Raw Milk a Tough Sell in an NFL Town’s Burgers-and-Fries Culture

““In Russia, we can’’t say what we want, but we can eat what we want. In the U.S., we can say what we want, but we can’’t eat what we want.”” ~ From an attendee at the postponed hearing in Foxborough considering tough raw milk regulations for Lawton’s Family Farm

Supporters of Lawton's Farm at Monday evening's postponed hearing in Foxborough, MAThe non-hearing over Lawton’s Family Farm was frustrating in one sense–the 140 or so attendees who overflowed the meeting room were brewing for an active debate. When someone in the audience suggested to the Foxborough Board of Health that, instead of postponing the hearing, the board just withdraw the proposed tough new regulations designed to replace long-established state regs, the audience burst into loud applause.

The board was obviously impressed by the outpouring. “We’ve never had this much interest in something we are doing,” one of the health board members stated.

I don’’t think the board is going to withdraw the regulations, but I sense there will be some easing in its approach. I had a long talk after the postponement (new date not set yet) with Eric Arvedon, the Foxborough board member who is leading the charge on the tough town regulations, and he told me that “revised” proposed regulations will be posted within the next few days. Missing will be the requirement that Lawton’s test its milk on a weekly basis, instead of the state’s monthly requirement.

He also suggested there would be adjustment to a couple other controversial items: that Lawton’s file an operating and safety plan each year to get its raw milk permit renewed, and that the dairy be shut down for up to 30 days in the event of high bacterial readings.

“We’re not trying to make it hard for them (Lawton’s),” he told me. “The regulations will pretty much mirror the state regulations.”

If that is the case, why get a town involved in something the state seems to be handling very well? Arvedon said he isn’t convinced the state is handling the situation as well as it could. He was perturbed when, last spring, the state twice required Lawton’s to halt sales for a few days because of certain high (non-pathogenic) bacterial counts, and, in his estimation, Lawton’s seemed unresponsive to the town’s concerns that customers be notified.

Terri Lawton, who helps run the dairy with her parents, says customers were notified, even though the state has no notification requirement. She says she rejected a town request for confirmation that customers were notified because this would have meant sharing a customer list.

From my conversation with Arvedon, I would say that the town officials have a very steep learning curve about raw milk….if, indeed, they are sincerely interested in learning. The health culture in which the Foxborough Board of Health spends much of its time is the factory-food culture that typifies the U.S., and is far removed from the raw milk/nutrient-dense food culture.

It seems that one of the big problems in the Foxborough situation stems from the fact that Massachusetts is one of the few states, perhaps the only state, in which both towns and the state are granted authority over raw milk by the legislature. For the nearly 30 dairies that produce raw milk around the state, the towns seem content to have the state handle the permitting and inspection process via its two full-time dairy inspectors. However, a little more than half the towns actually have prohibitions against raw milk sales, dating from the 1950s and 1960s, though at least three of those towns have reversed the bans in recent years so as to allow local farms to sell raw milk (and none of the towns that allow sales have enacted bans).

In the case of Foxborough, it seems clear that the board of health members are just getting up to speed on the realities of raw milk. I inquired with Arvedon about something he was quoted about in local papers–that 30 states prohibit raw milk and cheese sales.

When I asked him where he obtained that information, he said he was sure it was from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and began rummaging through a thick file of FDA and CDC printouts about raw milk. He wasn’t able to find it, probably because even the FDA hasn’t exaggerated the situation with regard to raw milk availability that badly; as we know, raw milk cheese that has been aged at least 60 days under FDA regulations can be sold anywhere, and there are 17 or 18 states that prohibit raw milk sales to the public, though most of those states allow herdshare arrangements.

Why would a local board of health that mostly oversees a National Football League stadium and local restaurants want to inject itself into something as challenging as raw milk? According to the Lawtons’ lawyer, Frank DiLuna, who represents clients before local health boards on various issues, “They do it because they can.”

