The Food Rights Firestorm Spreads: Is Big Dairy Helping Regulators Use MA As Test to Bust Raw Milk Buying Clubs?

The Boston Tea PartyI’d like to personally thank the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for articulating its food-rights policy. I know, I don’t usually have nice things to say about the FDA, but I’m feeling appreciative because the agency has made it so much easier to explain the food-rights struggle to large numbers of people. Just to re-cap, the agency’s position, as articulated in its response to the suit filed by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (described in my previous post), is three-fold:

–There’s no absolute right to any raw unprocessed food, unless the FDA says it’s okay;

–There’s no right to good health, except as approved by the FDA.

–There’s no right for citizens to contract privately for their food.

More Americans appear to be getting the message. The outcry in California against SB 201 in 2008 was a first sign. Then, of course, the people’s will was thwarted by Gov. Schwarzenegger’s veto. Over the past six months, we’ve had the popular push in Wisconsin, a state where the regulators have gone bonkers to eliminate raw milk, to pressure legislators to approve making it available from the farm; the proposed law now sits on the desk of a governor who has indicated he hears the consumer outrage (but is certainly subject to the not-so-gentle whispers from Big Dairy and the FDA).

And now, just within the last few weeks, we see a firestorm building in Massachusetts over a seemingly small but arbitrary decision by a regulator to restrict consumer access to milk. Unlike Wisconsin, which never officially sanctioned raw milk sales, Massachusetts has long allowed sales from dairy farms, and delivery to consumers by any of a half dozen or more buying clubs.

Everything was working fine in Massachusetts—more dairy farmers producing ever more raw milk and in the process creating a revival for the state’s moribund dairy industry. No hint of illnesses in over a decade.

The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture seemed to be doing its job of supporting state agriculture by encouraging raw-milk-producing dairy farmers rather than fighting them, like the regulators in neighboring New York state. Late last year, MDAR publicly supported dairy farmer Doug Stephans in his fight with state and local public health authorities and helped him gain approval to sell raw milk from his Framingham, MA, dairy.

But then something happened early this year to change MDAR’s approach. The agency sent cease-and-desist letters to four buying clubs that had been quietly and efficiently delivering raw milk to consumers who didn’t want to burn the gasoline or were unable because they don’t have cars or even are disabled, to travel the hour or two hours to dairy farms in central Massachusetts and pick up their milk. (The buying clubs essentially enter into contracts with individual consumers to pick up and deliver their milk.) The letters weren’t well received by the owners of the buying clubs, and they began mobilizing support from their customers and legislators to challenge MDAR. They argued that Massachusetts laws and regulations don’t specifically prohibit the buying clubs, making the cease-and-desist letters so much paper.

MDAR seems to have agreed, because two weeks ago it proposed a new regulation to prohibit the buying clubs. The regulation would make Massachusetts the first state in the country to explicitly ban raw milk buying clubs.

In advance of a hearing May 10 on the proposed regulation, a Massachusetts legislator friendly with the MDAR commissioner, Scott Soares, set up a meeting last Monday for the regulator to discuss with a few consumers his reasons for going after the buying clubs.

Surprise–15 consumers and farmers showed up for the meeting, and started peppering the startled Soares with questions about why he was taking an action that will inevitably reduce consumers’ access to raw milk, and quite possibly put at least a few of the more than twenty dairy farms selling raw milk out of business.

These 15 consumers weren’t just a few people off the street. They included some prominent local citizens who know how the system works—a local lawyer, a public health professional, the head of a nonprofit organization, and a high-ranking federal regulator. The latter, Hugh Kaufman, was Chief Investigator with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ombudsman Office, among other high-level positions over a forty-year period. 

Kaufman put Soares on the spot during the Monday meeting when Soares said at one point that there was as much passion from anti-raw-milk people as from pro-raw-milk people. Who were these anti-raw-milk people, Kaufman inquired.

“He said that large dairy producers had communicated to him,” recalls Kaufman. “I asked him who they were. He said he couldn’t tell me.”

But Kaufman says Soares talked about concerns the dairy representatives have “that if something goes wrong with raw milk, it will hurt all the dairies.” (This is a familiar refrain by the conventional dairy industry that has no basis, since public health and health regulators are quick in any suspected illness from raw milk to alert consumers, in shrill terms, to the distinction between raw and pasteurized milk.)

That led Kaufman to inquire whether Soares had written any of this down. Soares said he hadn’t.

Kaufman maintains that when government officials have conversations with industry representatives while new regulations are being considered, the officials are supposed to open a docket—make a written record of what happened and when.

I should say at this point that four other people who were at the meeting with Soares have confirmed Kaufman’s account of what occurred. Moreover, I tried via phone and email to obtain comment from Soares. His publicity official emailed me Thursday asking what I wanted to inquire about. I wrote her back that I wanted his version about what was said at the Monday meeting about his contacts with dairy officials. I didn’t receive a response.

Kaufman thinks he understands the problem: “Soares couldn’t handle 15 knowledgeable people. In the process, he opened up a pandora’s box. Now his legal problem is that he is hiding from the public the names of the large business entities, that he is meeting with, who are pushing him to restrain trade. As well as hiding from the general public, the fact that he’s being pushed by these business entities in the first place. Not making a public record of these ex-parte discussions with the big dairies lobbying him to harm their competitors, during an Official Government Rulemaking, is NOT legit.”

I’ll add to Kaufman’s impressions. We know that the FDA and Midwest agriculture officials have targeted raw milk buying clubs—the case of Wisconsin buying club owner Max Kane and the pressure to force him to testify about where he obtains his milk and who his customers are is a direct result of the official crackdown.

What MDAR’s Soares seems to be saying is that the dairy industry is part and parcel of the campaign to hamper raw milk distribution by cracking down on buying clubs.

And now we have the official FDA policy to not only limit access to natural foods it deems dangerous, but to oppose private contracts (such as via buying clubs).

