Why Conflict Over RAWMI Need Not Hurt Food Rights Movement; One Organization’s Mission Statement

The unsettling news about questionable factory foods just keeps coming.

A few days ago, it was Coca Cola saying it found a fungicide in orange juice it produces in Brazil for sale in the U.S.

A few days before that, the USDA was proposing to approve GMO corn that will be based in part on the herbicide of Vietnam War fame, Agent Orange.

Last year, it was 36 million pounds of Cargill turkey contaminated with antibiotic-resistant salmonella.

Before that, it was news that more than two-thirds of our chicken is contaminated with campylobacter and/or salmonella, while the public health community looks the other way, and focuses on shutting down dairy farms.

Shoppers Saturday at Norwich Farmers Market crowd produce and other stands. Each time we are reminded of the truly scary dangers in our food system, the marketplace for nutrient-dense foods expands. Each time we learn that we face an increasingly serious risk of being poisoned by legal and illegal adulterants in our food–GMOs, mercury, fungicides, antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and so forth–more people become wary of buying their milk, meat, eggs, cheeses, and vegetables out of the factory system. Each time a new study shows a growing incidence of asthma and allergies, or the dangers of nitrites, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup, the unease about shopping at Kroger’s and WalMart increases.

Before you know it, you have a growing army of disillusioned consumers ever more open to joining a food club, or buying into a herdshare arrangement, or venturing out to farmers markets. (The photo above is of some of the crowd that turned out yesterday in sub-freezing temperatures for an indoor farmers market in Norwich, VT.)

Equally significant, these individuals become receptive to the arguments of the budding food rights movement.

One of the facts that stuck out to me in Blair McMorran’s incisive examination of the benefits of raw milk testing protocols was this little aside: in Colorado, “at least 20 (raw dairies)…have just started up.”

Yes, conventional dairies continue to fold. But raw milk dairies have launched, or converted from conventional production, in significant measure because there is a lucrative growing market for raw dairy and other unprocessed natural foods. The same thing has occurred in California with herdshares, not to mention many other states.

This growing market demand may well turn out to be the saving grace in the growing controversy over RAWMI, and the standard-setting/oversight issues that many here worry about.

Toni Baer lamented in a comment following my previous post, “From my European and scientific perspective nothing is worse within a small movement, if people start attacking each other openly on websites. It only helps those who are against you, which are those who want to get rid of the raw milk.”

I don’t doubt the enemies of food choice and freedom take pleasure in the disagreements here. But they may be taking false comfort. The marketplace is smarter than many of us. As people become ever more worried about their health and the health of their families, they will seek out information about making changes.

Part of what we’re talking about is the difference between a trend and a movement.

A market trend is simply that, a move by increasing numbers of people toward particular kinds of products and services. Sometimes it’s a matter of popularity (music) and fashion (clothes, accessories) and sometimes a trend grows out of fear.

In the case of health, a seemingly healthy market trend (toward nutrient-dense foods) can be subverted by a combination of corporate marketing (providing its version of “safe” and “natural” food) and government propaganda (those people organizing the movement are a bunch of kooks and weirdos and disdain “science”).

The key question for those of us worried about the trampling of food rights, is whether the trend–fear of tainted food that is driving ever larger numbers of people to seek out good food–can be transformed into a movement. I don’t pretend to be an expert in the development of movements, but I do know they unfold in significantly different ways.

We tend to think of the Civil Rights movement as having burst onto the scene in the 1960s under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was actually founded in 1909.

The Occupy Wall Street movement and all its spinoffs seemingly materialized over a few weeks last year…and then just as quickly dissipated…or did it?  

Look at the women’s rights, gay rights, and home schooling movements, and you will see different dynamics in each.

We don’t yet fully appreciate the dynamics of the food rights movement. My sense is that it will take a heavy focus on local organization, rather than some top-down approach. The local organizations need to take responsibility for publicizing particular local events, like last week’s arraignment of Wisconsin raw dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger.

Gayle Loiselle was rightfully upset that Hershberger’s private contract distribution approach didn’t get a clearer presentation in the media. It “was a missed opportunity because the media was there and ripe for the picking but the most credible well-spoken media savvy heavy hitters in the raw milk movement were not. With at least 2 networks there the message of choice…individual rights … and the abuse of power by the government… could have all been spun into powerful sound bites by those who know how to use the media to the best advantage.”

I agree, but those “media savvy heavy hitters” aren’t necessarily the ones the media even want to hear from–very often, they prefer articulate local people, who are most familiar with the circumstances at hand. I know some local leaders were on hand for the demonstration outside the courthouse on behalf of Hershberger. Perhaps they need training, as Loiselle suggests, to make sure Hershberger’s message comes through. Maybe that becomes part of the education focus of the Raw Milk Institute.

All by way of saying, we shouldn’t necessarily fear a variety of organizations (like the Raw Milk Institute, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, the Farm Food Freedom Coalition, Food Sovereignty, Alliance for Raw Milk, Weston A. Price Foundation, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, etc., etc. ) Nor should we fear serious debate as a means to inform and help people crystalize their views.

So the big unanswered question right now is whether the trend toward serious worry about the quality of our factory food will translate into a sustainable growing movement for the right to access the foods of our choosing. Since the trend isn’t likely to abate any time soon, we have expanding opportunities to get the movement into shape.

Deborah Peterson expressed frustration, following my previous post, about developing mission statements. Since she mentioned it, here’s one just completed by the Raw Milk Freedom Riders. I think it’s pretty decent.

“The Raw Milk Freedom Riders are dedicated to overturning the FDA’s criminalization of interstate raw milk shipments as a way to end the agency’s ongoing assault on dairy farmers and the consumers they serve.  The assaults include raids on small dairies that distribute raw milk, undercover investigations of ordinary citizens who consume raw milk, and assorted efforts to destabilize private food clubs, among other actions.

“We are committed to intentionally defying the interstate ban as a way to publicize the reality that raw milk isn’t a public health hazard and to publicly expose the FDA’s violent acts listed above.

“We demand that the FDA leave raw milk decisions entirely to individual states, and respect the rights of individuals to enter into private contracts with farmers to obtain the foods of their choice.”

The Raw Milk Freedom Riders have already held two demonstrations involving civil disobedience. And the organization will have a booth at the upcoming Constitutional Sheriffs Convention Jan. 29-31.


Here’s an in-depth look at one slice of the food rights struggle…and a pretty fair one, at that, from The New American magazine. Includes some worthwhile history, as well. Also, it provides the views of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, without bowing to them.

And an interview with me on Agricultural Insights web site, about the government crackdown on raw milk, by Chris Stelzer.

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75 Comments on "Why Conflict Over RAWMI Need Not Hurt Food Rights Movement; One Organization’s Mission Statement"

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Sylvia Gibson
January 17, 2012 1:05 am

David, Many don't know history, I learned more about history after I was an adult than I ever learned in school. Education is the key for the movement. Doreen, Jennifer and Deborah posted excellent posts.

