A Crack in the United Front? Here’s Why National Farmers Union Raw Milk Endorsement Is a Big Deal

For years, the public health, medical, regulator, and conventional dairy communities have marched in lockstep against raw milk. Collaborating with these forces of government and business have been the farmer communities, via their trade groups, the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union.


But then something happened earlier this month, and the National Farmers Union, an organization that has long been representative of family farms, and is more than 100 years old, decided at long last that there was something to the raw milk thing, as in: Maybe there really is a sustainable business model for smaller dairies. Maybe the raw dairy market isn’t the mortal danger it’s been portrayed. Maybe we should help our members before they all disappear.


So as part of its new policy plank adopted at its recent national convention, it encouraged raw milk as a “viable market niche for dairies.” In effect, it was admitting at long last that the old dairy model of exclusively serving the conventional processed milk industry isn’t working for many dairies, and that they should explore other business opportunities, just like businesses everywhere. Except, of course, dairies have long not been treated like businesses everywhere. 


It dealt with the safety issue by warning against mixing milk sources: “Because of the possible risks of cross-contamination, we recommend that raw milk be bottled as the product of a single source and wherever possible at the physical location of that source. Single-source bottling will keep intact the chain of responsibility and greatly aid in tracking possible cases of contamination.” 


The organization also advocated “policies, practices and standards for responsible raw milk production...”


And finally the National Farmers Union pushed for “equal access to raw milk (and or raw dairy products) for human consumption for all consumers that choose to consume raw milk”--in other words, an end to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s prohibition on interstate sales of raw milk, in effect since 1987. 


Also to its credit, the National Farmers Union avoided the public-private aspect of raw milk availability--an issue that simmers in many of the discussions here. It didn’t get into the matter of state permits, inspections, and rules. Its advocacy of “policies, practices and standards” isn't limited to a particular realm. The policies, practices, and standards could come from anywhere--the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), the Raw Milk Association of Colorado, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation, or an individual farmer’s own protocol, among other options. 


In sum, then, the National Farmers Union’s decision was a breath of fresh air. Congrats to Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. for his persistence in encouraging the organization to take the enlightened path.


When a united front against freedom and tolerance is broken, as that against raw milk has now been broken, it invariably is the first step in a domino effect. 

Sylvia Gibson's picture

"The policies, practices, and standards could come from anywhere--.........or an individual farmer’s own protocol, among other options."

This is basically what many posters have been saying on this blog.

I am not sure what your meaning in this post but it does awaken some observations and ideas that I have been exploring since being part of the raw milk movement. The strong opposition to the corruption of governement, sadly, seems to also often mean the strong opposition to organization. And, in my experience working with "grass Roots" organizations the mechanisms of corruption seem to festor most when comprised of those of such strong views.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

jack brody,

I'm not sure if you are responding to my post or Davids post. In case it is my post, I will elaborate.

The full statement made by David; "The policies, practices, and standards could come from anywhere--the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), the Raw Milk Association of Colorado, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation, or an individual farmer’s own protocol, among other options."

I don't think anyone on this blog feels that any farmer would not have specific practices/standards/policies in the running of their farm. I wouldn't expect a one cow or even a 50 cow farm to have written policies, etc as the larger farmer for public consumption would have. Just because they don't have what they do in writing doesn't mean they "don't care" or are substandard as a few have alluded to on this blog.

And, yes, I believe that anyone coming into dairy farming (as with any new goal), should learn as much as possible from which-ever mode suits them and to continue learning throughout the journey.

I think, basically, we all want the same thing; freedom to choose what we consume and the ease in availability to obtain that.

I am in far east Virginia, the only way to get raw dairy is to belong to a cow share. I am not here long enough to join one, so I do without. Pennsylvania is over 6 hrs away as is South Carolina, neither is realistic to drive to for milk pick up.

Baily Crane's picture

Jack, "mechanisms of corruption" you say? Follow this path as illuminated by others here, allegedly that is:
Bill Anderson is a parton on WI farms being raided, then moves on.
Bill A admits to having "friends" at DATCP
Bill A works with RAWMI
RAWMI is rejected by farmers in the original group that became the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association
Bill A develops another new source of milk for his cheese, St Brigids Meadows in WI
Owner of St. Brigids, Vince Hunt, is a main player in the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association
Wisconsin Raw Milk Association developed the bill that will be introcuded in WI in the next few weeks
George Siemons, CEO of Organic Valley allegedly gets his raw milk from Vince Hunt

Wheres this goen? You all decide. This info is all hear say tho, coming from those with "strong views" in those pesky festoring "grass Roots" orgniizations. They just come along and fuck everything up don't they? Just sayin.

Barney Google's picture

Everyone knows there's a problem, but no one wants to call it a conspiracy. There are many dots to connect, keep digging.

David Gumpert's picture

Baily Crane, 
Bill Anderson can't comment for himself, since I banned him from the blog some days back (for inappropriate behavior, most immediately for his attacks on Vernon Hershberger). Bill may have lots of faults, but I personally don't believe one of them is that he is some kind of secret agent working against food rights. I don't doubt there are secret agents out there, in Wisconsin and in other states (we have had acknowledgment by regulators of their existence on a number of occasions), but they generally wouldn't be as out there and obvious as Bill is. If Bill is working against food rights, and he has declared himself on many occasions to be against private arrangements like herd shares and food clubs, he is doing so right out in plain view, and that's his right. You can disagree with him, not include him in your organizational affairs, but trying to brand him as some kind of hired troublemaker is unfair, especially if you don't have evidence to back up your suggestion. 

No, I suggest you look a little further afield for your more serious enemies, in the legislature, in the governor's office, in the judiciary, in DATCP and the FDA and the CDC, and in the big dairy companies and their trade organization lobbying groups. 

I wondered what happened to Bill Anderson. Haven't seen tomm culhane around lately, either.

David Gumpert's picture

D. Smith, no, nothing affecting Tomm Culhane. Believe me, I don't take that action (banning people) lightly. Just try to do the best I can. 

@ David: I didn't mean it to sound like you might have banned tomm. I was just wondering where he's been because I was curious as to whether or not he found the information on organic grains interesting. I posted a link a few weeks ago because he was asking if anyone knew where he could find/buy heirloom wheat. I do recall him saying something about going back to FL and I think maybe he has limited internet access there or something.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

So 8 out of 24 ill ate the processed foods, what did the other 16 eat?

"because most of the ingredients should have been processed beforehand,"

What does that mean?


@ Sylvia: I wonder if by "processed beforehand" he means they should have been pre-cooked to a certain degree (like a Farenheit degree) and they weren't, or it wasn't done to the proper temps. The word processed is open for discussion on a lot of these foodie forums and blogs and news articles, so who knows what they mean for sure.

I would look to the chicken for this problem. Chicken from a grocery story is like an accident waiting to happen, even for the supposedly "organic, no antibiotic used" type chicken. You'd be hard pressed to get me to buy that slime on a styrofoam tray. We are having the devil's own time trying to find pastured chickens in this area. I would love to raise my own in the backyard, but our city outlawed it and truthfully I can understand why. Around here there are a lot of wild animals who normally would be living up in the hills, but they come down for food and water because there is little for them in the natural world right now because of fire damage, pine beetle damage and drought conditions. Bobcats, racoons, coyotes, wolves and lots of predator birds (like hawks and chicken-hawks) who have no problem carrying off two chickens at one time in those huge talons of theirs.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Seems grocery store food is the most contaminated. But big brother is looking out for us! When I lived in Florida, the woman in the next apt would feed the raccoons, we were within 20 ft of the swamp. The gators would lay in wait for their easy meals. Some people have no sense.

rawmilkmike's picture

Exactly Sylvie, these outbreak stories are always full of double talk. I'm not saying they are all impossible, just highly unlikely. Yes, 8 out of 24 suggests it wasn't the quesadillas. Even more ridiculous, since when doesn't uncooked chicken in this country have E. coli. and "24 people in 18 states" my god what is going through these peoples heads. There has got to be a million people in 18 states with diarrhoea at any given moment. "tested positive for the strain of E. coli" It's obvious what they are suggesting this means but it wouldn't prove anything even if it were true. "The company posted a notice on its website saying, "Consumer safety is our number one priority, and we are voluntarily recalling these products effective immediately."" Ya, after water boarding for two days.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Mike, again, you really need to educate yourself about STEC. The type of diarrhea these people are experiencing is not “typical” diarrhea. It is very painful, non-stop excretions and many will experience blood in there diarrhea. The pain is so intense it will make a person vomit. Imagine having painful diarrhea, along with vomiting, every 15 to 30 minutes for 7 days. This is why people go to the doctor and a culture is done. Symptoms do not present as typical diarrhea when you have STEC. Three children from this outbreak have developed HUS.

