The Laws on Raw Milk Are Vague for a Reason…So They Can Be Used to Harass and Intimidate–Why the Private Option Is Looking Ever More Attractive; Morningland Case Salvo

Where vague food laws are stored for safe keeping. There was an article in the Washington Post a few days ago saying that the new food safety legislation passed by Congress last month and just signed into law could well not be funded enough to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to enforce its provisions. The implication was that the legislation could well be irrelevant.

I found myself wondering: Why would Congress go through all the fancy footwork of votes and re-votes, and legislative deals (we still don’t know what kind of benefits the legislation’s key Senate opponent, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, received in return for changing his mind at the last minute to support the legislation) if Congress wasn’t going to fund the legislation. Seems strange.

But then it occurred to me that, even if the FDA can’t hire all the new inspectors it wants right away, it will have the legislation on the books–in the vault, so to speak–ready and waiting to be enforced as the agency wishes. Regardless of funding, the FDA now has the authority to go searching around any food producer at its discretion, to order food recalls whenever it desires. It has the authority to quarantine large areas of the country and to establish agricultural guidelines. It has the authority to collect the names and key data about all small food producers, in the name of a study it is supposed to do on food safety.

Now consider the situation in Colorado. Even though government agencies really have no business in herdshare arrangements (they are private arrangements between farmers and investors who buy shares of animals in return for milk) Colorado public health officials gained regulatory authority over Colorado cowshares five years ago.

The law was kept vague in key respects, notably in terms of exactly which dairy products can be produced. Lola Granola can say she knows what the law says, but she only knows how she inteprets the law. Different people, including judges, interpret the same law differently. We’re getting a good illustration of that in Missouri, in the case of Armand Bechard, where the state has come down on the Bechards for allegedly selling raw milk in a parking lot in 2009, and now a local judge has overturned a municipal judge and is suggesting, in dismissing the case, that what the Bechards did wasn’t illegal.

The more vague the law, the more interpretations you’ll have.

Moreover, the more vague the law, the more arbitrarily it can be enforced. So Colorado public health officials were all lovey-dovey the first four years the cowshare law was in force. Everyone thought they were such open-minded public health people.

But maybe they weren’t so open-minded. Maybe they were just biding their time, waiting for the excuse of a few illnesses attributed to raw milk. Or maybe they need financial support from the FDA. Or maybe it’s suddenly become in their interests to support the Health People 2020 goal of reducing the number of states that allow raw milk.

It almost doesn’t matter what their goal is. The reality is that by having a vague law at hand, they can just decide from one day to the next to make life miserable for producers.  We’ve seen the same routine in any number of other states. Wisconsin and Minnesota allow “occasional” sales of raw milk, whatever that means. Not surprisingly, the definition of “occasional” changes over the years, according to the state and federal political agendas, and the people running various public health and agriculture agencies at particular times. Now there’s talk of passing a law in Wisconsin that allows raw milk sales…so long as it  “protects” the established dairy industry. How the heck do you do that? Easy, by keeping things vague and arbitrary.

Massachusetts doesn’t even have official prohibitions against herdshares and buying clubs, yet state agriculture officials have decided on a lark that they have authority over such private matters, and threatened to shut people down.

Increasingly, I am being asked by farmers and food club managers how I think they should handle these arbitrary enforcement actions like in Colorado. I used to hedge, but no longer. Situations like those in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, and other places all contain a single message. Public health authorities are intent on disrupting access to raw dairy, local meats, and other nutrient-dense foods. By harassing farmers and buyers clubs, the officials increase the cost of doing business. By intimidating consumers, the officials confuse and sometimes scare off customers.

Armand Bechard was quoted in the article I linked to above as saying, “They took me to court and tied up my life for over a year and a half.” And he’s not done. A farmer in Oregon some months ago who abandoned the conventional dairy route for a private arrangement expalined it well in this article.

It’s great that the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is fighting these encroachments (including the Bechard case), because surely the legal challenges are slowing the official pace of harassment and intimidation. And maybe eventually FTCLDF will win some some cases (and I’m not saying that sarcastically, merely as an indication of what huge forces it is fighting). But while its efforts are moving forward, I have begun advising farmers and consumers to look toward private arrangements, leasing and buying club and investment arrangements.

Yes, these arrangements will make it tougher to access food. But maybe we were deluded for too long in thinking access to quality food would just keep becoming more convenient, and ever cheaper. Whether we are producers or consumers, we need to understand that real-food food production and distribution is hard work. Moreover, it’s not cheap. It’s going to get tougher, until the new private system establishes ever firmer roots. But it will. It has to, if we are going to maintain access to good food.

The Morningland Dairy case is due to open in a Missouri court next Tuesday. When it does, Morningland, a tiny raw milk cheese producer caught up in the multi-agency raid against Rawesome Food Club last June, will be seeking about $85,000 in damages from the state, in connection with cheese that has spoiled and refunds made to customers. The state is seeking to force Morningland to destroy its entire
$250,000 worth of inventory.

Morningland, which is being represented by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, will also be seeking a ruling from the judge on a new motion arguing that the state must make a conclusive case that the company’s cheese is unsafe via listeria contamination.

“It is not (Morningland’s) burden to prove that its cheese products ARE safe or fit for human consumption. In essence, (Morningland) seeks a ruling that the State cannot merely present evidence ‘suggesting’ that Defendant’s cheese IS NOT safe, thereby requiring Defendant to prove its cheese IS safe.”

Morningland is also seeking a jury trial. This promises to be a complex, and possibly precedent-setting case.

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69 Comments on "The Laws on Raw Milk Are Vague for a Reason…So They Can Be Used to Harass and Intimidate–Why the Private Option Is Looking Ever More Attractive; Morningland Case Salvo"

Mark McAfee
January 8, 2011

Even in Raw Milk drinking and thriving California, the FDA has a say in whether some of its citizens can drink raw milk. At least according to the Humboldt County Health Department.

See my email in response to the long awaited Health Department recommendations and report to the Humboldt Count Board of Supervisors on whether to over turn the local rawmilk ordinance that bans the sale of raw milk.The BOS meet next Tuesday next week to recieve this report….the droves will be in attendance. This report really has people pissed.

I think you will all enjoy this email that was sent from me to Susan Buckley the Health Director for Humboldt County:

Copied verbatum:

Susanthank you for the link to your long awaited Raw Milk report.

I think you need to hear how the people feel about your Staff Raw Milk report to better understand the politics of this issue and what the people will do if legal raw milk is not permitted in Humboldt:

1. The PARSIFAL study of 15000 kids in EU was not given any value or appreciation. This is a Pub Med citation and clearly shows significant improvement in Asthma etcwhen drinking raw milk. This peer reviewed published study was summarily disregarded.

2. Tested delicious raw milk, as it is produced in CA and sold into 400 stores and consumed by 50,000 people per week, is not given any credit for being clean and safe. Raw milk is not even listed in the FDA top ten risky foods. Pasteurized Ice Cream is on the list.but no mention of raw milk. The FDA even goes on to say that many of the healthiest foods are on the top ten risky foods greens and eggs.

3. WIFFS should not ever be used as a professional expert. They hate raw milk. They are funded by grants from the FDA and Got Milk and the CMAB. All have official positions strongly against raw milk. I cannot believe that there has been no acknowledgement what so ever of the risks of pasteurized milk. 1300 people were sickened in CA in 2006 alone from CDFA inspected pasteurized milk in CA.

Please consider the full weight of your office when considering the recommendations being submitted to the Humboldt Board of Supervisors.
The continued black market raw milk system that has been used by necessity by the citizens of Humboldt county is a far worse system than a fully tested and delicious raw milk product that is inspected by CDFA and consumed by 50,000 people in CA every week.

The idea that raw milk ( as produced in CA ) is somehow so dangerous, that it cannot be purchased by your an outrageous comment. All of the top ten most risky foods in America are available at stores throughout Humboldt County!! Add to thisthat your Board of Supervisors has made marijuana a legal crop!!!

This is not about risk or safety. This is about the politics of dairy markets and using safety as the surrogate scare tactic. The money and the issues can be found at the relationship between the FDA and the PMO and NCIMS. No processor wants to be cut out of the profit. Raw milk cheats no one except the processors. The farmer is paid well and the consumer is well nourished.

In closing let me say that the official policy of the USDA is the Get to Know Your Farmer and Get to Know Your Food Initiative. It is all about this issue.

Even the Girls Scouts of Central CA South embrace raw milk with their cookies.

The bias of the official positions represented in your report does not reflect balance or the facts as they exist in CA. The Stanford report is not published and is not peer reviewed and did not address non HBT lactose intolerance symptoms. In fact the study specifically did not answer this issue. You rely on non peer reviewed and non published studies as a convenience, but deny the existence or importance of published studied like the PARSIFAL.

If the Health Department does not support at least neutrally raw milk for the citizens of Humboldt guaranteed the citizens will move to petition ( via ballot ) the changes.

It is obvious when no value.absolutely no given to something held so dear to a minority of people thatthere must be therein huge bias and an agenda.

