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Why an Idaho Girl Supports CA Raw Milk – Organic Pastures Dairy

www.mypicshares.com
For nearly five years, my family has drank raw milk. It’s one of the most important staples in our kitchen for sustenance and health.  Not once has it made any of us sick.  It should be the right of everyone to be able to to choose what foods he or she will and won’t consume. In a country where food recalls are frequent and the companies that sell those products are continued to allow to sell those products despite little to no change in their growing and production habits, I will continue to stand up for our rights as citizens in this country to consume the foods we choose.

Last week, some children in the state of CA became sickened and three were admitted to the hospital. On Tuesday, Novmember 15th, the State of CA issued a recall on all products from Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, CA.  The California Department of Public Health reported that no E. Coli 0157:H7 was found in any of the products taken from the homes of these five children who became ill.

By law, Organic Pastures performs weekly tests on their milk before sale, and continue to receive clean test results. However, because all these children reported drinking raw milk, the State of California maintains that the culprit must be from the milk and that Organic Pastures may not sell dairy products until further notice.  According to Mercury News, “California State Veterinarian Annette Whiteford ordered all Organic Pastures’ raw dairy products, except for cheese aged at least 60 days, to be pulled immediately from retail shelves. She strongly urged consumers to dispose of any such products in their refrigerators.”

On the heels of this incident, just two days later, Ready Pac Foods Inc., based in Irwindale, CA was asked to recall 5,379 cases of their bagged salad products due to possible E. coli bacteria contamination.  Just last month, another recall of bagged lettuce was issued from Taylor Farms of CA (same state).  These are not isolated incidents nor coincidences.  The reality is, recalls from bagged produce and other products happen all the time.

Where is the E. coli coming from? Answer: runoff water from factory farms, where E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella are rampant due to unsanitary and unhealthful practices. This is why I don’t buy any bagged lettuce. I buy local, whole heads of lettuce when they are in season, and whole lettuce heads at the health food store, organic when I can.

During the time when my family first started drinking raw milk, for nearly two years we had no raw milk access here in Boise, ID. So I ordered packages of raw dairy products to be shipped to our home every 6-7 weeks. We consumed milk, butter, cheese, and colostrum and it was a delicious and nutritious part of our family meals. Then, the State of CA decided that raw dairy foods could no longer be shipped beyond the borders of their state, so we had to start finding raw dairy sources here in ID.

What’s all the fuss about raw milk, anyway?

Raw milk receives a great deal of criticism by mainstream health communities and the media. But raw milk from healthy cows on pasture is a safe and natural food, no different than farm-fresh produce from sustainable farmers using healthy practices. It’s important to note that thousands upon thousands of food products are recalled in our food system regularly – including many types of fruits and vegetables which have been found to contain the E. coli bacteria. And yet you won’t hear medical and health authorities telling the consumer public to stop buying and eating these foods.

When milk is pasteurized, the heating process destroys healthy bacteria which prevents the pathogenic from becoming a problem. The beneficial bacteria, found in raw milk, are largely unavailable in the food supply due to processing, irradiation, and pasteurization. We need these bacteria to keep our digestive and immune systems, and health in optimal condition.  Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D., a leading authority in health, discusses the importance of probiotics in maintaining our health. Pasteurization also destroys necessary enzymes which allow us to absorb the nutrients found in milk.

Raw milk is not the same

Of course, authorities claim raw milk is different than fruits and vegetables.  They say it isn’t the same as consuming raw vegetables or other agricultural products containing pathogenic bacteria because milk is not cooked, such as vegetables, or washed and that if contamination exists there is really no method of destroying it. Public health officials contend that pasteurization was developed to kill these harmful bacteria, since before it was used milk contained harmful bacteria that regularly made people sick or killed them.

Commercial dairies use unsafe and unsanitary practices

In her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, Nina Planck tells us that pasteurization came along as a response to slop dairies in the 1800s, which started to spring up in urban cities in the eastern U.S.  These dairies were located next to whiskey distilleries for convenience – they used cheap feed from the distilleries in order to control costs. Some of the dairy owners even added molasses, burned sugar, starch, flour, or chalk to impart more texture and body. Some dairies added water to their milk to stretch the milk farther and save more money.