I never cared for soy and avoid it. I lean towards the research that it is unhealthy. I have pointed out to people that in Asia it is eaten mostly fermented and not in huge amounts that it is consumed in the US. http://www.utne.com/print-article.aspx?id=6886

I am currently in the heart of cargill and tyson country in Little Rock. I will check out their Whole Foods and see where the meats, etc come from. Walking through the regular grocery stores shows that processed and/or imported phoods are king here. Raw goat milk is legal here NOT cows milk.

Slow poisoning of the masses. Makes big $$$$$ for the cargills, pharms, healthcare, etc.

Education is key. People don't appear to realize they have a voice, perhaps showing them that they do have a voice would give them the needed education and courage to use it. I think the information is confusing to many, there seems to be a disconnect when a lay person reads a study, they don't see the whole picture; who funded it, what questions to ask, etc so they walk away with a very narrow outlook on the results and those results appear to be absolutes to them because they don't know any different. The farmers market under the bridge in Sacramento on Sundays had grown immensely in the last 3 yrs that I was there. Written flyers with bullet statement information, word of mouth, blog posts and links, social media,ie facebook, etc

(If I was able to, I'd have my own little farm, I do realize that I would need help as I cannot do it alone. Soy is forced on the masses and GM is slowly being forced on them, more toxins)

Sylvia Gibson
January 17, 2012 2:28 am

There is a free flyer I had picked up the other day at the grocery store here in Little Rock. It is called 'The Mature Arkansas' dated Jan 12, 2012.

It has a story titled 'Seniors driving local food movement'. They interviewed farmers from Hot Springs CO-OP, etc. It stated that "locally grown food had been growing by about 10% a year since 2000" "Nearly 80% of those starting small scale beef production will not make it to the 3rd year and virtually none make it in the long haul", "There are lots of want-to-be farmers who really don't know what they are getting into. There really isn't anywhere to turn to on this type of production unless you know someone." "The USDA is mostly irrelevant for local small-scale farmers. Of its near billion-dollar-a-year-budget in Arkansas, 80% of the money goes to the top 10% largest farms. They get an average of $64000 a year. Everyone else gets $760. "

The farmers markets and co-ops are increasing, it is a slow process. As said here many times, each time there is an out break – it drives more people to seek healthier foods, more eyes are opened to what the system is.

I think the article in whole is very positive. Over-all people need to be taught about their foods.

I attempted to post before this one and got a message that it had to be cleared before posting. I did attach a link to it…not sure what changes David is doing, it is understandable.

Ken Conrad
January 17, 2012 3:31 am


For those who havent listened to this interview with Dr. Huber then I urge you to do so, since it parallels much of the discussion that has occurred on this blog about our relationship with plants, animals and organisms.

Dr Huber states in the interview that, Our Knowledge is so premature, so infantile that to assume that we have these silver bullets that you can just put into a revolver and spin the chamber for whatever stress or problems you have, just doesnt work.

Ken Conrad

January 17, 2012 4:20 am

Apparently, we're not allowed to post links anymore? I posted a comment with a link several days ago, just after comment approval started, and it never showed up.

Mary Martin
January 17, 2012 4:33 am

It is abysmal that the infiltration of GMO foods has happened to our food supply and that so much of our poultry supply is contaminated with pathogens (which is meant to be cooked and that kills the pathogens), but I dont understand what this has to do with producing high quality, safe raw milk. I am probably as stunned as Mark McAfee at the conflict that has been generated over the idea of establishing safety standards for the production of raw milk. I think it is one of the areas that Mark and I agree upon. If you dont prove you are serious about producing safe raw milk, when outbreaks occur the hammer is going to come down hard.

Why is everyone so fearful about establishing/sharing best practices for producing the safest raw milk possible? I just dont get it.

Food Safety News wrote something about the colostrum issue in California. I couldnt post the link because then I couldnt post the comment. If anyone is interested in reading it, they will have to go over to Food Safety News and take a look.

Sylvia Gibson
January 17, 2012 5:20 am

Doreen, Jennifer and Deborah posted excellent responses.

Mary, for many it is about food rights, not just raw milk. As a human it is my right to choose what I wish to consume just as it is your right as a human to choose. Obviously tptb aren't only focusing on raw dairy. They are targeting all foods to control.

I would doubt the majority of dairy farmers don't engage in safe standards. It would be suicide if they or any other farmer didn't practice safe standards. I would bet that most farmers follow some sort of basic standard of sanitation. Why would they need someone to come and write a mandatory standard? Any good farmer will teach about what they do and their product.

What kind of "proof" do you need to assure you that the milk is safe? I felt very safe in drinking the milk I got from the cow share in Ca. I did not need to look at any lab results, I talked to the farmer, I observed the milking, I listened while the whole process was being done.

There is no proof that foods sold in stores are safe to consume and they sicken more people yearly than raw dairy does.

Sylvia Gibson
January 17, 2012 5:44 am

I thought this post from the last thread was interesting and am re-posting it:

Cow Share Canada has never been transparent. There are a few, and I do mean a few people in Canada that know something about the organization. Most others just stand back and scratch their heads wondering what Cow Share Canada is.

If you ask Cow Share Canada for the standards they feel Canadian raw farmers should be using, you will be told one of two things. 1. You have to pay the yearly fee to Cow Share Canada before any information will be given. 2. You must take Cow Share College.

Why should farmers, some who have cow shares and some who are just selling a little milk on the side have to fork over hard earned money to find out what the standards are?

In Canada the term dirty raw milk is thrown about quite a bit. The thought behind that is all these farmers who have raw milk leaving the farm in whatever form (herd share/cow share./selling) have dirty milk, and only Michael and Cow Share College graduates have clean milk. If that was the case, Canada would have an epidemic of sick, dying, or dead raw milk drinkers!

If someone has standards for how raw milk should be produced then please share them free of charge with everyone!

You get to test drive the car before buying, but you can't see the standards without buying a membership first, and quite possibly without signing up for Cow Share College first! I'd say that's pretty transparent, right Mark?

Nothing will change with regards to how a lot of Canadians feel about Cow Share Canada until they truly become transparent!
January 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterAya Simms

The Complete Patient
January 17, 2012 6:13 am

Mary Martin,
Not sure if you are trying to be humorous with this comment: "If you dont prove you are serious about producing safe raw milk, when outbreaks occur the hammer is going to come down hard."

I think you know by this time that even if you can prove you are serious about producing safe raw milk, and there are no outbreaks, the hammer can come down hard. And that partly explains the reluctance about RAWMI. Some farmers feel RAWMI will turn into a regulatory-type organization, in partnership with government regulators, who have shown themselves to be highly arbitrary about correlating food safety and "the hammer."

Separately, I have not introduced any new features regarding comment approvals or links. I am trying to find out if some bug in the system.


Ken Conrad
January 17, 2012 6:35 am

I also submitted a comment with a link that did not post, so I will try it this way.

