Don’t Have A Cow, Man…

A few years back, I went to speak at an event in DC and had the best milk I have ever had in my life. This was milk from the Amish farmer Dan Allgyer that the FDA persecuted beyond reason and ran out of business. At that event, because of his wonderful grass fed Jersey milk, I became obsessed with getting a Jersey cow. I also wanted butter. It’s difficult to get together enough cream from naturally homogenized goat milk to make butter, but I have done it a few times and it did turn out well. However, I wanted butter on a regular basis, and I wanted it to be from a Jersey cow…I got what I wanted!

It’s a Jersey Thing!

 

Oh Boy.

We’ve had cows and we’ve had calves, but we’ve never had a milk cow. Oh my gosh. I would like to see every single Congress critter and elected (or selected) official be required to have a house cow. They should also be required to milk her by hand. Preferably in a cold rain with no roof over them!

We Call her….Smootchie!

This cow is a real sweetheart. She will let you walk up to her and hug her. She’s learned that I am her calf somehow, and I guess that is a positive and negative thing simultaneously. She likes to follow me around and moo at me, and lick me. However, she doesn’t like to hold still the entire time while I try to milk her short teats.

The reason I keep calling her  “She:” is because “She” hadn’t yet told me her name. I thought it was Sadie, Girlie and Celie….but when “She” decided she didn’t want to stand still any more, regardless of the fact that “She” was not yet milked out, “She” didn’t listen to ANY name. Not even expletives. We finally did figure out her name. It may seem silly to some, but “She” comes to it. Her name is Smootchie.

Why, you ask? I don’t know how many of you have ever been licked by a cow, but this cow loves to lick you when she is done being milked. Cow tongues actually feel like gigantic cat tongues. They are much rougher than one might think if they like lengua tacos and such. Smoochie will actually lick you in the mouth if you make the mistake of laughing at her while standing too close to her sticking out her tongue trying to get a lick in on you. She almost got me once, so I learned my lesson. Maybe it’s part of the transference of “my calf” to the human doing the milking. I’m not sure what a bovine psychologist might label it, but it is amusing!

I digress. The issues I really want to relate have to do with ideology versus reality on the homestead. Also, with massive amounts of commitments, stress, and the fact that I have solidly determined that grey hair is hereditary. You get it from your aging parents! Not to minimize the effect that young adults have on the development of grey, but no one ever talks about how aging parents cause grey. That’s likely a story for another a day, but it certainly did affect our cow adventures.

Getting Her Home

The first problem we encountered was the bumping up of the date we were to get the cow. We thought we’d be getting this cow 2 weeks later than she showed. So I thought I would have more time to figure out all the little ins and outs of managing the cow and keeping her safe and happy, and making sure I had a working milking machine in case hand milking didn’t work as I intended. With the desired more leisurely approach to bringing in the cow out the window, I went in to triage mode. This is terrifically necessary skill if one is to deal with livestock. They never read the books and always find a way of throwing things at you that aren’t covered in books. Sometimes they will throw things at you that aren’t even covered by experience.

But first you actually have to get the critter home to find out what kind of fun and interesting experiences they have in store for you.

The morning came to bring her home and we hooked up the stock trailer and began the short drive to get her. About half way there, my husband said, “This transmission is NOT shifting!” We stopped and checked the fluid and there was no problem with it. By the time we got to the farm to get the cow, the truck wouldn’t shift out of first gear. Nonetheless, we were committed, or possibly should be committed, and we loaded the cow and slowly made our way home. We did make it, and after we unhooked the trailer and parked the truck, it wouldn’t move anymore at all. It’s still sitting there. This is after we just replaced the transmission last fall! Yipee, and yeah for old Chevy transmissions, right?  What’s another $800 in the scheme of things?

So, Cleo, the ancient Chevy, finished the task of getting Smoochie home and then we got to have some more fun!

