Hershberger Victory for Private Food Rights Sends Message That People Can, and Will, Fight Overbearing Regulators

The week-long run of "Freedom in Food" at the Al. Ringling Theatre across from the county courthouse in Baraboo just ended with Hershberger's acquittal on the key licensing charges. Make no mistake, Vernon Hershberger won a huge victory in today’s early morning hours in Baraboo, WI.  “It’s a beautiful day,” Hershberger told me this morning, after a few hours of sleep following the 1 a.m. jury decision that acquitted him of three of four criminal misdemeanor charges. Yes, it was a beautiful day, for farming and for food rights. 


The State threw everything it had at this humble father of ten children, and when it was over, its guys in the dark suits scampered out of the courtroom in the darkness of the night after a jury of twelve ordinary Americans handed them their heads on a platter. After less than four hours of consideration, those Americans told the hot-shot lawyers that their thousands of pages of legal documents and computer forensic experts and five days of arguing had failed miserably to convince a single one of them that Hershberger should be required to have any of three retail and dairy licenses insisted upon by the State. 


Hershberger has already heard through the grapevine that the jurors didn’t give a moment’s thought to going with the state’s charges. “They tried their best to set me free,” he said. 


The jurors convicted Hershberger only of something he publicly admitted to before and during the trial--that he had cut the regulators’ tape placed on his coolers and food shelves  June 2 2010 so as to keep his food from rotting and to feed his 200 food club members--in other words, violated a holding order. 


I’ll return to the holding order matter. The State’s prosecutors rushed out of the courtroom because they knew they had lost on the stuff that mattered the most--their effort to equate Hershberger’s Grazin’ Acres member-only food club with a Sam’s Club or Costco box store membership operation. In making their crazy argument, they were trying to press a much larger point: that there is no such thing as privately-available food, that we are all under the thumb of “The Man” and his clipboards and forms...and orders. 


Moreover, the State lost on this same issue for the second time within a year. The State lost on pretty much the same charges against Alvin Schlangen in Minnesota last September when another jury similarly took just a few hours to tell the regulators to go find other ways to get their jollies than to harass owners of small farms and their private customers. 


Not only did the State lose for a second time in trying to convict farmers as criminals for selling food privately, but the State lost this time after its actors thought they had solved the “problems” of the Schlangen case. In the Schlangen case, the defense was allowed to discuss raw milk, the health benefits of good food, and food safety. The judge seemed fair. The prosecution was tough, but not hard as nails. 


For Hershberger, the State insisted on having the entire case tilted in its favor, and it got nearly everything it wanted from a compliant and biased judge. No discussion of the health benefits of food. No discussion of raw milk. No discussion of food safety. No discussion of criminal intent. No discussion of the merits of the holding order.  The State thought it could sanitize the courtroom and the messages relayed to the jury as well as it oversees the sanitizing of our nation's food supply.

The only break the defense got was when the judge finally pushed back against the State’s demand that Hershberger not be allowed to have his food club members testify on his behalf--and the judge only relented when the defense challenged the judge publicly that he might as well end the trial before it began, with a conviction. Moreover, the prosecution this time wouldn’t just be tough, like the Minnesota prosecutor, but it would, indeed, be tough as nails. 


As for that guilty verdict on the holding order, I have a feeling it looks more ominous than it is. Yes, Hershberger can be sentenced to a year in jail and fined $10,000, as well as having to reimburse the state for the value of the food that was freed up (backwards as that sounds).

As Amy Salberg, a member of the Hershberger legal team, explained after the verdict: "The order has no ongoing effect and his acknowledged breaking of the seals was a one-time thing. As it turns out, that holding order never should have been issued, based on the verdict of acquittal on the licensing violations. But, pre-trial motions by the State kept out any argument that the order was not valid. All the jury was told was that there was an order and it was violated."

I have to believe that after the humiliating defeat the State has just endured, it won’t be foolish enough to try another vindictive act against this man (though I have to admit I didn’t think the State would try a number of foolish actions). No, I suspect Mark McAfee is correct that there will just be a minimal penalty, and a whispered admonishment to Hershberger, “Just get the hell out of here, and out of our lives.” 


Essentially, Hershberger’s rag-tag legal team, put together by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, won despite having one hand tied behind its collective back, and being pummeled by a seasoned and hardened opponent. Pretty amazing. 


It won for a number of reasons. It won partly because its lead defense attorney, Glenn Reynolds (together with Elizabeth Rich, Amy Salberg, and Ajna Sharma-Wilson), took advantage of every possible opening, creatively bringing up forbidden subjects like food healthfulness and regulator bias.  


It won because the local community united behind Hershberger, and people from around the country, led by the Farm Food Freedom Coalition and Liz Reitzig, took off from work and gathered in tiny Baraboo to lend support.  Food and farming leaders like Joel Salatin, Mark Kastel, Mark McAfee, Max Kane, Aajonus Vonderplanitz, and Michael Badnarik showed up. Other farmers under attack like Mark Baker of Michigan and Alvin Schlangen of Minnesota showed up. The kind of media attention the trial received didn’t just happen by accident. 


But the Hershberger team won also because Americans are, by and large, fair-minded people. Fourteen of them (twelve jurors and two alternates) from the local area, who knew little about the particulars of the case, decided that the State’s case didn’t make sense. 


It’s only because our Bill of Rights, the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, provides, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed...”


