Hog Farmer Mark Baker to MI DNR: One More Time, Explain Genetic Purification


Mark Baker with one of his questionable pigs.Corporate hog producers and state agriculture regulators around the country are understood to be watching closely the legal case of Michigan hog farmer Mark Baker. 


What they are seeing is a highly tentative Michigan Department of Natural Resources, seemingly incapable of explaining what is wrong with the pigs Baker is raising, and was selling to high-end restaurants as recently as two years ago. That was before the DNR wrecked his business, along with that of many other farmers, with its Invasive Species Order, essentially banning wild, or “feral”, pigs, whether running wild or domesticated by farmers like Baker. The genetic traits listed by the order seemed to ban all pigs…. except the very few raised by corporate producers. 


Baker filed suit against the state, seeking clarification of the state’s order, and a judge rejected a state effort to dismiss the suit. He has also put on hold the DNR’s $700,000 fine of Baker for allegedly violating the ISO. 


At a hearing last week, an unusual scenario unfolded, in which the state appeared to want to let Baker off the hook, and Baker refused the vague initiative. In a video, Baker reported, “They say I have come into compliance. I have not done anything….When you hear that I have complied, I don’t want you to think I have broken under the pressure. I haven’t.” 


The state was seeking, once again last week, to have the case dismissed, but the state judge refused. The judge also refused a request from Baker for a jury trial when the case goes to trial March 11. 


According to Baker, a state prosecutor said the DNR determined from an earlier video, showing Baker holding a baby pig, that the pig was in compliance. “I don’t think they were wearing their bifocals. The pig I was holding up was a Mangelitsa,” which is one of the banned species. 

The state may have been confused as well by the fact that Baker reduced his pig herd a couple months ago to reduce his farm’s expenses. “We did, in fact, cull our Russian/Eurasian Boar looking sow and her daughters last December. However, we maintain our suit because the DNR has continued to deny us due process by refusing to define terms such as ‘hybrid,’ ‘domestic hog production,’ and ‘feral’ so that we can determine if our remaining pigs are legal or not. They continue to insist that how a pig looks determines its living arrangement.” 


“We won’t drop our lawsuit. We have not complied.”


On his web site, Baker made reference to the inconsistencies related to genetics: “They have never looked at our herd and have no real knowledge of their lineage. In all its vagaries, we are still unclear whether or not we are in compliance with the law. This is the question we had when this started and we continue to have.”


It seems reminiscent of the statement from U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart in a 1964 obscenity case, in which he stated that “hard-core pornography” was hard to define, but that “I know it when I see it.” 


A trial pitting Mark Baker vs. the Michigan DNR is set to go forward beginning Tuesday March 11, at the Missaukee County Courthouse, 111 Canal St, Lake City, MI. It’s scheduled to last four days. Everyone is invited to attend and show support for Mark Baker, and opposition to genetic purity laws for pigs that state regulators seem unable or unwilling to explain, except to say that they decide, on behalf of corporate producers, what is pure and what isn’t. 




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66 Comments on "Hog Farmer Mark Baker to MI DNR: One More Time, Explain Genetic Purification"

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Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 13, 2014 5:58 am

Wait is this about black vs white pigs, communist liberals, long haired hippie vs crew short haired crew cut types, or even about how the meat tastes? Bacon is good with raw milk and fresh baked bread but I remain befuddled. Suits Against The State, I saw them back up the Mongrels and Bakers Dozen (they went beep beep beep) I forget when.

February 13, 2014 6:16 pm

When the comments on a particular thread, such as THE NEGOTIATING ON RAW MILK STANDARDS HAS BEGUN, are so voluminous as to require a second page, your website does not allow quick access to that second page of comments. If I see a comment in the Recent Comments section and click on it, it takes me to the top of the first page and stops there. It took me a while to figure out that I need to scroll down to the bottom of the first page, click on the second square, then scroll down the second page of comments until I found the one I was looking for. And the recent comment may not simply be at the bottom of that page, but might be embedded anywhere on that page.

I think maybe I’m not the only person that was slow to catch on to how to find those second page comments. Is it possible for your tech people to make it easier to get to them? Even having some way to choose page 1 or page 2 at the top of the comments would be helpful, but it would be really nice to click on the comment in the Recent Comments section and get taken directly to any comments on page 2.

February 13, 2014 8:44 pm

good point, Lynn_M. I thought it was just me + my clunky old computer that had that problem.
… Also ; when a post starts with a URL link as the very first line, the reader cannot get in to that message because clicking on the URL takes you to it, right away, thus leaving the Complete Patient website

February 13, 2014 8:46 pm

This motion of Lynn_M’s is hereby seconded by myself.

If I may add some thoughts:
1. give each comment a permanent, unique number, in numerical order (for that TCP Post) and display that permanent, unique number in the TCP comment attribution line. (see below for an example)

who:Lynn_M | #3 | when: Thu, 02/13/2014 – 10:16 | reply

instead of the present:
who: Lynn_M | when: Thu, 02/13/2014 – 10:16 | reply

I’m sure there are others here at TCP with more clever and useful ideas.
I would think this through carefully, collecting ideas, ranking those ideas, & only then implement them.

I myself do not have the time to hunt down the 2nd page comments when there are many of them, as at present.
I read the right column snippet but must let it go at that.

