Claravale Shuts Down a Second Time, Where is RAWMI When We Need It? New Exec Order


Claravale Farm has voluntarily suspended milk production for a second week, in response to reports of additional illnesses from campylobacter (as noted in my previous post).

At least three children who drank Claravale Farm milk were identified by Pediatric Alternatives, a suburban San Francisco practice, as having become ill in recent weeks. That is on top of six who became ill during February.

Ron Garthwaite of Claravale FarmA Bay Area food club that distributes Claravale milk said in a letter to customers that Claravale, based in Paicines, CA, decided not to release milk for sale this week.

“They have NOT been shut down by the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) and NONE of their products have been recalled.  However, they have again received a handful of calls from customers who have been diagnosed with Campylobacter, and they have therefore decided to voluntarily shut down the dairy again to make sure that it is not the milk causing this.”
The food club manager noted that tests from both the CDFA, along with an independent lab, have come back negative for campylobacter and any other pathogens. The food club noted some frustration by the owners of Claravale, Ron Garthwaite and Collette Cassidy.

“They have also scrubbed and cleaned their whole facility from top to bottom, been extra diligent about cleaning their cows udders, and been overall overly cautious in their milking practices.  They are confident that their milk does not have pathogens in it, but they do not want to be shut down by the CDFA, and so have taken the reports seriously and proactively stopped selling their milk…”

The frustration is understandable. Claravale has been in business since the 1920s, without a single illness. The dairy continues its low profile, choosing only to speak to its distributors and the regulators.

Food Safety News reported that an epidemiological investigation into the possible illnesses from Claravale milk is continuing.

As we all know, the dairy isn’t likely to receive any help from regulators, who wish the dairy would disappear. Claravale is the third major raw dairy in recent months to experience illnesses likely from their raw milk, following on problems at Organic Pastures Dairy Co. and The Family Cow in Pennsylvania. This would seem to be the perfect situation for the fledgling Raw Milk Institute to get involved, and provide expertise to Claravale to help isolate possible problems…or rule them out as a source of illness. But RAWMI seems to have gotten stuck as a result of all the controversy about its role.

A new Executive Order potentially gives President Obama the authority to take over America’s transportation, health care…and agriculture in the event of a national emergency.

The language is a bit opaque, but the “Executive Order” for “National Defense Resources Preparedness” that was issued last week by President Obama gives the President authority to “be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements…”

I don’t think we are quite at point Natural News has it, that Obama “seizes control” over all farms and food. But certainly the order could be used as an excuse to do that in the event of a “national emergency” or some such excuse. Such declarations are a favorite tactic of budding dictatorships.

Most likely nothing happening here immediately. Just a nice little legal document to have in the drawer…when the time is right.

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36 Comments on "Claravale Shuts Down a Second Time, Where is RAWMI When We Need It? New Exec Order"

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Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 20, 2012 6:17 pm

Wonder why they can’t find the supposed “bacteria” in the milk or on the farm? Where else has tptb searched?

Luke T
March 20, 2012 6:56 pm

Bummer… at least I have 2 quarts left in the fridge! It sure would be nice to know where other illnesses are occurring. I’ve been drinking 1 gallon per week consistently for a long time.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 21, 2012 12:57 am

Hard to believe I found this blog 5 years ago today. Happy Anniversary David! :-)

Kristen P
March 21, 2012 5:02 am

Even more heartwarming news coming out of Ventura, CA!

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 21, 2012 5:51 am

Wow none of the investors have been paid back? And that was 2008.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 21, 2012 2:29 pm

This is from the Alabama dept of health, starting in 2008, a weekly span of various bacteria infections.

Guess all those people didn’t wash their hands or foods or boil their milk…… (said with sarcasm)

Luke T
March 21, 2012 6:23 pm

Yes, thank you Kristen P for the link!

Kristen P
March 21, 2012 6:44 pm

You are welcome. Two very different accounts of Palmer were painted yesterday by two different sources. My analysis here:

mark mcafee
March 21, 2012 7:32 pm

RAWMI is well underway with its Common Standards development. As a resoruce to the Raw Milk producer, yesterday, RAWMI sent out an electronic survey to each of the RAWMI Executive Council members…the survey is a primary step to vet the Common Standards. The feedback system is simple and allows for comments as well as direct agree and disagree feedback systems.

After this round of comments is collected, then the comments will be integrated into a draft for broad distribution to all farmers nationally that have voiced interest inn RAWMI listing.

I have called Claravale in the last few weeks… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 21, 2012 8:36 pm

$7.50 per half gallon in NOT cheap. I do believe raw milk is healthier than the cafo crap in the stores. For the average person, that is too expensive. If all I can afford is the crap in the grocery store to feed my kids, that is what I will buy….