As Dave Milano suggested following my previous post, this struggle is far from over. The State (not just Wisconsin, but around the country) will likely try to alter its strategy, and avoid jury trials at all costs.  And Hershberger as well worries: "How soon before they come and put a holding order on the food in your refrigerator?" Still and all, as ever more people learn the State's true intentions, its plans for ever-more control over our food are slowly and surely eroding. 

garycox's picture

let's not forget elizabeth rich, attorney par excellence and board member of the farm-to-consumer legal defense fund. and i would not categorize vernon's defense team as a "rag-tag" defense team. elizabeth and her co-counsel are both seasoned attorneys. kudos to them, and to the jury. i just hope the state doesn't get its britches all uptight and seeks revenge. they have a tendency to do that ya' know.

David Gumpert's picture

Yes, Elizabeth Rich was huge. Maybe "rag-tag" wasn't the best word. I meant it in a positive way, that they didn't have the long experience of working together the way the prosecution did... kind of like the Minutemen were a rag-tag army up against the Red Coats back in 1775. 

interview with Elizabeth Rich about the Hershberger trial / "infoWars"

should have put = " the interview with Elizabeth Rich begins at 21 minutes in to the show", InfoWars

In Canada, what goes on in the jury room, is sacrosanct = it's a serious offence even to attempt to approach a juror before / during or after a trial ... how about in Wisconsin? what's the law there as to someone asking a juror how their deliberations went?

Andrew Mastrocola's picture

There is one person that is missing in all the Kudo's going around and that is Gayle Loiselle. Without all of her time and effort into organizing all the extra-caricular activities this would have just been a simple, average day at the courthouse. Gayle did a ton on the ground and brought some of us Grazin' Acres club members together in an organized fashion to make it all happen. Thanks Gayle for being that team leader. T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves More and you showed us how to be the best team we could be.

David Gumpert's picture

Andy, I knew when I started mentioning specific people, I would be inadvertently omitting some who should be mentioned. Thank you for alerting everyone to Gayle's essential local leadership. She was tireless in bringing the Wisconsin community together. And by the way, when I mentioned that the media attention the trial received didn't happen by accident, I was thinking of you. Thanks. 

Gayle Loiselle's picture

Thanks Andy:) Its been a pleasure working with you!

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I can't even imagine comparing fresh farm food with Sams club, BJs or Costco or any of the regular grocery stores. There is no comparison.

"All the jury was told was that there was an order and it was violated."

And this muzzling prevented the jury from seeing the whole picture and making a just decision.

There is strength in numbers. Bravo to all those who were physically there to aid in any way they could and to those who did what they could from afar. We will persevere.

Ora Moose's picture

Will it be the same judge doing the sentencing? If so I fear he may feel that he too was shown up along with the prosecutors and may opt for revenge and go for the maximum, in which case he will be even more reviled but would still send out a message that even if you fight back and win, you will still suffer consequences. Hope I am wrong.

rawmilkmike's picture

Judge Reynolds may be swayed by press coverage. He did admonish prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Eric Defort for his interpretation, in the press, of the judge's ruling on Vernon's religious beliefs. I don't remember the exact words but the judge did seem embarrassed, possibly even by his own choice of words. He said something like, he does care about a man's religious beliefs, or something along those lines.(Does anyone remember the exact words?)
Sounds like another judicial apology for the persecution of an obviously innocent man. (My hands are tied, I'm treating you like anyone else, You don't have the inherent right, I am free from the blood of this righteous man, and now, I do care...)
How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect!
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 27:11-25

David, thank you so much for the role you played this week. Your reviews and commentary are very much appreciated.
If part of the sentencing includes reimbursing for the food that was taken on the holding order, I have a suggestion that might help send a message. If we could get all of the members who are willing and able to donate some money towards that, we could have those that took some food that day stand in line to pay "their share" of the food that the government stole and is now expecting to be paid for the real owners taking it back. I wasn't a member then, but would be happy to chip in. Everyone could show up at the place of payment (court house?) at a designated time and stand in line to pay. Cash only. When your turn come up to pay, say "I'm here to pay for the food that the government stole from me and I took back." When they ask for identifcation refuse to give it to them. Appropriate responses might be "It's really none of your business." "Do you want your money or not?" Make sure to have exact change, including coins.
Be sure to say something like "I don't know how you people sleep at night." or "May God have mercy on your soul." When they say that it's just their job, tell them that's what the Nazi soldiers said.
Any thoughts?

debjacobs8's picture

I like the idea of everyone paying there share. I even like the idea of it coming into the clerk in portioned amounts from the members who took back the food. I do however object (ha, too much time in the courtroom) to any kind of negativity toward the clerk. The people at the courthouse were nothing be kind to us there. And at the end, while waiting for the verdict, the armed officers who had kept us in line and searched our purses and bags were socializing with us and the children in the courtroom and just outside the room. They did not take away our raw milk or our stinky cheese (Jenny). And as we left they thanked us as we thanked them for staying late and putting up with us. What we taught the people in the Sauk Co courthouse and the downtown Baraboo area was that we are kind, civil, gracious and good people. Let's not change that opinion.

yes, after reading your reply, I agree. The clerks didn't do this, so they should not be harrassed in any way. But if we can make it clear that they took it from all of us and that we are all willing to stand up, then the point will be made. Perhaps afterward we could have a well written letter in the paper describing what transpired. maybe even a news cast. We could make our points there.

debjacobs8's picture

If we all arrived at the same time and stood in line, let the media know, it could get news coverage.

rawmilkmike's picture

Right now I'm just hoping Vernon doesn't do any time. And I thought the maximum was six months. A year would be a felony wouldn't it?