I know it takes effort to even comment. I am encouraged most by the comments that display clarity of purpose, thought, and composition, and hate the thought of having to skip reading full comments due to my own time constraints. Repetition in and of itself is not offputting to me.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

February 13, 2014 11:21 pm

the bright lights who govern West Virginia are addressing the crux of the raw milk thing = the chasm between State-ism and the core values of the Republic of the united States of America, as it was originally conceived : “shall the People be permitted to use + enjoy their own personal property? ”
… Remember, folks, if you need a licence to do something, that’s proof what you’re doing, is categorically illegal. Versus our watchword in ~ 1969 : “just do it”

Shawna Barr
February 14, 2014 12:51 am

Congratulations to Christine Anderson of Cast Iron Farm in Oregon! This is a win for food transparency .

February 14, 2014 1:13 am

very interesting that the article concludes with
… “Anderson, who tests her cow’s milk monthly for harmful bacteria, acknowledges that raw milk can make people sick.”
…my guess is : actually doing the chores and delivering the good stuff = she knows more about the issue than a certain commentator on this forum, who’s in denial.
… seemingly tiny, it’s a major victory for the Campaign for REAL MILK. “A spark can set on fire a whole forest” Good on you, Christine Anderson!

February 14, 2014 2:14 am

Great news David. Thanks for the speedy action.

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 2:58 am

I want to personally congratulate Christine Anderson for her win for raw milk access in Oregon. The article does not say something very important. Christine is LISTED with RAWMI and absolutely does a fantastic job of producing very clean and exceedingly safe low risk raw milk.


Her facilities are spotless and her RAMP plan is awesome. I have the pleasure of seeing her monthly bacteria counts and she is an outstanding producer of raw milk. NOW SHE CAN ADVERTISE like the rest of the civilized world that lives in our society!@!!!!!!!!

I am so proud of her. What a great example of being an American and engaging the system. She did not complain about the ban on raw milk advertizement…she just reached out and changed the rediculous law. They settled the issue before the case went to court!!! She did this while being pregnant with her gorgeous daughter Florence that is now just a baby. This was a win for RAWMI and a huge win for all of the raw milk in Oregon and one more little chip away at the big wall erected to keep consumers away from their farmers.

I can not express how proud I am of one of our own!! Christine….you are an example for all of us. Her mentor was Charlotte Smith. Now Christine mentors others producers as well. Truly awesome!

Go Oregon…Go Christine!!!

With the help of Charlotte Smith and Christine, the safety expectations for raw milk in Oregon are now very high. Incidents like Foundation Farms should be a thing of the past. This is the vision and our collective goal.

Shawna Barr
February 14, 2014 3:54 am

And Christine has been my mentor when creating our own RAMP. I referenced Christine’s website often when we were beginning our journey into raw milk production. Then one day the beautiful details of her husbandry and milk handling plan disappeared from her site. Apparently posting this information constituted “advertising” and was forbidden. What a shame.

Posting our practices in detail is one of the best things we can do to encourage positive dialogue among raw milk consumers, producers, and food safety regulators. Consumers can compare one farms practices to another and make better choices. Farmers can learn from mentors.

And yes Gordon, producing raw milk daily, while a joy and a privilege, also comes with the sobering realization that we need to be wise with our practices. As you obviously well know. It’s one thing to rant on a blog about pathogens being benign. It’s another to provide raw milk to your friends knowing that they intend to feed it to their children.

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 4:11 am


Thank you for saying that about raw milk.
Much has been said about the innate safety of raw milk…the ability for raw milk to control growth of pathogens and even kill off some of them. Under certain conditions perhaps some of this is true….but these are conditional statements.

But…until the producers of raw milk take the safety of their raw milk extremely seriously, I mean RAMP plan…I am saying passionately seriously, there will be problems and room for error. When we screw up, we offer those that do not like raw milk very much a real opportunity to use raw milk as a great example of an unsafe food. I REFUSE TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. All of the LISTED dairymen have done a superb job of creating a brilliant new track record that is backed up by hard data. Data that is unrefutable and undeniable. Raw milk has a ghost to bury. We must operate at a level that is beyond reproach and create a new expectation of excellence. Our consumers expect and deserve nothing less. Our sleep patterns and stress levels need and deserve it just as much.

The sooner we can face the fact that raw milk can be a “range of things from dangerous to extremely safe” depending on management and based on the conditions we provide for the cows ( RAMP )…the faster we can all produce the safetest food on earth. Literally from “Foundation farms…to RAWMI LISTED” raw milk is highly varible and it all has to do with the human management side of things!!

mark mcafee
February 14, 2014 4:14 am

Feeding a consumer your raw milk is a sacred act of trust and love! It requires a very high level of commitment and should be taken very seriously.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 14, 2014 6:30 am

Nice changes on the comments section David, funny how the whole world can change while you take a nap (speaking for myself.) The Clunky Old Computers, I saw them back up the Beatles before HELP in Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me When I’m Commodore 64, with DOS and Windows 3.1 as the cover bands.

Good point about posting some text here before the actual link Gordon, I had pointed that out before, I forget when probably in the Ice Ages before the OldLympics started. BTW who is the person in denial? Can’t be me, I know you can get sick from just about anything even just thinking about it.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 14, 2014 6:40 am

Shawna and Mark, your commentary here is a beacon in a haystack. Hope I don’t come across as advocating pathogens and bacteria as benign, but truth is you can’t completely eliminate that aspect of life in food and need to acknowledge and respect it vs expecting everything you ingest to be sterile and dead, that’s just not healthy in the long run. Dirt happens, plastic doesn’t.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 14, 2014 7:56 pm

No one is suggesting that you practice “looser sanitation” however focusing on sanitation alone is a loosing dead end struggle if tptb fail to address the true cause of illness.

