What’s This, a Calm Attitude By Pediatricians Toward Possible Raw Milk Illnesses? On Pink Slime, and Bushmeat


A suburban San Francisco pediatric practice says there is ever-more evidence connecting an outbreak of campylobacter among nine of its young patients to Claravale Farm, a producer of raw milk.

Dr. Lindy Woodard of Pediatric AlternativesWhat’s been the pediatric practice’s response? Well, it emailed an alert to all the 700 or so families on its patient list a week ago, and gave them a calm heads up. Calm, because this four-physician practice, Pediatric Alternatives, is unusual among pediatricians in that it actually recommends that parents feed their families raw milk.

“We know that many of you give your children raw milk at our recommendation,” the alert began. “Unfortunately, we have several children in the practice who have recently come down with a gastro-intestinal infection we suspect is associated with raw milk from the Claravale Dairy. So, as a precautionary measure, we are asking you not to give your children Claravale milk until this issue is resolved.

“The infection is from a bacteria called Campylobacter which causes a food poisoning type of diarrhea. Campylobacter can be acquired from many different types of foods, but also from other sources, like playing with puppies. Most of the time this infection is not severe, but occasionally children can get fever, chills and or diarrhea with blood in it. Usually the infection is allowed to resolve on its own, but for more severe cases it is treated with a short course of antibiotics. We are happy to report that the children who acquired the bug are all doing fine.”

Absent from the pediatricians’ email was the hyperbole that usually accompanies news of possible illnesses from raw milk trumpeted by the personal injury law firms, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the, “It can kill!” or “Raw milk should never be served to children…” that is the norm.

As the alert noted, it’s not an absolute certainty that Claravale’s milk was responsible. But, according to Lindy Woodard, one of three pediatricians at the practice, of nine children sickened by campylobacter over the past month, “All have been on Claravale raw milk.” “She added that there have been no reports of illness from drinking milk from Organic Pastures or from any of the herd share programs that families from the practice may participate in. Woodard estimates that between 20% and 30% of the approximately 1,000 children who are part of the practice drink raw milk. (Coincidentally, a few people linked to a video with Woodard, following my previous post, taken at a showing of the documentary “Farmageddon” last September.)

I wasn’t able to reach anyone at Claravale, nor is anything about possible illnesses posted on its web site. I wasn’t able to reach anyone a month ago, when word of illnesses came up in comments following my February 17 post. At that time, it was understood that possibly six children had become sick, and Claravale shut down for a week. Since then, another three children in the Pediatric Alternatives practice have become sick.

A number of people on this blog posted information they had in hand about a possible outbreak, and the Marler Blog used those comments to broadcast that illnesses at Claravale had been “outed”.

According to Woodard, the parents of sick children have been fairly calm. One told Woodard she wished the alert had been sent out sooner. And another has been in touch with area health departments to make sure they are aware (though laboratories routinely report newly discovered campylobacter cases to public health officials). One parent still had an unopened bottle of Claravale milk from several weeks ago, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture was understood to be picking it up for testing this coming week. Claravale was understood to have done extensive testing, that yielded negative results, when it closed for a week in February.  

The Pediatric Alternatives practice is unusual in that it not only recommends that parents include raw milk as part of children’s diet, but treats children whose parents refrain from vaccination, tries to avoid antibiotics, and offers “a naturopathic approach to allergy elimination through good nutrition and gut health.” Part of its “integrative” philosophy, as stated on its web site, is that “Food is medicine.”

“We’re the rabble rousers” among pediatric practices, says Woodard.

As for the illnesses, “I don’t think it is a big deal,” Woodard told me. By contrast, she noted that some estimates have it that more than half of all the nation’s chicken is tainted with campylobacter. The problems associated with the raw milk illnesses are, in the practice’s experience, far outweighed by the nutritional benefits for the children who drink raw milk. When their parents get rid of processed carbs and include raw milk, the children invariably “are glowing,” she says. 