When a culture tests positive for STEC, it has to be reported to the CDC—Pulse Net. http://www.cdc.gov/pulsenet/ When matching fingerprints of STEC start showing up from different states, that is how they know an outbreak is happening.

rawmilkmike's picture

STEC; shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli.
(2). Most reported STEC infections in the United States are caused by E. coli O157:H7,
E coli Poisoning Attorney
Considering a e coli or food poisoning lawsuit? Free consultation! 
Escherichia Coli Definition;
E. coli (Escherichia coli) is one of several types of bacteria that normally inhabit the intestine of humans and animals (commensal organism). 
commensal /com·men·sal/ (kom-men´sil)
1. living on or within another organism, and deriving benefit without harming or benefiting the host.
2. a parasite that causes no harm to the host.
Miguel already hipped us to the misuse of matching fingerprint technology.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Mike, this is your research? What can you tell me about STEC? How is it different from benificial E.coli bacteria? What is the evolution of STEC? When was it first discovered to cause HUS? What country discovered a certain food was vulnerable to STEC and what was this STEC...the first one discovered?

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Mike, let me see if I have this correct. You believe that an anonymous person posting information on this blog about genetic fingerprinting is correct in his analysis and all the scientists worldwide who hold Ph.D’s and do this for a living are wrong? Is this what you are implying?

rawmilkmike's picture

Mary, What scientists are you talking about? I haven't heard anyone say that this genetic fingerprinting proves anything let alone a scientist. I assume the test is done in a lab but Miguel is the only one that has said anything about what it actually is and what it does or does not prove. Sure he could be fooling me with his scientific talk but at least he makes since. If it were a DNA test I bet they wouldn't call it a “genetic fingerprint”. The same way they say raw milk was “associated” with an outbreak rather than it was the cause.

And Mary, anonymous information trumps bias inference.

I need to apologize-I have not posted much-though I do follow David’s reporting- mostly exceptionally busy running our farm and have been slowed down a bit due to my accident last spring.

Here is one scientist......

I am an trained PhD. U-W Madison, post doc-MIT . I trained in, and ran a molecular genetics lab for 26 years-experimental and analytical incorporating the best of developing technologies. I have personally ran or supervised 100,000s of PAGE and PCR gels and analysis. Considering that the robustness of such analysis depends on the controls and probes that are used. We always ran multiple controls for each analysis. The statistical correlations make such analysis incredibly exact. Calling this a “fingerprint” is really a misnomer, since the analysis is many magnitudes of accuracy beyond the hyped claims with fingerprinting-which is not that accurate except in movies and on TV. In fact it is a genetic DNA test-"finger printing" comes from the early days of this analysis (the 70's-and I was there) to try to explain exactly what we had discovered and were developing.)

As in any type of analysis it important to not only understand the technological basis, but also the specifics of how experiments are set up and designed. Controls and the exact types of probes and their number are absolutely critical.

Out of hand to dismiss this technology without having a deeper understanding of the basis and the science behind it is foolish. No doubt there is bad science, sloppy experiments, and scientific experimental designs to prove a preconceived hypothesis (whether intentional or not)-but these things in no way diminish the importance and power of PAGE and PCR technology. Also-there are no absolutes-one looks at multiple pieces of data and correlations in any mature analysis-and again that does not diminish the power of this technology.

I continue to respectfully disagree with Miguel. But as always I strongly support our quest and personal Rights to choose.

David Gumpert's picture

Ron, thanks much for this input. It's important for us to hear from someone with your background, and without a political ax to grind.  I think much of the skepticism that has been expressed about the reliability of the PCR analysis stems from the credibility problems of the public health community, and its increasing tendency to pursue political agendas. 

Ken Conrad's picture

What you are saying is very true and although I have great respect for Ron Kline I think that the judge in the Mead Johnson& Company ruling last month clearly pointed out that there are protocol related accuracy issues with the test.


The article states that, “The test, known as a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or PFGE, analysis, is used widely in foodborne illness litigation. The decision may be the first time a PFGE analysis has been excluded as evidence because a judge deemed it unreliable, attorneys said. It opens the door for other companies to attack the reliability of PFGE analyses that use only one enzyme, which is still the standard for many state health departments, according to Faegre Baker Daniels partner Sarah Brew”. If I am not mistaken I think that this is what Miguel was trying to point out among other things.


This statement is not inconsistent with what I posted. The power of the correlations are directly related to the integrity of the protocols, number of probes and reliability of them, and the specific controls that must be run in each analysis. Both as a bench scientist and reviewer, and trial attorney-I have seen quite a bit of bad science. I have also had some interesting moments interacting, as a dairy farmer, with regulatory investigators....one favorite moment was being lectured about the difference between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" bacteria--("Well Sir, what we are looking for?....Bacteria are very tiny. . .") A great-"revenge of the C student" moment.

rawmilkmike's picture

Ron, your post doesn't disagree with Miguel's. The question hear is not whether PAGE and PCR technology is accurate or not but whether it is being used properly. We have raw milk competitors using these test results to suggest that certain cases of diarrhoea were cause by raw milk from a particular farm. What do you think these tests prove here in this application?

rawmilkmike's picture

Mary, I read all that. I only used the pertinent info. The more of it you read the more they contradict themselves. The CDC is an excellent pro raw milk website because their bias is so transparent and it contains little to no science.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Mike, the topic of STEC is not about raw milk. It is about a specific type of pathogenic E.coli. that has found its way into our food system. It is irrelevant what food is contaminated with this pathogen. It doesn’t discriminate. Once it is inside the human intestine, the damage is all the same regardless of what has been eaten. What information did you find about STEC that contradicted itself?

From what you write, it appears you have a difficult time believing that people, meaning mostly children, have actually become ill after drinking raw milk contaminated with this pathogen. Do you believe that people became ill in 1993 after eating Jack-in-the-Box hamburgers? Or that people became ill in 2006 after eating Dole packaged spinach?

Thanks for admitting that you believe an anonymous blog poster over scientists. It helps me understand why you write some of the things you do.

@ Mary: Miguel isn't really all that "anonymous". His name was at the top of one of the papers he posted here, so I did a little searching and found this: http://globalalternatives.org/taxonomy/term/12/

And this: http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu/people_profiles/miguel-altieri/

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Thanks, D. for posting this...I knew that Miguel was quite the expert, but didn't realize what a prestigious & impressive of a C.V. he has...wow!! His accomplishments & contributions are incredible. I wish that I had known that he is at UC Berkley, I was just in at a hospital in that area a while ago, would have loved to have stopped by & say 'hello'. I will definitely have to plan to do so the next time I'm up there. Great reading!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I am grateful for Miguel's input and knowledge he has shared. His curriculum vitae is very impressive.

Ora Moose's picture

I too am very grateful for Miguel's contributions to this blog in the various discussion topics, even before I saw his international academic credentials it was already obvious to me that he knows thereof he speaks. I'm sure he's a very busy guy and to take the time to enlighten us "uneducated pedestrians" is an invaluable asset in our ongoing education. Thank you Miguel.

And much as I cringe when I see people take cheap pot shots at others and preach restraint in our confrontational postings... (I'm talking to you, Mary McComical for calling Miguel an anonymous crackpot poster before checking the facts.) Do Marler lawyers have science PHD's?.

Ooops, I think I just committed that which I accuse of, please excuse me Mary but please beware of reality, it bites back.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

I did not call Miguel an anonymous crackpot poster. Please don't quote me as saying something I didn't. Miguel does a huge disservice spending so much time and energy trying to convince everyone that there is no validity to PFGE.

When we look at human fingerprints, each person has a unique pattern. They use this same language when referring to bacteria.

I took this quote from the PulseNet website.

