The Negotiating on Raw Milk Standards Has Begun

“If you wanna complain….I’m not the complaint department.”

From song, "Complaint Department" by Likki Li


Maybe I am the complaint department, since I run this blog. Certainly the complaints keep coming. 

There was Mark McAfee’s comment, that, “During our weekly RAWMI conference call…the subject of this blog came up. It was shared by one of our board members that productive dialogue is not possible when toxic personalities cannibalize the conversation.” 


Then there were complaints growing out of his comment, as to whom he was referring to about “toxic personalities.” 


There have been several comments made privately to me, in just the last few days, from people who felt insulted by the caustic nature of the debate that sometimes evolves here. 


This isn’t a new phenomenon. It rears its head from time to time, sometimes with negative consequences.   I have lost friends over the tenor of my posts and the discussion here. I have seen people I highly respect become so frustrated with this blog that they have left in a huff. I have seen public health professionals participate for a time, and then throw up their hands in disbelief at the tone of the back-and-forth.


What’s going on? Certainly I have responsibility,, since I provoke. I poke fun at the authorities. I was guilty early on of personalizing some of my attacks at people in positions of power. I found that some of those created more negativity than positive results, and gradually, I have avoided personalizing my criticism. Even that little speaking skit I did recently, I intentionally avoided assuming the name of a real bureaucrat. 


But beyond that, I think that raw milk and food rights are by their nature highly volatile political issues, which generate volatile reactions in people. That’s not just here. It’s difficult to have any kind of rational discussion about raw milk, even among supporters. I’ve seen the phenomenon on other web sites, when they publish an article of some kind about raw milk, and then there are 200 comments lambasting the author and each other.


Part of what makes raw milk so emotional, in my view, is that milk is our first food, and remains an important food through much of childhood. We have primal feelings about milk. 


Another part has to do with the fact that our government has long tried to prevent access to raw milk, and continues to do so, even  as it has become ever more popular and desired. If you look even casually at world history, you quickly realize that food riots and food shortages have been the sparks for huge political upheaval. Politically, it’s almost never a good idea to be messing with people’s food. 


Before I go on, I want to say (again) that none of the controversy about raw milk and food rights is an excuse for personal attacks. It is possible to debate the issues, without questioning the personal motives or sincerity of others. 


Back to complaints…. I guess it wasn’t a big surprise when the matter of this blog’s tone came up in that podcast interview I finally did last week (Jan. 29) with the two professors I discussed a few weeks back, Don Schaffner of Rutgers University and Ben Chapman of North Carolina State.  They, too, told me they don’t like the blog’s tone. They told me they thought my previous post about them was insensitive, and inaccurately represented some of their views. They thought that a number of comments from readers as well represented a “negative tone and hyperbole.”


Why bring all this business about debate and tone up now? Because it seems as if we may be at an important new phase in the long war over raw milk: We may well be in early negotiations about raw milk safety standards—in effect, official acceptance of raw milk and a raw milk marketplace. All the state proposals to broaden raw milk availability,  the growing public support for those proposals, together with the assemblage of university and regulatory people at the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) that Mark McAfee describes, are part of an important sorting out. More on that later….


There are most certainly huge obstacles to overcome—the corporate dairy producers, together with their puppets at the FDA, haven’t given up by a long shot. Nor has much of the regulatory and health community had a change of heart. But in terms of the debate, there has actually been progress over the last few years, and the coming together of various constituencies at RAWMI is the clearest indication. 


All this has taken a long time to jell for good reason. I got more of a sense of the chasm that  exists between the pro and anti-raw-milk camps during that podcast last week with the two representatives of the academic community. I felt at times like I was in the Twilight Zone, in a land of double talk, where we were literally speaking different languages. And believe me, we were all trying very hard to be polite (and I believe for the most part, we were polite). 


First, I tried to pin the two professors down on what they think about legalizing raw milk availability, and I just couldn’t do it. They talked like academics, about "a continuum," "risk management.” I believe Schaffner even said he was “a libertarian on raw milk,” presumably in favor on some theoretical level. 


I pursued the matter: Were there any state situations allowing raw milk that they liked, that might serve as a model for states like their own, New Jersey and North Carolina, that prohibit its sale? Nope. Nothing doing. No way they were going to be caught endorsing raw milk in any kind of specific substantive way. 


I only lost it once, when they spoke about that recent CDC-sponsored Minnesota study being “good science.” (They challenged me on whether the study was truly CDC-sponsored, as I have repeatedly referred to it; it turns out the language at the end of the study says the study was financed "in part through cooperative agreements" with the CDC--it doesn't say where any other "part" of the financing came from, and the study is posted on the CDC web site. Don’t think I was inaccurate on that one.)


I think they were insulted when I started laughing hysterically at their suggestion that the Minnesota study was started as a serious scientific endeavor designed to learn more about raw milk, and not to slam it. Really?  Just important new knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Uh-huh. 


They did kind of get me when I protested that I had been to Minnesota a number of times, met many dozens of raw milk drinkers, and never met anyone who spoke about getting sick, or knew anyone who became ill. Ah, but I couldn’t possibly know all the many thousands of raw milk drinkers, they argued. Correct, I couldn’t. 


From there, we moved on to the question of whether the feds really have it in for raw milk. They said, quite sincerely, that they didn’t think so. As if food club members and farmers who have been hit by raids are all paranoid. 


I don’t want to suggest the discussion was nonproductive. Simply viewing the chasm so starkly was informative, at least for me. There was even an important point of agreement, I'd say: that pushing the U.S. toward more of a black-market system is not desirable. That producing the safest possible raw milk is desirable. 


All of which brings me back to the matter of negotiations toward broader acceptance of raw milk, as illustrated by the activity at RAWMI.  Mark McAfee, the founder of RAWMI (and owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Co.), said RAWMI “has been approached by the best researchers, the best universities, and a consortium of regulators to…navigate a better future for raw milk.” 


Miguel astutely pointed out that “producers and consumers will have to produce and consume a product that is designed by universities, government agencies, researchers and regulators, giving those groups tremendous power…” What he was suggesting is that the legitimization of raw milk could well have important repercussions, beginning with involvement by extension services that Shawna Barr referred to. 

As I said, we are at the early stages of this negotiation process. The simple fact that negotiations seem to have begun is a huge development. It’s just important to appreciate that the chasm between the public health professionals and those of us who feel we should make the decisions about the foods we ingest is quite wide. That begins to explain why so much frustration bubbles up here on this blog, and why the complaints keep coming. 

If these negotiations are going to have any credibility they should first answer a few questions about the role of bacteria in raw milk associated illness. The symptoms indicate that the body is trying to eliminate something.Why does the investigation assume that the problem is caused by bacteria? Why not test for heavy metals,antibiotics,xenotoxins commonly found in water,prescribed drugs,etc.? Does the presence of a microbe automatically prove that it was the cause of the illness? Could it be possible that some bacteria are helping to clean up toxic accumulations in our bodies and if so aren't they actually part of the cure rather than the cause of the illness?

rawmilkmike's picture

Thank you miguel.

D. Smith's picture

If the "experts" would legalize raw milk, they wouldn't push consumers towards a black market situation, but that is exactly what they're doing - and it's what they intend to keep doing. All of this huckumpuckey is leading nowhere because you cannot please organizations like the CDC or the FDA. Not possible because they keep massaging the numbers to fit their skewed ideals. They have no cogent argument.

If raw milk was legalized in all regards, it would become a free-market item and all of these pesky details would work themselves out. Raw milk, for all the scientific barking, is a very safe product without any intervention. Much safer than a lot of other food items on the market today.

Do I expect it to be legalized? Never. That would mean rolling over on their own data and the FDA, USDA, CDC yada yada are never going to stand for that. The FDA is having a heyday watching producers on the RAWMI type programs turn themselves into veritable pretzels trying to please them - and then they change something and the whole mess has to start all over again. Don't think they aren't enjoying all of this. We will never see freedom in raw milk if we keep bowing and scraping and trying to please an entity who has no intention of cooperating.

I know I'll catch flack for this, but it's how I feel.

rawmilkmike's picture

Right on the money D.

mfpellicano's picture

David, Yes, the tenor of this blog does get particularly nasty at times, but I have never let that bother me personally because even those posts can give a reader insight and perspective. I’m not a farmer, just a farmer’s helper (milk-maid), so I am personally aware of sanitation and hygiene in the milking process/caring for the dairy cow, on a farm with less than 3 cows (in production). It is a substantive experience to be a part of
the milking process and experience the hard work and care it takes to make this sacred food available to our members. So, when I was learning how to do this so that I could relieve my farmer a couple times a week, I couldn’t help remembering a couple of video’s I saw on u-tube regarding this very chore. Both were not in the U.S., but both were obviously not concerned with the “clean” process like we are here. One was an old man fetching a milk goat from what looked like a junk yard for a mother and young boy. Not a blade of green grass in sight. It was for medicinal reasons that the mother brought her boy to get milk straight from the teat! Another video was in an Asian country (China?) and a man was distributing fresh milk to city dwellers from his van that he just drove in from the country! Now, I know we don’t know the results of these video’s like the professor’s said you didn’t know how everyone faired on the raw milk in Minnesota, but I do think if “thousands” started getting sick and dying from these distributions/practices news of it would spread around the world! In fact, our whole world population wouldn’t be what it is today if this sacred food was as dangerous as the authorities say it is…but having had that thought I also realize that there has never been a more dangerous time to produce any kind of food “organically” because of the toxic load of pollution that we are experience in this day and age! Yes, it is hard to produce milk, veggies, meat, eggs, ect., because we face such hazardous toxic environmental conditions like never before in human recorded history. So, if we are on the cusp of negotiation acceptable production and distribution then we had better acknowledge the necessity of doing it in as healthy environment as possible, not just the sanitized milk parlor! Water, soil, land use adjacent to production, ect., and much, much more will have to be taken into consideration. We definitely must stop agricultural pollutions of CAFO’s so that our water and land can become cleaner…and the use of pesticides, herbicides, ect. To me, this isn’t “rocket science,” we do KNOW how to do this…but we can’t force these clean practices in our politically environment of today…just look at the newest farm bill that was passed. I pray the USA consumer will soon demand cleaner food…and ban these horrible practices that are slowly but surely killing our collective health not to mention our environmental health.
JM "non-scientific" HO. Marietta Pellicano

rawmilkmike's picture

mfpellicano, anyone switching from pasteurized milk to raw milk knows in a matter of days that the state is wrong when they suggest raw milk has no health benefits. Within a few months they know the state is wrong about it's risked. Because the average American gets diarrhea 3 times a year and raw milk consumers don't. And don't forget raw milk has already been proven a low risk food.

“Raw milk myths and evidence by Nadine Ijaz pdf”

Mary McGonigle-Martin's picture

Marrietta, can you name all the pathogens that can find their way into raw milk and the illnesses they can cause?

rawmilkmike's picture

Mary, do you know the minimum infectious dose for any of your so called pathogens when and if consumed in raw milk.

dschaffner's picture

Rawmilkmike, The term "minimum infectious dose" is not in line with modern quantitative microbial risk assessment thinking. For many pathogens like _Salmonella_ and pathogenic _E. coli_ we believe that even 1 organism has a probability (admittedly low) of causing illness. For other pathogens (_L. monocytogenes_ _S. aureus_) the dose must be much higher (100,000+) to have a measurable probability of causing illness.
- Don

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, you say: “microbial risk assessment thinking” You mean epidemiology don't you? So what does the epidemiological evidence show? Wouldn't an empirical study be cheaper and more accurate?
You then say: “For many pathogens like _Salmonella_ and pathogenic _E. coli_ we believe that”. What is that “belief” based on?

PSEUDOSCIENCE displays a remarkable and characteristic indifference to fact. Writers tend simply to make up bogus “facts”— what Norman Mailer calls “factoids”— where needed, instead of going to the trouble of  consulting reliable reference works, much less investigating directly. Yet these fictitious facts are often central to the pseudoscientist’s argument and conclusions!

This is epidemiology. This is how an illness and a bacteria are associated with raw milk or any food for that matter. This is the nonsense behind, what our government calls, food safety and their quest for the elusive pathogen.

Raw milk has always been a low risk food.
“Raw milk myths and evidence by Nadine Ijaz pdf”

dschaffner's picture

When I say "quantitative microbial risk assessment" I mean quantitative microbial risk assessment. It's not the same as epidemiology.