Raw milk continues to be delivered via UPS every week to the citizens of Humboldt Co ( in addition to the black market illegal raw milk being peddled ). Your department has said nothing of this. In fact, it has been ignored.

Humboldt is part of the State of CA. Its citizens are Californians and are protected by Food and Ag Code #35928 ( F ).

Raw milk access is a right assured by the CA legislature and Food and Ag code.
You can bring closure to this grass roots effort or you can signal the beginning of a huge fight for free access to safe tested raw milk. It is up to you.

Most kind regards,

Mark McAfee
Founder CEO OPDC
Fresno CA

Mark McAfee
January 8, 2011

When the rights of industry trump the rights of health and real people….it is time that the robots are sent to the junk heap. They should start trembling….the people will rise up and just plain boot their asses out. The time is coming shortly. We need more open hearings. We need to make them show their data….

It does not exist!!! Where is the balance, where are the facts and the fairness. Fascism will not control my country. The FDA does not control raw milk in California or does it??? for 35 million it does not….for 130,000 the FDA sure seems to be able too.


Mark McAfee
January 8, 2011

It is very interesting that many of the citations provided in the Humboldt report come from Bill Marler and his anti-raw milk website…. realrawmilkfacts.

Blatant obvious cold commercial bias anyone…Corporate interests and Government policy have joined.

Fascism is upon us.


January 8, 2011


Sounds like Humboldt County doesn't like raw milk sales, and they have support.

Mark McAfee
January 8, 2011


What support? Do you call Marler, the FDA and Mike Payne at Wiffs support? That is a serious joke. If people show support or lack thereof, that is what support means.

This is bias and an agenda that is well coordinated, their reputation is on the line, it is the people in OPDC territory verses the FDA. This is a show down.

This may end up at the ballot. In the end they will lose when the true suport is counted.

When Marlers website is used as a government citation that is the sure sign that this is a democracy in real trouble.


January 8, 2011


You're less delicate than Violet, so I can say Who Cares?! A county in California wants to ban raw milk, who cares? Is that a big market for you?

Bill Anderson
January 8, 2011

Response to Violet from last thread:

If you intend to make a cheddar, I assume you are intending to make a cheese that will age for a long time. No?

I agree with most of what you say in your analysis of the milk, BUT for cheddar, I would not look for a milk with a high fat content. I would look for a milk with a higher protein content (in relation to the fat).

Fat is hyrdo-phobic. It repells water, thus forcing it into the protein phase of the cheese.

Cheddar being around pH 5.1, the casein tends to interact with water more, as opposed to a higher-moisture, lower pH cheese.

A high-fat cheddar will tend to ripen faster, and may become rancid over time. The fat profile matters. Jersey cows lend their milk to butryic acid, because they were breaed for butter, not for cheese.

This is not to say that high-fat milk is bad for cheese. It makes excellent soft-ripened cheese. It just doesn't age well, and it can be problematic in blue cheese (blue molds tend to be very lypolytic, especially at the cooler temps blue cheese is aged at).

On ther other hand, if you can turn around your "cheddar" in short time, I have no arguement. Its just my opinion that the purpose of making cheddar is to make a cheese for very long-aging (1+ year) There are other varieties of cheese that are preferable for shorter age, and don't require the rigors of the cheddar process.

That is why I hate cheese curds — they make absolutely no sense to me. Why would I put in so much labor and resources for a cheese that is going to be sold within 24 hours? There are much better ways to go about making a fresh cheese.

Once again, I point to France.

Blair McMorran
January 8, 2011

Consumers made this market and they will continue to define this market. Follow the money.
Vote with your wallet.
Time will tell.

Smy Opin
January 8, 2011

Sorry – kind of OT but I need to pick Bill's brain on this cheddar thing –

Bill, if the some or all the cream is removed from jersey milk before making the cheese, would that make a difference in it's ability to age?

Ken Conrad
January 8, 2011


I certainly dont have your knowledge in cheese making however, Ive eaten excellent jersey milk cheddar cheese. With cows milk the rule of thumb is, the higher the butterfat the higher the protein.

Ken Conrad

January 8, 2011

Maybe the people of Humboldt county just want to keep their raw milk local and small scale.Maybe they like the economic benefits that this part of the unofficial economy produces ,a lot like marijuana was before it was made legal and taxed.It is not correct to call the unofficial economy "illegal" or" black market".Small scale raw milk producers are regulated by those who drink the milk.The money generated in this economy stays in the county and adds to the local economy.In California this is an issue between small scale local private food production and large (relatively) scale statewide monopoly production.Food production is much more secure in the hands of many small scale local private producers.Legalizing the sale of raw milk in Humboldt county to the public in stores may tend to undermine local control of the food supply for county residents.

Truly Concerned
January 9, 2011

"Sounds like Humboldt County doesn't like raw milk sales"

Yet another example of poor critical thinking by Lykke.

Humboldt county cannot like or dislike anything. It is a governmental entity.

Most likely some of the people in leadership of Humboldt county are opposed to raw milk. They may or may not speak for the people. Most likely they are regurgitating the FDA propaganda and dogma.

What do the people want? It's probably not what just a few individuals want.

Mark McAfee
January 9, 2011


The people of Humboldt came to OPDC for help. They want legal tested raw in their markets. Eureka Natural Foods came to OPDC because they had so many customers demanding organic raw milk.

This is a fight for consumers


lola granola
January 9, 2011

I beg to differ, David.

The Colorado statute governing cow shares is very clear in what product can be made available to shareholders.

(Please go back and read the statute in its entirety in the comments section on the last article.)

"25-5.5-117. Raw milk. (1) The acquisition of raw milk from cows or goats by a consumer for use or consumption by the consumer…"

The word used here is "milk". "Milk" has a legal definition and is defined in the statues (also in my comments from the last article), and this definition does not included milk products such as kefir and yogurt. Is this really not clear?

The Void for Vagueness Doctrine states that a given statute is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand.

Connally v. General Const. Co by Justice Sutherland: "…the terms of a penal statute must be sufficiently explicit to inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties and a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application violates the first essential of due process of law."

In other words, any law subject to interpretation would be deemed vague and void because of it.

"Even though government agencies really have no business in herdshare arrangements (they are private arrangements between farmers and investors who buy shares of animals in return for milk)."

It's important to remember that these herdshares are set up as corporations, often as LLCs, and corporations only exist by government permission. When you set up a corporation you are entering into a contract with the state and in doing so agreeing to let the state regulate you.

"But then it occurred to me that, even if the FDA can't hire all the new inspectors it wants right away, it will have the legislation on the books…"

S510 stated clearly that implementation would be through existing state agencies, and funding would likely be issued under cooperative agreements with state agencies.

"So Colorado public health officials were all lovey-dovey the first four years the cowshare law was in force."

Let me guess how the situation in Colorado played out. This newspaper article featuring the store and the cow share producer came out; public health officials saw it and said, "these people are offering products that are not compliant with the statute, we'd better go check this out". From the last article they seemed to have acted with a measure of respect for the store and farm owners, and they don't seem to be pursuing any charges. They were only dispatched to bring the store and farm into compliance with the statute. To say they were somehow on the warpath (title of last article) is unfair at best, irresponsible at worst.

"Wisconsin and Minnesota allow "occasional" sales of raw milk, whatever that means."

In Wisconsin the term is "incidental", and it's not "whatever that means". "Incidental" has a legal definition, meaning secondary. Just because your legal eagles failed to pursue the overstepping of authority on the part of DATCP's "interpretation" of the intent of the original legislation doesn't make any less so.

"Not surprisingly, the definition of "occasional" changes over the years…"

See the Void for Vagueness Doctrine, above.

"Public health authorities are intent on disrupting access to raw dairy, local meats, and other nutrient-dense foods."

What about the fact that the farms profiled lately outright broke the law? Michael Hartmann, Colorado….

And something important to note with Morningland Dairy…
"Morningland is also seeking a jury trial."

Omitted is the fact that Morningland Dairy is an LLC – a corporation – and as such is not eligible for a jury trial. Only a flesh-and-blood "person" has the right to a jury trial. Does FTCLDF really not know this?

But, fortunately, S510 grants the Secretary the authority to create 3rd party certifiers to mediate disputes, so all of this may soon be a moot point. Mmmm…I wonder why there are so many reported "problems" lately that need "mediation"?

Bill Anderson
January 9, 2011

As a general rule, yes the higher the fat in the milk, the higher the protein.

But for a cheese maker the question is not as much "how much fat & protein" as the RATIO of fat to protein.

Traditional Alpine cheese makers skim their milk. Most gruyeres and virtually all emmenthallers are made with partially skimmed milk. Parmesan is as well. The extra cream is churned into butter, and the resulting cheese has more shelf life and will ripen more slowly.

Removing cream from Jersey milk should improve its ability to age. If you don't skim it, the Jersey milk will often remove the fat itself — you'll end up losing it alot of it to the whey, particularily in a variety with a very small curd size like gruyere. On the other hand, if you skim the milk before setting the curd, you will set a firmer curd and lose less fat to the whey.