First of all, I thought we could house her in our buck pen for a week or two while her compass reset worked it’s magic. There  was about 1/4 acre fenced in with four foot high field topped with two strands of barb for the most part, and cattle panel 52″ high for the rest of it.  So a 52″ high fence all the way around, with some of it very sharp.  We still had hay, so I figured feeding her hay after she annihilated the grass would be just fine and it would give me the two weeks I needed to get the kinks worked out fitting a milk cow into our home routine. Ha!

We had her in the buck pen, and she seemed as content as a cow that just was pulled from it’s herd might be. She wasn’t lowing too much and was on a bit of high alert, but didn’t appear too worried. Some friends came over in the afternoon and we went out and introduced them to Smoochie and they petted her and were duly impressed and wanted to make sure we knew they wanted milk from her. This was about 3pm and it was rainy and cold on that fateful day. We went inside and visited for awhile and then 5pm came and it was time to milk the cow and do all the other normal chores around here.

Time to Milk the Cow

I got my stuff together and went to the buck pen. There was no cow. She’d jumped the fence and was nowhere to be seen!   As I said, it was rainy and cold that day, assuring a pleasant experience. I began walking all over the 30 acres looking for the cow. I found three good tracks and it indicated she was headed to the pond, and I found where she’d gone over the fence. She wasn’t in or around the pond. “She” was MIA.

I looked for almost 2 1/2 hours. My husband drove all over the roads near us while I tramped through the woods and we both found nothing.We now were the proud owners of a high dollar invisible cow!

Finally, I asked the horses to help me…as I was airing up the flat tire on my other car so I could drive around the gravel roads and look for hoof prints, they went to full attention  pointing their ears in the same direction in that alert pose horses have when they aren’t sure what they are looking at. There she was, still on our property.

We got a lead and went out to bring this cow that had never been led by a rope in her life. Long story short, we got ‘er done, but she had to be gently and slowly driven with a lead on her. Thankfully I’d put a halter on her when she was still in the livestock trailer.

After all this, I was ready to milk her by hand. Another “HA!” moment! She stood just fine, but being a first freshener, she has really ridiculously short, teeny, tiny teats. And she wasn’t happy about standing still to be milked out without other cows pressing her into a comfortable position either. We put a rope around her in front of her udder and pressed her to the shed wall and I began to milk her with my index finger and thumb. After 45 minutes, Smootchie and I had both had quite enough. She wasn’t yet fully milked out and her foot in the bucket assured a feast for the dogs and cats.

I decided that I had to get the old Surge milker checked out in the morning because there was going to be a wholesale revolt from my cramping hands if I had to keep milking her by hand.

Several years back, we were setting up to be a full on goat dairy and thinking we’d be milking fifty or so does twice a day.We’d purchased equipment and even stock for the dairy venture, but that deal fell through and we’d cut down our goat herd to simply meet our own needs for milk. The ancient Surge vacuum pump was just sitting there waiting for a rainy day or arthritis to set in. From time to time, I would start it up to make sure it wasn’t frozen and let it run a little bit just for fun. I didn’t think I would need it to just milk one very kissy little cow. But I desperately needed it!

So first thing the next morning I milked her as much as we could both tolerate and went to get the Surge pump and bucket milker checked out. The pump started right up. But there was at least one problem. I couldn’t get any vacuum from it. The motor ran, but the vacuum wouldn’t vacuum. This left me unable to check my bucket milker out and see if the pulsator  would work.

 Triage, Again!

My husband got the name of the local man that services the commercial dairies in the area and we put in a call to him. Late that night he returned our call and we discussed the problem and he thought he had a pump in his shop that would work for us and would come out in the morning to install it if it checked out.

The next day he called and told us the vacuum pump he had wouldn’t work, so he couldn’t help us. The problem with the one we had in our barn that didn’t work would require a full rebuild and be both time consuming and costly.

So we began day three of the cow that wouldn’t stay in the pen and the very tired cow-mum who was getting way more exercise than anticipated walking all over our land to find the cow and bring her back to the shed to be painstakingly milked twice a day. To Smootchie’s credit, she was learning how to lead very well. She also hadn’t kicked me at all, and that is something one would expect from a terrifically prolonged milking session on a cow that was used to small commercial dairy set up.