For those who havent listened to the interview of Dr. Huber by Dr. Mercola then I urge you to go to the Mercola.com website and do so, since it parallels much of the discussion that has occurred on this blog about our relationship with plants, animals and organisms.

Dr. Huber states in the interview that, Our Knowledge is so premature, so infantile that to assume that we have these silver bullets that you can just put into a revolver and spin the chamber for whatever stress or problems you have, just doesnt work.

GMO technology has a great deal to do with high quality and safe raw milk. Read the above link and perhaps you will understand why.

Ken Conrad

Jennifer Feeney
January 17, 2012 6:39 am

Mary, if you think producing clean raw milk is just about safety standards and testing, then you can't see the forest through the trees. The availability of healthy feed, the availability of farmland, the availability of farmers to be able to contribute to a viable local economy are all a part of the production of healthy clean raw milk. Government policy, GMO's, factory farms… they ALL contribute to the above factors. If you just set up tests but don't provide the environment in which to produce clean raw milk, you are doing nothing to contribute to its safety. I think about the e.coli tests used at the beaches in Chicago, near where I live. They have tests to determine if the water contains possible pathogens. These tests provide results AFTER kids have been swimming in the dirty water and they do nothing to address the environmental factors which created the contamination in the first place. In the case of raw milk, the issue is not just about feces in the milk. It is about giving the farmer the environment in which to care for his/her animals in a way which is healthy and clean, and in turn you produce healthy and clean raw milk. Most farmers know this. And really, standards, testing, and government interference in our food system hasn't exactly provided us with a happy, healthy, safe way to live. We have GMOs, CAFOs that are producing all kinds of terrible environmental problems, super-bugs, obesity, diabetes, etc. This from a government approved food system.

And I have to ask, would you sue your Uncle if he made your child sick from the food cooked at a family picnic? Would you institute standards, and testing, and health officials to monitor this and haul him away to jail or pay huge fines?

Bill Anderson
January 17, 2012 6:50 am


Mary is serious.

Those of us who have formal training in HACCP and who work in FDA regulated environments know how serious these food safety issues are. This doesn't mean I agree with the FDA. I have many disagreements, from rBGH, GMOs, antibiotics and drugs in the food supply, our society's over-reliance on pharmaceuticals, to the relative risks of raw milk. It just means that I understand how the system works and why it is this way.

I share many of the concerns about the increasing corporate control of the food supply, and in particular, the concentration of agricultural land ownership into fewer and fewer hands.

However, I do not believe the solution is more of this "laissez-faire" attitude. Rather, what is needed is an intentional grassroots effort to redesign our food system in a more democratic fashion. "Laissez-faire" individualism ultimately works only for those who are already wealthy, privileged, and (in the case of farming) own land. It will not work for the majority of people, especially of my generation, who are currently alienated from food production and agriculture by no fault of our own.

In my opinion, RawMI is defunct and will not be successful. Instead, raw milk farmers who are serious about food safety need to come together and form their own trade organization to establish food safety standards if they want to prevent the "hammer" of state and federal regulatory agencies from coming down on them. Unfortunately, the worst raw milk producer will reflect poorly on the rest, even those who are clean and responsible. Unless the rest of the producers are prepared to demonstrate their commitment to food safety, we will continue to see raw milk criminalized and driven into a black market.

That is just the reality of the situation, like it or not. I did not make it this way, I just understand this reality and have tried to do something about it.

We have to learn to keep this raw milk issue in perspective, and not get too wrapped up in ourselves and our own little worlds. Raw milk is but one part of the food movement, and indeed, the food movement itself is but one part of the broader movement for social and environmental justice and grassroots democracy.

Happy MLKjr day, everyone!

"The means by which we live has outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." -~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism". ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan Steinman
January 18, 2012 1:34 am

Good job, Kelly!

While Mary laments that not just anyone can milk their own cow, Kelly comes along and does it.

As George Bernard Shaw said, "People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

We have here a battle of two world views.

On the one hand is Mary, Mark, and a handful of others who believe in the industrial model of production, taking advantage of economy of scale, involving checks and balances, tests and regulations.

On the other hand is the (for lack of a better name) Transition Town model, that says local is better, and that a small farmer who consumes his own product is not going to make herself sick, and therefore his product is inherently safe.

I'm not ready to abandon the industrial food system (yet). But isn't there room for both approaches?

Dave Milano
January 18, 2012 8:15 am

What if you had 10 cows? Do you think you could give the same care and attention to making sure everything that went with milking was done properly? What if you had 20 cows? See how with each cow added to the mix of the job becomes more difficult to manage and an accidental 'cow poo-poo' accident could happen.


The short answer to your question about herd size is that the best number of cows cannot be adjudicated out of context of their environment. It is entirely wrong to presuppose an inverse relationship between herd size and herd and human health.

We started with a single family cow, and I can tell you it quickly became evident that our pasture, our animal, and our family would do better with more cows. There are many reasons why (and just as many factors that might change the equation under particular circumstances). A brief perusal: Cows are herd animals and appreciate companionship. Pastures are healthiest when grazed aggressively (within parameters) and effectively trampled and manured. Competition among grazing animals fenced into focused pasture regions makes it easier to balance animals, soil, and forage, and encourages proliferation of desirable forage plants. With all that in balance, superior end-products are facilitated, which include not only good milk, but proper human and animal immune systems, physical fitness (Kelly can undoubtedly testify to that one) and a clean, healthy environment.

I don't mean to say that all situations are alike; the point actually is that all situations are different. It is the interplay between local factors that we must be attuned to and accommodate to. That is one reason diversity is nearly always beneficial.

One's paradigm tends to direct and inform one's questions. Your focus is exclusively on keeping manure out of the milk. You would do better by considering how to encourage strength of the broader system, so that the inevitable imbalance (including faults in cleanliness) will have no or minimal negative effects. I live as such, and as you know I am extremely content in my pattern, and not just because I and my family are healthier and stronger because of it. I also am pleased to know that I cause no damage to my region through inadvertent alteration of local biology (e.g. creation of virulent new bacteria, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and poorly resistant hostspredictable as bacterial stressors produce changes designed to improve bacterial survival).

Dave Milano
January 18, 2012 8:27 am

I dug back through David's blog to find something I had sent in almost two years ago. In light of Blair's and David's point about increasing grass-roots demand for raw dairy, I believe it bears repeating (apologies to those sensitive to redundancy):


I think it's time once again to review the greater ecology into which raw milk and humans fit.

