U.S. Following Through on 2009 Plot? Seems So As Federal Grand Jury Investigating IN and MI Raw Dairy Farmers

Two raw dairy farmers–Richard Hebron and David Hochstetler–have been ordered to appear before a federal grand jury in Detroit in connection with what an assistant U.S. attorney calls a “federal criminal investigation.”

The investigation may well have been plotted in early 2009, during a phone conference call involving state and federal regulators.

Richard HebronGrand jury investigations are considered very serious affairs, and are usually held in tight secrecy. While the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment is generally identified with prohibiting self incrimination and double jeopardy, it begins, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…” So we’re talking here about “a capital, or otherwise infamous crime…”

Moreover, witnesses called before such a jury of one’s peers have few of the rights that apply at a regular trial, including the right to be represented by a lawyer, or limits on the kind of evidence that can be introduced.  

The need for re-scheduling of an appearance by Hebron and Hochstetler, scheduled for yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, led to a testy exchange between an assistant U.S. attorney, Ross Goldstein, and Aajonus Vonderplanitz, operating in his role as executive director of Right to Choose Health Food. Hochstetler, an Amish farmer and the owner of Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, IN, has a leasing agreement with Right to Choose Healthy Food whereby his farm supplies food to members of the organization who belong to Midwest food clubs.

Vonderplanitz in August was denied by a federal judge any role in representing another Amish farmer, Daniel Allgyer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking a permanent injunction against Allgyer shipping raw milk to the Grassfed on the Hill food club in Maryland. It conducted a year-long undercover investigation of the food club prior to seeking the injunction.

Goldstein, the assistant U.S. attorney in Michigan, said in an email on Wednesday to Vonderplanitz, who was seeking confirmation of the re-scheduling of the two farmers to Dec. 8: “As Judge Stengel explained in his order denying your motion for intervention in United States v. Allgyer, No. 11-02651 (E.D. Pa. Jul. 18, 2011), ‘Mr. Vonderplanitz is not an attorney and cannot represent others in federal court . . . .’  Although your email of this morning implies that you represent the legal interests of other individuals or entities, you may not lawfully do so.  Accordingly, the substance of your communication…is of no moment and is being disregarded in toto. Moreover, I can see no reason why you should have any need to further discuss this matter with the United States at this juncture.”

To which Vonderplanitz responded, just as huffily, “You wrote with the authority of a judge yet you are a prosecutor. As a U.S. attorney, shouldn’t you know more about law, especially the U.S. Constitution than you reveal? The decision by Judge Stengel in the Allgyer case does not set precedence in that case or any other case. I am simply waiting for the case to be resolved in Judge Stengel’s court so that I can appeal the decision.

“I and all members of Right To Choose Healthy Food club members contracted for ownership of the animals at those farms to produce the food we need for our health. We have the most righteous legal interest. Just because one judge made a bad ruling does not make it right or precedence. It is not over until all appeal processes have been exhausted, in at least 5 years from the date it is over in the lower court.

“I do not purport to represent anyone as an attorney however, if you study the U.S. Constitution, anyone can assist anyone of his or her choosing. Since I have contractual legal interest in the activities you are trying to end, I have every right in the world to assist the innocent people and farmers you harass and try to prosecute to deprive them of life, liberty, well-being and livelihood. My email stands as your notification for Mr. Hebron and Hochstetler that the Grand Jury Hearing set for today was postponed by you in your conversation with Mr. Hebron, and that any other Grand Jury Hearing will have to begin from a new process.

“You will hear from me anytime you try to harass or stop a farmer with whom I have a PRIVATE club contract to produce healthy food for me and members of our private clubs. You have no legal jurisdiction over private clubs. Your jurisdiction is with the public.”  

Richard Hebron had a major skirmish with Michigan regulators five years ago. In October 2006, his pickup truck laden with raw dairy and other products was pulled over by state police on its way to drop off food with an Ann Arbor food club, and $7,000 worth of goods confiscated. The case was sent by the Michigan Department of Agriculture to a county prosecutor who, after six months of receiving protest letters and other objections from consumers and local politicians, sent the case back to MDA, which let Hebron off with a $1,000 fine. 

David Hochstetler, who supplies milk to several food clubs overseen by Hebron, received official attention in 2010, when his farm’s milk was identified with an outbreak of a dozen cases of campylobacter. Followup lab testing is understood to have come up with no sign of campylobacter. Hochstetler is a sometime attendee at national Weston A. Price Foundation conferences.

But shortly after that 2010 episode, when there were indications of possible legal action by the FDA, Hochstetler joined up with Vonderplanitz’s Right to Choose Healthy Food organization.

Both Hebron and Hochstetler were mentioned in email accounts of meetings between FDA and state regulators from around the Midwest–emails obtained in an open-records request by activist Max Kane in 2009. A February 2009 email with the subject, “FDA Raw Milk Conference Call,” summarized the call from DATCP’s perspective. The call had included four DATCP officials, nine FDA officials, two representatives from the Indiana Board of Animal Health, three from the Illinois Department of Public Health, and one from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.

I quoted from one of the emails at the time:  “Scott MacIntire [District Director] and Bill Weissinger [Chicago District Special Assistant] discussed FDA-CHI activities. They have done some Internet searching and identified about 20 milk clubs in Illinois. They prefer to address one person or group at a time and want to start with Richard Hebron, Family Farm Co-op, in Michigan who may be picking milk up at the Hochstetler Farm in Indiana for delivery in the Chicago area. Hebron has been prosecuted in Michigan for raw milk sales. Hochstettler was sent a warning letter for FDA Detroit for interstate delivery of raw milk.” (Hebron was never prosecuted.)