I’ll make a couple predictions: The personal injury law firms will run with this story, and criticize both the pediatricians and the parents who use the pediatric practice. They notion of a calm rational approach to possible illness from raw milk doesn’t square with their fear mongering and desire to ban raw milk. And you know what? Pediatric Alternatives will gain new patients as a result.
I guess I’m one of the last to comment about the “pink slime” story that has been all the rage over the past couple weeks. To me, it’s just another example of hidden processing of our food–the kind most people prefer not to know about. But with the national television media practically shoving the pink slime in our faces, it was difficult to avoid. Also difficult to avoid is the reality that the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn’t about to require that labels for ground beef indicate whether it contains pink slime. (That could be an opportunity for some cute art work to indicate the presence of the stuff.)  To me, it is just another reason more people are trying to exit the public factory food system, and obtain their meat privately, from known sources.
I was able to spend some time at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases this past week in Atlanta, to try to improve my understanding of food safety issues. One of the things I learned was that, of the 146 illnesses and 31 deaths from listeria in cantaloupe last year, the vast majority of those affected (86%) were over 60 years old. And salmonella is the most common bacterial pathogen, accounting for 40% of all foodborne outbreaks. Outbreaks of salmonella in eggs have been on the decline, while those from norovirus in leafy greens have been on the increase.

There were some presentations I wouldn’t have expected, like one about how a home garden was contaminated by salmonella in manure from the owners’ horses, and another about the growing trend, and supposed dangers, of importing bushmeat from Africa.

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53 Comments on "What’s This, a Calm Attitude By Pediatricians Toward Possible Raw Milk Illnesses? On Pink Slime, and Bushmeat"

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Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 18, 2012 3:09 am

Did the doctors in this practice educate their patients on all the different kinds of pathogens that can find their way into raw milk, along with the serious complications that can result for some? Do they teach about both the benefits and risks of consuming raw milk? I wonder if any of the parents of the children who became ill know that GBS (paralysis) is a possibility if you contract a campylobacter infection. I also wonder how many other children/adults who are not a part of this medical practice also became ill. The 9… Read more »

Kristen P
March 18, 2012 3:18 am

This is just more than a bit eerie to me. I know about Pediatric Alternatives because I grew up in the same county where they practice. I went to a talk by Sally Fallon-Morell that this practice sponsored. At the time I was almost in awe of Sally and was thrilled to have Nourishing Traditions signed by her. Times have changed, however. I wonder, when on hearing this news coming out of the same county where her daughter and grandchildren live, if Sally Fallon-Morell will still promulgate the “raw milk kills pathogens” nonsense.

To give these pediatricians my affection,… Read more »

Wayne Craig
March 18, 2012 3:57 am

Kristen P., there is no such thing as gently pastuerized. Pastuerization is time and temperature. Pastuerization is verified by lack of enzyme activity. “Gentle “pastuerization is a marketing gimmick someone came up with and means nothing.

Have you seen the recent testing that shows 7% of pork is contaminated with MRSA. Shouldn’t we demand all food be cooked (pastuerized) before we can buy it. Since eating is so dangerous for our health can’t the government come up with a pill. Milky Way should get right on that, save us before… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 18, 2012 4:19 am

Wayne, do you eat your pork raw?

Kristen P
March 18, 2012 5:02 am


I understand your arguement but I definitely don’t think, in the case is Strauss creamery, that they are trying to mislead their customers. Quite the opposite: http://www.strausfamilycreamery.com/?title=pasteurization

mark mcafee
March 18, 2012 6:20 am

Remember 2006….1600 people were severely sickened by consuming pasteurized milk in CA…..they all got campylobacter.

Where is the balance in the risk benefit analysis here. Pasteurized milk has killed many in recent years….body count for raw milk is zero. The benefits of raw milk consumption are:

Reduction of side effects from drugs that kill for asthma and the 4000 deaths caused by asthma each year.

The immune strength gained by those that drink raw milk and the illness avoided….not to mention ear infections and colds and flu.

Bone density increases when drinking raw milk.