If you backtrack to David’s article posted on October16, 2013 I made a comment with respect to your reply to Pete. I stated, “I applaud your effort to produce healthy raw milk. You have an excellent protocol”.

The reason why competitive exclusion keeps creeping into the discussion on this blog is due to accusations made by those disagreeing with Sally Fallon and the WAPF’s persistent endorsement of the process.
That being said competitive exclusion is what gives milk its self-preserving qualities and this process has served humanity well over the last several thousand years. There are still cultures today that take advantage of this unique quality of milk in order to preserve meat and fish etc. for extended periods of time.


Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 15, 2014 2:19 am

What is also interesting about the CDC data base is that there are zero outbreaks in pasteurized milk involving the pathogen E.coli 0157:H7. This means that pasteurizing milk is very effective with killing this pathogen.

As for listeria, it is the most deadly pathogen–causes the most deaths regardless of food source. Thank goodness, for whatever reason, it does not appear to be the pathogen to worry about with fluid raw milk. Campy and E.coli 0157:H7 are the winners with raw milk.

For those persons who suffer a Listeria infection that does not resolve on its own, the complications (or sequelae) can be many. [4, 28] The most common is septicemia (bacterial pathogens in the blood, also known as bacteremia), with meningitis being the second most common. [4, 18] Other complications can include inflammation of the brain or brain stem (encephalitis), brain abscess, inflammation of the heart-membrane (endocarditis), and localized infection, either internally or of the skin. [18] Death is the most severe consequence of listeriosis, and it is tragically common. [3] For example, based on 2009 FoodNet surveillance data, 89.2% of Listeria patients ended up in the hospital, the highest hospitalization rate for pathogenic bacterial infection. [10] In persons 50 years of age and older, there was a 17.5% fatality rate—also the highest relative to other pathogens. [10, 18]

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 15, 2014 2:24 am

Shawna, thank you for the contribution you make to this blog.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
February 15, 2014 4:34 am

“also interesting about the CDC data base is that there are zero outbreaks in pasteurized milk involving the pathogen E.coli 0157:H7. This means that pasteurizing milk is very effective with killing this pathogen. ”

It probably also means it’s very effective at killing EVERYTHING. If I choose to eat dead wood, I’ll just have some dead wood thank you. Anybody ever get sick from that? And thanks for not replying to my posts, it saves us lots of usless keystrokes and electron inflammations I’ll try and do the same. Oh the drama, is so hard to resist. I’m not a big fan of Surveillance Data or Percentages sorry.

Sequelae, they were really awsome in their heyday but 10 Years After the Zero Outbreaks needed a better singer as did Tragically Common, just saying never mind the Severe Consequences, Brain Stem Abscess and I think Non-Cents were the headliners. Btw do you boil everything you eat and drink? Don’t answer that

mark mcafee
February 15, 2014 5:19 am

Great observation about ecoli 0157H7 and pasteurized milk. It really does demonstrate that the variables are many. We do know that Listeria loves a vacuum. In a pasteurization plant, there are many areas that provide for pseudamonas to start creating their little biofilms…next comes listeria, its ugly step sister. The cleaners used in pasteurization plants also tend to create the vacuum needed for listeria to flourish with out powerful competition.

Back to Ecoli 0157H7. in my humble opinion…it is the really bad guy to watch for in raw milk. The bacterial thresh hold for illness is low, the victums are mostly young, HUS is very ugly and really can not be treated very well with anti-biotics.

That is why coliform testing is so awesome!! With coliforms in the extremly low range ( less than 1 or 3 or so or even less than 20 or 30 Dr. Cat talks about x logs being the measure to worry about ) our best scientists tell us that the odds of ecoli pathogens getting one of our consumers sick is extremely low. It is practically impossible. Every ecoli 0157h7outbreak I have scene…have also been associated with high coliforms. if you do not measure coliforms…then it will be a surprize to everyone.

So keep your ecoli 0157H7 in check by keeping your coliforms under constant surveilance and very low! At OPDC we have seen our biggest spikes with our cleanest milk filters ( meaning no fecal matter or manure in the milk ). The spikes do not come from fecal sources!!! They come SCC and a cow with mastitis. According to the literature and our UC Davis PhD friends there is no evidence that ecoli 0157H7 pathogens come from inside of the udder….they are ALL fecal born. All very comforting!!

Campy is a different matter and can be from mastitis on rare occasion.

That is why we test 200 times per month and test the heck out of our milk filters. They are much more sensative to pathogen detection than finished product.

In the EU studies, it has been found that 3% of milk filters ( in human consumption intended raw milk ) can test positive in some studies…yet the consumers do not get sick. So…what does this all mean???

We are splitting hairs. When raw milk gets this clean, even a pathogen detection does not mean that illness will result. So….we must all stick with the basics and track the data…we have one heck of a lot more to learn about this “mostly round bacteria dominated planet” we call home.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 15, 2014 7:03 am

Mark, I am really struggling with the following paragraph you wrote.