That ecology begins with the most abundant and durable crop on earth—grass—which unsurprisingly is a tremendously effective solar collector, a perfect companion to the soil and its microbial colonies, a cleaner of water and air, and a marvelous carbon store. Virtually indigestible by humans, grass is a necessary food for cattle. Fortunately for cattle, eating grass is the best way to generate more of it, since grazing it, walking on it, and expelling wastes onto it, stimulates root growth and balances and maintains the complex biological and geological factors that create healthy soil, water, and air (which is necessary for grass, cattle, humans, and everything else). Cattle transform that grass into milk, a food very easily digested by most humans, which happens to contain an astounding mix of ingredients beneficial to human health, including a complete protein, beneficial bacteria and enzymes (that can be enhanced by culturing, which also preserves the milk), calcium, vitamins A, D, B6, B12, and the anti-cancer agent, conjugated linoleic acid. Not incidentally, human exposure to that ecology all along its chain creates a strong immune system, and probably resistance to many non-infectious diseases (a process that we are just beginning to understand). That is at very best a mere glance at the glorious interconnectedness of milk ecology.

Now put it all into its historical context as a supporter of human health and economies since the dawn of man, and one might begin to understand how fatuous, silly, and really puny is the notion that we can improve lives by wrenching mankind out of nature and into our modern industrial, technological, legal, and regulatory systems.

But worshippers of man-made systems apparently cannot be dissuaded. They are confident. So confident in fact, that they would use force to wall natural men off from Nature.

This is, I suppose, how we got to the point where presumably intelligent people argue that low immunity—created in large part by living in an industrial, technological, legal, regulatory system—is why that system must now rule.

Kelly Hensing
January 18, 2012 9:14 am

Dave Milano-Your second (older) post brought tears to my eyes.
I certainly wish I had the land and the money to support more cows (they are addicting!). I don't. I am fortunate to be able to do what I do. My husband calls our backyard "Kelly's ecosystem", and it is very true. It is very small scale, and it works.

Mary-If I was milking more cows, you betcha each and every one of them would get the excellent care that my girl gets. Along with excellent care comes excellent milk. Have we had "poo poo" in our milk before? I am almost 100% certain of it. Did we drink it? You betcha!!! Why? I am not afraid of cow poo poo…or any poo poo for that matter. Purell scares me a whole lot more than poo poo.
There are hard-working people all around this country that milk lots more than 1 cow at a time. Is their milk tainted with cow poop because they milk more cows? No. It is not a number thing. Before I moved to the state I live in, I bought milk from a dairy that milked 30-40 head twice a day. Excellent milk. Excellent dairy farmers.

Joelie-Regarding alfalfa…I don't know why GMO alfalfa of all things. I would suspect that it is to target the grass-fed beef producers. The best way to "finish" a grassfed beef steer is on high protein alfalfa. If it is GMO, it can't be called organic anymore.

Jan-"Is there room for both approaches?" This question tears at me. Just because it CAN be done, SHOULD it? I am thoroughly opposed to CAFO's. If the dairy is treating its cows as a CAFO operation, I certainly would not buy my milk there. I am not saying it is bad milk, I just don't personally support CAFO's. I would look to a smaller farmer for milk (or beef or pork).

If you buy your milk (or beef or pork or whatever) from a farmer and you have the opportunity to speak to them, look them in the eye at your next pick-up and tell them THANK YOU. You probably have no idea what they go through to provide you and your family with nourishing food. Dave Milano is right…the physical part is tough. Some days though, the mental part is alot tougher…

Farmer John
January 18, 2012 10:09 am

Thanks for re-posting that second post, Dave! I loved it!

"But worshippers of man-made systems apparently cannot be dissuaded. They are confident. So confident in fact, that they would use force to wall natural men off from Nature."

This willingness to "use force" is what I feel is a violation.

Laws are enforced. Enforcement, ultimately, means men with guns and clubs. Legislators and regulators are ultimately backed by force.

I am amazed at the hubris of those who believe they have a right to initiate force against others for the "crime" of arranging for food of their choice. It looks like naked aggression to me. That's why it's hard for me to want to "sit down at the table" with legislators and regulators.

Jennifer Feeney
January 18, 2012 10:27 am

I am so inspired by these recent posts! Kelly, I admire your taking control of your situation and getting a cow. Animals are a lot of work. We have hens for eggs, we raise broilers for ourselves, and had pigs last year, we have bees and fruit trees an bushes. We hope one day to have a cow. It is all so much work and at the same time so rewarding! I laugh when people talk about the manure and are afraid of it. I ask my neighbors to bring me their manure so I can improve my gardens and fruit trees! it's gold! We had one of our neighbors, who is a lawyer, threaten to sue us because of our pigs. She claimed they were foul animals and that the ordinances said we were not allowed to have them (I read them, she was wrong, but she tried to intimidate us into believing her). She claimed the manure would ruin the environment. She didn't take into consideration our management practices – heavy mulching of manure and rotational grazing. We won, but it was incredibly stressful. We held on and now, where our pigs grazed in the spring we have lovely lush pasture started. The right to produce your own food is a real battle. It is hard. It takes commitment. You will face obstacles! And I just love all of the folks here who are so committed!!

Dave, your post about the reasons for having more than one cow are so right on! I subscribe to Stockman Grass Farmer (any other subscribers? It is so worth it!) and you would be amazed at all of the benefits that rotational grazing and mob stocking can have on the land. Stories of old over-worked farms where the soil was leeched of all nutrients and nothing could grow due to conventional farming practices – brought to life by cows, manure, and rotting hay bales.

Mark McAfee
January 18, 2012 12:06 pm

For the last 60 days OPDC has been scratching our heads trying to figure out why raw colostrum was taken out of the CA retail market place. The OPDC recall in November was about raw milk and not colostrum…..so why was colostrum attacked and removed from the market??

Well….now we know. We have found the smoking gun…..Our dearly beloved Mr. Bill Marler esq. wrote a letter ( fully admitted to this letter in a recent Food Safety publication ) to CA Sec of Ag Karen Ross some months ago imploring her to seek control and ban Raw Colostrum as a dairy product. The law and definitions are clear about colostrum being classified as a Dietary Supplement and not a dairy product. The recall of OPDC products was the opportunity for CDFA to over reach their authority and ban raw colostrum as a legal human food product in CA, even though over the seven years that raw colostrum has been sold in CA no deaths or illnesses have been reported. None.

Perhaps we should ban killer cantaloupes, killer lettuce and killer spinach? Perhaps we should stop eating entirely to provide perfect food safety for the FDA…( they care so much about our health you know ) then they can treat our hunger with the next greatest hunger drug.

In CA, raw milk is under attack….no…. not the frontal attack that is easily seen or fought….this is an attack of attrition and nibble by nibble, inch by inch….fought by friends and surrogates of the FDA.

I have a fight on my hands….I have asked for meetings and will force state agencies to follow the law and not segregate raw colostrum into it's own category for the sake of he FDA and its dead food dogma. Colostrum is a dietary supplement …..a state agency can not change this on a whim. State agencies can not change the definition of milk on whim either. But they are sure trying hard to do just these illegal things.

Milky Way
January 18, 2012 12:48 pm

Two outbreak investigations involving raw chocolate colostrum:



2011 outbreak investigation report is still pending.


Milky Way
January 18, 2012 12:57 pm

Two outbreak investigations involving raw chocolate colostrum:



2011 outbreak investigation report is still pending.