If sales at OP are any indication… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 18, 2012 2:46 pm

Pediatric Alternatives web site:

“We are pleased to say that most of the children in our practice have never been on antibiotics and rarely need prescription medications. ” “we promote a back-to-basics diet consisting of whole, unprocessed, locally grown foods to support optimum health. ”

Having most of your patients never taking antibiotics and rarely needing RX is extremely impressive especially when compared to other practices. I have not yet visited an MD who promoted the above nutritional habits….. or anything close to it. I knew a doc in Dallas, an internal medicine specialist, who refused… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 18, 2012 7:57 pm

“Gently pasteurized”….is that like “lovingly water-boarded”. Try telling the Phosphatase enzyme ( found in raw milk ) that it is about to be gently denatured…and blasted apart by heat. Try telling all the proteins in pasteurized milk that they are about to be gently Lyzed….!! Kind of like saying…sit real still and think dreamy nice thoughts as I flip this switch and send 100,000 volts of electricity through your body. Gentle…real gentle.

Our military uses terms…like “Sanitized the Area” ( ie… carpet bombing with MOABs and napalm )…. REALITY check!!! it is called mass nutrional murder of biology.… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 18, 2012 8:05 pm

The way to prevent campylobacter…is to get it. A survey of a group of raw milk drinkers in the midwest, showed that nearly all of them had a positive antibody titer for campy….

Immunity…immunity guys…immunity. That equals health.

Fearing and avoidance of bacteria makes us even more suseptible to them all.

Deborah - Pacifica
March 18, 2012 10:32 pm

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as “gently pasteurized”, pasteurized is still pasteurized! It is the high heat that is the factor here, not the amount of time. Anything that is subjected/treated to heat greater than 118 degrees will have all of its living enzymes & nutrients killed off within seconds. This is a scientific fact, not an opinion. If anyone has taken chemistry, microbiology, etc, this is basics 101. The claim made by Straus that the flavor of the milk is preserved by using less time at such a high heat is their… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 18, 2012 11:51 pm

Wow. I am in shock….

Just reviewed the CA DPH final report on the OPDC recall in November 2012. The bacteria found in our calf area had also sickened many people in the same time period all over America. Those cases happened in the same time period but had not drank OPDC raw milk!!!!!

There were 47 other STEC cases in the same time period in CA not related to raw milk.

I am now really left guessing more than ever. Perhaps Raw Milk was not the origin of illness at all.

I find it fascinating that the official recommendations… Read more »

March 19, 2012 12:38 am

Geepers, one would think Bill Marler would be all over that … usually so quick out of the starting blocks. Let’s see what a jury has to say now … with the logical underpinning gone for the argument against REAL MILK, based on epidemiology

Just an oversight the CA DPH left out the part which damns the FDA fearmongering campaign? No : starting to come into focus now is how venal are the adversaries. We won’t be hearing so much about “honey’d words” any more.

[ If someone can give me the… Read more »

Bill Marler
March 19, 2012 12:56 am

Wow, David, love the new look. The comments from the clown show of Mark, Gordon and Young Bill still continue (listen to circus music). Where is Bob Hayles when you need him? Mark, Campylobacter really? Tell that to Mari Tardiff. Young Bill, non-O157:H7 STEC sicken and kill nearly twice the number of Americans as E. coli O157:H7. And, Gordon, I am becoming convinced that drinking raw milk may not sicken you, but it sure as hell makes you crazy. Mark, like in 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to your product, the 2011… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 19, 2012 3:04 am

Mark, maybe you missed reading this part, “Compared to the 3 percent California population estimated of raw milk consumption published by FoodNet, the calculated cumulative binominal probability of finding raw milk exposure among all five of the cases was 2.4×10 (8 exponent) which is less than one in 10 million.
This math would ring true for the 2006 about break also, but I know how people in the raw milk movement only like the way Ted Beals does math.

mark mcafee
March 19, 2012 3:13 am

Bill Marler,

How did the same bacteria found in the OPDC calf pen get into the diets of consumers in several other states including the east coast?

