Hartmann, in Manly Gesture, Sacrifices Himself to MN Prosecutors to Save His Family; Rawesome Retrospective

Michael HartmannIn the end, Michael Hartmann made the best deal he could--if he was going to save his family--when he pleaded guilty Monday to two misdemeanors in connection with sales of raw milk  and other foods, and agreed to pay a fine of $585. Seven other misdemeanor charges were dismissed in the process.                                                                 

According to news accounts, he was placed under non-supervised parole for six months and  ordered to comply with all state labeling and licensing  regulations. 

In the end,  also, Hartmann  went alone to his fate. He didn't want supporters present, and he has many.  Perhaps he went alone because this particular court  case had  become  a private matter between himself and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. There was no glory in copping a plea, so why have supporters waste their  time and energy coming, he may have  reasoned. (He hasn't been talking to the media, nor has he wanted media attention when I've spoken with him over the last year.)  

So why make a deal with the enforcers he has challenged for years? There obviously was no fear on his part in dealing with the brutes at the MDA. The fear was for his family. You see, the MDA had gotten the local prosecutor to file similar misdemeanor charges against his wife, Diane, and his brother, Roger, and an associate--essentially taken them legally hostage. And no way was Michael Hartmann going to let them be exposed to the ongoing pressures of a trial and possible jail time so the MDA thugs could say they got someone in the Hartmann family. 

So the deal was basically a way to protect his family from the MDA's ravages, according to associates, something he has been intent on doing since the matter first came up earlier this year. Being  the man he is, he decided to sacrifice himself on behalf  of  his  family--the deal also provided for dropping all the charges against his family members.

Hartmann was in a box of sorts, stemming from eight illnesses from E.coli O157:H7 that Minnesota public health authorities linked  to his dairy in  May 2010. It would have been very difficult for him to gain an acquittal so long as  the prosecutors could bring any of those made ill as witnesses in the trial against him. There were also accusations of four illnesses the following fall from campylobacter and three from cryptosporadium, a parasite. 

Through it all, Hartmann has steadfastly denied his milk made anyone sick. He argued that tests showing the presence of pathogens on his farm  never showed up in any of many tests done on his milk. Moreover, dozens of his loyal customers say they have never met anyone who became ill from his milk, and most continue to drink it  without concern.  (There is some interesting commentary from supporters at one Minnesota news site.)

I know there are those who feel Hartmann has gotten what he deserves via the prosecutions of himself and his family. Just keep in mind that almost no food producer anywhere in the U.S. gets hit with criminal charges in connection with food-borne illnesses. Even owners of Peanut Corp. of America, whose peanut butter in 2008 killed seven and sickened more than 200, haven't been prosecuted, and with a five  year statute of limitations rapidly  approaching, it seems unlikely they will be. According to food safety lawyer Bill Marler, "in 15 years of involvement in every major foodborne illness case, there have been only a handful of prosecutions and fewer convictions." 

The reality is that such cases alleging illness are mostly adjudicated in civil court. According to local media, there is a suit against Michael Hartmann in civil court in Minnesota by the parents of a two-year-old boy who was allegedly sickened by Hartmann's milk,  seeking $50,000 of medical expenses. 

Criminal charges in this case were way outside the bounds of real-life practices in  this country...unless you are  the MDA and you have a personal score to settle with a farmer  you detest. 

**

On  the subject of copping a plea, Victoria Bloch, one of  the original Rawesome Three, has an interesting  retrospective about her experience  as  a criminal defendant on the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund site. 

About her  decision eventually to accept a plea deal, she says, "The day before the (pretrial) hearing, the D.A. offered me a misdemeanor plea that I could live with (essentially, having sold one jar of unlabelled milk); Sharon was offered a separate misdemeanor just before the start of the hearing. We had both wanted to be vindicated at a trial, before a jury of our peers. But we had to take into account fiscal reality, as well as the ongoing toll on our families and ourselves. So we each accepted the plea offered, ending the saga with a sigh instead of a yell, but grateful for an end nonetheless."

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Did the funds from FTCLDF provide legal representation to Sharon Palmer and Stewart?

Good Lord, one of palmers workers said she obtained goats milk from another farm......outsourcing? What was that word Mark used? Apparently she bought a lot out of Chino...http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/news_wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Bloch-T... arsenic and mercury?