Milky Way
January 18, 2012 12:59 pm

My links have been submitted for approval :)


Sylvia Gibson
January 18, 2012 10:39 pm

That "investigation" in 2006 was was so sloppy. One of the mothers offered a raw milk jug and the state inspectors refused.

Same old crap MW, can't you do better?

Mark, many do not trust tptb and this only reinforces it. You showed you were willing to work with them and bend to their oppression and look where it got you….

"Dave Milano is right…the physical part is tough. Some days though, the mental part is alot tougher… "

This is part of the reason I don't have a farm, and why I have no problem paying someone to milk and care for my cow or their cow. And there shouldn't be any interference from others in my private agreements.

Mary Martin
January 18, 2012 11:02 pm


My point was made for me. A raw milk dairy in Washington was recalled because E.coli was found in the milk. They have 20 cows and have been in business for 31/2 months. The owners have decided that the risk is to great and they will no longer be producing raw milk.

Mark McAfee
January 19, 2012 10:50 am

Sylvia…Amen sister.

Today CDPH provided their investigational findings and report to OPDC. They confirm what we knew…that the calf area did have some samples that tested positive for Ecoli 0157H7. Two of these samples were a match ( to the ill consumers pathogen DNA ) genetically according to their blue printing technology. The others are still being investigated ( presumably they were not a match ). The report then goes on to guess about how five kids, at different times weeks or months apart and at totally different locations arround the state of CA became ill from the bacteria found in our calves. All tests of the cows milk, cows manure and creamery and all products were negative. To ponder how this happened is a wild intellectual investigation. How do these dots connect????

We know one thing….it does not take very much of Mike Taylors beloved Monsanto antibiotic resistant Ecoli 0157H7 pathogen to make someone sick.

CDPH will provide their report to the broader public via press release later this week. It is a measure of our OPDC Raw Milk progress with state agences that we have a working relationship and that they provide us a copy of the report well in advance of the public getting the information. That is some thing I do appreciate. Progress is measured in baby steps.

Sylvia Gibson
January 19, 2012 11:01 am

Back to the question…Why only those few get ill when so many others consume the milk? What is it about them that caused them to react when the majority did not?

Like vaccinations…only a few (collateral damage) are harmed/killed but according to the cdc it is worth it to get shots….

Mary Martin
January 19, 2012 11:26 am

Yes Mark. It doesnt take much of this bacterium to make someone sick. It sounds like one of your workers tracked the cow poop back to the milking area, or maybe one of your workers has an E.coli 0157:H7 infection but does not have symptoms and isnt washing his/her hands well enough after doing the deed. Have you had your employees checked? You never believed that the last outbreak was caused by your cows. This outbreak is a karma reincarnation minus me suing you. It took me a year. Someone may show up this time also.

I tried posting earlier today with a link, but then it didnt go through. If anyone is interested in reading the story, it can be found on Food Safety News. It demonstrates the point I was trying to make about the risk of people going into the raw dairy business. Milking cows is not like growing vegetables. This raw milk dairy in the state of Washington had been producing raw milk cheese. 3 months ago they started producing raw milk. They have 20 cows. Last week a sample of their milk showed up with E.coli 0157:H7 and now there has been a recall. There have been no illnesses reported. They have decided that the risk of producing raw milk isnt worth it.

Sylvia and Mark, I have been told that E.coli in raw milk (or any fluid) is not distributed evenly. I envision this to mean a blob of e.coli cells are floating in the milk. One person could consume the deadly blob. This is a very laymans interpretation, but it describes a nice visual. This also explains why a sample of milk could test negative for E.coli 0157:H7 and it could still be in the milk.

The Complete Patient
January 19, 2012 12:26 pm

Thanks for sharing the news about the match between your calves' E.coli and that of the ill customers. Hopefully the followup information, and your own internal assessment of procedures and processes, can lead to some important learning all around.


Gordon Watson
January 19, 2012 1:44 pm

dailly, you go on for thousands of words, Mary Martin, on a topic about which you know less than zero – dairying – yet you can't come up with one sentence to answer my test question : when was the last time you so much as walked across a barnyard where they're producing REAL MILK? when's the last time you had the integrity to go out to Organic Pastures?
before you rag on Mark McAffee about what MIGHT have happened in your overwrought imagination, climb out of that pit you've dug yourself into … get a few facts to work with, for a change

before you get all delighted about Frisia dairy going out of business, notice in the news report that not one person actually got sick, yet the health authorities shut 'er down.

every time this happens, suspicion increases that the – ostensible – e. coli is either being planted, or the lab tests are being faked. It happened to us, and we have their own documents to prove it. In my lawsuit, I'll prove it to a jury.

You probably don't believe that the drug cops would ever plant drugs on people they don't like? You'd never believe that the BATF sets up people they want put away … Oh, no, that'd never happen! In fact, it happens every day. British Columbia recently hired the guy who busted the LAPD for a bunch of "bad cops".

In Australia, it was proven that the big dairies poisoned the raw milk because it was out-selling their product, when consumers had a choice. Why WOULDN'T the same thing go on, in the milk biz.here?

Barney Google
January 19, 2012 8:11 pm


I apologize for responding so late to your comment to me, you have other options for feeding your dairy animals, there are various grasses, clovers, Trefoils, vetches, and others that may grow in your area; that way don't have to worry about gmo alfalfa.

Hope this helps you,

Jennifer Feeney
January 19, 2012 10:37 pm

In a previous life, I worked as a lab technicin genotyping and sequincing DNA (at Purdue University's ecology department and University of Chicago's Cancer Research Center). To find the genetic finger print, you must first culture the bacteria, isolate the colonies you want to sequence, grow enough to get your sequencing sample, extract the DNA, put it through a series of chemical reactions to amplify the segment of DNA you want to investigate, run it through another series of chemical reactions so you can actually see the sequence, then run it through a sequencing machine that spits out your sequence. Then it is up to the lab to read the sequence to see if it is a match. You are looking for a known sequence at a known location. Now, there are plenty of places along the way where things can go wrong. We had problems with the extracted DNA samples being damaged and so un-sequencable. We had the wrong markers being used. We had equipment malfunction. We had weak amplifying reactions so there was not enough DNA to sequence accurately. We had contamination of samples and so an incorrect fingerprint (or double fingerprint – which one is right? Don't know). We had the sequencing machine misread the sequence because there is ALWAYS background noise. Now, that is if they actually sequence the DNA. They may just run it through a different process where they take the amplified DNA and see if a chunck of it is similar enough to a known chunk. This is much less precise and the only way to confirm those results is to actually sequence them.