Finally, my brain kicked in, and I decided to put Smootchie in our large round pen with 5 foot high panels that she would have a really hard time climbing or jumping over.  Hallelujah, it worked and I cut down on my woods tramping and was able to focus on the vacuum pump problem.

I thought I recalled something about someone using an air compressor as a vacuum pump at some point in my homesteading past. Thankfully, my husband had been in construction for a long time and we had a little air compressor on wheels that I thought might just do the trick. I sent him a text explaining what I wanted to do with his air compressor and he was all for it. After I built a head gate and modified a cattle panel into a swinging squeeze gate so I wouldn’t have to tie Smootchie to the wall, I began to get the regulator, gauge and fittings together to move to the new cow shed, and when he got home from work, we set it up and it worked!

Well, kind of, anyway. The pulsator, as I had feared, needed to have new gaskets. It would slowly begin to pulsate, then it would go crazy fast, then slow down to almost non existent pulsation, then rev up to 300 beats per minute again.

Complications

All of this was further complicated by the fact that I needed to go with my parents to the VA hospital for a few nights while my father, who is not in good health due to diabetes and asbestosis from the US Navy,  had a hip replacement done. Yes, the VA…and it’s three hours away.

This is one of the reasons why we were supposed to get Smootchie two weeks later than we got her. I was hoping that after the surgery and getting him into an ortho rehab center, I would then be able to focus on the things we might need for a cow. But life has a way of changing one’s plans, and it was “get the cow now or lose the chance”, so we got the cow now.

My husband, who is a wonderful, highly supportive and talented man, has milked our goats possibly five or 6 times in over 10 years. He was going to have to milk both the goats and the cow before and after work while I was gone with my parents at the VA. If we didn’t get the milking machine going, there was going to trouble…

And this is why having a helpful dairy supply company is important. On the way to the VA, I ordered a rebuild kit from Hamby Dairy Supply and they got it in overnight mail that day. That evening and the next morning my husband, bless him deeply, muddled through with the bi-polar pulsator and milked the cow and the goats as well as he could. The next night he rebuilt the pulsator when he got home and then milking the cow was not nearly so difficult!

Now that we could finally milk Smootchie out well, we were faced with another problem. Due to not being totally milked out, she’d developed very mild mastitis in one quarter. We just fed that to the dogs and cats until it cleared up. I gave her kelp and rubbed a mentholatum, peppermint oil and tea tree oil balm on that quarter for a week or so. I also gave her a few shots of B complex and a BoSe shot. She overcame that problem without complications. But we were suddenly completely overwhelmed with milk!  She’d also eaten all the grass in the round pen, and we needed to be sure we could keep her on the property as there a lot of beef cattle around us, and if she got out, it was going to be a major rodeo to get her back home…especially if there was a bull interested in her.

The Honor System

She is now fenced in with an electric fence that she, and the goats, respect. She has about 2 acres to work on, and it is evident that she will need more than that in dryer weather. As anyone with livestock knows, fences are really more of an honor system thing than an actual impediment to a large animal that wants to be somewhere else. She’d already taught us that fences were just a small obstacle for her to overcome, and not something she was inclined to respect. So we set up the electric fence hoping it would keep her where she was supposed to be. My husband sat to watch her and make sure she didn’t take off through the fence like some critters do when they get shocked. When she approached a bag, he said, “Don’t do that, girl.”  She got zapped on the ears several times and jumped back and not into the fence. Then she lived up to her name and slowly reached out with her tongue to a plastic bag… and licked the fence! She jumped back like she’d been hit with a Jurassic Park level fence. Smootchie decided the safe distance from plastic bags was about four feet. So now we can keep her on the property with judiciously placed plastic bags.