In this case, all it took were a couple of high bacteria readings, and the local officials were prepared to pounce. Seemingly another reason why raw milk producers, in particular, can be well served by involvement in the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI)–for the information and teaching it provides on producing consistently high-quality milk, and for the credibility it provides to uncertain local regulators.

While waiting last evening for the Foxborough Board of Health to take up the raw milk issue, board members debated food preparation procedures at nearby Gillette Stadium for New England Patriots games. An inspector had just been over there Sunday evening, and was concerned that some cooked food might be held more than four hours before being served to customers. There was an intense back and forth about how food vendors at the stadium might need to mark the time various foods are prepared, so food more than four hours old could be disposed. I’m not sure why four hours was such a huge deal, but it was.

In a culture where keeping the fast-food burgers and fries fresh and antiseptic is a high priority, educating about raw milk, the microbiome, and fermentation is definitely going to be a big challenge.

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129 Comments on "Raw Milk a Tough Sell in an NFL Town’s Burgers-and-Fries Culture"

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Ora Moose
Ora Moose
November 30, 2013 12:21 am

D, that flu article really is very interesting. I had one question that I was going to post here about who pays for all these FREE vaccines but found the answer at the end of the article:

“Private vaccine and pharmaceutical companies have no expense for marketing and distributing influenza vaccines to doctors and health care facilities. Rather the US government purchases the flu vaccine outright from vaccine makers and then the government is required to promote, advertise and sell them. Government holds the debt. Because the pharmaceutical industry already received its money, it is the government’s responsibility, with taxpayer money, to sell the vaccines by whatever means at its disposal. This is another reason why people of all ages and parents need be better educated to see past the barrage of junk science and the publicity of misinformation originating in the federal health agencies. ”

Ah, government is such a Godsend. And then there’s this from one of my reporter heroes. Wonder if he drinks real milk?


Ora Moose
Ora Moose
November 30, 2013 1:36 am

Quick update on the Foxboro situation. The whopper is that the revised regulations include “a requirement for the Lawtons to maintain $3,000,000.00 of insurance.”

Wow that wouldn’t cost much and force a small farm out of business would it?

Not sure which of these links will work, explore.




November 30, 2013 3:31 am

as UNreasonable as it is, demanding the farm be insured, is actually a good thing ; in British Common law … ‘one cannot be compelled to do something that is impossible’. So either insurance IS available for such an operation, or it isn’t. If there’s no-one in the Great State of Massachusetts, who’s willing to “take that bet” ( because the insurance biz. is nothing but what Damon Runyon would have called a book-making racket) then such a regulation is void.
But if there IS a company – or an individual such as DeepPockets Dave the Bookie – willing to underwrite the Oake Knoll Dairy, then all we’re talking about then, is, value for $ = What does such a policy cost? Policies for Car insurance for $3 million lilability, are done daily. The insurance companies know very well what the odds are, which is why they’re so profitable.
Same with REAL MILK – for the last 10 years, I’ve been saying “show me the actuarial tables!”
someone phone up Lloyd’s of London, and ask them what their premium is, for product liability for ~ 2 million pounds sterling, for the 100 or so raw milk dairies in England. They’ll get back to you in about an hour, and write you a policy before close- of-business.
OR = you could do it the Biblical way … be self-insured

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 30, 2013 3:50 am

If people want raw milk, they can suck up the cost of liability insurance. What is the monthly for the insurance policy? This can be passed on to the consumer. If there is ever a raw milk outbreak at this dairy, it will be put to good use.

November 30, 2013 6:07 am

Has anyone successfully sued a farmer for giving their child diarrhea?

mark mcafee
November 30, 2013 6:24 am

Vermont has a very good cooperative liability insurance company that covers raw milk…..I hope that insurance coop covers MA as well. Insurance is the silent but ever powerful regulator of raw milk.i my humble opinion, these Township draft regulation is extreme in its mandates.