PulseNet participants perform standardized molecular subtyping (or “fingerprinting”) of foodborne disease-causing bacteria by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE can be used to distinguish strains of organisms such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, or Campylobacter at the DNA level. DNA “fingerprints,” or patterns, are submitted electronically to a dynamic database at the CDC. These databases are available on-demand to participants—this allows for rapid comparison of the patterns.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

"Our data show that for a single highly conserved clone, such as E. coli O157:H7, other typing techniques may need to be performed in addition to DNA fingerprinting in epidemiological surveys."


"In many cases, PFGE data failed to discriminate strains of closely related MLVA types (Figure 8). For example, several isolates in MLVA clusters B, C and D were indistinguishable by PFGE. "


In the link below, the first link "Molecular Subtyping for Escherichia coli O157:H7 .." explains the non-exact of e coli fingerprinting.


The problem with the fingerprint analogy is that microbes can change their "fingerprint" in just a few generations, which for them, can be just hours/days.

I believe this is what Miguel is pointing out, among other issues.

Ken Conrad's picture

I think Miguel’s efforts at critically demonstrating the complexity and possible shortcomings of PFGE testing are very important. His unwillingness to be indoctrinated by bureaucrats who have grasped on to this technology and establish it as the be all and end all of truth is a reflection of his free spirited and independent nature.
The following court ruling in favor of Mead Johnson & Co. demonstrates how only a company of their stature and resources would have the ability to challenge the bureaucrats and their use and abuse of a technology such as PFGE. What hope does a lone farmer have against such a juggernaut?
“Law360, New York (March 07, 2013, 8:09 PM ET) -- In nixing an infant formula contamination suit against Mead Johnson & Co. LLC last week, a Minnesota federal judge said a genetic test was insufficient to link the product to the illness — an unprecedented finding that could offer companies a new way out of foodborne-illness litigation.”
“In many outbreaks, health officials use PFGE analyses with multiple enzymes, or an even more reliable test known as a multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis, or MLVA, attorneys said. But the ruling should still serve as a reminder to plaintiffs that genetic tests are just a tool in foodborne illness suits, and one that needs to be supplemented with other evidence, they said.”

rawmilkmike's picture

And even if they are able to, at some point, prove that they have the same bacteria there'd be no way of knowing whether it was responsible for the diarrhea. And with direct farm sales you'd have to ask who contaminated who. Where did the bacteria originate. Am I the only one that sees this?

you should read this research. Pulsenet information is not enough information alone to determine genetic relationship between isolates.



Exploration of Biases That Affect the Interpretation of Restriction Fragment Patterns Produced by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis"

"The uses of PFGE in DNA fingerprinting are much broader than the simple assessment of the relationships of outbreak strains. PFGE is widely used to compare bacterial isolates collected over variable spatial and temporal scales. For example, the National Molecular Subtyping Network for Foodborne Disease Surveillance (PulseNet), sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, analyzes bacterial isolates from many laboratories in the United States as well as Canada (26). The objective is to rapidly assess the DNA fingerprints of isolates from disease outbreaks and follow-up isolates, even if the cases are geographically and temporally unrelated. Given the importance of the accurate assessment of the relationships of these isolates, particularly when distance and time separate the isolate sources, it is critical to have a thorough understanding of the potential biases inherent in PFGE data collection and analysis. "

"In practice, the use of PFGE as a DNA fingerprinting technique requires many subjective decisions to be made. This subjectivity increases the variability of the results among studies and, consequently, affects how those results are interpreted."

"The key point of RFPs in general and PFGE specifically is that while the data infer genetic relationships between isolates, they do not necessarily represent true genetic relationships (6). Differences in RFPs indicate that isolates are genetically different, but the true degree of the genetic distance separating these isolates cannot be determined from RFPs. In contrast, similarities in RFPs do not necessarily mean that isolates are genetically similar. As the number of REs included in PFGE increases, the correlation between RFP similarity and true genetic similarity is likely to increase (6). However, the conclusions drawn from any molecular study must be put in the context of the other information associated with the isolates. The strength of isolate identity is greatest when epidemiologic data support point source or common elements of dissemination. Because of the high degree of subjectivity involved with the interpretation of RFPs, the user must carefully and thoughtfully select the conditions and techniques for performing, analyzing, and using PFGE fingerprints."

Actually I am not Miguel Altieri, but does it matter what a person's credentials are or does it matter that the information is correct? As far as PFGE "fingerprinting" is concerned , these are not at all like fingerprints. As I posted long ago , these patterns are not an indication of any genetic information about the isolates. The only thing that can be said about the isolates involved in the test is whether or not the test can distinguish between the two samples. Correct me with real research if I am wrong,but at least six different tests with six different enzymes need to be indistinguishable before there is any probability that you are looking at related organisms. Two enzymes are the standard used and the results are rarely reproducible. PFGE testing is said to be the "gold standard " test for distinguishing between isolates that ORIGINATE from the same colony of bacteria. This not at all the case when two samples from unknown sources are compared. In order for the test to indicate a relationship , the assumption must be made that the two isolates are originally from the same colony . This assumption is not justifiable.

What could cause acute diarrhea in someone? Because the walls between soil scientists and medical professionals have been broken down and because we now have the tools to study microbial communities and their functions we may be close to an answer to this question. Xenobiotics " the term xenobiotics is very often used in the context of pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls and their effect on the biota, because xenobiotics are understood as substances foreign to an entire biological system, i.e. artificial substances, which did not exist in nature before their synthesis by humans. " Xenobiotics
accumulate in the body because the body has no knowledge of how to break them down. We have learned from bioremediation in the environment that some microbes can break these substances down. When xenobiotics accumulate to a level at which our normal bacterial janitors can not tolerate , the bacteria in our bodies that can tolerate this toxic environment multiply and begin to degrade these xenobiotics. Diarrhea and vomiting are ways that the body can rapidly eliminate large quantities of the degradation products without damaging delicate organs like the skin and kidneys. Of course microbes that tolerate these toxic environments are the only ones that will be found in the stool . That does not mean that they are causing the diarrhea and vomiting. This is one of those unexamined assumptions that we are not allowed to question. No one with any credentials could question this and still have any credibility left. Although many scientists do understand this and don't let on.

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

And how do you know that many scientists understand this but don't let on? Or are you quoting someone else?

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Mary - regarding your question: "And how do you know that many scientists understand this but don't let on?", it is very similar within the medical community, there are many of us that know and understand things that conflict against common and/or accepted assumptions yet we either can't or don't "let on". And there are many reasons why that happens. I'm sure you recall many times where I had posted my observations about the discrepancies I've witness in my over 30 yrs of being in medicine. I'm would not be surprised that this same thing happens amongst scientists, as well.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I know from a nursing view, many nurses kept their mouths shut in fear of reprisals. An RN saw a physician rinse gauze dressings in tap water and pack a belly wound, she did report that physician, she was fired and black-balled from being hired in that area. If nurses complain of unsafe staffing, they are labeled trouble makers or lazy. I've seen doctors bow to insurance companies, when the health of the patient was in question and the doctor obviously was not in agreement with the insurance company.

I've heard doctors, professors, nurse practitioners, along with a multitude of other professionals who voice quietly their disagreement with the status quo. It happens more than people realize.

It was in the 1840s when a physician figured out washing hands correlated with death after childbirth. He was laughed at.

This reminds me of the old argument where the Mother takes her child back to the doctor and says "But doctor, I know it was the _________ (fill in the blank with whatever drug/vaccine you wish) which caused little Jimmy's paralysis (or pick any other malady) because I am with him all the time and I watched him deteriorate." The doctor looks down at her and says "No way. There is absolutely no proof of that." And that's where the buck stops. As if the mother didn't know what she saw and, on top of that, was an imbecile.

But my motto has always been "question authority". Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth while I was in college I made a few eye-opening discoveries about how america really operates. We are being indoctrinated to believe less in ourselves and more in others - so now my motto is question authority - trust no one BUT yourself.

@ Miguel: Oh geez, I'm sorry Miguel, I didn't mean to cause you any trouble. I made an assumption and I should know better than to do that, especially online. I'm sorry if I caused you any problems by mistaking your identity. That was not my intention. Still, you provide some very useful information - keep doing that, ok?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Miguel, Your postings have always contained extensive information. Sometimes my head would spin trying to research and learn what all you have said. It has been a great learning experience and I still appreciate you and your information.