Also, high amounts of fat tend to plug up the casein matrix, which can inhibit proper drainage of the curd. Obviously, this is a more of a concern in a cheese in which the curd needs to be highly drained (such as an aged variety), less of a concern in a softer variety where the curd doesn't need to be as thoroughly drained.

Don't get me wrong… Jersey milk makes great Munster and Brie, and can be successfully used to make aged varieties. Its just not ideal for them. Some cheese makers consider Ayshire and Brown Swiss milk to be ideally suited for aged cheese. In France, the Montbeliard and Normandy cows are probably the most popular for cheese making.

Truly Concerned
January 9, 2011


Where does it say that corporations are not eligible for jury trials?

Wasn't a jury empaneled for suits against tobacco companies?,_Inc.

Can you cite your source for your statement?


Bill Anderson
January 9, 2011

Also, Violet, I would disagree that as a cheese maker regulation is useless.

The problem is when the regulation is punitive rather than helpful. The regulators become enforcers rather than consultants.

I do believe that regulators can perform important services. As a cheese maker, they verify the accuracy of your thermometers. They check the bacteria counts and SCC on the milk. Sometimes they do enviromental swabs which tell you things you want to know about the microflora in your processing enviroment.

I would agree that it is absolutely critical that a cheesemaker also do in-person inspections of the farm(s) where s/he sources milk. But there are some things which you cannot tell simply by looking around, smelling the barn & milkhouse, and interacting with the animals. You also need to think about what is living in the milk pipelines. Buildups of pyscrotrophics and thermodurics in milk harvesting equipement can become major issues in certain varieties of cheese.

There are multiple ways to identify those problems. The simplest (DIY) test for pyscrtrophic buildup is to incubate the milk pipeline filter for several days in a sterile mason jar, with the lid cracked just enough to allow air exchange (many of the bad organisms are aerobic and require oxygen).

Pseudmonas growth can show up under a black light as a floresent yellow color.

Lacto-fermenting the milk (turning it into clabber) is also a simple DIY test of raw milk quality. Coliform show up as gas bubbles and produce a putrid vinegar smell.

But these are fairly crude methods, and some of the more subtle things going on in the milk can be missed. That is why I think it is still important to have regular labratory testing done as well.

The more ways you can look at the milk, the more you can understand what is going on in it, the better off you will be as a cheese maker and the higher quality the ultimate product you produce.

Mark McAfee
January 9, 2011


I also agree that CO does not appear to be on any sort of WARPATH. I get the feeling from the articles that CO regulatiors were just exposed to some apparent violations and were forced to enforce the law. I get the feeling that CO respects RMAC and yet…knows where the line is.

The same thing happens in CA and nearly every other place. What is "kept secret", "out of the press", "having no complaints" and "very quiet" and "having no problems" is seldom ever an issue.

Our government regulates and enforces largely "by exception". They do not have the ability to enforce against everyone all the time. So the trick is to not become part of the
" exception", especially if what you are doing is in the grey areas etc…In fact, this is a good policy for most raw milk dairymen. The real magic happens when a farmer can be in the press about good things and high profile with his consumers…but not become part of the regulatory exception. Not easy!! Thats what the Face Book, farm tours, and the social networks are for.

Bill if you ever want a job in CA making Raw Milk Cheeses….call me first. We are getting ready to build our new creamery and raw milk cheeses will be an expanding area of our business.


Mark McAfee
January 9, 2011

One more thing….

Raw milk is an inflamatory and disruptive product yet it is loved by its consumers.
Until the markets grow large enough to garner mainstream acceptance….there will be terrible oppression.

Teach, teach, teach….build the markets and the reputation for safe raw milk. Use good standards and RAMP programs. That is the direction for freedom. There will be more and more pasteurized outbreaks….use them to teach the consumers.

The FDA will continue to abuse us all until the day that the numbers of raw milk drinking people are so large and the markets are so strong that the FDA and its FOOD Inc prostitutes are seen for what they truly are.

Teach!!! Teach every day!!!


Bill Anderson
January 9, 2011

Mark, any chance I can convince you to build a cave or curing room?

Cryo-vaccing block cheddar may be convienent, but it just isn't the same as a cloth bandaged cave aged wheel of cheddar.

I worked in a block-cheddar plant for a few months when I was getting my WI cheese maker's license. The thing that struck me most about the experience is that the cheese makers there have very little connection to the cheese both before and after it leaves the production floor. The milk comes in (all the field work and milk pickup is delegated to other employees) through the HTST pasteurizer, and once the blocks get cryo-vacced they go into cold storage and the cheesemakers never see them again.

They never learn to draw the connections between the source of the milk, and how their own treatment of the milk in the cheese vat affects the finished cheese. Cryo-vaccing becomes somewhat of a crutch for lackluster cheesemaking.

Being from the land of orange cheddar, I guess I have grown a bit cynical about the whole thing. Its a good thing that slowly but surely there are more cheesemakers wanting to make good cheese — raw milk, cave aged, even a few getting into traditional starter cultures.

The traditional natural starter cultures is an area I want to explore more, but just haven't had the opportunity to. There is an award-winning Alpine-style cheese made in Vermont that uses a whey starter. I was lucky enough to tour their facility last summer when I visited Vermont.

January 9, 2011

Bill reminded me to visit an English cheesemaker's site,, that I used to frequent several years ago. They focused a camera on a cheese wheel for a year to show how different molds appeared while the cheese aged.

Unfortunately, the site isn't active anymore, but there is a YouTube time-lapse of the process:

Here's the cheesemaker's site in the YouTube:

Making and aging my own cheese was very instrumental in removing fear of molds on cheese; this site helped it along as well. lol

Bill Anderson
January 9, 2011

Yes! Remove the fear of mold!

Mold is our friend. It releases enzymes and helps to break down the proteins and fats, giving us delicious flavors and aromas!

Don't fear the mold!

January 9, 2011

Funny, for most of my life before learning to make cheese, I used to slice away a lot of cheese in fear if I found even a thin film of mold on it. Now, I just wipe it off with a cider vinegar-soaked cloth and rewrap it, and it's good for another couple of weeks. It just gets better with a stronger flavor.

I wince when I think of all the cheese I've thrown away needlessly…. lol

Sophie Lovett
January 9, 2011

Bill and Ken,

In case you're interested, Shelburne Farms in VT raises Brown Swiss cows particularly for their cheddar.

OT in a big way: I have this diet program for recording my daily consumption. As you might imagine, a number of items I consume aren't in the original DB (fiddleheads, ramps, raw milk). I used this raw milk data:
It was posted in May of 2008. Is it accurate? I realize that the nutritional content of raw milk changes from farm to farm, cow to cow, and season to season. In what way would 100% grass-fed Jersey cows change the values? Also, is there really NO natural Vitamin D in milk?

Smy Opin
January 9, 2011

Oh yum, ploughman's lunch with branston pickle and cheddar

lola granola
January 9, 2011

Truly Concerned,

You are right; I stand corrected. Trials regarding corporations can call for a jury. My apologies.

Sophie Lovett
January 9, 2011

"Trials regarding corporations can call for a jury."

It doesn't really matter one way or the other. According to our Supreme Court, corporations can be people when it's convenient for them.

January 9, 2011

Corporations can be persons,they can't be people.People are alive corporations and persons are not alive they are legal entities.

Sophie Lovett
January 9, 2011

People can go to jail but persons have a right to free speech.

Bill Marler
January 9, 2011

Mark, care to explain these comments?

"It is very interesting that many of the citations provided in the Humboldt report come from Bill Marler and his anti-raw milk website…. realrawmilkfacts.

Blatant obvious cold commercial bias anyone…Corporate interests and Government policy have joined.

Fascism is upon us."

"When Marlers website is used as a government citation that is the sure sign that this is a democracy in real trouble."

Real Raw Milk Facts is not my site nor an anti-raw milk site. Myself and other thoughtful people thought a site was necessary to lay out facts as they really happen. How can that possibly make me a fascist or a threat to democracy by trying to educate people from my experiences? I am proud of all of the material that I have put out there on raw milk and raw milk cheeses. I am also proud of my work in the democratic process in the Food Safety Bill, as well as past actions in CA, WI, and WY. I know there is more to do in the coming year.

All you name calling is silly. My guess is that you are more bothered by the citations to pathogen outbreaks and recalls contained in the below documents being considered by Humboldt County:

Sylvia Gibson
January 9, 2011

"Sounds like Humboldt County doesn't like raw milk sales,"

What of the people who choose to consume raw dairy in Humboldt county? What of their right to choose what they consume?

Bill Marler
January 9, 2011

I do not know what the Humboldt Supervisors might decide, by with Mark's links to Listeria, Campylobacter and E. coli, and a Campylobacter Outbreak linked to a herd share in 2008 in Del Norte County, they at least have facts to consider:—perhaps-humboldt-county-should-just-look-north-to-del-norte-county/

The Complete Patient
January 9, 2011

Guess I don't see in the statute you cite where these other products (kefir, yogurt) are prohibited. I don't think the fat lady has yet sung on this matter in Colorado.


lola granola
January 9, 2011


I get the idea that you're asking, where does it say I can't do this? And I'm asking, where does it say you can?