Swimming in Milk

When we got Smootchie, we had no idea how much milk she was giving. I should really say producing. Dairy animals make you pay for the milk one way or another, so they don’t generally “give” it away. I figured that due to the fact that I wanted to completely grass feed her, she would cut down on production. Again, this is where ideology and reality come into conflict. In order for her to be happy about standing in the stanchion to be milked, I had to employ the UN method of using food as a weapon. Bottom line, she is almost entirely grass fed, but she gets a tic more than a coffee can of grain at each milking. And what level of milk is she producing on that scant amount of grain? Four to five gallons per day. Mind you, this is a first freshening Jersey of heritage size. That means she is just above miniature Jersey size. She’s about 45″ at the hip, so she is NOT a big cow.

What does one do with four to five gallons of milk a day?

Part of the Solution!

The dogs are getting fat. I began to make the butter I so coveted on a daily basis. Then cheese two or three times per week. Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, farmer’s cheese, feta cheese, queso blanco…no cheddar yet as I have to figure out the aging process for that and frankly, I don’t have the time right now!  And let me tell you, the 30 minute Mozzarella recipe does NOT take 30 minutes. I logged 5-6 hours of cheesemaking two to three times a week on the 30 minute recipe. We’re also supplying five households with milk, and there is still too much milk! So we had to get a calf.

Actually, we ended up with a sweet deal on that and got two calves, and that is helpful, but we should probably have three calves for all the extra milk we still have. In all sincerity, I have seriously considered taking a few milk baths. While I haven’t done it yet, it is not off the table. Anyone have a good recipe for a milk bath?

Bottom line is this, I love this cow, and I am truly very happy to have her, but goats really are a lot easier.The milking, the fencing, the filtering and bottling, that’s all cake; but the processing of the milk actually takes much longer than all the rest. And unless you have lots of people lined up for milk that understand how to wash out milk jugs when they’re done with them, or a huge family that will drink four gallons of milk a day…don’t have a cow, man.

****Footnote and response to inquiries: Instead of getting one cow for one small family, support someone who DOES have a cow and get the true benefits without the amazing amounts of time. Or just learn from our experience and get some calves right away…And NO, my cow is not, nor will she be, up for sale. She’s staying, and I am adjusting, and I truly do love Smootchie. 

 

 

 

Study Claims Raw Milk Doesn’t Help Lactose Intolerant

Just wanted to share this before it fell off my radar. I need to find the paper that was written on the study to ascertain what the actual parameters were, but from my experience, their conclusion is completely incorrect. We have two children with lactose intolerance. One fairly severe and the other less severe. The more severe could drink all the goat milk (raw) that he wanted with no issues, and about three glasses a day of raw cow milk before he had any troubles. He could drink one glass of store bought homogenized and pasteurized milk and be in agony. The other was the same on raw goat milk, and raw cow milk is no problem in any quantity, but store bought milk is a problem after one glass as well.

 

That’s our reality…then there are the “studies”. Here’s an article about the lack of help for lactose intolerant people with raw milk:

Study: Raw milk no help for lactose intolerance

A pilot study failed to show something many people believe – that drinking raw milk reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance or malabsorption.

The condition is common worldwide, and can lead to bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea. But the specific prevalence of lactose intolerance is not known, the researchers from Stanford University said.

“Recently, unpasteurized raw milk consumption has increased in popularity and emerged into a nationwide movement despite the acknowledgment of risks associated” with pathogens, the researchers wrote in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Late last year the American Academy of Pediatrics warned pregnant women and children not to drink raw milk and said it supports a nationwide ban on its sale because of the danger of bacterial illnesses. Still, raw milk sales are legal in 30 states.

Advocates say raw milk is delicious and provides health benefits, including protection against asthma and lactose intolerance. And when the animals are raised properly and the milk is treated carefully, they say, raw milk poses little danger to human health.

But the pilot study, conducted in 2010 with 16 people who identified themselves as lactose intolerant and suffering symptoms that were moderate to severe, did not show a benefit from raw milk. The participants, recruited from around Stanford, drank raw whole milk, pasteurized whole milk and soy milk – all vanilla flavored to prevent them from detecting which was which. They drank specified amounts over eight days and were tested at many points for lactose malabsorption.