Ora Moose's picture

David, I think you meant the defense got a break in this judge decision? No biggie, we still get the overall idea. And yes I was born to edit ;-)

"The only break the prosecution got was when the judge finally pushed back against the State’s demand that Hershberger not be allowed to have his food club members testify on his behalf"

David Gumpert's picture

Oops...sleep deprivation catching up. Thanks. I've changed it. 


debjacobs8's picture

Thinking back; shortly after I found raw milk and joined Grazin Acres I attended the second annual Raw Milk Symposium in Madison WI where I first met David, Mark McAfee, Michael Schmidt, Pete Kennedy and more. I clearly remember Mark and Michael both saying; "someone needs to be willing to go to jail over raw milk" for there to be any change in how the government powers are going after these farmers. Vernon was at that symposium with 3 of his boys. I don't know if Vernon remembers that, or if Vernon knew at the time that he was that man. But I am so proud of him for his courage. I am proud to be associated with him and I am proud of all of the people who have stood by him through all of this. Thank you.

Gayle Loiselle's picture

David is right it was an inspiring week, score one for the good guys! Vernon's strength of character and his legal team totally rock!!! National activists freely gave their time and experience to support and help organize, they showed up, and brought the national media spot light to the significance of this trial with them.

But it was the boots on the ground, the hundreds of hours volunteered by dozens of Vernon's members and local activists (who don't all necessarily want to see their names in print) and the people who donated money, who made the biggest difference. Sauk county residents (the jury pool) were educated by a door to door campaign organized and carried out by Vernon's members; they wrote many, many letters to local papers, spoke at local events, worked with local businesses and law enforcement to share knowledge. For over two years hundreds of local people drove through snow storms, stood in the rain, sat in the court house halls for hours just to hear of another delay, or yet another restriction placed on the defense. It was the result of these efforts that the town of Baraboo opened its doors to us, local real farm fresh food was prepared to sustain us, people who never touched a drop of raw milk came out to support us, and the local police didn't ticket us when we were so drawn to stay in court we din't move our cars. It was the people of this small midwestern town who heard what their community members were saying that ultimately decided this case. During jury selection the judge asked the 90 potential jurors if any of them had heard of the case...EVERY hand went up! THAT was the result of long hours and sometimes reluctant cooperation and complicated coordination between Vernon's values, his members, traditional activism, national experience, grass roots efforts.

We have a blue print for success now. This win can be repeated; if the people who want and benefit from real food, and the national names who draw media attention will work together with our battleworn activists... we can win again and again!!!

Thank you to everyone, this has been the best group effort I have ever been a part of.

Ora Moose's picture

Gayle, thanks to you and all the other grassroots people involved. This was a watershed moment for food freedom, and you all deserve the praise being showered. We owe you.

Hurray! Hurray! and congrats to all the parties involved in bringing about this monumental verdict! I think this is real turning point in the movement and it has been a very long time coming! The State is getting the message that their underhanded tactics cannot stand the light of day and we need to all do our part to not allow them to operate behind closed doors. Steve and I here in NY (Meadowsweet Farm) decided after we lost our case 3 years ago now that the best tactic for all of us is to try to force the State to go for criminal charges. This means total noncooperation with their threats and bargains and compromises. Noncooperation all the way out to the end of the rope! It means NOT getting milk permits, NOT allowing inspections, NOT trying in any way to work with the enemy. They need to be pushed to the point of having no other recourse but criminal charges. And this case bears up the fact that they do NOT want that to happen. We have not heard Boo from the State since we lost our case 3 years ago and continue to operate openly and completely illegally in NYS. We have suspected, and now pretty much know, that this is because they know that if they come to challenge us we will not cooperate and there they will sit.
The other thing we decided to do, and that again this case affirms, is to NOT have any written herd share aggrement that they can set their dogs on to tear apart. We operate on a handshake sale and that is that. No paper, no fodder for their machine.

These are some random ideas this case brought up and I am hopeful that we can all gain some confidence from this in our resistance to the State. Keep on keeping on!

Steve and Barb Smith, Meadowsweet Farm

David Gumpert's picture

Hi Steve and Barb, 
Good to hear from you, and learn about your ongoing determination to provide good food to people who want it. Many readers who are new to following the food rights movement likely don't know about your long struggle against legal harassment and bullying in New York state. (Just search under "Steve Smith", "Barb Smith", and "Meadowsweet".)

I agree with you about the necessity of challenging the State via criminal charges, so as to force a jury trial. As for written agreements, I must say, after listening to five days of testimony in the Hershberger case, I'm not sure the existence of signed agreements matter one way or the other. The prosecution spent significant amounts of time trying to prove to the jury that the food club membership agreements had legal holes and didn't provide financial benefits to members. I can't say for sure but, given the verdicts, it seems as if the jury wasn't nearly as wrapped up in the legal niceties of the membership and other agreements (nor in the particulars of licenses and permits) as it was in the bigger picture of the State bullying people who were obviously part of a private community--for no real purpose than to assert control and send a message that there is no escaping the regulators' control. 

rawmilkmike's picture

The hold order may be a moot point since the food has all ready been consumed without incident but I still don't understand why Vernon wasn't allowed to defend himself of why DATCP wasn't required to explain the purpose of the raid and the hold order. Like you said wasn't that the hole reason for the jury trial? I read the statute which said Vernon could request a hearing within x amount of days but I didn't see where it was required or that not requesting it was a stipulation or an admission of guilt. Didn't the judge say the statute was unclear? Wasn't that the hole reason he want both sides to file briefs or was that forgotten with all the talk of religious beliefs?

debjacobs8's picture

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that they didn't allow Vernon to use his religious belief in his defense actually helped the cause. If Vernon had been found not guilty due to his religious beliefs, every Amish farmer would now be able to have a members only food club. Since his beliefs were not an issue every FARMER can now have a buying club on the farm. This is huge!