At least it’s all out in the open. Now it’s up to consumers to let the regulators and politicians know how they feel about this joint government-industry enforcement campaign to deprive citizens of health-giving foods of their choice. The next big opportunity comes May 10, at 10 am at 100 Cambridge St, Conference Room A, 2nd Floor in Boston, Mass. Come one, come all. It’s all within shouting distance of where the real Boston Tea Party took place.

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56 Comments on "The Food Rights Firestorm Spreads: Is Big Dairy Helping Regulators Use MA As Test to Bust Raw Milk Buying Clubs?"


Member
Andrewjj2
April 24, 2013

Ron Paul is too good of a man to be under the same label as the filth that has run this country. This country loves CNN, ignorance, and is completely based off of egocentric self obsession. What does the ego tell you? it tells you to do easy things.. eat easy crappy food. Listen to easy good looking people on the tv with cool names (anderson cooper, wolf blitzer). Act easy and pretend that red a blue teams are a good thing and pretend red a blue teams don’t truly just give slack to the flaws that are in every action made by our current elected officials. Pretend asking too many questions is just silly. Keeping drinking that koombaya kool aid and the national debt will just fix itself right?

Guest
Mark McAfee
April 30, 2010

David,

You are so right….finnally now we know the agenda and the positions. No more hiding and denial.

It is a Big Ag and FDA brotherhood backed up by years of FDA policy making that all occurred behind closed doors in favor of pasteurization and drug pushing.

The FDA is anti-wholefood, anti-prevention, anti-health, anti-freedom and anti-rights. They said it themselves.

To be pro any of these things would create fairness and competition to its Big Ag anti-biotic abusing and GMO cloned genetics buddies and most of all their drug pushing homicidal pharma industry alliances.

We now have the war cry….we now know the target. We the people must demand that the FDA stay completely away from our food and demand that the USDA control food with complete transparency.

This definitely has now become defined as a 21st century civil rights movement. Denial of food…there can not be a more personal forced severance from such an essential right.

I am going to use the FDA dismissal motion document as the basis of my educational activities going forward. This will piss people off more than anything. No more ambiguity. No more guessing about who the enemy is or what it believes.

Just so everyone knows….I saw Roger Gural in action when he was fighting in front of Judge Wanger in Fresno. He is no threat….he needs to stay behind the regs. The regs and facts stink so badly…that even the judge could not believe the arguments. Remember what he told the FDA…."…what you are requesting is draconian…, unprecedented… and amounts to taking OPDC out to a tree and hanging them until dead with out a trial". Thats Judge Wanger ( Federal Judge in Fresno ) responding to FDA arguments.

When the FDA has had years of unfettered authority to quietly control the regs and develop policy according to their own corrupt motives, the end result when exposed is disgustingly fascist. It does not and can not tolerate public or judicial review.

Gary Cox is going to kick their asses so badly….they will never sit down again.

David….thank you so very much for defining this battle and its elements so perfectly.

Mark

Guest
milk farmer
April 30, 2010

Gee…I guess that those that have been castigating Big Dairy for controlling the public officials that supposedly serve the citizens, were right.

It’s time to get this corruption out in the open, and show the people (even those that don’t drink raw milk) how business exerts pressure so that the public interest isn’t served (we all know it, but there is something significant about when they actually admit it). This is the problem with todays government…at all levels. The personhood granted to corporations will be the death knell of this country (if we let it be). Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves…for they knew this to be the true enemy of representative democracy.

Soares needs to be investigated…for I’m positive he is not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. He is on the take, and is benefiting somehow from this. Raw milk has much money…. and few votes. Someone needs to nail his corrupt hide to the wall….

How can we draw more attention….to the ‘non raw milk’ crowd…about the attitude of the FDA. I’d sure love to hear ANY Washington politician defend the position the FDA has taken here. It’s time to take this FDA motion nationwide, and try and get the word out that indeed the FDA does not serve the public good.

Guest
Mark McAfee
April 30, 2010

Ron Paul would certainly appreciate the FDA Dismissal document.

State Senator Dean Florez needs to run for some high level congressional office so he can hold hearings and expose the FDA just like he did during SB 201 in CA in 2008.

The "Smoking Gun" has been found.

Mark

Guest
Blair McMorran
May 1, 2010

This is such a thrill. Thank you David, Mark and especially FTCLDF for shining the light on freedom, and printing the truth!

I will distribute in CO.
-Blair

Guest
milk farmer
May 1, 2010

something tells me there is going to be a spike in traffic at this blog………..

Guest
Mark McAfee
May 1, 2010

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Financial-Industry/Dairy-industry-lobbies-to-cut-milk-from-soy-milk/?c=DFjlLCPKZ3xn5qYzN%2FJa%2Fw%3D%3D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BDaily

The FDA has just been petitioned by the dairy industry to no longer permit or allow any use of dairy terms for non dairy products like "SOYMILK" . In the EU this was done years ago.

Why is the US Dairy Industry so behind the power curve?? Beans, Almonds, Rice and even Hemp do not have teats but I guess they have money.

I am very glad this is finnally happening. It will be very interesting to see if the FDA does anything to their best friends in the SOYMILK industry.

Mark

Guest
Bob "BubbaBozo" Hayles
May 1, 2010

Gumpy, with your permission I’ll post this here. It was a comment to your previous post that I unfortunately posted 2 minutes before you put this article up, and that older article won’t get much traffic with this new news, so if its OK, I’ll re-post it here. Its still pertinant…perhaps even moreso now. Todays news will engender even more complacency.

Thanks…Bob

"Sadly, and I cannot believe I’m saying this, but sometimes, like right now, I fear we will fail.

I haven’t changed my mind about our right to make out own nutritional choices. I haven’t changed my mind about the goodness and healthiness of nutrient dense foods. I have change my mind on one important part of the equation.

I believed in raw milk consumers. I mean I REALLY believed in raw milk consumers. I though, and still do, that this war would be won ONLY with pressure from those consumers, and I believed consumers would provide that pressure.