It's not that the other products (kefir, yogurt) are prohibited by statute; it's that they are not allowed by statute. If they were allowed by statute, they would be specifically named as allowed (i.e. "milk" vs. "fluid milk products", with a definition as to what constitutes a "fluid milk product"). If they are not named, they are not allowed.

Smy Opin
January 9, 2011

Bill Marler wrote: "Real Raw Milk Facts is not … an anti-raw milk site."

The bias, deception by omission, and sensationalism on that site scream otherwise.

Even IF I were the kind of person who could be swayed by that kind of fear mongering – I would STILL demand raw milk that I could bring home and pasteurize myself, in my own kitchen.
Conventional milk and dairy practices are SO atrocious and yet sanctioned by the powers that be –
vs grass-fed raw milk, not homogenized, and slowly pasteurized at home.

Do you still claim there is no difference?

Mark McAfee
January 10, 2011

Bill Marler,

For some weird reason or perhaps a techincal glitch, my answer and extensive post last eveing did not post.

Let me respond to your comment.

I do not believe that you are a fascist. I apologize to you most sincerely if you thought my comment inferred I that I thought you were a fascist. But….I do believe most deeply that you are being used by a government that has evolved into and has begun to embrace a fascist culture.

When a government defends corporate profits, corporate markets and market positions and when that government does not represent the truth or real data or the peoples will, And….that government uses all of its might and policy making and police powers to enforce against the peoples will….that is fascism. Pure and simple.

We have a fascist food culture in the USA and it is getting worse. You are helping make it worse and tragically the immune systems of our next generations are weakened as a direct result.

To awaken the consciuosness, I ask you to play the role of Judge "Pro Tempore" for a day, hold court, review some data and make a ruling. You are a highly respected political and legal voice, extremely well versed and a well trained lawyer. You have the ability, training and mindset to sit in judgement and balance information and rule fairly.

Please rule on the following information.

The question is this….which outbreak food source is more significant to public safety? Which outbreak food source should be more carefully controlled and politically relevant ?
Which should have a "public warning" on its label?

Lets take CA and the 2006 year for example and for all purposes of this virtual case….that OPDC sickened 2 kids enough that it caused them serious HUS and that one more person was sickened for one day in the hospital (with no HUS) and two more had diarrhea but did not get medicated or hospitalized and fully recovered at home in few days with diarrhea.

Ok now please sit in judgement of the following:

1300 people were serously sickened by Pasteurized Milk in 2006 ( in one outbreak from a CDFA inspected plant and creamery )
205 people were seriously sickened and three died from CA spinach in 2006
3 kids were sickened by raw milk in 2006…but just two seriously.

The question before the Marler court is this…why is it that raw milk is banned as unsafe…but spinach and pasteurized milk are in every store in America and there is "zero will" on the part of the government to ban spinach or pasteurized products???? In fact they staunchly defend and support these products. In a comparative analysis between the pasteurized milk and the raw milk the raw milk impact was .23% of the number of people effected by pasteurized milk. In the case of the spinach the number was just 1.4%

That is the question before the Marler court. This is a snap-shot of bias and a political agenda. Raw milk is not on the top ten FDA most risky foods list….both pasteurized cheese and pasteurized icecream are on the top ten risky foods list. Yet…raw milk is politically oppressed with great fanfare!!!!

Dr. Mike Payne should never ever be used by anyone as a resouce to judge raw milk. He is a FDA funded professional raw milk hater. He can not balance any evidence on raw milk. His reports give no value to the positive research on raw milk, even PUB MED citations that are published and peer reviewed. Not one little piece. He is the GO-TO PhD guy that says and does all the things that CDFA, and the FDA can not do for ethical reasons. He is the guy that sent emails to the Fresno Girls Scouts in a failed attempt to destroy the OPDC Girls Scouts relationship.

There is no way that if all the statements made by CDFA, DHS, FDA, WIFFS and Dr. Payne about raw milk are true….that raw milk as a market would be growing so quickly and so strongly. The only reason for this growth is that the people refuse to follow the FDA dogma of a "pill for every ill" and have embraced a preventative nutrition based culture of strong immune systems by consumption of a whole, biodiverse, enzyme rich and good fat containing food. If raw milk was fake and untrue then people would see this and feel this right away and not pay 4x for raw milk….it would bring them allergies, diarrhea and gas cramps just like pasteurized milk. Why is it that pasteurized fluid milk markets are in a persistent 2% per year decline even after multimillion dollar sexed up Mooootopia campaigns…..??

I know the answer….bias and fascist protectionism of corporations ( Deans Foods, Monstanto and Big FOOD Inc Ag. ) that are under investigation by the FBI for market fixing and massive profits while their Farmer Serfs commit suircide. I know the reason….it is blatant FDA protectionism of drug companies that need these anti-inflamatory medical markets and for their Avandia, VIOXX and Celebrex drugs. Drugs that have killed tens of thousands of Americans. Raw milk drinkers consume raw milk to prevent these same conditions and diseases. Diseases that the FDA has criminalized any claim or connection between food and prevention???

What say you?….Honorable Judge Marler …I submit the question and rest my simple case from the people???


Bill Marler
January 10, 2011

We are always open to suggestions to improve the website. To answer your question:

1. RRMF does not sanction or promote one type of dairy product over another. The website provides evidence-based information on benefits and risks of raw milk to allow readers to make their own informed decision.

2. To our knowledge, our website has the most comprehensive lists of both raw and pasteurized dairy-related outbreaks, and breaks them down by fluid milk vs. cheeses. In contrast, biased websites such as and the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Milk website make no attempt to provide readers any specific information on raw milk risks.

2. We address the value of supporting small dairies, and option for home pasteurization:

Is raw milk the only way to support a local dairy?

Raw milk is not the only way to enjoy fresh, wholesome dairy products and support local farms. Many dairy farmers avoid selling raw milk despite a demand for it because of the liability and because public health agencies recommend against it. If someone gets sick, it can cost millions of dollars to help with the medical costs. Insurance rates are very high and some companies will not insure a dairy that sells raw milk.

There are more and more local dairies around the country finding success in producing niche products such as local, organic, hormone-free, grassfed milk and cheeses that have been treated with the lowest recommended amount of heat to kill pathogens. There are also many delicious artisan cheeses made from pasteurized milk.

Another alternative is to home pasteurize raw milk as described in this information sheet :

There are also some excellent recipes to make your own cheese safely such as this one for soft, Mexican-style cheese :

January 10, 2011

"I would STILL demand raw milk that I could bring home and pasteurize myself, in my own kitchen. Conventional milk and dairy practices are SO atrocious and yet sanctioned by the powers that be – vs grass-fed raw milk, not homogenized, and slowly pasteurized at home."

I have a number of customers who buy my milk and then pasteurize it. Though it really bothers me that they ruin the milk this way, I let them do it rather than refuse to sell to them.

At least I give them a choice, which doesn't happen the other way around….. even pasteurized, they're getting far healthier milk than commercial store crap.

Bill Marler
January 10, 2011

Here is a chart on raw and pasteurized outbreaks and recalls in 2010:

Mark, in response – What I said I said in 2009 – What I'd Recommend: Raw vs Pasteurized Milk

There has been an ongoing back-and-forth response from the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) to my literature review of the pros and cons of drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk and a more recent series comparing the food safety track record of pasteurized and raw milk products.

The WAPF had their annual meeting last weekend in the Chicago area, and hopefully they are considering some of the points raised in these discussions.

Like any other food product, there are two primary approaches to solving food safety problems: regulation and education. These two approaches are most effective when applied together, in an atmosphere of cooperation between the food industry, government, universities, and consumers.

Here are some of my recommendations for regulating raw milk and educating consumers about the risks associated with drinking it. I would very much welcome comments from readers with thoughts related to this ongoing debate and how to move it forward.


Grade A pasteurized milk regulation has mostly followed Federal Pasteurized Milk Ordinance standards. However, states may require stricter standards for milk. Raw milk is primarily regulated at the state and local level; interstate shipment is banned. The question state and local jurisdictions face is:

To Ban or Not to Ban Raw Milk Sales?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that the number of foodborne illness outbreaks in states where raw milk is banned is lower compared with the number that occurs in states that allow the sale of raw milk. However, raw milk proponents argue that raw milk bans infringe on the right of consumers to make their own choice. WAPF has stated, "Unless raw milk is unique among all foods in the supposed danger it presents, it should not be singled out."

All sources of literature and data show that raw milk does fall into a "riskier" category of foods. Raw milk is not alone: raw oysters, raw sprouts, soft cheeses (raw or pasteurized), unpasteurized juices, raw or undercooked beef or poultry, and ready-to-eat foods such as deli meats are examples of other risky foods.