"at least six different tests with six different enzymes need to be indistinguishable before there is any probability that you are looking at related organisms. Two enzymes are the standard used and the results are rarely reproducible."

I agree, basing results on assumption is not justifiable.

When people send in cheek swabs for DNA testing to find out the potential for "diseases", the results vary from lab to lab, test to test and even the person reading the results doesn't always come up with the same results. There is little consistency.

rawmilkmike's picture

Mary, I hope you don't mind if I argue with you a little. You said:

“Mike, the topic of STEC is not about raw milk(But raw milk is the only one you want to make illegal). It is about a specific type of pathogenic E.coli. that has found its way into our food system.(E. coli is one of several types of bacteria that normally inhabit the intestine of humans and animals, a commensal organism). It is irrelevant what food is contaminated with this pathogen.( E. coli doesn't grow in raw milk.) It doesn’t discriminate. Once it is inside the human intestine(It's already there.), the damage is all the same(It doesn't affect healthy people.) regardless of what has been eaten(Your health is determined by what you eat.). What information did you find about STEC that contradicted itself?(Think about it, you and I get our information from the same places.)
From what you write, it appears you have a difficult time believing that people, meaning mostly children, have actually become ill(After eating cheese or improperly pasteurized milk.) after drinking raw milk(And many other foods.) contaminated with this pathogen(pathogens not found). Do you believe that people became ill in 1993 after eating Jack-in-the-Box hamburgers?(Not illegal.) Or that people became ill in 2006 after eating Dole(Also not illegal.) packaged spinach?(I'm not going to research those specific outbreaks. They may have found actual contaminate food, I don't know but you're right there is no reason to believe those stories either. Have you ever heard anyone say there was a way to prove what caused someones diarrhea? Think about it how would you do that? Mary, I'm not saying that I know that raw milk has never made anyone sick. What I am saying is that I know raw milk has prevented far more illness than it could have ever caused and that pasteurization has taken decades off the lives of most of the people in this country.)
Thanks for admitting that you believe an anonymous blog poster over scientists. It helps me understand why you write some of the things you do.(You are not talking about statements made by Scientist. You are quoting inferences made by businessmen with an enormous conflict of interest.)”

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

OK Now I get it. You actually don't believe raw milk can harbor E.coli 0157:H7 or I guess any other STEC. And you see scientists as business men. And that huge foodborne outbreaks probably didn't happen.

And for the record, it is a state's right to choose if raw milk should be legal. I believe it is to be made legal for purchase, it should have safety regulations attached. A raw milk free for all will only end in disaster. For example, Iowa wanted to sell raw milk from the farm with out any type of oversite or safety standards. I can't support that.

@ Mary: I was under the impression that the milk causing the HUS you refer to had "safety regulations" attached. Wasn't this product you purchased from a farm you said had done testing?


So you feel the overweening gubment regulators are going to be able to "help farmers produce a safe product"? Ah, well, yes. Wouldn't that be great. Tell me again, how many deaths from raw milk? How many deaths from the supposedly overseen production of pasteurized milk? Pasteurized milk is produced in pure filth. Raw milk farms are almost always spanking clean. Dairy farmers are much better at knowing their own production standards than some gubment regulator would EVER know, and testing isn't going to change that. Regulators and regulations are mostly just in the way of a farmer trying to do his work. It seems to me it's the regulators who need to start following a decent protocol. They do almost everything wrong from step A to step Z.

Just because Iowa wanted to pass a bill to produce raw milk without gubment oversight and regulation, doesn't mean it wouldn't have "safety standards". Do you honestly think that dairy farmers don't follow any sort of safety practices? No dairy farmer wants an unsafe product, which is why they're usually very very careful about protocol which is why I trust them and their milk much more than any other product on the planet - without testing.

rawmilkmike's picture

Mary one last time;

“OK Now I get it. You actually don't believe raw milk can harbor E.coli 0157:H7 or I guess any other STEC.(I said they don't grow in raw milk. Some even die in raw milk. And there is no reason to believe they would cause diarrhea if consumed in raw milk.) And you see scientists as business men.(I didn't say scientists are business men although they often do work for them. What I said was that you are not quoting scientists.) And that huge foodborne outbreaks probably didn't happen.(You can't call it an outbreak if it is constant. And I'm sure that food is the primary cause of illness in this country, ahead of chemicals and overwork.)
And for the record, it is a state's right to choose if raw milk should be legal.(So you are saying that raw milk is the only food that should be illegal. And for the record it is the people that have the right to say what is to be illegal not the state.) I believe if it is to be made legal for purchase(It is legal to purchase and consume.), it should have safety regulations attached.(It already does.) A raw milk free for all will only end(The nations health-care crisis.) in disaster. For example, Iowa wanted to sell raw milk from the farm with out any type of over-site(Other than consumers with higher standards than the state.) or safety standards(I don't know that there is any food more toxic than pasteurized milk.) I can't support that.(So you agree with most of the people on this sight.)”

Sylvia Gibson's picture
rawmilkmike's picture

Does anyone know if a2 milk is available in the US and do they put permeate in our milk like in Canada?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

My friend who has a cow share with jerseys and guernseys has A2 milk. It has bee tested at UC Davis. She doesn't put anything in her milk, it is straight from the cows. last I talked to her, there was a long waiting list for the cow share.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Sylvia - do you know if their A2 milk is pasteurized? Very interesting on how they test the DNA to find the cows that will produce A2 milk, I wonder if that makes it more expensive to buy the milk. The A2 milk that is available in the UK unfortunately is not necessarily organic, plus it is pasteurized & homogenized, does not help with allergies, but supposedly helps with lactose intolerance...hmmmm, I think I will stick with my raw milk.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

No pasteurization. It's raw milk. And organic. In El Dorado county, CA

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Mike - are you using the correct word? Permeate means to 'spread, diffuse, pervade, penetrate, etc'. Also what is 'u2 milk', I've never heard of that and I couldn't find anything on the web except for downloads of some music called U2 Milk. ~ Thanks

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Opps, put the wrong letter in front! Was meaning to use 'a2', so forget the 'u2 milk'! My bad! Still trying to figure out what you mean by the word 'permeate' though.

rawmilkmike's picture

Permeate — described by the Fairfax press as a watery, greenish waste product from the production of cheese — forms up to 16 percent of the fresh milk Australians drink.
The practice was first exposed by the TV news program A Current Affair, which reported that by law, dairy companies did not have to disclose the presence of permeate on the labels of milk containers.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Well I did find some info about 'Milk Permeate' which is not a waste product from the production of cheese, according to a few sources it is as follows: "Is it a by-product of cheese?
No – permeate is a collective term for the lactose, water, vitamins and minerals components of milk produced by a separation process called ultra filtration. It is not a by-product of cheese."

Another site states: "Milk permeate is a by-product of the dairy production process, formed after ultrafiltration of milk to extract protein and fat used to produce cheese. Permeate has a watery consistency, and is green in colour due to the presence of B vitamins. It consists of lactose, water, vitamins and minerals. Milk permeate may be added to fresh milk as part of a process called standardisation, to keep consistent levels of fat and protein in the product which may have seasonal variations."

This milk permeate seems to be something that was done in Australia, I could not find anything that it is something done in the US. Either way, since it is a product of processing of milk and I would not ever consume processed milk, this would be a moot point to me. If it is done in the US, here's another reason to not purchase & consume processed milk.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Here's another interesting bit of info about milk permeate:
"So what IS permeate?

The diagram in Lynne’s post shows milk entering a factory and some of it going of for cheese making through a process called ultrafiltration. This filtration separates the large proteins (the caseins) and the fats for cheese making and leaves the rest – the permeate. Although whole milk is used in cheese making, adding extra fat and protein makes a better cheese (according to my quick scan of websites etc).

At this point it’s important to remember that permeate is a word meaning stuff that passes through a membrane full of pores, in the same way that filtrate is what passes through a filter. It’s about as meaningful on it’s own as the word ‘leftovers’. It is also why whole milk does not contain permeate, but it does contain all the things that are in permeate.

So what’s in the milk permeate?

