raw milkMilk may be a symbol of wholesomeness for most of us, but according to Time Magazine, it’s also a battleground between government regulators and natural health food proponents who want to drink whole, raw milk.

The war is a test of their freedom to choose to drink a rich-tasting beverage full of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins and amino acids, that are mostly destroyed through pasteurization, the proponents say.

But to the FDA, it’s a basic health issue: “Raw milk is an inherently dangerous product, and it really should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any reason,” a representative from the FDA tells TIME.

Unfortunately, if the FDA sergeants get their way, they’ll win the war with help from Congress and the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act.

Meanwhile, a federal court has struck down Ohio’s law banning labels on dairy products that say they’re made with milk that’s free of hormones.

As reported on NPR.org, that means companies that want to say their products are “rbGH free” and “rbST free” and “artificial hormone free” are now free to do so.

“But the bigger deal might be that the ruling challenges the FDA’s 17-year-old finding that there’s “no significant difference” between the milk of cows given growth hormone and those that aren’t,” NPR said.

“Just that sort of distinction, or lack of it actually, is part of the ongoing debate about how to label genetically engineered salmon.”

The Court of Appeals also listed the reasons why there is a difference between milk from cows given growth hormones and those that don’t get hormones – and one was that there is more pus in the hormone-treated cows’ milk than in hormone-free.

Other states have already given permission for special labels on milk, but NPR.org speculated that if the FDA approves genetically modified salmon (GM), consumer groups may use the court’s ruling to label non-genetically engineered salmon.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Time Magazine couldn’t be more correct when stating that “for some Americans, milk has become a test of their freedom. And they’re not paranoid kooks either; the government really is out to get them, authorizing seizures of bottles and jugs of unpasteurized milk and, in one recent case, a full-on, agents-brandishing-guns raid.”

There is indeed a war going on, and it’s threatening one of your most basic freedoms – the right to eat a wholly natural, healthful food!

The FDA has long banned the sale of raw milk across state lines, and in many states it’s illegal to sell raw milk entirely. (For more information about laws in various US states, please see this link. For information about raw milk in other countries go here.)

Why has a natural food source been banned for sale in so many areas?

Well, they claim raw milk is simply too dangerous to consume and by restricting its sale they are serving the public health and reducing the risk of illness….

Yet shockingly  there’s no evidence backing up this claim.

According to CDC data, from 1993 to 2006, only about 116 illnesses a year were linked to raw milk. That amounts to less than .000002 percent of the 76 million people who contract a food-borne illness in the United States each year!

Looking at the evidence, or rather lack thereof, it is quite clear that raw milk has been unfairly singled out and targeted by the FDA, the USDA, and even the FBI, despite the fact that it’s so low on the food-borne illness risk scale it’s hardly measurable.

The recent enforcement  efforts against raw milk sales is so disproportionate to the risk it poses to consumers that it defies all logic.

Is the Ban on Raw Milk Unconstitutional?

Raw milk enthusiasts and raw dairy suppliers began fighting back in early 2010, filing suit against the FDA, claiming that banning interstate sales is unconstitutional.

The rebuttal received from the FDA was shocking to say the least.

It contained the following outrageous statements, which make it very clear they believe you have no right to natural, unadulterated food:

“There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”

“There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.”

“Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”

The FDA’s brief goes on to state that “even if such a right did exist, it would not render the FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health.”

“There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.”

With these assertions, the FDA essentially claims to have the authority to prohibit any food of their choosing, and make it a crime for you to seek it out.

This is simply unacceptable.

Raw Milk Safety Standards – Actually HIGHER than Those for Pasteurized Milk

It’s essential to understand the reasons why most dairy is pasteurized in the first place.

The dairy cows used to produce much of the pasteurized dairy sold in the United States are raised in such unsanitary conditions that it affects the cows’ health and hence the quality of their milk.

Factory farming conditions are the reason why the milk has to be pasteurized in the first place. If it wasn’t, it simply would not be safe to drink. This fact is also what prevents the conventional dairy industry from competing with smaller organic farms.

In terms of quality and nutritional content of the milk, you simply cannot compare the milk produced by factory farms to that of organic farm that raise their cattle on grasses and let them out to pasture. These cows are healthy, and produce high quality, uncontaminated milk that does not require pasteurization to kill off dangerous pathogens.

Still, despite the fact that grass-fed organically-raised cows are at a distinct advantage, from the get-go when it comes to the quality of their milk, organic dairy farms in most states still must meet or exceed pasteurized milk standards, without pasteurizing.

California, specifically, (where raw milk is legal) has its own special set of standards for raw milk for human consumption.

