Why New Laws of Raw Milk Marketing Should Be Profoundly Troubling to Big Ag, Big Med, Mainstream Media

Organic Pastures owner Mark McAfee (in Santa hat), delivering raw milk Saturday to a happy family in Mammoth, CA. He flew 300 pounds of milk in on his private plane to ensure Mammoth residents wouldn't lose access to their milk because of closed roads in the Sierra Nevadas.  For companies of all sizes, marketing is, at its most fundamental, about being in synch with the pulse of your customers, and working to provide products and services to keep growing your customer base. Companies that stay in synch, like Google and Amazon, can experience sensational growth.


For that reason, companies don’t like to see news come out that might frighten the marketplace. The news about hackers stealing credit card information from Target is a classic example of bad news turning into a marketing nightmare. 


A similar kind of nightmare seemed to be unfolding last week for producers of raw milk around the country, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics collaborated to create a one-two punch designed to frighten consumers, cripple raw milk sales, and help boost the big corporations that sell pasteurized milk. 


The reality is turning out to be just the opposite. Rather than being frightened, consumers seem increasingly to ignore the studies and warnings, or even to do the opposite of what the warnings say, and instead support raw dairy farmers and stock up on raw milk. It’s not unlike the warnings for marijuana, which have been going on since the 1960s, when it first became fashionable on college campuses, to the present, with ever more states legalizing it in some form or another. 


As Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. reported in comments following my previous post, his dairy has experienced the opposite of what might be expected. “I anticipated with interest (and a little trepidation)  as this week's sales numbers came in.....yep...just as suspected...sales just broke an all time record. OPDC FB is filled with support and comments of disdain and distrust of AAP, CDC and the Minnesota un-reported raw milk illness report!”


I would have held my breath, too, if I was in McAfee’s position, but in retrospect, it isn’t a surprise to see what he refers to as the “inverse association” between bad news on the publicity front and good news on the sales front.  (The Raw Milk Institute he heads has published a rebuttal to the CDC's study of raw milk in Minnesota.)


We saw the same phenomenon at work when Vernon Hershberger went through a five-day trial last May in connection with his insistence on selling raw milk privately in Wisconsin. Not only did the jury of 12 people find him innocent of violating any state retailing or dairy regulations, but several of the jurors wound up joining his food club, and his food club membership soared. 


Similarly, Edwin Shank of Pennsylvania saw his sales explode late last summer after his Family Cow raw dairy re-opened after it was shuttered for several weeks because of tests showing campylobacter in the dairy’s milk. 


On and on the examples go. Anyone who produces raw milk quickly finds demand rising, and often outstripping supply. And as the warnings increase, so do the sales. 


This phenomenon--call it the Good Food Boomerang Marketing-Mystique--should be profoundly troubling  to all involved in the assaults, including the big corporations that produce pasteurized milk as well as to the mainstream media that report nearly without challenge or questioning the politically motivate science on raw dairy put out by the CDC or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (I inquired with the CDC public affairs office, via phone and email, for any examples of similar studies targeting specific foods, as was carried out in Minnesota, and received no response.)

Pasteurized milk sales have been on a steady decline since 1984, with not a hint of suggestion that the ever-more-shrill warnings about raw milk are about to change things; raw milk sales aren’t tabulated by the government, but all indications are that they have risen astronomically over the last decade. 

Along with declining pasteurized milk sales have been declining mainstream media sales results.  Places like the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, and USA Today, have seen their advertising tumble by two-thirds over the last decade in which nutrient-dense foods like raw milk have become ever more popular. When people ignore the government warnings that are distributed via the mainstream media about these foods and do the opposite of what is recommended, people are saying they don’t trust any of the sponsoring parties, including the media disseminators. (Of course, credibility isn't the only reason the old media have crumbled, but a disconnect with readers is likely one key factor.)

Big Ag and Big Media have clearly lost the pulse of their markets. People will buy the products they value, not the products Big Ag wants to force feed people or the stories Big Media finds easiest to fill its papers with. 

For all of these parties--Big Ag, Big Medicine, Big Government, Big Media--losing your credibility is losing a big part of your reason for being. It’s like money or anything else of value--it’s a lot easier to lose than it is to gain back. 

D. Smith's picture

Mark, it was very good of you to play Santa. What a kind thing for you to do! I'm sure a lot of families were very grateful for your resources and your energy in helping them secure the raw milk they want and need.

mark mcafee's picture

When the CDC, FDA and Big Ag ambush us all with "Junk Science" and politically motivated anti-raw milk bias in the media....I am going to do everything I can to create some GOOD Santa raw milk news that goes far beyond the GREAT NEWS of clean and safe raw milk!! if that means delivery of 500 pounds of raw milk via my airplane...so be it!