The belief is based on research published in the peer reviewed literature. Here is a fairly comprehensive review:

Bryan - oz4caster's picture

Thanks for the link. Below are some quotes from that source.

4.1.1 Outbreak investigations
"When there is a common-source outbreak of foodborne or waterborne disease of sufficient magnitude, an EPIDEMIOLOGICAL investigation is generally undertaken to identify the cause of the problem, to limit its further spread, and to provide recommendations on how the problem can be prevented in the future."

"The primary limitation is that the purpose and focus of outbreak investigations is to identify the source of the infection in order to prevent additional cases, rather than to collect a wide range of information. The case definitions and methods of the investigation are chosen for efficiency, and often do not include data that would be most useful in a hazard characterization, and may vary widely among different investigations. The primary goal of the investigation is to quickly identify the specific source(s) of infection, rather than to precisely quantify the magnitude of that risk. Key information that would allow data collected in an investigation to be useful for risk assessments is therefore often missing or incomplete. Estimates of dose or exposure in outbreaks may be inaccurate..."

"In such instances, use of outbreak data to develop dose-response models generally requires assumptions concerning the missing information."

I'm not an expert, but it looks like quite a bit of room for bias to intervene in outbreak investigations, which appear to be a significant component of quantitative microbial risk assessment.

dschaffner's picture

Bryan, Thanks for reading the document.

As the document says, dose response data can come from human studies, animal studies, in vitro studies and expert elicitation. Within human studies there are outbreak investigations, surveillance and annual health statistics, volunteer feeding studies, biomarkers and intervention studies. Each of these data sources has strengths and limitations.

Every thing we do as scientists is subject to bias. A lot of science is running the right controls to make sure we don't fool ourselves into believing that something is "true" when it's not. That's why we have peer-review, and why one study seldom proves anything. It takes many studies over time before we are mostly sure of something.

Outbreak investigations are one source of data used to construct dose-response models. Dose-response models are one component of quantitative microbial risk assessment.

Bryan - oz4caster's picture

There is no shortage of volunteer human feeding when it comes to raw milk. The shortage is thorough long-term studies of these people versus those who do not drink raw milk, with respect to bacterial related illnesses. My guess is that those who can afford such expensive studies are not interested in funding them.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, you say:
“Every thing we do as scientists is subject to bias.”, “That's why we have peer-review, and why one study seldom proves anything.” and “we are mostly sure”
“peer-review” is great between peers but what good is it to the consumer looking into alternative medicine? Anyone consuming 3 cups of raw milk per day for more than 6 months ( knows ) it's safer and healthier than anything they've consumed before. So who is best equipped to decide what to feed their children? Who is the real expert when it comes to raw milk's microbial risk assessment?
Raw milk has already been proven a low risk food.
“Raw milk myths and evidence by Nadine Ijaz pdf”

dschaffner's picture

Rawmilkmike, I'm familiar with Nadine's work, and she and I have discussed it via email. I've seen the video of her BC CDC talk, and I've reviewed the slides you link to. I've encouraged Nadine to get her work published in a peer reviewed journal.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, are you saying you have no opinion of your own?

dschaffner's picture


Are you asking if I have an opinion on whether raw milk is a "low risk" food?

I think that is the wrong question. It first requires a definition of the word "low". It also depends if we are interested in risk of illness per serving, or population risk.

I'm much more interested in understanding what factors control risk of foodborne illness (from raw milk, or any food for that matter) and then how we can design systems to manage and reduce that risk.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, if you truly are “much more interested in understanding what factors control risk of foodborne illness” then you're talking to the right guy. That's my favorite topic. Haven't you noticed?

dschaffner's picture

Excellent. What factors do you think control the risk of foodborne illness from raw milk?

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, your question, like your science, starts with a conclusion. I, like many others, happen to “know” raw milk prevents “foodborne illness” it doesn't cause it.

Nutrition is the most significant factor controlling the risk of foodborne illness.

Have you seen this link? Raw milk consumers know how many sardines are in the can because they opened it. They don't need a 20 page report.

dschaffner's picture

Thanks for the humorous video.

rawmilkmike's picture
dschaffner's picture

Yes, and I've read Ioannidis's paper.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don you never answered the question.
“peer-review” is great between peers but what good is it to the consumer looking into alternative medicine? Anyone consuming 3 cups of raw milk per day for more than 6 months ( knows ) it's safer and healthier than anything they've consumed before. So who is best equipped to decide what to feed their children? Who is the real expert when it comes to raw milk's microbial risk assessment?

dschaffner's picture

Mike, if "Anyone consuming 3 cups of raw milk per day for more than 6 months ( knows ) it's safer and healthier than anything they've consumed before. " then I don't think peer review or quantitative microbial risk assessment can help them.

rawmilkmike's picture

You took the words right out of my mouth, Don.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, this is not a review. It shows the framework but gives no specifics. Here is your link and a few interesting excerpts.
Risk assessment for microbiological hazards in foods is defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) as a scientifically based process consisting of four components (Figure 1): hazard identification, exposure assessment, hazard characterization, and risk characterization.

Hazard characterization provides a description of the adverse health effects that may result from ingestion of a microorganism. When data are available, the hazard characterization should present quantitative information in terms of a ( dose-response relationship ) and the probability of adverse outcomes.
4.1 Human studies
4.1.3 Volunteer feeding studies
The most obvious means for acquiring information on ( dose-response relations ) for foodborne and waterborne pathogenic microorganisms is to expose humans to the disease agent under controlled conditions. There have been a limited number of pathogens for which feeding studies using volunteers have been carried out. Most have been in conjunction with vaccine trials.
Using human volunteers is the most direct means of acquiring data that relates an exposure to a microbial hazard with an adverse response in human populations. If planned effectively, such studies can be conducted in conjunction with other clinical trials, such as the testing of vaccines. The results of the trials provide a direct means of observing the effects of the challenge dose on the integrated host defence response. The delivery matrix and the pathogen strain can be varied to evaluate food matrix and pathogen virulence effects.
None that apply to raw milk.

Concurrently with the descriptive analysis of clinical or ( epidemiological ) information or data, mathematical modelling has been advocated to provide assistance in developing a ( dose-response relationship ), in particular when extrapolation to low doses is necessary. Mathematical models have been used for several decades in the field of toxicology.

dschaffner's picture

Rawmilkmike, I'm familiar with the document. I'm not sure of your point.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, the only issue here, is whether or not our government is blocking access to healthy food. So before going any farther, do you admit that your believes affect our access to the foods of our choice?

If you do then, my point is,
You didn’t give any examples of “research published in the peer reviewed literature.”, you didn't show that “quantitative microbial risk assessment ” wasn't completely based on epidemiology, and “The term "minimum infectious dose" is not in line with modern quantitative microbial risk assessment thinking.” only because they use the term “dose-response relation”

If you believe raw milk already contains certain pathogens and raw milk has already been proven to be a low risk food, then there is no reason not to do human testing and no reason not to determine the minimum infectious dose for most if not all of your so called pathogens. Like it says in your review “epidemiological information or data, and mathematical modelling has only been advocated to provide assistance in developing a dose-response relationship, in particular when extrapolation to low doses is necessary.”

dschaffner's picture


If you chose to define "the only issue here, is whether or not our government is blocking access to healthy food", then I'll decline to continue the conversation. I'm a scientist, and you want to have a political discussion, and I'm not interested.

I do believe that some raw milk, may on occasion contain some level of some foodborne pathogens. Just as I believe that many foods may on occasion contain some level of some foodborne pathogens.

See my other comment on why I think "low risk" is not a question that interests me.

Published and generally accepted dose-response relationships already exist for most if not all foodborne pathogens linked to raw milk.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, science happens to be a popular part of this very political discussion. I assume you are here to defend your science not your beliefs.

This next statement makes you sound more like a politician than a scientist.
“Published and generally accepted dose-response relationships already exist for most if not all foodborne pathogens linked to raw milk.”

dschaffner's picture

I'm not here to defend science. I'm here to have a discussion. Sorry you don't like my statement. I think most politicians wouldn't know a dose-response relationship if it bit them on the butt.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, It isn't that I didn't like your statement.” The problem was that it really wasn't a statement at all. If it is “Published” why is it only “generally accepted” and when you said “dose-response relationships” you were actually referring to “DOSE-RESPONSE MODELLING” then you said “already exist for most if not all”. Well which is it most or all.

If you're “not here to defend your science”, what is it you want to “discussion”?
It's either “ I'll decline to continue the conversation.” this or “I'm not interested.” that.
You asked me: “What factors do you think control the risk of foodborne illness from raw milk?”

I responded: Don, your question, like your science, starts with a conclusion. I, like many others, happen to “know” raw milk prevents “foodborne illness” it doesn't cause it.

Nutrition is the most significant factor controlling the risk of foodborne illness.

But you chose not to respond. Is that because you agree?

You also never said why a 58 year old man who has been drinking nearly a quart of raw milk per day for the last 8 years would need to read your 20 page report on what you believe the risks are for raw milk consumption when he already KNOWS the only risk is in not consuming raw milk. If you know the incidence of foodborne illness in America then you know it only takes a few months to see a pattern emerge.

dschaffner's picture


Based on 10 years of higher education and 25 years of being food microbiology professor, I'd say that the statement that "Nutrition is the most significant factor controlling the risk of foodborne illness." lacks scientific support.

I'm glad you've got foodborne illness in America figured out.

This has been real fun, and I've learned a lot, but I have to go and do some science now.

I'll be back, but not in the comments on "The Negotiating on Raw Milk Standards Has Begun".

- Don

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, what is your definition of a discussion. This seems more like a chess game. With the object being to never have to actually answer a question.

dschaffner's picture

I'm not smart enough for chess. I much prefer Go, although I haven't played in years.

dschaffner's picture

Sorry, my definition of discussion is where one person talks, and the other listens, and then they reverse roles.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, it's only a discussion if the talking is in direct response to the listening.
consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate

Ron's picture

Is it possible for you to take it easy already? (I'm looking at all your comments below). In terms of your response to Mary you are, in effect, wasting my time with your inane denial jargon!......let me see if I can set you off again.........PATHOGEN!

Go to it their Mikie boy, go to it with all you've got!

Now, I'd like to make this very personal at this point.........why?
Because I'm sitting here in southern New Jersey without legal access to Raw milk. That's's personal!

Frankly rawmilkmike, YOU are not helping! YOU are hindering. YOU, are a f-----g moron!!!

rawmilkmike's picture

So what's your plan, Ron?

What would help?

Do you have a lot of denialists in New Jersey?

rawmilkmike's picture

Even though raw milk is not really illegal in the US, it's not really legal anywhere in the US either.

You do realize we are fighting a $4 trillion a year industry. Could there be a bigger opponent?

rawmilkmike's picture

Ron, the last time I talked to a guy like you, DATCP's head lawyer said to us, with a smirk, I don't mean to be flippant but you are not “The People” your representatives are.

rawmilkmike's picture

Ron, where is it that you have seen this "jargon" before?

rawmilkmike's picture

Paragraph 1. Pasteurized
RAWMI thinks these conversations are unproductive when they don't go their way.

rawmilkmike's picture

Milk isn't just the food of our childhood. It's the food of our children.

rawmilkmike's picture

hyperbole: language that describes something as better or worse than it really is

rawmilkmike's picture

David, can you really call it a “negotiation” if consumers and farmers are not involved?

rawmilkmike's picture

David your description of the “chasm” was excellent. Can you think of any chasm this size that has ever been bridged in the past?
Which is the “black-market system” Pasteurized milk that breaks many laws or raw milk which breaks none?

David, Raw milk is already a low risk food.
“Raw milk myths and evidence by Nadine Ijaz pdf”

David, who speaks for the raw milk consumer?

“Miguel astutely pointed out that “producers and consumers will have to produce and consume a product that is designed by universities, government agencies, researchers and regulators” In other words let them eat cake.

Hey all, I used to post here last year, and when I returned I noticed all my posts have been removed from the archives. (there was some pretty important info in there btw..). The webmaster said it all must have got erased when platfoms were switched. I'm not a computer guy, but I do remember from Computers101 that the first thing you learn is to back up files. If David wants to have archives, he really needs to take a look at what is going on.