The race traitors who run Ham-merica, now, learned the technique of taking family members hostage, as a way to grind-down a dissident into admitting "guilt", from their kinsmen who operated that political science experiment, brand-named = Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

1 cup cooked oats has approximately:
manganese 1.36 mg which is 68% RDA, selenium, 2.64 mcg 18%RDA , phosphorus 180.18 mg 18%RDA, fiber 3.98 g 15.9%RDA, magnesium 63.18 mg 15%RDA, zinc 2.34 mg 15%RDA

When you add nuts, fruit, wheat germ, etc and whatever you cook it in, will add more nutrition to it. Of course the more processed the oats are, the less nutritious they are. I haven't been able to find the difference in nutrition between rolled oats and steel cut oats.

I've had patients that refused to take statin drugs and ate a bowel of old fashioned oats daily and lowered their cholesterol levels in 1-2 months.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

That's a good point Sylvia...is there a difference in the two ways of processing oatmeal? Of course, which method would produce more heat, rolling between stones or steel cutting? I don't think I've come across any documentation about that, but perhaps the folks at Bob's Red Mill would know since they use both methods. The only thing that I do know is that I prefer the taste & texture of steel cut oats as opposed to rolled. Rolled oats don't have that hearty, nutty flavor that steel cut has, plus it is more mushy & soggy than steel cut. Every time that I go to Scotland, steal cut (also known as 'pinhead') is the predominate style of oats that is used for porridge for breakfast & is so, so yummy!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Deborah, Scotland is on my bucket list, as is Ireland. When I hear the word porridge, I envision Americanized oatmeal (mushy). I'll try to remember to send an email later, to Bob's Red Mill asking about the difference in oat processing.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Oh Sylvia you would love Scotland! Every time I go, it gets harder & harder to come back here. I can't begin to tell enough of what makes Scotland so great..the people, the country, the culture & so on!

VictoriaB's picture

Sylvia, FTCLDF agreed to take my case on; in order for Gary Cox to practice in California, he needed a sponsoring attorney. Ultimately, things dragged on so long, with procedural hearing after procedural hearing, there was no need for him to come out, so my attorney here in LA, Freddy Sayegh, handled it. Gary was actively involved via e-mail and phone, and both he and Pete Kennedy were wonderful support and counsel.

Sharon had 80 goats, 40 of which were owned outright by Rawesome. She never bought goat's milk; the only allegations involving the tiresome word "outsourcing" have been about eggs. And I actually have something to say about that. There is a huge difference between asking a customer if they would like a replacement source for a product during a time when a farm's output is likely to run low, and deliberately providing product from an alternate source while concealing that fact. During the time I was at the farmer's market, the farm sold eggs to several restaurants (one to five cases, each, a case holding 15 dozen eggs). Sharon's chickens laid fewer eggs for a few weeks each year, both when they were adjusting to the heat of summer and the chill of winter. Each time, those of us at the booth ask the restaurants if they wanted to find another source for some or all of their eggs until the layers got back up to speed, or if they wanted the farm to source for them. They always opt to have Sharon provide alternate eggs, and they're always happy when her hens get going again, because they can tell the difference between her own eggs and those coming from an alternate source (however good) – which, of course, is why they were buying from her in the first place.

I was at her stand for two and a half years. Something I never understood in all the fuss, was where on earth nobody ever thought about the flavor and texture of the chicken while so willing to be convinced that she was buying it elsewhere and foisting it on an unsuspecting public. Week after week, customers would come up to the booth to rave about the flavor, the juiciness, the "chickenness" of what they bought. Customers born in France who had stopped buying chicken in the U.S. bought her chicken. And eggs. And pretty much anything else she provided. Because she does a damned good job of farming, and the food she raises and sells is delicious – and hers. It was ridiculous to think that Costco (or whatever) chicken could replace that raised on the farm – customers would have noticed the difference in a New York minute. (I speak in past tense only because I'm no longer working at the market. The farm is still very much present tense at the market, selling its wonderful food to customers.)

Arsenic, mercury? That's all bunk. The manager at the market drove to Sharon's processor and met her as she was unloading chickens for processing, waited for one to be done, and sent it to the state ag lab for testing. The same manager bought a random chicken at Sharon's booth for testing as well, along with eggs. Results came back the same as those on the tests Sharon had requested herself, but with even more validity because it wasn't Sharon: no pollution in those chickens or those eggs.

So go ahead – not just Sylvia, but everyone here who has spoken with authority on an issue and about a person you don't know – run Sharon's past legal dealings on her and judge her. Quote the unverified allegations contained in a document the Los Angeles D.A. published to make sure she couldn't reduce her bail, but which were never verified and never included in actual charges against her. Decide you know how she farms and judge her for that, too. Decide that she hasn't said things the way you wanted them to be said to satisfy your curiosity or animosity or desire for a scapegoat. Decide that she represents everything you ever distrusted.