David Gumpert's picture

Interesting point. I think the Hershberger outcome would be applicable just in Wisconsin, since it's a Wisconsin court. Part of the challenge ongoing relates to how DATCP decides to deal with this. The acquittal of Hershberger isn't necessarily the same as a judge's written decision in its applicability. The acquittal, rather, signals to Wisconsin authorities that they'll have a tough time convicting farmers selling privately for criminal violations of the existing retailing and dairy permit laws. 

rawmilkmike's picture

A funny thing about the prosecution's explanation of the chain of evidence with Vernon's computer. Now I know this is another moot point since they didn't find anything other than the member's agreement that the prosecution said was irrelevant and the cutting of the tape that Vernon had already admitted to but wasn't there a gap when the computer was with DATCP before it went to the computer forensic lab?

rawmilkmike's picture

Three elephants in the courtroom:
1. The prosecution was being called the people when in fact it was the defence that was actually representing the people. The people being the farmers and citizens of the state of Wisconsin. DATCP has said many times that their only concern is their own system of regulation and the dairy processing and export industry, not the Wisconsin farmer or consumer. The people obviously want raw milk, just look how easily the raw milk bill passed.
2. This was a trial where the entire case was ruled irrelevant. The prosecution spent three and a half days saying this wasn't a members only club after the judge had already ruled the membership contract was irrelevant.
3. The case was supposed to by about the hold order that was never even mentioned.

rawmilkmike's picture

4. Why wasn't Vernon charged with selling raw milk if in fact it really is was illegal?

David Gumpert's picture

The prosecution tried to narrow the case to the issues it thought it had the best chance of getting easy convictions on. DATCP and its lawyers didn't realize, and may never realize, that the people see nothing wrong with farmers selling food privately, outside regulatory restrictions. So it doesn't matter if they charge farmers with illegally selling raw milk or with violating retailing laws, juries won't be sympathetic. 

David Gumpert's picture

The Wall Street Journal has a report on Vernon Hershberger's legal victory, more in the context of raw milk.  Quoted are Hershberger, Liz Reitzig of Farm Food Freedom Coalition, and Elizabeth Rich of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732412550457850945300761585...

The reader comments following that WSJ article are very telling of the ignorance of our general population, regarding raw, fresh milk. People who don't understand why others want to consume fresh milk are either too lazy to find out the benefits, or wouldn't believe them anyhow. Some people just LOVE being nurtured by the nanny FDA, USDA.

And Wisconsin has the nerve to call itself the Dairy State.

rawmilkmike's picture

If the state were a nanny I think they'd be fired.

Shelly-D.'s picture

You can log-in to the WSJ via a Facebook account and "reply" to these comments.

@ BC: I can't log onto facebook and make comments because I don't DO facebook, nor do I ever intend to do that. I really wish more people would see the light and release themselves from social sites like facebook. I've personally seen those sites ruin people's lives.

But, that's just my opinion.

David, this is the second WSJ article. The first ran on Friday, May 24, before the completion of testimony. I don't have a working link, but the first story is titled "Wisconsin Raw-Milk Trial Draws Food Activists". The Chicago-based reporter was in town Monday through Wednesday, which I took to be an impressive commitment of resources to this event by the WSJ. The reporter told me her article would run on Friday so I searched WSJ site for it then. She quoted me and others.

rawmilkmike's picture

This isn't the worst article on raw milk. It's the only article I've seen that tells the hole story: “Many mainstream dairies and public-health officials have long warned of raw milk's ... potential to steal away market share, as threats to the industry. "We strongly urge lawmakers to keep it illegal to sell raw milk in Wisconsin to protect the state's $27 billion dairy industry..." said Shawn Pfaff, spokesman for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, an industry lobbying group opposed to raw-milk sales.” Of course when these people say dairy industry people should know they're obviously not talking about farmers.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

“Many mainstream dairies and public-health officials have long warned of raw milk's ... potential to steal away market share, as threats to the industry. "We strongly urge lawmakers to keep it illegal to sell raw milk in Wisconsin to protect the state's $27 billion dairy industry..." said Shawn Pfaff, spokesman for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, an industry lobbying group opposed to raw-milk sales.”

That certainly says a lot, doesn't it.

As a trained microbiologist (clinical and food micro) AND a staunch, conservative libertarian, I have personally weighed the risks/benefits and I would not opt to consume raw milk. I don't deny that there could very well be any number of benefits, but shiga toxigenic E. coli is nothing I want to play Russian roulette with. I am particularly concerned about those who serve raw milk, cheese or other dairy products (in addition to raw veggies, without a thorough wash step) to small children who do not have fully developed immune systems and are particularly susceptible to E. coli infection and related sequelae (sepsis, HUS, kidney disease, etc.). I believe adults should be able to chose to consume such products, but I strongly believe kids (unable to weigh the risk/benefits for themselves) should not be consuming these products. There are billions of people living long, healthy lives on this planet that have never had a drop of raw milk, so I see no evidence that the claimed benefits (immune, nutritional, etc.) are really so great that no one should go without it. I am quite positive that many of these benefits can be gained through a variety of other raw foods without the need for putting oneself at greater risk of illness.

