Another Body Blow to Food Choice As Whole Foods Discontinues Raw Milk Sales in At Least Four States

The flow of negative news for raw milk drinkers today continues with word that Whole Foods is pulling raw milk from all its retail stores nationwide, effective tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

When shoppers show up at any Whole Foods that has been carrying raw milk, they will be greeted with signage telling them the chain is no longer stocking the product. This includes stores in at least four states: California, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Whole Foods had just in the last couple months introduced raw milk in Pennsylvania, over the objections for anti-raw-milk advocates.

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Co., reports he was given four hours notice that all deliveries of raw milk to Whole Foods have been suspended. He says he was told the order came from Whole Foods' corporate based on difficulties the company had gaining insurance coverage. "The insurance will not cover any liability if they include raw milk," according to McAfee.

He says he was told he will be paid for all milk already delivered. He also says that losing Whole Foods as an outlet will cost him at least 6% of his sales; he expects to counter the loss with additional sales to existing health food retail outlets.

Expect lots of consumer resentment over the action. Indeed, you can see that the logo accompanying this posting looks like a shell of the real logo, and in that respect, it's symbolic of what Whole Foods has become. I, for one, have been a long time Whole Foods advocate. I defended the company on this blog when the Weston A. Price Foundation recently encouraged consumers to consider taking their business elsewhere because of the chain's strong vegan leanings. I saw Whole Foods as a defender of food rights overall. But this move to drop raw milk changes my view, and I think it will change the view of many other customers.

I'll look for every way I can to avoid making purchases at Whole Foods. I'll try to avoid buying its vitamins, which I tend to do for convenience, and instead buy online from small independent sellers. I'll seek out places like Wilderness Family Naturals for even more items than I currently purchase, like nuts, coconut oil, mayonaise, and other such staples. My personal goal will be to reduce my purchases there until, eventually, I'm not doing any business with the company.

Yes, I've already changed the way I acquire food to avoid the dairy case and meat counter at Whole Foods. Now, I want to broaden my efforts, and actively avoid dealing with any and all supporters of the ever-more-sinister campaign against food rights...and make as many purchases as possible a political statement in support of those who are serious about providing nutrient-dense foods, even in the face of the government-business-sponsored onslaught.

david,

as they say, money talks.

And a word from OPDC....

In CA, the winners are the Mom & Pop stores and CO-OPs that suffered so greatly when Wholefoods came into town and hurt their businesses so much. The big looser in all of this is Wholefoods.

This is really tragic....because one of the biggest supporters of Raw Milk has been Walter Robb, COO of Wholefoods. He has been an advocate, a consumer and protector of raw milk in CA. It appears that an insurance company and other WF corporate types out-voted our Raw Milk Night in Shining Armor. I still believe in you Walter....

We believe that the loss of Raw Milk in CA is a temporary thing and will work hard to address the conditions that will be laid out by the insurance company that has held Wholefoods hostage. This is a national raw milk issue and not specific to CA stores.

OPDC has a very effective Food Safety plan that was developed with the assistance of WF food safety inspectors, Dr. Ron Hull and Dr. Ted Beals MD and others. This food safety plan has been in effect for more than a year and has been one of the reasons that has allowed OPDC to pass the ultra strict less than 10 coliform rule.

OPDC has offered increased insurance coverage and other accommodations. All of these things are on the table and will be discussed next week.

With just six hours notice late on a Friday...this challenge is virtually impossible to redress. Almost as if it was engineered to be un addressable?? HUM??

I know we have the full support of Walter Robb and the CA team at WF. They have been wonderful and they have expressed that they do not look forward to posting the signs in the morning and telling customers to call 1-877 RAW MILK to locate their raw milk. They know they are about to get the raw milk beat out of them by pissed off passionate consumers. It is not going to be pretty.

People are going to be really pissed....pissed at Corporate Wholefoods for a betrayal of their favorite Whole food....raw milk.

Spinach and peanuts are still for sale. So far they have killed 11....raw milk 0.

The insurance companies must not do math very well. Maybe it is not math...maybe it was a call from the FDA or other strange thing.

We will work feverishly to get back on the shelves. Until then the other 325 stores in CA that do carry raw milk are lovin it!!

Any questions please call 1-877 RAW MILK or see www.organicpastures.com
We are manning our call lines for the next week from 0800 -2200 hours every day of the week so we do not miss one consumer. WF CA has been kind enough to post signs directing consumers to call the dairy for directions on where to find local raw milk.