And when you've done all that – which many of you have, unfortunately – Sharon will still be Sharon. And the Sharon I know (and at this point, I know her pretty darned well) has been through hell in the past year or so, between the legal burdens (which never should have happened in the first place), the rumors, and the struggle to pay the mortgage and the lawyers and just the day to day bills.

Somehow too many people have forgotten that Sharon is a human being, too. And I do not know how she maintains the resilient mojo that she manages to pull together every day. She has three great children to shuttle to school and soccer and basketball and movies, and animals to feed and take to the butcher (well, three butchers, because the chicken guy can't do four-legged animals) and pick up from the butcher and pack vans for the market and keep things clean. The woman does a good job with her farm, loves the animals she raises, loves her kids, loves the land on which she farms, is for her customers and her friends.

And she's doing it all without a lot of help, because her business was hurt and she's making less money but she still has the bills and the kids and the mortgage. But she still feeds the homeless kids in the neighborhood who her oldest daughter brings home like stray puppies. And she still gives food that comes back from the market to her neighbors who are out of work. And she gives her expensive-to-raise pork to the young chef who's starting up a restaurant because he has helped her in the past. She can't stand to see anyone hungry, and she'll keep doing whatever she can, with whatever resources she has, to try to help.

Because that's the woman I know. And you don't know any of that but you can still harp on the word "outsourcing" like you have a clue. Those of you who already decided that you know, and won't change your minds, fine. As a good friend of mine says, "Opinions are like noses. Everybody's got one."

But if you're willing to entertain the radical notion that Sharon might be a good person ( perhaps in spite of her past, perhaps because of her past), give it a shot.

Signing off with appreciation for all who farm and all who support farmers, Victoria

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Thank you Victoria, for your beautiful post here. It is great to get the correct information from a key person very close to the happenings. It is such a destructive thing for people to use rumors as facts, it then tends to run rampant. Of course, the major accusers that have been on this forum have been strangely silent & absent for some time, but I hope they read your post here. Maybe....just maybe, it will give them food for thought, but perhaps as hard headed that they are, not to mention, so tunneled visioned, it won't change their minds anyway. One in particular seems to know you & seemed to have respect for you, but it is strange that she has never discussed any of this with you. You would think that she would really want the real truth & had the opportunity to discuss it with you! It makes me wonder about their ulterior motives when they are not willing to hear the truth.

VictoriaB's picture

Thank you, Deborah, for having taken the time to read my lengthy rant. I just snapped when I saw the word "outsourcing" – again. And now that I'm out of the case, I am somewhat freer to, um, express myself!

Kristen P's picture

If you are referring to me, Deborah, I spoke to Victoria about this many moons ago...she was the first person I asked about it all at a WAPF meeting. She and AnnMarie. Once I looked into things myself, I could see that Victoria really felt like she knew things were Kosher at HFF so I went looking for other voices. Victoria is a very passionate and compassionate person.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Sharon palmer admitted to outsourcing eggs, without informing the consumers, on this very blog. That was fraud to those who purchased those eggs, believing they were from Palmer's farm.

Sharon Palmer admitted to selling eggs not from her farm and did not inform the consumers. She admitted to fraud. This egg fraud lasted at least 6 months, per her own admitting. Her long history of fraud will continue to follow as long as she continues to commit fraud.

Had I purchased eggs from her, and not been told they were outsourced, I'd be very pissed off. Most people are paying higher dollars for what they believe is better quality foods and when a farmer, or anyone else abuses that trust, it doesn't come back.

VictoriaB's picture

No, actually, that's not correct.

She said that she provided eggs for Rawesome, with Rawesome's full knowledge, following the demise of most of her flock. That is not outsourcing, Sylvia, and she is not the one using that word here.

Rawesome was a customer of the farm's as far as chicken and eggs, and a herdshare partner as far as the goat dairy products. Sharon offered Rawesome the same opportunity to source their own alternate eggs, or have her do so as a convenience for them, while she rebuilt her flock as she does restaurants during low-egg seasons. The fact that Rawesome did not change the sign over the egg boxes to state that fact is no more her responsibility than it would be to ensure that the menus at half a dozen restaurants say that the eggs that usually come from the farm are temporarily coming from another source. If you want to blame someone, if that is really necessary in the overall scheme of things, then blame Rawesome. They paid less for the eggs Sharon got on their behalf but didn't change the price. And that's not Sharon's fault, either.