I have also read many posts on this and other raw milk advocacy websites and take offense at this continuous attack on government, academic and industry scientists -- many of whom are very well-educated and knowledgeable of the risks/benefits to health and have no ill intent in stating that raw milk can be, and has been on many occasions, a risky food. To say that "Well, many other foods are risky, too!" is no argument against the need for people to be cautious and use good judgment, especially when opting to serve this to those who can't make an informed decision themselves. When your child comes down with HUS and is on dialysis for years afterwards (if they are lucky enough to survive), I don't know how any parent could stand up and say they made the right decision in giving their child raw milk, when they knew the risk. It would be like driving your child around in a car without a seat belt or a car seat simply based on a relatively low risk that on any particular day you might be hit by another car. As a parent, I wouldn't take that chance. . . and I wouldn't do it with raw milk, or many other raw products.

Another false argument is "why not go after chicken or beef?" Well, the USDA has been doing so for years. In fact, products are inspected, tested and recalled all the time, which shows that the regulators are paying very close attention to that industry. The obvious difference (to those who care to see it) is that chicken and beef are not normally eaten without cooking!! Fresh produce is also normally washed and then may be peeled and/or cooked before eaten, which reduces the numbers of pathogenic bacteria that may be present. You cannot wash raw milk, nor do you normally cook/boil it, so nothing is done by the consumer to reduce the potential for infection and illness. Refrigeration only slows the growth of pathogens; it doesn't prevent the pathogens from being there or causing illness.

In summary -- I hope all the raw milk advocates and consumers out there will be careful and not ignore these clear and present dangers that raw milk (and raw anything, for that matter) pose, especially to the young, elderly and anyone with weakened or suppressed immune systems (cancer, transplant, HIV patients, etc.). The risk truly does outweigh the benefits. If you are healthy and understand the risk, drink up! But, don't go complaining when you or your family members end up in the hospital, despite your boosted immune system (thanks to all that super raw milk you've been drinking). . .

@ DCDawg: You've done great research from one side. Now look at the other side with an open mind, as well. Folks like you never really do the real research though because you've already decided what you believe. So be it.

My husband is a microbiologist and has been for 40 years, as well as a retired EMT and a trained mortician. I have an immune problem which developed during the years I wasn't able to secure raw milk.

We've been back to drinking it now for the past 8 years and my health is tremendous and I feel great; my husband, who is approaching 60 as am I, is beyond healthy. No one ever guesses our age, they all think we're still in our late 40's.

And, BTW, raw milk does NOT boost your immune system, it balances your immune system gently.

So, you make your choices and we'll make ours. Yours are based on fear, it would seem, whereas ours are based on lifetime experiences.

"staunch, conservative libertarian...I believe adults should be able to chose to consume such products, but I strongly believe kids (unable to weigh the risk/benefits for themselves) should not be consuming these products."

Mmmm, a contradiction of beliefs. The idea that technocrats and government agents and not parents should make dietary decisions and risk analyses for children is a nanny-state, fascist, totalitarian one. As is most of the rest of your arguments.

Fortunately for the health of millions of children, parents across the country have taken a clear eyes look at the risk of consuming pasteurized dairy and other conventional products vs. healthy raw milk and chosen the latter. And who can blaime them when switching from allergy inducing store milk to tasty, healing raw milk makes them feel so good.

Oh, and if you really care and are not just most recent in a long line of paid and unpaid shills parroting conventional 'wisdom' and talking points, you should look up the connection between GMO, round-up contaminated foods and manganese deficiency and the toxicity of Shinga.

But at the end of the day despite all the scare tactics from folks like yourself I'm still more likely to die driving to the grocery store than get sick drinking raw milk.

Shelly-D.'s picture

DCDawg, as you know, there are two types of raw milk, and it is necessary to distinguish between them. There is raw milk produced by industrial methods intended for pasteurization ("industrial milk"), and there is raw milk produced for direct consumption ("fresh milk"). [There are also educated raw milk consumers who know how to handle the product (see Peggy Beals' book "Safe Handling"), and those who have not bothered to do the reading -- this is another topic.]

Frankly, most of the potential risk is either from illegally-distributed bathtub cheese, or is from "industrial farmers" who are using industrial methods, who are not trained in raw milk best practices but have simply decided to sell raw milk out of their industrial bulk tanks, who do not follow raw milk best practice standards. This is an issue that I do not see any government anywhere address; because, frankly, those who are compiling the data on "outbreaks" do not bother to ask about these factors. They are intent on "banning" all raw milk, not looking at the fact that it is not "raw milk" that has caused the outbreaks, but inappropriate (often industrial) practices.

Even given the issue of industrial vs. fresh milk, when you also look at the actual number of illnesses caused by raw milk in general, they are very low compared to the large number of people who consume raw milk. As for saying that a comparison with vegetables is inappropriate, illnesses can still be caused by prepared vegetables (cucumbers, anyone?). No-one has died from drinking fluid raw milk in ... how long? 1980s? early 1990s? HUS is a terrible illness, no-one will deny it, but the risk is extremely low, and no food is completely 100% risk free even though we wish it was.

All raw milk farmers should be trained in standard raw milk best practices, period. Inspectors should be trained to recognize them or the lack of them. And consumers should be asking farmers if they have this training, as well as seeing the hygiene practices of farms for themselves. But again, the CDC campaign against raw milk does nothing to educate consumers or farmers about *safe* raw milk practices - in that way, the CDC increases public health risk. The CDC should work with, not against, RAWMI, F2CLDF, CSC, and other bodies that are advancing raw milk best practices.

rawmilkmike's picture

Pasteurising industrial milk does not improve it in any way. Industrial milk is only more toxic and more dangerous after pasteurisation.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

What gives another the right to say what a child should eat? What's to stop any in power from dictated what is taught? What religion? You way may not be another's way and to force your way on another is plain wrong.