This will hit Claravale hard as well. We have left messages for Claravale in an offer to help in anyway we can.

Mark

I'm at a microbiology meeting.

Brandon here,

Wow, check out this short article on Grist:

http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-12-free-range-pork/

I think the guy featured in the article agrees with the minority on this site that the locavores are ruining the food system. Statements like these are just fabulous:
"...free-range pork is deadly stuff."
"...measuring food miles was bunk and that they were not an accurate measure of a foods carbon footprint..."
"Is organic agriculture polluting our food with heavy metals?"

Absolutely hilarious. Organic agriculture polluting our food, I call shenanigans.

Surprisingly, the individual that wrote the these statements was doing a study funded by the National Pork Producers Council. That reminds me of a C&C Music Factory song called "Things That Make You Go Hmm."

Wonder what's going on in the insurance world?

A lot of us in Massachusetts use Farm Family to cover dairy operations. I heard that Farm Family was dropping coverage for raw milk and that you'd hear about it next time your policy was up for renewal. Don't know if it will effect my production of raw milk cheeses.

Due to the recent raw milk victories and Americans being increasingly "reintroducted" to the simple basic food requirements that our human bodies MUST have it should come as NO SURPRISE that the "CORPORATION" strikes back and strikes back fiercely!!! And in unified coordinated attacks? The truth about raw dairy is a grave threat to this false commericalized food and "health care" SYSTEM!!!
The fairy tales from our food daddy are becoming much harder to SWALLOW
Ron Paul exposes OSU students to raw milk freedom of choise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBEoGmxklNo

Regulation MADNESS Is this the regulated future of raw milk?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/muratore/muratore13.1.html
This is a story about the "regulation" of beer sounds eerily like raw milk. There are many restrictions {laws} placed upon each individuals right to even make their on wine.
Are we living in the land of the free sovereign individual our the land of the REGULATOR KINGS?

If one were to look at the recent raw milk objections and industry movement as a whole against raw milk and its supporters, one would think the writing is on the wall...get over it, your loosing, is it really worth the hassle....really.
Well as one who has honestly looked at that very question may times, having faced pressure, having liberties questioned and removed from the argument a few times now and the many things that have been taken from me in the form of time, energy at great personal expense....my response is yes.
However....it is not my response that will sway the movement forward.
It is the response of those just exposed to the benefits of raw milk and local food in general these actions are targeted against.
If the mounting pressure aligns with its design, new local consumers will see the consolidated pressure as trend and not realize this is just business.
Raw milk and local food will find its home, as it always has.
The outcome we all hold dear... to allow as many people and thier children to experience the freedom of good health, may falter to the tatics of business, politics, and the american way.
Sadly this is one avenue to really learn where our country is at in relation to its overall respect for the person.
Sadly most people will get what they allow.....
In my very first radio interview I said "government is only as good as what you let it get away with"....a few years later I began purposely exchanged corporate with government when I learned there was no seperation.
The real question and energy placement facing us today is this...
We don't need to spin raw milk or brand it, spin local food or brand that.
We simply need to offer an honest assesment, an honest option to what has driven our personhoods to this point.....
We allowed it..we can take it back.
Tim Wightman

Gary

Indeed money does talk and it is the same old never ending story, fear greed, fear greed, fear greed.

Many insurance companies will refuse to insure you if you burn wood in your home. So you either find an insurance company that will insure you at a premium, stop burning wood, or you tell them to stick their insurance where the sun doesnt shine.

Most people in the world dont have the so called benefit of insurance.

Ken

The bottom line.....

Be very smart, hardworking, adapt and overcome and Connect to your consumers!!

This creates the super niche. If it was easy everyone would do it. Last year when everyone else said bohoo to a food safety plan and all of its details....I spent 12 hours a day for several days working with Dr. Ron Hull and Dr. Ted Beals and others developing our RAMP Food Safety Plan at OPDC. Even though SB 201 failed and was vetoed we started using our RAMP Plan and it has been in effect for more than a year. It is the tool that allowed OPDC to achieve what we thought was unachievable, ....the standard of less than 10 coliforms.

The future is very local...the future is also very tough. This is a fight and in a fight the strong and the smart that bust their asses do well. So do not shy away from learning new things or embracing new concepts.

Adapt and overcome.....just like good beneficial bacteria.