In all sincerity, the people that wrote this draft do not understand Recalls, verses Degrades. They are treating products that exceed bacterial standards as a “Recall” product when they should be subject to a “Degrade” instead. The authors of this draft policy are not qualified to write such policies. They have not done their comparative diligence. They have written a confused and a jussive protocol that does not improve safety….all it does is economically oppress raw milk and creates sudden death shut down protocol that is not justified.

The requirement for insurance at the $3 million level is unheard of. I have never heard of such a regulatory policy. It may even be unconstitutional. I can not think of any authority that would vest the power to mandate insurance. Insurance is not in the realm of regulatory authority. I can think of no other food that is mandated to hold insurance. This is an issue between the producer and any retailers or the consumers but not the regulatory government agencies or local Townships.

It is time for everyone associated with raw milk in the Foxborough Township to object and require a comparative assessment of the draft policies. The policies are agregrious,unjust,unfounded, and they do nothing for food safety. If food safety is the goal, then why not address sound RAMP programs. The policies do use big words like SSOP’s but fails to comprehensively address food safety. There is no mention of pathogen testing….not one word! Pathogens cause illness….high bacteria counts do not!! These draft policies where drafted by unqualified people or highly qualified people on a mission to destroy raw milk.

FYI, a $3 million dollar insurance policy will be very expensive. My experience says that it will be at least $50,000 per year for a small operation if it is even possible or available at any cost. A lessor policy coverage at $2 million per year costs a CA raw milk priducer more than $60k per year. The additional $1 million per year adds even more cost. There are few if any insurance companies that cover raw milk in the USA.

The Foxborough policies have not changed their wolf in sheepskin clothing. They are now just modified to destroy t

mark mcafee
November 30, 2013 6:25 am

Destroy raw milk using other means!!!

Protest at all cost!!

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
November 30, 2013 7:28 am

Or… you can get the government to underwrite the consumption of wholesome foods such as raw milk, as it does with the pharmaceutical industry and doctors who sell and administer vaccines. lol
Getting them to warm up to such an idea might not be all that far fetched considering our society’s current socialistic controlling inclination.

Joking aside, since 1986 the federal government in the US has begrudgingly paid out 2.7 billion dollars to Americans harmed by vaccines in exchange for shielding drug companies and doctors from vaccine injury lawsuits in civil court. It should be 20 times this!

Hell it’s the least they can do if you consider the immune depressing and environmental modulating effect of those vaccines and other government approved and promoted programs related to food production such as GMOs, herbicide, hormones and antibiotics in crop and livestock production.

Why should the farmer have to carry the burden of responsibility for what is clearly an act of premeditated aggression against public health and the environment by self serving fascist governments.


November 30, 2013 11:08 am

I think you forgot, your “supreme court” recently decreed that the government can force individuals to buy worthless insurance policies from private rackets. If that’s kosher according to the system’s court, then anything goes.

According to that, they can also mandate pasteurization, “improved seeds” (i.e. GMOs), glyphosate, synthetic fertilizer, etc., whenever they choose. All these can be claimed to be necessary to protect the integrity of commerce. They’ll go ahead as soon as they think they can get away with it politically.

November 30, 2013 12:27 pm

Gordon, I haven’t read the Bible sense eighth grade and the last time I did research at the library they had a card catalog so I’m kind of relying on you for that kind of information.

