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Three Reasons Why Raw Milk Safety Still Deserves to Be High Priority; DC Demonstration Monday for Amish Farmer

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 at 1:52 pm by David E. Gumpert

It’s not a great time to be trying to convince raw milk advocates–farmers and consumers alike–about the importance of a heightened emphasis on safety. Not at a time when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which frequently argues that raw milk can’t be produced safely in any event, is doing undercover investigations poking around in people’s garages and back yards, and filing for a permanent injunction against an Amish farmer. Or when public health and agriculture officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin continue to try to make life miserable for raw dairy producers and consumers.

But I made the effort, nonetheless, at the Raw Milk Symposium in Bloomington, MN, Saturday, as part of a panel discussion. My argument wasn’t that we have a sudden public health crisis around raw milk, but rather that we have a perception problem–a perception in certain segments of the public that farmers and consumers alike are insensitive to cases of illness from raw milk.


Catherine Shanahan,
a speaker at Raw Milk
Symposium.

Why should we care about a perception problem? It’s easy, after all, to say that the perception is fostered by those who adamantly oppose raw milk. Regardless of the cause, though, there are at least three reasons why we should care about this perception problem:

1. Because we are caring people, who don’t want to see people get sick.

2. Because farmers whose milk make people sick run the risk of losing their farms.

3. And more recently, it’s become apparent that this perception problem increases the risks of loss on the legal side, which is where much of the action is taking place these days. If the opponents of raw milk are able to bring up specific safety concerns in court cases involving raw milk, then judges are very likely to react to the regulator fear mongering. It’s happened already in several cases, most recently the Morningland Dairy case in Missouri. Such cases have emboldened the regulators, in my view.

A number of attendees suggested that, because the most serious illnesses appear to have occurred with first-time drinkers, those just starting out should begin slowly. “If it’s your first time, sip it in small quantities, at room temperature,” Sally Fallon, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, advised. A physician, Catherine Shanahan, suggested that prospective users take probiotic capsules and eat fermented foods before launching into consuming raw milk.

Beyond those suggestions, I encouraged a more formal and organized effort to take the offensive, such as a raw milk association to establish standards and carry out inspections. My feeling is that, whether in a court of law or the court of public opinion, it’s best to be proactive.

For video streaming of many of the Raw Milk Symposium sessions, take a look at this site. It begins with Canadian raw dairy farmer Michael Schmidt’s moving account of his long spiritual and historical journey through the worlds of raw milk and biodynamic farming.
***
The Maryland food club victimized by an FDA undercover investigation that led to a federal court action against Amish farmer Dan Allgyer will be holding a demonstration on Capitol Hill at 10 a.m. this Monday. The food club, Grassfed on the Hill, wants to show visible support for Allgyer and other farmers victimized by the FDA. Speakers will include Sally Fallon of WAPF, Attorney Jonathan Emord, Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures, and yours truly.

***
To the news that as many as one in every 38 children may be autistic, one raw dairy farmer stated, “That should increase business some more.”

Read the original post on The Complete Patient.

Raw Milk Revolution David E. Gumpert is the author of
The Raw Milk Revolution
.
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