The trial “provided no evidence that raw milk is better tolerated by adults positive for lactose malabsorption, either objectively or subjectively,” the researchers wrote.

It’s also conceivable that people need to adjust to raw milk and eight days was not enough, the researchers said. Additional work should be done to test that idea, they wrote.

Los Angeles Times

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2014/03/18/3348086/eating-disorders-are-not-just.html#storylink=cpy

 

South Dakota Raw Milk Regulations

You can have raw milk for sale IF you jump through incredible hoops….

Black Hills Milk pulls plug on raw milk sales

120813-nws-milk

December 07, 2013 5:00 am  •  Scott Feldman Journal staff

Days after the South Dakota Department of Agriculture announced it would begin implementing new regulations for raw milk producers, a Belle Fourche dairy decided it will no longer sell the product.

Dawn Habeck, co-owner of Black Hills Milk, said the new regulations would make it too difficult to keep selling raw milk to their customers, who were among the opponents of the state’s new regulations.

The new regulations take effect Wednesday. One sets the maximum coliform level for milk at 10 parts per milliliter. Habeck said that standard is virtually impossible for raw milk producers to meet.

“The coliform level increases every minute after the milk comes from the cow’s udder,” she said. “The coliform level only drops after it’s pasteurized. So the rule basically makes it impossible to sell raw milk.”

Coliform is a naturally occurring bacteria in raw milk that can be beneficial, said Gena Parkhurst, secretary for the Black Hills chapter of Dakota Rural Action. She said that maximum allowable levels of coliform vary widely between states.

Parkhurst said she was saddened, but not entirely surprised, that Black Hills Milk decided to get out of the raw milk business after the new regulations were approved.

“The rules are burdensome, confusing and basically anti-business,” she said. “We’re supposed to be the most business-friendly state, so why is the department being so hard on raw milk producers?”

Katie Konda, policy analyst for the Department of Agriculture, said the regulations were created to establish a basic standard of safety.

To come up with these regulations, the department looked at 13 states that allow raw milk sales. Nine of those states had a maximum coliform level of 10 parts per milliliter, so that’s what South Dakota adopted, Konda said.

Those states are California, Washington, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire, she said.

“It’s not an unattainable level. Other individuals in those states have meet these requirements,” Konda said.

Just looking at one piece of information from several states is not a fair way to create a law because each of those states vary greatly in other ways, Parkhurst said.

For example, California and Maine allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores, while Washington does not require pathogen testing, which South Dakota will require, she said.

Customers can get still get raw milk if they buy an undivided share of a cow and have Habeck become its caretaker. She can still legally provide the cow’s raw milk to a shareholder.

The Black Hills Milk Store in Spearfish will remain open and continue to sell meats and locally produced vegetables and eggs, Habeck said.

The market also will sell Burbach Milk from Nebraska, which is pasteurized but not homogenized, Habeck said.

 

 

Raw Milk is Not Local Food???

A few years ago, the State of Maine passed several local food freedom ordinances and I was very excited by their success and commitment. Although there was a little problem with their ordinances, they were mostly very positive, and with Maine’s “home rule” authority, it looked like there might be hope in this type of action. First of all, it was local, and local seems to be one type of politics we can actually have a positive effect on. Well guess what? Apparently even if we get our freedom to choose our own food into statute or ordinance, it’s irrelevant to the the courts and the federally controlled State governments.

In Maine, the State went after a giant dairy farmer, Dan Brown, who milked one or two cows and sold his milk locally. Here’s the outcome from Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund:

Dan Brown Hearing in Maine Food Sovereignty Case: Judge Finds Raw Milk Not a ‘Local Food’

by admin on May 7, 2013

This is a rewrite of the April 30th original and the May 4th revision. More about the Case

DBrown--IMG_3920In an incredible decision rendered on May 1st, the Hancock County Superior Court ruled against farmer Dan Brown on his motion for summary judgment. The Court instead granted summary judgment in favor of the State of Maine and issued an injunction enjoining Mr. Brown from selling raw milk and other food products from his farm stand.