I don’t believe that any more. I believe the average raw milk consumer is little different than the Dean Foods consumer, the Con Agri consumer. By their actions the are lazy, poorly informed at best, unwilling to fight even in simple ways for what they CLAIM to want, despite their actions suggesting…no, PROVING…otherwise.

A few months ago I initiated a protest here in GA after the raw milk pourout involving Athens Locally Grown. I planned to go to SC and pick up milk already legally purchased and bring it back to Georgia, and notify authorities I was doing so…and defy them, going to jail if necessary, if they tried to make me pour out the legally purchased milk.

At the time, Gumpy wrote an article on TCP questioning the depth of the initial support, asking if the support were, I believe, "…a mile wide and an inch deep…"

David, at the time I thought you were full of BS, that the support would not be such that it could be described as "an inch deep", and I was right. An inch deep would have been good…no, great…no, fantastic.Instead support has been better described as pouring a pint of milk on a table th size of a football field.

Consumers may care, but not enough to put forth one single iota of effort…they just want to sit back and let others do the heavy lifting for them. They don’t like the government "nanny state", but they still want to be coddled and taken care of by others…by the Michael Schmidts, the Tim Wrightmans, the Gary Coxs, the Steve Bemises, the Pete Kennedys, the David Gumperts (more than you know, David…you are the sanitizing agent of sunshine on the issue)…

BUT THEY DON’T WANT TO DO A DAMN THING FOR THEMSELVES.

Want proof? Go to http://www.JuicyMaters.com and read the Raw Milk Wars articles under Politics. Read the comments…ooops…I forgot…there are hardly any, and I’ve censored NONE.

Out side of some media, the only…ONLY support has been three folks…two who wanted to buy some milk, and Max Kane who wants to drive down and go to SC (and maybe jail) with me.

That’s it. Two people. Eric Waggoner’s folks had 110 gallons poured out…and they care so much that ONE of them wants me to pick up some milk. Sorry Eric, but facts are facts.

You raw milk consumers care? Really…you really care?

Then actually DO something. You read my blog…I see the hits. You read this blog…David would drop it if you didn’t. You "FB friend" WAPF…and KellytheKitchenKop, and Cheeseslave…you read what they write…and then you sit, waiting for others to take care of you.

WANT YOUR RIGHTS? Then get off your butts and fight for them yourselves instead of waiting for others to take care of you. That’s how we got here in th first place.

BH
http://www.JuicyMaters.com"

Member
Pete
May 1, 2010

No offense Bob but I don’t think I’d take lack of comments on a particular blog as an indication of lack of consumer caring.

Now, what David described today is a good indication that consumers care.

Guest
Alyssa Pellicano
May 1, 2010

Bob, dont mean to be raggin on you, but havent you made it through that six pack yet?

There are perhaps thousands or 10s of thousands of us who dont have the means, time, or political clout to DO something spectacular about these issues, Bob. But what we do DO everyday is vote with our food dollar and purchase whole, unadulterated, unprocessed foods including raw milk. Ive read where it doesnt take a huge percentage of the population to make a difference this way and to get noticed. Look at what has been happening!!! Weve got their attention, and I bet well soon get a ring nose applied. Weve got to stick together though and show support for those who ARE on the front line. Gary Cox, et.al, Mark McAfee, Michael Schmidtthese are our inspirational leaders as well as our strategic warriors. They are a big part of the reason that I still have hope that I can contract with my farmer for the whole foods he/she grows and provides because I dont have the land, means, or ability to provide for myself. My food dollars are not going to industries like Archer-Daniel Midland, Tyson, Swift, General Mills, or Monsanto and others like them. This is what I do everyday for the cause, and I believe it is making a difference. Just look at what Jamie Oliver has been doinghis food revolution is fantasticthese are the people I support intellectually as well as practically.
So, Bob, as humble as my contribution isit is non-the-less effective. Collectively, were not a sleeping giantwe are a powerful force. We will not go silently into the night, and our numbers will be felt when the time is right. Alyssa

Guest
Mark McAfee
May 1, 2010

Dear Bob,

I hear what you have said….

Perhaps your expectations of mass numbers of people being able to take off time from their jobs and get baby sitters and go hundreds of miles out of their way is expecting too much.

I do not expect the people to do any thing other than protest by doing one simple profound thing….

"VOTE WITH THEIR DOLLARS"and chose healthy whole unprocessed foods.

Each citizen can only do what they can do. People will fight when they need to fight. During the CA fight in 2008…1400 people showed up for three senate and assembly hearings. Families stayed until 1130 at night to be able to record their testimonials on the Dean Florez SB 201 congressional record. That was a lot to ask of the people….we should not ask that of the people very often.

I am a big believer that the movement is a silent, happy, very healthy mass of people that are expanding and sharing the good will of raw milk. They just want their raw milk…they do not want to become involved in a threatening Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez event. They actually want to just get their raw milk and stay out of the lime light and the stay clear of the conflicted forces in this battle.

There are exceptions and they are the leaders and helpers….Kathyrn Pirtle comes to mind along with Max Kane and others. They chose to stand when others just buy the raw milk.

That is ok….we do not need thousands of leaders….but we need millions of "dollar voters".

If you are going to stage a dramatic media attracting event make sure that it is not your event…but an event that is shared by the dollar voters at a core value level. They must be personally threatened or they will not show. They must feel that their asthma relieving food is going to be taken from them. They must be personally threatened.

This is the job of leadership. You should not spend political capital until you see " the whites of your charging enemies eyes" and the dollar voters feel the threat personally. The fight in different parts of the country will not be the same. The way we fight in CA and WIsconsin may be different than the way people protest in Carolina.

So do not give up on the consumers….they are everything, but they must be watered, fertilized, and cultivated like any good crop if you expect a harvest. Consumers respect good leadership and they want to know that their leaders have a strategy and a game plan to win….not just struggle and be arrested.

Hang in there Bob…..you are very important and better times will come.

Fight another day, but always educate more consumers today…if you can.