Some time very soon the news will be connected to something real like the child in Mammoth that OPDC adopted as a medical project to heal his excema.

The excema was gone in a few weeks. That is the real news! It is also the real threat!

If raw milk is safe...then the CDC, FDA, BIG AG, AAP and any other nay-sayers and anti-raw milk ( and their studies ) comments ring hallow. RAWMI LISTING and going far beyond any state or local requirements to assure low risk raw milk is a pioneerign act which denies ammunition for agents against raw milk.

It is a simple plan and it works incredibly well. Feed and nourish our people well and love each and every one of them by producing clean tested safe raw milk. The opposition does not have a chance.

The truth prevails.



Ora Moose's picture

mark, this is a feel good story for all of us but I'd imagine it's even more special for you since you are living it. Thanks for caring.

By the way in the picture it looks like you left your plane door open. Be careful or somebody might take off with it, pardon the pun. Have a great holiday everyone!

Ora Moose's picture

Another supporting comment: It's fairly clear that a large percentage of the educated public has stopped believing the advertising and marketing hype and growing increasingly suspicious since they know that commercials are not real people speaking from the heart, but actors speaking from their wallets.

We've been watching Christmas movies lately on the Hallmark channel, and it's just mind boggling how most of the ads are pharmaceutical drugs aimed at older people. They are just plain misleading and have all kinds of disclaimers on the side effects. "Ask your doctor" they say. How many people actually go to the doctor and ask them about a certain drug? I cringe when I see these. Think barbers and ulterior motives.

One factor that drives the raw milk movement imho, is that the people speaking up and giving testimonials are actually real people with personal experience and are not recommending it because they make money off it.

Credibility is huge. Profit making is dubious.

mark mcafee's picture

I have been polling OPDC customers all week long to see what they know or care about the Minnesota and or AAP studies and positions.

The quotes range from:

1.I do not open that crap
2. I would not follow FDA advice even if my life depended on it...because it does!
3. What positions and what studies....?

It appears that the FDA, AAP and CDC are speaking to a different audience in a different language.

I have never been more motivated or excited about RAWMI than right now. We have just put the key into the raw milk lock and the lock opened. When the CDC, FDA, Big Ag and or the AAP can not find fault in raw milk safety and must recite 100 year old data. That means one thing.

The future is ours if we deny the challengers of ammunition...ammo we ourselves will give them if we screw up!

That means a zealous focus on RAWMI like RAMP plans and much more! We must all become creative and innovative in our efforts to be the very best and safest we can be. State standards are not the key to the future....we must all go far beyond any state standards and do much better than the law.


D. Smith's picture

If you like Clydesdale horses as much as I do (or any horse, for that matter!) check out this 8 minute vid of some older Budweiser commercials. Awesome.


Just lovely. The last two are my very favorites. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and a blessed and safe New Year. Maybe in 2014 we'll all turn a corner and head the right direction!