She never sold (and does not now) eggs at the farmer's market that were not hers, except to restaurants as noted previously, and that was with the customer's full knowledge and blessing. But at the stand, to her "civilian" customers, hers and hers alone. If the eggs ran out early, as they do when stock is low, they ran out.

Again, if a supplier lets the customer know where the eggs are coming from, that's not outsourcing. Nor is it fraud. And I'm not going to cry "fraud!" about Rawesome, either. Sloppy, absolutely. They should have posted a sign.

If a farmer's reputation is trashed because of rumors and gossip, the damage is just as severe as when they actually committed the acts of which they're accused. Whose fault is that, Sylvia?

Entertain, for a teensy moment, the notion that she actually is who she says she is – a woman "with a past" that does not inform her present. Consider the possibility that you have been grossly misled by, or have grossly misunderstood, information you thought was factual. No harm, no foul for you. But what about Sharon, and anyone else who's pled guilty to a crime to put an end to a case (like Michael Hartmann, and like me, for that matter)? Did you even know that the guilty plea all those years ago was one tendered and accepted after nine months sitting in jail, not a guilty verdict at trial?

When does anyone get to balance things, once they've fallen into the legal rabbit hole? Because I pled guilty to a misdemeanor of selling unlabeled milk, does that make me a fraud in your mind too, one you would shy away from at the farmer's market?

From the looks of it, I doubt I'm going to change your mind, and that's fine...I'll still enjoy reading your posts. (OK, maybe not the ones trashing people I care about, but the rest of them.)

And steel cut oats are the bomb.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://www.thecompletepatient.com/article/2011/october/13/i-can-explain-...

"She denied she was outsourcing chickens, but said she did outsource eggs for six or seven months in 2008 and 2009...with the partial knowledge of James Stewart, Rawesome's manager."

Guess you are saying David is telling lies? If the people who bought the outsourced eggs were not informed they were outsourced, that is fraud, deliberately misleading the consumers. There is somewhere on this blog where she admitted not informing the consumers that the eggs were outsourced. Most crooks say they fell into the "legal rabbit hole".

Kristen P's picture

She admitted to outsourcing the eggs for Rawesome here in this blog. It's the one thing she has admitted so that is why Victoria is tired of hearing about the eggs.

All of this outsourcing talk is making me dizzy - again. If a judge in this land had half a brain, couldn't he just say "tell her to put up a sign letting the customers know where the eggs (or whatever) came from" and that be the end of it? Ah no, of course not, that would be too simple and would actually solve the problem without costing a gazillion dollars. Not to mention, the whole affair could be done on the phone - no courtroom drama involved.

Our farmers market, at every tent and truck, carries goods from their own farms and from their neighboring farms. What they don't grow, their neighbors probably do but maybe the neighbor can't get to the farmers market to sell their goods. This is not new. I'll bet every farmers market does the same thing. So do they always tell us where the stuff comes from? If I ask, they tell me. As a responsible consumer, I generally ask if the produce is grown organically. If it is, I don't care who grew it. If the farmer/vendor selling it tells me it is organically grown, I have to assume it is. This is no less than what grocery stores do when they put produce in a section of the store they call "the organic area" and label the stuff with a sticker number starting with number 9. In truth, though, I have NO way of knowing the true origin of that produce. I must take them at their word.

Victoria, I also appreciate hearing directly from you about what you know, what you have seen and what you have experienced. I have read various attacks against you and Sharon on this blog and have reserved judgment. When David publishes articles about events in my state, about which I have personal knowledge, I see how people rush to judgment based on misconceptions or false assumptions. Also those making comments twist the topic around to pontificate on their pet ideology or theory, often distorting the facts to make it fit. Therefore, I am cautious about making judgments regarding events and situations I have no personal knowledge of.

VictoriaB's picture

Thanks! You are a wise woman to suspend judgment on situations you have no first-hand knowledge of. Would that we all were as balanced in our consciousness.