Mark

Guest
milk farmer
May 1, 2010

Bob…you might want to consider that the conclusion that you are (or aren’t) drawing from your blog reflects the entire raw milk community…..when in reality, it could be just a reflection of your blog. (I mean nothing personal by this, but why must raw milk consumers patronize dozens of different blogs…)

Don’t be discouraged that there aren’t many following you….there are many behind you, but they might not agree with the direction that you are taking.

Drinking raw milk, and patronizing a local raw milk farmer is the most aggressive thing that the raw milk community can do…. publicity stunts which thumb noses at the authorities aren’t everyones cup of tea.

Guest
Shana Milkie
May 1, 2010

Is anyone else reminded of Dick Cheney and his infamous Energy Task Force secret meetings? Hmmm, Big Oil gets to develop national energy policy and Big Ag gets to develop food regulations, all without public scrutiny? That is outrageous.

Also outrageous is the position explicated in the FDA brief. My right to consume foods of my choice is "without merit?" There is no "generalized right to bodily and physical health?" Whoa there. We are talking about the United States of America, aren’t we?

My thanks go again the plaintiffs who have stepped forward on this suit. Your bravery will pave the way for increased food freedom for all of us.

Guest
Bob "BubbaBozo" Hayles
May 1, 2010

Alyssa…your comment may or may not have made sense…I didn’t bother reading past the six-pack crack. I find folks resorting to ad hominums to be devoid of anything worth listening to.

And I don’t expect mass numbers…but TWO? And I’m not asking them to drive long distances…I’m asking them to pick up the damn phone and order what they SAY they want, and jungle me to pick it up for them. Well, excuse me for putting so much responsibility on folks. I’ll lighten up.Would you consumers be willing to sit there and WISH things were better, or is that too much heavy lifting too?

Oh…’scuse me…that’s what’s happening now.

BH

Guest
Steve Bemis
May 1, 2010

The FDA and their state minions in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and elsewhere are in the position today that the SEC was in during the summer of 2008. Their too-big-to-fail big-ag clients have one problem: they are too big. They are the dinosaurs and will fall just as Lehman Bros. Big is not the future. Small and local are. Raw milk is one of the harbingers of this future. We are watching the old order crumble. Quoting the Bible as justification for control of our food is no different than quoting it to support Manifest Destiny or slavery. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us.

Now is the time to push all the buttons on the democratic control panel. See the Alert and sample letter at http://www.ftcldf.org/aa/aa-26april2010.htm. Or draft your own, from the heart, but resist the urge to be bitter or impolite. Bury the FDA; copy everyone who works for you in public life, from the bottom to the top. If you are inclined, copy FTCLDF as well, and we will find ways to leverage your power.

Guest
Blair McMorran
May 1, 2010

Steve,
Coming from a state whose Milk Program Manager regulator is – how should I word this? – maybe not supportive of raw dairies, but still subtlety helpful with his "hands off" policy, and respectful of all our farmers (who also respect and like him) and the law; he is consistently honest and direct. (I would not embrace his boss, but I would embrace him).

I found the FTCLDF letter un-appetizing. I completely understand the tone for other states, but I could not in good conscience send this letter to him. He is caught between a rock and a hard space, and navigates it extremely well. I wish every state had such a compassionate regulator. I know FTCLDF’s position is necessarily combative, but I caution you against being ALWAYS combative. Please allow for negotiation; it IS a war, but some tribes don’t want a big stink. Some tribes are willing to negotiate and come to the table..

A key difference is that herdshares are legal in this state, and the law requires no regulatory control. It legally distances itself from CO farmers and raw milk:

(5) NO PRODUCER OF RAW MILK SHALL PUBLISH ANY STATEMENT THAT IMPLIES APPROVAL OR ENDORSEMENT BY THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT.

Weird, but currently somewhat convenient – for both sides.

RMAC is going to introduce an amendment to the statute to explicitly include farmstead cultured dairy products for the 2011 session.
We have Paul Klug’s endorsement and stated willingness to work with us on the wording of this amendment. Don’t know squat about politics, but our intent is to maintain the respectful professional dialogue that we have always enjoyed with our Dept. of Health.

Yours,
Pollyanna?
aka Blair

Guest
Blair McMorran
May 1, 2010

p.s. Bob – we’re not reading the same mail. I am very encouraged by consumer support. Mark is right about them not getting fired up until they are personally affected, but boy howdy, watch them roar when it affects their babies! I love their love and fire! I see it – why don’t you?

Guest
Bill Anderson
May 1, 2010

Blair-

I wish we could have raw farmstead cultured dairy products in WI.

Unfortunately, the law change only affects "milk". Butter, yogurt, cheese (under 60 days), cultured, cream, etc… were very intentionally removed from the legislation now sitting on the governors desk.

Ironic, on the food saftey front, since all of these products are INHERINTLY safer than fresh milk.

Guest
Bob "BubbaBozo" Hayles
May 1, 2010

Blair…different consumers, different consumer attitudes, I guess.

110 gallons was poured out here, gallons that belong to those consumers you and Mark claim get fired up. Well…maybe where you live and maybe where Mark lives, but not here. I thought different. I BELIEVED different…but you can’t argue facts, and the fact is that of the two folks who were fired up, one…ONE…was an owner of the milk we’ve all seen the videos of being poured out…the rest?…missing in action…sitting back letting Eric do the heavy lifting.

What the hell…if Eric gets his ass handed to him on a platter for being involved in the lawsuit, who cares, right? Folks can always find someone else to do their lifting for them. There is always a Michael Schmidt, Max Kane, et al willing to carry their water…just because its the right thing to do.

The news is, eventually you run out of folks who do it "just because". What then?

BH

Guest
Anonymous
May 1, 2010

"Ironic, on the food saftey front, since all of these products are INHERINTLY safer than fresh milk. "

Can you describe in more detail how fresh milk is less safe than processed raw milk products?

Guest
Bill Anderson
May 1, 2010

Lykke —

I can describe in detail how fresh milk is safer than fermented milk.

Do you know which bacteria I am talking about?