Anyway I no longer post here because, in my view, the center of gravity in this forum is just way way to far from Reality. For example, David, Mark and a lot of others advocate "testing" of milk, yet do they test any of the other foods they consume? This double standard is very harmful to the raw milk community, it reinforces government propaganda about alledged risk of consuming the healthiest food their is, and makes it easier for the bad guys to target small farmers... (If people want to test there food, I have no problem with that, if they are consistent across the board. Of course, as soil scientist miguel has repeatedly stated in this forum, if you are going to test milk, first you need to figure out what you are going to test if for.)

I also was very offended by the treatment raw milk advocate Aajonus got, by David. David called him a liar, saying something to the effect, "repeating your false ideas isn't somehow going to make them true..."

I never saw David present any evidence that Aajonus was making any false claims, and Aajonus had evidence to back up his statements, such as testimony from former employees claiming food was indeed being sold as organic that wasn't...

A lot of David's reporting was good (and I like him), that's why I used to post here, but when someone who got it right about raw milk, Aajonus, is dismissed as an "eccentric", and "new leaders" have emerged (with a very watered down understanding of raw milk), well it's not my scene. Since I have you all on the line though, thought I would just summarize my own research findings about the raw milk situation:

Raw dairy is an ancient superfood, used by some of the healthiest, longest lived peoples. The research of Weston Price and also Sir Robert McCarrison is a good place to acquaint yourself with these basic facts. And no their kids didn't develop HUS, no their noses didn't fall off, no their bodies weren't ravaged by listeria... raw milk societies were super healthy.

Once dairy is pasteurized, it becomes a totally different substance. My own research from first hand experience and talking to drinkers and reading testimonies, convinces me that you no longer absorb the calcium when milk is pasteurized. This is the real reason that there is epidemic levels of calcium deficiency in this country, when so much dairy is consumed.

And this is the real reason that pasteurization is forced on us. I posted plenty of evidence to help people who are in denial about the fact that the government, major media, etc., are controlled by organized crime. If you can't grasp this basic fact, you are missing the whole point of why there is a "debate" about raw milk. It is precisely because of its health benefits that raw milk is systematically slandered, in microbiology textbooks, by govt agencies, by the media cartel, etc. The biggest business today is SICKNESS aka "Healthcare". Bigger than oil, autos, chemicals...

We have epidemic levels of disease in this country, due to severe mineral deficiency (along with of course other establishment created problems). Over 95 percent of Americans suffer from tooth decay, which dentist Weston Price's research shows, is due to severe calcium deficiency. Coming from a different directions, modern scientist Robert Barefoot says 95 percent of Americans have SEVERE calcium deficiency, which sets the stage for all kinds of illness, cancers, diabetes, ms, ...

Endlessly "treating" disease generates mega billions for the pharmaceutical cartel, and other facets of the medical industry... This is the real reason raw dairy is demonized.

There is no reason for thinking people to take seriously any claims made by the government, the major media, establishment academia... re raw milk. The establishment has many tools in their disinformation toolbox, from using actor agents, faking data, drawing false conclusions, suppresssing real evidence, etc. etc. I tried to help the cause by repeatedly posting info on this in this blog, it looks like it was mainly ignored (and now erased). In this very blog, professors have testified they risk being fired or having grant money cut off if they publically present pro raw milk evidence. In this very blog farmers have told how they were fined 8000 dollars for posting customer testimonies of asthma healing from raw milk... yet most people in this blog repeatedly talk about the government as if it is some kind of legitimate entity that we should engage in debate and dialogue???

Thankfully, there are a few people in here who basically understand the truth about raw milk, such as raw milk MIke, Ken, D Smith and some others, that raw milk doesn't create disease, it prevents disease. So I hope you guys stick to your guns and don't fall for the false science, fake disease outbreaks, govt agents, etc.

Myself, I've been directing my energies toward more pleasing subjects, namely the recovery of ancient musical tunings and all the health benefits you get from playing music in tune with Nature (as opposed to "modern" "equal temperament" tuning, which is a type of mathematical hoax). I'm also pushing on with growing my own food...

My message to all seekers who come here sincerely trying to understand the "debate". Go out in the real world and talk directly to lifelong raw milk drinkers, and check out the earlier evidence I cited of cultures that used it. The picture should come into focus for you. Good luck. Tom

D. Smith's picture

@ Tomm: Hey, you must have ESP! I was just thinking about you this morning when I came across this book, and wondering if you were still trying to grow your own wheat, and/or other grains. It's written by the same guy (Gene Logsdon) who wrote Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind (which is now a college textbook, I understand). Thought you might enjoy looking it over.

David Gumpert's picture

First, there was no intentional deleting of your comments (or anyone else's). It's possible there was some kind of technical glitch that occurred, and if that is the case, I'd like to know about it. If you can pinpoint where your comments disappeared, let me know and I'll have our technical adviser look into it.

Second, I never dismissed Aajonus Vonderplanitz as "an eccentric." We disagreed strenuously about his tactics toward Sharon Palmer and James Stewart. But I always respected his philosophies and ideas about food, especially raw milk, even if I didn't always agree with him. You will see that he has a prominent role in my book, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights"--in particular, his organization of private food clubs around the country.   

rawmilkmike's picture

Thank you tommculhane. You are a breath of fresh air.
A lot of David's reporting is good (and I like him), that's why I post here. I hope David can repair that technical glitch.
Sharon Palmer was a criminal by David's own description and Mark got caught on youtube turning in James Stewart.
If you are going to test milk, first you need to figure out what you are going to test if for.
The treatment raw milk advocate Aajonus got, by David was strange to say the least.
Homogenization is up to 14,000 psi now.
The pharmaceutical cartel absorbs $4 trillion a year in the US alone.
Using actor agents like at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Your raw milk summery was perfect.

Ora Moose's picture

Tom, great to see you back and saddened that you've stepped away for so long, and by commentary status update so true.

ancient musical tunings, I can't find much on you tube, do you have stuff maybe even your own that you'd care to share?

Thanks for the book, D Smith. I planted 9 ancient wheat varieties this fall, none sprouted... I posted this in Russ' blog. it's a riddle, but I'll work it out. Wheat (and raw dairy) were the main foods in the diet of the northern Indians, which medical doctor Robert McCarisson called "the healthiest, best looking people on the planet", back in the 1930s, when real world evidence was easier to come by for "other" cultures. Of course wheat was different then, thus my planting older varieties.

Of course dairy was raw then too. Interestingly, these people didn't have any problem with "pathogens" finding their way into the milk. The real world raw milk drinkers I've interviewed don't have a problem with this either. As pointed out by miguel, Aajonus and other evidence, these "pathogens' typically already live in our bodies, and they proliferate when the person has a sick system, due to toxins such as pesticides, antibiotics, mineral deficiency causing acidic digestive tracts, lack of microbe diversity in the digestive tract, etc.

So as usual, the establishment makes people sick, then blames it on the wrong thing. I personally welcome "pathogens" in my milk, exposure to the microbes that live in our environment keeps our immune systems strong, and leads to robust diversity of microbiota. Wild animals don't follow govt disinformation guidelines to hide from microbes. Everyone is touching and licking everyone, leading to strong immune systems and good health.

I do employ my own milk "testing" system though, it's called sipping the milk first to see how it tastes. If milk or other food tasted rancid to me, I wouldn't eat it. That's never happened with the raw milk I drink though. I don't use a refrigerator, so older milk turns sour and into curds and whey, still very edible, and yet more evidence that there is a real science to the Universe. Milk is quite an amazing technology, cultured "from the factory" to keep it edible. So I guess I'll keep taking my chances with the approach of the Hunzas and Georgians... that lived into their hundreds in good health. As I've said before, it is truthful to say there is no risk to raw milk, because the risk is less than zero. In other words, if a large segment of the population were to begin drinking raw milk right now, there would be a huge DECREASE in disease among them, much less cancer, diabetes, ms, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.

But of course, this is the real reason the establishment demonizes raw milk. Btw I feel sorry for random event theorists like Mark, where everything is an amazing coincidence, gee all the major "news" stations and papers all forget to tell the real news in the same way, lie in the same way, day after day, year after year... hey have they found those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq yet, that they used to start yet another war to tighten their grip on global oil? Not yet? Don't worry Mark, they'll turn up sooner or later, the govt would never lie. Why that would be conspiracy. Organized evil behind the scenes. Preposterous!

Raw Milk MIke, you obviously understand the truth about raw milk, so hang in there.

Speaking of that author that wrote Holy Shit, Managing Manure ... , I wanted to build a simple cabin on my land using wood from a home they are demolishing nearby, but the county wouldn't let me, had to be 750 sq ft minimum... plus they wouldn't go for me using a simple composting toilet system, would force me to use septic (6 grand), where all the nutrients go into a vat in the ground instead of recycling back into the soil... so that house went into a landfill, and I'm renting in town at the moment, with the humaure getting flushed to who knows where.

Hey David , hope all is well.

Ora, I opened a youtube account under Tom M Culhane to make that corn harvest video for this forum last year, and then have used that account to post some music videos. The problem is, while I have recovered the ancient musical tunings, using simple math, I am not really a musician, so I have to learn how to play to get this out there. So check out my youtube account in like 3 months and I might have some nice music on there. I just got this free music program called Audacity, that lets you layer tracks very easily, so you can play a guitar piece, then sing, then sing an second voice, then put in some drumming... perfect for the one man band. ("it's tough not having friends", as a guy I knew used to say)

The videos I have posted there so far are borderline comedy because I can barely play, plus most of them I'm using a guitar I designed that plays 18 notes per octave, and would be hard even for a real musician to play... but I recently designed a six string fretless baritone guitar that I'm learning to play, and hope to get a keyboard soon... so like a say maybe 3 months from now look at that youtube channel.

Ora Moose's picture

Thanks Tom, I'm very interested and will keep an eye out for your new music videos. Btw, we've been mixing in some Einkorn wheat purchased locally when we bake bread at home, it's slightly nutty (you are what you eat) and delicious never mind healthier.

Another btw, Mama that post of mine you were offended by was not pigs, it was pygmies which are human. But speaking of pigs, another update:

Ora Moose, if you can figure out a way to get me your email I can send you a word document I'm typing that summarizes my findings re ancient musical tunings. Your guitarist friend might find it of interest also. (btw last time I posted my email address on the internet it ruined my account with spam).

(Sorry folks to interrupt the "debate" here on whether it's ok to eat natural foods and if the government and media cartel are trustworthy. )

Ora Moose's picture

David, could you please pass along my email to Tom? Refresher, it's firstinitiallastname@comcast. Let me know if you can't find it. And many thanks, Tom, looking forward to it.

Just wrote a song about raw milk and filmed it on the laptop (er it's a little rough):

(see my 3 month disclaimer above)

Sorry to go off topic again, but if anyone wants to hear the ancient musical keys played with violin sounds, skip to about 2 minutes into this vid:

I play chords and notes here in all the 12 ancient keys of music. This has all been lost with "modern tuning", where all the keys have the same sound and are blurry. It's similar to how people today don't know what curds and whey are, since raw milk has been written out of the story for most people who rely on book learning.

So there it is, the biggest musical discovery in "recorded history" (although it is part of unrecorded history I am sure). ok, back to the debate on if it's ok to eat real food...

mark mcafee's picture

The good old USA is a system of laws. That is the founders intent. That is how our nation has also evolved and also how may of the strongest corporations have bought and dominated the power.

However....these laws came change, if people show up, stand up, and speak up!!

Corpotations show-up better than any one person that I know. If we intend on winning back America and our food...then we had better start becoming part of the conversation and showing up standing up and speaking up. If that means as a group that is just fine...if that means by dollar voting that works fine also. One thing that is empty and powerless is bitching and moaning in complete madness and with wild conspiracies swimming in our heads...from afar. This change happens up close and personal with smart engaged people.

Engagement works. PhD's, researchers and the regulators are paid to engage and that is why they get a seat at the table. As producers and consumers we can also chose to engage. RAWMI created its own opportunity and now sits at a table that it helped build!!!

When sitting at the big raw milk table it is required that you speak the language. If you speak "raw-milk-weirdness or conspiracy jiberish"...the others at the table of raw milk peace and progress will not serve you any dinner and look at your very funny if they regard you as present at all !!!