Sounds prescient, doesn’t it?

Leave a Reply

49 Comments on "U.S. Following Through on 2009 Plot? Seems So As Federal Grand Jury Investigating IN and MI Raw Dairy Farmers"

Sylvia Gibson
November 24, 2011

Woohoo You go Mr. Vonderplanitz! Indeed, it does sound like they had pre-knowledge of many things. It is easier to conquer one or two at a time.

The members of the groups along with the communities need to step forward and give voice to this oppression.

damaged justice
November 24, 2011

From some old notes:

"Since I am not learned in the law, are you prepared to recognize my right to assistance of counsel?"

This is the kicker. You must have your 'next friend' sitting at your side. 'Next friend' must be 'non-bar counsel.' If the judge answers 'Yes, you are free to obtain counsel of choice," you might then want to lean over and remind your friend that the killer questions are coming now.

Well before you complete your friendly interchange with counsel, the judge will probably ask you if the person to whom you speak is your counsel. And of course, honesty requires that you answer, "Yes, your honor." The judge will then ask non-bar counsel if he/she is licensed to practice law? And your counsel should answer respectfully "Your honor, my very close friend, the accused, has asked me to come with him today for support and counsel. I am not here to speak for him, to represent him, nor am I here to practice law." Next friend sits down. Judge immediately denies the accused counsel of choice, and reversible error is established.

Sylvia Gibson
November 24, 2011


"But state officials said it is also necessary to protect Maines dairy industry, which would take a serious hit in the public eye and would come under heavy scrutiny from federal regulators if someone became ill after drinking raw milk from an unlicensed dairy."

Proof it is not about food safety….protecting the "industry"


Poisoning the masses without informed consent.

Nourish Yourself
November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

For Marler….I rinsed my turkey….slow cooked it at 200 from 1am to 8am so that it's nice and juicy and rare!

Not a bacteria-phobe

Violet Willis
November 25, 2011

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving . . .

This is the first Thanksgiving that everything was almost completely sourced from our farm or very local . . for the first time ever . . .

Heritage Narranganset Turkey – Produced on our farm from egg to adult bird – raised on pasture with minimal grain inputs.

Pumpkin Pie – Pumpkin grown on our farm, Pastured Duck eggs from our farm, Raw cream from a local dairy . . .

Stuffing – Home baked bread, Celery from our farm, Onions from our farm, herbs from our farm – actually stuffed into the bird cavity as traditionally done up until the 1980's when TPTB told home cooks to cook stuffing outside of the bird due to the possibility of Salmonella contamination.

Wild Cranberry Sauce – Sourced from cranberries that Mark, Declan and I hand picked from an ocean side – mini bog . . .

Home made gravy. . . made from giblet stock and white wine . . .all cooked on my 1937 "Home Comfort" wood fired stove.

Kids drank a tall glass of raw milk with the above meal:)

Thinking that this is what most families produced and ate up until three generations ago prior to Big Ag taking over our food supply . . .and most families left the family farm behind . . .

Consequences from switching from a 70% Rural population three generations ago to a 70% Urban Population today are increased incidences of : Asthma, Food Allergies, ADHD, Gluten Intolerance, Cardiovascular problems, Cancer, Depression, Obesity, etc., etc., etc.,

In the 1970's . . . when I was a kid . . . no one had allergies and only one kid had asthma in my entire elementary school of over 150 kids. My son's small school (about 70 students) has so many kids with asthma . . . they need a high tech airflow meter in the school just in case of a severe asthma attack . . .

And we wonder why our nation is so obese and sickly . . . . and health care is so expensive . . .just look at all of the processed phoods TPTB say is good for us . . .

Kind regards,


Jennifer Feeney
November 25, 2011

First, the Hebrons are not raw dairy farmers. They raise pastured pork, beef, and poultry as well as some produce. David is the raw dairy farmer that supplies the milk to the Hebrons' private buying club. You have to be a member with a signed contract to get any dairy products. I know because I know the Hebrons and get my meat from them. I don't know Richard, but I know is brother.

This is terrible and has me very upset. What can be done to help/stop where this is going? Where is this going?

Shana Milkie
November 25, 2011

This new development is dreadful. A grand jury investigation for farmers producing food? Our government is becoming very repressive indeed. That's disturbing enough. But how much of our tax money and government employee person-hours are going towards these investigations? What a colossal waste of resources.

We here in Michigan are hurting enough economically, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. How dare the government interfere with an honest farmer producing a healthful good that people want? This [clean food production] is the kind of economic activity our state and country need – it should be nurtured, not prosecuted!

I'm going to help the Hebrons and Hochstetlers any way I can, and I know that others in Michigan will join me.

November 25, 2011

Whoa, I can't believe I'm the first to put up this link about honey on Marler's blog!!


Marler misleading and scaring people about a product… hmm, where have we heard that before?

Oh, wait …. HERE, on Complete Patient! LOL

Mary Martin
November 25, 2011

Goatmaid, did you even read the Food Safety News article? Unprocessed (raw) honey found at farmer's markets and at health food stores had pollen. Pollen in honey, especially if it is local, helps people who suffer from allergies. Are you really supporting the consumption of processed honey imported from other countries, versus raw honey from your local farmer?