Education is the key. Teaching people how their current foods are processed, etc will cause the masses to push for change on so many levels.

An example: From Jaime Oliver is where I first I heard of pink slime, last year. … Read more »

joelie hicks
March 21, 2012 9:55 pm

actually longer than a year, In 2008, if I recall correctly, it was featured in the movie Food Inc. IBP (Iowa beef Products) was so proud, their rep. said that a huge percentage of the US beef was treated this way and soon it would be 100%-is this the end of pink slime? Or will it return in some new, insidious form.

Southern Consumer
March 21, 2012 10:49 pm

$7.50 for a HALF gallon??

That is more than we pay for a gallon.

joelie hicks
March 21, 2012 11:47 pm

and I agree w/you about the cows. are they fed distllers grains? fed rumensin? just two questions.

Kristen P
March 22, 2012 12:21 am

Are you kidding? You have been openly hostile to Claravale many times on this blog!

OPDC almost shut down Claravale for good via James Stewart by lying to the markets that Claravale had closed and that they should carry OPDC milk. I heard it’s a story in Gumpert’s book. Last time I mentioned it someone quoted the page number. What a bunch of hypocrites…

Why on earth would Claravale trust you in the midst of what is probably its darkest hour. You of all people should know how stressful an outbreak is. Admonishing them for not accepting your advice just… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 22, 2012 12:36 am

I fear it will return in another insidious form, more reason to be ever vigilant.

March 22, 2012 1:09 am

REAL MILK is $18.50 Canadian dollars per gallon, in Vancouver BC by the time it gets to the Big City. All taxes in. At least $4 of that goes to govts. one way or another. That price goes to $20 per gallon ( 128 fluid ounces) as of April 1. This milk is not in commerce. That’s the price we pay to our Agister. In the last 2 years, we’ve shelled-out $34,ooo ( thirty-four thousand ) for lawyer’s fees keeping the predators / parasites at bay

Doesn’t take an MBA to perceive the relationship between the price… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 22, 2012 3:25 am

Anyone who thinks that $7.50 per half gallon of organic raw milk is expensive, does not buy diesel for trucks, pay good employees a good wage, does not test 12 times per day, purchase insurance, buy organic alfalfa for $385 per ton, or deal with inspectors with one thing on their minds….your degrade, your recall and or your shut down.

If you think you can do it cheaper or better,…please join in, we need more producers. Please call me and share with me your secret… would love to know what it is.

Claravale has my 100% support. Anything… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 22, 2012 3:29 am

BTW….OPDC does not get $7.50 per gallon…the store gets 38% of that amount. I know of many people that have given up the family cow because of sheer exhaustion. Milking 730 times per year, including christmas, your birthday morning and night…the price of raw milk at the farmers market and some rest instead of milking after work…priceless. The price of hay is insane…and you can not get it unless you buy a truck load.

Think again, the price of raw milk at the store or farmers market at $6-8 per half gallon…very very reasonable.

mark mcafee
March 22, 2012 3:32 am

One last thing….got to find a bull to breed her. Not easy and you do not have raw milk all year long. That means you need 2 cows at least…. twice the work.

Quality raw milk at the farmers market that is tested and inspected…very cheap.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 22, 2012 4:03 am

Mark, by your response, I don’t think you grasped what I said.

It isn’t a matter of the price being ‘reasonable’. It is a matter of being able to have the money to buy it.
The average family cannot afford that on a regular basis. When my kids were young, they went through 3-4 gal per week. $60 per week for milk alone would have killed my food budget.

The average gross income is less that $50000/yr Subtract state/federal taxes, rent/mortgage, insurance, car payments, medical bills, school projects, gas, utilities, phone,etc. … Read more »

Kristen P
March 22, 2012 4:05 am

Cool. Maybe YOU can enlighten me. What’s the story, Gumpert, and why would Garthwaite trust McAfee? I never pretend to be a journalist…

Southern Consumer
March 22, 2012 11:31 am

The farm we buy our milk from does have expenses, they do own refrigerated delivery trucks, buy diesel, pay employees etc etc. At one point they provided raw milk to Whole Foods until WF stopped offering raw milk. They have spent a “LOT” of money upgrading their operations for the raw milk,from building additions to new tanks and bottling. They test regularly. They are a class operation and do much of what you do, only difference would be the process of milking the cows if you still use the portable field method.

At the same time… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
March 22, 2012 1:36 pm

Southern Consumer – “$7.50 for a HALF gallon?? That is more than we pay for a gallon.” – are you referring to the price of standard commerical milk? If so, of course you will find much cheaper gallon pricings for commerical pasteurized milk. I don’t know of any raw milk that sells near the cost of commercial pasteurized milk. A pricing of $7.50 per half gallon for raw milk is pretty standard.

joelie hicks
March 22, 2012 2:05 pm

I fear that too, like HFCS becoming ‘corn sugar’. But people are waking up, and the consumer will be the tail that wags the dog, which is as it should be. BTW, I ‘donate’ $4 a gallon for my milk, which I must pick up. A dear friend keeps goats, her milk is about $10/gal. We barter back and forth so no $ changes hands.