At OPDC we have become CDFA and FDA resistant bacteria and we love it. They have nothing that will kill us and every attempt to kill this little beneficial bacteria makes us even stronger. It would appear that just as with the history of bacteria, the FDA will start to die off from self inflicted MRSA and other antibiotic resistant infections.

It is all so biological on this living earth. The bacteria will out live us all. Those with the best foods and good bacteria in their bodies will survive and make healthy babies.

The rest are toast.

Mark

The IMPOSSIBLE DREAM???
FAMILY-FARM advocates call for US "bust up big Ag"
Agriculture in the US has reached critical mass!
http://minnesotaindependent.com/56285/family-farm-advocates-call-for-u-s-to-%e2%80%98bust-up-big-ag%e2%80%99
Have you ever heard of 19 million pounds of beef recall in Europe or anywhere else for that matter?
"The food isn't safe. We are eating garbage off the floors of our packing houses"
And more!!!
One seed supplier one bank one gas station one grocery store one world currency one world religion one world government is that the one way street we are on?

Will they refuse to insure food with black pepper in it also? Look at it this way. They won't be able to track salmonella outbreaks from raw milk with shoppers cards. Their loss.

Is it time to self-insure folks?

Let's create or go shopping for an insurance company that wants the business.

Raw Milk Deniers (RMD) have been working on this "Amazing Grace" movie slant for a while. The way they stopped the slave trade in England was through making the insurance for slave ships too expensive. So, the RMD are trying that tact. Too bad we watched the movie too and saw it coming. The RMD have been feeding that message to the media through their minions for a while.

Any savvy insurer would know, after looking at the numbers, that if they also provided health insurance coverage they would have an amazing bottom line. Imagine the savings on inhalers alone. It just takes ONE health insurer to get better margins, and they'd all jump in.

The next step is to get schools on line with raw milk.

Schools are reimbursed for each butt-in-seat per day. So, a school system feeding raw milk in their cafeteria (and providing it for parents to take home) will have an amazing improvement in their attendance from decreased asthma absences alone. One in six children in California has asthma.

http://www.rampasthma.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Asthma-in-California.pdf

"School-aged children miss approximately 1.9 million school days each year due to asthma, a rate of nearly 2.5 days per child with asthma per year."

Anyone with a dull pencil can do those numbers.

Who else would benefit from butts in seat approach?

Corporations of the world., that's who. Let's let them fight the battle for us. With huge savings on their bottom line from decreased sick days and decreased medical benefit access, they will be raw milk's best friend. Let's go to those that self insure first. They will love the improvements in their bottom line.

Mark is right, RMDs resistance to raw milk supporters just makes us evolve, adapt and innovate.

By the way, we're the microbes with the white hats, right? They always win the day.

Cathy I think you judged the insurance industry wrong. They are not non-profit operations. It doesn't really matter how sick you are or how much you spend on health care, they will just adjust the price the consumer pays to offset it and make money. And from that perspective the more you spend on health care the more money they make.

So they are really no different than any other part of the medical complex and that should put their opposition to raw milk in a whole new light.

Here's the sign that is posted at WF in the state of Washington:
http://twitpic.com/18dl3l

cp

We won't have any Farms or Dairies left if we leave it up to the over-paid government..
We will have to keep excepting the garbage and hidden chemicals that China is putting in our foods we get from them, all the toys and supplies we have to get from China are TAINTED in some way....
The pharmacy adatives they put in our drugs, we don't even know what were gettin from them..
And we wonder why we are a sick OBESE society!!!
Wake Up America..
We don't need to buy from other countries!!!
It is killing us, and we are allowing it!!!
My vote is to Eat What Was Said In The Bible...
Eat What and How Jesus Ate!!!!!!!
It's so simple....
Look how lond people would live...
WoW!
That would blow the Government away!!!!

That means more Socical Security in the people pockets and not the Governments...
Eat Raw Eat Healthy!

Well,
Walter Robb, COO of Wholefoods..
You can kiss my business and my friends business GOOD BYE!!
I will be telling as many people as possible, and we are going to organize a Blog to BoYcott your stores to shop at Trader Joe's until you get a backbone and find a Ins. Company has values.....
You are losing creditbility with all the articles and videos you have printed in the past...
Ellie
http://www.phat2fit.com

WF is to far away from Elk Grove so they don't get my money. If the Nugget was to stop selling raw milk, I'd rarely go into them, they currently only sell OP raw milk, no Claravale. The Co-OP close to downtown sells both brands.

Ellie...