Show me any evidence that pathogens were found in any OPDC products? The report says none of se products contained a pathogen. The calf pen had a pathogen….but this is not very unusual. The u then says that this exact pathogen has been found all over the country many times before in a last two years. Prior to this report I was resigned to the connection between our calves and the… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 19, 2012 3:39 am


On your old site, there was an option to be able to edit and repost and also expand the writing area. Are those options available with your new super duper site?

March 19, 2012 4:28 am

that quip shows what a poor grasp you have of statistics. The evidence from CA DHP is that the group of positive samples does include consumers of OP milk, but onus is on you to explain how the other 40 people got sick, if they didn’t drink raw milk. Those of us who share objective reality perceive that the raw milk consumers are only part of the larger group. Co-incidence does not mean causality. I can hardly wait ’til you try your line of logic on a jury, hearing a raw milk liability case. I… Read more »

March 19, 2012 4:42 am

P T Barnum ran the Barnum & Bailey Circus for many a year. He knew a thing or 2 about marketing. He said “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right”
the sales of raw milk in places where it’s legal, and the growth of cowshares, prove that Americans are at the stage people were in the Soviet union, just before it collapsed … so innured to the duplicity of the Central Party line, they immediately assumed anything the govt. said, to be a lie. Informed consumers here have figured… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 19, 2012 5:53 am


When CDFA and CADPH visited OPDC on November 15 2012, they told us that raw milk samples had been taken from three households and that they were all negative. They also said that one was still pending….they later told us that it was also negative. That was the official information given to us at the time.

As with all investigations….more information is always discovered later….like, the fact that the two kids from the same household that were most effected consumed home brewed Kefir and not raw milk….this was buried in the report. Certainly not out front like it should have… Read more »

March 19, 2012 6:17 am

I have been combing through the California Department of Public Health summary implicating Organic Pastures Dairy and I am a little outraged at the results and incrimination of raw milk on the questionnaire
forms involved. With all the time and money involved from our California government this is the best they can provide us? A report summary based entirely on assumptions. Its basis is that so few people drink raw milk that if five children are sickened who drink raw milk it must be the raw milk.

Given that only 3% of California general population reported consuming raw milk,… Read more »

March 19, 2012 6:30 am

mean to say that there’s no other lawfirm listed?

were Mr Marler to do that up here in BC, the Law Society would have him in for a chat, probably a discipline hearing … advertising the services of a lawfirm, so blantantly, and especially tied to the prestige of the govt. is a breach of the Canons of Ethics.

Just a hard-driving businessman, or an “ambulance-chaser” ? You be the judge

Amanda Rose
March 19, 2012 3:55 pm

Post the communication so we can verify it. I’ll contact the person who sent it to you.

Southern Consumer
March 19, 2012 4:49 pm

It’s like a constant discovery deposition being held on this blog when it comes to Mark and OPDC.

I remember my last deposition and the advice of my lawyer:
“you will want to answer the questions just think about this when you have a desire to respond:
-do you love your family
– do you love your kids
– do you love your wife

Think about your family sitting at an intersection with a semi coming at them, this lawyer is driving that semi. She wants to take everything from you, your future, your children’s future etc etc. She will come… Read more »

mark mcafee
March 19, 2012 7:34 pm


Read page six….

This is an official admonishment to not drink raw milk. It is in violation of laws passed in 1977 which assured all CA consumers of access to raw milk. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fac&group=35001-36000&file=35921-35928 read last part ( f )

I haev reviewed the final report on the spinach outbreak, the final report on the cantaloupe outbreak….neither of these final reports publically declare to stop eaating spinach or cantaloupes.

The recommendations should say something like:

Assist raw milk producers in “best management practices and testing proceedures” to further reduce the incidence of illness from drinking raw milk. Nowhere was… Read more »

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 19, 2012 8:23 pm

“Nowhere was there a hint about assistance or help to develop or support raw milk.”