rawmilkmike's picture

The infamous swill milk was produced for a total of 116 years in the US. It was pasteurized for the last 39 of those years while infant morality continued to rise.(that 34% of those 116yrs) At it's peak it made up only 28% of New York's milk supply. Most Americans never tasted it.
“The War of 1812 with England resulted in the permanent cutting off of America’s whiskey supply from the British West Indies. As a result, the domestic liquor industry was born, and by 1814, grain distilleries began to spring up in cities as well as in the country.”
Distillery owners began housing cows next to the distilleries and feeding the hot slop directly to the animals as it poured off the stills. Thus was born the slop or swill milk system. This system proved to produce more milk at less cost than any other method.
Slop is of little value in fattening cattle; it makes them diseased and emaciated. “But when slop was plentifully supplied, cows yielded an abundance of milk. The milk was so defective in the properties essential to good milk that it could not be made into butter or cheese, and was good for nothing–except to sell.”
“Hartley estimated that about 18,000 cows produced over five million gallons of slop milk each year for the consumption of New Yorkers–mostly New York’s children. He called the slop milk industry “a curse and a scourge, as indicated by the Bills of Mortality.” Infant mortality had risen sharply since around 1815 when the distillery dairies began to flourish, accounting for about half of all deaths in the city by 1839. Many deaths were caused by diarrhea, many others by tuberculosis.(Today infants still can't drink the pasteurized milk sold in our supermarkets and neither can most adults.)
“Most shameful of all is the fact that the distillery dairies continued to sell milk well into the 1900s; the last one in the New York City area was in Brooklyn, and it closed in 1930.”(Commercial pasteurization began in 1891 and by 1914 it was mandatory.)
“Traditional dairymen, producers of clean, grass-fed, healthy milk, meanwhile did their best to produce milk for New York an other cities. They advertised “pure feed and pasture milk” and that “no swill or any other feed, which can in any manner, whatever, be deleterious for the human constitution or injurious to the milk, shall be used during the winter months for fodder.” They shipped this country milk, as it was known, into the cites by train–the so-called milk trains–using ice blocks to keep it cool and making a better profit selling whole milk to customers in the cities than they could making butter at home. Shipments of country milk to New York grew to over thirteen million gallons in 1850.”
“Because slop milk was naturally very thin and of a pale bluish color, dealers added a variety of substances to give it color and consistency, including starch, sugar, flour, plaster of Paris and chalk.”
The “heat sterilization process, dubbed 'pasteurization' (not 'pasture-ization' as some call it), was first proposed for use on milk in 1886 by German agricultural chemist Franz von Soxhlet.
The first commercial pasteurization machines came on-line in the mid-1890's and remained the standard for decades.”
“Goats and sheep were domesticated in the area now known as Iran and Afghanistan in about 9000 B.C. , and by about 7000 B.C. cattle were being herded in what is now Turkey and parts of Africa. The method for making cheese from milk was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the use of milk and milk products spread throughout Europe in the following centuries.”
“Prior to the American Revolution most of the dairy products were consumed on the farm where they were produced. By about 1790, population centers such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia had grown sufficiently to become an attractive market for larger-scale dairy operations.”(On farm use remained the major portion of milk consumer until the 1950s I think.) “To meet the increased demand, farmers began importing breeds of cattle that were better suited for milk production. The first Holstein-Friesens were imported in 1795, the first Ayrshires in 1822, and the first Guernseys in 1830.”
“In 1856, Gail Borden patented a method for making condensed milk by heating it in a partial vacuum.”(and it was feed to infants for the next 100 years) “Borden opened a condensed milk plant and cannery in Wassaic, New York, in 1861. During the Civil War, his condensed milk was used by Union troops and its popularity spread.”
In 1908 “Chicago became the first major city to require pasteurized milk. New York and Philadelphia followed in 1914, and by 1917 most major cities had enacted laws requiring that all milk be pasteurized.” http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Milk.html#b#ixzz2oPvbE9au
“Once upon a time milk was delivered to the door in glass bottles. One judged the milk by the cream line at the top of the bottle–clearly visible for all to see. But, the dairy industry wanted that cream to make other products. Ice cream, yes, but also cheese. Hence the introduction of homogenization. Once milk is homogenized, it will go rancid within a matter of hours if it is not pasteurized. Once the dairy industry took the homogenizing step to follow the dollars, it had to pasteurize.” http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/12/fda-and-usda-cheese-is-serious/
"A rosy, plump, lusty child was never seen where pasteurized milk had been its only food.” said Dr. Joseph E. Winters. in “GET THIN ON PASTEURIZED MILK” from "The Wenatchee daily world. (Wenatchee, Wash.), May 04, 1909, Page 6, Image 6” “The New York Herald's exposure of the fallacies of the pasteurized milk fad.”
“'homogenizing' machine, patented in 1899”
“In spite of the successful machinery, however, consumers weren't easily convinced that homogenization was such a good idea. By some accounts, homogenized milk wasn't sold successfully until about 1919”
“The higher the pressure, the smaller the particles. How much pressure? Typically 2,000-3,000 pounds per square inch (psi), although some super homogenizers work at over 1000 times atmospheric pressure- 14,500psi and higher! ”
“Homogenization usually follows pasteurization because the enzyme lipase, if not first heat deactivated, can begin digesting the ruptured fat globules, leading to rancidity in the milk. That's becoming less of a problem, however, because at the incredibly high pressures to which milk is now being subjected, very high heat is generated, resulting in what is, effectively, a second pasteurization process.”

mark mcafee's picture


Thank you for the recitation of 9000 years of raw milk history...nicely done.

It reminded me, on this Christmas Eve, of Charles Dickens "Scrooge" and the black & white cold filth and darkness of early America. The Ghost of raw milk past certainly wore chains and was selfish, sometimes lethal and ugly. The ghost of raw milk present is young, hopeful and suppressed. The Ghost of raw milk future is healing of our current GMO, anti-biotic, medical & industrial immune sins and is the soul and health of our present and future children.