Mark asked us on his web-site to be respectful of Walter Robb, as WF;s new policy is not his fault. Mr. Robb apparently didn't support WF's move to remove raw milk from the stores. So, let's maybe cut him some slack. In the meantime we are with you regarding our decision to not patronize WF until/unless they bring back this whole, raw, nutrient dense food. WF was the last corporation we gave our food dollars to, we will now totally rely on our local farmers, and our own backyard garden. They, (local farmers) are out there ready to serve, and it has been amazing just how many want our business! Humbly, Alyssa

Lately, I have received several emails from local businesses that want to be a drop-point for raw milk. They want me to tell RMAC producers that they want to help. They know fresh milk draws business. Some are even willing to provide a separate walk-in cooler just for raw dairy.

I think this is just the beginning of a little tidal wave of change that is happening, and Whole Foods just lost their foothold on a terrific opportunity.- healthy local food from small farms, from like-minded local small businesses. These entrepreneurs are small, agile, savvy, and committed.

We don't need big corporate endorsement. Let them bluster right past us.

Health is wealth.

-Blair

"money talks" And justice walks the party line!
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/science/13vaccine.html
Hooray we now know mercury is nontoxic because the high priests in black robes say so can a flat earth be far behind? Warning go to court at your own risk!
What can one do? We have voted with our wallet about 85% of our grocery store purchases now go directly to the farm families if they sold paper products ect. it would be 100%. At the first of the year we canceled the cable TV and how sweet it is without that madness pouring into our home and never missed it at all.
The lifes blood of this opressive system is the worthless debt based paper bank notes called FRNs lets at least try to spend them where they may be put to a productive beneficial use NOT the multinational utterly SOUL-LESS corporations.

The very thought that a store with the name "Whole Foods" could discontinue the sale of the most wholesome "whole food" astounds me! I don't have a WF near me so I don't shop there. But if one came to my town, I wouldn't go. Ever since I saw a news report that their organic frozen veggies were packaged in China, I was completely turned off by them as a business. Who the hell wants to eat anything from China? If they don't mind poisoning their own people, I'm sure they would have no problem poisoning stupid Americans. It just really left me with a bad taste in my mouth. But the raw milk issue sealed the deal. No WF for this house!

Go Mark and Organic Pastures! We love your milk!!

David wrote a very perceptive column several weeks ago about the importance of milk as the reason someone goes to the store....and then picks up a few, or a whole bunch, of other items.

It will be interesting to see the impact on Whole Foods as the raw milk reason to go there, goes away.

BTW, despite his occasionally sweet-sounding talk, I believe it has been the not-so-secret agenda of a certain high-profile lawyer, to make the insurance requirement the tool by which he would, indeed, urge the banning of raw milk. A corollary of this agenda, of course, is to spook the insurance companies. A corollary of getting insurance back, will be burdensome regulation and impossible standards. Say it isn't so, Bill.

While driving through California last week I saw at least a half dozen standard dairy farms---the sort our regulatory, legal, (and insurance) systems allow to thrive. They were completely uninviting, uniformly filthy, and foul-smelling.

There is so much wrong with farms like these. They are breeding grounds for disease, both in the environment and in the animals (see miguel's many previous posts about bacterial competition and mutation). They are energy-wasters, dependent upon fossil fuels and machinery to produce, transport, and dispense feed, and then cart away (toxic) waste. They destroy soil, both on site and by supporting soil-destroying off-site farm practices used to supply their feed. The milk they produce is, of course, destined for processing plants, because that's the way the vast majority of our milk business is run, and because their raw product is grossly unfit for direct consumption anyway. That this sort of dairying has become standard practice is scandalous (except from the perspective of regulators and processors who make their livings from it).

Now I did not visit OPDC, but based on Mark's web pictures and what I gather about his farming practices OPDC is clearly a vastly better world. I know for sure that my own little farm is better by a long mile. Yet our systems work to push down OPDC, and me, and all my small-farm cousins.

One might hope that our handlers would at least allow a few non-believers to exist outside their foul model. But no, that cannot be tolerated. One might then hope that our courts would protect us, but there's no dependable help there either because, after all, Mama Administrator Knows Best.

I wonder, How long before they come after my family cow?