November 30, 2013 3:22 pm

There’s no reason to think that raw milk causes HUS because just as many non raw milk drinking children get it and some numbers suggest that raw milk drinkers get it less. That is most likely why STEC is seldom found on the farm or in the milk in conjunction with these raw milk cases.
How do we know E. coli O157:H7 even causes illness if: “According to the FDA the infectious dose for E. coli O157:H7 is unknown.” That suggests that they have never tested E. coli O157:H7 consumption in raw milk. “(FDA. 1993. HACCP. Regulatory Food Applications in Retail Food Establishments. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Division of Human Resource Development, HFC-60. Rockville, MD.)” http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Ecoli98.html
It is interesting to note that Organic Pastures Dairy in California, which has been producing raw
milk since 1999 and tests the milk at every milking (14 times per week) for pathogens has never
found a pathogen in their milk.
If only 50% of HUS(kidney failure) cases involve dialysis and there are no outward signs of HUS other than diarrhea, how do we know there aren’t many parents successfully treating HUS at home. The doctors don’t seem to have come to a consensus on what the best treatment is. There are many medications and treatments that have proven over the years, to be counterproductive. Parents should know the threshold(the exact numbers) for starting dialysis and the success rate at that threshold. Of course parents make mistakes and can be reluctant to spend money they don’t have but they are more likely to have their child’s best interests in mind than a pharmaceutical company. You may ask what’s wrong with taking a drug every time you get a cough, headache, or diarrhea, or every time someone tells you you could get a cough, headache, or diarrhea? The answer is on the back of the box.
Some little snippets of hospital politics:
The evaluation of kidney failure is challenging, despite many advances in diagnosis and treatment over the past decade.
…Thus, the best strategy for the combined use of these indices remains unclear. It has been suggested that the so-called kidney failure index (KFI) (urine sodium divided by the urinetoplasma creatinine ratio) be used to differentiate the four categories of ARF…
ERS published its first comprehensive cost estimates for 16 foodborne bacterial pathogens in 1989. These initial estimates reflected the limited information then available about the incidence of foodborne illness,
There has been almost no progress in reducing illnesses from Salmonella since 1996, when CDC first began conducting surveillance on the pathogen.
Available data-sets do not commonly contain biochemical data with which to definitively identify an AKI (acute kidney injury) episode. We thus use administrative billing data to identify episodes of AKI alone and those requiring dialysis. This indirect method has a number of limitations, including poor sensitivity and the possibility of a phenomenon described as “code creep.” This occurs over a period of time when billing thresholds are changed by physicians and/or hospital coders, and can increase the likelihood of an administrative code for AKI being generated by a less severe episode, potentially skewing analyses that demonstrate temporal changes in AKI incidence. As less severe episodes are identified and coded, the incidence of associated adverse outcomes is also likely to fall.
Figure 6.1 captures this problem by showing the rising incidence of AKI. While in isolation there appears to be an epidemic, it is likely that a proportion of this change is the result of code creep. Superimposed on this figure is the proportion of reported AKI patients requiring dialysis. While the threshold for defining AKI has changed over time, the threshold for when to initiate dialysis has likely remained fairly stable. In contrast to the incidence of AKI, the incidence of AKI requiring dialysis has been declining, further supporting the notion of code creep for AKI diagnoses.
In patients with an AKI who require dialysis, intermittent hemodialysis (IHD) continues to be the most common known form of therapy, but its use appears to be declining; in 2011, 36 percent of AKI patients requiring dialysis were put on this type of therapy, compared to 65 percent in 2000. The proportion of AKI patients whose dialysis modality is unknown has reached 57 percent, nearly triple that found in 2000, and largely a result of changing reimbursement payments.
Principal diagnosis codes on AKI claims indicate that the AKI event itself remains the major reason for AKI hospitalization. There has, however, been a significant increase in the number of patients with a diagnosis of septicemia — again, most likely due in part to the changing reimbursement for various diagnoses.

D. Smith
D. Smith
November 30, 2013 4:56 pm

@ Mark: I really wish someone would do this. I tried, but every time I type the words *deaths from pasteurized cheeses* or something similar into my search box, it brings up raw milk articles – proclaiming how DANGEROUS raw milk is, whether it’s fluid or cheese. The #1 source for ALL of the negativity regarding raw milk and the hushing up of the dangers of pasteurized milk is the marler site. Imagine that. #2 is the cdc site where they outright lie and say that raw milk kills – even though they cannot list a single death statistic. As Gordon is fond of saying, they are put in place to wear out the saints. Stuff like that scares the living hell out of the general ignorant public and thusly raw milk becomes a dangerous food and goes off their radar. Maybe someone else can get their search engine to find REAL information about the number of illnesses/deaths from pasteurized products.