When I read Victoria's justifications and presentment that Palmer is a upstanding individual, I became so saddened and nauseated. Has she begun her coverup of the facts? Let's look at the evidence. Since UnhealthyFamilyFarm.com is up and running again, you can read the testimony of 5 past employees and volunteers who worked for Palmer and you will discover that she defrauded the members of Rawesome for at least 1.5 years. According to documents obtained from commercial egg and meat wholesalers, Palmer bought and sold product for over 2 years. Because the criminal charges were filed for offenses prior to 2011, no records were sought for purchases after 2010.
How much time did Victoria spend on the farm trading eggs from commercial packaging to non-commercial packaging, and the same with meats. According to testimony of 6 past employees, they never saw her there for more than a few minutes. Also, notice in the photos Zacky Farms labels on the chickens? I do not think any of us are brain-dead yet some people think we are.
I have seen many photos of Unhealthy Family Farm and there were never 80 goats. Nor did James or the other investors in the farm produce any evidence that they purchased 75 goats. At the most 12 milk-producing goats appear in photos. I reiterate, there are no receipts for 65 goats and no documentation. When animals are transferred and sold in California, there must be a paper trail according to veterinarians with whom I inquired.
Four months ago, an investigation for my law suits against Palmer and Stewart turned up veterinarian Daniel Drake who has documentation that Palmer bought non-organic goat's milk from his herd and peddled it as organic and as produced on the farm for at least 1 year. Palmer acquired a huge batch of non-organic goat's milk cheese from his elderly parents goat farm in Utah and sold it as if it were grass-fed and from her goat's.
By the way, Palmer only paid approximately $3k for the nearly $21k that she promised and contracted (in 2008) to pay for the cheese. Palmer has never contacted the elderly farmers, who really need the money, to pay them even though I understand that Palmer won a windfall lawsuit of $1M plus recently. In an email from September 2011, Palmer claims she dumped the cheese because it went bad. However, another past employee of Palmer's said that she knows Palmer sold the cheese. Even if Palmer had dumped some of the cheese because she did not take care of the cheese, does not release her from her contract. She received the cheese and she owes the $18k. Additionally, she peddled it as grass-fed from her farm to gain outlandish prices. Neither Dan's or his parent's goat farms are organic and certainly not very grass-fed.
The arsenic and mercury results were done on food Palmer supplied so that seems to be a clear enough no-brainer. The extent to which con-artists and thieves will fabricate to make themselves appear as righteous victims in their coverups is as sickening as Washington DC politicians. Are they merely pathological glib prevaricators to which we should feel great sympathy or even empathy? Did they poisons members with commercial food full of industrial chemicals or not?
There is no evidence that Palmer supplied any restaurants with anything from her farm, and certainly could not have supplied enough commercial eggs and meats to justify all that she purchased. There is astounding evidence that the products were sold at farmer's markets and to Rawesome.
Also, the eggs that were supplied by Palmer to Rawesome on nearly every occasion that I went to Rawesome were perfectly sized, meaning the same size to the naked eye. I have been on about 300 farms. Unless a farm had at least 5k layers, it was impossible and too costly to sort eggs to such exacting sizes. Again look at how many eggs Palmer sold weekly and look at the number of laying chickens in the photographs taken in 2010. Testimony from past employees state that there was never any more laying chickens than pictured.
My lawsuit against Palmer and Stewart is supposed to go to trial in February 2013. We will see what a jury will do with all of the evidence and testimony.

One last comment: It astounds me that David, as wise as he is, and Victoria as smart as she is can be so easily swayed by such adept con-artists as the evidence proves Palmer and Stewart are.

@ AV: You see things one way, the Rawsome folks see things another way. You say there's evidence one way, Victoria says there's evidence the other way. That's why all of this ends up in front of a judge. A judge who doesn't know a thing about that which he has to make a decision, nor does he care. It's as if everything is black and white or run and fight. And then they call this justice? It doesn't matter who wins, we ALL lose. This gets the attention of the gubment and it just knocks the entire food rights movement down a peg or two and gives the food police a reason to keep twisting the blade. And they will because they're getting all the ammunition they need right from the people in the movement.

David Gumpert's picture

Aajonus,
What continues to astound me about your ongoing vendetta against James Stewart and Sharon Palmer is that you decided to make it a public affair. This is all about people's right to obtain food privately, outside the public system. Yet you, one of the founders of this private system, developer of the lease arrangements used by many farmers and food club members, chose to turn your upset with Stewart and Palmer into a public affair. You went to the Ventura County District Attorney and you put up a web site full of accusations and innuendo open to all--very public actions.

Now you wonder that I "can be so easily swayed by such adept con-artists as the evidence proves Palmer and Stewart are." I wonder, who appointed you prosecutor, judge and jury?

You were a member of Rawesome. I was a member of Rawesome. Once you informed me (and other members) about your concerns about Stewart and Palmer, you were done. Then, it was up to me to decide whether I wanted to remain a member of Rawesome or move on to another food club. End of story. (Though you were entitled to, and did, file a private civil suit against Stewart and Palmer; once again, that was a private matter.)

But no, you decided you needed to go public. In that sense, you are not unlike the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Hartmann. The MDA thinks Hartmann is dangerous, for reasons not dissimilar to why you think Palmer and Stewart are dangerous. The MDA feels it has the right and obligation to interfere in people's private choices, in the interests of "protection," just as you decided you have the right and obligation to interfere in people's private choices, in the interests of "protection" of the people you argue were sickened by Palmer's food.

