In Other Parts of World, How You Choose to Drink Your Milk Not a Big DealAnd They Marvel At Our Obsession

Sacred cows wandering a city street in India. Right after my trip through the Myanmar health system last week, I made a stop at a Buddhist center on the outskirts of Yangon, the country’s largest city. I had been referred to the center by some American friends, and indeed, the nun who showed me around was an American-born woman who has been there on-and-off for the last five  years. As we stood on an outdoor second-floor landing, she pointed out several neighboring structures in this semi-rural area. A small square building housed a neighborhood health-care center. A warehouse-like structure was a tobacco-processing plant. And a barn-like structure…well, once she pointed it out to me, I could see a number of cows inside.

“That dairy probably provides half the milk for Yangon,” she said. “We use it at our center.”

I asked her if she and her colleagues drink it pasteurized or raw. “We boil it. We don’t want to get tuberculosis.”

I told her that the reason I asked was that raw milk was “a big deal” in the U.S.

“Everything like that seems to become a big deal in the U.S.,” she said.

I had to laugh. The nun was correct.

Of course, Myanmar has its share of issues much more important than raw milk…for example, political repression and violent suppression of political dissidents.  The nun’s point was that, beyond such basics, people there tend not to get all that riled up about lifestyle issues.  If they want raw milk, they can get raw milk and choose to boil it, or risk getting TB.

I’ve had this point made to me in a few other ways as I’ve traveled around Asia because, as we know, the subject of raw milk has a way of coming up in strange ways. Touring the small city of Cochin in southern India, I asked a tour guide about milk when we saw the inevitable sacred cows wandering about city streets. “Sure we can buy it straight from the cow. I boil it.”

Then there was the Brazilian dairy owner, Raphael, I met who was also touring around Asia. He owns a conventional dairy farm with 700 cows, of which 300 are being milked. When I showed him my business card, with a picture of my book’s cover, The Raw Milk Revolution, he began laughing hysterically. Why was he laughing? Because in Brazil, some dairies bottle their milk unpasteurized, and sell it that way, while others send their milk off to be pasteurized. No big deal either way.

I told him the public health people in the U.S. were adamant in believing raw milk is a huge danger. “They have to justify their service,” he said with a smile. Remember, this is coming from a conventional dairy owner.

Of course, traveling around Asia, it’s pretty clear that many kinds of lifestyle risks are treated differently than in the U.S. People drive around in cars where the seat belts don’t work properly. Entire families drive around on motorcycles, where maybe the dad is wearing a helmet, at most.

But the kind of battle that has developed around raw dairy in the U.S. and Canada seems anathema to much of the rest of the world. It’s actually kind of amazing the way it churns away, the animosity it sparks. I don’t think it’s entirely financial, either. We know it isn’t about crazy convincing data showing raw dairy creates a huge public health problem. It has to be about larger belief systems, and imposing those beliefs on others.  

Very interesting David.

Thankfully TB is no longer a major issue in the U.S., but there was a time when it was. There is a good reason that milk pasteurization was instituted at one point in history, and let's not forget that the certified raw milk movement was a concurrent and often complimentary movement to milk pasteurization in the early 20th century. The struggle for milk purity in the face of the industrial revolution (and all the social and health problems created by industrialism) is not to be taken lightly and thrown out the window willy-nilly.

I think there are several reasons that the certified raw milk movement was eventually abandoned -- social class was a major factor. In urban areas, only the upper class could afford the price of certified raw milk. Two World Wars led to more and more consolidation and industrialization of the dairy industry, and so after WWII, compulsary pasteurization just became the norm.

This is why I think it is very important that we take these two issues seriously if we want to broadly increase consumer access and consumption of raw milk:
1) Food safety
2) Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races

I am curious to learn more about the reasons that TB can be transmitted in milk. I have talked to some people who say that bovine TB is very rarely contagious to human, and that most milk-borne TB outbreaks happened because a human handler contaminated the milk with human TB. I cannot verify the accuracy of this claim. I do know that in most Western countries where raw milk is legal, there is mandatory TB testing of the animals. It is something which probably deserves more research and investigation.