Are you pointing out a contradiction between your observations and your US Davis PhD friends observations when you state, “So keep your ecoli 0157H7 in check by keeping your coliforms under constant surveillance and very low! At OPDC we have seen our biggest spikes with our cleanest milk filters ( meaning no fecal matter or manure in the milk ). The spikes do not come from fecal sources!!! They come from SCC and a cow with mastitis. According to the literature and our UC Davis PhD friends there is no evidence that ecoli 0157H7 pathogens come from inside of the udder….they are ALL fecal born. All very comforting!!”

I assume the “spikes” you are speaking of are related to coliform?
So, if you conclude based on the cleanliness of your filters, that those coliform “spikes do not come from fecal sources” but rather from “SCC and a cow with mastitis”, then are you not saying as well based on your recommendation to “keep your ecoli 0157H7 in check via “constant coliforms surveillance” and a “very low” coliform count that 0157H7 as well is not related to fecal sources but rather SCC and mastitis which are clearly conditions related to the environment in the udder.

There appears to be a contradiction with your UC Davis PhD friends who suggest that there “is no evidence that ecoli 0157H7 pathogens come from inside of the udder….they are ALL fecal born.”


February 15, 2014 9:16 am

and here she is … right on cue & back from her tear-jerking performance in Ioway … without missing a step in her infamous song-and-dance … the hardest-working-gal-in-show-bizness-today … the mistress of materia medica her-self !!
… Lady = your schtick is a reprise of the Roman Papa act … you holding up the same old boilerplate statistics is akin to the shaman in his Dagon highhat, a’shakin’ that bogeyman-dead-puppet-onna-stick for all it’s worth. And with about as much effect as his mumbo~jumbo.
…The people who are getting well from drinking REAL MILK, don’t give a tinker’s dam for your doomsday preaching. Old Samuel Johnson said : “the wonder of a woman preaching is like that of a dog walking on his hind legs … not that they do it so well, but that they do it at all”

February 15, 2014 3:11 pm

Being a farmer in the upper peninsula of Michigan for thirty years now, I feel that many here do not seem to grasp the seriousness of this situation. I truly believe that this puts our state as a testing ground for further restrictions on small farmers all across this country. The invasive species order placed on us farmers here in Michigan ( in regards to heritage breeds of hogs) is a total sham!!! So how does the DNR( damn near Russia) get allowed to involve themselves in agricultural affairs???? We do have a state dept. of agriculture here!!! I am not aware, nor have been aware of any problems with wild hogs in our state, about the only place hogs could survive( in my humble opinion) in a Michigan winter would be the very southern part of the state. Here in the eastern upper peninsula, I do not believe they could make it, too much snow and ususally weeks of sub-zero temperatures does not make for good wild hog country. I am a bit disappointed that the subject matter of David’s article is not being addressed here( there were three comments out of thirty-nine pertaining to the subject matter). This is a VERY important issue that will have nationwide implications if allowed to hold as law. What’s next? No heritage breed sheep, horses, chickens, cattle? All animals must be raised in confinement operations, no sun,fresh air,etc.? You can bet that regulators all around this country are watching this play out in hopes it holds up in a court of law, so as to implement something similar in YOUR state. Consumption of raw fresh milk is of utmost importance to myself and my wife( I cannot imagine my morning cup of coffee without some fresh heavy cream in it :>), but that is not the subject matter of this particular article. I truly believe that this agenda has been pushed forward by not only the Michigan Pork Producers Association, but at the national level also (I have no proof though, just a gut feeling). As with raw milk, when producers start cutting into the chain food market( so to speak), all hell breaks loose, think Dean Foods!! Mr. Baker truly needs all of our support, as this will eventually affect all of us, if the MDNR is allowed to regulate farmer activities, where will it end?? I once read somewhere, cannot remember exactly where, but this hog expert was quoted as saying that the way our DNR is classifying these different breeds of hogs is not correct. He said a hog is a hog,a hog is a hog,a hog is a hog, no matter the breed, all hogs are of one basic species( if I read it correctly) and this splitting of sub-species does not hold water. I sure hope the courts here will see that many of us rely on alternative markets for our survival. I know we cannot afford to send our animals to the livestock sales barn and take whatever price we are given. As with Mr. Baker, we have worked for many years to develop a direct to consumer market, and to think that all that work could be erased with one swipe of a pen, by one person, is not a tolerable situation for us or many other farmers across this country. At some point, if we do not wake up, we will all be marching goosestep down to the nearest state sanctioned fascist food distribution center( probably a WalMart). This does sound a bit crazy, but after sixty years on this earth, I have seen some amazing things( good and bad) come forth! Thank You!!

D. Smith
D. Smith
February 15, 2014 4:59 pm

As I stated before, Iowa doesn’t need much convincing so Mary was basically preaching to the choir and reinforcing their already vehement outlook on anything not mass produced by biGAG. IOW, she gave them ammunition for an already loaded cannon.

I just listened to a most interesting podcast over at the Lew Rockwell site. He interviews Bill Sardi (who has much information to share, all good stuff) and way at the end of the podcast he mentions how cattle ranchers should use garlic in any supplemental feed for animals as a way of helping to control bacteria without the use of medical grade antibiotics. He has some other tips in the 23 minute podcast that might be of interest, as well, such as B1 for alzheimers, and a product to help with wet ARMD. Fascinating. You can either go right to Lew’s site and find the info yourself, or you can use this link: http://www.lewrockwell.com/podcast/bill-sardi-defending-health-against-the-government/

I’m not a big believer in the theory that bacteria and pathogens and microbes, etc., are the biggest issue but if that sort of thing rings your bell, this is worth hearing.

mark mcafee
February 15, 2014 5:08 pm


To clarify:

Ecoli 0156h7 has yet to be found coming from inside of the udder. I am also saying that SCC and mastitis can drive coliforms crazy high…but the raw milk is not from unclean udders.