This is a political and educational process. This process undoes 100 years of industrial investment...and pushes perhaps one of the most profound admissions that we are forcing to be made by huge establishments...pasteurized milk is not settled science.... it has been demonstrated to be a failed science and is a nutritional mismatch for the human biome.

As we all speak our minds, be aware that others are reading and making notes about our intellect or madness. Lets be unified and somewhat in-synch.

"It is required that you speak "the" language". Are you talking about the language of the natural world?

David Gumpert's picture

One of the things Don Schaffner and Ben Chapman said to me, by way of explanation for the conflict over raw milk, is that public health professionals are taught as part of their training that raw milk is inherently dangerous, and that pasteurized milk is the only solution. It is difficult to un-do that kind of thinking when it has been drummed into you during your formative years. 

Mark, it is important to think about the "process" you describe as a two-way street. We, including those regulators, PhD's and researchers, have become distant from traditional food production. The main national policy goal over the last 50 years has been cheap food, not nutritious or sustainably produced food.  Those who have been opposed to raw milk and those pushing for wider availability each have much to learn from the other....that's how wide the chasm has become. 

Ora Moose's picture

"What’s going on? Certainly I play an important role, since I provoke. I poke fun at the authorities. I was guilty early on of personalizing some of my attacks at people in positions of power. I found that some of those created more negativity than positive results."

David, please do not allow yourself to think that you are somehow responsible for the "sometimes negative tone." Regarding complaints, if didn't have any you'd be complaining and turning soft we don't want that.

"prevent access to"

Those should be the key words to any regulatory food discussion, requiring proof. Huge Developments, I saw them back up the Frustration Bubbles way back never

mark mcafee's picture


You lost me on that video. The indian in the video would probably do well on a very slow reservation in a mud hut...or tee pee. His language is slow, confusing and his understanding of modern food safety progress was mediated by way to much Peyote peace pipe. If he sat at the would be a joke and you know it. No others would sit at the able! That is the problem arround here. Serious science and modern engagement is nearly a waste of time. Staring at stars and eating raw meat is not the way to any meaningful raw milk access or market change in America.

Clear concise intellegent conversation with real data and raw milk markets that show real growth and a real story of no sick people and a whole lot of happy healthy people is the theme of progress.

That is not the language I am referring too.

Progress? Real data ? Where do we find real data? Is slow a problem? Being in a hurry without understanding where we are going isn't working very well. What Russel Means is talking about is a paradigm shift. You are right,a little peyote might give you a peek at the paradigm he is talking about. I agree that he would not be taken seriously at "the table". That is the problem.The rest of those people are not likely to want to listen to what he is saying. Maybe the problem is a lack of respect for the natural world. Maybe "serious science" is about replacing the natural world with a better design rather than seeking to understand it and become a part of it.I don't understand the language you speak. What do you mean by" modern engagement"? Is the purpose of negotiations to reinforce acceptance of the old paradigm? The old paradigm ,we could call it "pasteurization", has obviously failed to make us healthy and happy. The new paradigm is recognizing that all creatures( big and small) depend on each other and need to respect each other.

D. Smith's picture

@ Miguel: It's obvious that Mark doesn't know much about history. A slow Indian?? Oh geez.

Here's a post I did about Russell Means on my forum a few years ago. Maybe this will help clear up a few things. He had his share of trouble, no doubt about it. Because he was an out-of-the-box sort of guy. But he understood life. Much more than most people do today. Sad that he's dismissed as a "slow Indian". He was no such thing. I knew him because he was a good friend of a man I used to work for so I saw him often. The man I worked for is no weenie, either. And, believe it or not, he was Jewish and understood Means' ideals and messages. A very unlikely pair - an Indian rebel and a State Senator.

Ora Moose's picture

D, that was very nice post, I think you were lucky to have personally known him. It may be just a fantasy, but if I could go back in time and live anywhere in the world at a given time, I would choose North America before the white man destroyed the established Indian way of life. Give me strong values, traditions and respect for the Earth and what nature provides, I can do without convenient toxic foods and people.

And Mama, the Milk song is safe though it may not be your cup of tea pardon the pun.

D. Smith's picture

@ Ora: My brothers and I agree that if we could make our own "birth" choices, we'd have been born in the mid 1800's or so. One of my brothers, however, would like to have gone waaaaay back, as you described in your post about being on this continent before the whites ever got here. As a woman, I don't think I'd wanna go back quite that far! "Respect for the earth and what nature provides" - now those are goals to strive for. Instead, we are now going full-speed the wrong direction - in every way.

Ora Moose's picture

D, here's an article that pretty well sums up my interpretation of the words dignity and integrity:

D. Smith's picture

@ Ora: I agree - I read that just a few days ago. Most of the people in this area are not happy about the prospect of this pipeline because it will tear up the land. Regardless of what we are told, the land is never the same after that. They've already had spills all over creation which doesn't make the prospect of this any more attractive to the people who live in this region, I can tell you!

This is OT, but you may be interested in the Leatherstocking series, if you haven't already read them as a child. I ordered one LARGE book (bigger than both of my medical dictionaries and assorted other surgical word books, etc.) with all five of James Fenimore Cooper's major stories in one volume, but I did a search and couldn't find the same book anywhere. This link is close, but you'll get the idea.

You can also order the books individually, of course. My favorite was The Pioneer, but The Deerslayer was good, too, and of course The Last of the Mohicans is a grand story by itself. I often wonder what these people would have had to say about pasteurized milk products. :)

You may also enjoy the book called Trails Plowed Under by Charles M. Russell. It is fantastic reading as well as it has several pen & ink drawings of some of his most famous works, which were later done in oil. Can't say enough good things about the common sense of the good ol' cowboys.

Shelly-D.'s picture

"I pursued the matter: Were there any state situations allowing raw milk that they liked, that might serve as a model for states like their own, New Jersey and North Carolina, that prohibit its sale? Nope. Nothing doing. "

We know what these two gentlemen want. They, and the rest of their profession want what their colleagues got implemented up in British Columbia: Raw milk is defined as a health hazard. You are eligible for a $3,000,000 fine or 3 years in jail for "causing a health hazard."

Here are the laws:

“The following are prescribed as health hazards: (a) milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurized at a licensed dairy plant in accordance with the Milk Industry Act” (Health Hazards Regulation (B.C. Reg. 216/2011), Section 2a)

“A person must not willingly cause a health hazard, or act in a manner that the person knows, or ought to know, will cause a health hazard.” (Public Health Act, Section 15)
“A person who contravenes either of the following commits an offence: (a) section 15 [causes a health hazard];” (Public Health Act, Section 99(3a))
“(1) In addition to a penalty imposed under section 107 [alternative penalties], a person who commits an offence listed in … (c) section 99(3) is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 36 months, or to both.” (Public Health Act, Section 108(1c)]" (from

People, wake up. This is your future.

rawmilkmike's picture

Shelly, BC only has 5 health hazards, sounds like the place to live. Have there been any convictions yet?

Shelly-D.'s picture

Alice Jongerden ("Home on the Range") was convicted. So was Gordon here. Other agisters have been threatened with serious consequences if they didn't stop, and some have stopped because they saw what happens if you don't.

rawmilkmike's picture

Where they actually convicted? In the US there's usually some sort of plea bargain. In Wisconsin they just pull your license and then charge you with not having a license even though they say it is illegal to sell raw milk to the same person twice.

dschaffner's picture

"We know what these two gentlemen want."

You know what I want? I want people to stop telling me what I want when you have never spoken to me or discussed my thoughts on the issue under consideration.

- Don

Shelly-D.'s picture

Don, I do not need to speak with you, because your interviews say it all. The "Food safety expert" community, of which you belong, wants raw milk banned. Your agreement with this shows in three ways: In a previous podcast, you voiced that you want people to stop drinking it and wanted to come up with ways to achieved this; in conversation with Dr. Gumpert, there are no circumstances you would agree to which it would be legal; and you have never spoken up in public against what is being done to raw milk supporters by your colleagues. By wanting raw milk banned, you agree with those who have not only threatened raw milk farmers with jail time, fines, and losing their farms, but have also carried through with these threats. These are some of the outcomes of banning raw milk and government efforts to try to ban it:

- A farmer is put in jail and tortured for 8 days: "NaturalNews can now report that 65-year-old senior citizen James Stewart, a raw milk farmer with no criminal history, was nearly tortured to death in the LA County jail this past week. He survived a 'week of torturous Hell' at the hands of LA County jail keepers who subjected him to starvation, sleep deprivation, hypothermia, loss of blood circulation to extremities, verbal intimidation, involuntary medical testing and even subjected him to over 30 hours of raw biological sewage filth containing dangerous pathogens." (California)

- A farm-worker is abducted, held against his will, and threatened: "[He} was thrown into a van and forced to tell them where [the farmer] was at the time. Then they drove to that house, set up infrared cameras and listening devices, and stayed for half an hour. After this, the cousin was pushed out of the van and told not to tell anyone about the incident or 'he would be sorry.' .... Local farmers ... had been asked if they would house surveillance teams. For a period of several months, vehicles were parked on the road close to the farm both day and night. Whenever farm personnel approached these cars, they took off. License plate numbers were recorded and passed on to the police who said they were unable to trace them." (Ontario)

- "Raw Milk Moms" have been threatened with "criminal or administrative penalties": "A few weeks after the initial outbreaks, [her] problems began. Investigators from the MDA, accompanied by local police, showed up at her home one morning, presented her husband with a criminal search warrant, and spent two hours going through the family's refrigerator and questioning her about whether she was reselling milk, meat,and other food. She was "terrified, horrified, traumatized"by the home search, breaking down in tears in front of the seven investigators and police rummaging through her kitchen. "

- A peaceful Amish farmer is threatened with 3 yrs in jail or $10,000 in fines (Wisconsin).

These are just a few examples - some of us know many more, personally.


"From there, we moved on to the question of whether the feds really have it in for raw milk. They said, quite sincerely, that they didn’t think so. As if food club members and farmers who have been hit by raids are all paranoid. "

A timeline of some of these raids is at .

Don, you and your loved ones have never been arrested, jailed, fined, threatened with loss of land and livelihood, or had your marriage break up because of the stress of ongoing harassment and threats, by government officials, because of raw milk. You haven't had a child protection worker call on you because someone reported to them that you gave raw milk to your child. You are in the enviable position of being able to lecture about it from an ivory tower, secure in the fact that your job and life are under no threat what-so-ever. We are not in this position of safety, privilege, and power-over that you are in. Instead, we know systemic oppression, government-sponsored vilification, and legal threats first-hand. Can you blame anyone if emotions on our side "run high"? You are not violating a law and at risk up to 3 yrs in jail or a $3M fine for bringing your preferred beverage home in a cooler ("causing a Health Hazard"). I am, every week, thanks to you and your colleagues. Will I stop doing it? No, because the improvements in my children's health due to raw milk are worth the risk, and as a mother I will do anything for my children. If you want our trust, if you want to dialogue, then how about talking about legalization and speak out publicly against the persecution, raids, and arrests if you disagree with them, because there is no middle ground.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Sorry, Shelley, this will be short (I'm at a conference right now), but girl, did you ever hit the nail right on the head with your post!! Big kudos to you. As all of my girls are now grown & raising young ones of their own, like you, they too will do what ever it takes for protecting their children's health.

Ken Conrad's picture

Well said Shelly>


dschaffner's picture

Shelly, did you listen to the podcast or just read David's summary?

Shelly-D.'s picture

I read David's summary. Can you provide a link to the podcast where you interview David? I did not think it was posted yet.

dschaffner's picture

As of February 8, 2014 and 10:02 PM (Eastern) its not posted. The audio editing is done, and the draft show notes are written. Ben and I expect to post it over the weekend. We will also let David know, and as he says, "The actual podcast isn't available yet; when it is, presumably in a matter of days, I will post a link."

dschaffner's picture

"In a previous podcast, you voiced that you want people to stop drinking it and wanted to come up with ways to achieved this"

Please listen to the previous podcast, and tell me where I said I wanted people to stop drinking raw milk.

"in conversation with Dr. Gumpert, there are no circumstances you would agree to which it would be legal"

Again, please tell me where I said this.

"and you have never spoken up in public against what is being done to raw milk supporters by your colleagues."

Have you been present every time I've spoken about raw milk in public?