Mark, there is not going to be any positive anything in regards to raw dairy from tptb. For some strange reason they are opposed to people making their own choices and anyone who goes against what they dictate is wrong, a quack, senile, etc. We all know if it were truly a “health” issue, the tptb would be working with all dairy farmers to ensure safe milk…they would also be coming down on all the other foods/phoods that are carrying pathogens.. like… Read more »

Amanda Rose
March 19, 2012 10:24 pm

And, hey, if a truck hits because of the trail of misinformation you laid in front of you, then the fault obviously lies with the driver of the semi-truck, not the trail of misinformation.

March 19, 2012 11:30 pm

Gently Pasteurized? Sorry, there is either pasteurization and non-pasteurization. I give one of my kids Strauss milk and he throws it up. No problem with raw milk. All you need to do is look at the microscope and see what pasteurization does to the milk. You can also read about it in Francis Pottenger’s study with cats.

Southern Consumer
March 19, 2012 11:32 pm

You said misinformation, I did not, not surprising. It’s called discovery for a reason, we won’t know if the truck hits until trial. You don’t give any information at discovery, at least, as little as possible. When you do give it, you give the truth, absolutely. Assumptions get you every time.

The time to try the case is NOT in discovery but at trial.

The depositions I have been in usually have the opposing lawyer try to:
-be nice
– be friends
-trying to help

Of course none of the above is true, reminds me of the way… Read more »

March 19, 2012 11:32 pm

Hmmm…did the doctors educate people about c antelope and spinach and how you are a much more likely to die or get sick from them than raw milk?

Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 19, 2012 11:43 pm

I didn’t see any “educational” information from tptb. Reading comments from the general population in the media’s stories regarding cantaloupe, it appeared that the majority of posters thought that had those who were sickened from the cantaloupe thought the people did not wash their food and that is why they got sick…. There is a definite lack of education regarding the transmission of any bacteria.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 20, 2012 12:48 am

Mark, why would you create an organization to address safety standards if there wasn’t a risk with producing and drinking raw milk? Please tell me, what are the risks if someone chooses to drink raw milk?

mark mcafee
March 20, 2012 1:11 am


Riddle me this…why are there 94,000 cases of HUS ( STEC Cases ) each year in the USA? ( FDA CDC Data ) Where do they come from…sure is not raw milk….that is certain. Raw Milk is in solitary confinement. Any illnesses from raw milk are discovered and exploited for sure.

During the same period that OPDC was considered to be the cause of a CA outbreak, there were at least 47 other cases of STEC in CA that were known, but the history did not connect with any raw milk, so they were ignorred.

During the same… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 20, 2012 1:30 am

Nice birdwalk. You didn’t answer my question?

March 20, 2012 2:07 am

They must have better lawyers. If you’re not going to win, don’t play.

March 20, 2012 2:30 am

the risks of harm to someone who chooses to drink raw milk are as set out by Dr T Beals in his article “Those pathogens, what you should know”. Especially ; in his Affidavit* in the Constitutional Challenge to the regulation which outlaws raw milk in British Columbia. A year since it was filed in the Supreme Court of BC, the reply by the Attorney General, is … a handfull of nothin’.
* found at http://www.freewebs.com/bovinity/evidenceofexperts.htm

if you’d read it, you’d learn something … but that supposes you want to

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 20, 2012 3:07 am

Yes Gordon. I read it when it was first published. The WAPF believes in eating a healthy, nutrient dense diet TO BECOME HEALTHY. And according to Ted Beals, it is acceptable to get sick from raw milk. Just because the crappy CAFO sick food is making people sick, why would it be acceptable for “healthy” food to make people ill? Especially a food that is targeted to infants and children. News flash! FOODBORNE ILLNESSES ARE PREVENTABLE. No one should accept getting ill from food, especially if it causes kidney damage or… Read more »

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 20, 2012 3:08 am

I forgot to mention that a high percentage of those raw milk illnesses are children. This really sucks for the kids.

Mary McGonigle-Martin
March 20, 2012 3:13 am

Come on Mark. Have the courage to answer the question. Considering that the two raw milk dairies in California had back to back outbreaks, shouldn’t you consider talking about the risks. Can you name all the pathogens that can be found in raw milk along with thee illnesses they can cause? You “share the secret” in California. Let’s share the other secret. It is the right thing to do for infants and children.

