Got Raw Milk?
The best way to ensure your freedom to choose raw milk is to buy it from a local farmer that you know and trust. Then refuse to be intimidated into secrecy for making this healthy choice.
Help bring raw milk out of the closet! Buy a T-shirt or bumper sticker at http://gotrawmilk.org/.
All profits go toward legalizing raw milk.
I just read your memoir about your sons illness at http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2007/4/1/memoir-of-a-raw-milk-illness-turned-medical-nightmare-part-1.html. I hope you dont mind me posting the link, but I feel that everyone supporting raw milk should be completely informed about their choice.
Thank you for sharing your experience. It was completely sobering and I think the only thing that got me through it was that I had already read on apexDBSs blog that your son was now doing fantastic.
Im so sorry that you all had to go through that. Im inspired by your courage and honor in relating your story and dealing with all the questions and suppositions from the readers comments that resulted.
There is a lot of controversy over this issue and I would never presume to debate with you the true nature of your sons poisoning, but I feel that I must humbly amend my earlier statement that Organic Pastures has been producing raw milk for hundreds of customers for over seven years with absolutely NO sickness or death to OP has been producing raw milk for hundreds of customers for over seven years with only one incident of illnesses.
Some folks may or may not agree with my amendment (as I said there is quite a bit of controversy over this incident) and I absolutely do not mean to trivialize the nightmare that you all went through, but for me the proof of the source of contamination lies the description of your intuition that the milk was bad. Not very scientific, but Im no scientist.
The point of my amendment is that my position still stands. What went on with the processing of the incident is exactly what should be allowed to happen here (not considering the ineptitude of the health system and government agencies) . You were allowed the freedom to choose a product that has been proven safe. When suspicion arose as to the products safety, the manufacturer was shut down, an investigation ensued and when the product was deemed safe, it was allowed to once again serve the public.
This is what happened with the spinach and this is what happened with the raw milk. This is a process that is allowed in North Carolina to spinach (and well, every other food in the state) but not to raw milk.
The CDC reports that 73,000 illnesses occur annually from E. coli. If we allow that the 5 children were poisoned from raw milk raised from grass-fed animals, the other 72,995 must be from products other than responsibly produced raw milk. The safety record for raw milk from properly raised animals does not seem to warrant the extreme measure of deeming it illegal.
I applaud all that you are doing to help people from going through what you have, but I dont believe that restricting ones freedom is an assurance of health. I believe the best way to avoid illness is through healthy food and when a contamination of a healthy food is suspected, a process is in place to minimize illness.
In post http://apexdbs.blogspot.com/2007/06/did-you-ever-wonder-why-u.html
"In today's Independent, in the comments section many of you have read, I was amused to learn that we epidemiologists are being bought and paid for by agribusiness corporations, and we're only pawns in the game of denying people their freedoms and oppressing small farm producers. If that's true, I wonder why I get so much hate mail from oystermen, cattlemen, poultry producers, restaurant owners, and food distributors. And I wonder where my cash is stashed. The truth is, we make the policy recommendations we do to to keep people alive longer. It is the purpose of my profession. It has been our purpose for over 100 years. We may not have won many friends along the way, but we have been very successful in the past at correctly identifying interventions that work. If we weren't doing that, the 30 years of life expectancy that were added wouldn't be there. The numbers just don't lie."
Im confident that some epidemiologists are honest and some not just as with any profession or group of people. You seem to be genuinely interested in the welfare of the public. None of the statements in this article however, justify raw milk from properly raised animals being illegal.
Science, in spite of the resistance of backward thinking states, proves daily the safety of raw milk in the states where it is legal. Organic Pastures Dairy (http://www.organicpastures.com) has been producing raw milk for hundreds of customers for over seven years with absolutely NO sickness or death. Every batch of milk is tested to exceed California Department of Food and Agriculture raw milk standards for market Grade A milk. This is just one of the many examples of legal raw milk farms in this country, not to mention the hundreds of illegal ones or the thousands of years that humanity survived on raw milk with no epidemiologists.