Sylvia Gibson
November 25, 2011

From link to NPR:

"Before the honey hit the filters, a powdered sedimentary rock called diatomaceous earth was added. This is a standard, widely used process. "

That's disgusting. Glad I get my honey from the bee keeper at the farmers market. Buy American.

We grew up stuffing the bird and no one ever got sick. My son who is 35, made a comment the other day that no one had allergies, other than hay-fever when he was little. They were talking about nut allergies.

Jennifer,"What can be done to help/stop where this is going?"

Educating the public is one of the best ways to stop it. Emails, flyers, inter net postings, word of mouth.. Factual bullet statements of what is happening.. Pictures are better for imbedding into the brain.

A person will recall the overcrowded chicken house with the dead chickens, sickly looking ones, deformed-unable to walk chickens and the chicken farmer needing a mask just to go into the chicken house…most people are visual. Same for the CAFOs and cows standing/laying in liquid manure, manure encrusted hides, list of what is exactly in the grains fed, etc.

.A few years ago, just from repeating some basic things about some of the common chemicals added to processed foods and showing my then 82 yr old dad, what those chemicals potentially do to the human body and environment, he now reads all ingredients before buying….. He went to buy salt pork and put it down as he was amazed at the long chemical list…He said it should be pork and salt as it was when he was a kid. Now my brother smokes pork for dads beans. Dad is now 86, and has went from not reading ingredients to reading and asking questions. It didn't happen overnight, took a few years.. (He has eaten pork fat his whole life, grew up on raw dairy-in less than sterile conditions, eats whatever he wants and takes no medications)

.. Most people don't seem to have a clue and they usually don't speak out until it directly affects them.

Sharon Z
November 26, 2011

Violet, I'm with you.

A change of plans meant we were going to have Thanksgiving here instead of in Maine. I turned to my pantry/larder and had every ingredient on hand. We did have chicken instead of turkey but it was a hefty 8 pounder grown here, free ranged, a Freedom Ranger. Everything on the menu came from here or less than 10 miles away. I pulled frozen raw milk that I had been stashing in 3 cup increments from the freezer along with raw butter, cranberries grown by my friend in Maine, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and squash grown here. I was more than thankful to the Lord God for the bounty.

In the grocery store they were selling turkeys at 49 cents a pound. Made me shudder. People buying them thought they'd hit a gold mine.

I keep trying to tell you all that WHO wants raw milk banned entirely and they are the ones giving the marching orders. Now the WTO is going to stop COOL, except for meat, so we will no longer have the choice of not buying produce from Mexico. It is only going to get worse now that we are living in a Facist country. Get your underground food systems in place now. It is your only hope.


November 26, 2011

Mary, did you even read the NPR article? It explains why all but organic American honey is filtered through food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE)…because Americans feel cheated if purchased honey crystallizes, whereas most other nations it's completely expected.

And not all honey is imported… there are many smaller American honey companies that filter their honey to prevent it from crystallizing because American consumers expect it. There are other ways to trace honey origins than just pollen.

"Are you really supporting the consumption of processed honey imported from other countries, versus raw honey from your local farmer?"

Of course not, and I agree… raw honey with pollen is best. But I am against alarmist, inaccurate articles written mainly to flame fires… something Marler is expert at. I am against jumping to conclusions about products and demonizing them.

BTW, for those who don't know, food-grade DE is simply powdered fossilized diatoms, accepted as a nontoxic, organic feed additive for livestock minerals and parasite/fly control. You have been eating it for years because it's added to grains as a insect deterrent/dessicant:

DE is completely non-toxic; I feed it to my chickens to strengthen eggshells and to the livestock because it passes through in the manure to kill fly larvae. I also sprinkle it around manure piles for the same reason.

Mary Martin
November 26, 2011


Bill Marler did not write it. Read this and tell me why you wouldn't support what was written.

Mary Martin
November 26, 2011
Sylvia Gibson
November 26, 2011


I didn't know that was added to foods/feeds. It didn't work when we used it to deter slugs in dads garden.

Blair McMorran
November 26, 2011

It appears to me that the focus of the grand jury would be criminal actions by the state and federal regulators. The farmers certainly had no conspiracy, but the regulators did. Or is this just wishful thinking?

Bill Marler
November 26, 2011

David – I agree with you A grand jury for this and no prosecution for the Salmonella peanut guy or the Salmonella egg king priorities?

Goatmaid, before you assume that the NPR article is correct, or that I am trying to scare anyone, take a look at the whole series by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Andy Schneider:

Asian Honey, Banned in Europe, Is Flooding U.S. Grocery Shelves – FDA has the laws needed to keep adulterated honey off store shelves but does little, honey industry says. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/honey-laundering/

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey – Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/

Top Pollen Detective Finds Honey a Sticky Business. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/top-pollen-detective-finds-honey-a-sticky-business/

And, folks, in case you missed it:

3 Illnesses Linked to WA Raw Milk Dairy. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/three-illnesses-in-washington-linked-to-raw-milk-dairy/

Or this:

Raw Milk Myth Buster 1 – Organic Pastures 2006 Raw Milk E. coli Outbreak was caused by Spinach. http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/raw-milk-myth-1—organic-pastures-2006-raw-milk-outbreak-was-caused-by-spinach/


Organic Pastures and the Weston A. Price Foundation continue to repeat that the 2006 E. coli O157:H7 Raw Milk Product Outbreak was caused by Spinach.