As a side note, whenever I type the word raw milk into my search engine, it does NOT bring up articles about pasteurization. Go figure.

mark mcafee
November 30, 2013 6:09 pm


Here is some great new science. Piglet babies thrive on raw bovine milk. The study shows that piglet digestive tracts develop better when the piglets are fed bovine raw milk than when they are fed pasteurized milk or other processed formulas.

Too bad they did not use human babies to show this effect. This study is published by the NIH.

I am confused…don’t the NIH and FDA talk to one another??? Is our government that disfunctional??? Do not answer that….I asked a stupid question.

Shawna Barr
November 30, 2013 6:32 pm

This is such crazy talk. No one is saying “raw milk” causes HUS. The ingestion of virulent pathogenic e coli, in a high enough amount, by a susceptable host can result in HUS. The presence of ecoli 157 is not exclusive to milk, by any means.

Milk, spinach, burger do not make people sick….but pathogenic e coli does, so we need to keep in out of our food. It can be done. It is being done. It takes knowledge and a plan. Denying that contaminated milk can cause illness is not helpful.

If we are about food freedom here, the path to greater freedom is not by insisting that there is no risk associated with pathogens. It is by understanding and dealing with those risks and taking responsibility for ourselves. The desire for responsiblilty is perhaps no where more strong than in the mindset of the consumer-direct farmer raw milk farmer.

What producers have lacked is good information, and I believe that information (and the research required to obtain it) has been deliberately withheld. The private sector is doing a heck of a job to turn that around though. Never before has there been more information and mentoring available, and bad information is being replaced by good. Its a great time to be doing raw milk.

Shawna Barr
November 30, 2013 6:35 pm

I could have told you that! ; (About the pigs, not the government) We saved a whole litter when mama pig died after delivery. (Much to the relief of one 12 year old boy-pig-farmer.) They absolutely thrived, with 0 digestive issues or weight gain issues that are typical with piglet milk replacer.

November 30, 2013 8:38 pm

A place to start gathering evidence of deaths caused by industrially-produced milk is ; the book “WHITEWASH” by Joseph Keon. Although he presumes : ‘all milk bad ~ vegetarian-ism good’, it’s the best compilation out there, of hard science plus tons of anecdotes in the form of press reports, proving harms consequent from pasteurized+homogenized milk. The epidemic of diabetes being the most obvious

His argument is convincing as to the deaths / illnesses arising from consumption of ‘homo milk’ ( from the CAFO system ) being hidden under the catch-all excuse “individual allergic reaction”.

Early-on in my involvement in this thing, it became obvious to me that the dairy cartel is in the same position as was Big Tobacco, for about half a century = having plenty of scientific studies in hand proving that its product certainly is hazardous to the public health, yet colluding with so-called govt. “health authorities” in suppressing that information. Whence cometh the vicious, utterly IL-logical opposition to REAL MILK. Our task now, is – as Siegfried Gursche put it – “FIND A WAY TO TELL THE TRUTH”

November 30, 2013 9:28 pm

In Wisconsin when food regulation first started regulators were required to pay for all samples taken. How is it now they think they can charge for testing? I suppose the same why the think they can ban the products they were suppose to be protecting.

November 30, 2013 9:31 pm

great find mark

November 30, 2013 9:49 pm

If the state wants to test milk for nonexistent pathogens they can go right ahead but don’t expect consumers to pay for it. And don’t think that gives them the authority to ban milk. How does stipulating to there propaganda help us in any way.
“According to the FDA the infectious dose for E. coli O157:H7 is unknown.” That suggests that they have never tested E. coli O157:H7 consumption in raw milk. “(FDA. 1993. HACCP. Regulatory Food Applications in Retail Food Establishments. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Division of Human Resource Development, HFC-60. Rockville, MD.)” http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Ecoli98.html

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
November 30, 2013 10:03 pm

I’ve been feeding raw milk to pigs for as long as can remember. It is nothing new farmers have been doing this for centuries.

I buy four wieners in the spring and feed them raw milk with chopped oats and grass until they weigh about 200 lbs. I guaranty you there is no better pork.