Can that child make an informed decision on vaccinations? Other medications? How about the highly processed crap called foods? " I don't know how any parent could stand up and say they made the right decision in giving their child raw milk, when they knew the risk." The same can be said about the processed foods pushed on kids. Your argument has too many holes.

If the govt was really going after "chicken or beef" they would change the way they are raised, fed and processed. That in itself would eliminate a lot of contamination issues.

I don't want added chemicals in or on my food, nor do I want it boiled, irradiated or chemically altered by anyone but myself.

Too bad people complain about their ill health after years of consuming highly prossed foods that made them ill and all the drugs pharm pushes to "cover" the illnesses. tsktsk

If you have no wish to consume raw dairy or any other product, that is your choice. Don't push your beliefs on me or expect me to change my beliefs for you.

If people weren't in ill health before after years of consuming phake phoods, they will be if they enter the hospital and have to be placed on "supplemental food". Just take a look at this: http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/sick-patients-are-pumped-full-fe...

It's amazing anyone survives the first hour. But now there's Liquid Hope to look forward to, according to the article.

Nestle and Abbott are two of the companies who also make baby forumla if that tells you anything about what goes into that junk. Do you think Nestle and Abbott have stock in the corn market?!

I know when my Mom was in the palliative care section of the hospital they tried to get me to feed her Boost or Ensure and I told them no. I wouldn't feed that junk to a dog I didn't like.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

There is a ton of chemicals in ensure and boost and the other "liquid" tube feedings. They'll clog those arteries and cause other problems IMHO. I've recently seen ads on TV for ensure, yuck, I wouldn't feed it to my parents.

Hospitals get their foods from sysco, so there is no telling what quality or lack there of there is, plus you don't have a clue where the food is from, etc.

You certainly don't go to the hospital for nutritional food.

rawmilkmike's picture

People that consume food through their mouth can at least argue that the junk food tastes good. What kind of criminal would put junk food in a feeding tube? This one simple act truly convicts our entire health-care system. It shows them for the criminals that they are.

Uh, don't Libertarians believe in the right of the individual to make their own decisions? May have missed that section of the party platform: www.lp.org/platform . Perhaps you're a "small l" libertarian. ;)

Wow, talk about a comment that embodies an ignorant, non-libertarian conservative attitude.

Many of us have advanced degrees in math and science, but of course, we must just be kooky people with no brains for drinking raw milk. Same with Ted Beals and others who have done the number crunching on raw milk illnesses versus other illnesses, etc.

Oh, those nations where you can easily get raw milk, even in vending machines... dark ages, eh?

All that recent science on the mass benefits health wise of raw milk... oh sure, maybe you can get it elsewhere.

Are there risks? Yes. Just like to pretty much every activity of life. But honestly, I am probably more at risk going to town to pick up my milk or eating out at a fast food joint than a bottle or RM.

but nice epic fail trying to cover your rant by pulling ideological wool...

mark mcafee's picture


As a trained scientist, you have access to the many high quality QMRA's performed in the EU centered around risk assessment of raw milk.

The bottom line was found. The QMRA's found that for Listeria, Campylobacter, and Ecoli STEC 0157H7, the raw milk consumption risk was low or very low when compared to all other foods.

This is science. The CDC also has some pretty darn compelling numbers as well. How about this...zero deaths from raw milk and more than 70 deaths caused by pasteurized milk or cheeses. The cherry on the tragic top of all of this science is that the FDA lists pasteurized milk as the MOST ALLERGENIC food in America. #1....

8 kids have been recorded as dying from as a result of severe allergic reaction to perfectly pasteurized milk since 1998.

Now that is really safe....FDA guaranteed safe.

As a scientist you really show your stifulled learning, and ignorance when you stop inquiring about science and stop reading the most recent peer reviewed and published literature. This forum is brutal....and I call it like it is. Kids lifes depend on the truth and progress being made.

I agree that those with depressed immune systems can get sick from raw milk or any any other food.

The far better question is this: what is this country doing to build immune systems????

Answer....Not a damn thing.

That is why we are having this raw milk revolution and embracing high standards for raw milk production. Our current Monsanto path is a death march...that is, if you can walk....if not it is just death.


mark mcafee's picture


Many years ago I was asked by a raw milk consumer about raw milk and bone density....I did not know the answer. I called up a University professor at UC Davis to inquire about the activity of the phosphatase enzyme and the test for effective pasteurization. The technical test for pasteurization is called the Negative Alpha Phosphatase test. That is right, when all of this critical enzyme is denatured...this is an indication that raw milk is clinically rendered dead by high heat. This enzyme is the third most prevalent enzyme found in raw milk. Why??? It plays a major role in the absorption of calcium and the bone banking activity that occurs in your body. Since the 1920s it has been known that pasteurized milk is associated with decreased bone density.

The professor I called refused to answer my question...instead he probed my inquiry and asked why I wanted to know this information. He wanted to know how I would use the information and who I was....he ended up telling me that I needed to speak with someone else...he would not and could not help me.

If that is not total science paycheck prostitution...nothing is. I found out later, that if you have osteoporosis...this enzyme is critical to bone density improvements. During the SB 201 Dean Flores hearings in 2008 customer after customer lined up to show their dramatic bone density improvements after just six months on raw milk.

