body?

For example, a child consumes raw milk. This milk happens to be contaminated with E.coli 0157:H7. This child has been swimming in a pool that uses chlorine to keep the pool free of bacteria. This child absorbs the chlorine through the skin and therefore kills or inhibits lactic acid bacteria from growing in the digestive track. The E.coli 0157:H7 enters the body. Now if the ph of this childs body was 7 and the lactic acid bacteria plentiful in the gut, the E.coli would not do any damage because it couldnt grow in that environment. It is just another bacteria swimming in a pool of bacteria. But because the lactic acid bacteria are not dominant enough, the E.coli 0157:H7 is allowed to multiply and spread through the digestive track and then the child becomes ill. But the E.coli 0157:H7 is not the problem, the lack of lactic acid bacteria is.

My opinion–I still think cow shit shouldnt be in the milk in the first place. No cow shit = no sick children. Call me old fashioned in my thinking.

cp

miguel
March 18, 2009

Lykke,

" E. coli O157:H7 may cause serious infection at a dose as low as 10 cells – this does not require any growth in the raw milk."

Can you find me an article that backs up this statement? I have looked some but I can’t find any research that says this.

"Everybody knows that antibiotics can cause diarreah and sometimes it can be very serious."

"Yes, and that complicates the picture, but doesn’t "vindicate" E. coli O157:H7 or other pathogens as culprits in disease. "

Lykke,to be fair shouldn’t we look at the stool sample for the presence of antibiotic and antibacterial substances as well as bacteria?Their presence would explain why the ecoli was able to grow.Ecoli 0157:H7 is not competitive unless other bacteria are suppressed.

miguel
March 18, 2009

cp,

"What agent(s) are you speculating that killed or inhibited lactic acid bacteria? Would that agent be in the milk or in the ill childs body?"

I am suggesting that we should look for inhibiting agents so we can understand more about how these children become ill.

Cow s**t shouldn’t be in the air or water either but it is.

Paul Hubbard
March 18, 2009

CP,

You said:

It was hard to tell if youre being sarcastic or if you really dont understand that E.coli 0157:H7 can spread from an infected person to another person through contact. This can happen with children (they put fingers in their mouths) and the elderly in convalescent homes (lack of hand washing by caregivers). Two of the four children who died from E.coli 0157:H7 in the 1993 Jack-in-the-box outbreak did not eat hamburgers. They played with children who did.

Incidentally, what is your source for knowing that? (about the two children). Was this just assertion too? It is hard to follow how 157:H7 becomes so particularly transmissible when raw milk is concerned as opposed to its transmissibility through industrial milk or other industrially processed food stuffs. Pay close attention to the article I quoted:

"Erin Barringer of West Hartford, whose daughter contracted E. coli from a child who drank raw milk, according to health officials, is helping to campaign for the stricter legislation. It can be frustrating at times because I think everybodys lost sight of who the victims are, said Ms. Barringer, whose daughter, Emma, was 2 years and 10 months old when she got sick, even though she herself never drank raw milk."

I think rather that folks have entirely lost sight of the transmissibility and potency and viability of 157:H7. It has been the over-industrialization of the food supply, the over-centralized regulation of food safety and the placement of responsibility for food safety into the hands of corrupt government officials that has killed our children. Thats how 157:H7 is transmitted.

When the government sells our childrens health into the hands of Monsanto-like barons at the expense of constitutional freedoms to produce one of the few foods that can build immunity precisely in this area of which we speak – will you wear a little white ribbon commemorating the loss of those political freedoms for which many, many men and women have willingly lost their lives to give us? And when government thugs go on a relentless jihad against one of the few foods that will build up our immunity to the very pathogens that the food mafia has unleashed upon our children because it threatens one of agro-businesses sacred cows, will you be standing at their graves with your white ribbon and contrived statistics about how some childs poop is much, much dirtier when contaminated with traces of raw milk?

In the interest of Monsantos children, we should +specify+ the virulence of the raw milk vector call it 157:H7:raw milk. Then we would know not to let our children play with other children who 1) use drugs, 2) do not use condoms 3) indulge in same-sex behavior or 4) drink raw milk or 5) know someone who drinks raw milk.