One spring when the boys went out to the barn to milk the cows they discovered the four little pigs that I had just recently purchased had managed to get out of their pen and were all sucking on the same cow at the same time. The cow didn’t seem to mind in the least in fact she appeared to enjoy it.


D. Smith
D. Smith
November 30, 2013 10:20 pm

If you’ve been raised on milk-fed pork you can hardly stomach anything else.

@ Gordon: Another good read is Swindled by Bee Wilson. Very eye-opening information. It was written in 2008 so a lot has changed even since that time, but it’s still really good information. She touches briefly on the subject of milk, but she talks about the adulteration of foods and how we got to where we are in that regard.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 30, 2013 11:04 pm

Once again Shawna. Thank you. A breath of fresh air!

Mary McGonigle-Martin
November 30, 2013 11:07 pm

I would assume baby piglets are immune to the pathogens in cows milk. Human babies are not.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
December 1, 2013 2:18 am

I make a point of not buying pigs from an SPF (Specific Pathogen Free) hog farm. They present a real problem when being transferred from their isolated protected environment to an open-air facility.

When my dad went into the hog business in the 1960’s he started of with SPF hogs with the intent of establishing his own SPF herd. Eventually we ended up building a loafing barn for the 150 sows and turned them out on pasture during the summer.

All you need is for a bear to rip open the barn door and get in or a bird to fly in through the blades of a ventilation fan that has stopped running, or mice and rats to gain entry and you have a real problem if these invaders carry in an organism that your pigs have never been exposed to.


Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
December 1, 2013 2:35 am

You would be surprised how quickly human babies acquire immunity if given a chance. Regrettably in today’s world, numerous toxic vaccines, antibiotics and other drugs before its first year of life, violate an infant’s body.


Shawna Barr
December 1, 2013 2:42 am

As a herdshare, we are not regulated, and so we pay for our own testing at a private lab. The taxpayers do not foot the bill. Testing is not required of us by the state, but our share members do require it . They are happy to incorportate the costs into their share fees. Just like they insist on non-GMO locally sourced feeds, and are willing to pay for regular vet care for our cows. Its all part of co-producing high quality milk on the community level.

Coliform and SPC tests are cheap. About $5. Its money well spent.

Shawna Barr
December 1, 2013 2:47 am

Mary, I’m sure you realize that on the typical farm, the quality of milk fed to piggies is quite different that those offered to humans. Our piggies get what doesn’t pass muster for the humans. Its a great recycling program…give a pig dirty or spoiled milk, and it makes bacon. But I’m sure you are right…pigs must have natural immunity to be able to tolerate all manner of foods that would cause illness in humans. They are a lot less picky too.

December 1, 2013 3:33 am

Mary, how do you think baby piglets acquire their immunity?

December 1, 2013 3:42 am

Sounds great Shawna, maybe we need to move to your state.

December 1, 2013 4:02 am

Here’s something else. What’s all this talk about allusive pathogens? Has anyone considered that maybe the reason they are so allusive is that they aren’t there? If the test comes back negative how do we know the pathogens are there? Why do we even test if we aren’t going to believe the results? Why should we assume our competitors know more about our product than we do? They say trust us it’s there. “Why would we lie?” They want us to plea bargain. “Just plead guilty and we’ll cut you a little slack and we’ll even through in the deed to the Brooklyn bridge at no extra charge.” There is no reason for us to waste our time trying to prove these so called pathogens are not there. Let them waste their time trying to prove that they are. Obviously if you live in a state that doesn’t harass raw milk farmers and your customers want this testing which you can provide at a reasonable price the argument becomes moot.

December 1, 2013 8:34 am

What’s the details on the non-GM locally sourced feeds?