– 2006 Organic Pastures outbreak, illness onsets ranged from 9/6 to 9/24
– 5 patients had definite exposure to raw milk or raw milk products produced by Organic Pastures; the 6th patient denied drinking Organic Pastures milk but his family routinely consumed OP raw milk.
2 raw whole milk
2 raw skim milk
1 raw colostrum
– 5 patients with culture confirmation were PFGE matches to each other. Final report describes the PFGE patterns as new to the PulseNet database and they differed markedly from the patterns of the concurrent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak strain associated with spinach consumption.
– 4 patients reported consuming leafy salad greens of any kind
– 4 patients reported consuming lettuce
– 1 patient consumed bagged spinach on two occasions at restaurants
– 1 patient consumed bunched spinach (not bagged Dole)
– 2 patients consumed alfalfa sprouts
– 1 patient consumed ground beef
– No common restaurants
– No other common exposures

Reference: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5723a2.htm

Violet Willis
November 26, 2011


If Mark had challenged you to a Court Hearing in 2006 instead of settling his case . . . . you would have perhaps lost. No E-Coli was found on his farm then . . .

Like MRSA . . . which is found everywhere nowdays . . .My husband was infected with MRSA from a bug bite in 2005 while hiking the Appalachian Trail . .E-Coli O157:H7 is everywhere now . . .So unless you have an identical farm match . . you don't have a case. Let us see how Mark's testing plays out here.

In the future . . . Mark needs to be honest . . . his herd is not 100% grass fed . . . not even close . .. his farm is more like an organic, raw, CAFO farm . . .so much different than most grass based local raw diaries out there , , ,

Kind regards,


Bill Marler
November 26, 2011

Vi, let me get this straight, OP, its lawyers and insurance carriers, and the two stores and their lawyers and insurance carriers, all knew the outbreak in 2006 was not linked to OPs raw milk products? And, I am such an amazing lawyer that they simply gave up? Really? OP and Sally Fallon have claimed that it was spinach that sickened the children, but why would I make a claim against OP, when I could have done it against Dole?

I have been completely open with my facts and my argument: http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/organic-pastures-dairy-e-coli-o157h7-raw-milk-product-outbreak-2006/

Where is OPs and the Stores?

So, all this is BS too?

(1) Current outbreak — 5 sick children

Raw milk products from a Fresno-based dairy (Organic Pastures) were quarantined Tuesday night after being linked five children who developed E.coli O157:h7 infections, including 3 children who acquired a deadly blood disease (HUS) allegedly from the dairy products:


(2) This raw dairy has been involved in recalls and outbreaks

Organic Pastures products were recalled for pathogens in 2007 and 2008. It was tied to a 2007 outbreak of Campylobacter. Most notably, it wasquarantined in 2006 after 6 children became ill with E. coli infections. This is the state report from 2006:


The state report from the 2006 E. coli outbreak shows clearly that the dairy had very high coliform counts, an indirect measure of fecal contamination. Its "colostrum" products had extremely high levels. From page 6 of the report: "Colostrum and chocolate colostrum had fecal coliform counts ranging from 320,000 to 140,000,000 MPN/g."

2006: 3 strains of E. coli O157:H7 cultured from OPDC heifer feces??http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5723a2.htm??

2007: 50 strains of Campylobacter jejuni plus Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointetinalis, and Campylobacter lari cultured from OPDC dairy cow feces.??http://www.marlerclark.com/pdfs/ClusterofCampylobacterinfectionsrawmilkEpi22007.pdf??

2007: Listeria monocytogenes cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream??http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ArchiveRecalls/2005/ucm112271.htm??

2008: Campylobacter cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream??http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/egov/Press_Releases/Press_Release.asp?PRnum=08-061

And, OPs outsourcing is not real either: http://www.marlerblog.com/legal-cases/organic-pastures—where-there-is-smoke-there-is-fire/

Vi Its time for a tall, cool glass of reality.

Sylvia Gibson
November 26, 2011

What is the "epidemiologic data collected by the California Department of Public Health" that links the illnesses with Organic Pastures raw milk?

Bill Marler
November 26, 2011

Sy – do a FOIA request and get it. I did it in 2006 and I am doing it now. The facts will set you free.

Sylvia Gibson
November 26, 2011


"Epidemiology is concerned with the incidence of disease in populations and does not address the question of the cause of an individual's disease. This question, sometimes referred to as specific causation, is beyond the domain of the science of epidemiology. Epidemiology has its limits at the point where an inference is made that the relationship between an agent and a disease is causal (general causation) and where the magnitude of excess risk attributed to the agent has been determined; that is, epidemiology addresses whether an agent can cause a disease, not whether an agent did cause a specific plaintiff's disease."[14]

I was hoping that someone knew the format california used to for their epidemiological data? Did they just ask questions? Did they just go by what the medical facility asked/said? Did they test the milk the kids drank? (Some news reports stated they did test the milk the kids drank and the state said it was negative) How does the state go about collecting this data? Is it observation? Is it testing?

Bill Marler
November 26, 2011

Here is the questionnaire that California uses:


Sylvia Gibson
November 26, 2011

How does that prove that it came from OP?