So, if it’s not really about food safety, what’s all the hubbub about?

In a word: money.

The conventional dairy industry, realizing that consumers are flocking toward raw milk because of its health benefits, has redoubled their efforts to quench raw milk sales.

You might think that if raw dairy became attractive enough the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. Alas… this is virtually impossible because of the way their overcrowded farms are run.

You simply CANNOT drink factory farmed milk raw. It would be extremely unsafe. Their business depends on pasteurization, and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.

Big Dairy simply cannot compete, so to maintain their market share, they’re employing dirty tactics to destroy the competition instead.

Still, There is Good News!

In the middle of all this fascist-like drama, a federal court has repealed Ohio’s law banning the use of ‘rBGH-free’ labels on dairy products, giving raw dairy producers and consumers new hope.

This ruling means that companies that want to clearly state that their products are “rBGH free,” “rBST free,” or “artificial hormone free” are now allowed to do so.

This is an important victory that may shape the future of other genetically modified (GM) foods, such as GM salmon – the approval of which is currently being debated by the FDA.

If the salmon is approved, the next question is whether or not it must be labeled as genetically modified.

For the past 17 years, the FDA’s has held on to their initial finding that there’s “no significant difference” between the milk of cows given genetically modified artificial growth hormone and those that aren’t.

By overturning the ban on “rBGH free” labels in Ohio, it reopens the debate, which is exactly what needs to happen. In worst case, if the FDA decides not to label GM salmon as such, consumer groups can use this court ruling to label natural, NON-GM salmon instead.

Get Informed and Protect Your Food Freedom

I urge you to a take a stand to protect your freedom of food choice by joining the Raw Milk Campaign to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans. You can find Local Chapters and Chapter Leaders by sending an email to: chapters@westonaprice.org.

For more information, I urge you to listen to my interview with Mark McAfee, the founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States, along with this video with health and business journalist David E. Gumpert.

You can also find lots of valuable information in Gumpert’s book, The Raw Milk Revolution, and on McAfee’s website.

Finally, if you’re interested in purchasing raw milk, RealMilk.com can help you find a high-quality source in your area.

Related Articles:

  The Despicable Reason Behind Raw Milk Bans

  Identifying High-Quality Sources of Raw Milk

  Why Raw Milk is Becoming More Popular

 Comments (257)

  1. Apples

    The FDA states that more pesticides are found on apples than are found on any other fruit or vegetable — a grand total of 36. One test found seven chemicals on a single apple. Sounds like a good reason to switch to pesticide-free organic produce to me.

    Of course, if you do eat apples or any other fruit, use them sparingly and never consume them in the form of fruit juice, which is basically just a glass full of fructose.

  2. Baby Foods

    An infant’s immune system is less developed than an adult’s, and more vulnerable. Nonorganic baby foods tend to use fruits and vegetables that have been treated with chemicals.

  3. butter and milkButter and Milk

    Dairy cows eat grains that are heavily treated with chemicals, which show up in the milk. Non-organic milk can also contain bovine growth hormone and antibiotics.

    However, RAW milk is nearly always better than organic milk if it is purchased from a conscious farmer. In that case, it may not be certified organic, but it will essentially be organic anyway, and drinking your milk raw is KEY. The linked article should have written loads about this difference, but failed entirely to do so.

  4. Cantaloupe

    Cantaloupes often are contaminated by five of the longest-lasting chemicals. Dieldrin, a very toxic and carcinogenic insecticide, still gets taken up through the cantaloupe’s roots even though it was banned in 1974.

  5. cucumberCucumbers

    Cucumbers were ranked the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content.

  6. Grapes

    Grapes get treated with numerous chemicals, especially Chilean grapes, which can be sprayed with as many as 17 of them. Grapes are also, whether organic or not, especially high in fructose — you might want to consider eating the grape skins and leaving the grape itself alone.

  7. Green Beans

    There are over 60 pesticides that are registered for use on green beans in the U.S.

  8. Spinach

    strawberriesThe chemicals used to treat spinach may cause cancer or interfere with hormone production.

  9. Strawberries

    Strawberries are among the most contaminated of all produce. Once again, be wary of overdoing it with fructose when you eat fruit.

  10. Winter Squash

    Winter squash, like cantaloupe, can absorb dieldrin from the soil.

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Organic food can be more costly than its conventionally grown alternative, but your payoff of good health should more than make up for it — and reduce your overall health care costs in the future.

It sure makes a load of sense to me to invest a bit more now so you can avoid paying much larger medical bills in the future, as well as avoid the physical and mental disability and dysfunction that inevitably follows from eating heavily contaminated foods for a lifetime.