Ora Moose's picture

Shelly, I haven't responded directly to any of your posts yet, but want you to know that your input is very highly regarded and appreciated please keep it coming. Keeep in mind, "they" are watching and reading everything, there's no such thing as privacy anymore

Shelly-D.'s picture

No, there is no such thing as privacy, The Health Authorities in my province are happily busy tracking down cowshares and goatshares and shutting them down (a make-work project for health inspectors, if you ask me). One of their tactics is to pose as potential consumers wanting to find a source of raw milk, even inventing lies about needing it for their family's health - and then they bust any farmers they find. You can be certain that they have someone monitoring this blog. Even saying publicly that there are still herdshares operating in this province puts them all at risk. After all, according to the BCCDC, raw milk is dangerous. Fines, jail time, and losing our farms are all okay by these folks, because obviously to them, what we're doing makes use worse than drug dealers. If I sold heroin, I'd be up for a maximum $1000 fine, not $3million.

If the ( so-called ) Health Authorities had lowered the boom on a cowshare in British Columbia, most likely I would’ve heard about it. But I have not. Northern Health Authority intimidated a couple of Agisters, so as to make them quit, but that was 4 years ago. Wild Things Organics wound their cowshare down, largely because the Agisters were worn out after doing a wonderful job for 7 years. A goatmilk herdshare had to retreat from selling it as pet food at a farmer's market, yet no prosecution

50 years ago, Andy Warhol said 'in the future, there will be no privacy'... and here we are. No doubt the govt. knows what's going on at grassroots level, or else they're fools. Or is that redundant? I’m guessing that we have not seen RCMP jackboots stomping in to a farmyard of any of the cowshares here because BC Supreme Court Justice Wong gave "the authorities" what they wanted – gaol-time for us Contemnors. That, plus, a dry judgment for $100,000 court costs!, was enough of a triumph for Prosecutrixie Susan Beach to sit back, do nothing and gloat … at least until judges in a higher Court, decide whether Canadians have the right to use and enjoy our private property, in Michael Schmidt’s appeal, in Ontario.
In our hearing a year ago, I made the govt.'s expert witness admit that there’s no evidence of anyone getting sick from drinking raw milk over the last 33 years*. That, plus the fact that one of the top guys in the BC Centre For Disease Control, is on our side, set the over-educated dunces back on their heels.

The post on this forum, about a pastor advising people to quit fellowshipping at home dinner parties, because he’s worried about a health authority inspecting private premises, makes me retch. You wonder why this nation is in such deplorable condition? There’s your answer, in a nutshell. A chickenshit pulpit parrot, who derives his salary out of the public trough via the iniquitous income tax racket, lacks the simple courage to stand his ground on a winnable issue. Summarized as : “occupy til I come”. If he ‘can’t run with the footmen, how shall he do in the swelling of the Jordan?’ Meaning,; if the guy lacks the very minimum testicular wherewithal, now, how’s he going to fare when the heat REALLY comes down?! And you can tell him I said so : I can be reached at 604 526 5064 for my stock sermon on Romans 13

Go read a bit of the history of the Republic… educate yrself as to what men and women were made of in those days ; a far, far cry from the jamtarts in charge of congregations, today = compromisers simpering and toadying to the local ministerial association, beholden to the God-damned World Council of Churches. Oh, I could go on

* the one single case proffered by “the authorities” - ostensibly a child who got sick from raw milk from a goatshare, in 2001, in Chemainus BC - is debatable. That family had been at a petting zoo, days before the incident. Not one person in the 18 other families who drank the same milk, got ill.

to gaol - is hanging back, not lowering the boom on anyone.

Shelly-D.'s picture

When we hear about these "outbreaks," are some of them maybe due to some consumers not being careful about cross-contamination (let's say, with uncooked chicken) in their kitchens? What if the chickens came from the same farm as the milk - the same bugs would be there as are at the farm, but it was the chicken that caused the illness, not the milk. Or, when you went to the farm, you were sloppy and let your dog out to run (please do not let your dogs out on other people's farms) and your dog then ate or stepped in something it shouldn't have, brought something nasty home, and then your kids played with the dog. It wasn't the milk, but many of these "outbreaks" will be blamed on the milk anyway, because the inspector will only ask you if you or your family had consumed raw milk.

rawmilkmike's picture

Shelly, even though chicken is convicted with the same ridiculous epidemiological evidence as raw milk, I was about to agree with you until you said “and your dog then ate or stepped in something it shouldn't have, and brought something nasty home”. Would you really buy raw milk from a place you consider nasty? I thought you were going to say that maybe your dog left something nasty on the farm. Because this is the very reason testing the farm for pathogens is so silly in the case of a cow share where the consumers themselves are all over the farm. Of course they will all have the same bacteria. That doesn't prove who contaminated who.

rawmilkmike's picture

Have you ever asked yourself who all this propaganda is meant for? Is it meant for us, in the hope that we will just shut up and go away, is it meant to convince themselves or is it a legal precedent they're looking for?

rawmilkmike's picture

For any working stiffs interested in buying fresh organic Jersey milk strait from the cow, here is a list of:
Things we can agree to on a hand shake:
1. I will never drink it without boiling it first.
2. If I were to drink it, it would only be for the taste.
3. I will never give it to my children or anyone else.
4. I will never recommend it to anyone.
5. I am buying it for bathing.
6. I am buying it for cat-food.
7. I am buying it to reduce my carbon foot print.
8. I want to buy local.
9. I like driving out to the country every Saturday.
10. The farmers are so friendly.
11. My kids love the cows.
Things we can agree to in writing:
1. If I were to drink it, it would only be for the taste.
2. I am buying it to reduce my carbon foot print.
3. I want to buy local.
4. I like driving out to the country every Saturday.
5. The farmers are so friendly.
6. My kids love the cows.
Things we can never say or agree to if we want to buy raw milk:
1. That it could contain harmful pathogens.
2. That it could cause illness.
3. That it could cause HUS.
4. That it could cause death.
5. That it has health benefits.
6. That it cured or will cure illness.
Any other suggestions?

Bryan - oz4caster's picture

Keep up the good work David. It's not easy trying to bridge the wide gap between raw milk opponents and supporters. And it's also very difficult to bring together the diverse views of raw milk supporters in order to increase our power by providing a more united effort. I have met and talked to regulators, farmers, consumers, and have had the pleasure to meet some of my raw milk heroes including Mark McAfee, Michael Schmidt, Ted Beals, and Sally Fallon Morell. So I am well aware of the complexity of all the issues and perspectives. It's a tough challenge and we need more people like you to help in achieving progress.

My personal view is that in our overly regulated society, it is inevitable that if the sale of raw milk is to be legalized it will have to come under regulation. If we are forced to have regulations, my preference is that they should be tiered with more stringent regulations applying to the largest dairies, less stringent regulations to medium sized dairies, and little or no regulation of very small dairies. Where to draw the line on dairy size? Maybe over 100 cows - large, 11 to 100 - medium, and 10 or less - small. Any regulations should be designed to optimize milk safety at reasonable cost (easier said than done I realize). Any testing of raw milk should in all fairness be required at the same level for pasteurized milk (which has sickened many more people than raw milk). As a consumer, I would personally be quite happy with allowing direct sale of raw milk from farm to consumer at farmers markets or drop locations with little regulation. If people want regulated milk, they can buy it in grocery stores.

Ora Moose's picture

Here's a radical idea, that probably has little or no merit and will be shot down in no time. " It's not easy trying to bridge the wide gap between raw milk opponents and supporters."

So would anyone trying to bridge that gap go for half and half? As in, raw milk mixed with pasteurized in equal pooportions, not that the purist amongst us would ever go for that but scientifically and politically speaking could it be possible to have a product that is semi safe or semi dangerous? Just wondering

D. Smith's picture

That would be almost the same thing as vat pasteurized milk, which is acceptable but not raw. Some of it is even homogenized so you still have to be very careful when purchasing. Vat pasteurized is available in health food stores sometimes, but a lot of the stores where I live have simply quit carrying it because people don't want it. If they can't get raw milk from the farm or a drop-off point, they do without. PERIOD. I don't object to vat pasteurized if it's not homogenized. But it's still not the same goodness as raw milk.

Bryan - oz4caster's picture

Ora, I wouldn't go for half and half. To me "bridging the gap" is seeking and encouraging honest and open dialogue. I'm afraid that where politics are involved, this is tough. There are hidden agendas that are more about market control and profit than about public health. The public health issue is a scare tactic for those seeking market control and has been for quite some time now. It has been very successful for pushing questionable vaccines as well for banning sales of raw milk. To succeed, we ultimately have to win the court of public opinion and get enough public support to have the political clout necessary to overcome the political forces against us. Thankfully, this problem has been overcome in at least a few states. A big part of this process is educating the public.

Ken Conrad's picture


“The public health issue is a scare tactic for those seeking market control and has been for quite some time now.” You said a mouthful!

Such an agenda however may be less hidden in Canada where we have a marriage of convenience between marketing boards (the only legally recognized buyer of raw milk”) and the federal and provincial ministries of health where indeed the efforts of one serve the efforts of the other.

If the court of public opinion desires regulation and standards then that is what the public will get including all of its biased idiosyncrasies. Indeed if people want regulated milk, they can buy it in grocery stores. For the family and myself we have been and will continue to drink our raw milk untested and unregulated.

D. Smith's picture

@ Bryan: I agree with everything you say, except that the regulations are what's strangling the raw milk industry where I live. They've made it so difficult for the dairy people to follow the new regulations, no matter what size operation. So, our only local raw milk dairy went out of business in December (another coincidence with all the other "dairy stuff" that went on during the month of December 2013?). No coincidence at all, very well planned timing from the people making these rules. I think David wrote articles about some of the other things, such as the AAP statement and a couple of other well-timed blastings.

I agree though that if folks want regulated milk we can buy it at a supermarket.

Shawna Barr's picture

"My personal view is that in our overly regulated society, it is inevitable that if the sale of raw milk is to be legalized it will have to come under regulation. If we are forced to have regulations, my preference is that they should be tiered with more stringent regulations applying to the largest dairies, less stringent regulations to medium sized dairies, and little or no regulation of very small dairies."

Such sensibility! I'm ready to talk about making that a reality! Anyone else?

Although I think I would swap the words "less stringent" for "scaleable regulations" Quality standards should be the same across the board. However, how those standards are acheived should be adaptable based on the size and particular needs of each raw milk producer.

Ken Conrad's picture

What would be the difference between Bryan’s variable regulations and your “scalable regulation”?
Could you elaborate on how “scalable regulation” could be used to achieve the same quality standards across the board? The two ideas appear to be mutually exclusive and I would think that if your regulation were scalable or variable that you would have a difficult time achieving “the same quality standards across the board”.

As I stated in agreement with Miguel, “getting past this “absurdity” about "pathogens” is critical if we wish to live constructive, healthy lives”.


Shawna Barr's picture

What I mean is the quality of the final product should be the same, regardless of size of the operation, but the steps taken to get to the final product may look different.

Here's an example. Lets say the standard we are trying to achieve is "Milking equipment should be kept clean and free of biofilm build up." If I am milking 500 cows, my milking equipment probably consists of some kind of automatic pipeline system. The system is rather large, and requires an automated wash system using lots of water, specific cleaners, check points, etc. Every inch of the system cannot be cleaned by hand. The waste water used to clean the system will have to be properly managed, etc.

Contrast that with a farmer milking 5 cows. Her milking equipment may consist of a bucket milker. The system has 3 feet of milk line and can be thorougly washed by hand in a sink using abou 6 gallons of clean hot water, basic household cleansers and some vinegar to control milkstone buildup.

A farmer hand-milking one cow into a bucket has an even more simple task of equipment cleaning.

The final outcome is that the "stringent" standard of maintaining clean equipment is achieved for all three operations. The methods used to achieve those standards are adaptable to the scale and specific needs of the farm. This seems like common sense, but its not. Take a look at dairy regulations and they tend to be one-size-fits all...and that size is big.

Quality. Keeping equipment clean is important. Mineral content is also important. Freedom from agricultural contaminants such as herbicide residues and antibacterials is also part of quality.

Ken Conrad's picture

Regulations are based on standards that are backed up by rules or directives made and maintained by an authority whose purpose is to achieve a consistent and required, or agreed level of quality.