Is freedom itself dirty because it cost lives to purchase it? Tell you what we can do. Ill protect my children from other childrens poop and you protect your children from other children who drink raw milk and let’s leave the food mafias out of it. What do you say?

r,

Paul Hubbard
Virginia Peninsula

Jennifer B
March 18, 2009

Well said Paul! I agree with your statements wholeheartedly.

Ken Conrad
March 18, 2009

Lykke and cp

Youre replies to Miguels pertinent questions are rhetorical and a reflection of your hard line, dogmatic position with respect to the cause of disease.

What is needed here is for both of you to tag along with Mike Row from Dirty Jobs and explore as well as expose yourself to the reality of life. Go to the farm, fork and shovel shit for a few months, get into it up to your elbows, wipe the sweat and shit from your face and lets just see what changes transpire in your attitude towards cow shit.

The insanity and unrealistic reasoning nurtured by the germ theory of disease is indicative in a quote from the following article,

http://inebriatedpress.wordpress.com/2007/10/11/the-importance-of-eating-shit/

It states, The American food system is the safest in the world and we must continue to improve the quality and safety of our foods, said Dr. David Acheson, Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Using radiation to kill all the bugs in our food will continue to be expanded and so will the use of strong disinfectants on our farms, in our food plants in Americas bathrooms next to our sinks and everyplace we might find a bug that could touch our bodies. I started drinking bleach water straight last year, just to kill the micro organisms in my own body. I feel like shit, but I wont eat it or let it live in me if it slips in.

Ken Conrad

Anonymous
March 19, 2009

Interesting Op-Ed by Senator Dean Florez. It seems like he embraces both the germ theory and sustainable agriculture reading this, as well as stronger powers ("teeth") for food regulators…

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/03/17/EDNN16HTL5.DTL

Concerned Person
March 19, 2009

miguel,

Yes I agree. We do need to understand more about how these children become ill.

Heres 3 more stories and 3 different age ranges.

http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/03/articles/legal-cases/another-e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-and-even-more-victims/

cp

Anonymous
March 19, 2009

Ken,

"Go to the farm, fork and shovel shit for a few months, get into it up to your elbows, wipe the sweat and shit from your face and lets just see what changes transpire in your attitude towards cow shit."

LOL – lets take it outside – rather than compare our "on the farm" resumes, I hereby challenge you to a Poo Duel! How should we match weapons – quantity/volume, source/animal type, # lactic acid bacteria/coliforms/pathogens per gram, consistency and odor (wet, dry, running. sticky, lumpy, pelleted, tubular, appular)…? Maybe a panel should be formed to decide the rules of engagement.

Joking around with you – pooped out on the serious stuff for the moment. BTW, who won that raw milk slogan contest? I can’t remember the results of that unprecedented discussion of raw milk benefits.

miguel
March 19, 2009
David Kendall
March 19, 2009

I posted to the nwrong thread. Sorry

David Kendall
March 19, 2009

**Why shouldn’t testimonials about negative experiences be included?**

Lykke,
Fair enough question, I think and that they should be sought out and valued. By the same token, I also think testimonials about positive experiences with raw milk should be sought out and valued.

The regulator and industry-dominated research communities have regularly discounted and dismissed positive experiences with raw milk. I have witnessed MANY such testimonials by parents, oldsters, practitioners (in good standing with, and sometimes leaders of their professional organizations) and scientists. These testimonials are minimized as anecdotal evidence and considered of no consequence by rule-making agencies.

Yes, lets have those many testimonials given credence and recognition in scientific studies that are used to write regulations.

And lets make a real effort to separate propaganda from testimony.

miguel
March 19, 2009

If you liked the talk by Michael Parenti,That was only the first 10 minutes.It goes on and gets better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZTrY3TQpzw&NR=1

Don Wittlinger
March 19, 2009

Miguel The first video link very interesting especially the last 3 minutes, i will now have to watch the rest of it. Thanks again.

Ken Conrad
March 19, 2009

Lykke

Holy moly, I havent engaged in a poo duel since I was a young kid when my brother and I used to through handfuls of fresh shit at each other! Accuracy and an ability to duck were the only rules.

It would be interesting to listen to a panel discuss the rules of engagement?
However I fear it would be about as productive as a panel of economists agreeing on a specific set of solutions for our ailing economy.

In the real world where dirty jobs continue to exist the rules of engagement with the exception of certain regulated job sectors are virtually non existent and demand simply that you role up your sleeves and get the job done as safely as possible.