Guest
damaged justice
May 1, 2010

Bob – I think I mentioned it’s difficult to visit your blog and quickly see just newest posts since last visit? I’m no web expert, but usability goes a long way. As far as "civil disobedience" – like respect, I reserve civility for those who deserve it, and statists get none of either. I’ve been buying "vat pasteurized" milk to make kefir for my family, but have been looking for raw for over a year. I don’t care how many badges someone wears – if they want me to destroy my lawfully purchased property (dump out milk on the ground), they’ll have to put a gun to my head and say, "If you don’t dump that milk, I’ll blow your brains out." Nothing less will make me budge. I’ve been backed into a corner my whole life, and I’m done backing up. Not one inch! And as far as going to jail? I refuse to allow myself to be punished for doing nothing wrong or for exercising my lawful rights. Again, they’ll have to bring out the guns and make their threat explicit. And of course, it’ll all be on video, to be posted online minutes later.

The more the gloves come off, the more the guns come out, the faster "the benevolent state" is revealed as the lie it is.

Guest
Steve Bemis
May 1, 2010

The Boston Tea Party happened in the dark of night. I haven’t reread my history on it, but my dim recollection from grade school is that no-one ended up in the pokey. Cute. Smart. Certainly organized. In pre-technology Boston, little could have been more obvious to more people on a given morning than a tea-brown harbor. All in all, a well coordinated political statement.

Raw milk is not so neat. Yep, we have the Internet instead of a harbor. It’s our farmers, though, who are getting picked off in the dark of the night. Bob is right: some consumers will have to spend some time in the FDA’s jail before this issue comes into full focus.

Guest
Dave Milano
May 1, 2010

Id like to add a semi-dissenting opinion to this discussion, or perhaps more a refinement, by saying that there is no right to health. There is, however and unequivocally, a right to pursue health, which is perfectly encased in the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

This is not merely semantics, for if we argue that health is a right, or for that matter life, liberty, or happiness, then it becomes governments job to PROVIDE those things. That sort of thinking, I would suggest, is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Governments job is to stay out of our way as we exercise our rights, up to the point that our pursuits interfere with anothers rights. Governments job is emphatically NOT to guarantee the end results.

And, as an aside, Id like to second Blairs suggestion that we not hammer good people in high places. To know your regulator seems to me just as important as to know your farmer. Now it would certainly be a better world if the enormous wet wool blanket of centralized corporate, government, and agency power would simply disappear, but thats not going to happen tomorrow or the next day. While were waiting for the glorious moment when it does happen, supporters and boosters of local, decentralized power and production would do well to treat people as people. Brotherhood! It will help us at every level, and also help take the sting out of landing in jail (as correspondents here point out is looking more and more likely for those who stand up for true freedom and responsibility).

Guest
Bill Anderson
May 1, 2010

In other words, Lykke, there is one organism that is more of a concern in fermented milk than in fresh. Do you know which organism I am talking about?

Guest
Bill Anderson
May 1, 2010

Lykke-

I should add that this organism is a concern in pre-pastuerized milk (raw milk for pastuerization) as well.

Do you know which organism I am talking about?

Guest
Bill Anderson
May 1, 2010

Dave-

I do believe that people have a basic right to health. However, I do NOT believe that government provides rights, nor that people having a right to health implies that the government has to do something. It does mean that WE who care about human rights have to do something — continue fighting this struggle against the "sick" machine of the medical-industrial complex.

Guest
Dave Milano
May 1, 2010

I must amend my comment above. We do indeed have a right to life and liberty, as God gives those to us. We do not have a right to happiness, as the founders well understood, which is why the critical words "the pursuit of" were placed before "happiness" in the Declaration of Independence.

Health is, again, like happiness, one of those things that cannot be guaranteed by government, so government was ordained only to protect our pursuit of it. That ordinance should not, and by constitutional dictum may not (our continual straying from constitutional dicta notwithstanding) include the mandating of AMA-style medical care. That last, along with government control of food choices and educational choices, among many others, are bald symptoms of ignoring the words "pursuit of."

(To the kind soul who emailed me privately to point out my mistake rather than post his insights publicly on TCP, thank you.)

Guest
Luc Chene
May 2, 2010

Despite the FDA’s wrong approach, in Canada we are doomed out of raw milk unless we have our own cows. In Quebec the question was raised at the governments legislative assembly as to the effect that tobacco was legal and far more dangerous than raw milk, but to no success in being allowed to purchase raw milk in the province.

Guest
Jon Carlson
May 2, 2010

The FDA has been a prime tool to wreck America’s health for 50 years starting with the poison fluoride in our water supplies. Effects thyroid health and increases cancer. The Nazis put it the water supplies of their death camps to keep the prisoners doctile. So we have the DOCTILE AMERICA.

View our research report:

The Nazis in The White House Story: Part 7
Three Generations of Nazi Spies Since 1930’s
http://www.hoaxofthecentury.com/1930sNaziSpies1.htm

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Joanne Nelson
May 2, 2010

I don’t think "voting with our dollars" is going to cut it any longer. I would argue that voting with our dollars is what is causing all this mess, because these dollars are being diverted from the major food manufacturers. They see the writing on the wall, and they are trying to shut down the competition.

We need to do more. WE are the government We must exercise our power as a governmental body by holding politicians accountable and getting the states involved and separated from federal funding programs. In other words, we need to get politically involved.

Buying raw milk is fine. Writing letters is better. Showing up at meetings and letting our voices be heard is even better. And voting all the creeps out of office would be best.

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Mandy Wiseman
May 2, 2010

I am new to this website and I live in Canada. I would love to help legalize raw milk. As a Canadian I do not have access to raw milk at all.

If someone would like to contact me with information on how to help I will glady do what I can.

Thank you

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Don Wittlinger
May 2, 2010

http://www.alternet.org/food/146684/american_meat_is_even_grosser_than_you_thought?page=entire
HMMM They that preside over this SYSTEM tell us that if we foolishly consume raw milk we may perhaps could possibily become ill. Looking at their track record why should we believe anything they say?