Somehow, you seem to have lost sight of your original principles and your role in the movement to protect private food rights. D. Smith has it right--the government enforcers love what you have done by carrying on with your public vendetta.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

David - thank you, thank you, & once again, thank you for your post here. When I saw Aajonus's repetitive vile posts yesterday, I had the same exact thoughts as you. I cannot believe his ongoing vindictiveness. Because of his actions & his alone, Rawesome was totally shut down thereby depriving all the members that depended on Rawesome for their food items. Does he not have any clue what this has do to those members that had to turn to alternatives that more than likely were not of the same type & quality, nor the extra expense, extra driving time or extra hardship that it has had on all those members?! His desire to get even with James & Sharon has gone beyond what is honorable!! Someone that goes to great lengths to get back at someone is someone very deplorable!

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Oh.....and very despicable!!!

VictoriaB's picture

Bravo.

Kristen P's picture

...and David once again doesn't understand that hundreds of customers are pizzzzzzzzed because they were allegedly sold crappy food at premium prices... Yes, Bravo!

Kristen P's picture

"Four months ago, an investigation for my law suits against Palmer and Stewart turned up veterinarian Daniel Drake who has documentation that Palmer bought non-organic goat's milk from his herd and peddled it as organic and as produced on the farm for at least 1 year."
This does not surprise me. Thanks for sharing, Aajanus.

His supporters should have rejected his request that they stay home. They should have decided for themselves whether to still demonstrate against the state's persecution. As some commenters here said a year ago in light of the Stewart/Palmer case, we need to support the movement first and foremost, not particular personalities. This case is exemplary, and is therefore bigger than Hartmann himself. Citizen-customers should take every opportunity to publicly assemble and state that we're going to take our freedom whether the thugs like it or not. The more milk customers do this (and the more we can take some of the burden of "illegality" upon ourselves), the more farmers will feel encouraged to resist, like Hershberger or Schlangen.

The solidarity symbol must be a hoax. How do you pass judgement on a man and his family when all tests prove the opposite of food contamination and link to illness? You should know better than to rely on the misinformation of an alleged link between a food and a sick boy. This would NOT have happened in the USSR or any other regime that did not use the largest marketing entity in the world (FDA and state departments of ag) to make the rules, hide behind them and then use our tax dollars to fund the destruction of our food system. Micheal Hartmann still has hope for this ag department and their compliance division. I do not, without a reorganization of the progression of power that puts the FDA agenda before real public health. Liability insurance is for cowards, as is most any kind. When you try to crucify a man for doing good, you make history, but not in a good way! Be well, Alvin

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://news.yahoo.com/questions-medicare-meningitis-outbreak-080233292.html

"rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation's drug supply."

Rekindled? Those doubts never left many people. For years, many physicians, scientists, etc have reported the dangers of various drugs et al and the FDA has ignored them. FDA "approves" drugs that kills thousands every year. It is a money wasted entity.

Baylen Linnekin has a good article today about food and foodies. Pay special attention to #9 where he talks about legality issues. http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/20/ten-important-federal-food-policy-...

The only thing I don't concur with in his article is the idea of getting rid of the USDuh. Well, yes, I agree - but it goes much deeper than that. I'm sure there are at least a hundred alphabet agencies who dabble in food issues of some sort which should be entirely terminated. Although we all know that won't happen, maybe they could start to "regulate" their own agencies for a change?

He is going to have more upcoming articles, too, and I'm anxious to see what those consist of, in the face of what's going on today.

mark mcafee's picture

On Thursday this last week, a lobbyist raw milk friend of mine gave me a call and said to immediately fly up to Sacramento in my airplane for a big CA Dairymans Protest and rally on the State Capitol Steps. I had not been told about the protest and rally.

In 55 minutes I arrived just in time to give a short speech in front of the large crowd. I was welcomed and spent the next hour talking with at least 25 dairymen about their common plight. The same story resounded.... they all said "We need more money for our milk...we are bleeding money and need help!".

None of the leadership showed a way forward. It was a crowd of followers with no compass or MLK.

They all agreed that they had all the power to stop the flow of milk to the processors and name their price per CWT....BUT none had the balls to stand up and collectively act...

So.... I then went to lunch with 16 of them and we all shared some good food.

The first thing that happened at lunch was one of the dairymen handed out several business cards for his favorite attorney friend that specialized in Dairy Bankruptcy. When that happened....I knew everything I need to know about the prevailing culture among most of CA dairymen.