Yes…this may appear to be a contradiction….but just a little. It is actually clarifying of the true origins of ecoli 0157H7 and that coliforms are not always the predictor….but a pretty darn good one when considering other variables including super clean udders with the contradiction of very very clean milk filters. In other words….some have said erroneously, that “coliforms are shit in milk”. This is comopletely untrue, but it can be true. There are multiple origins for coliforms in milk. I am saying that SCC is a real driver for coliforms. Yet Mastitis is not an origin for ecoli 0157h7 pathogens.
So, the trick is to look at the whole picture. Since ecoli 0157h7 is a coliform….keep the SCC counts low and the udders and milk filters clean and the risk drops to near zero for ecoli 0157h7 pathogens.

We learn something every day. We also learn the alarmists are absolutely wrong that coliforms are only from fecal sources and that “cow shit in the milk” is but only one of the potential sources. People love to be quoted and say that “raw milk has shit in it”….it makes such good drama.

Well….clean raw milk with high coliforms is actually quite devoid of fecal sources…..it is SCC with mastitis ( not sexy….but generally very much benign as far as human health is concerned ). Not a source of pathogens. Tell that to the TV on your next interview.

February 15, 2014 6:06 pm

Dutchfarm, I will try to be at Mark Baker’s trial Tuesday March 11. What else can we do or say?
On Don and Ben’s podcast #55 David Questioned the Minnesota 17% per 10 year foodborne illness rate for raw milk by saying he’s met hundreds of raw milk consumers who have said they’ve never been sickened by raw milk. Ben seemed to disagree by saying “I assume you don’t know everyone that drinks raw milk.” but by making this statement he was in fact agreeing, you’d need to meet all 10 million raw milk consumers if you wanted to find the one that got sick. David in effect, got Don to say the chances of getting sick from raw milk are one in 10 million. That’s a one in 10 million negative risk factor. Ben’s response shows he doesn’t understand his own science. So who won the argument?
Besides all that, Minnesota’s 17% per 10 years suggests raw milk has a negative risk factor since the national average for foodborne illness is 15% annually. 15% annually comes out to 150% per 10 years doesn’t it?

Health officials in Minnesota warned Wednesday that based on a 10-year study. They estimated that more than 17% of the state’s residents who drank raw milk got sick. By Mary MacVean December 11, 2013

“The CDC now estimates that 15% of Americans can expect to have a foodborne illness annually and that 41 in 100,000 will be hospitalized and 1 in 100,000 will die.”

Isn’t there anyone on this blog who grew up on pasteurized milk and then switch to raw milk? How was your health before and after? Has you incidence of foodborne illness increased of decreased?
A food safety comedy show is an inappropriate venue for a subject as serious as the banning of healthy food especially considering our expiration dates are determined by the food we eat.

David was told to start with a question. David asked them to clarify there position on food rights and they could not. Ben contradicted himself and Don just changed the subject. In short they said we should be able to drink raw milk as long as it’s legal and it’s their job to see that it is not.

Ben says(40.33 min) his position on raw milk is philosophical, in other words, not science based.

What could be the purpose of Don’s comedy show if it isn’t to goat the raw milk community out of the shadows. Why else would he have David and others on the show? Why else would he says: I don’t like your tone. Your factual critique of my raw milk safety comedy act is irritating nonsense that raises my hackles and I’m the last guy in the world whose hackles you want to raise.
Developing best practices requires real science not mathematical risk assessment. Allowing a mathematician to tell you what to eat is like going to a podiatrist for a toothache.

In the US these people tell us diarrhea is a foodborne illness in Africa they say it’s AIDS.

Milk is not and has never been pasteurized to kill foodborne pathogens. Milk is pasteurized to kill bacteria that sour milk and to destroy enzymes that oxidize fat after processing.
Sounds like Don’s talking about himself. By attacking David and Mark he is raising the hackles of the only two guys on this blog sticking up for the food safety community.

Don, it’s hyperbole not hyperbowl.

Don says he doesn’t like our tone:
Food safety is part of medicine and medicine and raw milk are competitors. So there can be no meaningful discussion between raw milk and food safety. The tone will always be hostile because the two are mutually exclusive. Food safety should have nothing to do with food choice.
We didn’t start this fight.
We’re not the ones with the arrogant childish and often hostile tone.
Irritating is an understatement.
Hyperbole is the definition of food safety.
If they want to make a deal let’s hear it.
Don admits the food safety community thinks raw milk should be illegal.
Threatening to take someones food should be expected to stir at least some emotion.
Talking nice isn’t working anyway. You can’t expect them to quit their jobs.
All we can do is agree to keep silent if they agree to back off.
They are not judges or congressmen. They don’t make the laws.

crimethink – To even consider any thought not in line with the principles of Ingsoc. To doubt any of the principles of Ingsoc. 1984 written in 1948.

food safety professors, Don Schaffner of Rutgers and Ben Chapman of North Carolina State University

February 15, 2014 6:10 pm

Mr john, why would you say that farm germs are foreign to city people? Isn’t this were our food comes from? Wouldn’t it more likely that city germs are foreign to the farm?
MrJohn, your beliefs may work for a lot of non-raw milk consumers. Some of them may even work on a few people who have dank raw milk all their lives but they don’t work at all for people who have switched to raw milk because they know how sick they were before. They have seen raw milks negative risk factor in action. They have no need for speculation. More importantly, neither does anyone else and here’s why. Just look at the numbers. Everyone is going to experience so called foodborne illnesses many many times in their lives. So there really isn’t any reason for them not to try raw milk and find out for themselves. If it doesn’t work they’ll know in a day or two and they can stop. The same as any medicine.