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Anonymous
May 2, 2010

WI Raw Milk Consumer,

My question was somewhat rhetorical. Extreme statements like that (from either side) are untrue, and a pet peeve. I don’t know what organism you are referring to – why not just share the information with everybody?

Another question…what is the difference between a CSA and a buyer’s club? They seem like basically the same thing, or is buyer’s club a term used specifically for raw milk distribution?

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Bill Anderson
May 2, 2010

Lykke-

The organism I was talking about is Staph Auerus. Staph (if it is present) is not a problem in fresh milk as long as the milk is kept cold. However, if the milk is incubated and the Staph reaches a critical population before the other (lactic) bacteria can drop the pH below 5.0, it can produce a toxin which does not go away — even though the Staph organism may perish because of the acidity of the milk (or cream, cheese, yogurt, etc…)

That bein said, it would take a pretty significant Staph population, AND a low population of the beneficial bacteria (thank you chlorine and ultra-sanitary milk ideologies) to have a situation in which the Staph reached a concentration of over ~1 million/mL (the point at which is produces the toxin) before the milk was sufficiently acidified by the good bugs.

(The toxin produced from Staph is also not affected by heat. So raw milk destined for pastuerization, if it contains high Staph levels, could make you sick even after it is pastuerized.)

Staph, however, is the only organism which follows this pattern. Every other organism will more than likely perish and leave behind nothing in a cultured raw dairy product. Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. Coli (0157:H7) are very fragile organisms and are poor competitors with the other organisms present in raw milk. (This is a large part of the reason why they have not been able to find campylobacter in the milk in these supposed outbreaks — it perishes before the milk sample gets to the lab, because it is out-competed by the good bugs)

I should point out, however, that Listeria and E. Coli are both psycrotrophic organisms, meaning (UNLIKE lactic acid producing bacteria) they are able to grow at refrigerator temperatures. This is one of the reasons why, in France, raw milk destined for many traditional protected raw milk cheeses (i.e. Comte, Camembert de Normandie, Brie de Meaux, etc…) is FORBIDDEN to be cooled below 50F, because you would be inhibiting lactic acid bacteria growth, and instead favoring the growth of psycrotrophs not just of the pathogenic variety but also of the variety that degrade casien and butterfat producing rancidity in the milk and subsequent cheese.

Regardless, my point is that it is simply foolish to allow the sale of fresh fluid raw milk, but fail to address the inherintly safer cultured dairy products like sour cream, butter, cheese under 60 days, yogurt, kefir, etc…

In fact, it speaks volumes to the priorites of the so-called "food safety" regulators at DATCP, in that they had cream, butter, and buttermilk REMOVED from the legislative proposal. They obviously are not interested in food safety.

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Anonymous
May 2, 2010

WI Raw Milk Consumer,

Thanks for the information. I think you point out well the complexity of the situation. Condiitions like temperature may inhibit the growth of one type of pathogen, but promote growth of another. Some species are more fragile than others, and probably require much higher intial contamination levels to overwhelm other factors like competing non-pathogenic species. There are so many variables, neither side should make blanket statements like "inherently safe" or "inherently dangerous."

Regarding the WI bill, I venture a guess that the exclusion of butter, cheese, etc. relates more to the definition of "processed food" than to a food safety risk. Once you go beyond simply packaging and selling a raw commodity, it becomes a processed food. That opens a whole new can of regulatory worms. Maybe Regulator or others could explain further.

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Bill Anderson
May 2, 2010

Again, Lykke, it would take a very large Staph population and very poor competition for the Staph to reach dangerous levels before it is excluded by natural acidity.

So we ask ourselves, what leads to high Staph levels in milk? What leads to low lactic acid bacteria levels in milk?

The answer is simple — animal udder health problems, and excessive sanitation chemical use. It all goes back to the animal husbandry practices. You can have the cleanest milking parlor on the planet, and a 20-point udder cleaning protocal (which, more than likely, will only make the Staph problems worse because it would further irritate and blister the udders and skin around the udders) but if the animals are unhealthy and the udders are infected no amount of sanitation protocal is going to solve your problem.

Again, proving that Germ Theory is empty. The terrain matters more than the organism.

The reason that the WI regulators had butter, cream, and buttermilk removed from the legislation is strictly for protectionism of the butter makers monopoly and the milk processing industry. Any Grade A milk house with an extra sink compartment added (3 compartment + hand washing sink, rather than 2 compartment + handwashing for the typical milk house) would meet the requirements for a dairy processing enviroment, as long as the milk house didn’t open directly into the milking parlor.

Again, none of this has anything to do with food safety. If anything, it is about undermining food safety, getting some people sick, so that they can drive ALL the raw milk producers out of bussiness regardless of whether they were responsible for the outbreak or not. It is about protecting big milk processing industry from the family farmers producing a superior quality product, and waging a propoganda war against a natural whole unprocessed health-giving food.

Food safety is about the last concern. Dairy industry politics trumps all. This is FOOD FASCISM.

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Anonymous
May 2, 2010

Right, it’s all a vast conspiracy and raw milk is perfect. Surely, the unsanitary conditions documented in recent outbreaks and use of outsourced colostrum at one of them had nothing to do with the illnesses. I don’t think you are making any progress in getting public health off your back.

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Bill Anderson
May 2, 2010

Way to totally fail to address anything I said, Lykke. Can you say STRAWMAN?

The Wisconsin Dairy Industry is a $21 Billion industry. The raw milk bill was opposed by (among others) Farm Bureau, The Wisconsin Cheesemaker’s Association, the Vetrinary Association, and a whole host of corporate dairy industry interests. The WI Secretary of Agriculture consistantly stated IN PUBLIC that the $21 Billion dairy industry was placing immense pressure on DATCP to crackdown on raw milk and keep it from being legalized.

Again, FOOD SAFETY IS NOT THE REASON FOR THE CRACKDOWN. Dairy industry politics trumps all. This is FOOD FASCISM.