That said, when you do buy organic you want to be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, and your dollars are not being wasted on food that is only marginally better than its non-organic counterpart.

The list above is an excellent starting point if you’re looking to switch to an organic lifestyle a little at a time, rather than converting 100 percent, but there are some additional points that can help you out too.

Why Organic Foods Appear Expensive

Most people fail to appreciate that their view of what food should cost is seriously warped by agribusiness. They don’t realize that these multinational corporations, that care nothing about health, have perverted the entire system to provide “food” very cheaply through factory-farming methods.

As a result many now believe real food should be inexpensive.

For virtually all of human history, our ancestors paid proportionally far more for food, and many primitive cultures spend 75 percent of their time and money in simply acquiring food.

The upside of this, however, is that these very factory-farming technologies that make “food” cheap now make it possible to eat about as healthy as it has ever been possible in the history of this planet. And amazingly, it costs far less to do so now then it did previously.

We just need to do it with knowledge and wisdom. That is a large part of what I seek to explain on this site. To warn you of the pitfalls to health, and help you to identify the healthiest, most cost-effective approaches to health so you don’t have to rely on drugs that can kill you.

You can also justify the higher cost of eating healthy by looking at the LONG TERM potential benefits which you will most likely appreciate, like avoiding disability and time in the hospital and most likely, avoid a premature death.

At least in the US, everyone has choices to make in terms of what type of food they will eat and how it will affect their health. The question becomes do you want to sacrifice your current and future health for convenience and taste or choose more expensive healthy foods and cut back in other areas?

The Most Important Foods to Buy Organic

If you’re on a tight budget but want to improve your diet by shopping organic, animal products like meat, poultry and eggs is the place to start.

Since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables, I strongly recommend you buy only organically raised meats.

Unlike conventional fruits and vegetables, where peeling and washing can sometimes reduce the amounts of these toxins, the pesticides and drugs that these animals get exposed to during their lives can become incorporated into their very tissues, especially their fat.

While you can cut off some of it, you may still be ingesting high amounts of toxins if you consume such foods regularly.

Another important factor that sets organic meat apart from its conventional counterpart is it will not contain antibiotics and other growth-promoting drugs.

When choosing organic beef, taking the additional step to make certain the cows are exclusively grass-fed, including the three months before they are slaughtered, can make a big difference in the quality, taste, and nutrient content of the beef.

For chickens, it would be important to make sure they are cage-free, or free-range, chickens, as well as being organic.

Eggs from truly organic, pastured chickens are also FAR less likely to contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, and their nutrient content is also much higher than commercially raised eggs. However, the organic eggs in your grocery store may have undergone additional treatments during cleaning and processing that you’re better off avoiding.

So look for organic eggs as well, but buy them locally from a farmer you trust. If you’re choosing between organic eggs from your supermarket or locally grown eggs that are not certified organic but come from a reputable source, the locally grown eggs are probably the better choice.

Dairy: Is Organic Worth It?

Organic dairy products are important because they’ll be free from pesticides and Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH. However, the real issue is not organic vs. non-organic milk, but pasteurized vs. non-pasteurized, or raw, milk.

Hands down, raw milk, even if it’s not organic, is the superior choice.

Pasteurization transforms the physical structure of the proteins in milk, such as casein, and alters the shape of the amino acid configuration into a foreign protein that your body is not equipped to handle. The process also destroys the friendly bacteria found naturally in milk and drastically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content.

Pasteurization destroys part of the vitamin C in raw milk, encourages the growth of harmful bacteria, and turns milk’s naturally occurring sugar (lactose) into beta-lactose. Beta-lactose is rapidly absorbed in the human body, with the result that hunger can return quickly after a glass of milk — especially in children.

The pasteurization process also makes insoluble most of the calcium found in raw milk. This can lead to a host of health problems in children, among them rickets and bad teeth. And then there’s the destruction of about 20 percent of the iodine available in raw milk, which can cause constipation.

When pasteurized milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body.

Raw milk contains good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, and offers protection against disease-causing bacteria . so I don’t recommend you waste another penny on pasteurized organic milk, seek out milk (and other dairy products) from a reputable raw dairy instead.

Which Produce Should You Buy Organic?

When it comes to produce, if you can’t find the best of both worlds, which is locally grown organics, then buying fresh, vibrant locally grown conventional produce may actually be better than wilted organics. However, it can be tricky, since some conventionally grown produce simply LOOKS fresher due to all the chemicals they’ve been treated with.

Perhaps your best bet, if you can’t find locally grown organics, is to opt for USDA certified organic, but not imported organic, over the conventionally grown variety.