I have no problem with educating farmers as to potential protocols for achieving certain reasonable common sense standards. If you choose however to introduce a nitpicking complex array of scalable or variable regulations in order to achieve such an objective then you are merely playing into the hands of the regulator and opening up Pandora’s box.

As I stated above in my comment to Bryan, “If the court of public opinion desires regulation and standards then that is what the public will get including all of its biased idiosyncrasies.”


rawmilkmike's picture

Byron said:
“If we are forced to have regulations, my preference is that they should be tiered with more stringent regulations applying to the largest dairies, less stringent regulations to medium sized dairies, and little or no regulation of very small dairies.”
That sounds great but it assumes that regulations aren't intended to put small and medium sized dairies out of business.

D. Smith's picture

@ Ken: The other absurdity we need to get rid of, or at least better define, is "peer reviewed studies". If these studies are peer reviewed it should be stated if they were independently verified and who did the verifying and how. Otherwise it's pseudo intellectual sophism. People who wish to persuade others without real evidence will frequently rely on peer reviews, in God-like terms. At best, specious arguments.

A Peer Reviewed Study is any study which has been reviewed by another member of the same profession. It can be likened to “My friend, Jim, says my study is great!” However, an independently verified study is any study which has been duplicated by an independent third party. This means that someone else did the same study using the same procedure outlined in the original study and achieved statistically similar results. Of course, they must also report differing results, and that can be a disadvantage, at which point *peer reviewed* loses its shine. ;)

The article at the link below deals with medicine rather than raw milk, but it holds peer review under the microscope. Looking for truth without bias is difficult these days no matter what subject you are discussing.

Bryan - oz4caster's picture

Mike, that's why I said "Any regulations should be designed to optimize milk safety at reasonable cost". To me a reasonable cost should not put most dairies out of business. That would be an unreasonable cost. My greatest concern with milk safety is if large confinement dairies were to begin producing raw milk for consumption. I'm not even sure that's a good idea. I would not drink raw milk from a confinement dairy. But if we are ever going to get the political support of big dairy, that option may be of greatest interest to them.

D. Smith's picture

This is a great little article about food regulators and the want for food freedoms. I know, lots of folks don't like John Stossel, but this is short and could easily apply to raw milk. I, for one, would NOT want photos of my home and my guests posted on social sites (I don't belong to any social sites but lots of people do and will post absolutely anything). But the rest of this is just common sense.

When did we unravel about food rights and food safety? We still get together with several couples a few times a year and eat, slosh around some booze and have a great time. How long before THAT will be illegal? Can I invite my kids and their families for dinner without a food inspector? We used to have "triangle dinners" through our church (3 couples get together at someone's home once a month, until all 3 have been the host). I don't know that it's been "outlawed" but our Pastor has discontinued them out of fear. This is just all getting way too nutzo.

rawmilkmike's picture
mark mcafee's picture


After a nights sleep, I think that I need to apologize. The language spoken by the indian in your not foreign and it is not slow or unwelcomed. I can certainly appreciate a language that is connected to the earth and grounded in acknowledgement of nature and its great powers. Please excuse me and forgive me. Just because this man has an appreciation for nature does not mean that his language is not part of the whole and perhaps a vision for a better future. Wisdom of the ages is tragically lost in todays world.

Dave Milano's picture

Calling eaters a “market” is absurd. Eating is essential to life. Food ought to be no more a commodity than is air. (Though I'm sure if the corporate/government world could figure out a way to control our air supply they would do it in a minute.)

You know, come to think of it, commercializing air might not be such a bad idea really. It could be a big improvement over the current wild-west, everybody-breath-whatever-they-darn-well-please system. Think of the potential for advancement in health and well-being! What if we were, at long last, prevented from breathing air that doesn't meet a legal quality standard? And the economic possibilities! Endless! New jobs and new money channels would spring up like mushrooms--production, storage, distribution, financing, research, regulation...

Sure, there will be doubters. Some people will develop a little cough or some shortness of breath, and suspect that the system is better at producing money than good air. The doubters will clamor loudly for new and better regulation. In the midst of the clamor new businesses will arise--organic air purveyors! These will be small businesses at first, and they won't have an easy time of it, what with all the global-air business/government collusion. But the organic air market will surely grow, and its businesses with it, maybe enough that regulators are forced to allow organic airmen to sit at the big table and share ideas, or even help write new regulations, so organic air can be as financially viable as standard air.

Yes indeedy, now THAT will be progress!

Ken Conrad's picture

The government is already in the air business. It’s called “hot air”.

Ora Moose's picture

Dave, stop it. You're sounding too much like me with the the absurdities and making me think, it hurts. I'll settle for the wild west (wait was that a pun?) Maybe I'll go into the organic air balloon business.

rawmilkmike's picture

Holy cow! I need to print a copy of this.

Ora Moose's picture

Mark, you still out there? Haven't heard much must be busy. Anyways this one made me think of you, stay strong and don't collaborate too much with insidious corporate controlled government entities. True independent scientist entities? definitely

dschaffner's picture

Hey folks. The podcast that Ben and I did with David is now posted: David joins us at about 25:30 and then leaves at around 1:30:00. I'm sure David will link into his post above, but I wanted to get this to you as soon as it was posted.

David Gumpert's picture

Don, I have linked to the podcast in the post above, the first time I make mention of it. Thanks for forwarding.

Ora Moose's picture

Just because they're not out to get you, doesn't mean you shouldn't be paranoid or unemployed. My chickens approved this message.

rawmilkmike's picture
rawmilkmike's picture

Don's podcast is apparently a home made comedy show for fellow Food Safety Specialist.
They call us these people and they are clearly after small producers. They almost seem to be admitting they want them out of business.

dschaffner's picture

Ok, last comment Mike, and then I'm gone from this thread. It's my job to help food processors of all sizes. Please tell me where I (or Ben) said we want small producers out of business. We want everyone to make safe food. The only ones we want out of business (big or small) are those that don't make safe food.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Hi Don - why waste your time with him? Hasn't it been obvious by now that he has no concept of where you are coming from? Instead, I think you would better benefit with talking with people who have consumed raw milk and/or raw milk products all of their lives (and many do not necessarily live on a farm), talk with the multitudes of families who have changed to raw milk to successfully overcome serious medical problems/issues with themselves and/or their children, talk with the many pediatric and general practice physicians who recognize, advocate and promote the use of raw milk consumption, afterwards I think you will start to recognize that there is something more here than meets the eye! I am one of those who have consumed raw milk and raw milk products all of my life (still do!), I have raised 4 strong, healthy daughters on raw milk and raw milk products and who have incredible health and immunity (not from vaccines) as adults now. I have been in medicine for over 30 yrs, I am in interventional cardiology with my speciality being cardiac electrophysiology. I have watched in dismay at how over time we have 'strayed' from common sense medicine and have allowed the big pharmas to dominate what we could and should be doing with patients. A number of my colleagues have recognized this and have adapted a more homeopathic/natural means for treating their patients. Big pharma is not the answer, unfortunately the wide-spread growth of manufactured pharmaceuticals now cause much more damage to our patients due to their high side-effects that they now have. The FDA now allows so many pharmaceuticals to be available to the public than ever before and the cost in morbidity/mortality has risen exponentially. But, getting back to access to raw milk products, EVERYONE should have the freedom to have access to real foods such as raw milk. What I can't understand is why, after causing so many deaths and compromised health, big ag, factory operations (CAFOs) and large-scale producers are allowed to continue their production and have never been shut down, let alone made responsible for the deaths their tainted food products were responsible for (and remember, there has NEVER been a death from raw milk although the CDC tries to add in the 2 deaths that occurred from illegal Mexican soft cheese). The biggest problem currently with food safety lies with these over-sized food production facilities and CAFOs. Commonsense tells you that you cannot have a safe, healthy, nutrient rich food product when poultry or beef are over-crowded together, fed an unnatural diet, are very sick animals and are filled with so many chemicals. Why isn't the food safety 'experts' doing something about that instead of going after those that want the old traditional, nutrient rich real foods?! This question is meant to be a rhetorical question, I mean it to be 'food for thought' and am not asking you for an answer. The point that I am making to you that there is so much more to this picture that you may realize and recognize and I would like to encourage you to find/explore more on your own by talking with those that are deeply involved. Have you met Mark McAfee? He personally knows many families that have received major health benefits from raw milk, their stories will show you a much bigger picture than you currently have about raw milk. I would also love to see other regulators, agencies, scientists, etc. do the same.

rawmilkmike's picture

Deb, Where is it you think Don is coming from. Would you at least admit that he is selling a product?

Sorry Deb, I'm an electrician. So I talk and think like an electrician. Can you give me an example of what it is you don't like about my attempted conversation with Don?

The answer to your rhetorical question is $4 trillion a year and people like Don.

Someone who has grown up on raw milk only sees one side of the equation and can only speculate what there life would have been like without raw milk. People like myself KNOW the deference. We KNOW raw milk prevents the very illness Don believes it causes? Do you?

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

The only thing I have to say to you rawmilkmike, is that my name is Deborah, not Deb!!

rawmilkmike's picture

Sorry Deborah. My wife basically said the same thing to me a couple hours ago.

rawmilkmike's picture

Don, as you so often say, Please tell me where I said you said "we want small producers out of business."
What I did say was "They almost seem to be admitting they want them out of business."

D. Smith's picture

Real food shouldn't/doesn't need *science* to make it "safe" (whatever that is). Only processed phoods need science to try to maintain (and announce) its safety.

mark mcafee's picture

The government is showing its desparation....they want so badly to know the numbers of raw milk consumers but they can not reach far enough underground to figuer out how many of us drink raw milk.

Well, I am not tellin!!


D. Smith's picture

Raw milk is not "limited" by supply or demand. It's limited by strangulation regulation, just the way Marler & Co., like it to be.

And I'm not tellin' either. ;-)

David Gumpert's picture

Mark, thanks for that link. I posted some comments following that article pointing out how the CDC varies its estimates of the number of raw milk drinkers to maximize the fear index. One point from my comments:  In its estimate that raw milk is 150 times more dangerous than pasteurized milkCDC estimated that raw milk consumption comprised 1 percent of the market. (, 2nd paragraph). In that study, it wanted a lower consumption amount to show more illnesses per serving. In its more recent Minnesota study, it estimated that 3 per cent of consumers drinking raw milk, since it wanted a larger total gross number of illnesses (estimated more than 20,000).

That is what happens when an organization forgets it is about science and becomes obsessed with politics and propaganda. 

rawmilkmike's picture

Dschaffner, said “Mike, Based on 10 years of higher education and 25 years of being food microbiology professor, I'd say that the statement that "Nutrition is the most significant factor controlling the risk of foodborne illness." lacks scientific support.”

Don is not a nutritionist so he can't play the expert card.
Saying the idea, “lacks scientific support.” is not a true response. A true response would be: Nutrition is not the most significant factor controlling the risk of foodborne illness because...
Then he says: “I'm glad you've got foodborne illness in America figured out.” The truth is it's not all the hard to spot a vacuum cleaner salesman.
Doesn't this just prove what a major waste of time it is trying to have a conversation with these people.

D. Smith's picture

Many of the words/numbers bandied about by the regulator/scientific types may reflect an honest belief on their part, that the world really IS what they think it is - - because of their belief in numbers. It is their sincerity in these beliefs that is scary.

Ora Moose's picture


I really like your overall input and agree with most of it and appreciate your links to good info. However, before you give yourself a heart attack please consider backing off just a bit on "the tone" as it's been pegged and also the sheer volume of your replies although I am not a moderator and will defer that function to David. Aggressive defensive responses tend to generate more of the same and usually escalate to the point it's futile to belabor. Honey not vinegar keeps the bees alive.

Vacuum cleaner salesman, do they still exist other than on the internet?

David Gumpert's picture

Thanks, Ora. I agree. 

rawmilkmike's picture

Ora, Actually my nephew sells vacuum cleaners. So that may have not been the best analogy but I thought it sounded funnier than used care salesmen. I realize we are all selling something but some of us may be more notorious.

What I may need is a parent to limit my time on the computer.

I do realize a good interrogator has much better results when he befriends the subject. The idea is to keep them talking and eventually they will convict themselves. Sounds great in theory but it may take a certain personality type.

The posts you see are seldom my first drafts. I sometimes delete entire paragraphs in order to reduce the vinegar content.