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 22, 2012 2:09 pm

Joelie, Just an FYI, the IRS considers bartering a taxable event. Whatever you barter for has value and taxed.,,id=187920,00.html

Luke T
March 23, 2012 8:59 pm

Regarding price – a problem shouldn’t exist for MOST people. What are people willing to do to get real milk? What are they willing to give up in order to obtain it? The average family making $50k flushes a lot of money down the toilet on things far less important throughout the year. It’s up to each person to determine where raw milk lands on his/her priority list. Things like cereal, fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, chips, most breads, soda, beer, wine, ice cream, deserts, etc. are completely unnecessary. Incorporate some fasting, bike to… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 23, 2012 10:16 pm

Luke, what you suggest is not reality. Most aren’t willing to give up anything for raw milk. Most are ok with the grocery store milk. The majority of people have no problem consuming the foods they have been eating since birth, to them there is not a problem. People will not change in huge steps, only small steps. Your suggestions would set someone up for failure.

On $50000 annual pay filing married
Weekly Gross Pay $961.54
Federal Withholding $104.13
Social Security $40.38
Medicare $13.94
California $21.35
SDI $9.62
Net Pay $772.12 weekly or $3345 per month take home

>1000sqft house rent $1000 monthly… Read more »

Deborah - Pacifica
March 23, 2012 11:57 pm

You are exactly spot on, Luke, it definitely boils down to the willingness to drop the unnecessary purchases. What is a person willing to give up to ensure a healthier lifestyle?

March 24, 2012 1:10 am

you pay about 1/3 of your gross in taxes / fees / to the govt. and the insurance racketeers, yet you grumble about paying the people who feed you what they’re worth, to supply the best food on earth = REAL MILK?! Where did you get the idea that farmers are supposed to work for pittance?

I challenge you to go out within 100 miles of you, and do the same fiscal breakdown of a family attempting to make a living, farming. You – and about 1oo million others = the producers, on whose backs… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 24, 2012 1:36 am


Where did I say “farmers are supposed to work for pittance? ” Please do site where I said that…… You cannot, as I did NOT say that.

Where did I “grumble about paying the people who feed you what they’re worth” ? Where? Do site it.

Where are you reading this???

Please re-read what I wrote, you will then see that I was NOT talking about farmers earnings, I was talking about the average person who buys food and their income. As for paying taxes, I don’t see that I have… Read more »

March 24, 2012 3:52 am

go do the little exercise I advocate – compare the income of a farm family to yours. I hope what comes through is that, by chiding producers of REAL MILK, to back down in our prices, logically, you relegate farmers to lower incomes.

the real problem is that the money system has done exactly what – in 1913 – its critics predicted it would do, and McFadden spelled out in Congress, 70 years ago = driven the nation into serf-dom. Get yourself ready to be driving out to the farms who… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 24, 2012 4:11 am


“compare the income of a farm family to yours” And the purpose would be, what?
“by chiding producers of REAL MILK, to back down in our prices, ” Really? Where did I state this?
“you relegate farmers to lower incomes. ” Again, where do I state this?

Kristen P
March 24, 2012 5:22 am

I read your post and started to laugh. This is the income range of my single income family with two young children. You should know better living in Metropolitan CA. Do you have children? It’s okay because Sylvia laid it all out logically. She is right!

March 24, 2012 7:22 am

you’ve lost the plot, Sylvia. this thread started with your complaint that the price of REAL MILK is too high, thus you can’t afford it. Over about 8 years on various raw dairy forums, I’ve preached that REAL MILK is one of the best values for $$ in the entire food supply. If you can’t afford it, it’s because you allow yourself to be robbed by idiots in high places. The nation suffers under an unspeakably corrupt financial system, predicated in usury and fraud, which plays out as the iniquitous income tax racket. That… Read more »

March 24, 2012 3:50 pm

California officials announce recall of raw milk products from San Benito County dairy

By Jessica M. Pasko
Posted: 03/24/2012 06:39:00 AM PDT
Updated: 03/24/2012 06:39:21 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — State officials have issued a recall notice for raw milk and raw cream produced by Claravale Farms of San Benito County.
A recall and quarantine order was issued after a state veterinarian confirmed the presence of a bacteria called campylobacter in raw cream. The dairy voluntarily ceased distribution of its products after the discovery. The stoppage of distribution also included goat milk.
Consumers are urged to dispose of any Claravale raw product… Read more »