December 1, 2013 3:03 pm

When did the industrialized world reach it’s peak? Was it the roaring 20s after pasteurization had destroyed the health of an entire generation? My young nephew says it was 9-11. For me it was the development of modern bread wheat 40 years ago and the slashing of taxes and wages. My father after the Korean war witnessed the bankers dividing up all the property in the city. My grandfather worked through the great depression. My great-grandfather lost his first house and his second house and built his third again on the outskirts of town. And what was this peak build on? Was it the colonization and destruction of the Americas? Maybe the Egyptians saw the peak. It seems to be all down hill after the garden of Eden and the tree of knowledge. Or was even that just another child’s perception of the world they were born into.

Shawna Barr
December 1, 2013 4:35 pm

We make decisions on feed with the imput of our share owners. They value sourcing feed from local farmers, but it must be non-GMO. If we can find local, certified organic, we buy that. If we can’t, then we’ll take the farmer’s word that the hay, grain, etc, is non-GMO. Some feeds, like barley, have not yet been GMO’d, and our region grows a lot of barley. If we can’t find local, non-GMO, then we source our feed from organic, non-local sources.

Is that what you were asking?

December 1, 2013 5:03 pm

“Its a great time to be doing raw milk.” Shawna, don’t tempt me!

December 2, 2013 9:41 pm

Is it really necessary to rescind an administrative regulation? Don’t we simply want it to be applied as intended? Or should I say applied as proposed?

December 2, 2013 10:28 pm

What I am arguing is straight out of Black’s. Why the vitriol Gordon? Common law is the foundation for our entire legal system. Parts of it may be ignored in favor of the current fascist regimes, but it is still in force and does play a part in US court rulings.

I argue from Truth and Law. If we toss out our just legal foundations then from what position shall we argue? All that is left is might makes right.

December 3, 2013 5:03 am

My question exactly.

December 3, 2013 6:23 am

It’s very hard to tell how far contamination has already proceeded, since testing is sparse and ad hoc even among certified organic crops. Although the nominal seed used and the growing practices are supposed to be monitored, this can only attempt to prevent contamination gradually creeping into the varieties. Only specific and systematic testing can gauge this, and such testing is seldom done. The best seed companies all take versions of the non-GM pledge, which means they promise to do their best to keep contamination out. But it also implies that their best may not be perfect, and that they can’t afford to do comprehensive testing.

Here’s my commentary on the Testbiotech report discussed in the piece you linked.


I conclude that it’s more evidence that “co-existence” is impossible, and that the total abolition of GMOs is necessary.

Ken Conrad
Ken Conrad
December 3, 2013 6:27 am


In regards to your question to Mary as to how baby pigs acquire their immunity.
It is very similar to humans for there is a reason why they are born in the location in which they are. This much I can also tell you, soon after they are born they indiscriminately root around everywhere and if they happen to get out of their pen they will make a beeline for cow manure and start gobbling it up.


December 3, 2013 4:27 pm

I was hoping to add this after Mr McAfee’s comment on Saturday about the neonatal piglets, but am still learning to navigate within TCP. My apologies if this appears out of context.
Since I have access to the full paper that was referred to, I would just indicate that the cow milk and colostrum administer to the piglets were both freeze-dried and gamma-irradiated (to sterilize). This would make them quite different to the customary description of raw milk used within TCP and elsewhere. Thankyou. John

December 3, 2013 6:42 pm

Are you sure MrJohn, Can a premature piglet survive on a strict diet of only sterilized milk?

December 3, 2013 9:56 pm

Mike. These experiments were done to develop nutritional support strategies for premature human babies. In this case, protection from infection is very important. As a result, I believe the milk given to these piglets, when used in this experimental model, has to be sterilized if the information is to be relevant. These piglets survived for the duration of the experiment….not sure why you would question that? They were, however, also given purified pig immunoglobulins (antibodies) to account for the fact they were not given colostrum from their mothers. Hope this helps. The key for me, however, is that this is not good evidence to support a benefit of ‘raw milk’ in the normal context of TCP discussions, and as Mr McAfee seemed to be suggesting. Sterilized milk is still highly nutritious, yes? John

December 4, 2013 12:21 am

MrJohn, what gives you the idea that “Sterilized milk is still highly nutritious”?