Safe travels, David!

It is always a breath of fresh air to get your priorities realigned. Visits internationally seem to do this very well. Thanks for the asian snap shot of our rediculous American Raw Milk thing.

Here is a snap shot of one raw milk book writers perspective on being middle age and her sensual sexual take on food...Nancy Deville does a great job reconnecting food and whole body health in these two short videos. She is also a pretty darn good singer and the lyrics are awesome. As we starts to mean more and the end, it is actually the only thing we actually have.

She will be doing one on raw milk very soon. I will be filling up her bath tub with OPDC raw milk....can not wait to hear the lyrics to that one.


That's great Mark! Love the videos!

Speaking of India, here's a great link about how India said no to GMO crops:

Bill - In February, 2008 Dr. Ted Beals published a lengthy, carefully researched and documented article concerning the risk of getting TB from raw milk in Michigan, where we do have issues with TB in the deer herd. The following tinyurl will take you to the article: . His conclusion: "I am satisfied that there is no evidence to support the contention that people in Michigan who drink unpasteurized milk should be afraid of becoming infected with bovine tuberculosis."

FDA decisions are based on the same moral test that is used by RJ Reynolds and are the same that are employed by most wallstreet analysts....

...will this decision be good for shareholders. In the case of milk.....that means PMO CAFO NCIMS bed buddies.

The world over, the moral and ethical test is much different.

The FDA says..."Is this product proven dangerous"....verses a different moral test..."is this product proven safe". On the face of it....proof of danger is ellusive and deniable. Proof of safety is a different bird all together and has a different customer, purpose and foundation.

BST hormones is the perfect example. This leaves the final test to the consumers that suffer the consequences of this moral lapse and ethical collapse. Dollar voting over time simply bankrupts permitted bad moral choices made for corporations by the FDA.

Then the lawsuits clean up the rest. It is the American way. Sick as it is.

On a much brighter note....Here is some fun at the Sacramento FM last Sunday. Teaching Raw Milk and Outreach is a blast!


Thanks for the link Steve, I will check it out.

Also, I know that Michael Schmidt when he spoke in Wisconsin, reccommended testing for TB, Brucellosis, and Leptospirosis in all animals in certified raw milk herds.

Michael Schmidt has it right.

Lykke - on this, we agree.


On my trip to India last year I made similar observations on cows and milk.
Travel Notes from India on Silicon, Cows, and Soil Fertility

Michael Schmidt usually has it right, Lykke. He has taken the regulatory community to task numerous times for their failure to constructively address the raw milk issue, and instead approach it with a repressive and authoritarian attitude.

Perhaps you also agree with his criticism of the regulatory community?

so after WWII, compulsary pasteurization just became the norm.

I think there is more to the story about how pasteurization became compulsory.

Lately I have been digging up old articles related to the raw milk/pasteurization movement in Rutgers University Library. I now have a copy of the original series of articles Why Milk Pasteurization? Sowing the Seeds of Fear Plowing under the Truth and The Harvest is a Barren One by Jean Bullitt Darlington published in The Rural New Yorker, March 1947.

Fascinating material. Some is available here:
But I wanted to see the original complete set of articles.

Does anyone reading this blog know anything about the author, Jean Bullitt Darlington? Do they still have the farm in Chester County, PA? Know any of the descendants? What was the fate of that organization? I welcome any leads to follow up on this old story.
A short bio in the article says that Mrs. Darlington has been active for several years in the cause of raw milk and has gained a well deserved reputation for her energy and industry in this work. She was one of the organizers of the Pennsylvania Raw Milk Producer- Distributors Association and was its president from 1941 to 1946: presently she is assistant secretary. She lives on a Chester County, Penna., farm which has been owned and operated by the Darlington family for two hundred years as a dairy farm. Mrs. Darlington is the mother of six children, the grandmother of three.

Also, I have collected copies of some of the popular magazine articles (The Readers Digest, Aug 1946; Corent, May 1945; Ladies Home Journal, Dec. 1944) that were used in the campaign to push passage of compulsory pasteurization.