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Truly Concerned
May 2, 2010

Why does anyone even engage lykke. s(he) is a government robot with a memorized script.

Why bother? I have learned a lot from most of the posters here, lykke and cp(Melissa Herzog) excepted.

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Bill Anderson
May 2, 2010

Good point TP.

I’ve gathered from Lykke that s/he is a food safety regulator who suggests s/he wants to help make raw milk safer, but has shown above that s/he actually knows very little about the pathogenic organisms of concern in dairy products.

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Bill Anderson
May 2, 2010

CSA vs. Buyer’s Club? Don’t know, don’t care. Not a lawyer. What I do know is that people should have the right to obtain the foods of their choice produced in a manner they feel is ethical and healthy. (Certain people in the government clearly do not believe this, nor do you or Bill Marler apparently.)

If that means setting up private buyer’s clubs or cow shares to make it legal in the eyes of the state, so be it. Makes no difference to me. Frankly, I don’t care what the state thinks, because 1) They have already shown they are fascists, and 2) Their opinion changes all the time anyways to whatever is convienant for the moment.

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Anonymous
May 2, 2010

WI Raw Milk Consumer,

I would concede that there may be parts of your raw milk-related regulations that are overly burdensome. Usually the specific regulations are not written until after the bill passes. That is an opportunity for industry and the public to comment and provide input. If you can’t finish a thought without using the word fascist at least once (I assume the all CAPS means that in real-life you are shouting it), do you really think the regulators are going to care one bit about your concerns? I’m not a farmer. Maybe shouting and name calling is how you work things out in the farming community. No I don’t really believe that, but truly wonder about your communication skills when iyou and others are talking to a real regulator in your jurisdiction, not a pseudonym on a blog. Raw milk producers like Scott Trautman do need to gain the ear of TPTB to have any chance of influencing the specifics of the regulations. But, calling the people writing them fascist, nazi, jihaads is a junvenile approach. Keep in mind that most regulators (and probably big dairy) view the raw milk movement as a very small, ecclectic and volal fringe group that is fighting a religious war where they are willing to accept casualites from their products like the ones in these videos: http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com

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Anonymous
May 2, 2010

p.s. I have no intention of playing name that pathogen games with you. I could smell that bait from a mile away.

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Mark McAfee
May 2, 2010

Lykke,

Two things:

First…show me any outbreaks or deaths related to a fermented raw milk product. I can not find any in the CDC database. If I have skipped over one I apologize…..but I do not think that there are any.

Secondly, agressive cultures like Kefir etc….eat up lactose in raw fresh milk and create a lowered PH with its lactic acids. This environment is less than appealing to most pathogens…

Dr. Ron Hull or Dr. Ted Beals could explain this in gruesome detail.

These are just two of the many reasons that fermented raw dairy products arguably are potentially safer than fresh raw dairy products.

Mark

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Truly Concerned
May 2, 2010

Notice that lykke is labeling the food freedom movement as a fringe religion!

Lykke is tying to provoke and goad. Don’t respond. She isn’t worth the verbiage.

Civil rights workers were labeled as fringe, troublemakers and communists. If that’s the category that lykke put me in then I am proud of it.

By the way who cares what lykke, big ag, government and regulators think? They are willing to accept the many deaths and sicknesses that medication, surgery, processed food and commercially raised food causes. They (and you too lykke) have blood on your hands. Trying to deflect the issues by blaming raw milk for sickness that never occurred won’t work.

You have lost the war. Too many people want the food that they want. It is food rights. Nothing less. Nobody here will be stepping to the back of the bus even if you own the bus company.

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Concerned Person
May 3, 2010

Truly Concerned,

I have no idea why you think Im Melissa Herzog. A few weeks back, Brandon Peak commented on OPDC story when it was originally posted in December of 2006. Heres the link http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2006/12/18/ecoli-and-raw-milk-a-family-web-of-intrigue-and-resentment.html

Heres the way I see it. Chelsea Higholt is the only person obsessed with Melissa Herzog, so Truly Concerned must be Chelsea Higholt, the person that gave Lauren Herzog the raw milk that almost killed her.

cp

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Bill Anderson
May 3, 2010

Lykke-

I’m talking about the statutory legislation, not the administrative regulations. DATCP (on behalf of WI’s $21 Billion dairy industry) had our legislators remove butter, cream, and buttermilk from the legislative proposal — thus UNDERMINING food safety in raw milk.

There is no way in hell that DATCP is going to want to comprimise with any raw milk advocate on regulations. They have already created a committee that is totally stacked with big-wigs from the dairy industry, and only 2 farmers who actually are interested in raw milk (as well as a few CAFO-type farmers) and one consumer.

Clearly, by the composition of DATCP’s raw milk committee, they are not interested in protecting the public health nor in protecting farmers. They are interested in protecting WI $21 Billion Dairy industry.

What about this concept do you not understand, Lykke? The merger of state and corporate power == FASCISM. So said Mussollini, the first fascist dictator in history. This IS food fascism. There is no way around this fact.

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milk farmer
May 3, 2010

Indeed engaging Lykke brings us back to the same old crap….marginalizing those that are promoting raw milk and trying to cast those who are promoting it as liars. Indeed the straw man tactic does work, when you have an ignorant opposition. Raw milk proponents are not ignorant though, and her weak attempts are truly opaque.

There is a conspiracy against raw milk. It’s obvious…and the recent actions in Mass and Wisc prove that the health of the public is totally secondary to the ‘protection’ of Big Dairy. She cannot acknowledge that, because if she does than the health argument becomes weakened. I haven’t seen anyone say that raw milk is perfect…but indeed the benefits surely outweigh the drawbacks. And as always, to justify the rest of the fake arguments, Marks outsourcing is thrown in for good measure….it’s kind of like a broken record….