The State had alleged that Dan was (1) selling raw milk without being in possession of a milk distributor’s license, (2) selling raw milk without having the necessary warning label, and (3) selling other foods prepared in his home kitchen without being in possession of a retail food license. Dan had argued that for over 30 years the Department of Agriculture had a policy of allowing small, unlicensed milk producers like him sell raw milk from their farm as long as they did not advertise or solicit the sale. He also argued that the Town of Blue Hill, Maine’s local ordinance exempted him from licensing requirements. Dan was represented by General Counsel Gary Cox and his Ellsworth, Maine co-counsel Sandy Collier who argued the case on his behalf.

Blue Hill’s local ordinance provides, in part, that local food produced by a farmer and sold to a consumer for home consumption need not be licensed or inspected. The Court, however, concluded that “nothing in the Blue Hill ordinance clearly states that the town intended to include milk within the definition of local food.” What’s clear is that the judge disregarded the definitions section of the Blue Hill Ordinance:

(c) “Local Foods ” means any food or food product that is grown, produced, or processed by individuals who sell directly to their patrons through farm-based sales or buying clubs, at farmers markets, roadside stands, fundraisers or at community social events.

(d) “Processor ” means any individual who processes or prepares products of the soil or animals for food or drink.

(e) “Producer ” means any farmer or gardener who grows any plant or animalfor food or drink.

DBrown--IMG_3929_2
FTCLDF member Dan Brown flanked by Attorneys
Gary Cox and Sandy Collier

Dan’s case has been described as a test case in Maine, a state where several local food sovereignty ordinances have been passed in an effort to allow local control over the production, distribution and consumption of local foods. Unfortunately, the Court’s ruling is another example of why the public citizenry loses faith in government when it cannot obtain redress from the judicial system and why more farmers and consumers are resorting to civil disobedience as a means of asserting their rights.

A penalty hearing has been set for May 16th at 9:00 am. At that time the court will determine the appropriate amount of civil penalty to be imposed for the violations alleged in the State’s complaint.

The Need for Real Food for Real People

Here is a great article talking about one of my major areas of interest….Real Food! I believe real people should be eating real food, grown by other real people without corporate interfaces that create extensive distance between the consumer and the food and the grower of food. Seriously, it is a matter of national security to be able to feed ourselves, and because of the control of direct trade, we have lost that connection with the very thing that sustains us….the Creation, which we are supposed to manage as entrusted to us by the Creator.

Letter from Langdon: Land of Milk and Honey

Industrial agriculture erases the identity of our food, filtering its origins as cleanly as removing bee pollen from honey. Just mix, blend, inject it with a brand – and it’s ready for a shelf near you.

Who made your food?  In these changing times that’s becoming an important question. Maybe it’s something we should all ask more often as industrial food becomes rule over exception.

But what makes food industrial? With so many working families and no one staying home to cook every day, don’t we need fast food?

When we buy those things at the local burger store or chain supermarket, we get mostly what we expect. The public is well versed in what’s in industrial food–things like additives, drugs, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives.

We hear about that stuff all the time. Trading the good life for shelf life is the price we pay for fast-lane life in the land of milk and honey, America.

But industrially produced food is cropping up where we’d least expect it. Food Safety News points out that in America these days, not even honey is all it’s cracked up to be. Importers and wholesales of what is thought of as one of the most wholesome food products on earth are squeezing the life out of honey. Processors say it’s because U.S. consumers want a crystal clear product. But critics point out that ultra filtration of honey  (and dilution with non-honey ingredients) lets importers blend cheaper and more profitable products from around the world.

No one is the wiser because filtration erases genetic and biological fingerprints that could reveal country of origin. If it’s true consumers prefer their honey that way, then for big food, that’s a very convenient truth.

At first glance filtering might seem like a good idea, a way to remove contaminants. The trouble with that thinking is that the “contaminants” in many cases are good things. Plant pollen helps make people immune to allergic reactions, (think hay fever). Pollen and DNA in honey both reveal where the product came from. While removing genetic information of when and where honey was created, filtration does nothing to change the presence of bad things in food like antibiotics and dangerous chemicals.