This fact sheet from the Dairy Manufacturers Sustainability Council describes ultrafiltration as removing molecules with a molecular weight of 10,000 – 150,000 and a pore size of 0.005-0.1 micrometre. A quick scan for research articles on the composition of milk permeate pulled out this article which states it contains water, lactose, minerals and some nitrogenous compounds (presumably amino acids). The precise composition of milk permeate will vary from factory to factory and season to season, depending on the size of their filters, and the lactose and other content of the milk from the cows supplying the factory."

rawmilkmike's picture

Deb, I can see why this seems to be a moot point. The problem is, I think the average raw milk consumer is still willing to drink pasteurized milk when ever they run out of raw. and I consider us soldiers battling to save our families from the tyranny of men. A better understanding of the enemy is an important weapon.

The question of what's actually in milk came up while reading the Wisconsin statute and finding that milk processors have gotten around the law against adulteration and misbranding by simply redefining the word “milk”.

In my search for what's in milk I ran across the A1, A2 milk question which is still a consideration when choosing a raw milk dairy.

So what I have so far is:

1. Pasteurization causes cancer and allergies.
2. Homogenization causes heart disease.
3. A1 beta-casein vs. A2 beta-casein.
4. Toxic Spray Dried Nonfat Milk Powder is added to low-fat milk in America without labeling.
5. Synthetic vitamin D and carrier added.
6. Cheese and pasteurized milk sometimes listed as raw milk when associated with an outbreaks.
7. Permeate is added to milk in Australia without labeling.
8. Pasteurized milk sometimes sold as raw in Europe.
9. The ultra pasteurization of organic milk.
10. Organic milk with Omega-3 DHA.
11. Organic dairy products with carrageenan.
12. Raw milk in California $14.00+ per gallon.

When ever I mention adulteration and misbranding I can't help but finish by saying we allowed DATCP's creation with it's sole purpose being to protect us from the unfair business practices of it's board members. Kind of funny isn't it. So no matter how many times they say it; it is not their job to protect us from ourselves. You know, since consumers don't want pasteurized milk and they do want raw milk, shouldn't DATCP's board be made up of members of the organic, grass fed, A2, farm direct, raw milk industry? The law only says they are to be members of industry, it doesn't say which industry. The processed food industry is basically an illegal enterprise. It makes no since to put them in charge of our food production.

Pasteurization is adulteration because we have allowed manufacturers to misrepresent it's purpose and it's safety. Pasteurization is not done to milk to improve it's safety because it does not.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Mike - I have to disagree with your statement "I think the average raw milk consumer is still willing to drink pasteurized milk when ever they run out of raw", I personally don't know of anyone that has been a raw milk consumer ever buying commercial, pasteurized milk because they ran out of their raw milk. They would go without milk altogether if they could not get their raw milk. Just like me, when I travel to places where I cannot get raw milk, I go without milk until I can get back home or to another place to be able to get back on consuming raw milk again. It is possible that someone new to raw milk or that doesn't fully understand and value the higher benefits of raw milk, could easily fall back to consuming pasteurized milk, especially if they drink milk for the taste and necessarily for health benefits. The "true" raw milk consumers would never resort back to pasteurized milk as they understand what a "dead" product pasteurized milk is. I'm not sure where you are coming up with $14/gallon price tag for raw milk here in California, but that is not the price I pay. It definitely differs from natural food store to natural food store, not to mention that it is definitely cheaper to buy it at the farmers markets.

If one wants changes to occur, then one needs to be willing to campaign for those changes. Simply complaining about them never brings about a change. A couple of people on this forum have pointed out that to bring about a change, one needs to show up & support any of the court cases, write to your legislatures, organize groups to inform & mentor others, write letters to the editors of local papers, even write letters to local media, hold info sharing meetings of neighbors and/or friends in one's home, etc. The list can go on & on, but if one just "sits" at home, complain via a computer, nothing is going to happen. I hold info sharing meetings in my home at least once a month, sometimes twice a month, which has enlightened many more people to what is going on & how they can help to bring about a change. They then go home & hold their own meetings & encourage everyone to continue the message/info sharing. This is how to spread it around. This is only one tiny example of what can be done.

Did you catch on the news this morning, the basketball game where a player leaped into the air & when he came down on his feet, his right lower leg literally snapped in half...a major, major compound fracture, right through the skin & all...yep, sorry, pretty graphic. My first thought as I was watching that this morning was...what the heck has been fed (or not fed) to that person from infant-hood!!! There is no reason that someone cannot jump into the air and land without breaking a leg. There was nothing unusual about the jump, he didn't twist, he didn't turn in mid air, he just jumped straight up. This was evidence of something seriously wrong & obviously there was no warning about this disaster potential. I can predict that there will be more of this to come!

Sylvia Gibson's picture


When I was in Sacramento back in 2011; at the Co Op in Sacramento, OP milk was $7-8 per 1/2 gallon , usually $1-2 more at the Nugget or other stores. Claravale was comparable in price. A pint of raw cream was $12.

I saw the replay of that fracture. Awful! Yup, for a supposedly healthy young man to have such unhealthy bones is very questionable. I wonder if they will investigate why the bones were so weak to break.

Undetected stress fractures are pretty common in high level athletes and sports. Thus, he could have healthy bones and yet suffered such a terrible injury. Or it could have been an underlying bone issue with no hairline stress fractures present.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Stress fractures are usually from not allowing the muscles to rest, nutrition plays a part too, but I think generally, for the athletes it is over use. Seems with todays technology and 'wisdom' this would be avoided. I feel for the guy, that was a nasty compound fracture, his team mate appeared stunned when he saw the bone. Youth and health is probably on his side for healing.

rawmilkmike's picture

Thanks Deb for the info.
The $14.00 per gal. was simply the highest number I could find in a Quick search. I was hoping I'd get more info from you folks. Is it true regular milk is $8.00 a gal. in California? I think it's under $3 in most other states. My point was that excess regulation increases the price of milk substantially. Do you agree?
“info sharing meeting” now that's a real suggestion. I have already admitted I spend too much time on the web and not enough time outside.
You know, I had the same idea about that basketball player but I didn't have the nerve to watch the clip.

Sylvia Gibson's picture


Raw milk in the stores in Sacramento,CA is @ $14-$16 per gallon

http://shop.raleys.com/Shop/WeeklyAd.gsn organic valley pasteurized milk 1/2 gal is $3.49 Raleys is not a high end store.

My sister buys her organic milk at Costco 2 gallons $11.... She said regular milk is about $4/gal

IMO, raw milk is most semi normal states for city folks is between $6-12/gallon, depending on a host of factors. You really can't just go by price - there are cow breed issues, feed issues (gm versus non gmo), how far to the city to deliver, and so much else.

Out in rural areas, you can get raw milk for $2-4 gallon in many states.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Mike - in answer to your question: "...excess regulation increases the price of milk substantially. Do you agree?", I'm not so sure that that is the case. For instance, a number of years ago regular pasteurized milk sky rocketed & it had nothing to do with regulations. When I was a youngster & we had friends or family visit from the city, they were so amazed that we chicken as much as we did...you see we raised & slaughtered our own chickens where as, they had to buy them & chicken was very expensive so they didn't get to eat chicken very much (it actually was a great treat when they did so). Again it had nothing to do with regulations. Unfortunately, there is no one factor that goes into the price of a healthier product, it all depends on the area where it is produced, the areas & the cost that it has to be taken to in order to be sold, the cost of producing the product(s), the cost of labor (staff, etc), the cost of insurance and so on. As you can see, it gets very, very complicated.

I see you like the idea of holding an "info-sharing" get-to-gether...that is a great place to start. That is one type of action & a great way to get others involved. I would also recommend extensive reading, there are so many books out there, written by many incredible people covering aspects of healthier foods, gardening, raw milk (& raw milk products), the history of the phood systems, the history of how we've lost the farms, wonderful books by current farmers that have gotten back to true farming, and so on. I highly recommend that you read Nina Planck's book "Real Food - What to Eat & Why", plus Joel Salatin's book "Folks this ain't normal", you should be able to check these out at your local library, but you would probably want your own copies to make notes & comments in. Hint: amazon.com is the cheapest place to buy books. There are so many other books, but there just isn't room here to list them. Just search & you will find some amazing books out there on all of these subjects.