Ken Conrad

Gwen elderberry
March 19, 2009

"Two of the four children who died from E.coli 0157:H7 in the 1993 Jack-in-the-box outbreak did not eat hamburgers. They played with children who did."

Fecal-mouth contact can happen. Mom makes hamburgers, gets the 2 y/o a snack with hamburger-covered hands. That’s easy enough. I think it is less likely to have fecal-mouth contact with raw milk though. I have quite a lot of experience with C-Diff. Never have gotten it.

A few months ago, I did quite a bit of reading on why some children become sick and others don’t. What I understood to be the case is that some children have receptors on their cells that work for e-coli 0157:H7, causing HUS, but MOST receptors in most children are never activated for it. Scientists do not yet know why this is! So WE DON’T KNOW why. The same thing happens for a few medications, that are still, consequently, widely prescribed. Immunity is an assumption, not a fact. Food safety measures and their effectiveness are also assumptions based on statistics, but their true efficacy is also not fact. It is theory at best. We THINK we are preventing illness, but we don’t really know that we are. That is the way scientific medicine works, less the beaurocracy it has become.

In my meager microbiology class in nursing school, I seem to recall some very elaborate (in my book) lab testing for various bacteria. By the time we tested for several kinds, I was getting the results all confused. Which test-tube turns what color for which bacteria, at what step??? I happen to know that the CDC regularly issues test bacteria samples to hospital labs for them to test, to see if they can accurately identify odd bacterias. They sometimes fail! The hospital "passes," even if they get only a few wrong. And I also have read of at least two instances where the CDC sent the WRONG, highly infectious bacteria, putting the lab workers at risk.

I regularly read lab results in the computer and on paper. Daily basis. In 11 years, I have never, ever, ever seen a single, sole test for e-coli 0157/H7. Ever. Granted, I don’t work in the ER, but I have access to the ER tests. I see "e-coli" on sensitivities, but it is just e-coli, without a type specified. I have never seen a positive e-coli retested for specific type of e-coli, like they do staph. Ever. Only antibiotics the strain is resistant to.

My personal favorite "Dirty Jobs," episode was the one where Mike Row held lamb testicles with his teeth to cut the testicles out. We just band them here, with an elastrator, but I like that the rancher made him do that. I wonder if he worries about getting infectious e-coli. Will it get him in the end, as an alligator finally got the Alligator Hunter? Is he testing fate?

Heavens to Betsy, if they can put this stuff on national TV, why can’t I buy raw milk??!!

Mark McAfee
March 20, 2009

David and TCP Gang….

Below I have posted the letter I sent my congressman, Jim Costa. He sits on the food safety committee in congress that is reviewing HR 875.

HR 875 is a threat to "states rights" by creating "federal pre-emption" and will give the FDA "Food Safety Tsar" all the power they have ever begged for to sterilize all of our food. This would effectively eliminate raw milk, organic and local farming sales. We must immediately rise up and kill this beast before it eats us alive and drives us down to the pits of the immune depression hell that is being prepared for us all.

It is no wonder there was a Russian Revolution in 1917….calling the FDA Food Safety Administration a "TSAR" is very telling…"Russian Roulette with our health" is now taking on a whole new meaning. I wonder who John Sheehan will put in charge of his Food KGB? By the way Monsanto supports HR 875…thats all you need to know.

This is actually very disrespectful of the Russians. They would never put up with sterilized foods being forced down their throats. They provide their cosmonauts with raw milk and raw milk Kefir for a reason. I apologize to the Russians for the FDA taking their whole foods and probiotic ideas and twisting them into ugly metaphors.

One sure way to get the raw milk movement motivated and get free media attention will be to have the FDA try and ban raw milk in CA. If they want a food fight they will have found it. Take one step into CA with a FDA enforced raw milk ban and watch the "mother lions at CREMA eat the TSAR alive". OPDC will become the worlds largest armed camp and cow share program….guaranteed. Our very lives will be on the line… This is our line in the pasture. We will defend our raw milk and our strong immune systems with everything we have. Ruby Ridge, Montana Freemen, Wounded Knee, Waco Texas….that was nothing. Try taking raw milk from a passionate mom and her kids and see what happens. There will be a march on Washington with Amish Horse Carts, Cows being milked on the capital steps, babies being nursed openly with CNN rolling and raw milk being poured over Lincolns statues head and on the black granite of the brave soldiers that died to keep us free….if we can not feed ourselves directly from the soils of our country then the war is on….there is no freedom. The tipping point will have been reached.