In lieu of banning raw milk products, some states have adopted regulations that attempt to protect public health and allow for consumer choice. This is an approach I would suggest the following:

1. Raw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal
2. Raw milk should not be sold in grocery stores or across state lines–the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well
3. Farms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers
4. Practices such as outsourcing (buying raw milk from farms not licensed for raw milk production) should be illegal
5. Colostrum should be regulated as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement
6. Warning signs on the bottles and at point-of-purchase should be mandatory. An example: "WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella). Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product." (emphasis added).


Regulation alone will not solve any food safety problem–whether we're talking about raw milk, spinach, or ground beef.

Educational materials (directed to both producers and consumers) for the safe production, handling and processing of both pasteurized and raw milk products should be developed and widely distributed.

The WAPF and the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund published a "Raw Milk Production Handbook." These materials should be updated and enhanced in cooperation with experts from universities, especially cooperative extension programs specializing in dairy food safety.

Raw milk advocacy groups should discontinue misleading advertisements directed at consumers that include unsubstantiated claims about "grass feed" animals being free of pathogens, or statements that raw milk always kills pathogens.

Similarly, raw milk advocates should not falsely advertise that their products are a "cure all," or that pasteurized milk contains no nutrients. These false statements (presumably made for marketing purposes) combined with misinformation about the potential food safety risks, undermine the credibility of raw milk advocates, and serve only to mislead the consumer.

A Bit of Background

"Comparing the Food Safety Record of Pasteurized and Raw Milk Products" (now available in one file) highlights significant differences between the safety of raw and pasteurized milk products. Here you will find a brief synopsis of the four-part series.

Part 1 – History and definitions

One-hundred years ago, milk caused about one out of every four outbreaks traced back to food or water in the US. Today, dairy products cause the fewest outbreaks of all the major food categories (e.g, beef, eggs, poultry, produce, seafood). Most scientists agree that the high level of safety for milk today is because of pasteurization (heat treatment to kill pathogens), and improved sanitation and temperature control during the bottling, shipping, and storage of fresh milk.

The majority (approximately 99 percent) of people in the US drink pasteurized milk, but a small group of individuals prefer their milk unprocessed (no heat treatment to kill pathogens, or other processing such as homogenization).

Many states require that milk sold to the public be pasteurized, and federal law prohibits any interstate shipment of milk that has not been pasteurized. Raw milk proponents argue that these food safety regulations are in conflict with basic "food rights," or the choice to buy the type of foods they want to consume, including raw milk.

Throughout decades of debate about how to regulate raw milk, the public health and medical communities have remained steadfast in their support of pasteurization as a key measure to protect public health.

Part 2: Bacteria and other microorganisms in milk

Sick animals may carry pathogens that can be transmitted to people through their milk and cause life-threatening illnesses such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. In the US, almost all dairy and beef herds are free of these diseases, but travelers to developing areas like Mexico, Africa, and the Middle East are sometimes infected by drinking raw milk, eating raw milk cheeses, or being exposed to sick animals.

Healthy dairy animals such as cattle and goats may shed foodborne pathogens like Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella in their feces. These foodborne pathogens can cause mild illness in some people, and life-threatening or long-term debilitating disease in others including paralysis, kidney failure, and arthritis. Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems (chemotherapy, AIDS patients) are more likely to become severely ill from these pathogens.

Pasteurization involves heat treatment of milk to a temperature that destroys foodborne pathogens. The only way to keep these pathogens out of untreated raw milk is through very strict sanitation, which can be difficult because of the large volume of feces produced by dairy animals including during the time they are being milked.

Some raw milk advocates believe that only feeding a grass-based diet will prevent shedding of pathogens in the feces of food animals, and later contamination of raw milk or meat. Since grass-fed cows have been linked to outbreaks, and pathogens have been found in their feces and milk, it does not appear that "clean grass-fed" cows or goats are safer than conventionally raised food animals based on diet alone.

Pasteurized milk can become contaminated if the equipment fails (if the milk does not reach the right temperature for long enough), or if it is contaminated later through poor hygiene (unsanitary conditions) or cross-contamination.

Part 3. Foodborne illnesses and disease outbreaks from milk

Both pasteurized and raw milk products have caused foodborne illnesses and outbreaks.

A review of thirty years of data in the US showed that there are a disproportionate number of outbreaks due to raw milk. While only approximately 1 percent of the population consumes raw milk, raw dairy products caused over 50 percent of the outbreaks during that time period.

In the same analysis, most pasteurized and raw dairy-related outbreaks involved less than fifty illnesses per outbreak.

The conventional pasteurized milk supply is more vulnerable to massive (over 1,000 illnesses) food poisoning events because of its wider distribution and frequency of consumption.

Part 4. Weighing the risks and benefits

Consumers must weigh many different factors when choosing the most appropriate dairy product for themselves and their families.

A comparison of the nutrition labels on raw and pasteurized milk purchased at a retail store shows very little difference between commercial raw, organic milk and organic or conventional pasteurized milk products.

The medical benefits of dairy products (raw or pasteurized) beyond basic nutrition are unclear. Epidemiological studies in Europe suggest that consumption of raw milk products in childhood may help prevent some allergic conditions (e.g., asthma, hay fever, eczema).

Consumers should be wary of product claims that appear to be implausible, or "too good to be true." For example, claims that raw milk cures everything from autism to allergies to tooth decay to lactose intolerance and heart disease. Often such broad claims are made simply to market the product, and are not based on sound medical research.

Recent data from 2000-2007 in the US on outbreaks and illnesses from milk products shows that there is currently more risk from Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7 due to drinking raw milk compared with drinking pasteurized milk.

In the same analysis, pasteurized milk and Mexican-style soft cheeses (e.g., queso fresco) that were contaminated during or after processing were associated with illnesses, miscarriages, and deaths from listeriosis.

Multi-drug resistant salmonellosis continues to be a concern in the dairy environment, and has caused outbreaks linked to raw and pasteurized milk/cheeses, and queso fresco cheeses.

Both pasteurized and raw dairy products can be dangerous if produced under unsanitary conditions, which are more likely if the product is being sold illegally. Consumers should avoid any dairy products sold illegally, especially "black market" or "underground" raw milk/cheeses, and soft Mexican-style cheeses such as queso fresco sold by unlicensed vendors, or imported illegally into the US.

Mark McAfee
January 10, 2011

Bill, Your post does not address the question that was posed. It is as if we speak two different languages. The people that drink raw milk can not drink pasteurized milk. The nutritional statements on milk do not address any of the living elements found in raw milk.

I guess this hypothetic case before the Marler court will be appealed to the court of public opinion. This court has already spoken and proclaimed raw milk as a healing and preventative food. The market and safety data fully support this higher courts decision

I hope that someday soon you and I can both speak the same language


Steve Bemis
January 10, 2011

Bill – in the reviewing-things department, I recall the following exchange which you and I had on this blog back on March 16 of 2010. The following exchange follows the format of my first listing my "11 Great Thoughts," and then citing Bill's six points, then my comment ("SB Comment") and then Bill's rejoinder ("WM Comment").

I thought this exchange was helpful, and offer it up again on the theory that it might push the ball a little bit further down the field.

The following is a cut-and-paste from TCP on March 16, 2010.

Steve, thanks for engaging. My comments below:

Bill has asked for a rational discussion of his six points. In this spirit, I offer a comparison with my 11 Great Thoughts as follows, with my comments. Since they are more numerous (and older), the 11GT come first, and Bill's are then compared in turn (note to innocent bystanders – DUCK, this is what lawyers do):

11GT#1) Mark McAfee's Citizens Petition to FDA on interstate raw milk shipments is modeled on Ron Paul's HR 778, which is still buried in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. HR 778 is intended to get FDA totally out of regulating interstate commerce in raw milk simply based on its lack of pasteurization. ?

WM#2. Raw milk should not be sold …. across state lines–the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well;

SB Comment: The FDA rule simply acts to prohibit movement of raw milk (and people) across arbitrary lines, and arbitrarily makes law-breakers out of those who can legally obtain raw milk in neighboring states, simply because they or their milk cross a state line. Bill's rule is simplistic, but effective in its broad reach banning raw milk, since it ignores individuals' rights in factually complex situations under varying state laws. It's also just a stupid federal overlay on state laws.

WM Comment: My point Steve is that the product should be manufactured and sourced locally. In my experience, the problems with higher risk foods (unpasteurized) are that they become riskier the further they get from the source (spinach outbreak is a great example). Perhaps a state line is arbitrary. I am open to another definition that limits the distance of the sale.

11GT#2) There should be some kind of consistent identification of raw milk and raw milk products coupled with standard warning language, whether basic such as current restaurant-style warnings, or more elaborate such as current California warnings.

WM6. Warning signs on the bottles and at point-of-purchase should be mandatory. An example: "WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella). Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."

SB Comment: Although Bill's warning seems overdrawn, in principle I agree with him. Warnings are cheap insurance, and might even replace insurance (see below). Besides, I don't think those who take care concerning what they eat will be put off by such additional information.