Yes, that poor youngster had a devasting accident that they still don't have an explanation for why it happened. In the medical circles, I heard that there is some speculation of possible bone cancer. I hope & pray that that is not the case, but I can definitely attest to a significant increase in devastating child illnesses, diseases & health defects. For the past month I have been working with the pediatric cardiac interventional labs at Children's Hospital Orange County & I am just devastated at all the ill & compromised children, from new born to teens!! I just breaks my heart!

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Mike - I think you'll find this website quite interesting: http://www.brucebradley.com/

Ken Conrad's picture

“Countries most active in the study of the properties and processing of UF milk retentates are France, U.S.A., Holland, England and Australia.” I am surprised that France would even consider this bastardization process.



It sounds like they are considering removing permeate at the farm using ultra filtration (UF) and feeding it back to cattle.

“Economic Benefits to the Farmer of performing UF on the farm are savings in both transportation and feed costs and the opportunity to market a value added product.”

My cynical regard for the milk processing industry tells me that the process of removing permeate is probably just a pain in the ass, and for them to consider such an option is just another way of downloading capital and handling cost onto the farmer. If there were a substantial net benefit the greedy industry would continue doing it.


“Colored and uncolored MF permeates were bleached with benzoyl peroxide (BP) or hydrogen peroxide (HP), ultrafiltered, diafiltered, and spray-dried.”

Is this really constructive or is it an excessive and foolish application of knowledge and technology? Consider the amount of energy that is required to break milk down into some of it basic components as compared to the amount of energy a cow requires in order to miraculously combine the basic components of life into a living wholesome food?


mark mcafee's picture

David, thank you for writing about the efforts of engagement. It is my deep belief and it has been my experience that: showing up, standing up and speaking up....will change America for the better.

David Gumpert's picture

Good point, Mark. Add to that the fact that there are more of us, who value the freedom to decide what foods to put in our bodies, than there are of them, who would make the decisions for us.  Woody Allen famously said in one of his movies to effect, "80 per cent of life is just showing up." 

Ora Moose's picture

Mark, I would add that "showing up, standing up and speaking up" besides having some impact on making things better, also has great effect on self-respect and personal satisfaction. I suspect that is one of the main reasons most of us post here - because we care. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.

Gayle Loiselle's picture

I agree with Mark, David and Ora here. Now if within that 80% we could combine showing up, speaking up, sefl-rescpect, and personal satisfaction with not relying on the 20% to ensure safety and ethics we'd be on to something.

Right on, Gayle. Legalize freedom.

Ora Moose's picture

So I'm guessing this "permeate" is not the same as whey, which is the part of the milk that did not coagulate when I make fresh cheese but is still very healthy and natural, we use it as fertilizer in out veggie garden and the plants thrive.

Ken Conrad's picture


“There are two types of permeate, one being a by-product of cheese” (whey permeate), “and the other a by-product of milk processing. Only milk permeate is legally allowed to be mixed back into milk to standardise fat and protein levels.”

rawmilkmike's picture

churchlanefarm, do you know if milk permeate is allowed to be mixed back into milk in the U.S.?

Ora Moose's picture

Thanks for that link Ken. So how hypocritical is it that my raw milk whey from making cheese using organic liquid rennet would be illegal to be added back to reduce the fat content or whatever, but the ultra filtrated “Colored and uncolored MF permeates were bleached with benzoyl peroxide (BP) or hydrogen peroxide (HP), ultrafiltered, diafiltered, and spray-dried” ...

is ok?? Bastards... will rot in hell.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

That sounds so disgusting. Aren't 'foods' that are adulterated supposed to be labeled?

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Thanks rawmilkmilk for asking about Permeate, I had never heard of it and with all the information others have posted, I find yet another reason NOT to buy store bought milk. I learn every day.

http://today.ninemsn.com/article.aspx?id=8228108 <~~~I realize this is from Australia, I am trying to find information about US milk.

There are companies that sell additives this being one of them: http://idahomilkproducts.com/product/idapro-milk-permeate-powder-0


rawmilkmike's picture

Ora, the only thing that bothers me is that they can do it without putting it on the label.

Ken Conrad's picture

I posted this TED talk by ecologist Allan Savory on the previous thread, it is well worth taking the time to listen to, and it just goes to show how askew the science of climate change can be. At least this man has the humility to admit he was wrong.



After watching this I'm wondering if the authorities in Canada who destroyed Montana Jones sheep will realize what they've started? They should all have to see this TED talk. We should never destroy animals for no good reason.

Another scientist who has discovered the power of looking backwards just a little bit, and that's a good thing. If he hadn't taken the time to peer over his shoulder, he never would have made his discovery.

A most interesting vid. Thanks for sharing it, Ken.

rawmilkmike's picture

Climate change is called cap and trade. Even if it were true it would only mean don't invest in ocean view property. And what good does it do to penalise people that have nothing to do with it.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Reminds me of teaching the farmers to plant one crop, plow the land and then watch it blow away during the Dust Bowel.

[Paper] The ecological role of biodiversity in agroecosystems (Citations: 297)
Miguel A. Altieri
Increasingly research suggests that the level of internal regulation of function in agroecosystems is largely dependent on the level of plant and animal biodiversity present. In agroecosystems, biodiversity performs a variety of ecological services beyond the production of food, including recycling of nutrients, regulation of microclimate and local hydrological processes, suppression of undesirable organisms and detoxification of noxious chemicals. In this paper the role of biodiversity in securing crop protection and soil fertility is explored in detail. It is argued that because biodiversity mediated renewal processes and ecological services are largely biological, their persistence depends upon the maintenance of biological integrity and diversity in agroecosystems. Various options of agroecosystem management and design that enhance functional biodiversity in crop fields are described.
Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment - AGR ECOSYST ENVIRON , vol. 74, no. 1, pp. 19-31, 1999


"suppression of undesirable organisms and detoxification of noxious chemicals."

Dave Milano's picture

Human beings are, functionally, agroecosystems.

Miguel-very interesting abstract (as well as other publications), can you post a link to the complete manuscript?

Very good point. I have noticed the wall of position statements, mostly by health authorities of varying sorts, pressuring the public to stay away from Raw milk. I have long felt that a shift would occur if or when these positions statements could be challenged in the public, and through communication with the members and sub committees of these organizations, that are grossly misinformed. My wife is finishing Nursing College, which has allowed me some perspective on the inner politics that take place in such organizations. Those who are working to persuade politicians to be open to examine the issues may be doing good work, but so long as the professional institutions are not being persuaded, such work may only lessen the legal pressure to raid raw milk farms.
With the NFU making a position, it may be wise to move to persuade the professional organizations to shift theirs, I would recommend the Nurses as they are closer to the care of patients then other health authorities and share much of the same struggles of recognition.
Here in Ontario...I had also noticed that the health Authority chose to substantiate their position by using the statements of a bio-ethics professor from the University of Toronto, also an easy rebuttal to make, but only from those with the credentials to do so. Yet, I am surprised that the approach has not been taken to expose this statement to the academic community and toward seeking a redactment or broader discussion in the field as to warrant and demenstrate differing points of view. any way, today we say Hurrah!

Raw milk, as a branch of Food rights within the broader context of rights and freedoms inherently has deep connections in some deep part of the human condition. How do we work toward building or maintaining a world we wish to live in and raise children amidst the many unseen forces at play? Our world as we know it seems to be changing quite fast. The financial hypocrasy revealed and burning through nations day by day is forcing the juggling leaders to make rash decisions. How do we seek to secure our rights to healthy food amidst all this? I would say that fighting governement after the fact, while admirable, is foolish. The game has already been played, and most people were too busy jerking off to notice or care. The best way, I can see to achieve the world I wish to live in, is to create it. That will mean alot of work and alot of growing pains. it bothers me, how many people group together to fight something and then can't actually organize amongst themselves with any cohesion or organizational capacity to do anything but fight. Fighting is actually the easy stuff, its building that is hard. I am not intending to insult anyone, or take away from anything that was done, or how one self identifies with food rights and such, but attempt to motivate toward a deeper development that is not constantly associated with division and struggle. That rhetoric has a history, perhaps we could try something new.

rawmilkmike's picture

Sounds fabulous but what are you talking about? I know I'd like to hear it.