December 4, 2013 12:02 pm

MrJohn, are we talking about the same study? “Raw bovine milk improves gut responses to feeding relative to infant formula in preterm piglets.” “We hypothesized that unprocessed mature bovine milk (BM, raw bovine milk) would have less bioactivity than corresponding bovine colostrum (BC) in a preterm pig model, but have improved bioactivity relative to its homogenized, pasteurized, spray-dried equivalent, whole milk powder (WMP), or a bovine milk protein based infant formula (IF).” if so do we know “freeze-drying and gamma-irradiating kills all bacteria in raw milk? If it does than what part of the raw bovine milk were they testing? Mark said “Too bad they did not use human babies to show this effect.” You said “These experiments were done to develop nutritional support strategies for premature human babies.” that means the study was even more appropriate then even mark realized.

December 4, 2013 12:13 pm

It is true however that they were not testing vitamin D fortified, homogenized, pasteurized, grocery store milk (GSM).

December 4, 2013 12:25 pm

MrJohn, (GSM) has been tested in the human population for over one hundred years and has proven to be highly toxic, killing infants and causing hundreds of chronic conditions in children, teens, and adults.

December 4, 2013 8:10 pm

You’re right Donte, that was a case of apples and oranges. The epidemiological evidence actually shows that raw milk prevents 400 to 800 cases of HUS per year.

December 5, 2013 2:52 pm

Maybe I shouldn’t have used the phrase “killing infants”. That could be difficult to prove. Let me rephrase then. MrJohn, GSM(vitamin D fortified, homogenized, pasteurized, grocery store milk ) has been tested in the human population for over one hundred years and has proven to be highly toxic, causing many acute life threatening condition in infants and causing hundreds of chronic conditions in children, teens, and adults. If the piglets were “given purified pig immunoglobulins (antibodies)” then maybe they realized the “premature piglets” could not “survive on a strict diet of only sterilized milk ”.

December 5, 2013 4:38 pm

Mike. Piglets (like calves, lambs, foals) are born with no circulating antibodies. If they are to survive, they must drink antibody-rich colostrum from their mothers within a few hours of birth (the only time that antibodies are efficiently absorbed across the wall of the GI tract). These ‘passive’ antibodies provide protection as the piglet’s own immune system develops in the first few weeks of life. The antibodies reflect the immune response of the sow to her environment of late gestation. Piglets that are deprived of colostrum, or drink it too late, usually succumb to infection (even by organisms that normally would not be pathogenic) no matter what they are fed afterwards. So you are correct, these piglets would have not survived without the Igs, unless they were maintained under sterile conditions.
To take this a little further though as FYI. Human fetuses acquire antibodies via the placenta and they are born with circulating antibodies that reflect their mother’s environment. I believe this difference is extremely important to the discussions I read on TCP. As a far as I can tell, babies of dairy farm families seem somewhat (largely) protected against E coli 0157 infection, even though their exposure to this bacterium is likely to be quite high. Some of this protection might relate to the fact that their mothers are also protected by their own exposure and then pass this to their fetuses as specific anti-E coli (ST) antibodies (although this is merely my speculation). Babies born to urban/suburban families appear to be much more susceptible to STE coli, with occasional unfortunate consequences after a novel, but quite small exposure (via STEC-contaminated food, petting shedding calves etc). My guess is that, in part, this might be because they and their mothers live in an environment where E coli 0157 is generally uncommon (and this makes them a population at risk). John

December 5, 2013 11:05 pm

MrJohn, What you’re saying only suggests that raw milk is more important to piglets. It doesn’t mean that human infants don’t need it at all.



How do we know E. coli O157:H7 even causes illness if: “According to the FDA the infectious dose for E. coli O157:H7 is unknown.” That suggests that they have never even tested E. coli O157:H7 consumption in raw milk. “(FDA. 1993. HACCP. Regulatory Food Applications in Retail Food Establishments. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Division of Human Resource Development, HFC-60. Rockville, MD.)” http://www.hi-tm.com/Documents/Ecoli98.html