February 15, 2014 6:11 pm

Ora Moose, if Mary says that an illness can by spread by human contact it can no longer be called foodborne. When you include human contact, your linkage to raw milk goes right out the window.

If Mary’s the best they can come up with year after year they are in effect admitting raw milk is a low risk food.

February 15, 2014 10:48 pm

Thank you for clarifying the paragraph Ken cited. I too was confused by it.

Is there any adverse health effect from drinking raw milk with a high SCC count and/or from a cow with mastitis? Is the taste adversely impacted? I presume the types of coliform that are associated with a high SCC count are not visible on a milk filter. Do they show up if the milk filter is tested?

If the raw milk tests as having near zero coliforms, then the concern about a high SCC count or E. Coli O1:H157 also approaches zero? Are there any issues impacting health that wouldn’t be reflected in the coliform level?

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 15, 2014 11:58 pm

There are a number of factors that can cause a high SCC. Mastitis is one, it is however the most common. Mastitic milk has an off flavor (bitter/salty). I’ve drank it and farmers often feed to calves or pigs if available, providing the cow is not being treated with antibiotics . In fact one of the best ways to clear up a case of mastitis is to put a couple of calves on the cow and allow them to keep her milked out. Little pigs will do the trick as well, and as far as I’m concerned they do a better job at keeping the cow milked out. Pigs are less finicky and are more aggressive at sucking.


mark mcafee
February 16, 2014 12:17 am

According to the celebrated and five year vetted Michigan fresh milk working group report, Somatic cells are actually quite good for health and immunity. They are not alive, but serve a function. I am not an expert on SCC but generally speaking, mastitis does not confer illness to consumers. High SCC counts do tend to mess up flavor and shelf life. Campy is the exception. Mastitis is associated on rare occasion with campy.

One of our dairy vet PhD types needs to chyme in here about now.

February 16, 2014 4:12 am


You wrote “Mastitis is one, it is however the most common.” With the however in there, it sounds like you meant to say it is not the most common.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 16, 2014 8:47 am

Mastitis is the most common reason for an elevated somatic cell count, sometimes referred to as white blood cell or leukocyte counts. SCC is a reflection of an animal’s antibody status and is indicative of a healthy stress modulating and active immune system.

The following article is one of the best I have read on the topic. However, there is one hell of a lot of variation, speculation, and unanswered questions with respect to the results.

Colostrum milk has a high somatic cell count regardless of whether the udder is infected or not and will remain high for up to two weeks following the birth of the calf. This in my opinion is part and parcel of the process for transferring immunity to the calf and is relative to the cows past exposure to various diseases.

Here is something I was not aware of. Time of day and day to day variations also effect SCC and it has been shown that “the method of transportation and storage of milk samples as well as the methods used to count the somatic cells all have an influence on the resultant counts”.

SCC’s tend to be seasonal, lower in winter higher in summer yet it is unclear however as to why this is the case since temperature and humidity variables appear to demonstrate inconsistent SCC readings.

Back in the eighties if my memory is correct the push to lower the somatic cell count was for economic reasons, i.e. to increase cheese yields. It had and still has nothing to do with safety.

SCC’s are inversely proportional to cheese yields. There appears to be an inverse relationship to milk yields, so it’s in the farmer’s best interest to keep SCC reasonably low. Farmers that use antiseptic teat dips daily and antibiotics in a dry cow treatment regimen in order to maintain low somatic cell counts are doing a disservice the cow’s internal udder flora, immune system and corresponding overall health and the quality of the milk she produces.


February 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Yes, the news article that’s been pumped all over the twitterverse etc is “Damage that can be done by #rawmilk bacteria is incomprehensible: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20140211/NEWS10/302110087/Mother-warns-Iowa-against-raw-milk …”

“A California mother who almost lost her son to a bacterial infection urged Iowa lawmakers Monday not to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk.

” Mary McGonigle-Martin recounted how E. coli bacteria infected her son, Christopher, after she gave him unpasteurized milk, also known as raw milk. “The damage done by this bacteria is incomprehensible,” she said at a Statehouse hearing.”

Ms. McGonigle-Martin, I feel a deep sense of betrayal that you come into this forum and act friendly and respectful and as if you are willing to dialogue/listen and state that you support RAWMI; and yet you are the main public voice supporting farmers being raided and arrested and we can see now that your support for RAWMI is a lie. You are also smart enough to realize that the only end product of your campaign for prohibition is the creation/expansion of a black market. :( There should be a new hashtag in your honour: #blackmarketmary, because that is what you are promoting.