I am now searching for a magazine called The Progressive, July 15, 1946, an article by Harvey Holman, How Safe is Your Milk? Anyone out there with a copy of this magazine issue?

Mandatory TB testing is a part of the CDFA regs for CA retail legal raw milk. CAFO PMO milk is not subject to these testing standards. I once heard a state vet say during a TB test visit that " the mother always protects her young" meaning that only the antibodies to infection enter the milk. There is an exception to this rule. If the TB infection is located in the udder then TB can be passed to the young. That is why it is extremely rare that raw milk communicates TB. I have not found the studies or physiology to confirm this but coming from a state vet is pretty solid. I agree that TB testing should be at the foundation of any raw milk food safety standard. It is easy and one time per year or even once every other year.

Remember the old Mayo Clinic studies on raw milk and TB treatment. It was raw milk that was used to help treat TB patients.

Oh. The scare tactics. Certified raw milk died off just as WW2 did not allow investment in quality and doctors thought smoking was good for health and DDT was good for your skin. America was in love with antibiotics, atomic bombs and killing things.

We are just now beginning to know better. But we still love killing things and antibiotics. Even though we are now learning that there is a terrible dark side to antibiotics. We are not so smart.

Fear and corporate easy money. We love to embrace technology to try and fight and even kill nature. Man kind will either learn and live better or Darwin will bring man to it's immune system knees.....youngest humans first!



Check your blog when you get back - it either blocks posts or repeats them.

Please can somebody explain to me why so little attention is directed at homogenization
of milk. It is destructive. You can always boil but not unhomogenize.( sp?)

While everyone discusses food safety no one is paying attention to events in the real world. Radiation is being found all over the U.S.from the earthquake/ tsunami in Japan from the nuclear reactor disaster, with NO END IN SIGHT !! That begs the question - will we be able to get a food crop off of this coming growing season? Is famine around the corner?

"EPA plans to boost radioactivity safety limits up to 100,000-fold increase"

Lykke and Mark,
Sorry for the double postings. I've removed the copies. And to Lykke and anyone else being kicked off while trying to make comments...I have alerted the host's support people about this problem, and they have asked for additional info to help pinpoint the problem, like the URL when it occurs or any error messages that come up. Please email to me and I'll forward to the hosting company. Also, I suggest copying any comments just before hitting the save button--that way, if the comment disappears, you'll still have it to try again.


"Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races" - Bill


How do you propose we do that? Is it even a realistic goal considering that the offering of cheap conventional milk requires many if not most dairy farmers operating at a loss or near loss and depend on off the farm income to survive? Or is this simply an issue of priorities; that people may have to forgo buying other stuff if they want to get quality food?

To produce higher quality milk and sell it at a rate that farmers can make a just living at will almost certainly mean higher milk prices.

Nuclear power is inherently dangerous. TMI, Chernobyl, Fukushima. Will man ever learn?

Useful website:


Much of that comes from government policies that subsidize big ag and punish small producers, which are beyond our control to a certain extent. But as a movement, we ought to consider the importance of the issue of affordibility. Organic food in general is seen as an expensive luxury, when it shouldn't be. How do we address that issue? I don't know all the solutions, but it is not something which we should brush aside.

"Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races."

This is an admirable goal, just as making organic food cheap enough for all is an admirable goal. But the most important goal is first to get raw milk accepted in all the states, then worry about price.

Just as with organics, lower prices will come when more raw dairies enter the market. But I really don't believe raw milk will ever be as cheap as CAFO milk because, just as with organic food, there are more far costs involved with none of the subsidies.

Right now, we need to work to have raw milk accepted as normal, instead of a seeming aberration of a fringe market. Fortunately, that fringe market is truly growing.

I have a new customer, a woman who cannot nurse her 2-mo old infant or give him formulas as he rejects them with colic and screaming, as well he should. At the desperation point when she came to me, he was drinking powdered goat milk and still fussy. At first she pasteurized the raw milk, but after two weeks she began mixing fresh milk with the pasteurized, and is now feeding him 100% raw with added supplements to simulate breast milk, and she's thrilled with the remarkable change in her baby... he's now calm and happy. She's started drinking the raw milk herself and loves it.