Just a Christmas wish and thought. Blessings to us all!

Ora Moose's picture

Seconded. RMMike that was a really cool rundown of the history and very informative thank you for posting it. Have a great Holiday with the family, that's the best gift of all.

Shelly-D.'s picture

A very merry Christmas to all! :) May joy, love, and wellness be yours and your family's this season, and always.

Ora Moose's picture

Some Holiday reading for you to lift your spirits (or not.) Me, I don't start lifting my spirits until after noon, or midnight whichever comes first.


Thought: Maybe someone should send a copy of RMMike's post on the chronology of milk issues, they could learn a few things.

Ora Moose's picture

Ooops... should read send it to the Foxboro BOH.

mark mcafee's picture


How cute is this....

Goes to show that when CDFA and our state vet wants to get something done, they can get it done.
Not sure if milking the raindeer and consumption of raw raindeer milk was not part of the 24 exemption?

I did not see the part about TB test exemption, but require no commingling with other deer. Oh well....they tried their best on short notice.


Shawna Barr's picture

I heard that families were asked to provide voluntary labeling of the milk and cookies, indicating whether or not the milk was "raw" and whether or not the cookies were "gluten free."

mark mcafee's picture

Here is one for the history books.

The third largest dairy association in CA sent one of its members to RAWMI to become LISTED and learn as much as possible. Evidently, the dairymen is located in far Southern CA..said, ..."it was go raw or go bust! " he said he was the top Southern CA dairyman with a 700 cow herd for 8 years straight and could not make it. Now he wants to drop to 40 cows and go organic-consumer-connected and raw.

He said the one thing to me that gives me hope for him. He said he was completely dedicated to teaching about raw milk and connecting to consumers. I know that raw milk producers that do a good job of teaching consumers, create 2 customers for every 1 that they will need to thrive.

Here we grow again!!

Our community of RAWMI LISTED raw milk dairymen is now being recruited for us by Big Ag and then sent to RAWMI. Reality is what reality is.

What can I say?
Speechless. Wordless...languageless. I am still stunned. Wow...!

Shawna Barr's picture

Wow. Speaking of history, this study http://cetulare.ucanr.edu/files/31137.pdf focuses on the history of dairies in California's Tulare County. In 1930, the average dairy had 31 cows. In 2000, the average dairy had 1200 cows. That is quite a change.

Are dairy economics now supporting a return to small? I know another Grade A dairy about an hour south of me that sold off 3/4 of his herd, kept his favorite cows, and is now providing consumer-direct raw milk. He's much happier, and his community is thrilled. And as we continue to get a handle on how to produce raw milk safely, it might be that relocalizing dairy could be a reality.

rawmilkmike's picture

Thanks everyone. Should have had more sleep. To make it complete I should have added the main reason I posted the history of swill milk.
All of us have heard the CDC and others say that “In the 1930s before pasteurization, raw milk caused 25 percent of all foodborne and waterborne outbreaks in the United States.” The problem with that statement is that the first commercial pasteurization machines came on-line in 1891. By 1909 Dr. Joseph E. Winters said "A rosy, plump, lusty child was never seen where pasteurized milk had been its only food.” then there’s the “homogenizing machine, patented in 1899” “By 1917 most major cities had enacted laws requiring that all milk be pasteurized.” “Homogenized milk was sold successfully in about 1919.” So actually PASTEURIZED “milk caused 25 percent of all foodborne and waterborne outbreaks in the United States in the 1930s.” Does anyone know what other agricultural products they were monitoring in 1930? They still don't monitor canned milk do they? http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/raw-milk-news/story/opinion-pasteurized-...

Actually pasteurization started when: “In 1856, Gail Borden patented a method for making condensed milk by heating it in a partial vacuum.”
“Babies fed upon condensed milk often look plump because of the abundance of sugar in their diet, but they are likely to be pale, flabby, and to lack power to resist disease. Frequently a malady resembling scurvy develops in those fed exclusively upon such milk. This can be partly counteracted by feeding orange and grape juice to such babies.” http://chestofbooks.com/health/nutrition/Disease-Food/Condensed-Milk

“A major reason for the very high mortality rates among the urban working classes -- the women often had to return to work at the mill or factory within a few weeks, leaving the baby to be 'raised up by hand' by a grandmother or older child.”