Bill Marler
November 26, 2011

Sy, FOIA the 2006 and 2011 questionnaires from from California for the individual patients (or, come visit me in Seattle and I will show them to you) and you can see for yourself what the link is or is not. Only the names of the patients are redacted.

Mark has the same documents from 2006 as does his lawyer, the insurers and the stores, their lawyers and insurers. I am sure Mark has asked for the same for the 2011 outbreak as well. I know I have ordered them.

Blair McMorran
November 26, 2011

Sylvia, thank you for the clarification on the "science" of epidemiology.

"Epidemiology has its limits at the point where an inference is made that the relationship between an agent and a disease is causal (general causation) and where the magnitude of excess risk attributed to the agent has been determined; that is, epidemiology addresses whether an agent can cause a disease, not whether an agent did cause a specific plaintiff's disease."[14]

So our regulators are going on inference. Including recent science about e. coli's ability to adapt in the presence of antibiotics, bleach, pH, intestinal vulnerability etc bears no weight when it comes to raw milk. If it's vegetables, or hamburger, water or mercury, jet fuel or cell phones – that is irrelevant, because we have control over production of those ..

Raw milk must be the culprit, because we don't control it. (We don't even want to look at it.)

Interesting that the 1st question they ask is if the patient consumed raw milk; and the 2nd question is if they consumed raw dairy products — when statistically the risk of illness from consuming raw milk is 0.003 and the risk of cultured raw dairy is far less!

Bill, I have to ask – do you understand the nature of disease, and how the host facilitates disease? Do you trust the FDA's judgment?


lola granola
November 26, 2011

I read this link Bill Marler provided above:

And was struck by this line from the commenter, Phyllis Entis:
"Organizations such as Weston Price approach raw milk with religious fervor."

It reminded me of a comment I had seen recently on Facebook by a Weston Price supporter. I've withheld her name for privacy reasons.
"…clean, life giving, organic, grass-fed milk from their own cows? A substance that has nourished all life since the beginning of time, a substance that without it, no one would even be here today."

Her statement is obviously incorrect, since humans lived for thousands of years before agriculture came into being and cow's milk was harvested for human consumption. Plus, many cultures around the world have high levels of lactose intolerance and do not consume milk. They have not died out from the lack of milk.

Her comment reeks of religious fervor. It's mythological, legendary, but lacking in facts.

Perhaps it is time to put the mythology and dogma surrounding raw milk to bed and to start looking at it through science-colored glasses. I don't believe the regulators, public health authorities, and personal injury attorneys will give this movement any credibility until we do.

Sylvia Gibson
November 26, 2011

From Lola's link:
"there are more than simple consumer risks for milk-from-farm sales in Canada. We run a quota-based system here that, while not perfect, does help with sustainability and mitigating overproduction. Milk-from-farm sales work outside of the system, unjustly penalizing farmers who pay for quota to produce as well as bypassing testing procedures."

Isn't the big dairy industry in the US like this? Don't they have quotas, or something similar? Farm subsidies? Didn't they dump tons of milk because of pricing? So much for free market…

All parties should be truthful and factual about all foods, to include additives, chemicals, and any other adulterations. It is also the consumers responsibility to research what they eat, where it comes from, how it is raised/processed. Because of the mass imports, mass chemically adulterated environment and foods; the research is required to be able to make an informed choice- otherwise, you are play Russian Roulette with your life.

The govt says X amount of mercury, lead is ok…..if you agree, that is fine, I do not and I want to know what it is in, so that I can avoid it. I have to dig to find my answers and even then, the information is so skewed it is questionable.

Mary Martin
November 27, 2011
Bill Marler
November 27, 2011

Lola – same thing I have been thinking about. I think all the "magic talk" and the "outbreaks never happen or are part of some grand conspiracy," just steels health department's and FDA's approach to raw milk. That approach then gets raw milk advocates pushing back with the anti-science and magic talk, and on and on. Both sides shouting past each other and consumers more confused than ever.

I am working on an expanded Raw Milk Myth piece that I will post at http://www.foodsafetynews.com next week.

Say, regarding OP – I rest my case:

Video: http://healthytraditions.com/blog/post.cfm/certified-raw-milk-in-california-visits-to-the-two-raw-milk-dairies – Organic Pastures vs Claravale Raw Milk – Raw Milk Smackdown! A pictures worth 1,000 cows.

The Complete Patient
November 27, 2011

You may well have the conspiracy part right…but no, afraid that's not what the government is after in its grand jury probe.

Bill M., Sylvia, lola granola, Mary M.
There is such a vast gulf between raw dairy consumers and the public health community I am not even sure where to start to bridge it. And it keeps widening. Just look at the comments on Organic Pastures' Facebook page–many dozens, and no one has even the slightest concern about drinking its milk. In fact, they just want their milk back ASAP. What that says is that people don't believe what the public health and ag regulators are warning about. Absolutely no trust or credibility.

I'm not sure if the "magic talk" Bill M. alludes to were to completely disappear, that would change public health approach. They sincerely believe raw milk is dangerous and shouldn't be available. If your mind is made up in such black-and-white way, then anyone who says they want raw milk is irresponsible and crazy, whether they engage in magic talk or not.

If I ran a public health agency , I would be concerned about the credibility gap, want to find ways to fix it. Maybe engage in dialog, for a start? But no, what we see is the public health approach is to hit harder and harder and harder. I guess they figure they can beat consumers into submission, or finally succeed in removing the product, and that people will move on and forget what they were after. Not the strategy I'd want to bank on.