This baby makes the fourth such formula-allergic infant in this area who is growing and thriving on my raw goat milk.
As Mark says, teach teach teach.

Although OPDC raw milk is never cheap ( comparatively )....we work very hard to make it cheaper depending on the distribution channel. We heavily encoruage direct sales through buyers clubs and farmers markets. This keeps the store profit margins out of the picture.

Stores add about 35%-42% margin on top of delivered prices. management and making sure that as many farm direct channels as possible stay open is essential.

As we all know, the true cost of our food is really reflected in the 19% GDP of the medical illness machine. Cheap food is encouraged to keep the rats lined up getting treated.

So the cost of real food is actually not so bad when considering the true costs of medical illnesses not to mention environmental costs which are a crying shame and uncalculatable.

It is a matter of consciuosness and priorities. Those that invest in health...will get health. Those that do not....will not.

On the other hand...I heard one of our consumers say once...."a case of OPDC raw milk is dirt cheap" when compared to a "case of cancer".

Enough said.


We must resists the efforts of some to 'reduce' the price of raw milk. Those that have that goal, are falling into the commodity milk "how low can we go' mindset. Raw milk, just as high quality health care, expert legal representation, and a host of other societal 'perks' are not available to all in society equally. That raw milk should be different isn't reality.

The last thing the raw milk market needs is a host of large commercial producers (with the main emphasis on selling more milk) lowballing the small producer....

You get what you pay for in this world...and efforts to make milk cheaper are dangerous in more ways than one.

Cheap food kills......slowly.

With the increase in atmospheric radioactivity, and the fallout from the Japanese nuke plant on the increase.....and the tendency for this radioactivity to concentrate in milk...I wonder what others are doing to try and alleviate the effects of this new 'silent rain'. Iodine teat washes can help....and kelp is critical too....and we've started making some kombucha just for the herd. Anyone else been thinking about this...what are you doing?

Now if we can only encourage the cynicism locally, that America obviously has abroad...there'd be a better future for raw milk, and our society as a whole.

Lykke - please clarify your reference. ("Ted Beals is as wrong as Michael Schmidt is right.") The TB article to which I linked has no topics to which you refer.

milk farmer,

Thanks for backing me up.

Everyone might want to think about stocking up on kelp from last year's harvest, since my distributer tells me most of the kelp is harvested around the west coast of Canada, and reports have been made about radiation in the seaweed.

"Making raw milk affordable and accessible to people of all incomes and races" - Bill

What has race got to do with it? Should the farmer be shorted so that a consumer could afford the product? No, I do not believe s/he should be.

"is this simply an issue of priorities; that people may have to forgo buying other stuff if they want to get quality food?"

What a concept.

OT: Will any of the states be checking for any type of radiation in our foods, to include milk?

Mark, Do you have a gieger (sp) counter?

I wouldn't reccommend shorting the farmers. Perhaps figuring out a way so that people on food stamps could buy raw milk would be helpful. There are already numerous efforts underway to make farmer's markets more accessible to low-income people on food stamps.

Bill, do people who have food stamps not have cash? I would assume that in stores they can purchase any milk with the food stamps. Or were you implying that those on food stamps should pay a lower cost for milk?

No, I'm just suggesting that we need to find a way to make raw milk available to those with food stamps. At least in Wisconsin, food stamps are an electronic benefit (similair to a debit card) that can only be spent at locations registered for it. Many farmer's markets are (and have a type of "monopoloy money" that can only be spent at the farmers markets for people on food stamps)

Since raw milk is a "gray market" in many parts of the U.S. (including Wisconsin) its hard for low-income people to access raw milk, especially because many of them don't have the time or the resources to drive out to the country to get it.

I do know that some natural foods co-ops give a slight discounts to people on food stamps. I don't think that farmers neccessarily need to do this, but it would be beneficial to both farmers and consumers if we could find a way to allow food stamp recipients to purchase raw milk with their food stamps.