We will eat from our organic soil …no TSAR will dictate to us or change this freedom.

If HR 875 passes, I promise to march on Washington wearing my Scottish Kilt, in full Brave heart regalia, drinking raw milk and pouring raw milk over my head.

The reason I am so very passionate today..is because at the CA State Senate hearings this week for SB 416 ( to eliminate subtheraputic feed based antibiotics given to ag animals in our food supply ) the FDA sent out a spokesman from Washington DC to testify. His testimony was a "complete lie" and supported the use of massive amounts of antibiotics in feed for animals as a safe and good practice. This has been scientifically proven to be the source of MRSA and other anti biotic resistant bacteria that kill about 20,000 people per year. The EU banned this practice years ago. I have absolutely no question in my mind….The FDA is the Pathogen. Their claims were outrageous. They are sick, corrupt, paid off and twisted. It is now official senate record and can be seen and viewed by the world.

Thats why I am so amped this evening….and we all should be.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Organic Pastures Dairy Company LLC
7221 So. Jameson Fresno CA 93706

Vince Roos
Representative Jim Costa Office
855 M Street #940
Fresno CA 93721

RE: FDA Food Safety Tsar and HR 875

March 19, 2009,

Dear Vince,

I understand that Congressman Jim Costa is on the food safety committee and may be working on HR 875 and other bills to improved national food safety standards.

As an organic producer of several commodities I am very concerned that states rights to special foods that are only allowed under State of CA laws would be banned. Historically, the FDA has not been supportive of certain organic foods that are allowed and loved in California. In fact the FDA has been downright harassing and has prohibited the transport of Raw Organic Milk across state lines. Yet, in CA there are 420 stores and 40,000 consumers that drink and love their raw milk every week.

The FDA has done a terrible job of embracing prevention or nourishing diets. The entire FDA health philosophy has been drug and surgery based and ignores the nutritional prevention side of health. This is tragic and results in an ever weakening American Immune status and Condition. In fact about 20,000 die each year from antibiotic resistant infections and for the most part these infections would not infect and kill if Americans had better and stronger immune systems. Food safety experts will all agree that it is the consumer with the weaker immune systems that fall ill when a recall and pathogen strikes. Yet the FDA has done nothing to improve the immune status of Americans. This theory does nothing to make the situation better and will just create the set of perfect storm immune depression conditions to make it worse.

In California the consumers of raw milk are actively doing something about their immune status. It has been broadly demonstrated and the CDC has even been starting to show that raw milk consumers that eat a bio-diverse diet that contains as many as 100 different kinds of bacteria in their cup of raw milk.fair far better when illness attempts to strike.

Raw milk is not a sterile food. It is filled with a full compliment of good bacteria and it is tested intensively for pathogens. In the last 15 years CA, not one pathogen has ever been detected by CDFA in inspected raw milk that is intended to be sold for human consumption. CA has a special set of special laws that regulate raw milk for human consumption.

Raw milk contains a biodiversity of beneficial bacteria that build the immune system like no other food, yet under HR 875 unless serious protections are put in place, this food and other organic foods and even farmers markets and gardening could be oppressed and or eliminated. We do not need nor want the FDA in our gardens or regulating our already state inspected and regulated raw milk.

In CA our consumers refuse to use FDA approved drugs to assure their health. To the contrary, our consumers want whole complete foods to prevent disease and illness. Thats not the agenda from a food safety standpoint and the sterile is better FDA Tsar view.

If raw milk or farmers markets were oppressed or eliminated in CA there would be a grass roots revolution like none ever seen before in this country. The soldiers would be moms that would come out in droves to expose the FDA sterile is better concept that is directly responsible for immune depression, antibiotics resistance and pathogen creation. Many CA consumers see the FDA as the pathogen. This is because of the untold numbers of deaths that are swept under the rug secondary to the drug companies synthetic drugs that are supposed to heal, cure and promote our health. The reality in CA is far different.

It is nutrition that prevents disease. That nutrition is whole food nutrition. That nutrition comes from unprocessed whole organic foods. These foods are not processed or preserved or pasteurized or sterilized. They are the foods that are purchased directly from farmers.