My question to the labs that do the testing and find contamination especially where no one is sick – What was the procedure? Did they just run a gel and not sequence to confirm? What exactly are the results? Were they repeatable? Did you have one lone colony and could never culture it again (speaks to contamination of sample)? How many "fingerprints" are they looking for and what is the recurrence rate in the environment? Bacteria are not like people. Yes, they mutate and you can detect differences as a result, but how unique are these fingerprints? When they use fingerprint technology, they assume ignorance on the part of the people and we should bow down to the science and we will say"Oh, it's a match", but I know that it is not necessarily an exact and specific designation. Remember, in science, it is VERY easy to get the results you are looking for if you set out to do so! That is why double blind research is so critical. We can subtly influence the results by our actions and steps in the investigating process (even in DNA fingerprinting).

Mary, do you know how bacteria reproduce? It is exponential. Raw milk is non homogenized. You are always redistributing the molecules (hence the bacterial). Your imaginary single sitting blob of bacteria is not based in reality. The question has been asked – why only a few getting sick? Or no one getting sick? I have already spoken about the potential for incorrect lab results. But the other possibility is that not everyone will get sick. Who gets sick? Let's look at their immune system. That would be a greater health service to see why some fall when exposed to a pathogen, and others don't. Mary, e. coli is EVERYWHERE!!!! Even 0157:H7 has been found in the environment and wild populations. Health officials are so scared of raw milk because it it is a perfect environment for bacteria. You would think, then, that you would have people dropping like flies. You don't. Many times you don't even have an illness. WHY??? When you have a pasteurized milk outbreak MANY get sick. Hundreds and thousands. In raw milk it is just a few. And that is even in the case of a large raw dairy like Organic Pastures. Wouldn't you expect to see a proportionally higher number of people getting sick? You don't!!! It is a mistake, as has been pointed out here, to assume that limiting our exposure to bacteria will make us healthier. Health officials are running around saying "see, see, we found pathogenic bacteria!" But they are doing nothing to see why our incidences of illness do not match our incidence of discovery. They would do well to study under the "Cheese Nun". Look her up if you don't know who she is. There is an excellent article about her in the New Yorker fro a few years back called RAW FAITH.

Sylvia Gibson
January 19, 2012 10:57 pm

Wow, Jennifer, that was educational about the fingerprinting. I hadn't realized that he potential for error was so high with so many checks and balances that need to be done and I am guessing, are not done most of the time. Food for thought.

I looked up the "Cheese Nun" she is an impressive lady.

"I never thought I'd milk a cow," said the Benedictine nun who would go on to hone her Connecticut abbey's cheesemaking practices, earn a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Connecticut, study fungi in France on a Fulbright Scholarship and star in a recent PBS documentary aptly titled "The Cheese Nun: Sister Nolla's Voyage of Discovery."

Sylvia Gibson
January 19, 2012 11:01 pm

Is it just the posts with links that have to be monitored?

Wow, Jennifer, that was educational about the fingerprinting. I hadn't realized that he potential for error was so high with so many checks and balances that need to be done and I am guessing, are not done most of the time. Food for thought.

I looked up the "Cheese Nun" she is an impressive lady.

seattletimes.nwsource (dot) com/html/foodwine/2003708130_cheesenun16.html

"I never thought I'd milk a cow," said the Benedictine nun who would go on to hone her Connecticut abbey's cheesemaking practices, earn a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Connecticut, study fungi in France on a Fulbright Scholarship and star in a recent PBS documentary aptly titled "The Cheese Nun: Sister Nolla's Voyage of Discovery."

Jennifer Feeney
January 19, 2012 11:15 pm


If you look up the pros and cons of DNA fingerprinting, it is universally acknowledged that it is only as competent as those performing the testing. That starts from the collection of samples (we all have heard about poorly collected milk samples), to the execution of the tests and even analysis of the results. Where I worked, a fingerprints were sequenced to confirm. I double, given the expense entailed, that the milk fingerprints are being sequenced. But health officials would need to give more information about results to know anything about the positive test results they have found. A positive result in the absence of the data means nothing to me.

As for the cheese nun – one of the interesting things she found was this: She used to use an old whisky barrel to age her cheeses. She found it gave her the kind of living environment she wanted for proper aging. At some point health officials made her give up the old barrel and switch to stainless steel. the other, they said, was a health risk. She did tests on both procedures (she has a Ph.D in microbiology) and found that pathogenic bacteria were more likely to survive and thrive in the sterile environment, where the barrel (which was probably the home to many happy healthy microbes) didn't give the pathogenic bacteria a chance.

Bill Anderson
January 19, 2012 11:22 pm


I have been familiar with Sister Noella Marcellino's work for many years. (aka "the cheese nun"). In particular, her work studying the geotrichum candidum yeast/mold in French Sainte Nectaire cheese (from the Savoie region of France, bordering Switzerland) is outstanding.

I think she is a shining example of what this movement needs to do if it is to be successful at legalizing and/or decriminalizing raw milk. Rather than create a cult of like-minded political ideologues (as our current movement leadership has done) Sister Marcellino decided to take the revolutionary step of using SCIENCE to defend her position as a producer of raw milk cheese.

Sister Marcellino's abbey produces a cheese that is not only made with raw milk, but in which the milk is coagulated in a wooden vat (actually, a barrel cut off at the top). This would normally be forbidden under FDA and state hygiene rules, but because of Sister Marcellino's scientific research into the effects of the beneficial lactic-acid bacteria living in the wood, her abbey was granted an exemption by the local health authorities.

If I can be allowed to be politically inflammatory here — I would suggest that Sister Marcellino makes a far better role model than Joel Salatin. Hopefully more people will learn to follow her lead.

Sylvia Gibson
January 19, 2012 11:58 pm

"it is universally acknowledged that it is only as competent as those performing the testing. "

That would pertain to many professionals… I've seen many in the health care field where competency should be questioned.

"A positive result in the absence of the data means nothing to me."

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.

Bill, I grew up eating American cheese, grocery store swiss, along with canned Parmesan, now, I would not touch any of those. When I first went to Germany in the early 70s, In the 13 yrs there I learned the world had better foods and my tastes improved immensely. We lived on the economy, not on the bases. Life was grand, walking distance to the baker, German Deli, etc…..

"her abbey was granted an exemption by the local health authorities."

Only her abbey was granted the exemption? Why not all? This is where tptb are selective in their oppression.

I think the Sister, Joel and many others can be terrific role models, even Mark has some good ideas. I think everyone has their own view of how their own world should be and that is ok. Just don't try to push one view onto another. I would love to live on a farm similar to Joel's, only on a much smaller scale.

January 20, 2012 12:21 am

I'm surprised that no one is defending the validity of lab results claiming that a "match" has been found.After all, aren't these tests the "gold standard" when it comes to tracing a "pathogen" back to it's source? Milky Way, where are you? If Steve's 11 great thoughts were implemented ,the one about an open ,transparent,collaborative epidemiology investigation would pull back the curtains on these fraudulent health department tests.

Mark McAfee
January 20, 2012 12:24 am

Brilliant Post Jennifer,

I learned alot from it. The concept that one kid gets sick every three weeks for 10-11 weeks and all of the products test negative…all of them, hundreds of them, even all of the tests of product taken from their homes. Not just some of them. It is hard to wrap my brain arround. When 50-60,000 people per week are drinking raw milk from OPDC and only one child every few weeks gets sick???…how did this happen. Why did it happen sporatically. Why wasn't there illnesses every week. Why every several weeks at "one at a time"???