Milk farmer is quite right that a focus on price generally results in low quality. Bill is also right that price is an important purchase factor so should not be ignored by producers (especially in a monopoly market, which needless to say can occur in local as well as global business). It is only fair to price fairly. The question of course, is What is a fair price?

Pricing has been correctly called the magical language of economy. That is dead-on true, but pricing can only be virtuous---i.e. optimally protective of both consumer and producer---when the consumer-producer relationship is natural (human scale) and free. Unfortunately that relationship has been significantly manipulated.

In the food biz, big ag and their puppets in government are by far the biggest offenders. Monoculture commodity subsidizing, the redefining of food as a manufactured rather than a grown product, the externalizing of costs associated with bad quality (like the cost of illness resultant of eating all that manufactured crap), and the application of regulations with disparate impact, all obfuscate and interfere with natural pricing. One of the sorriest results of all that meddling is that at this point in the long journey from local to centralized, we have become a populace convinced that food (and just about everything else) is cheap.

Until we begin to see and consider the full effect of our purchases on the environment, on our health, and on the lives of our neighbors near and distant, we will not be open to purchasing fairly priced food. In fact, since our global-business, centralized-government mindset has created a world where small farms are no longer integrated into residential communities, we cant even know what a fair price for food might be.

Its a long way back to sanity.

Here is where the right thing to do gets muddy for me.

I understand some folks think that "food is a right".

On the other hand, producing food takes work.
If food is a right, that means one group has "a right" to demand others to work to provide everyone a share of the food: aka slavery.
Who has "rights' to the milk I produce?
There is no "right" to demand I spend my life 'doing for you'.
My decision to "do for you" costs as much as I decide my time is worth.
If nobody wants to pay my price, I have to dump my milk.

If govt is giving me subsidies to make food for the masses - then yes, they may have some say in my price. But if I"m footing the bill on my own, then piss off.

A big problem with the current dairy model is that farmer's have allowed the value of their time to be dictated to them.
Their bad ----- dumb- asses.


I finally got a chance look at the NIRS website,




The world currently produces enough food to feed 12 billion people. There are only half that many, yet roughly 3 billion are starving or malnourished.

Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture?


Last week I asked CDFA if they had resources to test Opdc raw milk. They said no and deferred to the FDA. Local health department had no idea what to do. I finnaly got Silliker labs to accept a sample at their lab in Italy for the radiation test specific to isotopes related to the Japanese melt down. Results back in about a week. Much can be learned from Russian testing of milk near Chernobyl


Renewable alternatives to nuclear power:
Rocky Mountain Institute

Nuclear: A Grossly Uncompetitive Energy Option

The Nuclear Illusion
Report or White Paper, 2008
This paper challenges the view that nuclear power is competitive, necessary, reliable, secure, and affordable. The authors explain why nuclear power is uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete.

@bill "Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture? "

I'm not sure what you are asking. Do I agree there is some wrong with that picture? Yes.

Can I speak intelligently, with insider knowledge about how to fix a problem that vast and complex? No.

Well, I could repeat the same old talking points, but why?

Our enemies are mighty. I haven't yet managed to get them off of my farm or out of my milk room -
When I accomplish that goal, maybe then I'll take on the problem of global food distribution.

For now I'm tied up with fighting off folks who would presume to dictate the value of my precious and limited allotment of life hours.

It appears that it takes a week to get test results back or tptb are just now informing the public. AND our govt and Japan's govt are not forth coming with numbers on results. "Trace amounts" especially when it is continually contaminating is not good.

Deadly Deceit: Low-level Radiation, High-level Cover-up, By Dr. Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman

Hi Everybody,

I am new to this group. I live in Minnesota and I am involve with folks back here to try to get legislation passed that would expand our right to access Raw Milk.

I just found this Tedx talk by a mom, who used to be a financial analyst for food industry that experienced a food allergy with her child. She used her back ground skill as an analyst to discover what was introduce into our food supply that could be the cause and why. She is quite credible. 18 minutes of your time.