Just be aware that wilted organic produce is not going to provide the nutrition that fresh produce will, even if it’s conventionally grown.

That said, organic produce has been shown to have a much higher nutrient-content than conventional fresh produce, which should offer plenty of incentive to locate organic produce that has also been grown locally. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.

In terms of pesticides, the Environmental Working Group has done the work for you and identified the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Meanwhile, the produce below has the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:

  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onion

Making Sure Your Organic Foods are Really Healthy

As I’m fond of reminding you, 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, which is a disaster for your health even if you’re buying “organic” processed foods.

Just because someone slaps an organic label on a food product, that label does not somehow magically transform a junk food into a health food. Organic processed foods — ice cream, potato chips, soda, etc. — are just as detrimental to your health as conventional processed foods.

So when planning your food budget, make sure your organic choices are centered on whole foods like meat, raw dairy and produce — not processed imposters.

Also be aware that if you shop at farmer’s markets or food coops you’ll often come across food that is extremely high quality and grown according to organic standards, but not certified as such. Often small farmers cannot afford the costly organic certification process but still grow their food according to these principles.

Again, this comes down to knowing where your food comes from so you can make informed choices about whether it’s better to buy non-organic locally grown produce or organic produce from your supermarket.

Overall, though, the old saying “you get what you pay for” applies perfectly to the food supply in your 21st-century stores and supermarkets.

Your grocery bill might be less if you purchase only processed foods, along with conventionally grown vegetables coated in pesticide residue with an artificially high nitrogen content, and corn-fed beef, or irradiated chicken filled with growth hormones.

But although they may cost you less at the checkout, are these foods really less expensive over time?

What about the cost to your health and quality of life from eating these foods?

These costs don’t show up on your food bill, but they’ll show up later in your health. Since your health is literally priceless, it makes sense to do all you can to protect its value, including buying foods that are as pure and natural as possible.

Related Articles:

  Is Organic Food Really Worth the Extra Cost?

  Are You Getting Cheated When Buying ‘Organic’ Produce?

  Why You Don’t Want to Buy Organic Eggs at the Grocery Store

 Comments (61)

Three times every week, Jan and Jeff King load 300 gallons of milk in a refrigerated truck, delivering to more than 150 homes around their family’s century-old dairy farm. Their grandfather did the same until stopping in 1961. Now Jan and Jeff are taking up the task.

After many requests from neighbors for fresh milk, the Kings bought an old truck and began taking orders. Customers are thrilled to have milkmen once again.

Parade reports:

“In the 1940s, Laddie Zwijacz’s family took two quarts of milk a week from the King dairy. Each bottle cost 10 cents and had a three-inch layer of cream on top. ‘This is what real milk tastes like, not the water you get in stores,’ Zwijacz, 78, says of the Kings’ current vintage. ‘There’s a world of difference.'”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

People increasingly want to make their own choices for their health, and they are doing so by forming organic food co-ops, buying food from their local farms, and picking up fresh produce at farmer’s markets on the weekends.

And in the Saratoga area, the community has even managed to convince a local dairy farm to resurrect the tradition of the milk man.

Personally, I find the idea of bringing back the milk man to be downright enchanting. What could possibly be better than getting farm-fresh milk delivered in glass bottles right to your doorstep every week?

I’m not sure the King Dairy brothers currently sell RAW milk, but that would truly be an ideal to strive toward.

The video above is the trailer from a full length documentary called Farmageddon…The Unseen War on American Family Farms, produced and directed by Kristin Canty. The film is slated for public release in January of next year, but Canty was kind enough to provide me this preview. (For more information, see www.farmageddonmovie.com.)

The film offers an in-depth look into the issue of raw milk, and the many issues that surround it. From government policies that favor big agriculture over small traditional farms, to the fascist-like methods employed to maintain that status quo, to the vastly different health impacts between organically-raised raw milk and its pasteurized and genetically modified factory-farmed counterpart.

Military Tactics Employed to “Save” You from Raw Milk

Canty’s film includes the harrowing tales of seven dairy farmers and co-op owners who were raided and shut down for selling raw dairy products to the public.

David Gumpert’s book The Raw Milk Revolution also discusses the disturbing trend of using armed force against peaceful civilians whose only “crime” is to provide unadulterated, health-promoting food to people who want to buy it.

This issue is in fact about much more than just raw milk in and of itself.

It’s about your ability, your right, to purchase and consume natural, unadulterated food. And it’s about big business trying to quench a competitor they know they can’t compete with.