"Lay down and let the processors milk truck run over you"...it was very dishearting to see this passiveness. This lack of pissed off action. This lack of taking control of the situation and acting decisively. This was the conclusive evidence of all that I needed to know.

Let me say this....if this is my fellow CA Dairyman...OPDC is going to be a stand alone CA raw milk pioneer for quite some time more. No one will have the GUTS to change and help us out with more raw milk. That is for sure. These dairymen would much rather surrender, file BK, or grow almonds than take control of their futures or even to evolve and find a better way to thrive.

Processors must love this weakness in the dairy culture.

The flight back home was smooth and contemplative.

ingvar's picture

Just a general note here.
I am starting to get "lost in the weeds," and am badly in need of definitions, at least working definitions.
Specifically, what is the definition, of private, and of public? And how is the term "secret" related? For instance, there are "sealed" records, are they public?, private? We are long past the point where the public-at-large can justifiably be treated as children. As in "you don't need to know just eat it." For that matter, I need more than clear definitions. I also need examples. And I need contrasts for clarification. Trust, as it is said, arrives on foot and leaves at a gallop.

Any definition has to take into account the matter of promulgation. And of course, that means promulgation today, not some hoary definition of promulgation adequate to a small, localized population in the year 1610 A.D. Definitions and their promulgation should be fraud-resistant.

Have a wonderful day,
Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

n.b. this is a general statement, written at 9:50 am Sunday, October 21. I hope it ends up in a sensible spot. I'm never quite sure, you see.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://www.rodale.com/carrageenan?cm_mmc=Yahoo_Health-_-The%206%20Worst%...

"researchers have reliably proven that dietary doses of carrageenan can lead to harmful inflammation, the additive is still approved for use in foods."

Further proof that the govt is not interested in preserving peoples health and safety.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

http://graphcomp.com/home/bfree/opinions/economy.html

"Socialism is based on the concept of everyone gets their share. This economic system exists in those environments where resources are plentiful, or populations are extremely small (such as family units).

Properties of Socialism

All members of the economy share benefits, regardless of their economic value to the system.
Succesful socialistic systems depend on sufficient resources for the entire population.
A healthy socialistic system results in non-economic productivity.

Advantages of Socialism

In environments with plentiful resources, socialism provides all members with their survival needs, creating a stable social environment.
Members that cannot participate economically - due to disabilities, age, or periods of poor health - can still impart wisdom, emotional support and continuity of experience to the system.
Freedom from work provides opportunity for some societal members to explore non-economically-productive pursuits, such as pure science, math and non-popular arts.

Disadvantages of Socialism

Since there is no culling and no economic advantage to working harder, socialistic systems provide no inherent incentive to participate. This makes socialism internally unstable.
Due to a lack of incentives, socialistic systems tend not to be competitive, making them externally unstable.
In times of plenty, immigrants are drawn to the free resources offered by socialistic systems, while potentially adding nothing economically productive.
In times of scarcity, resentment of non-economically-productive members of society increases, causing a destabilizing effect on the society and economy.

Remedies for the Excesses/Weaknesses of Socialism

Avoid scarcity of resources.
Keep out immigrants. "

I can understand the animosity towards those who believe they are entitled to a free ride.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I had received this in an email:

"
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation."

Shame on me for feeding the fish....

It all describes Corporate America perfectly. It's all corporate capitalism has done - take nature's and labor's abundance, destroy most of it in order to generate artificial scarcity, and steal what's left.

Meanwhile Food Sovereignty would guarantee basic prosperity to everyone willing to work, exercise stewardship rights on the land (only those productively using* the land have any right to be on it) and drive all parasites off the land.

*Common sense moral defintion, of course. Productivity = growing food for personal and community consumption, and similarly direct local/regional production of human needs and basic wants.

Hey Bill,

Do you have liability insurance for making cheese? Do you mind disclosing some info on about how much it costs and what it covers?

Thank you in advance.