This is the 3rd time this link has been posted in a few days. I posted it, then Mark McAfee, and now John Myser. Robyn OBriens book, The Unhealthy Truth is a great read. Here is the funny part. I discovered her book 2 years ago when Bill Marler promoted it on his website.

John, being new to this blog, you may not see the irony of the few sentences I just wrote. It has given me a good laugh. Maybe someone will explain it to you.


@Mary Martin

Here's an idea, mysterio -
why don't YOU spare us the drama and just explain what you're talking about?

The Wall Street Analyst Mom that was featured on TED really goes off on food allergies and foreign proteins in her families food. She is all too correct about rBST and GMO's etc....but I do not think she really gets the whole picture yet. She does not know that superheating of milk creates twisted allergenic proteins and pieces of dead proteins in milk...making it the most allergenic food in America ( for children ). She does not mention anything about processing or pasteurization as she rants about GMO foreign proteins created by industry and fed to her kids.

She has far to go...but she has taken a great first step. These are the moms of all the autistic kids and immune depressed kids....the moms with all the degrees and high paying jobs that vaccinate and abuse antibiotics. This is the face of a mainstream mom...the ones that are harder than hell to talk with or educate at farmers markets...cause they fear raw milk and pray to the corporate gods of dead long shelf life supposedly safe foods. They are so well educated ( Ivy league brainwashed ).

The great thing about her message is that she is pissed off and she feels that she has been lied to and she wants to see change.

The Tsunami of truth is coming....brace your cows.


I apologize to Dr. Ted Beals concerning the comment I made here on March 30. The comment followed in sequence a comment by Steve Bemis that included a link to an article by Dr. Beals on bovine tuberculosis. Nothing in my comment was related to that article; in fact I had not read that article at the time I wrote my comment. Furthermore, my disparaging comment about Dr. Beals mathematics was totally in error. None of the material I said was flawed had anything to do with Dr. Beals.

My comment about his need to retake a course in microbiology was out of line. If I had taken the time to look I would have seen that Dr. Beals undergraduate degree (Bachelor in Science) was in the Department of Botany specifically including microbiology. Furthermore he has a Masters in Science degree from the University of Michigan in microbiology (as in many universities at the time, microbiology was included within the plant kingdom). He earned a MD and is certified as a specialist in pathology (pathology is the specific specialty devoted to pathogenesis). He taught medical and graduate students at the University of Michigan for 31 years, specifically including the microbiology and pathogenesis of human illnesses.

I have asked David to delete the specific comment I made about Dr. Beals from the blog.


How right you are regarding the presentation of Robyn O'Brien. My mother and I felt the same way listening to her talk. We kept "filling-in" in-between her sentences, and we just intuitively knew that she does not seem to want to "go all the way" to whole, fresh foods, including farm fresh milk. One reason for this is is the second "god" we worship in this country right behind the almighty $$$$!
Just because she was blessed with a robust genetic constitution doesn't mean her children will fare as well, as she has discovered...and feeding them processed "phoods" in their first five years of life "sets" the corner stone of their tastes for certaing foods for their lifetime.
I hope Mark, that you are right abut that Tsunami of truth...because this country certainly needs a good cleansing. JMHO...Alyssa

Tsunami of truth, tsunami of raw milk...

Tsunami of raw milk truth!!!

Everyone needs to see this!!!!!

scroll down and hit play in the bottom left corner of the black screen

Prior to any Tsunami, there needs to be an earthquake.

All I know is that when I go out and teach raw milk every shakes the world a little bit. If all of us go out each week and teach someone about raw milk....there will be a 10 Richer Scale earth quake effect in short order and then there will be an ensuing educational Tsunami effect.

Let me say this about Dr. Beals:

As far as the words spoken in haste against Dr. Beals....I am sure glad you apologized, I was getting ready to round up the Raw Milk Possie to come after you and force some serious groveling for a formal apology. He is one of the greatest raw milk heros of our time. He has stood up and spoken truth to power with intellengence, hard data, science and integrity. He is my friend and a friend to the future health of humans on this earth.