Sylvia Gibson
November 27, 2011

"What that says is that people don't believe what the public health and ag regulators are warning about. Absolutely no trust or credibility. "

For any changes in the beliefs of the consumers, there would need to have drastic changes in the govts realm. Not going to happen.

"I guess they figure they can beat consumers into submission, or finally succeed in removing the product, and that people will move on and forget what they were after. "

This appears to be the direction the govt is taking.

lola granola
November 27, 2011

From the Weston A. Price Foundation's website:
"Milk is indeed an excellent medium for the survival and growth of bacteria-good bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria are added to raw milk, the good bacteria eliminate them, as shown in published studies and in recent tests with the milk from Organic Pastures Dairy in California (see http://www.organicpastures.com). "

From Amanda Rose's article, "Memo to raw-milk advocates: Improve information, or get sued":
"On it, a dairyman describes a private lab test he funded in which he had pathogens introduced into his own milk and colostrum. Referring to the counts of E. coli 0157:H7, he says the E. coli "did not grow and declined substantially over time." The lab report, which is available on the Internet, tells a different story. In the graph to the right, I present the data for E. coli 0157:H7 in the two milk and colostrum samples. Microbiologists would transform the bacteria counts and express them on a log scale, but for our purposes we can see that the number of pathogenic cells declines by Day 4 of the test and then largely recovers by Day 7. As it may take fewer than 50 cells of this bacteria to make a person sick, complete reduction of the pathogen is necessary to ensure safety of the final product. We certainly see no evidence in this study of complete destruction of the disease-causing organism."

From the Weston A. Price website:
"Careful production of raw milk always ensures a safe product."

There have been several raw milk outbreaks. We know this is false.

From the Weston A. Price website:
"Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy…has never detected any pathogen in his milk."

Bill Marler has provided evidence otherwise. We know this is false.

"Just look at the comments on Organic Pastures' Facebook page–many dozens, and no one has even the slightest concern about drinking its milk. In fact, they just want their milk back ASAP."

I am concerned that there are consumers who are NOT concerned that their milk supplier has been linked to an outbreak of e-coli 0157:H7 (without knowing if that link is unfounded or not). I fear these are sadly misinformed people, who have relied on the Weston Price Foundation and the Organic Pastures marketing team for their information, and the information they provide is distorted. I don't doubt that the regulatory-types have been schooled to think a certain way about raw milk, and that their minds are hard to change, but the outright misinformation circulating about raw milk (putting into the mythological realm while ignoring science) does not help this movement's credibility.

deborah evans
November 27, 2011

David said:

"I guess they figure they can beat consumers into submission, or finally succeed in removing the product, and that people will move on and forget what they were after. "

That's why we the citizens elected our president who appointed, and our legislative representatives who approved, the current set of Un-elected Phood+Drug Nazi Dictators in the first place, right?

Barney Google
November 27, 2011

From the Weston A. Price website:
"Careful production of raw milk always ensures a safe product."


(You know how she is fed, cared for, and milked…)

Kristen Papac
November 27, 2011

Lola Granola has said the most reasoned thing I have seen here since reading. Here, here, Lola!

"I am concerned that there are consumers who are NOT concerned that their milk supplier has been linked to an outbreak of e-coli 0157:H7 (without knowing if that link is unfounded or not). I fear these are sadly misinformed people, who have relied on the Weston Price Foundation and the Organic Pastures marketing team for their information, and the information they provide is distorted. I don't doubt that the regulatory-types have been schooled to think a certain way about raw milk, and that their minds are hard to change, but the outright misinformation circulating about raw milk (putting into the mythological realm while ignoring science) does not help this movement's credibility."

This might give you some insight to the marketing practices of OPDC versus reality:

Kristen Papac
November 27, 2011

Barney Google, et. al.:

In a perfect world we would all own our own cow and milk it. Then we would have total control over the cow, environment, feed and thus the quality of milk produced. People are doing so increasingly with their backyard chickens.

But we do not live in such a perfect world. What do you and others like you recommend to we mothers who sit at our computer living in a city doing the best we can to provide raw milk and good food for our families?

What do we do in the meantime while OPDC is down, and we want our raw milk and can't get it? There IS a higher demand than there is supply here in CA, even with OPDC in full operation as a 400+ cow dairy. What, if any, is the solution to meet this demand?

Do we not drink milk? Do we drink gently pasteurized grass fed milk with soy in the feed? Do we drink ultra-pasteurized organic? Do we drink UHT CAFO milk?



Sylvia Gibson
November 27, 2011

Some people believe that fast phoods and highly processed phoods are healthy for you too. Especially if the package says "healthy" on it. If it taste good it must be good, right? The calorie count, fat counts are the most important gauge for healthy foods, right?

To learn, people need to be receptive, there is an old saying; When the student is ready the teacher will appear (unknown) I don't think the majority are ready to learn yet…slowly people are opening their eyes. The movement IS growing slowly.

In the links above, Claravale cows were standing in manure while eating the hay. OP has more cows and it has more manure.