It’s so lame to cast the raw milk proponents of causing the rift between the regulators…but in fact the regulators would still be doing what they are doing no matter what tact the proponents would take. They are getting their marching orders from Big Dairy, and are acting for the $pecial interest rather than the public good. The fact that they keep trumpeting they are acting for the general public is a sham, and every chance they can be exposed for what they are truly doing, removes another brick from their foundation. That’s why, what has transpired in Mass with Soares is critical…it proves TPTB as liars, and supports those lunatic conspiracists as correct. I sure hope that someone is Mass is going to be talking to the courts about our esteemed legislators lack of protocol….his mangy hide needs to be nailed to the wall. Rats scurry when the light is shined on them.

CSA’s as I see it is where a farmer sells shares in their crops….a buyers club I believe contracts with farmers to become a centralized distribution hub for a multitude of farmers. Either way, people can have access to the products they desire.

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Truly Concerned
May 3, 2010

CP,

As usual you see incorrectly.

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Mark McAfee
May 3, 2010

Today I addressed about 100 people that were attending the first annual Real Food Symposium that was held in Pasadena at the Sheraton Hotel. What a great event…

After my Raw Milk "Share the Secret" presentation one of the attendees made a great observation….

If the FDA dismissal documents state that none of us have a right to health or to consume the foods of our choosing…then doesn’t the recent passage of the health care act by congress conflict with the FDA position.

It would appear that the recent passage of national health care insurance assures all americans to equal access to health. It would seem that health would be a right. Yet the FDA is claiming the no american has a right to health.

Aside from the obvious issue of health care verses truth health…( two different subjects ). One insures care for you after you are sick ( pays for doctors and drugs ) and the other is a right to health itself ( prevention through nutrition ).

Either way you look at this…it would appear that the FDA tripped on itself and Sebeliuos could be in alot of trouble after I send a copy of the Dismissal to Michele Obama and explain that according to the FDA access to simple whole unprocessed foods are not a right in America and according to the FDA health is not a right in America. I will remind her that the FDA stands directly in the way of people to nourish themselves. That the FDA is the direct cause of obesity and diabetes.

The 100 attendees today were irate when I showed them the FDA dismissal document and its key quotes.

I am interested to know what CP and Lykke think of the newest FDA revelations and their obvious defense of food fascism.

Tommorrow I meet with 50 Hollywood celebrities at the George Lopez Golf Tournament and everyone of them will get a copy of the FDA Dismissal Document. OPDC is the only food being promoted at the fund raiser event. Should be a real eye opener. Lots of pictures of raw milk being held and guzzled by movie stars and celebs.

Eat your heart out CP and Lykke…..

Mark

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Truly Concerned
May 3, 2010

CP,

I have never heard of Chelsea Higholt. I searched google and found this http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2006/12/18/ecoli-and-raw-milk-a-family-web-of-intrigue-and-resentment.html Looks like Melissa Herzog has been obsessed with Chelsea, the woman who was dating her ex-husband.

You’ve been outed Melissa (CP).

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Neela Agrawal
May 4, 2010

Look, Soares probably did not hear from anyone who is opposed to raw milk other than DPH and FDA folks.

However many in the dairy community ARE concerned about what a problem with raw milk would do to the market for both raw and pasteurized milk. This is a legitimate concern, and the thought of multiple gallons of raw milk being tranported improperly should give anyone the heebeejeebees – especially raw milk producers.

So, the author makes a big deal about Soares not being able to name those concerned – valid criticism. Where is the author’s support for his allegations that big dairy is responsible? He doesn’t have any. PLEASE. Hold yourself to the same standards as you do petty officials.

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milk farmer
May 4, 2010

Neela,

Your reading comprehension must be as obtuse as your fear is acute. "large dairy producers’ doesn’t mean DPH etc. Fact is since there has been no records kept, we don’t know who has been applying pressure to the ‘petty’ officials to take back what little freedom the residents of Mass have to obtain raw milk.

The Big Dairy doesn’t ‘own’ milk…although their monopolizing and controlling the market currently does give them a false sense of tyranny. These socialistic middlemen are gutting the domestic dairy industry, and forcing good, salt of the earth, family farms to go under. Defense of these fascists is unAmerican…especially given their undue pressure on elected officials to serve their private concerns.

Pardon the rest of us if we don’t buy into your severe case of fear. The Mass buying clubs have been tremendously successful in supplying the citizens of that state with good clean raw milk for years. The justification for this latest crackdown is false, and the details given as to why it is occurring is quite telling.

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Neela Agrawal
May 4, 2010

I am well aware of the involvement of big dairy (Dean, Sweezer, etc) in the dairy market.

I know "large dairy" doesn’t mean DPH. What I was saying, is that DPH is more likely involved in the DAR decision rather than Big Dairy. Might want to check your own reading comprehension skills. (for those who are lost, this reference is in another post)

You are foolish not to see risks with improper transport of milk. Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it will not. History and basic microbiology will both tell you there is risk with improper transport of raw milk. Do you really want to wait for something to happen before you take action? Is this your vision of good public health policy – wait for someone to get sick and then do something about it?

Am I unAmerican because I agree with elements of this action, or just because I disagree with you?

I have no problem with buying clubs. However for ones that move significant quantities of milk,sound public health policy would dictate some level of guidance and/or oversite. Rational discussion should center on what that might entail – not hyperbole and conspiracy theories.

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Cheryl Rounds
May 11, 2010

RECENT OUTBREAKS FROM PASTEURIZED MILK
In 2007, three people died from drinking pasteurized milk in Massachusetts. In 2000, 93 cases of Salmonella Typhimurium were linked to pasteurized milk in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A 2005 outbreak in a Colorado prison resulted in 200 cases of illness due to C. jejuni. In 2006, pasteurized milk was linked to gastrointestinal illness in 1,300 inmates and 14 employees at 11 California state prisons.
(quoted from http://www.ftcldf.org/newsletters/Sep_22_2009_Issue.html)

Lets see no illness caused by raw milk in Massachusetts since 1993 (and this incidence imvolved boy scouts drinking milk that was being produced to be pasturized not sold as raw milk) and several people dead from contaminated pasturized milk in 2002. Maybe we need to outlaw pasturized milk