Cows also lived in the most horrific, unsanitary conditions as well, and were often found crammed together in close quarters, having open sores on their bodies, and ulcerated gums with teeth falling out. It’s no surprise that when the cows consumed this feed and lived in this manner, they became sick. Then, the milk consumed from the cows in these dairies made humans sick – causing all the diseases which have been reported by public health officials for many years and bringing the justification for pasteurization to surface – tuberculosis and brucellosis (also known as undulant fever), and many others.

Cattle are ruminants and their digestive systems are intended to process grass – not grain, corn, soy, flour, sugar, or any other substance. When you take the cow out of its natural environment of pasture and sunshine, and force feed it substances it was not meant to ingest, problems occur. In the case of slop dairies, regulations and laws for keeping cows healthy and clean were not in place; and the advent of pasteurization did not improve conditions, it only allowed them to continue.

So when public health officials made the statement about pasteurization being developed to destroy harmful bacteria – they were only partially right. The pathogens were indeed there due to the horrific conditions present in dairies, but pasteurization doesn’t always solve the problem.  Nina Planck also mentions the fact that certain bacteria such as Listeria, are not impervious to pasteurization.  Also, in large dairies, pasteurization “allows less scrupulous dairy farmers to be lax with cow health and milk handling because they count on pasteurization to destroy pathogens – at least the heat-sensitive ones – that may taint milk.”  This is as true today as it was over a hundred or more years ago.

Watch highlights from the video conference given by Mark McAfee about the recall:

Read the official press release from Organic Pastures. And, please take action and make your voice heard about this matter!

Contact:

California Department of Food and Agriculture, Office of Public Affairs, Steve Lyle:

(916) 654-0462
slyle@cdfa.ca.gov

Leave your comments on the California Department of Food and Agriculture Facebook page.

Keep up with the latest developments on this case via Organic Pastures Facebook page.

What’s the bottom line?

Raw milk from healthy cows on pasture eating grass is the obvious choice for health – it is full of important beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and brimming with nutrients that simply are difficult to obtain in most of what’s available in our food supply. Milk that is pasteurized is sure to contain harmful bacteria that will make you sick, and as we’ve reviewed, pasteurized milk is not always “safe” to consume.

Why our family chooses raw over pasteurized milk

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food

The truth about raw milk, Part I

The truth about raw milk, Part II

This post is part of Sarah The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family

The Truth About Factory Farms – Oppose Bill S.510

www.mypicshares.com

Time is running out. Factory farms are one of the biggest threats to our food supply. The more we understand the enormous impact these operations have on our health and the environment, the more we know that these operations are those who will benefit from the passage of The Food Safety and Modernization Act S.510 – and that if it is voted in, the future for small, sustainable farmers may be over.

The problem is becoming so acute, the American Public Health Association has declared a moratorium on new factory farm facilities. Since 2006, The World Watch Institute has considered factory farms to be “mini Chernobyls” due to the endless amount of pollution created by these operations and emptied out into the air, groundwater, and soil. The damage will only continue to escalate without some type of intervention in the way we allow food to be produced.

Please watch this critical film, A River of Waste: The Truth About Factory Farms:

The problems with these businesses should be so apparent – environmental damage, hazardous working conditions, unsanitary processing methods, contamination of the meat and meat products people eat due to toxic substances using hormones/antibiotics/pesticides/genetically-modified feed, and yet the government chooses to turn a blind eye to continued food recalls coming from these operations, while at the same time has been committing raids and shut-downs on more and more small farms who produce real, healthy, sustainable food.

Read about Morningland Dairy and Estrella Creamery.

These farms were subjected to harassment by the United States Government and forced to close their doors, even in the face of questionable testing procedures and protocol, and despite the fact that no one has ever been reported sick from consumption of these products.