Please bring our voices to the food safety discussion. We are the consumers and we need our organic whole foods protected from a FDA Food Safety Tsar that may very well act to protect drug company interests and ignore completely those of us that see the much bigger role of nutrition and prevention of disease and prevention illness in the first place.

When food safety recalls and outbreaks occur, rarely, if ever will you find patients that have strong immune systems that are sickened. Only the weak and or the immune depressed become ill. When considering the national situation of food safety please include the citizen that takes personal responsibility for his or her health to prevent disease through diet and nutrition. That nutrition may include raw milk. In CA raw milk is a "sacred food" with an excellent safety history with its own set of laws and standards.

The FDA Tsar wll ignore our CA raw milk and organic standards. A FDA food safety Tsar would do battle with us if we were deprived of our living whole raw milk.

Please include Christine Chessen from CREMA http://www.californiarawmilk.org and myself Mark McAfee CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy Company in this discussion http://www.mark@organicpastures.com . Together we represent the raw milk producers and 42,000 raw milk consumers in CA.

Most kind regards,

Mark McAfee
Founder
Organic Pastures Dairy Company LLC
1-877 RAW MILK
http://www.organicpastures.com
http://www.mark@organicpastures.com

Amanda Rose
March 20, 2009

Marler posted another document from the OP suit:
http://www.marlerblog.com/uploads/file/Organic%20Pastures%202006%20Outbreak.pdf

About a year ago, WAPF with OP said in a press release that the outbreak was "definitively" tied to spinach:
http://westonaprice.org/federalupdate/aa2008/04jan08.html

Is there a document that makes the spinach argument?

Amanda

Anonymous
March 21, 2009

Amanda,

Wow, those are some impressive expert reviews. I can understand some confusion back in 2006 when the spinach and OP outbreaks were overlapping, but now the DNA fingerprints and other details of the investigations have been revealed. Is this really still being debated by WAPF (I guess so if they have that document – "CA government official lies about raw milk" on their website without updating given new information that has been released. In my mind, statements in the WAPF document greatly reduce the organization’s credibility. In comparison, I think the discussions on this board have been much more thoughtful in recent months (and we’ve even had a little fun with poo duels and slogan contests despite disagreements about raw milk politics).

Truly Concerned
March 21, 2009

Those "experts" are merely giving their opinions. I am sure that those "opinions" have been paid for in advance by those who wanted a particular outcome.

Amanda Rose
March 21, 2009

"Those "experts" are merely giving their opinions. I am sure that those "opinions" have been paid for in advance by those who wanted a particular outcome."

That’s why I’m asking about the spinach. It would be nice to believe the spinach story, but I haven’t seen much evidence for it.

miguel
March 21, 2009

Seriously, that report is an excellent example of how to lie with statistics.They make a big deal about all five of the outbreak cases having a matching fingerprint,but they didn’t find that matching print on any of the suspected foods.Then they conclude that the milk was the only thing that linked all of these people so it must have caused the outbreak.It sounds like they only considered one other food as a possible suspect,spinach.Do they mean to say that these people did not consume anything else that could have contained the bacteria?You won’t find something unless you look for it.

PFGE testing might help find where the particular bacteria came from but it doesn’t tell us anything about what caused the illness.Did the outbreak victims consume any antibacterials that ecoli is resistant to?This is the most important information that would help us discover the true cause of the illness.The medical community is finally realizing that these illnesses should not be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics make the illness worse.When are they going to realize that people are consuming antibacterial substances(these are antibiotics) every time they eat animal products from factory farms.Antibacterial substances are in most of the food available in supermarkets.Who knows what happens when different preservatives and pesticides are combined?
I really don’t think that there was antibiotics in the milk.I suspect that someone has tested the milk for antibiotics.I don’t hear anyone here claiming and backing it up,that ecoli can grow in unpasteurized milk without an agent that suppresses the lactic acid bacteria.That makes the milk the least likely suspect in this outbreak.

Anonymous
March 21, 2009

miguel,

I don’t see a problem with the statistics – they are comparable to any small outbreak. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but public health officials conduct an interview with a standardized questionnaire on each patient. The questions include numerous exposures. Government reports do not usually include every finding (for example, if deli meat, chicken, ground beef, sprouts, petting zoo, etc. are not found in common among the patients these findings are not necessarily included in the public report – but, you can do a public record act request to obtain all the records).