The cases are too directly connected to our calf area, yet all of these consumers deny visiting our calves.

If I was paranoid, I would think that someone visited OPDC and placed ecoli 0157H7 on the outside of cartons of milk and then threw the matching pathogen in the calf pen so the investigators would find it later. I am not paranoid….but perhaps I should be. How else would someone explain this type of very targeted sporatic spreading of bacteria. Why not more illnesses. If it came from a cow that was persistly shedding the pathogen over that 10 weeks, we should have caught it at least once in all of our many tests. We test for pathogens 4 times per week. During this period of time we did at least 40 tests…all negative. If it was inside the bottle and part of the milk….the investigators would have found it at least one time in the five bottles they sampled. They found it zero times.

We do know that at least two of the most sickened children did not drink raw milk,….but drank OPDC after it had been "fermented and cultured with store bought Kefir cultures ". This also changes the possibilities tremendously. If a pathogen was at extremely low levels in the raw milk and then the Raw Milk was cultured, that could mean that it was grown to much higher levels prior to consumption. This could be the hidden secret of why this happened to so few kids. Perhaps there was a pathogen the entire time….at extremely low levels sub clinical levels….but culturing then brought it up to the clinical level and bang!! There you go. But….that is not a great explaination either. The lab does the same thing when they culture for pathogens. Why was it not found in one of the other samples??? Perhaps it was not on the inside of the bottle….it was on the outside and found itself into the inside of a Kefir batch in some one home. We do not know all the rest of the stories….but they are coming out more and more and we are working to get the whole picture so we can protect ALL of consumers better in ther future. Even from our calf area.

My investigation contiues….one thing for sure….for sure. We will learn from this and we will get better and better and safer and safer.

Some thing freaky happening.

Perhaps Monsanto does one thing right for themselves. They have heavy security for all their plants and facilties. Perhaps OPDC will start looking more like an armed camp with high barbed wire security fences, video cameras and guards…. Obviously some one does not like what we do. Either in the lab or at our facilities.

Interesting point made…you get what you look for.

All employees have been highly trained to wash hands in our creamery plant.


Sylvia Gibson
January 20, 2012 1:16 am

",the one about an open ,transparent,collaborative epidemiology investigation would pull back the curtains on these fraudulent health department tests. "

Miguel! For shame, you know tptb don't want the public to know how worthless they truly are! It the masses knew the truth, then they would lose power.

This is where teaching comes in.

Jennifer, may I share your post;

beginning with: "To find the genetic finger print,…. and ending with "(even in DNA fingerprinting)." ?

Mark, I'd be paranoid…but then I don't trust easily.

Jennifer Feeney
January 20, 2012 2:05 am

Oh, and I want to say that I'm not denying the positive test result. I want to know more about HOW they obtained their positive. Again, a positive in the absence of all of the information is meaningless. I have heard of positive results that could have come from sample-takers walking through manure.

e. coli can last for months on the surface of something, so it could very well have been a surface contamination and never present in the milk. Bio security measures on farms are in place to prevent accidental environmental contamination. If I were to raise both turkeys and chickens, I would need to be sure that the turkeys never come into contact with chicken manure because turkeys are prone to disease (they have a very weak immune system) and there are many pathogens that exist in chicken manure that are fatal to young turkeys. You would need a separate set of boots, even separate coveralls. Those that inspect the health of chicken areas use the same procedures to be sure they don't accidentally spread disease from one facility to another.

Mark, typically the fermentation of milk actually contributes to the absence of pathogens because you are creating an environment that is too acidic for them to thrive. However, 0157:H7 does thrive in an acidic environment, so maybe this is the problem. But you don't know how they treated their milk. When I make soft cheeses or yogurt cultures, I pasteurize my milk as a precaution. Did they do this? There are so many variables and the illnesses are so spread out that it does make you scratch your head.

Bill, I think that much research can be done on the microbiology of raw milk and cheese. But who is going to pay for it? Sometimes anecdotal evidence is equally valuable. Think about the hundreds of cheeses that were created through time when there was limited knowledge of microbes. Imagine a world that never acted except on the advice found in scientific research. And imagine a science devoid of imagination?

Two Einstein quotes I like:

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world."

Dave Milano
January 20, 2012 2:24 am

Science does eventually catch up with art, but it takes monumental patience to tolerate the progress.

Kristen Papac
January 20, 2012 2:58 am

I for one, am extremely pissed off by the news coming out of OPDC today and I don't know how to reconcile my feelings in the moment, but I will try:

When I first started WAPF, everyone glorified the benefits of raw milk and perpetuated the myth that pathogens cannot grow in raw milk and hence it is inherently safe. You know, the whole Sally Fallon real milk website idiocy. I was skeptical. I did not "drink the raw milk koolaid" for over a year or so.

Then, I got pregnant the second time around. I turned to WAPF guidelines and started making raw milk kefir. I thought, critical thought and cynicism be damned, my body NEEDS this stuff to make a healthy baby. I even made kefir smoothies with raw egg yolks. I got the vomit/diarrea flu 3 or 4 times that winter, a record for myself. I thought it was so strange that I got the flu so many times.

Then I read that the kids who were most sickened had raw milk kefir made at home. That could have been me, pregnant, immune functioning lowered and in the hospital and possibly having a miscarriage because of it.

Have a little fucking empathy for the victims here, you raw milk advocates!!! Seriously.

Obviously I am pissed and this issue has become way too emotional for me. I will no longer be reading the callousness on this blog. I will read the report when it comes out and still follow the Rawesome case, of course, as that is where the bubble burst in my happy little overly optimistic real food world.

Bye Bye raw milk. You tasted good. But stay the hell out of my house.

Good luck MW and MM. Mary, I hope one of the mothers sues the pants off McAfee and wins this time around with the EVIDENCE presented.

Gordon Watson
January 20, 2012 4:20 am

Kristen Papac … you're the very one I've been hoping would come along. You can help the dialogue immensely by getting the names and addresses of those who – purportedly – were sickened, so what they have to say can be scrutinzed publicly, and so discover the FACTS, about what's really gone on, in this round.

In the fall of 2009, in BC, the Chief Medical Health Officer of British Columbia got on his hind legs braying like a jackass,nation-wide, pretending 'some poor little girl was lying in hospital, sickened after drinking raw milk from Home on the Range dairy". When the media frenzy cooled down, I put it to him that he either had to put up or shut up = divulge the name of this 'child" so I could rebut. On official stationery he admitted that he had no such information. Thus, in the objective reality shared by the rest of us = IT NEVER HAPPENED
all that noise + confusion was the same old fable trotted-out by the dairy cartel, time and again. They got away with it for a while. Come on up to BC and sit in the public gallery when I present their own documents in open Court, showing the so-called 'lab tests' were bogus, and they knew it.

can you admit that their propaganda pushed your fear button, masterfully, so you've reacted just as they wanted, while you lack a single FACT about what's gone on, other than statements from people who are relentless enemies of REAL MILK? can you stretch your mind far enough to accept that you've been lied to ? Has the govt. ever lied to you before?