DC Dawg, what is your real name ? Who are you and why don't you use a real name....that is the first indication that you really do not stand in the light With pride about what you are. You are ashamed of who you are....or your paycheck depends on you hiding...very sad indeed. Try reading NIH human biome studies and go back to school prior to taking on the pioneers that write here. I am totally sick of so called Monsanto Scientists that stand behind PhDs and preach the company line for money.

Your type of science is not about truth or discovery, but about parroting old dogma to get an A in a class that was paid for by grants from corporations.

Gayle Loiselle's picture

Thank you Mark! It blows my mind how gov agencies/scientists persist in denying the existance of real science that proves the health benefits of raw milk; and the insistance that my joint pain goes away when I'm drinking raw milk doesn't mean anything because its not a scientificly controlled study. And to support your point about corporate sponsored science, the first argument stated by Shawn Pfaff, the anti raw milk lobbyist in WI, is that an outbreak would damage the $27 billion WI dairy industry, then he states health concerns for the public. Kind of says it all that he puts health of the dairy industry above the health of the public. Especially since both statements are lies. ~~~~~
Mark, thanks for showing up in Baraboo. One of the elements that attracted so much media attention for Vernons trial was the fact that people from all over the country found it important enough to attend. This represents the tide turning toward awareness, responsibility, and commitment to the truths about real food and health...and our right to choose what we eat.

Ora Moose's picture

"Everything you are saying really falls to deaf ears on this blog."

I completely disagree, and I firmly believe that we are the ones with ears and eyes wide open.

The true distinction between the two camps is that, just as I would defend your right to free speech even if you spew gibberish, I also support your right to choose to ingest any food or substance you want, even if it's Slim Jims or tobacco.

The opposing perspective is that you on the other hand deem us to be so stupid that we can't make our own educated choice, therefore we need to be restricted or prohibited from any of those substances.

It's called food freedom. Don't tread on me. Reality changes over time, and so do you. Aim for truth and clarity, not repression and obfuscation.

While I share your dislike and distrust of facebook, it isn't the site ruining peoples lives, it is the people posting items they shouldn't that ruin lives, many times their own.

Social media makes it to easy to say and post photos that you would never do or show to people in face to face interactions. Common sense is no where to be found in today's society, this trial is another example of this problem.

Of course - it's people posting items they shouldn't and posting wayyyyy TMI. That was my point. Besides, I don't care what Joe Blow down the street is doing. It's none of my business nor do I want to make it my business. I have time for a few outside activities and facebook isn't ever going to be one of them. I'll use my time, constrained as it is, to investigate alternative health issues, real food activities and trying to find factual political information, if possible. The current BigMedia certainly isn't going to be telling us the truth about anything we really need to know, so it's up to us to try to separate truth from fiction out in the big world. ;->

NoStatePete's picture

The author David Gumbert makes a common error when he says, "The State threw everything it had..."

There is no "State." "The State" is really just a DBA for people who rob, lie, steal, and murder. "The State" is a legal fiction. "The State" is just OTHER PEOPLE who force you to do things you would not do voluntarily. When enough people wake up to this illusion, we can all ignore their so-called "Laws" written by our so-called "Representatives" and get on with our peaceful, productive lives and voluntary, non-coerced interaction with one another.

Gumbert should have said, "The LAWYERS pretending to be 'The State' threw everything THEY had at (Herschberger)." Thanks to legal activist and author Marc Stevens to waking me up to this scam.

Lola Granola's picture

Thank you, NoStatePete. I only hope more awaken to the deception as you and I have.

You know that The Jury is already in the gubment's sites. This is where they want to gain control. I have no proof, but am sure they are "stacking" juries with gubment workers in order to get a gubment favorable verdict. I think a gubment type always tries to be foreman or is definitely very verbal in trying to sway people to the "right" verdict. This shouldn't be too difficult for them, because almost everyone hates serving on juries, so the gubment is just stacking the jury pool with gubment workers from down at the courthouse that are on the payroll for the day already, and already have a sense of how to rule, since they are paid by that system. The jury is where the gubment does not have complete control, so of course it will be under attack.

Ora Moose's picture

"The Jury is already in the gubment's sites" This is truly scary because it is entirely believable and possibly already in progress, they will stoop to any tactics that could work in their favor. War by deception, indeed. Stacking juries could be their next weapon of mass destruction, beware. Call me paranoid even if they're not out to get me.

Lola Granola's picture

The government does not need to stack the juries when the defendants are ignorant of the jurisdiction of the court. The courts are under administrative/corporate jurisdiction and are adjudicating contract law (statute). The defendant's lawyer knows this. The defendant's lawyer, like all lawyers, are court officials and have taken an oath to the court. They will not reveal this to the defendant, or else they would be disbarred.

perhaps you can provide a few scintillas of real evidence, substantiating what you say, Miss Granola ... a mere sentence from each of 2 individuals whom you say have taken these 'secret Oaths', will do. Pursuant to the Biblical standard = "by the mouths of 2 or 3 witnesses" ... otherwise, you're just muddying the waters of discourse ... perhaps that's your role here? = Running people of good will off-topic, down endless rabbit trails of that same non-sense, to be pillaged by Pay-tri-Idiots-fr-Profit ... as happened in the Tax Honesty Movement. Or : are you talking in code, about who owns those little playgrounds of the Cult of the Black Robe?

rawmilkmike's picture

I think you're right there Lola.

@Granola - None of what you say makes any sense at all, nor does what you say matter, if sensible, liberty loving, non-sheeple are serving on the jury.