The same cannot be said about commercial and industrially-produced foods.

Contacting your state senators now is more important than ever, we are in the last few hours before votes go through. Votes may be cast on Monday, November 29th for this horrendous bill that could irrevocably alter the future of our food!

Please let your legislative body know you oppose  The Food Safety and Modernization Act Bill S.510 because of how it will first limit and then eventually shut down small, sustainable farmers.

Go to Congress.org, type in your zip code, and contact the congressmen and women listed there to make a difference!

The FDA has been granted more power than ever to tell states how to conduct themselves, and it is critical that we make our voices heard in this matter. When you call your senators, you’ll most likely get a staff member on the line. Tell them to please let your senator or any other senator you are calling to reach that you would like for him or her to vote:

  • “No” on cloture,
  • “Yes” on the Coburn substitute,
  • “Yes” on the Managers’ substitute bill, if Coburn fails
  • “No” on the overall bill.

The more you know about the Food Safety Modernization Act S.510, the more evident it becomes that this bill is the WRONG approach to taking care of food safety.  If you have been following food recalls in the news and read about the origins of the food that is being recalled, you will find again and again that these products all come from industrial and concentrated animal feeding operation environments (factory farms). You will not find any valid food recalls from sustainable farms.

Some people are saying the Tester-Hagan amendment will be the saving grace for this harmful bill, but the entire bill itself contains such damaging language that any part of it will adversely come down on small, sustainable farmers who be rendered effectively unable to compete with larger agricultural operations with more profit and power. In reality, the Tester Amendment may just serve to stall this bill from being passed temporarily, but won’t actually change the fundamental problems inherent in the bill.

This bill is extremely damaging to the entire face of agriculture as we know it – but especially to those who want to grown, produce, eat, and sell safe, healthy, sustainable food.

Talking points (from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund page):

  • FDA has powers under existing law to effectively deal with outbreaks like Wright County Egg. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn’t that FDA needs more power; it’s that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has.
  • S510 will give FDA power to regulate food in intrastate commerce; state and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in interstate commerce.
  • S510 will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production; it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. must accept imported food that meets WTO standards, even if those standards are not up to our own. The bill does not address food security; the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.
  • S510 will provide a competitive advantage to industrial food producers–the sector of the food system causing most of the food safety problems; they will benefit from this legislation because it will burden small farmers and local producers, the solution to food safety problems in this country.The bill will impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme that will punish local food producers, many of which won’t have the economies of scale to comply with S510’s requirements.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should not be involved in domestic food regulation. The best way to protect our food supply is to decentralize and localize food production. There are already enough problems coordinating on food regulations just between FDA and USDA without bringing DHS into the mix. DHS is a huge disjointed bureaucracy whose employees have little experience in food regulation.
  • S510 gives FDA the power to dictate growers’ practices by establishing national standards for produce; the same standards applying to big firms—where the food safety problems have occurred—will apply as well to small growers who have had no food safety issues. Small growers will be forced to change practices that have produced safe, quality food.
  • Food safety plans can be used to drive small producers out of business for reasons that have nothing to do with food safety; this has been shown by the experience of the meat industry. In that industry, USDA overwhelmed small plants with paperwork requirements, most of which had no connection to safe food; small plants were targeted for a higher number of enforcement actions while there was lax regulation of big plants. There’s nothing in the bill preventing the same thing from happening to small producers subject to the S510 food safety plan requirement.

Click here to let your congressmen and women know how you feel about S510. Fill in your zip code in the box on the right and contact your local state senators.

Click here to sign the petition to reject S.510 and make your voice heard – push back and let your congressmen and women know you won’t allow our freedom and rights to real food disappear!

Click here to go to the National Health Freedom Action page and read more information about how damaging this bill is and how to contact your senators to oppose it!

Read more:

Woman Poisoned by Pesticides Speaks Out on S.510

How The FDA Can Use S.510 to Close Down Raw Milk Dairies

Photo from Victoria by Liberation Photography.