Kristen Papac
January 20, 2012 4:31 am

Oh, Gordon, you are calling me fear based? I call you paranoid.

As to your war, Mr. McAfee, the war you speak of will go on into purpetuity as you are your own greatest enemy.

Good bye, and good luck.

kirsten weiblen
January 20, 2012 5:13 am


Isn't there a warning label cautioning against using raw milk during pregnancy? I would certainly hope so. Also I would think that raw egg yolks could cause the symptoms you describe.

In any case, good luck to you and your baby.

Gordon Watson
January 20, 2012 6:08 am

Kristen Papac
please supply to us the names + addresses of the people whom – you say – got sick from drinking raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy? And let's not have any stupid noises about "patient confidentiality" … either you have objective facts to go on, or you don't. So far, what we have is propaganda … the kind of unsubstantiated rumor in which paranoia thrives … your own message starts off warning that you're irrational!

what I'm doing is holding public officials accountable… have they. ever lied to you before?

Kristen Papac
January 20, 2012 7:03 am


By Mark McAfee's own admission, two of the sickest children got sick from raw dairy purchased from OPDC and made into kefir at home. Is he a part of your conspiracy as well?

No more talk of tptb creating fake sick children and thus a fake outbreak, please. Ask Mary Martin if her son is real.

Good day to you, sir. I am no longer replying to your cockamamie logic.


Have you not heard WAPF pregnancy diet recommendations? Or read Nourishing Traditions? WAPF and Sally Fallon are some of your biggest raw milk supporters. Or their raw milk baby formula? Infants have questionable immunity as well, especially if they are not receiving the immunoglobulins from their own mother's milk. In fact, if I remember correctly THE WAPF baby formula calls for RAW MILK KEFIR.

How convenient of you to use the states required labeling in questioning my actions. I doubt Mark would even have that labeling on his bottles if the state didn't require it. Yes, I can read the bottle, thank you very much.

Aren't you the same gal who criticizes me for not getting a cow and milking my own? Maybe I should get a car manufacturing plant to make my own cars as well. Surely consumers have no right to "complain" in that industry as well if they don't have their own factory. Good day to you, madam, I am no longer replying to your cockamamie logic as well.


kirsten weiblen
January 20, 2012 11:54 am


It seems to me you and MM made decisions against your better judgement. Perhaps it was due to peer pressure, or perhaps due to your own wishful thinking.There is no magical food.

Chris is indeed a real person, and he is the loser in all of this, despite causation.

Yet, no relation to either illness in you or in Chris due to raw milk has been proved.

Madame, rest well.

kirsten weiblen
January 20, 2012 12:18 pm

Prof. Heckman,

You are right about Mn deficiency being caused by Roundup (glyphosate). It is being used by many governments as an airstrike deterrent to crops such as coca, and it has in itself caused human poisoning recently in Colombia.

High levels of Mn potentiate the abnormal configuration of proteins characteristic in prion diseases in animals. In Sylvia's link however, low levels of Mn seem to correspond with a higher susceptibility to food-borne toxins.

That is why Violet, Dave M., and miguel give such credence to animal husbandry and soil health issues. Balance is the thing.

Cassi Friz
January 21, 2012 12:14 am

Whoa- I've spent waaayyy too many hours following the comments on these blogs!

As a raw milk consumer for the last 5+ years, mother of 4 small children, and traditional foods chef, I know about germs. Fermentation, culturing, poo-poo, illness, pregnancy, you name it, and I deal with it almost every day.

Every item we choose to eat is a decision to take the risk that the item is healthier for you than poisonous. This is not a static point on some theoretical scale that some scientists or doctors know and can educate everyone about. As someone who will spend a week in bed with flu-like symptoms after eating invisible amounts of wheat, I can say that one man's food is totally my poison!

My first pregnancy occurred after I had been on a raw foods diet for a few years- raw fish, raw egg yolks, raw cheese (milk wasn't available and I wasn't as aware as I am now), raw greens, raw juices, kombucha, and some cooked rice. That diet reversed years of infertility and I became pregnant with my son. Do you think I stopped eating raw cheese, raw egg yolks and rare meats because I was pregnant? That seemed even more dangerous to me than the risk of consuming quality nutritious foods that did, yes, carry some risk. I did step away from the raw fish, and seared it, as I did my steaks. My second pregnancy added raw milk and egg yolk shakes to my diet. By my third pregnancy, fermented veggies were a staple in my house. And fermented cod liver oil came along during my 4th pregnancy. Each of these additions added a degree of risk that I chose to take for the perceived health benefits for me and my children.

I have fermented cabbage into a stinky mess that was not edible, dairy into sour chunks (which my dog consumed without problem), and have grown mold on my kombuchas and my sourdough brown rice. These are natural consequences of working in a changing and dynamic environment of living organisms. That said, i've eaten seafood at a restaurant where 2 women we ate with got very ill for 2 days, and all of my children were fine eating off the same plates. That seafood was deep-fried, not raw. There are always risks.

State lines, laws, rules and regulations, if not actively contributing to the health of my children, are not high on my list of things to respect. I prefer to stay legal, but my duty is more to protecting my family, and raising them healthy, happy and well, to the best of my ability. I don't have to be a scientist, doctor, lawyer, or anything else certified/licensed to make these decisions. I appreciate that there are experts out there to educate, provide information, and research how things work and how to keep us safe. I think that the current availability of information is astounding and will lead to great things for humankind. But I also believe that the survival and health of our children is bigger than these things. As a mother, I have to believe in something more, that there is a design, a pattern, an intention, that makes things work. Like conception, childbirth, seasons, tides, it is not some flawed dangerous problem, but that perhaps, the answers are easier and simpler than we'd like. And perhaps we can benefit from looking back to what used to work as well as trying to move forward in our knowledge.

People need to be allowed to make mistakes, or take the risk of faith in others and in themselves, in order to live. I don't dictate that others make the same decisions as I do, but I request the same honor and respect from individuals, and especially from institutions.

Blair McMorran
January 23, 2012 3:43 am

Seems we all lean on some philosophy of "proof". A method on which we rely to "prove" cause and effect. I suspect the truth is beyond our ken. A scientific study or laboratory analysis may "lend support" to a given hypothesis, but it never "proves" the hypothesis. There are just too many unknowns.

I think we study disease too much; there is not enough study of health. Michael Schmidt describes cows grazing on verdant pastures with "rainbows on their coats", and asserts that the spiral in the cow paddy reflects the spiral of the cow's intestines, and that he is a life-long student of this pattern.

He also tests his milk.

I've never seen a cow with rainbows on it's coat.