WM Comment: I have always been consistent of getting effective warnings on high-risk foods like hamburger.

11GT#3) Claims for health benefits may be made by any customer in the producer's advertising or sales forum only if in the form of personal testimonials or peer-reviewed scientific papers; or by the producer in the producer's advertising or sales forum only if in the form of a statistically accurate summary of unsolicited customer testimonials or peer-reviewed scientific papers.

WM: no comparable provision. Any problem with scientifically valid claims and customer testimonials, Bill?

WM Comment: I agree with you.

??11GT#4) Sales at retail, where the consumer is likely not to know the producer, should have increased testing under state law.

WM#2. Raw milk should not be sold in grocery stores….–the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well;
WM#1. Raw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal;

SB Comment: Here, I disagree that raw milk cannot be sold at retail, since I agree that farms producing milk to be sold at retail should be inspected and tested regularly (as Bill argues should be done for on-farm sales); I agree such additional testing and inspection are required, not because an uninformed consumer might purchase raw milk by mistake (not likely, with the warnings which would be on the case and on the bottle, see 11GT#2/WM6 above), but rather because in a store the customer is remote from the farmer and unable to satisfy herself personally as to the milk's quality, the farm's cleanliness, practices, and ethics. I agree with Bill's concern about driving raw milk sales underground as occurs with many of the draconian laws which totally prohibit raw milk in any way, but I draw the line at valid private arrangements such as cow shares and similar arrangements, which I do not see as black market to any degree.

WM Comment: My goal is to allow sales of a product that is as safe as possible. I think I would concede that retail sales and oversight is working in states like WA and CA. My preference, however, is for direct farmer to consumer sales with regulation and inspection.

?11GT#5) Transactions (whether sales, cow shares or otherwise depending on state law) direct from farmer to consumer whether on the farm or otherwise, or from farmers with herds smaller than a yearly-average [100] milking cows, should not be regulated other than by individual agreement. [precedent for a similar exemption of raw milk, is the federal Egg Products Inspection Act (Pub. L. 91-597, 84 Stat.1620 et seq.) which exempts eggs direct farm-to-consumer or any sales from flocks of less than 3000 birds. At the state level, some states permit sales to various degrees and at the other extreme, some few prohibit all kinds of raw milk transactions; these issues will have to be dealt with at the state level.]?

WM#1. Raw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal;

SB Comment: This is a bedrock disagreement. See SB comment above for 11GT#4. There is no place for state interference in transactions to obtain the food of an individual's choice by private agreement. As discussed at great length in the Canadian Schmidt case, the state's interest in regulating public health is absent in such arrangements, and the fundamental right to do so is inherent in our laws and way of life.

WM Comment: I believe that raw milk sales need inspection and regulation in whatever form they take. Clearly, the more individual the transaction, the less rational basis for local or state involvement. Perhaps, this is where education for farmer and consumer might well work better.

11GT#6) Parents are free to feed their children whatever foods they choose.??

WM: no comparable provision. 11GT#2 (warnings), 11GT#4 (retail sales) and
11GT#5 (private agreements) all feed into this fundamental right.

WM Comment: I cannot disagree with you here either. I think education is the key here. You may not like it, but that is why I have put up the videos so people are clear what the risks are.

11GT#7) Farmers and individuals who provide raw milk or raw milk products to "others" should have legal protection in litigation (absent reckless behavior or actual knowledge of pathogens or other significant risk factors) so long as the proper identification and warnings (as in, #2) were provided and, in the case of "others" who are minors, so long as the identification and warnings were effectively communicated to the minor's parent or guardian prior to consumption.??

WM#3. Farms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers;

SB Comment: The simple requirement to have sufficient insurance coverage, like the power to regulate and tax, is the power to exterminate a business. I don't choose to address Bill's admitted conflict of interest as a plaintiff's lawyer in this context, since he expresses facially altruistic reasons for pursuing this career. The fact of such an insurance requirement, however, could exterminate raw milk producers in volatile and potentially expensive insurance markets. There may be a place for insurance for farmers who choose to sell into retail outlets, as so amply demonstrated recently by Whole Foods (who, I predict, will find a way to satisfy their insurers, which could simply be done by agreeing to exclude raw milk claims from the insurance coverage). By arguing to set aside insurance, I don't mean to ignore risk which after all should be what insurance covers – since the 11GT consider many aspects of risk, e.g. labeling of raw milk with warnings (#2), regulation and testing for sales at retail (#4), the ability to privately contract and waive claims in the assumption of risk (#5), the responsibility of parenting (#6), education (#8), open and collaborative public health efforts (#9), research concerning the health and other benefits of raw milk, and the disease and other risks of processed (including transgenic) foods (#10), as well as broader insurance availability for those farmers who wish to supply retail stores as well as the adoption of voluntary standards (#11).

WM Comment: Raw Milk should be treated the same as any other food product. A farmer and retailer can do what Cargill and ConAgra do all the time blame the consumer for misusing the product or understanding the risks. If farmers do not have insurance they put their assets at risk and make it unlikely that they will be able to sell the product at retail. If you want to forego insurance, the risk to the farmer is greater, not less.

11GT#8) Educational materials (directed to both producers and consumers) for the safe production, handling and processing of raw milk and raw milk products should be developed and widely distributed generally and in the producer's advertising and sales media.?

WM: No comparable provision. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has assisted in the development and provision of raw milk production and consumer safety materials (see home page of the website at One possible form of voluntary standard might be a requirement that raw milk farmers strive toward the practices described in our production materials, and make our consumer handling safety materials available to all customers.

WM Comment: I agree more education to farmers and consumers is better.

11GT#9) An open, collaborative, transparent and scientifically rigorous and neutral approach should be taken by producers, consumers and public health officials in all instances of disease outbreak with a common commitment both to protect public health and to protect continued viability of responsible producers. Public health warnings which are not connected to outbreaks of illness or warnings which prove to have been unfounded, shall be followed by public health advisory followups which are communicated with the same level and extent of publicity as the initial warning, including exoneration of producers as appropriate.?

WM: No comparable provision. I think, after nearly four years of arguing about totally incomprehensible public health statistics, there would be some appetite to work better in this area. This is tough, since many public health authorities and ag departments, even in states where raw milk is legal, have it in for raw milk in a really fundamental way (BTW: when I started out in this business three years ago, I naively felt that all we needed was clear laws and regulations; bitter experience has taught me differently, and regulators need to understand this dynamic in ongoing discussions, since the anger arising from discriminatory and heavy-handed public health investigations is a major driving force).

WM Comment: Steve, you sound like many of the lawyers from Cargill, ConAgra, etc that I spend most of my time with. It seems that everyone under the scrutiny of an outbreak investigation always tries to deflect blame. I can tell you that in every raw milk case I have reviewed, the public health entities that did the investigation did a fair job and the results were in fact accurate. I think if the raw milk community stopped denying the existence of the outbreaks and learned from the experiences, regulators and lawyers, would be far more accomidating.

11GT#10) Independent research (including analyses of testimonials and other real-life evidence as well as traditional reductionist studies) should be publicly funded to examine the nutritional value, environmental impacts of production, and the acute and chronic impacts on human health from raw and traditional foods and from industrially-produced foods.

WM: No comparable provision.

WM Comment: The more open and valid information the better.

??11GT#11) Broader insurance availability for producers and other risk-sharing approaches should be developed as a counterweight to regulation-by-litigation.
[Farmers might consider voluntary production standards such as various kinds of testing protocols or simply rely on many years of problem-free operation, so as to induce insurers to write policies, otherwise the insurers will want to "go automatic" and insist on compliance with various regulations which is their current typical mode. Similarly, a litigation defense which is founded in compliance with the testing protocols of a voluntary standard or in decades of trouble-free operation by simply "looking at the animals and watching what's in the filter," should help to defend against litigation, and ultimately, to reduce litigation.]

WM#3. Farms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers;

SB Comment: see discussion at 11GT#7 above. Risk considerations are central to the 11 Great Thoughts.

WM Comment: For me, all products should be treated the same. Like hamburger, sprouts, spinach, a farmer, manufacturer, retailer has the ability to blame the consumer for their illness.

Finally two of Bill's points have no comparable provisions in the 11GT:

WM4. Practices such as outsourcing (buying raw milk from farms not licensed for raw milk production) should be illegal;

SB Comment: This makes sense, although the licensed concept built into Bill's point gives me pause. Certainly this comment makes sense at retail, since I agree that regulation is appropriate at retail. So long as a private contract (e.g., cow share) discloses outsourcing, I can't see the problem.

WM Comment: My point here is simply that the consumer has a right to know what they are buying.

WM5. Colostrum should be regulated as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement;

SB Comment: This also seems to make sense, although again the word regulated is more appropriate in the retail context. In the private context, people should be able to make an agreement to obtain colostrum, or whatever other raw dairy product they and the farmer agree upon. See above comment.

WM: As they saw, the devil is in the details.