I have studied, experimented with and consumed raw milk since 1968 when I was a "high risk" individual for drinking raw milk. With raw dairy, I reversed my death-sentence cancers of blood, bone and lymph. Through 1974, 1975 and 1976, I drank only unclean raw milk directly from cows or goats with dirt and fecal matter in it without once getting sick. From that, I reversed my juvenile diabetes and stopped taking insulin.
People drank raw milk from hand-milking for at least 6000 years without scientific proof of harm. Civilizations thrived on it. Prisons all over the USA and the world had minimum security ranches where inmates milked cows and often did not even strain the milk. There was not one incident through to 1984 when health departments in USA lobbied government officials to discontinue such ranches. There were hundreds of juvenile ranches who did the same and 96% of the youths were city grown and raised. There is not one sound study that proves raw milk is any kind of a danger.
There is plenty of empirical evidence that raw milk is not harmful or any risk even when milked by hand and non-strained.
Obviously none of the people on this site who talk about fingerprinting bacteria have ever participated in the laboratory process. Fingerprinting bacteria cannot tell you where a bacteria originated. It only tells the inquirer the specific strain of bacteria that could have come from many sources.
All of the rhetoric that milk is some super-contagious liquid looking for an epidemic to happen is sheer nonsense and stupidity bred from fears created by those who have to sensationalize to get people to wail against raw dairy. They stand behind sheer veils, siting science yet they have done no science nor participated in any empirical activity around raw-milk drinkers to know anything at all. Anyone who speaks for health-department control of raw milk is ignorant at best. That is, they ignore reality.
The milk that can cause problems is pasteurized and processed milks which have been destroyed and are breeding grounds for bacteria from the damaged milk cells. Pasteurized milk has been the only milk linked to epidemics, one case involved 197,000 people. The problem is that once the cap is opened in the home is when the problems arise. Not so with raw milk.
Let me help any of you who are really interested to know how a laboratory works to discover whether a milk has a particular bacteria. The milks is CULTURED for a particular bacteria! The laboratory does not test for the bacteria's existence in the pure milk and its levels if it finds it. It insights the bacteria to grow in a culture solution that fosters the growth of so-called "pathogenic" bacteria. The culture has nothing to do with the pure raw milk and any human body.
If you are interested in some true research about raw and pasteurized milks, go to RawMilk.org and read the Report In Favor Of Raw Milk that was mainly authored by an MD who studied milks. I recommend that everyone who speaks badly of raw milk keep her/his mouth and pen quiet because they do not know about that which they communicate. I suggest that the milks that need regulating to the hilt are pasteurized and processed milks. Leave raw milk and raw milk drinkers alone, and get a life in a subject you might actually know something.

One example of an unhealthy city child who drank raw milk although he was considered at high risk: Walker Kerhrer. In 2000 he was a severe asthmatic sufferer. He began drinking raw milk and was suddenly able to breathe almost normally. He continued to drink raw milk throughout his youth and his asthma was history. In 2009, he was the #1 high-school tennis champion in USA. Do you raw-milk doomsayers get that, from an asthmatic city kid to a top tennis champion?

@ AV: Would you mind if I copy your personal story (from the first post) and then this story about Walker Kerhrer? I would like to place it at my forum. I would also like to cite your web site at the same time, but I can't remember what it's called. Could you provide an url? If you do not wish to have this information used, please just say so and I will not copy it. Thanks.

D.Smith, you may post my story but if you use the name "Primal Diet®" it must have the trademark after it and at the bottom "®aajonus vonderplanitz". Walker's story is not mine to own. It is his but his mother told me he does not mind it being told by anyone.

D.Smith, I do not have a website however, I contracted with a man to publish online my my information online that is additional my books but not published in book form, such as my newsletters at: WeWant2Live.com. PrimalDiet.com takes you to my publisher's website for my books.

Both Palmer and Stewart did not give RTCHF the membership fees they collected under the RTCHF membership agreement although they verbally contracted to that. Stewart owes RTCHF at least $60,000. Some of the donations to RTCHF have been used to sue Stewart and Palmer for defrauding RTCHF members with commercial contaminated food.

The claim and rant about Hartmann's raw milk caused disease that caused HUS is complete fiction. Those who claim that their is proof have never been in a laboratory and do not know the process. When a milk is tested for bacteria, it is not simply measured for a suspecting bacteria, the milk is cultured with a substances that promotes so-called pathogenic bacteria. After is is cultured, then the bacteria is measured and identified.

There are no tests that prove any microbe in truly raw milk ever caused HUS or any other disease. All tests used to establish that raw milk caused diseases have been done in tests tubes with unnatural solutions. Those who claim raw milk can cause HUS do not know that raw milk was never associated with kidney damage until intestinal conditions were treated heavily with antibiotics via IV. Antibiotics, including and especially Cipro, proved in laboratory animal-experiments to cause kidney disease with symptoms exactly like HUS. In fact, HUS in children and elderly are most often caused directly by antibiotic treatments.

People who parrot the medical community, including health departments, act to coverup the damage that medicine, especially IV antibiotics, do by blaming it on microbes. We have been thriving with microbes for millions of years. It's the industrial chemicals that create devastating diseases.