Industrialization of honey amounts to making an inherently good product, requiring little in the way of processing, less beneficial. It may even make it easier for Big Food to create a product more dangerous to the consuming public.

(Please read the full article!)

From Weston A Price….Flawed CDC Study on Raw Milk

Not that it is at all astonishing, but the detractors of raw milk have just lost the ability to use the oft cited CDC study indicating that raw milk is terrifically dangerous. Well, if they want to pretend they are intellectually honest, that is….

“April 3, 2013–Washington, D.C.–( GlobeNewswire )–A recent CDC study claims that unpasteurized milk and products made with unpasteurized milk cause 150 times more outbreaks than pasteurized milk or products made from pasteurized milk. After careful analysis, The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) finds the CDC study to be substantially flawed and misleading.

In 2013, bills to expand raw milk access are being introduced in as many as sixteen states. The CDC report was issued during the 2012 legislative season. Raw milk proponents say the CDC report could have an impact on a number of state bills in 2013 that aim to broaden consumer access to raw milk. Raw milk bills in Indiana, Iowa, and Wyoming died in committee. Another example, would be Wisconsin, where Assistant Majority Leader Glenn Grothman plans to introduce a raw milk bill. Last week, Wisconsin public health officials and medical ‘experts’ put out an anti-raw milk statement that relied heavily on the CDC study.

The study, by Langer et al, can be viewed here:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/3/pdfs/11-1370.pdf

“The CDC data released in the Langer paper, March 2012, actually showed no statistical difference in the rate of illness attributed to raw milk or products produced from raw milk compared to those produced from pasteurized milk,” says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, “so CDC used the number  of ‘outbreaks’ to make raw milk look bad.   CDC defines an outbreak as two or more illnesses, and outbreaks involving raw milk or raw milk products involve far fewer individuals than outbreaks involving pasteurized milk. What really counts is the number of illnesses.” See WAPF press release, February 2012, CDC Cherry Picks Data to Make Case Against Raw Milk.

The report has numerous scientific flaws that call in to question its credibility.  For instance the report claims that there are more outbreaks in states that allow raw milk sales. The premise that allowing raw milk sales in a state leads to more outbreaks is not valid because the researchers lumped all dairy products together for analysis rather than limiting it to fluid milk.  “Since they fail to present analysis that compares laws concerning fluid milk and outbreaks attributed to fluid milk, we must conclude that they didn’t find any statistical difference,” says Fallon Morell. “Despite the obvious motive to demonstrate a link between changing the laws to permit raw milk and increased public risk, they in fact demonstrate that they are unable to find any such consequences.”

“The CDC clearly documents the fact that it has no data to show a statistical increase in illnesses in those states that legalized sale.  The real effect of changing these laws is to enhance the public health and increase the number of families that have access to wholesome, unprocessed milk with its vital nutrition and enzymes intact,” explains Fallon Morell.

A close examination of reports on illness associated with raw milk reveals that there are an average of 41 illnesses attributed to raw milk each year, of which about 23 are confirmed illnesses.  According to a federal agency phone survey, 3.04 percent of the population consumes raw milk. The most recent figures from the CDC published in March 2013 report that there are an estimated 876,209 foodborne illnesses per year in the U.S.

“Using these figures, we might expect to see 26,637 foodborne illnesses per year among those people drinking raw milk” says Dr. Ted Beals, a retired pathologist who has made a study of raw milk safety.  “Of those illnesses we see only about 41 illnesses per year attributed to the raw milk they drink.  Only 0.2% of their illnesses attributed to all the foods they eat are associated with the raw milk they drink almost daily. These government numbers show us that raw milk is a very safe food.”

The report confirms that there have been no deaths from fluid raw milk over the period of the report.  By contrast, three people died from pasteurized milk in Massachusetts in 2007.  The government reports 15 deaths per year from raw oysters and 30 deaths per year from eggs.  “Clearly government agencies are applying a double standard to raw milk, singling it out as ‘inherently dangerous’ when other foods obviously pose a greater threat to health,” says Fallon Morell.