Personally, I prefer the smaller farm/dairy. Mostly naturally grass fed, all organic (true organic)

Gordon Watson
November 27, 2011

Barney Google
I guess, logically, you must have your own oil well for diesel fuel?

and your own iron mine, and steel mill alongside for when you need to forge a few parts for all that equipt. on the place. And you grow all your own cotton, too, so whenever you need a fresh pair of socks, and all … etc.
Of your ilk, my old man used to say "pull up the ladder, Jack, I'm alright".
Whattaguy … disproving what John Donne said about 'no man is an island' … you're a self-contained, self-made man! Thus saving the Almighty a lot of embarrassment.
but the rest of us do interact with each other. About 1000 people in BC get REAL MILK today, only because some people have what used to be called "an attitude of service". You could look it up.
The result of your philosophy – in this fallen world – would be, they don't get fed properly … is that what you prefer?

Violet Willis
November 27, 2011

Kristen and all . . .

The solution to this problem is that we need to rebuild our local foodsheds from the ground up again. Our small Maine town up until the 60's had a meat and dairy inspector . . . can you believe that!!!!

Why can't we do this again on a local scale . . . . why is it that we have to look to the State and Federal Government to regulate our food . . . . we did this because we bought into all of the "Safety" BS that TPTB fed us over the years . . . and we took out Home Economics and Cooking classes in our high schools . . . so now we have to rely on cheap, regulated processed Phoods. No one cooks anymore from scratch . . . we just don't have the time with two parents working, kids playing sports after school, etc., our culture has been so removed from our food source . . . that small scale farming is a dirty, horrible, job to most kids . . . they just don't want to do it because TPTB say that if you are not big. . . . you won't be successful.

This is so very, very wrong. And those of us on this blog and others need to start educating within our communities the value of local agriculture. It needs to start with us . . . Only with many voices can we change the status quo . . . which we know is unhealthy . . . and begin a rural revival . . . we need more small healthy and productive farms with young people in charge. . . . and educated consumers need to understand that they will have to pay slighty more for this type of food . . . but not only willl it be more nourishing and taste better . . . but I believe that it will cut down on our reliance of Big Pharma drugs.

Kind regards,


Sylvia Gibson
November 27, 2011

"The solution to this problem is that we need to rebuild our local foodsheds from the ground up again."

Violet you are so very right.

http://www.fresnohealthinspections.org/FacilityResults.aspx MarK went from minor violations to a significant change beginning last year, consistently forgets to get those nasty old spider webs…. Just glancing through the other dairy "inspections" Mark's were up to date and more detailed than the other dairies…


kirsten weiblen
November 27, 2011

I tend to give a lot more weight to people that farm on these comments. Farming is plain hard work, and until it finds its deserved place in the values of this country, people will continue to be poisoned by processed foods and the drugs that are a "remedy" for them.

There is very real truth in what Violet has said. We do need many local farms. Maybe we need 20 Claravales instead of one OP, though for the record, neither of those operations looked particularly egregious. I would slap some solar panels on those roofs, however.

Barney Google seems to think a man can be an island. All the same, it sure would be nice if there wasn't such an impressive array of regulation and legal hassle positioned against one of the world's oldest and most necessary occupations.

You don't have to sit at home at your computer "doing the best that you can". Hens don't produce milk, but people have free will.

Barney Google
November 27, 2011

No matter how I answer this I am going to make someone mad…..

I have never said that people should be an island. If this is what you get from my comment, you do not understand me.

IN THE CONTEXT of these farm shares not being seen as legal by the state, and IN THE CONTEXT of continued outbreaks due to raw milk, the sanest solution is to buy your own cow.

Ive been farming for 25 years, and its only been lately that people actually care about the farmer who produces his food. What those of you who dont farm dont seem to realize, is that you are not only asking your farmer to take 100% responsibility for the safety of a product that the public health people and insurance companies dont see as safe, but you are asking that he subject himself to possibly YEARS of legal limbo if the state chooses to prosecute (making his life a living hell).

So if I have a small farm share, selling $100 worth of milk a week to the members, and I make someone sick, I am liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital costs? How does that make economic sense? Why would I want to do this? In your excitement to get raw milk, why would you ask a person to take this responsibility, when you wont yourself? When I get a letter, then a visit, from the state, when I have to go to court and pay $$$ legal fees, what responsibility do you have? None. Youll just move on to another farmer while my life and my business are in ruins.

The easiest solution is staring you in the face but you dont want to see it. Buy your own cow (milk her yourself or pay someone to do it for you, I dont care), forget McAfee, forget the farm share thing, and take responsibility yourself. I personally will not take the risk. If you can find a farmer who will sell to you, great, I dont care. But I will not. I will not risk it.

Sophie Lovett
November 28, 2011

Lots of good stuff in this thread…

"But state officials said it is also necessary to protect Maines dairy industry, which would take a serious hit in the public eye and would come under heavy scrutiny from federal regulators if someone became ill after drinking raw milk from an unlicensed dairy."

Proof it is not about food safety….protecting the "industry"
Sheesh…the state officials are full of faulty logic and perhaps something else. And yes, definitely protecting the industry.

It looks like the Ministry of Disinformation is being hoisted by its own petard. I said a while back right here on this blog that the regulators are creating food safety issues by their lies and exaggerations. IF they EVER tell the truth, no one will believe them. And here we are.

Yes Kristen. I think many smaller dairies in CA would be far preferable to one big one and one tiny one. (No disrespect meant to Mark, just a food supply, food safety observation.)