The juries are full of sheeple. The jury doesn't really even matter if you are staying in the corporations administrative jurisdiction. The only hope is jury nullification, which not many people have any clue about. That jurisdiction is for legal persons. The man/woman is NOT the legal person. The court, by your consent, allows you to fill the shoes of the legal person. Now you are the surety for the "charge". The jury is supposed to also judge the law. They are no longer intelligent to do that. They think corporation policies--statutes--are law. They are not. Statutes are for members/employees/subjects/citizens of the foreign-owned corporation known as "United States".
If you are not a member of the ship's crew, do you need to report to the ship if they call for you? No! You give them a Notice of Mistake saying that you are not the legal person that they are identifying. You are a man/woman not a legal person, by their own definitions.
It all matters. Those who do not assert their rights, have none.

rawmilkmike's picture

I have to agree. There is no excuse for allowing a judge to pick the jury, give jury instruction, or to decide what the jury will hear. Jury deliberating is nothing but more jury tampering. It's all jury tampering and it defeats the purpose of even having a jury.

Ora Moose's picture

More food for thought on the milk front... "give dairies a tool for survival and provide access to a local agricultural product to consumers who are currently unable to travel to a farm to make a purchase."



mark mcafee's picture

Dear bloggers,

After several months of additional research, gathering all the articles published around the world since 2008 ( the date of the first FDA Citizens Petitions Filing) the OPDC team just filed a 498 page amendment to the hard fought Citizens Petition. I will publish it at OPDC next week. A special thanks to Gary Cox for his help in the project. This time the FDA can look forward to having the review process overseen by a federal judge. Now when they lie....they will now get publically spanked. I was shocked to read the FDA denial when they claimed that 49 people had died in 1985 from raw milk??!!! The label on the Jalisco Cheese products says "pasteurized cheese"
This kind of blatant FDA lie now fuels our truth fires.

The tipping point is reached or damn close.

The latest proof of what I've been trying to tell all of you is what has now happened to Gordon Watson. One of my biggest critics. He stood under the administrative jurisdiction of the corporation known as CANADA. He now has his "privileges" revoked. If you don't tell the court that they have made a mistake in identifying "you" as the "legal person" you will be tried under administrative jurisdiction. Now, what Gordon needs to do is file a CLAIM, as a man, into, I believe, in Canada, it's called Queen's Bench. I believe he needs to rethink his position on the "patriot, freeman, sovereignty garbage". We are men and women, not legal persons. Gordon filled the shoes of the legal person and got treated as such. I am not condoning what happened to him and his friend, it's sad.

every time you post something, Bildo, you further prove you don't have 2 clues to rub together on what goes on in those places. Today we got the ruling on the allegations of contempt of Court / heard in Feb 2013, for things happened on Aug 26 2011.

We were found guilty of contempt of Court, on the basis of "cyberhearsay" ... a whole 'nother avenue of argument. which the Cult of the Black Robe absolutely loves, so as to draw the issue away from reality, off to the thickets of the law. It's not about the risk of harm from drinking REAL MILK. It never was

On I go : I was in the Court of Appeal Registry this afternoon, received gladly by the lady who was just a kid there, when I started, 20 years ago. Now she runs the place. I got the paperwork with which to come on as an Indigent.
In this Theatre of the Absurd, we pushed their IL-logical premise to the extreme, at which stage it becomes ridiculous. The original Order we - purportedly - contravened, is defunct. Because the Regulation upon which it was predicated, was repealed. Thus, this judge's Order against us now, is akin to the smile of the Cheshire Cat, which de-materialized before Alice's very eyes, in Wonderland. Only the smirk remains ; 3 months in gaol hanging over my head = PLUS costs! ... for what? for helping people obtain the best food on earth, in order our children can have perfect teeth and strong bones?!

First Admiral of the Navy of the united States, John Paul Jones found himself 4000 miles from home. Dis-masted, surrounded by the enemy. He nailed his colors to the mast and said "I have not yet begun to fight"

Barney Google's picture

Another sad day for the so-called Heroes of the Raw Milk Movement.

Have you had enough of this playing-by-their-rules crap yet?

even as convinced as I am as to how Her Majesty's Courts are corrupt to the hilt ... I am compelled to say : no, I have not yet 'had my fill'. 'Walking through the exercise', so as to expose the unfruitful works of darkness, is my calling. What's most ominous about the ruling, is = I was found guilty of publishing my political opinion ... and if I do that again within the next year, it's 3 months in the penalty-box. A gaol sentence is a badge of honour for a political activist, but I am not innerested a-tall, in going that route. I won't give Sandra Be-ach and the rest of the "communists and idiots" that much satisfaction. I say "communists and idiots", because part of what I was convicted for, was, "scathing comments" on my website. "Scathing" ?! Randal Wong, J. is old enought to remember Jimmy Durante, whose patented punchline was "You ain't seen nothin', yet, folks!" Having stood for election, I'm a "politician for life" ; thus, everything I say ( short of inciting others to commit an offence) is "qualified speech"

There is not a doubt in my mind, that the Campaign for REAL MILK will ultimately succeed in British Columbia. Then ... history will consign judges who ruled against us, FOR NO GOOD REASON BUT TO UPHOLD THE DAIRY CARTEL, in the same dustbin as their colleagues = the humorless apparatchiks who gaoled Stalin's critics, for dissenting from the Central Party Line, along with the perverts who 'chair' the so-called "Human Rights Tribunals", giving color of law to putting wrong in place of right, and calling that which is right, wrong, so that the one who calleth for Justice, maketh himself a prey