I do admit it may be good for David to kind of straddle the fence but is that what you really want from rawmilkmike?

David Gumpert's picture

Mike, I think what Ora and several others are saying is what you are saying--that you need to set limits set on your posting. Your positions on pathogens, illness, raw milk safety, and related topics have been frequently stated. You don't need to continually re-state them. Thanks. 

rawmilkmike's picture

Light bulb moment. Kind of like the twilight zone. No one has ever actually had a discussion with me. Just “Your positions” have been documented. Maybe there's no such thing a discussion?

I wonder if it might ever be possible to approach some kind of concensus among TCP contributors?

Since pasteurization is the preferred method to ensure milk safety among food safety regulators (and others), it seems to me that the only necessary response among raw milk producers and consumers is to demonstrate/ensure that raw milk can consistently be produced to similar standards. While one might have rather different ideas about just about anything related to milk, I'd think that a common goal should be to address this rather simple target, by developing safety procedures that could be adopted by all raw milk suppliers (and that should be whole-heartedly and voluntarily enforced by all).
In my mind these would encompass, as a minimum, 1) the best possible hygiene to minimize contamination by environmental bacteria during the harvesting, bottling and processing of milk (and milk products) and 2) the best possible animal testing/culling to remove animals from raw milk herds that would otherwise shed potentially unsafe (v/v humans) bacteria into their milk.
The unified message, 'our milk is as safe as we can possibly make it'.
I would hope that this would be tenable even to those who do not believe that these bacteria are important or that the benefits of raw milk can overcome their potential for negative impact, because of an argument that they are then irrelevant it could be a compromise philosophy of 'I don't think these procedures are necessary/important, but if this is necessary for wider acceptance, then so be it'.
A formal poll might be interesting in this regard though.
If something like this were to become a consistent message available to existing and new raw milk farmers, I think everyone might benefit. TCP could have a valuable educating role here, but only if the contributors could be seen to agree more than they appear to at the moment.

rawmilkmike's picture

John, I agree that consumers should come to an understanding if possible. And the same probably goes for farmers.
The best approach may be to keep a low profile and use the law against them when ever possible. It's highly unlikely raw milk will ever be available to the general public. Unless you believe in the power of prayer.

All raw milk farmers and consumers should know pasteurization has nothing to do with milk safety.

“The unified message, 'our milk is as safe as we can possibly make it'.”? Have you said that out loud yet?

Isn't this the approach farmer are currently using?
Does anyone listen to consumers?

Doesn't your approach assume that food safety regulations are not by their very nature intended to eliminate raw milk and put small farmers out of business? Aren't all regulations inherently dangerous?

Don't you mean even to those who KNOW that these bacteria are NOT important?
What makes you believe that these bacteria are important?

How long have you been a raw milk consumer?

Shawna Barr's picture

Thank you MrJohn. You've essentially cited these:

Here we have procedures to avoid fecal and environmental contamination and verify animal health that can be achieved at any farm of any size that is producing raw milk.

I would also add that access to appropriate ongoing training and information is also important. One of the most helpful things (to me anyway) that public health could do when a raw-milk related outbreak occurs is to figure out how that pathogenic bacteria got into the milk. What were the conditions and processes, and what can other producers learn? This important information has been largely missing from outbreak investigations, which tend to just conclude "it was raw milk, thats why there way illness, end of story."

Shawna Barr's picture

I'd also like to comment to any Food Safety folks who aren't completely offended and are still reading that I understand how you may be slow to conclude that just following a set of standards automatically means raw milk is now "safe." That's OK. Time will likely tell us more. It seems that up to this point there has been little comparision between raw milk that is produced under a set of specific standards and that which is not. So consider walking along with us as we try this out. Ask your questions, and maybe you can answer some of ours. We're learning together, and I think at the end of the day we are about achieving a similar goal.

David Gumpert's picture

Shawna, the kind of public-supported training you are talking about is Agriculture Extension--courses in the basics of farming on a local or state-wide basis. As far as I know, there haven't been extension courses in any state covering the production of safe raw milk in decades, perhaps 100 years.  That would complement what RAWMI is trying to do, be probably more basic, but it could reach more farmers more quickly than RAWMI is currently able to do. 

The other part of what you are asking for--backtracking to pinpoint the cause of outbreaks--would similarly be very helpful to farmers. I'm not sure if this is part of extension, but it could happen as part of a partnership between extension and public health. 

All this requires a huge paradigm shift, from regarding raw milk as inherently unsafe to treating it as another food. 

Shawna Barr's picture

Dr. Shaffner: "I'm much more interested in understanding what factors control risk of foodborne illness (from raw milk, or any food for that matter) and then how we can design systems to manage and reduce that risk."

If factors can control risk, then perhaps we are moving past the "inherently dangerous" paradigm, or at least questioning it. I appreciate that.

negotiating about raw milk standards is NOT going on in Ioway = see the URL link, below
... there, no one showed up to speak up for REAL MILK. Instead, the resident snake-in-the-grass from this forum slithered-on in to a legislative hearing to tell her copyrighted tale of woe ... all-expenses-paid by the dairy cartel, no doubt! Her song and dance, there, coming off 180 degrees at variance from the pretence of reasonable-ness she makes here, ie. ' she'd condone REAL MILK for human consumption if it were to be done right'. (Remainder, comprising personal attack, deleted.)

D. Smith's picture

Iowa doesn't need much convincing. They are the HOME of pasteurized, homogenized, CAFO'ed bigfood. That State is poisoning all the States surrounding it because they just LOVE Monsanto's messed up seeds. Iowa is a prostitute State.

Ora Moose's picture

Mary, Gordon may be a little nutty but he has a point: WHY ARE YOU TESTIFYING before state legislators (out of state at that, isn't there some law regarding out of state testimony?) THAT RAW MILK SHOULD BE ILLEGAL< WHEN NO ONE IS THERE TO REBUT THAT CONTENTION?

I'll grant you all the respect you deserve, but it's just damn illogical for you to carry on this vendetta. Let me simplify it for you without attacking:

Me and the rest of raw milk crowd: " We would like to be able to eat and drink what we want."

You and the Marlers: "No, we want to make you criminals if you do that, and anyone with a cow is an accessory to the crime."

See any difference in them approaches?

Also "She said infected people can then pass them on to other people, who did not choose to consume the untreated dairy products."

So Mary, you and your son would be a prime example for reference, please tell us how many people Chris infected as proof? Thanks.

Ora Moose's picture

Transporting socially damaging psychological, unscientific testimony across state lines should be a bigger crime than transporting actual food, I'm sure Mark would agree.

"generational amnesia" is a great term (is that your own original saying or were you coached?) I'm pretty sure that's what you and most other sheeples are suffering from. We have been drinking raw milk for THOUSANDS of years but now it's dangerous? How soon we forget how soon is.

Look up the differences between allow, prevent, marginalize and criminalize. Look, I'm not trying to convince you or going to court to force you to drink coconut juice or raw milk. I'm a hands-off guy, why can't you be? What's in it for you? Please explain so we can understand and be convinced by your anti argument and maybe even switch camps.

"loving the cow will somehow magically prevent cow feces from getting into the milk”

ah, did you ever kill and process a chicken, a pig, or beef? there's shit inside, and outside. How did we ever survive? It's hard enough dealing with those plastic wrap styro foam packages with the chemical pads in them to last longer.


"McGonigle-Martin was brought to Iowa by public-health groups and commercial dairy interests."

How noble of you to do it out-of-pocket and strictly due to your strong beliefs in doing the right thing..

Pardon the rant and tone, but there's other things going on that influence the perspective such as my keyboard acting up.

OK back to my cave... where did I put my jaccuzi?

Ken Conrad's picture

Understanding the factors that lead to food born illness, or all illness for that matter, is important. Unfortunately it will not be possible to acquire a “comprehensive” understanding of such illnesses by focusing our attention on pathogens alone, while virtually ignoring and failing to address all the other factors that contribute to those illnesses. This leads to my question for Mr. John. What happens when “the best you can do” is not good enough? Because that is, where we are heading if we continue to focus solely on perceived harmful microbes and fail to address the root of the problem, namely the relentless drug and chemical assault and adulteration of food, water, soil bacteria, gut bacteria, and the immune systems of all mammals and pollinating insects etc.
The pathogens that you and others keep harping on are merely responding and trying to clean up this toxic mess. It’s what they are hardwired to do, they are not about to stop, and they will continue to adapt at our expense.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

I sense a growing frustration on this blog with all the repetition. Unfortunately this is what happens when dealing with entrenched, contradictory core beliefs.
I am trying to approach this issue from a natural, all-inclusive perspective rather then from an unnatural, narrow focus on segregation and manipulation of specific microbes. My persistent response is prompted by your persistent focus.

Many including myself have voiced the need for education in order inform the public, however education based on whose knowledge? The process of acquired knowledge is clearly relative. Who on this blog can claim that their knowledge is sufficiently developed and accurate enough to use it as a benchmark for truth and therefore impose it on others and sue the pants off of farmers?


Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Ken - you are absolutely correct & very much in alignment with my way of thinking as well. Many of us that have been in medicine have realized that there really is not just one factor that is contributing to a illness, condition or situation. There are those of us that have been in the standard medical tract that have realized there was more to true health than what we have been taught. This has prompted the move for many of us to study & implement holistic, homeopathic methods in an increasing complicity. Many of us have also realized the impact that the unhealthy environment, food systems, water supplies, etc have on people's health & well-being, and while we cannot physically do anything to avert them for our patients, many of us have joined groups who target these problems & assist in bringing about awareness & change, whether locally or politically. A person can not be fully well when being compromised by unhealthy foods, air, water, environment, etc. It is not just only about microbes and/or is about everything! But, unfortunately, most of the players involved are plagued with tunnel vision & will not even attempt to look beyond that tunnel, so it becomes frustrating when trying to point out that there are many more factors involved beyond the one within that tunnel. It will take lots of diligent work, Ken, to encourage everyone to broaden their way of thinking & to encourage them to 're-educate' themselves.

Ken and Shawna
Thankyou for replying. Since I think Shawna and I are close to being on the same page, I'll reply just to Ken.
I think you are suggesting 2 forms of the current human condition. I'll call these 'modern mainstream' and 'natural'. The way I see it, a conversion to raw milk is a tiny bridge between these, in that it permits passage of microbes from perhaps a more 'natural' condition into the mainsteam (where these microbes are normally absent). And yes, understanding and containing these bugs likely is the best anyone can hope to do. All bugs aside, however, I think all I argued for was impeccable on-farm hygiene and disease-free cows.

The cornerstone of this blog is 'choice'. I suspect that only when the mainstream chooses a more natural way will your ideal be approachable.

Also. I'm not certain I agree with you. Despite the error of our ways, 'mainstream' lives in NA can be very long and healthy (and these lives continue to lengthen, largely since the control of most infectious issues are now the bigger problem, I think). Historic (more natural) lifespans were often quite short, often ending because of simple infections. Modern agriculture has been around for at least 6 decades and productivity continues to increase (so we are doing something right, I think). It's not perfect, but all these hard-working farm families are likely doing their best (for the rest).

The pathogens that I keep 'harping on about' just happen to find some of their best living conditions on and around cows (especially milk-fed calves actually).....but, most humans work for them too, and sometimes the pathogen's toxic messes can be a problem in human bodies.


Ken Conrad's picture

There were many factors that decreased the mortality rate and yes improved hygiene indeed played a substantial role.
In the early part of the Industrial Revolution living conditions in factory cities were crowded and dirty. Homes were unheated, and poorly constructed with many people living in basement apartments with dirt floors that were often wet and muddy. Food supplies were unreliable, impure, and limited to such a degree that nutrition was an ongoing problem. Some of the treatments used in medicine were barbaric to say the least and no doubt attributed to many deaths. “Antimony compounds were frequently used in the 19th century according to the preparations mentioned in the 11th United States Dispensatory of 1858 and the respected Remington’s Practice of Pharmacy (1885)”.
“Antimony became popular as a medicine in the 1700s, especially as a laxative, able to blast through the most compacted bowels. It was so good the chronically constipated would root through their excrement to retrieve the pill and reuse it later. Some lucky families passed down antimony laxatives from generation to generation.”