Steve,
This from MarlerClark's Food Safety News, posted today, I think provides info on the "not so secret agenda" you refer to:

"Marler told Food Safety News that the reality is that insurers are getting out of insuring dairies that sell raw milk. Several months ago when Marler was a speaker at the executive committee of the American Insurance Institute in Washington, D.C., the committee members told him they were interested in the risks of raw milk. Marler also said the insurer that insured Towne Farm Dairy, the dairy involved in the Connecticut raw milk lawsuits, is now out of the market.

" 'Other insurers are adding in raw milk exclusions,' Marler said. 'Whole Foods is not going to take on the risk of it by itself--especially facing the HUS suits they have in Connecticut and the risk of punitive damages.' "

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/03/whole-foods-pulls-raw-milk-in-4-states/

David

David, Steve, Gary, no hidden agenda here, you might disagree with my perspective, but I have tried to be consistent:

1. Raw milk should be sold only on farms that are certified by the state and inspected and tested regularly. Make ambiguous black market milk/cheese sales and "pet food sales" meant for human consumption clearly illegal;

2. Raw milk should not be sold in grocery stores or across state lines--the risks of mass production and transportation are too great; the risk of a casual purchase by someone misunderstanding the risks is too great, as well;

3. Farms should be required to have insurance coverage sufficient to cover reasonable damages to their customers;

4. Practices such as outsourcing (buying raw milk from farms not licensed for raw milk production) should be illegal;

5. Colostrum should be regulated as a dairy product, not a nutritional supplement;

6. Warning signs on the bottles and at point-of-purchase should be mandatory. An example: "WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and may contain harmful bacteria (not limited to E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria and Salmonella). Pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and persons with lowered resistance to disease (immune compromised) have the highest risk of harm, which includes Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Reactive Arthritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Miscarriage, or Death, from use of this product."

Mr. Marler, despite the ruthless names that youve been called on this blog, you come across to me as a rational, fair human being who is committed to food safety. Others may not appreciate your efforts, but I do. I would never consume raw milk, but I have friends who do. It is good to know that someone is fighting for raw milk safety standards.

I like the 6 items you noted. I agree with all of them. Number 4, 5 and 6 have been discussed extensively on this blog.

Thanks Mr. Marler for the service you provide to the victims of foodborne illness. Ive watched all the videos you have produced and Im sure they consider you their knight in shining amour.

cp

Bill-

What do you do in states where "pet food" or "fish bait" are the only way to obtain raw milk/cheese? And even those forms have been illegalized, despite massive consumer pressure?

Do you not realize that your punitive regulatory approach is only further radicalizing raw milk consumers against the "food safety" establishment, and all their lies, deceptions, and coercions? Why do we tolerate Bisphenol-A, confinement factory farms which contaminate groundwater with dangerous bacteria, HFCS, MSG, Whisky, Cigarettes, pesticides, roundup, GMO's, under the table anti-biotics, etc, etc..., yet RAW MILK, no, no that is not allowed, ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA'S DAIRY LAND.

I can really tell how concerned these "food safety people are with consumer health.

John Powers was eighty-seven years old when he consumed milk contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria), a bacterium that causes foodborne illness, several times over the 2007 Thanksgiving holiday. The husband, father, and grandfather lost his battle with the pathogen on January 3, 2008. He had been hospitalized for over a month.

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2009/12/victim-profile-the-loss-of-john-powers/

Per Gord in previous post:

"You folks need to learn the law and follow it, then you'll be much happier and you won't get outcomes like this."

I gotta ask, is this debate really about small farms and the constitution, or Sally Fallon's quest to put raw dairy in every kid/person's stomach and make a bunch of money? She says: "farmers in Pennsylvania are making a fortune." That's fine, but why should she be able to "make a fortune" without caring about consumer safety? What makes raw milk "special" and exempt?

Why hasn't the WAPF and the FTCLDF along with their "experts" come out against outsourcing (e.g., buying dairy products destinted for pasteurization and selling them as commercial raw dairy)? They and others scream that a food safety plan is too onerous - hmm, is it too much to ask for raw dairies not to buy from pasteurized dairies and label product as their own; not to milk on dirt floors; not to drag feces into the processing area? Is that too much for consumers (outside the fringe), public health, and perhaps third party buyers-auditors like Whole Foods to ask for?

p.s. If unable to answer the question about food safety and sanitation with raw dairy products, you can change the subject to other causes (GMOs, FDA-approved drugs). Consumers and retailers are capable of evaluating raw dairy spin relating to their questions.

Lykke

With respect to food safety and sanitation where does it begin and end? How long will it be before you are after Dave Milanos family cow?

Ken