Many believe that industry could simply adjust and start selling raw milk if the market becomes strong enough. But they can’t!

A factory farm cannot compete with a small organic, free-range farm because their entire business depends on the milk being pasteurized. They simply cannot afford to reproduce the conditions required to produce safe raw milk, such as allowing all the cows to pasture and graze on grass, for starters.

So, since big business can’t produce what consumers want, they’re simply trying to eliminate the raw milk market altogether. Agricultural agencies along with the FDA and CDC have been particularly aggressive recently in their efforts to crack down on raw milk producers and buying clubs under the pretense of public health safety.

Avoid being fooled by this issue.

As you’ll see below, raw milk is typically far safer than pasteurized milk. The evidence to support their claims that raw milk is dangerous to drink simply does not exist; their claims are based on false assumptions.

But truth does not seem to matter in this case. Armed federal agents have and will continue to storm through small farms and barns, confiscating milk cartons and computers under the guise of protecting your health, unless drastic legislative changes are made.

Earlier this year, Grist magazine reported on the military tactics employed against dairy farmers, citing victims such as:

  • Rawesome Foods: A private food club run by raw-food advocate Aajonus Vonderplanitz in California. Agents took thousands of dollars worth of raw honey and raw dairy products, and shut the group down for not having a public health permit (even though they’re a private food club). The FBI and FDA were also on the scene.
  • Traditional Foods Warehouse: A food club in Minnesota that offers locally produced foods. Agents raided the club and shut it down.
  • A private residence: Agents searched a home and took computers because a family allowed a raw dairy farmer to park in their driveway while distributing raw milk to residents who had ordered it.
  • The dairy farm and farm store of Vernon Hershberger: Three raids in a three-month period!
  • The farm of Sharon Palmer: Agents raided her farm three times in 18 months over issues with her labeling of goat cheese. A computer and milk used to feed chickens and pigs were confiscated.
  • Manna Storehouse: An Ohio food club that has been raided over licensing issues. According to Grist, “Armed law enforcement officers actually held a mother and eight young children being home-schooled at gunpoint for several hours while they searched the home and food storage areas.”

Canty’s film also includes the raid at the Faillace Farm in Warren VT, which is an award winning sheep’s milk cheese facility. In this bizarre case, the USDA incinerated healthy sheep for fear of mad cow disease, despite the fact that sheep are not susceptible to mad cow.

Raw milk drinkers and sellers finally filed suit against the FDA earlier this year, claiming the banning of interstate milk sale is unconstitutional. The case is currently pending, while the violent crackdowns continue…

Why Raw Milk is Superior to Pasteurized Milk

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk can carry disease-causing bacteria, what they completely overlook is the fact that these bacteria are the result of industrial farming practices that lead to diseased animals, which may then in turn produce contaminated milk.

They make no distinction whatsoever between disease-riddled factory farmed milk and the milk from clean, healthy, grass-fed cows. One MUST be pasteurized in order to be safe for consumption. The other does not.

Believe me, you definitely avoid r drinking any raw milk from a conventionally-raised feed-lot cow! But drinking raw milk produced by grass-fed cows from clean, well-run farms, on the other hand, is actually far LESS dangerous than drinking pasteurized milk.

In fact, not only does raw milk contain good bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system, raw milk also offers protection against disease-causing bacteria!

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw dairy in the United States, performed the following test: He inoculated pathogenic contaminants such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella into his raw milk, and into pasteurized milk.

In the raw milk, none of the pathogens survived because the natural bacteria were able to protect the milk. In the pasteurized milk, however — in which the bacteria and enzymes have been destroyed — the pathogens were able to take over.

To think that pasteurized milk is safer (even if you don’t believe it’s healthier) than raw milk from a healthy, grass-fed cow is simply not true.

Factory farmed animals are raised in concentrated feedlots that are absolute hotbeds for dangerous bacteria and viruses, and they’re fed an unnatural diet of grains, which creates a much higher level of acidity in the animal’s stomach that E. coli bacteria need to survive.

As for the “evidence” that raw milk is dangerous to your health, there have been more than 16,500 confirmed cases of people getting ill from pasteurized milk, or about 412 cases per year, while only about 116 illnesses a year are linked to raw milk, according to CDC data.

How to Identify a High-Quality Producer of Raw Milk

Getting your raw milk from a local organic farm is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting high quality milk. If you’re thinking about purchasing milk from a small farmer, it would be very wise to visit the farm in person.

Look around and ask questions, such as:

  1. Does the farmer and his family drink the milk themselves?
  2. How long has he been producing raw milk?
  3. Are the cows clean?
  4. What conditions are the cows raised in?
  5. Are there any obvious sanitation questions?