Milky Way
November 28, 2011


You might appreciate these comments by a former raw dairy farmer who was quoted last year:

A dairy changes course

Tim Lukens used to feel a lot like Brown. In 2006, the state descended on his Grace Harbor Farms, near Bellingham, after two children were diagnosed with E. coli illness. Initially, Lukens said, he "didn't want to believe" his milk was responsible.

He has since learned a lot. First of all, cows shed the E. coli bacteria intermittently. The milk could be fine one day, contaminated the next.

Besides, he said, "You cannot clean a cow's udder off well enough every time" in a commercial operation.

In addition, scooping up milk samples for testing is like fishing. Just because the WSDA doesn't catch anything doesn't mean there aren't any fish in the lake.

"What happens if there was E. coli floating in there and you didn't happen to get it?" he said. "All it takes is one bottle with a few cells."

And lastly, there is the problem of temperature. Bacteria grows in temperatures over 40 degrees. Dairymen quickly cool their milk, but there's no guaranteeing what happens when it gets to the consumer.

"What starts as one or two cells could grow into hundreds," Lukens said.

He stopped selling raw milk after he learned all this.

"My opinion is, there's no possible way you can keep fecal contamination out of a milk stream," he said. "We came very close to one of the worst things somebody can experience causing some kind of permanent malady in someone else's life."

Some people say Lukens has it all wrong. "Some of them are still convinced I got framed," he said. "I didn't."



Sophie Lovett
November 28, 2011

MW: All of that is informative. It's a wonder that any non-contaminated milk exists at all. Yet, how can you explain the hundreds of thousands of us who drink raw milk every day who do not get sick?

Milky Way
November 28, 2011


Although microbiological surveys are not perfect (variable lab methods, "fishing" expedition in the bulk tank as Tim described), I think there is enough data to show that most of the time raw milk is not contaminated. And, sometimes there may be low levels of contamination not picked-up by state or private lab tests. As discussed at length on this blog, there are also variations in host susceptibility to disease causing organisims (and a range of symptoms depending on dose, age, immune status, etc.).

The same applies for most other foods, except some foods like raw milk are riskier due to the way the food is produced. Raw milk is especially challenging because production is 24/7, 365 days a year in an environment that inherently has manure in close proximity to the product. The farmer can only do so much, and consumers (including buyers and distributors in clubs/herdshares) may not always appreciate the sensitivity of the product. In the rare event there is a Salmonella or E. coli O157 contamination, even a few cells could outgrow the non-pathogenic flora in the milk under the right circumstances (such as temperature abuse).


Eric Brody
December 7, 2011

"She noted that with Mark McAfee bowing out for the time being, following on the path of other veterans who haven't commented much lately, "I just truly miss the substantial educational feedback I have enjoyed on this blog in the past." "

Hi David;

Yeah, I'm on of those who haven't commented lately. I've watched with sadness how these folks have good intention but let their anger spew forth. That anger grows and grows..even when I post my opinion, I get a few nasty emails. And now anybody who is from the Weston A. Price Foundation and anybody who disagree with them are just labeled 'Groupthinkers'

I guess like many others, I just turn the other cheek. I spend too much time educating and connecting folks in the community to really try to deal with all the angry folks who go everywhere at every opportunity at Mark McAfee, WAPF, HFF, etc.

Take Bill Marler for example – he likes to go on and on about Organic Pastures and food safety. He can't even post correctly the facts on raw milk on his site and works at every opportunity to attack Organic Pastures. I don't see him doing anything about it except to tear down raw milk at every point and make money off those who are injured in any food outbreak. If he truly cared, he would have worked toward helping raw milk standards and such. If this guy had his way, say good bye to every one of your food rights, family farmer, local produce and say 'Hello' to irradation, pasteurization, GMO…

It seems like instead of moving on to the bigger picture, the debate disintegrate into Organic Pastures past and every single problems they had is put under a microscope and on display. If you put Claravale under the microscope or any individual, you'll find some problems. You'll always find folks are just human. Pick up the Christian or Hebrew Testaments or the Koran and read more in depth about Jesus Christ or Mohammed or Moses and you'll see all kinds of human failings they had…they lied…they cheated, they killed, etc. It's really a matter of perspectives and how you place the incident in the proper content.

I think that is why corporations exists….by putting up a board and making themselves faceless, they don't have to deal with this personal animosity. Mark McAfee could just hide behind the board.

I tell these folks if they suspect fraud or such, they can contact the DA office or farmer's market. I don't have nor get paid millions of dollars to push charges against the HFF and Rawesome for distributing raw milk. I would think of all that money the DA and all the government agency spent, they would have investigate and put up fraud charges against them.

We can either choose to live to build up things or tear down things. Sadly, these folks are good people with good intention but have no idea how detrimental the actions are to the whole food rights movement. Some like Marler are just out to make a buck. Imagine putting this lawyer and his past under the microscope.

Anyway I do enjoy your posting and I apologize to all the good folks for not posting much these days.


Margo McIntosh
December 7, 2011

I think you have hit the nail on the head with this explanation. Humans always seem to need to create a big drama around issues that concern them. The problem with that is that we end up being divided on the very subjects where we need to be unified. Hence on the raw milk front we are still fighting this battle after all these years. Perhaps everyone who is so passionate about their opinions would do better to agree to disagree on some issues and work together to change the regulations instead of people going their separate ways and working in small groups. We've made some headway with the raw milk movement but it isn't going to succeed if we don't leave petty differences behind and work together to change the laws. My opinion.