Dr. Beals is also filled with grace and knows the human soul and its strengths and weaknesses and will forgive you with a hug. His Karma points are racked up very high in this life!! He has the youngest and happiest spirit of any older person that I know.

He is a physician, scientist, healer, investigator, researcher, pathologist and great human being.


A gracious apology is evidence of strength and professionalism.

"A gracious apology is evidence of strength and professionalism."

"from the blog.
March 31, 2011 | Registered Commenter "

Professional people sign a name..... Since no name does that mean it is an empty apology?

No name signed says much about the signer. Stand and be counted in this life.


At first I was very impressed with Lykke's apology, but now I wonder...

Yesterday Lykke's name on previous postings were downgraded to a mere "L", and today even just the initial has disappeared. Makes me wonder if we'll see her posting anymore...

More than 99 per cent of new TB cases in humans are caused by M.tuberculosis via air droplet infection from the lungs and not M.bovis. The chance that one will contact TB from raw milk is even more remote since TB lesions or abscesses must be present in the udder for this to occur.

There have been thousands of head of perfectly healthy cattle slaughtered for the sake of placating our paranoia. The antibody skin test for TB does not distinguish infection from exposure and the validity of this type of test has been questioned by many scientists who are stressing the need for more accurate testing.

Over the course of I cant remember the number of years I had four cows show positive to the TB antibody skin test yet after slaughter and an examination of the organs no TB lesions or abscesses were found. These were perfectly healthy cows with a strong immune system, the type of animals that are an asset to a herd. Do they slaughter humans if they show a positive skin test?

With respect to TB health officials are ignoring its complexities and should know by now that opportunistic organisms such as those responsible for TB will come and go as they please despite our attempts to eradicate them.

As with humans cattle with a low nutritional plane, mineral deficiency or a compromised immune system are more likely to get TB. It is not a coincidence that its rise just happens to coincide with immune malfunction disorders such as AIDS and the emergence of drug-resistant strains.

The World Health Organization states that TB is a leading cause of death among people who are HIV-positive, and according to its website is the single most important factor contributing to the increase in incidence of TB since 1990.

According to statistics, TB continues to kill some 3 million people a year, more than 95 per cent of them in developing countries, and numbers are climbing. One-third of the world's population, mostly in Asia, is infected with M. tuberculosis. And while the infection is dormant in most of those people, in the coming decades the spread of HIV is expected to reactivate TB in millions of them, causing a sharp rise in the number of cases of disease and death.

Ken Conrad

I posted this question a long time ago and I still don't know the answer,but if I am not right in my conclusions then the MDA could show us a record of all of the farms that have been subjected to the "random" TB testing and show that I am wrong.Their refusal to release this information leads me to believe that the TB test as it now exists is simply a tool of corporate agribizness.We have needed a more accurate test for TB for a long time and I hope this new test that Ken refers to is actually as good as it sounds.

In the southern part of Michigan, the Department of Agriculture is conducting "random" tests for TB. Can we make them disclose which farms have been selected so far so that we can see if their sample has truely been random? From talking to other farmers and past actions of the dept of Ag ,I am suspicious that they are avoiding testing the Amish farms so as not to stir up resistance. The Amish farms object to RFID tagging on religious grounds,so they have an agreement with the Ag dept that the cattle are only tagged when they enter a commercial market. To do a TB test the cattle would necessarily have to be tagged to identify them. Also I would bet they are avoiding the factory farms also because their testing gives too many false positive results(4%) and any test of a herd of 4000 cows would necessarily result in a retest of at least 160 cows of which 4% would also result in a false positive result. The protocol at that point would be to butcher those 6 cows or quarantine the herd and retest in 60 days. At any rate to test a herd of that size would be a huge nightmare.

I strongly suspect that the department is concentrating their "random" testing on the smaller herds. I know for a fact that people who have never sold milk commercially nor beef through the commercial markets and who only have one family milk cow have been selected for a "random" test. Wouldn't it be more important to be testing the factory farms where at least 80% of the public milk supply comes from?

Are they using the TB eradication program to eradicate the farms who have an independent market for their products?