By the early 1900s, a wide range of improvements began to drive the mortality rate down. Central heating meant that people especially infants were no longer exposed to icy drafts for hours. Clean drinking water eliminated a common path of infection. More and a greater variety of food meant improved nutrition. Sewers were being installed in the cities and refrigeration was becoming more widely available.

Considering living conditions at the time and the widespread changes that were occurring, milk pasteurization and vaccinations were given much more publicity then they deserved in my opinion.

The effect of cleanliness and balanced living on mortality rates throughout the course of history has had its ups and downs.

“Hippocrates (460 BC-380 BC) the founder of Western medicine states, “Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed thus: in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what effects each of them produces. We must also consider the qualities of the waters and the mode in which the inhabitants live, and what are their pursuits, whether they are fond of drinking and eating to excess, and given to indolence, or are fond of exercise and labor, and not given to excess in eating and drinking.”

“…Greeks engaged in community sanitation. Romans improved upon it by building aqueducts to protect water supplies and sewer systems to improve overall hygiene.”

“With the fall of the Roman Empire and Roman ideology the value of cleanliness and fresh drinking water were again to be ignored. The Black plague also known as the bubonic plague reappeared in Europe in 1348 after nearly a 1000 year absence.”

Welcome to my brief biased understanding of the history of disease.


D. Smith's picture

Fresh drinking water has always been a problem. Still is. Remember a couple of years ago when the medical industry was trying to scare people away from using neti pots? Their claim was that the neti pots were causing brain issues. Now, remember how fast you quit hearing about such a ridiculous claim? That's because it wasn't the neti pots causing the problem - it was the bacteria-laden tap water. A neti pot requires filtered or distilled water and sea salt, not standard bleached table salt. What comes out of a faucet today isn't water, it's a chemical soup.

I agree that modern agriculture has increased productivity ,but according to USDA research on mineral content of food ,the result of increased productivity has been a very significant decline in nutrients in the food. This is the reason many of us are seeking out nutrient dense food. For farmers who sell food by the lb. all of the incentive has been to produce more lbs/acre which they have done. For consumers ,however, it makes much more sense to buy and eat smaller amounts of more nutrient dense food.

Those microbes that you call "pathogens" are toxic waste cleanup specialists. They thrive in environments that are so toxic that the microbes which are the usual janitors in our bodies can not function. The toxins are not created by the microbes they are in the food because they contaminate the soil the food is grown in or because they contaminate the food as a result of processing the food. Some microbes which are involved in the first stages of decontamination do break the original toxin down into smaller but still toxic pieces. You could say that these microbes are producing toxins but they are performing a necessary task in the chain of decomposition and elimination of toxic substances.

Miguel I have to admit that I do not understand your ideas about microbial ecology at all. Sorry, it just doesn't fit with what I have learned elsewhere.
But, I believe there is a good example of a bacterium that is a pathogen and doesn't fit well with your ideas above. E coli 0157 produces a rather specific toxin, the Shiga toxin. Cows are a suitable host for many E coli species, but a somewhat marginal host for 0157 because the pH of the cow's GI tract is a bit high for them. Cows aren't susceptible to the Shiga toxin (so for them, it is not particularly toxic and E coli 0157 is not considered a pathogen for cows). The normal acid digestion in the stomach of humans, however, suits the growth conditions required by 0157 and sometimes if ingested it can proliferate rapidly (no dietary toxins involved, just a lower, more optimum pH environment plus substrates from the digesta). Humans are quite sensitive to the Shiga toxin, occasionally with disastrous outcomes (renal damage etc). Now, 0157 is most definitely a human pathogen.
Since this organism is one of the keys to the human safety debate v/v unpasteurized milk, I think it's potential for pathogenicity in humans should not be discounted.
On a lighter note. Given the tendency for many North Americans to overeat, having nutient-diluted food might actually be a good thing. I hate to imagine the outcome if there was a wholesale substitution of whole Jersey milk (5+% fat) for partly skimmed (1% or 2%) milk in the NA diet.
But seriously, what you eat should still be about personal choice, yes ( because I do like to indulge myself with a small packet of cheese puffs and a pasteurized Coors Light on occasion)? You just have to warn your liver........... :)

D. Smith's picture

@ MrJohn: You think nutrient diluted food might be a good thing because people tend to overeat?? And you also believe that drinking whole fat Jersey raw milk would cause obesity?

Yeah, I guess you could say you don't understand nutrition!

How do you explain that according to the Human microbiome project so called pathogens including ecoli o157:H7 are a common part of many human's microbiomes without causing any symptoms of disease?

Where exactly in that nature article did you find a reference to E. coli O157:H7? I couldn't find it.

Ora Moose's picture

Mr John, not to tee off on you since I like most of what you say, but I cringe when I hear anyone argue that

"the tendency for many North Americans to overeat, having nutient-diluted food might actually be a good thing. I hate to imagine the outcome if there was a wholesale substitution of whole Jersey milk (5+% fat) for partly skimmed (1% or 2%) milk in the NA diet,"

and your credibility suffers. Coors light? Go for the full mother-nature yeasty version beer, and out-of-the-cow fat milk it's way much healthier than the 2% versions are not real beer same as milk.

The reality is that people would eat way less and NOT be fat because there's real nutrition in that food so they don't need as much. And then there's idle idol TV pushing it advertising etc.

#1 - People overeat because the formulation of modern foods is intended to make you crave more even when you're full. HFCS, artificial sweeteners, (sposedly lo-fat foods) Look it up.

#2 - Obesity was historically never a problem in previous generations when people actually ate and drank the real thing instead of "cheese puffs," or any "light" beverage, nor did they have liver problems.

#3 - Most important of all, is that it is indeed about personal choice as long as you educate yourself and know the personal consequences lest you go blaming someone else. You want to be fat and sick? Your choice.

Repeat after me: Pathogens are good, bacteria is good, perfect dead clean is not. Got it?

Ken Conrad's picture

"Nutrient diluted" "food" has resulted in an epidemic of malnutrition which in turn encourages North Americans to consume even more of their highly addictive processed crap.

Here again we have them blaming nutrient dense living foods for what ails society in subconscious or conscious attempt to detract attention from the true cause of obesity and disease; namely their unnatural toxic meddling with food and microbes alike.


Shelly-D.'s picture

"On a lighter note. Given the tendency for many North Americans to overeat, having nutient-diluted food might actually be a good thing. I hate to imagine the outcome if there was a wholesale substitution of whole Jersey milk (5+% fat) for partly skimmed (1% or 2%) milk in the NA diet."

Mr John, do you eat a diet of nutrient-dense foods? I do. The fact is that when you eat them, you eat far less, because your brain signals "satiety" sooner. Your body does not need to eat lots of nutrient-deficient, empty-carbohydrate-filled foods in order to obtain what you need in the way of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc. We see the results of eating too much sugar and starch): an obesity, heart disease, and diabetes epidemic. Yes, the body needs some carbohydrates, but not as many as in the Standard American Diet (SAD). I do not restrict healthy fats; I eat pastured meats, dairy, and eggs; I avoid processed foods, grains, sugars, and pasteurized dairy, etc. -- and at an age that's closer to 100 than 0, my doctor says that my blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, cardiovascular health, etc. are "outstanding."

Nutrient-deficient food causes people to over-eat, because the food does not provide what they need and their bodies try to fill them with more of it to get the same nutrition. Nutrient-deficient foods lead to larger "inputs" of energy, land, and chemicals (and hence pollution) to produce the same amount of nutrition as a nutrient-dense product. I think that this is an issue worth looking at, as a possible solution to our obesity epidemic..

mark mcafee's picture

Mean while back at the dinner plate...Kraft cheese has decided to remove artificial preservatives in some of their cheeses...great news !! That is if you like Costco, Food MAX, Big Chain Store cheap Shelf Life Stable food.

The bad news is they are adding an anti-biotic instead.

People this ain't right!!

ingvar's picture

Par for the course.
Bankrupt nutrition.

Ken Conrad's picture

Thanks for the info Mark.
And this supposed to be an improvement!!!
What a bunch of shitheads.

David Gumpert's picture

Well, Chick-fil-a announced it will transition to antibiotic-free chicken over the next five years. These places are desperately seeking some kind of marketplace differentiation in a marketplace that is moving in the opposite direction of factory/fast food.

mark mcafee's picture

Mr. John,

A look at modern health will also show that lives are not healthier but to the contrary much sicker. Quality is life matters. Stanford did a study some years ago that said, life expectancy was about 77-78 years, but quality of life span was only about 47 years. That means that most people live very expensive and not so happy 30 years with the support of medicines, surgeries and etc. Not a good thing. Not a good thing for our country and the expense of this low quality of life.

During the first World War. It was discovered that people in the Balkans lived to be very old with very good health. The area was called the Centuriun Area...because of all the 100 year olds. The work done by Dr. Price found the same nutrition based long lived lives all over the world.

I do agree that losses to birth and infection shortened lives....that is no question.

What we fail to appreciate is this. If we were to join the wisdom of nutrition and strong immune systems with modern miracles of medicine into a complimentary alliance and stopped allianating both from each other: health care would be cheaper, disease would be prevented, quality of life would dramatically improve, our brains would function better, autism rates would drop, farms would be saved ( they would be a high priority !!! ) teenage boy shootings would drop etc....nutrition is the missing part of America.

Food is the basis of prevention and solid health...not how frequently you go the doctor!!

There is a serious problem. The legislature is seduced by sexy lobbyist short skirts and payola and the medical rules follow the money. The people of our great land suffer as a result.

A much grander plan for the future must emerge. One where peoples health matters and whole unprocessed gut friendly immune system supporting food is at the basis of this vision.

Ken Conrad's picture

I’ve enclosed below a link to, as the first paragraph of the article states, “a summary of a report by Grain (, a small international non-profit organization that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. They are based in Barcelona, Spain. The full title of the report is The Great Milk Robbery: How corporations are stealing livelihoods and a vital source of nutrition from the poor”.

With respect to raw milk movement the article states, “As can be expected, this “informal sector” is treated with disdain by the elites, who call it “unhygienic” or “of poor quality.” Bankers and large-scale processors call the system “inefficient.” The truth is that this “unorganized sector” has been successful in getting large quantities of healthful dairy products to market as long as they are not undercut by dumped surplus milk from elsewhere or persecuted by unfair regulations”.

“Unfortunately, the movement for people’s milk runs head first into the ambitions of corporations that seek to control the global dairy industry. With dairy markets in the northern hemisphere already saturated—even declining—Big Dairy is targeting for its growth the very markets served by people’s milk. As these dairy corporations invade the developing world, they are flanked by a number of other companies and wealthy elites who, together, are trying to reorganize the entire supply chain, from farms to markets.”

“Fortunately, the influx of industrial milk has met popular resistance. In Colombia in 2006, a government decree prohibiting the consumption, sale and transport of unpasteurized milk triggered huge protests across the country, forcing the government to postpone adoption of the regulation. Popular opposition did not die down and two years later, with over fifteen thousand people marching in the streets of Bogota, the government was yet again forced to push things back another two years. The people also mobilized to protest trade agreements that would have left the people’s milk sector vulnerable to imports of cheap powdered milk. Finally, in 2011, Decree 1880 was passed, which recognizes leche popular as both legal and essential. The battles are not over, but the dairy sector is now at the heart of the popular resistance to these deals.”


D. Smith's picture

@ Ken: You forgot the link, but I read the article because I, too, follow articles.

BUT - - I was shocked to find this article at web site yesterday. Here's's mission statement: "GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems."

Does this article really sound like it supports small farmers or community based food systems?? This is all about money and nothing more.

It doesn't sound to me as though they understand UHT either. They seem to think it's simply the "packing" (or packaging?). They don't seem to equate it with "processing the milk at very high degree temperatures". They also don't seem to have been educated on the idea that heating milk (especially to ultra high temperatures) is harmful to the milk itself, not to mention what it does to the people who are drinking it "for their health". Good grief. What are they thinking by printing this??

That article (at the above link) sounds specifically egregious when compared with this article at their site just a few days prior:

Ken Conrad's picture
D. Smith's picture

Looks like South Dakota is gonna get another run at this thing called raw milk freedom! Thank you Phil Jensen. I've visited with him while standing in line to get raw milk last year. Sure glad he's been working on this issue, too.

We might have lost the battle but we could still win the war.