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 7:57 pm

Thanks for posting this, Shelly, I had no idea that she was actively promoting to make raw-milk access totally illegal. I thought she was all for supporting safety standards & warning labels. The article that you posted is very disturbing, especially with the exaggerations in her story! I don’t recall her son having to have surgeries, according to her daily diary that she had previously posted on this forum. There are other claims that she made at that hearing that, as a medical person, I find very much exaggerated. Yes, her son had been very, very sick & yes, his condition had been very serious, but she was not up front of everything that went on medically, as well as, some wrong medical decisions & actions that happened. The information that she shared with those people was very biased & there was no one there that was able to counter her view of raw milk. This was not only deceitful at best, but has caused some major damage for raw milk access with people who are totally clueless about raw milk. What galls me the most is that she is trying to take away peoples’ choice with this stance of hers…where does she get off going to another state & interfering with the rights of those residents?! You are very right to ‘dress her down’ with regards to her behavior on this forum which amounts to her being a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. She has now shown her true ‘colors’ by appearing in another state’s hearing & push for total illegalization of raw milk where in the past she was supposedly pushing for better safety standards & warning labels. As far as I am concerned….she no longer belongs on this forum!! Sorry to have to say that, but after this action on her part, why should she even be here anymore?!

February 16, 2014 9:17 pm

Shelly-D : Yours is a healthy response to realization that you’ve been had. Calling the one who testified in Ioway, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, is being too kind. Since the Garden of Eden, being betrayed by a lying-snake-in-the-grass is just politics-as-usual.

I disagree that the dairy cartel mouthpiece ought to be banned … first of all, that’s not a decision made by a show of hands. It’s up to the website owner. Me = I’m all for letting my adversaries speak, as long as I get equal opportunity. Problem is, when guys like me proclaim the truth / shining a light into their endeavors – especially their motives + larger agenda – they scurry-off to the ‘authorities” with complaints about “hate speech” .

Unhappily, the herd is slow to wake up to warnings from prophetic types, and so reviles the messenger, before the smoke clears. Last week, I was taken to task for being “toxic”, and had certain portions of a post censored as a “personal attack”. But I’m vindicated now, aren’t I?! Call this a ‘teachable moment’ … demonstrating how desperate Big.GaG is, to ruin the Campaign for REAL MILK. The collectivists always over-step demselves. In this fiasco, they used up all credibility of their little sock-puppet ( who shall remain nameless in the interests of decorum)
… when I first encountered her on this forum ( a few years ago?) I had her number right away, which is why I castigated her from the get-go. But I have the advantage on most of you here … I go back so far, I remember seeing The Who at the Agrodome in ~1968, singing “Won’t get fooled again!!!!!”
“why should she even be here?” Because ‘there’s nothing so useless it can’t at least be used as a bad example’

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 10:27 pm

Let me clarify by my statement of “As far as I am concerned….she no longer belongs on this forum!!”, it was not a statement that she should be banned, it was a statement of my personal feelings that she serves no purpose here considering the fact that this forum is pro-raw milk! My last question was a rhetorical question, not a question that needs an answer, instead it is a question for thought about why should she be here anymore. Her presence now serves no purpose as we now see her true intent. Very, very deceitful!!

February 16, 2014 10:54 pm

I took a look, Deborah, and found that her true intent was displayed publically last year when she wrote the governor of Nevada in an open letter “Governor Sandoval: Don’t Legalize Raw Milk in Nevada” (May 28, 2013) – http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/05/letter-to-governor-sandoval-dont-legalize-raw-milk.

Plus she made a submission (“Raw Milk: A Mother’s Story”) to Montana’s legislature as part of a “raw milk legislative packet (summary and listing of documents at http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2013/Minutes/House/Exhibits/agh49a09.pdf).

And she contributed to a highly inflammatory (and by the looks of it, produced by an expensive graphics design firm) anti-raw-milk document being distributed by Iowa Public Health – http://www.iowapha.org/Resources/Documents/32%20Raw%20Milk.pdf

I don’t have time to do a thorough search, but it might be illuminating to start a list of just how many states she has been actively lobbying in, and how many more are on her agenda to visit.

Deborah - Pacifica
February 16, 2014 11:37 pm

Wow, Shelly, I was not aware of the extent of what she has done!! I wish I had the time to try to find an article that I came across over 2 yrs ago where she was being interviewed. In that interview, she said some very interesting things about her son’s health problems, of which, over time she has changed her story. In this particular interview, she had been asked what health issues that her son had & what did she do about them. She stated that her son had many stomach & digestive issues, as well as, allergies. This story changed over the course of time where she no longer mentions stomach & digestive issues. I thought that was very curious that she had changed her story. I tried to find the original article in order to compare it to all the articles that came out afterwards, but unfortunately I couldn’t find it anymore. I had had a copy of the article, but very foolishly deleted it from my laptop, now I ‘kick’ myself for doing so. I would like to know why is she the only one doing this? Why aren’t the other mothers involved or are some them involved & we just don’t know about it?!

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 16, 2014 11:55 pm

Here you forgot one. I’m sure you would like to see me in action on T.V. http://www.kcci.com/news/politics/Iowans-argue-for-against-unpasteurized-milk/19107112 This was from last year. David posted it here. I guess you missed that.

Iowa brought a raw milk bill forward that has zero regulations. It is no different than having black market raw milk. This year was very anticlimactic. The bill was basically dead before it was even near a vote in committee. No one came to testify this year from the pro-raw milk side. I had a lovely talk with Jason Shultz about raw milk safety standards and warning labels. I’m educating him about the dangers of raw milk. You just can’t allow anyone to enter into the business of raw milk production. I’m sure Mark McAfee would agree with this statement 100%.