I am talking about social movements and the manner in which change comes about. The best way to make space for change is to find common ground. When people are busy bringing attention to the faults and errors of things it makes it difficult to break away from that narrative, and often the narrative itself manifests in their own actions. When we spend time collecting support by being divisive, the support can only lend itself to conflict due to the very same division required to gain such support. So another tactic needs to be employed that nourishes a different narrative, and one in which the hearts and spirits of the "apparant" enemies can be made common.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I think, at least to me, the common ground is accessible foods of our own choice. Raw dairy being one of the choices.

@ Jack Brody: Even amongst people who are working towards the same goal, not everyone is going to be in total agreement about how to get there. People are diverse and so the ideas will be diverse. Mass agreement probably isn't going to happen even on this raw milk common ground. But that shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing, it should be viewed as an opportunity to expand ideas. Sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen - but if you don't ever take a chance, nothing happens. Maybe this time the chance should be to let the dairy farmers do whatever it is they've been doing. After all, too much intervention and "help" doesn't always solve everything either, and it can create divides. As I stated somewhere earlier, these dairy farmers have been *dairying* for quiet some time without benefit of any intervention and the stats speak for themselves, don't they? Pasteurzied products have a terrible track record, comparatively.

I think you could be right about trying to change the focus of the medical community toward raw milk. However, I wouldn't hold my breath about that being a big hit. You'd almost have to start with the registered dieticians and most of those people are pretty well entrenched with the notions put into their heads about nutrition by the current standards - such as the ridiculous My Plate idea. The real place to start might be in the curriculum area of education about nutrition. After 30+ years of believing fat is bad and salt is bad and all the rest of their somewhat screwy ideas, that would be an enormous mountain to climb. Even those within that industry who already know better don't change their mantra, which is sad and a real detriment to their patients/clients.

But even if we don't all agree on everything, we can still move forward even if it's only one person at a time.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Changes come in baby steps, and for the current "nutrition" mantra to change will take time. I think it will help with the general population becoming informed about their foods and questioning and researching. Changing ingrained beliefs is hard, even for those who know different. Many don't want to loose their jobs either.

I didn't know what 'Permeate' was (when I saw that word posted, I thought of a permeable membrane) not something to do with milk adulteration. I shared what was posted here and I have no doubt that it will be shared multiple times. People will start asking questions, and they probably won't like what they hear or find out.


I know the flu viruses were 'discovered' in the 1930s, I know they start giving experimental flu shots to the soldiers during WWII, I know the flu shot was "approved" sometime in the 50s. I cannot find where the numbers of population began receiving flu shots on a yearly bases. According the the CDC graft in the link, the flu was decreasing long before flu shots hit the public. Heart disease appears to be the same as @1900, strokes have been level, cancer has increased.

I believe a point that I was making is that working together works when people want to work together. The use of the rhetoric around fighting against something is itself problematic to achieve something that will not lead to more fighting. That said I agree entirely with what you have written about social working groups.
What I see in the medical fields, is actually a stacking of various committees and sub-groups. All too often they are referred to as their consolidated title. The point I would like to make is that I believe the pressure on the consolidated title actually comes from these sub-groups, and that is the way to approach a shift in their positions. Also, in reference to the diversified views of many fields, in would be valuable to seek the underlying philosophical premise under which decisions and commone views are made and work to shift that. My frustration is about the failure to address the componants that make up social perspective and the limited potential that creates to seeking change. It only addresses the outward manifestation, the apparent wrong and not the conditions from which it arises. Even more frustrating is when those conditions are purpetuated by those attempting to make the change.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I'll be presumptuous, most on this blog have the common goal of freedom to choose what we consume without govt interference, raw milk being one of the foods. There is disagreement on how, if at all, the govt should have their hands in the community pot. Also, there is a difference of opinion on how farmers are/should produce the milk.

The "components that make up social perspective" is pretty vast, especially in large groups. Even within a family, perspectives can be diverse. (If I am on the wrong tract, let me know). And there are those who may lean towards a certain belief, yet fear voicing or acting on it because of potential reprisals.

"would be valuable to seek the underlying philosophical premise under which decisions and commone views are made and work to shift that."

How would you go about seeking the "underlying philosophical premise...."?

My theory is that many if not most baby boomers and those younger, have had it instilled in their brains that all foods should be produced certain ways, e.g. all milk should be pasteurized.

Even explaining that during the early part of the last century, before pasteurization, cows in the city were living in unsanitary quarters and fed swill which made them ill, thus producing toxic milk and in turn making people sick or even killing them. Maybe, because people are so far removed from their foods, it doesn't have meaning to them?

Ora Moose's picture

Where do restaurants come from? ... and other questions, answered here> http://www.theawl.com/2013/04/the-agenda-of-the-restaurant-critic

Just wanted to share that with our little community here, thought you'd like it.

Oh, and D. that was also an awesome post.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Thanks Ora, I enjoyed the history in your link.

rawmilkmike's picture

The common ground seems to be the green sustainability movement which does seem to need help staying on track. I guess we shouldn't expect a free ride. Oh, there goes my negativity again. Is it possible that the raw milk movement may need to stand on it's own? Do you really think the raw food or the sustainability movement has room for us?
Something positive:

You may be one of the 200,000,000 US citizens who thinks they are lactose intolerant. If you look closely you will find no actual evidence to support the idea that your sensitivity to milk has anything to do with lactose and a lot of evidence showing pasteurization to be the problem.

You may think that milk is for baby cows. The truth is not even baby cows can live on pasteurized milk. Milk and honey are the only articles of diet whose sole function in nature is food.

You may think we don't need raw milk. Yes it's true, there are other healthy foods but what could be simpler than milk. Raw grass fed A2 milk is a complete food familiar to most Americans that requires little to no supplementation. No other food has so much potential for good.

You may even think that the organic non homogenized milk you bought last week at the supermarket was raw, nope it wasn't.

If you just don't like the taste of milk that's fine but remember a lot of health-foods take time to acquire a taste for and raw milk is still the only healthy food for infants.

Raw milk could easily end the health-care crises in this country and prove to be a gold mine in our own back yard.

Mike Grimm 3/31/2013

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture


This is about 20 minutes long. It is worth watching. Great information about the change in food over the years; how it has been altered. We don't eat the same food our ancestors did.

rawmilkmike's picture

Just 30 years ago corn on the cob was delicious and wheat wasn't toxic.

Ora Moose's picture

There are significant parallels between fresh corn and raw milk, and possibly wheat too. What we had inherited through the generations has recently been purposely modified and usually not for the better except for those cashing in on the changes.

We do not EVER buy "fresh" corn on the cob at any supermarket because it tastes awful, and just like selecting your milk farmer, the best way is to visit local farms and buy it direct from them and as fresh as possible. I understand that we are a minority, but we actually look for worms in some of the corn because that is an indication that it wasn't poisoned, if it's good enough for the worm it's good for me.

@ Ora: We're the same way - we look for bugs and stuff on our produce as a sign of goodness. If you can find a CSA, and if you can afford it, they usually sell good "real" fresh produce and they usually welcome visitors. Given the option for those who can do it, growing your own from quality seeds is still the best way. Corn hasn't been *real* for some time now. It's like eating toxic, colored, plastic.

rawmilkmike's picture

Speaking of corn, does anyone know what kind of corn on the cob we were eating 40 years ago? The best I could come up with was either Reids Yellow Dent or Golden Bantam.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

@ rawmilkmike: The Reids Dent is good. From the 1800's. This bantam corn is from 1902 and is a great choice: http://www.mypatriotsupply.com/Golden_Bantam_Yellow_Sweet_Corn_Heirloom_...

Ora Moose's picture

I would also recommend the Reids, or anything else you can get from the oldest seed company in America: http://www.landrethseeds.com/ Here in MA are very lucky to have a local farm nearby in (opposite of far out) that breeds their own varieties of corn and is always fresh, same day picked and ddelicious.

@ rawmilkmike: This article is from last year but I don't think much has changed. Thought you might be interested in reading about corn. I had a whole post written and it just suddenly disappeared, so here's the link. I found it while sliding around over at the Cornucopia site yesterday.