“We don’t want anyone to get sick from raw milk,” says Fallon Morell, “and with reasonable management practices by farmers and consumers, we could reduce the number of illness even more than the extremely low numbers now experienced.  Continued government opposition to freedom of choice is unproductive. Health officials need to acknowledge consumer demand for this nutritious food.  Producer and consumer groups are capable of setting reasonable and effective standards. Health departments need to cease their entrenched antagonism and support both public and private measures that benefit raw milk safety. And when illnesses do occur, we need to take an unbiased look at what went wrong so that we can improve milk safety.”

 westonaprice.orginfo@westonaprice.org.

Now, This Would Be A Good Constitutional Amendment for Missouri

Recently, I wrote about Jason Smith’s HJR 7 and 11,which is a proposed Constitutional Amendment for the State of Missouri. By the way, Jason is the Pro Tem in the Missouri House and the Republican nominee to fill Joann Emerson’s seat in the US Congress. It is widely rumored that Smith was flown to Washington four times to be introduced to his future colleagues by Emerson. It is possibly coincidence one of Emerson’s daughters is a lobbyist for Monsanto and that Smith introduced this bill, which would strongly enhance Monsanto’s stranglehold on Agriculture in this State. Possibly. I just don’t know. It’s one of those thing that makes you go, “Hmmm…”, as that old adage goes.

What isn’t questionable is that HJR 7 and 11 and SJR 22 (it’s companion) are flying through the process at Jeff City quicker than a greased pig. And is NOT good for Missouri farmers, Missouri consumers, or economic freedom overall. Please read my first article on this legislation here to get some background on why I see this as terrifically dangerous and deceptive as I do.

An interesting thing about Missouri is the many options available for changing/amending the Missouri Constitution. Battles in ballot language are often fought in the back rooms of the State Offices and voters must go to extensive lengths to find out the full text of the actual proposal on the ballot. When people are voting on a Constitutional Amendment, they should not only be allowed easy access to the language, they should read it and be certain they understand the effects of the proposed amendment. We want the legislators to “read the bills”, why would we be satisfied with out own decisions on issues if we ourselves don’t read the actual text?

After two calls and a facebook message to Rep. Smith, I finally received a return call from Smith’s office, but I was outside dealing in the real world at the time.  I called back and left another message, but haven’t yet heard back from the staffer that left a message on my machine. Sigh.

Since this thing is moving so quickly, and the questionable terms “modern” and “agricultural technology” show no signs of being removed from the language, it seems that the public should have the opportunity to look at potential substitute language that would actually be beneficial for farmers, ranchers and consumers as well as the Missouri economy.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at the language and thinking it was completely hopeless. Then it clicked. A light came on and I found language that I have shared with a few traditional farming advocates and some other concerned groups and they all said they would definitely support this language.

For your consideration and comments, I submit a truly helpful and freedom enhancing substitute for Smith’s HJR 7 & 11: (the things in brackets and struck through are removed from the language of Smith’s bill-the bold italicized is inserted instead)

Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching] practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

So what do you think? Is it too radical to think that people should have the ability to purchase their food from sources that they want? Do corporations and governments acting in the best interests of those corporations increase our freedom and improve our general health? In short, are people too stupid to decide what they want to eat?

 A  personal note for my friends and readers:

Put this in the whining column, my computer died on me. I amattempting to deal with my husband’s dinosaur that -for no apparent reason- decides to take you to links on pages of articles without clicking on them, starts to type in the middle of preceding paragraphs at will, and will only run one program at a time. I am waiting for a new hard drive, while praying that it isn’t the logic board on my computer that is fried. I have ten years of research in Mac format backed up, but when these Macs decide to quit on you, it is rather expensive to fix them and sometimes downright impossible to get funds together to do do it. Grrr. So if you ever wanted to donate anything to help me keep the alligators at bay, now would be a great time!

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