In Nevada, raw milk is legal. It must be sold in the county it is produced in. They were trying to expand the market to be sold throughout the entire state. Local is safest.

As for Montana. They must have used the legislative package available on The Real Raw Milk Facts website.

Once again let me make my position on raw milk consumption very clear:
1. I will never support feeding children raw milk.
2. Adults can do as they choose and anyone can own a cow or goat and produce their own supply of milk.
3. In states were raw milk is legal, I still do not support feeding children raw milk, but I support making it as safe a humanly possible for those consuming it. That is RAWMI’s goal.
4. In states where it is not legal, I can’t support bills that would legalize raw milk without any regulations. This is a raw milk free-for-all and would end in a tragedy for some unfortunate children.
5. WAPF continues to focus on all the benefits and downplay the risks. I waiting for Sally Fallon and Ted Beals to be honest about the risks. I don’t see this happening anytime soon considering she just testified in Maryland and made the public statement that raw milk kills pathogens.
6. You may not like it, but I speak for all parents who believed raw milk was a healthier choice than pasteurized milk (thank you WAPF) and because of this belief almost killed their children. Since 2005, the count is up to 27 children who developed HUS after drinking contaminated raw milk. And there are 5 or 6 outbreak reports I have not be able to get, so the count may be higher.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 16, 2014 11:56 pm

And if my presence on this blog bothers you, just skip over what I post.

February 17, 2014 1:28 am

If you were not a hypocrite, #BlackmarketMary, you would be spending just as much if not more time campaigning for those children who fell ill or died due to e-coli listeria, campy, etc. from contaminated meat, eggs, poultry, seafood, greens, fruit, etc., because more children get sick per unit of consumption from these products than from raw milk. You would insist that no child eat any of these foods. But no, it is easier to vilify raw milk, because it is more controversial, a “niche product,” you get support of a big industrial-agriculture lobby group, and you can get more praise and “hero status” that way than campaigning against other foods which can be equally as contaminated as dairy. Lettuce is rather boring, isn’t it? And you can’t get celebrity status campaigning against hamburger, because then there is a big industry which would oppose you. But you are the darling of the raw milk prohibitionists, and they pay for you to travel and lobby, so why not “milk it” for all it’s worth, right?

Shawna Barr
February 17, 2014 1:30 am

Mary, would you mind explaining why you believe local is safer?

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 17, 2014 3:51 am

Shelly, foodborne illnesses are 100% preventable for any food that is cooked. When an illness occurs with eggs, it is because it wasn’t cooked properly. With meat or poultry, it wasn’t cooked properly or cross contamination happened. Prepackaged leafy greens are a huge issue. They should have a warning label. If people knew of the real danger, they would take the time to wash a head of lettuce or a bunch of spinach.

Shelly, have you broken down the data for these foods and the pathogen that caused the illnesses and compared it to raw milk illnesses, keeping in mind the percent of the population that consumes each food group?

When people don’t feel they can win an argument they resort to insults.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
February 17, 2014 3:52 am

Shawna, I will answer you tomorrow.

mark mcafee
February 17, 2014 4:20 am

I just erased a 1000 word thesis about Mary and kids thriving on raw milk and how pregnant women thrive on raw milk and the CDC has zero data to show raw milk is associated with listeria.

I decided that I would preserve political progress instead.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
February 17, 2014 5:44 am


“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”. Helen Keller

In essence Mary, what you are saying is that it was and is wrong for me to feed raw milk to my children and grandchildren. I appreciate your concern however lets just leave it at that.

You would think that humanity aught to have learnt by now that using fear to toy with people’s minds doesn’t work.

I trust you are at peace in your endeavor to convince parents and politicians that your point of view is righteous and worthy enough to be imposed on others.


Deborah - Pacifica
February 19, 2014 8:58 pm

To get back on subject with this particular post of David’s, I would like to encourage everyone to help with donations for Mark Baker and his family. Here is a the link for the donation site: https://pledgie.com/campaigns/20620 but, you can also send him & his family a check to their address listed on their website. This family has been put through so much & it has had a devastating effect on their livelihood, peace of mind & quality of life. I and a few friends are putting together something special for their children as they, too, have been greatly affected as well. This courageous man must continue to stand by his principles, convictions & continue the fight. The state of Michigan cannot get away with what they have done to these heritage hog farmers. Can you please help?

Deborah - Pacifica
February 26, 2014 2:20 am

Mark Baker is in need of immediate help. His make up court date was rescheduled to tomorrow 2/26, having been postponed from a week ago when the other side didn’t show up at the court house due to it snowing that day. You can help both in the form of supporting him by showing up at the court house for those that live in that area…see update here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChqDpgIf4Oc&list=UUeZKFIZGJGeo0ijo5MLObtQ&feature=share as well as, monetary donations…see details here: https://pledgie.com/campaigns/20620 Also, I am sure that everyone is aware of the extreme stress, strain, and financial needs that Mark and his wife Jill are going through, but also imagine how hard this is on their 8 children…if any of you can find it within your means and heart, can you put together a surprise/fun care package to send to their children? Things such as simple games, crafts, colored pencils, coloring books, etc would be great things to bring a smile to their faces. You can find their address on their website. Please pass this information on to friends, family and acquaintances. This family really needs all the help they can get.