Sylvia Gibson's picture

That was interesting Mary, thanks.

Thanks, Mary. That was good stuff! I'm so sick of the terms paleo and primal.

Reminds me of this article (and he has a few others which are quite similar): http://www.tendergrassfedmeat.com/2010/10/05/call-it-medical-not-mediter...

And another: http://www.tendergrassfedmeat.com/2011/03/01/eat-fat-live-long%e2%80%94t...

And one more: http://www.tendergrassfedmeat.com/2011/03/21/real-food-wise-and-robust-o...

Ora Moose's picture

OMG you are not going to believe this I just saw that the FDA will now be pushing to make all manual milking illegal, only milk machines will be allowed to be sold anywhere! This of course due to all the pathogens and bacteria we humans harbor all over our bodies including our hands, even after you wash them.

Have a happy April foolish day.

mark mcafee's picture


Enjoy this video education piece from RAWMI. It puts it all into perspective. What we need is a un disputed track record for high quality raw milk....this will completely diffuse the FDA and their food safety argument against all raw milk. Thanks to Duane Abler for his awesome video production talents. Number three LISTED farmer just went live!! Www.rawmilkinstitute.org

mark mcafee's picture

OPDC is so expensive because of the CDFA milk pool. We paid whopping $661,000 into the milk pool in 2012. That blood money went to subsidize some mega processed cheese maker....it makes me sick!! We are trying to get out of the milk pool any way we can.

We deliver our half gallon to the stores at $6.65 they take it up from there. What kills me is that the store mark up profit on our half gallon is equal to the cost of an entire gallon of CAFO dead stuff...

I got a call from Montana this afternoon. The raw milk bill is in trouble. It passed the assembly but is getting eaten alive in the senate. They want help. I suggested reinstituting standards, but using an outside third party to collect data and do audits. Ie. RMAC or RAWMI. This keeps it cheap for Montana and gives the farmers a full exemption but still would have standards. The bill author is going to try this approach. Cow shares are alive in Montana and not effected by the bill. We will see what happens.

Before it's all said and done, Montana will lose their cow share rights, too. Just wait and see. This raw milk bill was never meant to go anywhere - they never are. You know that, and I know that and I'm pretty sure the dairy farmers know that. All it really did was bring a few more of them out from under the radar and onto the front porch. See, now they're starting to glow in the dark, as I said earlier. It's a ruse, pure and simple.

Ora Moose's picture

Darn, I'm going to have to start getting better tasting hats. Apologies to Mary again, but the point still stands as does the tower of Pizza.

@ Ora: What hat are you eating? What point are you talking about??

Ora Moose's picture

D. Smith, eating my hat basically means that I was acknowledging being wrong about Miguel's actual identity and doing the very same thing I called Mary out. Glad our Miguel set us straight.... so remember to always think twice, or thrice before getting abrasive. Impulses are like pathogens and bacteria, they can save your life or kill you, depending.

I guess I never saw a post where you said anything to Mary about eating your hat, that's why I was confused.

Yes, when I found the name at the top of the paper I just figured it was the same Miguel. I wonder if that was just a coincidence (both of their names being Miguel) or if the Miguel who posts here is using that as a screen name . . . not that it matters, I guess.

At any rate, it was an honest mistake on your part and mine. Although you're right about abrasive personal remarks.

Dave Milano's picture

Among the many cracks in the so-called united front of clinical microbiology is the notion that the mere presence of a certain bacterium will cause illness.

miguel recently cited a research article that discovered an inverse correlation between gastric H. pylori and the prevalence of asthma. (No response came from the other side.) Some call helicobacter pylori the world's most successful pathogen. How so then? Sounds like there may be something fundamentally wrong with the medical paradigm.

Host immune gene polymorphisms, host colonization without illness, the protective qualities of bacterial diversity (including the presence of so-called pathogens) have been documented and discussed by microbiologists for a long time. Might the problem be that we have not properly inter-linked that knowledge with our knowledge of medical, farming, and other systems? Could it be that there really is no such thing as an isolated system?

Mary recently said, “it is a state's right to choose if raw milk should be legal.” It is not merely semantics to point out that States have no rights. People do, and people in turn afford their governments with powers. Sometimes, as governments grow in size and complexity, the simple notion of basic human rights gets lost in tangles of misunderstanding, and as a result, States are given more power than they ought to have, or are tacitly or directly given freedom to exercise powers they were never expressly allowed. One of those complex tangles has ensnared and fouled our understanding of commerce and personal economics. People have come to believe that the laws of commerce can overrule human rights. That is false, but the idea will have power so long as people allow it.

Fail to defend our basic human rights, and the current thought paradigm---whatever it is at the time, right or wrong, correct or incorrect---washes over society like a tsunami, homogenizing everything and everyone into its patterns and processes. There goes our social, economic, and to a degree even thought diversity, and with it our strength, resiliency, and well-being. Just like what happens to us physiologically when we lose our biological diversity.

Ora Moose's picture

Dave: Awesome post. And thought I don't want to incite any capitalist vs communist vs religious belief arguments, I do have to agree that we are currently being snowballed as a society by our modern social tools such as commercial marketing, TV and even the internet. I might go back to living in a cave, it's so much more secure.

If you can read the first paragraph of this article and not keep reading, you should win a medal of some kind. This is downright frightening.


Sylvia Gibson's picture

D Smith, that is scarey.

I find it amazing that someone who puts themselves up front, allowing others to believe they are some sort of leader, would stoop so low as to call others names as if they were grade schoolers on the playground. Definitely not leader material.

mark mcafee's picture


The Cornicopia piece on GMO wheat scares the next generation out of me!

Sounds like mankind is going to kill itself off....pretty damn soon. The only thing that gives me any hope is that bacteria generally want to evolve and survive. After enough dumb ass humans kill themselves....the rest will adapt and adjust and hopefully thrive having learned from the obvious stupidly of the CSIRO and Monsanto Lemmings. Just because we can control and invent life....does not mean that we should. There are some things you just do not mess with....ever!!!

Mary....I hope you do not take the comments of some of the commenters here very seriously. Some are functionally retarded and shoot down Chem Trails with brass tubes filled with marijuana smoke. Stick with sanity. Save your wind.

@ Mark: "Just because we can control and invent life....does not mean that we should."

Yep. I agree. The fact that this arrogance is spilling over from one industry to another is what's really scary. I don't think CONgress has any idea what they've unleashed. Can you even imagine some of the other projects monsanto et al are working on right now? Makes me shudder.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

FYI If it has/is affecting the newborns, it will also be affecting the general population in 10 to 20 yrs.


@ Sylvia: I think this is what we're seeing right now. A whole subset of 15 - 20 year olds who have been medicated by the psych industry (for being normal, active kids) having physical ailments and even bigger mental ailments. So the industry invents a pill to help the pill they're on now (abilify comes to mind). Have you ever looked at someone and thought to yourself, the wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead? That's modern psychiatry in a nutshell. But who will stop them? Released of liability now, no one is going to be able to put on the brakes.

hannah.pfu's picture

David. Thanks for your blog post on the evolution of the National Farmers Union's dairy policy. You write, "Collaborating with these forces of government and business have been the farmer communities, via their trade groups, the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union." I would like to offer my perspective on what seems as if it could be an assumption on your part about how policy is developed at Farmers Union. National Farmers Union, and in particular NFU staff, does NOT create policy. Farmer-members in each state develop policy which gets taken to the national convention and voted on by other farmer-member state delegates. So, as opposed to the thinking that NFU as a top-down organization suddenly changed positions, I'd encourage you to consider that farmers (like Mark McAfee - CA's state delegate to the NFU convention) really for the first time felt moved to propose policy, garner support from other states (such as the support farmers such as I -PA's state delegate- offered Mark), and vote it in. In fact, there was a near unanimous passing of these policy recommendations with virtually nothing other than "that makes sense" as a response from the other states. Farmers Union is nearly unique in its grassroots, bottom-up development of policy. I encourage you to come to the NFU convention sometime and see how it works. Anyway, thanks for a great post and for keeping us all on our toes! Have a great day, Hannah

David Gumpert's picture

Thank you for clarifying how policy evolves at the  National Farmers Union. It's encouraging to learn about the possibilities for grassroots actions.