Additionally, look for these general conditions:

  • Low pathogenic bacteria count (ie does the farmer test his milk regularly for pathogens?)
  • The milk is quickly chilled after milking
  • The milk comes from cows raised naturally, in accordance with the seasons
  • The cows are mainly grass-fed
  • The cows are not given antibiotics and growth hormones to increase milk production
  • Cows are well cared for

If a cow is covered in filth and manure, stinks, is wet and cold and doesn’t look particularly comfortable, that could be a warning sign that her milk is less than ideal for raw consumption, even if it’s from a small, local farm.

Looking for Raw Milk?

As demand for raw milk continues to grow, it will, hopefully, become easier and easier to come by. In Massachusetts, for example, the number of dairies licensed to sell raw milk has grown from 12 to 23 just in the past two years.

If you’re still unsure of where to go, you can locate a raw milk source near you at the Campaign for Real Milk Web site. You can also look here to find out the legal status of raw milk in the U.S. state or country where you live. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (which helps farmers that have been raided) also provides a state-by-state review of raw milk laws.

Related Articles:

 Comments (216)

raw milk in a canisterThe FDA has long banned interstate sales of raw milk. Many states restrict or prohibit the sale of raw milk entirely.

Raw milk drinkers and sellers began fighting back in early 2010, filing suit against the FDA and claiming that banning interstate sales is unconstitutional. The case is now pending while the crackdowns continue.

Raw (unpasteurized) milk contains enzymes and bacteria have been shown to strengthen your immune system, develop healthy bacteria in your intestines and reduce the risks of everything from respiratory disease to obesity. Pasteurization destroys both good and bad bacteria.

The FDA officially banned interstate sales of raw milk in 1987, but it wasn’t until 2006 that a crackdown began. Agricultural departments in several states, with the help of the FDA, started to stage raids of small dairies and buying clubs.

Daily Finance reports:

“On occasion, people do get sick from drinking raw milk. But the number of people sickened by raw milk compared to other foods does not seem to warrant the FDA’s focused, expensive campaign …

No government regulations of interstate commerce in peanuts, kale, or cantaloupes have been suggested, despite the much greater number of people sickened by consuming these foods. Sushi, a raw food that provides a greater opportunity for illness than raw milk, is legal in all 50 states, too.”

Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

Millions of Americans get sick every year from eating contaminated foods. Among them, at least 325,000 will be hospitalized and 5,000 will die, according to FDA statistics.

Many foods are responsible for these illnesses. Most recently, romaine lettuce sold to wholesalers was recalled in multiple states after concerns of E. coli contamination, and a few weeks later romaine lettuce-based, ready-to-eat salads were recalled due to possible Salmonella bacteria.

Americans are no strangers to such recalls.

One of the most memorable occurred in 2006, when all spinach was pulled from store shelves. Alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, beef and jalapeno peppers have also been recalled in recent years after serious illnesses have been reported.

Yet, only one food — raw milk — has been unfairly singled out and targeted by the FDA, the USDA and even the FBI as a “health risk” worthy of armed raids and crackdowns — a food that also happens to be so low on the food-borne illness risk scale it’s hardly measurable.

Why is Raw Milk Being Targeted?

According to CDC data, from 1993 to 2006 there were only about 116 illnesses a year linked to raw milk — that amounts to less than .000002 percent of the 76 million people who contract a food-borne illness in the United States each year!

This is the reality of the “dangerous” food the FDA has launched an attack against — seizing raw dairy products from private food coops, arresting small raw dairy farmers and threatening distributors with fines and jail time. They’ve also devoted an entire section of their web site to extolling the “dangers of unpasteurized milk.”

Meanwhile, ground beef sold in supermarkets across the United States, with the FDA’s gold seal of approval, commonly contains meat from hundreds of animals, often from different parts of the world.

The animals are not only raised in concentrated feedlots that are breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and viruses, but they are fed an unnatural diet of grains, which creates a much higher level of acidity in the animal’s stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive.

Despite this, there is no federal requirement for meat grinders to test their ingredients for E.coli prior to selling them. And most retailers do not test either. So not only is your meat being raised in ways that are known to encourage disease-causing organisms, but little to no testing is being done to make sure the meat is safe before it reaches your dinner plate — and the FDA is A-OK with this.

It may also surprise you to learn that Chinese-raised fish, which are commonly sold in U.S. supermarkets, are often fed a diet of chicken waste and human waste, while toxic sewage sludge is used to fertilize many U.S. crops — and again this is all within the realm of FDA regulations.