As usual (especially when it's late at night), I'd like to reserve further comment after sleeping on it. But the night is still young on the west coast, so here you go, Bill. Whaddya think?

I think this was productive. Thanks Steve.

January 10, 2011

Bill Marler,

You base all of your conclusions on false premises.All of the evidence you have presented that links illness to raw milk consumption is based on CDC and local health department investigations that are fundamentally flawed.I am not denying that any food can make someone ill,I am saying that the evidence presented is not credible by scientific standards of evidence.The conclusions were drawn before enough investigation was done to actually conclude that there was any link.Specifically,no one has explained how PFGE patterns that are indistinguishable can be evidence of anything more than that several more PFGEs need to be run to give a better probability that these isolates are even remotely related.And,even if these isolates are remotely similar that is only evidence that they evolved in similar environments, NOT that they can be tracked back to a common origin.
At any rate the evidence presented is insufficient to "link" an illness to any particular source.
Why would the Health Department or CDC jump to a conclusion without sufficient evidence?Does it have anything to do with a Healthy People 2020 agenda?

Would you be inclined to accept as credible evidence the results of an epidemiological investigation concerning raw milk if it was done by a laboratory supported by the Weston Price Foundation?

January 10, 2011

"Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."

WM Comment: I have always been consistent of getting effective warnings on high-risk foods like hamburger.

Oh yes, I see the above warning on raw oysters, raw spinach, deli meats, etc. all the time now!!

But, Death on a label for raw milk??? When was the last time someone died of raw milk (excluding bathtub cheese which everyone agrees is not safe) vs last time Pasteurized milk killed someone?

Why isn't there a label warning people they could potentially die from pasteurized milk?

Smy Opin
January 10, 2011

@ Bill Marler,

The link to how to pasteurize at home does not work.
IN addition, if this were NOT a biased site, the fact that raw milk can be safely pasteuried at home would not be buried under "how to support local dairies.
It's a reasonable argument/comparison from your opposition showing how raw milk is being singled out from other raw foods.

The little blurb on how raw milk tastes is pretty blatantly biased, also. It states upfront that taste is subjective, but it goes on to suggest that any differences may be due to homogenization.
I suggest, if you want to balance that, please offer this suggestion from the pposition:
a simple, safe test can be conducted at home demonstrating how heat changes the taste of a food product: squeeze a fresh orange and taste test compared to any pasteurized OJ available.

Then there is the comparison of quality of the milks using the exceptionally limited nutritional labels required by FDA….show the people the tip of the iceberg when you know the meat of the issue is far more complex than those token labels indicate. That's blatant deception, and ignoring the facts that don't support you perspective.

When there is an unknown, such as whether the destroyed bacteria are probiotic or not, your site assumes not. When there is a question about whether the lost enzymes could be beneficial, your site assumes not. In both of these cases, there aren't studies that favor your position, but the "fair" website takes a side nonetheless.

January 10, 2011


The rest of the scientific world stands behind the use of DNA fingerprinting for source attribution in combination with epidemiological evidence during foodborne disease outbreak investigations (whether it be raw milk, pasteurized milk, spinach, cookie dough, eggs, ground beef, etc.).

January 10, 2011

"Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."

Why isn't there a similar label warning people they could potentially die from pasteurized milk?

Because the dairy cartel would kill before they allowed it to happen…

January 10, 2011


Pulsenet is an invention of CDC.CDC runs the whole DNA fingerprint fraud.Scientists employed by CDC and it's network of State and County Health Departments do not bite the hand that feeds them.But still there are those who dare to question the way PFGE profiles are used.To refer to PFGE profiles as DNA fingerprints is an obvious indication that the speaker is trying to be deceptive.I never have seen an epidemiological study that compared the whole genome of one isolate to the whole genome of another isolate.Only a small sample of the genomes are being compared yet if these two samples can't be distinguished they are called a match.How ridiculous is that?Even so,let's say that we did sequence the whole genome of two different isolates and we had a perfect match,can we conclude that they share a common ancestor?Can we say that they originated from the same source? Find a scientist that will make these claims. Only the CDC or health department employees will do that.

Smy Opin
January 10, 2011

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing. Anatole France

January 10, 2011


PulseNet is the foodborne disease outbreak application of the general principle of using genetic analyisis for source attribution. Check out this review:

In the Hartmann case, the judge ruled unequivocally that raw milk caused the outbreak in MN, and pointed to PFGE analysis as evidence. Maybe it was a conspiracy and the judge was bought off by big ag and big pharma (or Bill Marler). But, I'd bet even the microbiologists who study bacterial evolution would stand behind the use of DNA fingerprinting in the context of foodborne outbreak investigation so long as the data is interpreted temporally.

January 10, 2011

"I have a number of customers who buy my milk and then pasteurize it. Though it really bothers me that they ruin the milk this way, I let them do it rather than refuse to sell to them."

Good for you "letting them do it," though the comment sounds very judgmental and arrogant. Would you also be offended if your customer wanted to cook their pastured chicken? What is wrong with getting your own animals (or buying locally to support small farmers) and pasteurizing at home. The pathogen risks are real and it is questionable whether it's possible to keep things clean 24/7. I look at the picture in this article and know I wouldn't want raw milk from those teats in the middle of winter:

January 10, 2011

Actually, I was being sarcastic about "letting" customers pasteurize their milk, Lykke… as in demonstrating that at least I give them an option, which is more than the State does! Although it does bothers me that they do it, I don't say anything about it to them, so there's no arrogance from me to them. What's your problem?? I give them a choice… THEY CAN PASTEURIZE!

Lykke, why do you assume they wouldn't clean the teats before milking? If you think those teats are bad, go to Horizon Farms dairy sometime…

January 10, 2011


Not sarcastic, inexperienced…how would you clean those teats (for raw milk) before milking?

Violet Willis
January 10, 2011


Jersey milk is great because you can remove the cream from the top and then use the milk to make cheese. The cream can then be used for butter and ice cream. It is a great breed for a small producer.

Great farmstead cheddars can be made from Jersey milk . . . . it just can't be super sharp.

Soft cheeses like Camembert are just ambrosial when made from Jersey milk though.

Brown Swiss is a breed that is super huge and takes a great deal of $ to feed. . . . not really practical on a small scale unless you are also selling "breeding stock". They are beautiful animals though. Saw a few on the Mellon Farm in Virginia. Yes, these rich "ELITES" do drink raw milk from their own cows:)

Where are the regulators when it comes to the rich (in Virginia) enjoying what us normal people wish to have.

Very telling . . . .

Kind regards,


Bill Anderson
January 10, 2011


In a cultured product such as cheese, using raw milk actually enhances food safety.

Organisms such as listeria thrive in sterile monoculture enviroments (like PMO milk plants… I know becayse I have worked in a PMO milk plant) but when forced to compete with the plethora of beneficial organisms in raw milk cheese, listeria cannot compete.

Positive bacterial pressure is very important to food safety.

Bill Anderson
January 10, 2011

I don't like the word "sharp" to describe cheese. What does this imply?

Bitterness? Rancidity? Whey taint? Unclean? Umami? Sulfides? Carmel? Alot of acid development? Calcium lactate or tyrosine crystals? Does it "itch" your tongue or the roof of your mouth?

Jerseys are a popular breed amongst small raw milk farmers, no doubt. I probably have worked with Jersey milk more than any other type. And yes… I've made some pretty incredible camembert and triple creme from Jersey milk.

But truth be told Jerseys are not the ideal breed for cheese making. They make delicious drinking milk and were originally breed for butter making. Their milk has a tallowy character, and the large butterfat globule size tends to create problems in the cheese making and aging process. It breaks down in a rather unpredictable way as the cheese ripens.

This isn't to say that you can't make good cheese with Jersey milk. There are many good cheeses made with it. But I would not pick them as my #1 choice for cheese making. Your options as a cheese maker are more limited.

Bill Anderson
January 10, 2011

Here is my challenge to the advocates of Jersey milk for making artisan raw milk cheese:

Find one British raw milk cheese maker who uses Jersey milk.

I bet you'll have a hard time. I can think of probably half a dozen offhand whose herd is Holstein-based.

January 10, 2011

"The rest of the scientific world stands behind the use of DNA fingerprinting "

You could have said "the rest of the financial world stood behind the trading of financial derivatives" until it led to financial collapse of the housing market,now it is regarded as fraud.

Complex,top down,monopolies in any sector of our world use complicated fraudulent schemes to deceive not only the public but their own employees.Everyone involved in the deception is also benefiting financially from it so they do not question the decisions at the top.
The CDC's job is to keep everyone's attention on"pathogens" as the cause of "food borne illness" ,when the real cause is the chemicals used in agriculture and food processing.If the real causes of these illnesses were admitted,then certain monopolies in food and agriculture would be held responsible.It is more difficult to hold microbes to account.

The CDC has a monopoly on disease control and like all monopolies they use fraud and abuse of power to remain in control.Complicated,contradictory explanations and fraudulent laboratory testing are the tools it uses to deceive.