“The Borden Company issued this press release in 1924: Eagle Brand is truly a health food. It contains all the substances necessary for body growth--protein, fat, carbohydrate, ash constituents and vitamins.
There is a liberal proportion of carbohydrate in Eagle Brand which is also easily digested and assimilated. Fat can be replaced by cane sugar without harm to the organism. The vitamins, Fat soluble A and water soluble B retain almost their original potency after the process of condensation. With the proper dilution and administration, Eagle Brand will meet every essential need as a milk food. Eagle Brand is not only less expensive than pasteurized bottled milk but is far easier to buy and keep on hand for school use.” http://www.milk.com/wall-o-shame/nutrition/Condensed_Milk.html

Ora Moose's picture

Speaking of history... Did anything good happen in 2013? Do NOT answer that. Yes! If you ignore the political stuff, the rest is pretty good:


D. Smith's picture

Thanks Ora! Wow, usually Dave Barry is short and to-the-point but this thing is LONG. Pretty funny though, as usual.

Ora Moose's picture

As Usual, I saw them back up the Far Outs eons ago, backed up by I Forget. Unforgetable show, psycho accoustics and Visual Fly by Drones. Smoked salmon is good by the fire


D. Smith's picture

Really Ora?? Farm raised salmon? Yuk.

Ora Moose's picture

Not sure where I advocated farm raised salmon, but it sure beats no salmon at all, just don't eat it every day and it shouldn't hurt you. Variety, spice and life. Be good, or better.

D. Smith's picture

Did you read the last link you posted?? And no, it doesn't beat "no salmon at all". At least, it shouldn't. I don't want that kind of variety!

Ora Moose's picture

D, I would much prefer if it was NOT farmed however the choices there are very limited if not impossible to find. At least this guy smokes it at home, is not a corporate entity and it does taste great way better than most available market so I'll settle for that. And then there's this HATSOFF to you:


D. Smith's picture

Salmon Rushdead - pretty funny stuff. The point is, as long as you buy farmed fish, there'll BE farmed fish.

Ora Moose's picture

True D, but look at the alternative - no fish at all, except for the elite. Let's compromise at some point.

D. Smith's picture

Hey, exactly.

We've given up chicken and all other poultry (including wild game such as guinea hens, pheasant, duck, etc) until we can find a proper source. If everyone supports the farmed junk because it's all they can get, pretty soon it will be ALL they can get, doncha see? And while it's true that one person may not make a difference to the movement, it takes time to get people to understand that we control the market with our dollars and our feet. Don't spend money on stuff you don't REALLY want.

The choice is yours, of course, but the elite will always have what they need as long as we only have what they provide. And what they provide to the masses is adulterated crap and I refuse to purchase such junk. I'd really rather go without.

Should we disregard value in our food supply because we're terrified of foods which lack an official seal or stamp?? Should we pretend that valuing our health over their processed junk is a bad thing on our part? Should we give up the principle of buying what we know is best simply because we can't find anything else? If everyone capitulates to that sort of thinking, we'll HAVE no other choices.

rawmilkmike's picture

100 years ago, even without electron microscopes, smart phones, and the internet, people weren't that dumb. We might laugh at some of the things they believed back than but they'd be just as shocked at some of the nonsense we fall for today.
Has everyone seen the:
“Revised Presentation July 8 Raw milk myths and evidence by Nadine Ijaz pdf”
Nadine's study is perfect and it proves raw milk is a low risk food which should be enough to end the raw milk debate. I personalty would have liked to have seen some mention of how foodborne illness is associated to food, i.e. (the bogus cucumber outbreak) (the illness questionnaires filled out by doctors) but that would have just clouded the issue.


below is the URL link to a press release put out by the FDA to do with it researching cheeses made from raw milk aged 60 days. Towards the end, there's a sentence quite comical to us involved in the Campaign for REAL MILK = 'other than this press release for stakeholders, there won't be any public notice of the program'.
the alphabet govt. agencies / tyrant "Authorities" eagerly take to the media ramparts blazing their message world-wide, when they want to demonize REAL MILK, but when their actions tacitly admit proponents of raw milk may have something intelligent to say ... well, that's done in a corner.
Nevertheless ; it's progress of a sort. They're giving ground because ~ although the commies are venal, they're not stupid. They learned from the Soviet Russia episode that the free market will always get what it wants. "if you can't beat 'em, regulate 'em"


from the FDA press release
< Where can I get more information on this program?
FDA has stated that there will be no public notification about this program beyond the information shared via the December 19 conference call and subsequently via this Member Alert. >

Ora Moose's picture

Alternative version: If you can't beat them, scramble them. Same egg, different look and feel and conformity in the corner. Cozy and unregulated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEEy615Jzg4