But raw milk — a food that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine, which in turn has a significant, beneficial impact on your overall immune function and health — has been literally outlawed in many states.

Raw Milk Safety Standards Often Exceed Those of Pasteurized Milk

The dairy cows used to produce most of the pasteurized dairy sold in the United States are raised in similarly deplorable conditions, which is why the milk has to be pasteurized in order to make it safe for human consumption.

But high-quality raw dairy farmers march to an entirely different, and superior, drummer. California, specifically, (where raw milk is legal) has its own special set of standards for raw milk for human consumption, in which farmers must meet or exceed pasteurized milk standards, without pasteurizing.

The conventional dairy industry, realizing that increasing numbers of consumers are recognizing the health benefits of raw milk and going to great lengths to obtain it, has redoubled their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales are not able to grow, and certainly not able to become mainstream, where they could begin to threaten their very own livelihoods.

If raw dairy really caught on, you would think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible with the way their overcrowded farms are run.

Their business depends on pasteurization, and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.

Unfortunately, as is often the case the FDA has jumped on the Big Business bandwagon and is doing everything in their power — even arresting small farmers! — to protect the interests of the Big Dairy industry.

The Raw Milk Revolution is Upon Us .

Right now the “war” between the FDA and consumers looking to secure their right to purchase and drink raw milk is reaching a peak.

Earlier this year, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) filed a lawsuit against the FDA over their raw milk ban, claiming it is unconstitutional. The FDA’s rebuttal contained the following extremely concerning and outrageous statements, which make it very clear they believe you have no right to unprocessed food:

  • “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”
  • “There is no ‘deeply rooted’ historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds.”
  • “Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
  • The FDA’s brief goes on to state that “even if such a right did exist, it would not render the FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health.”
  • “There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract.”

If you go by these assertions, it means the FDA has the authority to prohibit any food of their choosing and make it a crime for you to seek it out. If, one day, the FDA deems tomatoes, broccoli or cashews capable of causing you harm (which is just as ludicrous as their assertions that raw milk is harmful), they could therefore enact such a ban and legally enforce it.

Get Informed and Protect Your Food Freedom

By joining the campaign to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans, you are not only standing up for raw milk; you’re taking a stand to protect your freedom of food choice.

For more information, I urge you to listen to my interview with Mark McAfee, the founder of Organic Pastures, one of the largest producers of raw milk in the United States, along with this video with health and business journalist David E. Gumpert.

You can also find lots of valuable information in Gumpert’s book, The Raw Milk Revolution, and on McAfee’s website.

Finally, if you’re interested in purchasing raw milk, RealMilk.com can help you find a high-quality source in your area.

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dairy farmGovernment raids of producers, distributors, and even consumers of nutritionally dense foods appear to be happening more frequently.

Sometimes they are meant to counter raw dairy production, other times to challenge private food organizations over whether they should be licensed as food retailers.

Grist offers the following advice for preparing for and dealing with a raid:

  1. Be wary of strangers who want to join your private buying group or herdshare
  2. Have a video camera at the ready
  3. Have a plan of action
  4. Read the search warrant fine print
  5. Keep computer backups
Sources:

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

David Gumpert, who wrote the Grist article above, is the author of The Raw Milk Revolution, and if you’re looking for a concise reference into the raw milk war currently being battled across the United States, this book is it.

What many do not yet realize is that this issue is about much more than raw milk. It’s about your ability, your right, to purchase and consume pure, unadulterated food.

As regular readers know, I am an avid supporter of raw milk for many reasons, but even if you don’t intend to ever take a sip, if you have any interest in protecting your right to unprocessed food, this is one issue you should keep up on.

Farmers and Private Food Coops Persecuted

The idea of armed federal agents storming through small farms and barns, making off with milk cartons and computers, would be quite laughable — if it weren’t a reality. Victims of recent government raids, as Grist reported, include:

  • Rawesome Foods: A private food club run by raw-food advocate Aajonus Vonderplanitz in California. Agents took thousands of dollars worth of raw honey and raw dairy products, and shut the group down for not having a public health permit (even though they’re a private food club). The FBI and FDA were also on the scene.
  • Traditional Foods Warehouse: A food club in Minnesota that offers locally produced foods. Agents raided the club and shut it down.
  • A private residence: Agents searched a home and took computers because a family allowed a raw dairy farmer to park in their driveway while distributing raw milk to residents who had ordered it.
  • The dairy farm and farm store of Vernon Hershberger: Three raids in a three-month period!
  • The farm of Sharon Palmer: Agents raided her farm three times in 18 months over issues with her labeling of goat cheese. A computer and milk used to feed chickens and pigs were confiscated.
  • Manna Storehouse: An Ohio food club that has been raided over licensing issues. According to Grist, “Armed law enforcement officers actually held a mother and eight young children being home-schooled at gunpoint for several hours while they searched the home and food storage areas.”