Bill Anderson
January 10, 2011

re: the practice of skimming milk for use in cheddar.

This used to be a common practice by some unscrupulous American cheesemakers, who would skim their cheddar milk and turn the cream into butter to make some extra cash on the side. They'd often employ "fillers" such as vegetable oils or lard to make up for the lost fat. As a result, the cheese would turn rancid when it got too old.

To prevent that practice, the standard of identity for cheddar was established to require at least 50% butterfat on a dry basis (the fat content once all moisture has been removed — the French call this "maitre gras").

While it may be possible to achieve that butterfat target in a cheddar using partially skimmed Jersey milk, why not just start out with a breed whose whole milk is suited to cheese making to begin with?

For those interested in proving wrong my hypothesis about Jersey milk, here is a good place to start your research:

From those I've talked to with a background at Neal's Yard Dairy, they say that some traditional British cheesemakers will reject a load of milk if it contains milk from even one Jersey cow. Jersey milk is not bad milk, its just not meant for cheese making.

January 10, 2011

Lykke, that cow isn't actually all that dirty, nothing that a good brushing wouldn't cure, particularly on the udder, hindquarters, belly and tail. You'd be surprised how much of even the muckiest "stuff" comes off with simply brushing.

I always brush before every milking: It only takes a couple of minutes, it removes loose hair that could fall into the bucket, it makes her clean and shiny, it makes her feel good and helps with milk letdown when part of the milking ritual, and it cements a bond between us.

Afterwards, hang her tail to the side to stop her from slapping me in the face. Wipe the udder with a washcloth in a bucket of warm water with liquid soap until udder and teats are clean (shouldn't need much if she's been brushed well). Rinse with fresh water and a drop each of lavender and tea tree essential oils. Dry with paper towel and start milking by hand over an open bucket. The whole process doesn't take long… it's what a lot of people with only a few cows do.

No problems, no complaints, no illnesses, many happy customers… even those that I "let" pasteurize. lol

However, I only have one cow, so what I do is still more work than what giant commercial dairies do… spray the udders with high-pressure hoses and slap the machines on with the udders still dripping.

Tell me, Lykke. Whose milk would you rather buy to take home to pasteurize… mine or the high-speed mega-dairy?

Why shouldn't every one be given the choice to buy raw milk, including those who want to take it home to pasteurize?

Nobody likes commercial milk, once they've tasted real milk.

Joelie Hicks
January 10, 2011

Goatmaid you are 100% correct. I drink a lot of milk, but if I could not get raw I would probably not drink any milk at all.
Many years ago I bought milk from someone and pasturized it, but eventually stopped doing that when I saw how healthy they and their kids were. Nearly every family that drinks raw milk has one thing in common, seldom is there a broken bone, in one case there was a bad accident and the doctor could not believe how quickly his bone healed.
Nothing beats raw milk from pastured cows, I love visiting my cows and their families.

Ken Conrad
January 10, 2011

You may find these articles interesting.

Having milked jerseys for over forty years I am partial to and have a clear bias for their milk.

Jersey milk has a rich, smooth flavor because it naturally contains higher percentages of protein, calcium, and other important nutrients than milk from other dairy breeds. The extra protein is the reason Jersey milk yields the greatest amount of cheddar cheese: 12.35 pounds of cheese from 100 pounds of milk. This compares to the yield of average milk produced in the United States of 10.04 pounds of cheese.

Simonsberg has launched a new range of hand selected, vacuum sealed cheeses to add to the existing range of 12 months matured Cheddar and 6 months matured Gouda. The new range features a Cheddar 6 month matured, Traditional Gouda, Cheddar and Edam as well as a 4 month matured White Cheddar.

Jamie Montgomery has experimented making a farmhouse Cheddar using milk from his Pedigree Jersey herd. The taste is rich and buttery and the crumbly textured cheese melts in the mouth. The lovely grassy aromas offset the fruity mellow rich taste that lingers gently on the tongue. A very sophisticated traditional classic cheese. As this is a work in progress we will have to see if he continues transforming the milk into a Cheddar or another style of cheese such as a Gouda.

They compared two production systems, one using the large breed Holstein cow (average mature bodyweight, 1,500 pounds) and the other the smaller Jersey cow (1,000 pounds). Characteristically, the Jersey produces less milk measured by volume, but containing substantially higher fat and protein content. For the manufacture of Cheddar cheese, expected yields are 12.5 pounds cheese per hundredweight from Jersey milk compared to 10.1 pounds per hundredweight from Holstein milk

If we take a closer look at cheese, an interesting contradiction appears in the Jersey context. In May this year, the Exmoor Cheese Company carried off two gold medals in the World Jersey Cheese Awards. More than 100 cheeses were entered, all made exclusively from Jersey milk. The gold medals were for Exmoor Blue and Somerset Blue and interestingly enough, Exmoor Blue has its own PGI accreditation, even though it is made from Jersey milk. So Jersey seems to be applying its own, contradictory definition to what is from Jersey and what isn't. It is happy to celebrate the worldwide production of cheese from Jersey milk, while simultaneously attempting to halt worldwide sales in the milk itself.

Ken Conrad

January 10, 2011

"Jersey milk is not bad milk, its just not meant for cheese making."

Goat breeds are the same. Nubians have the best tasting milk (I think, lol) because it's sweet and rich… they're the Jerseys of the goat world with as much or more butterfat than Jerseys; and like Jerseys they don't produce as much as other breeds.

A lot of my customers prefer Nubian milk to Jersey milk because goatmilk doesn't separate, being naturally homogenized; Jersey milk separates very quickly into a very thick buttery layer on top.

At the other extreme, generally speaking, Toggenburgs have the strongest-tasting milk because they've been bred for cheesemaking, with an extra lipase content. I could be wrong, but they also have a lower butterfat than other breeds, except Saanens.

Alpines and the other breeds are a good all-around goats for good drinking flavor, less butterfat and more production for fluid consumption and cheesemaking (there is an inverse relationship between butterfat and amount of milk). As Bill points out, maximum butterfat is a problem with cheesemaking.

My favorite breed is the Nubian-Alpine cross.

January 10, 2011

"I drink a lot of milk, but if I could not get raw I would probably not drink any milk at all."

When I lived in Colorado, I bought raw goatmilk for years before I bought my farm. The woman I bought from (and who sold me my first goats) had been raising goats for 40 years. Her husband and children all drank the milk raw, and then their grandchildren.

One year, she didn't breed early enough and there was a dry period of several months where the grandchildren were presented with grocery store milk. They refused to touch it… they'd rather go without than drink that commercial stuff.

I've seen the same thing with my customers and their children… since I went to seasonal milking (my way of keeping my sanity, lol). Every year, about this time, I'm always asked, "When are you going to start milking again??? My kids won't drink anything else!"

NOBODY likes commercial milk once they've had the real raw stuff.

January 11, 2011

Children aren't stupid and they don't have the bias that lawyers, regulators and industry-men do. I've heard many stories of children young and old who previously refused to drink store milk but when Mom started bringing home raw milk they eagerly drank every bit of it.

Taste is not nothing. It is a great conscience and subconscious test of quality, nutrition, healthfulness, and safety.

January 11, 2011


What would be your order of preference for cattle breeds (available in this country) for using for cheese making, keeping in mind that the milk will also be consumed as fresh milk (so Holstein is out).

Any accompanying explanations would be welcomed and please state which you have made milk from.


January 11, 2011

Why do the CDC and state and local Health Departments always look for a point source of bacterial contamination when there is an "outbreak" of illness.Is it to distract us from the very real non point sources of chemical toxins that we are showered with every day? The air we breath and the water we drink as well as the food we eat are full of toxins that our bodies need to eliminate.Is it any surprise that people are suffering ever more frequent bouts of acute illness.Our bodies are struggling to eliminate an overload of toxic chemicals coming from many different sources.

Ken Conrad
January 11, 2011


As Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri states, Its all about greed its not about our wellbeing and safety.

So it is with the FDA assault on raw milk.

Ken Conrad

January 11, 2011

When his bogus health claims and bogus use of data to try and make it look like more people get sick from pasteurized dairy don't work, Mark calls people fascists. The irony of that, when he's clearly trying to expand "his" "territory," is so thick. Mark is clearly the one dedicated to increasing profits.

This enzyme and probiotic craze is falling flat. Research is showing that no one has a handle on it, and it doesn't appear to work. Mark, it's time to come up with another scheme to overcharge folks because you're too cheap to pasteurize.

Violet Willis
January 11, 2011


Waiting to hear Pete's questions answered . . . . But in the meantime Ever hear of this dairy in California:

All from Jersey Milk.

I really want to try some of their "Award Winning" cheeses:) They sound wonderful.

Your comment . . . ."Jersey Milk is not made for cheesemaking"

Utter hogwash . . . .

What type of milk have you really and truly worked with (other than Holstein). I am beginning to think that you are cutting and pasting from a "Cheese Manual" to try to make yourself look "Smart". Prove us wrong Bill . . .

Kind regards,