March 20, 2012 3:37 am

the rationale for vaccination is : bringing on a limited form of the very disease, in order to provoke the body to produce anti-bodies. The incidence of adverse reactions to vaccination is far, far greater than the miniscule number of adverse reactions to REAL MILK. For every true horror story about harm from raw milk, I can produce 1000 resultant from vaccination.
Guess you don’t mind playing vaccine roulette with your children so much if Big Brother says it’s OK? Ever examined the so-called “science” behind vaccination? It’s worse than laughable. It’s criminal fraud. … Read more »

Kristen P
March 20, 2012 5:14 am

Every time I read a defense for raw milk, they don’t want to compare apples with apples: raw milk drinkers to raw milk
Illness. It’s always, ecoli kills people from this other food or pasteurized milk kills more people than raw. Stick with the subject matter. Raw milk.

Kristen P
March 20, 2012 5:17 am

What do you all make of this? I wonder if David will illuminate us on these developments?

Of course you’re all gonna say it is about loan fraud and not raw milk or chicken and egg outsourcing…I know you guys well by now, huh?

March 20, 2012 6:18 am

in Michael Schmidt’s case in Ontario, the JP declared – of his own volition – that there are 2 kinds of raw milk. REAL MILK from artisanal dairies intended for humans to drink as food, and the other stuff, the lowest common denominator of what’s acceptable in the Stalin-ist system, headed to be rendered fit for human consumption.
I have yet to see one of the proponents of homo milk honestly address the fact that REAL MILK – vital with all sorts of pro-biotics – is wonderfully beneficial to the health of those who… Read more »

March 20, 2012 6:22 am

California Still Investigating Claravale Farm Raw Milk

BY DAN FLYNN | MAR 20, 2012

“The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is conducting an epidemiologic investigation, ” according to a statement. “CDPH cannot provide any other details until the investigation is completed.”

Here is the link:


Sylvia Gibson
Sylvia Gibson
March 20, 2012 2:06 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if they toss any investigation regarding “allegedly” outsourcing products and selling under a different name and that’s a shame….that would still be fraud if the consumers were not informed…People should know where their foods come from. The cases are more apt to stick with mortgage, etc fraud.

Hopefully people will learn from this and ask more questions. Other than actually visiting a farm (many are unable to), on multiple occasions, how would a consumer know if the farmer is telling the truth about how they raise their products? And how… Read more »

Kristen P
March 20, 2012 8:25 pm

Sylvia, you took the words right put of my brain. I’ve been thinking a community response is needed, some form of volunteer farm investigations need to take place to ensure that these farmers are doing as they say they do. I suspect 98% are honest, but I have no way of gauging that.

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 21, 2012 9:02 pm

Mary, seems a bit hypocritical to keep calling out Mark to answer a question when you yourself have repeatedly ignored simple questions from multiple people on multiple threads here and failed to answer them.

Let me simplify it for you:

1. Why do you focus on raw milk when there are so many more people made sick from other food products that are sold raw? Using your logic all meats, fruit and vegetables, seafood and deli meats should be fully cooked before being made available for sale to anyone including friends and family, and food clubs. Is it… Read more »

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 21, 2012 9:04 pm

Oh, and that same question goes out to Mr. Marler as well. We’re the jury, persuade us.

March 22, 2012 12:27 am

Ora Moose, you’re being too kind. There are those who are ‘sent to wear out the saints’. What’s the first thing you need to be an Over comer? Something to over come. The role of MMcM is to be the thorn in Mark McAfee’s flesh. She’ll be rewarded accordingly
My old man was a lifeguard. He taught me that when someone is drowning, if you swim out to help them, you have to be very careful. If they’re panicking, they’ll take you down with them

MMMc is locked-in to serving her ‘pain body’.… Read more »

Ora Moose
Ora Moose
March 22, 2012 6:38 pm

chirp, chirp, chirp… deafening.