Agricultural agencies along with the FDA and CDC have been particularly aggressive recently in their efforts to crack down on raw milk producers and buying clubs under the pretense of public health safety. But the truth remains that not only is raw milk a health-promoting food, it is oftentimes safer than the pasteurized varieties both state and federal governments are rallying behind.

Get the Facts: High-Quality Raw Milk is Safe

As Gumpert pointed out, while no one has died in Massachusetts because of raw milk, three people died in 2007 from pasteurized milk tainted with Listeriosis.

And as In These Times reported, according to CDC data from 1993 to 2006 there were about 116 illnesses a year linked to raw milk — that amounts to less than .000002 percent of the 76 million people who contract a food-borne illness in the United States each year!

Organically raised, grass-fed milk naturally contains hundreds of healthy, “good” bacteria, including lactobacillus and acidophilus. It’s the presence of these beneficial bacteria that make raw milk such an outstanding food source to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine, which in turn has a significant beneficial impact on your overall immune function.

Raw milk also contains vitamins, which are virtually eliminated by the pasteurization process of commercial milk, and provides a source of natural butterfat, which is homogenized or removed in pasteurized milk.

Without butterfat, it becomes very difficult for your body to absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Butterfat is also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.

Grass-fed raw milk even contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights cancer and may help reduce your body fat.

Unfortunately, the FDA and other health agencies do not acknowledge the inherent differences between pasteurized milk and raw milk.

They claim raw milk and pasteurized milk have precisely the same kind of nutritional values, completely disregarding the value of enzymes, the probiotic value of beneficial bacteria, and the importance of healthy fats.

Meanwhile, they maintain, incorrectly I might add, that pasteurization is the only way to ensure that milk is “safe,” when in reality it is only milk raised in unhealthy conditions, from unhealthy cows, that requires pasteurization prior to consumption.

So what is really going on? Why the major push to shut off people’s access to this healthy food source?

As Gumpert says, the regulation is “not about safety — it’s about protecting markets.”

Big Dairy Does Not Want You to Drink Raw Milk

The popularity of raw milk is growing strong, despite the government’s best efforts to scare health-conscious consumers away.

In Massachusetts, the number of dairies licensed to sell raw milk grew from 12 to 23 in just two years, while the Northeast Organic Farming Association stated that dairies are selling more raw milk than they were just five years ago, and consumers call in every week looking for advice on where to find it.

The conventional dairy industry, realizing this, has redoubled their efforts to make sure that raw milk sales are not able to become mainstream, where they could begin to threaten their very own livelihoods.

If raw dairy really caught on, you would think that the dairy industry would simply follow suit and begin producing raw products to meet the demand. But this would be virtually impossible.

Cows that are part of industrial dairy farms are fed grain and often raised under substandard conditions. They will therefore likely produce milk that is unhealthy to drink raw because grains, antibiotics, growth hormones, and filthy living conditions change the pH balance and the natural bacteria present in a cow’s gut, which in turn affects the natural bacteria and pathogens present in their milk.

Their business depends on pasteurization, and that is why their powerful lobbyists will stop at nothing to persuade government agencies to keep raw milk bans in full force.

You Can Make a Difference in the Raw Milk Revolution

By joining the fight to make access to healthy raw milk a right for all Americans, you are not only standing up for raw milk; you’re taking a stand to protect your freedom of food choice.

The FDA never had any grounds for making the sale of raw milk illegal in the first place. Even a quick review of the data shows that this food, which the FDA claims is so harmful to human health, is less harmful than countless food products that have earned the FDA’s seal of approval!

If you are currently a member of a food coop that supplies raw dairy products, or if you take part in a cow-share program that allows you to purchase raw dairy direct from the farm, keep up the good work! You are taking a stand for your health and supporting the farmers that still supply real, nourishing foodstuffs.

As more people become aware of this important issue, as well as the health value of raw dairy, it will only become more difficult for the government to continue their ruthless chokehold on your access to raw food.

You can continue to learn more, and get involved in the raw milk revolution, by visiting the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund web sites. Both organizations are dedicated to protecting your right to raw milk and other nutrient-dense foods.

Related Articles:

  The Despicable Reason Behind Raw Milk Bans

  Demonized Since the 1950s – Yet Still One of Healthiest Foods Available

  Choosing Between Raw Milk and a Dead, White Liquid

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