The item in common is the epidemiological link. In this outbreak, it was raw milk and/or colostrum from a single dairy. Laboratory results are used to support these findings, or sometimes they do not support them. The investigations are complicated. Again, in this outbreak, the matching DNA fingerprints combined with the common exposure (OP raw milk) are strong evidence of an association. Unfortnately, with a perishable product like raw milk, it is usually all gone and testing is not possible. They can test other lots, or possibly old, leftover milk, but that is not reliable. Simply a reality of science.. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that the evidence is compelling in this outbreak that raw milk and/or colostrum from one dairy across multiple counties caused this outbreak – the many counties makes this even more convincing.

And, even if the "outbreak strain" was found in OP raw milk, you could still use your immunity theory or any other theory (a vast conspiracy like all the scientists faked the results across multiple jurisdictions, or the lockness monster put it there). Who knows?

I agree with Amanda and Truly Concerned – ultimately, what are the expert opinions? There are experts paid on both sides, and all of these professionals have reputations, so I discount for the most part that they would lie for money. Doing their job and getting paid. Regardless, I think the statistics are real, and trying to negate them with speculation/theories doesn’t move things forward toward discovering the truth, and ultimately preventing – as much as humanly possible – another Chris and Lauren suffering from E. coli O157:H7 because they drank contaminated milk.

miguel
March 21, 2009

lykke,

You forget that the assumption that you are building your whole case on is also an unproven and disintegrating theory.The theory that certain bacteria do CAUSE illness completely on their own without any other factors being involved is contradicted by the information that we have about the way microorganisms interact with each other.

Do public health officials look to see if there are agents in the stool sample that inhibit the growth of our protective bacteria(the lactic acid bacteria)?How do you strengthen your immune system?First,don’t kill off the beneficial bacteria!

In our global food system,raw milk is not the only thing that crosses county lines.

"a vast conspiracy like all the scientists faked the results across multiple jurisdictions"

Actually it is a conspiracy of sorts.All of your experts have agreed to not look at any cause that is not a bacteria.They have swollowed the germ theory completely and they have no interest in looking for any other explanation for food poisoning.
Everybody knows that antibiotics can cause diarreah.Everybody knows that there are antibiotics in much of the food people are eating.The problem isn’t one specific food.It is the accumulation of toxic antibacterial agents in the food and it is the absence of beneficial bacteria in the food because it has been sterilized in so many ways.

I don’t envy your job of being the defender of the dominant paradigm(the germ theory),it is so clearly wrong.Finding one particular food and sueing the producer of it is how liawyers get rich and how hospitals pay the bills,but it does nothing to remedy a situation that is systemic in nature.That approach is not searching for truth.It is not looking for real solutions to our ill health.It is just making money off of our illnesses.

Anonymous
March 21, 2009

miguel,

A reference to a study or studies to support your idea? I like and respect you though we’ve never met, but before changing policy would like to see something solid to support your theories.

miguel
March 21, 2009

Lykke,

What do you disagree with?Do you think that the experts don’t agree that antibiotics cause diarreah sometimes?Do you think that antibiotics or preservatives or pesticides are not in most of the food in the grocery stores?Do you doubt that in the combinations that people eat these foods they have the potential to do great damage to our gut flora?Do you doubt that the foods that actually do contain live beneficial bacteria are being steadily eliminated from our diet?Do you doubt that bacteriophobia leads to the use of more and increasingly stronger antibacterial agents in our food?Do you want proof that belief in the germ theory is actually the root cause of our health crisis in this country?
I can and gladly will site studies that support all of these statements.The studies have been done and continue to be done by reputable experts.Of course they have to leave it up to us to connect the ideas all together for fear of losing their funding."It’s not rocket science","Wake up people".These ideas are undeniable.Even scientists and doctors are beginning to see them now.

Concerned Person
March 21, 2009

Lykke,

Heres a link that goes into detail about gut health and its connection to the immune system. In another thread, you had inquired about the immune systems relationship to good bacteria.

http://www.guthealth.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=1

cp

Concerned Person
March 21, 2009

Here’s another link on the same topic. It supports what miguel is trying to explain. The only difference is the miguel believes raw milk is the answer to our gut health problems.

http://www.guthealth.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=27

cp