If one truly cares about the health of the public, one would open ones mind to the possibility that this product, when produced responsibly, is safe and healthy.
Another post from apexDBS: http://apexdbs.blogspot.com/2007/06/burden-of-proof.html
What I am saying here is that I do not believe the accusation by proponents of raw milk that epidemiologists implicating raw milk in particular outbreaks did so recklessly, or that they ignored other explanations. We face a high burden of proof, and there are many internal and external checks and balances in the system.
Similarly, proponents of raw milk are asserting that it has many health benefits over pasteurized milk. I think there is a high burden of proof they should meet before making those claims as a justification for relaxing the laws and regulations to open greater access to raw milk. To get there, we would need to agree on exactly what is the specific health benefit, and then we would need to design a study or studies to meet the burden of proof. At a minimum, proponents of raw milk would need to put forward a health benefit that all people would get from the product; it would need to be measurable; it would need to be reproducible; and benefit would have to be shown not to be caused by something else. Right now proponents of raw milk are asserting benefits that are vague or not measurable, are subjective, and diverse. They also seem to be challenging those of us who do this type of research to disprove their health claims or to verify them. But when someone is advancing a new claim or idea, it is on the claiming party to fund the studies, produce the research, publish the findings, and face peer review. That is how science is done.
And msenkpiels response:
Again, I am only addressing the issues concerning raw milk here. I apologize for not being very interested in epidemiology. It definitely seems like you know and enjoy your field of expertise.
As I said in an earlier post, it is unfortunate that some of us (defenders of the freedom to choose raw milk) have become cynical of agencies and professionals that have been inaugurated to guard our health. This suspicion was not born of thin air it is an experiential fact that will materialize any time that you follow the illness or death from raw milk myths.
What more could we think of these people when most if not all of these claims turn out to be caused by something other than raw milk from grass-fed animals? Thats kind of like blaming the jury for the guy with 3 DUIs losing his license.
Regarding the last paragraph of your post, I have to say that I am flabbergasted that someone of your obvious intelligence could get something so backward. We dont have to prove our belief that a food product is healthy to use it. You have to prove that it is deadly to stop us from using it.
Are you seriously saying that you believe drinking raw milk is a new claim or idea? Of course you dont because you drank it when you were a child. The new idea was born in the early 20th century when the industrialists discovered that if they fed the cows garbage instead of grass and confined them to a cement slab instead of a meadow that they could make way more money.
Thats when pasteurization became mandatory as the industrialists were not about to give up their profits just because a bunch of kids were dying.
Thanks for listening,
I have been following an epidemiologists blog against our freedom to choose raw milk. I thought that I should include the dialog here. I am including only the parts which concern raw milk, but the complete article may be read at: http://apexdbs.blogspot.com/2007/06/foundational-science-of-public-health.html
The thing that triggered my alarm in the article promoting raw milk consumption as a positive health benefit is that in no way was it scientifically examined. The entire article quoted people's opinions and anecdotal descriptions. There was nothing rigorous in the thought process, although there were plenty of accusations, assumptions, and claims being thrown around as if they were facts. Next time I will attempt to describe the difference between believing something is so, and proving it.
I will only address the point concerning raw milk here.
I am alarmed that someone should be alarmed that lay people should somehow be disallowed to state their opinions about the efficacy of a product on their own body. No one stated that JAMA should publish an article about their opinion. They simply stated that they felt better after using the product much as one might feel better after a work-out at the gym. I dont think we need science to validate that.
The accusations are a separate issue from the opinions. They concern the fact that my freedom of choice is being denied on the grounds of public health with absolutely no scientific proof that raw milk from properly raised animals is dangerous.
Sorry, the link for the discussion is http://apexdbs.blogspot.com/2007/06/assault-on-science.html
I wanted to let evryone know that I have taken apexDBS up on his offer from above to continue this discussion on his website (Thought From Apex). This is a very generous offer to look at this issue with calm and reason and I encourage all interested to follow the dialog - or join in.
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