Here’s a Public Health Plan to Save Raw Milk Drinkers from Themselves

“Take me to your leader.”


I couldn’t help thinking of that cliche from old cowboy-Indian-style movies, as I listened to a recent podcast by two professors of food safety discussing raw milk (this is the podcast Joseph Heckman originally provided a link to; it’s the last 25 minutes that are most relevant to raw milk risk and safety). 


The two professors are Don Schaffner of Rutgers University and Ben Chapman of North Carolina State University. Schaffner is also president of the International Association of Food Protection, one of the largest educational organizations around food safety. They regularly discuss various aspects of food safety, and this week chose to focus on how to more effectively alert raw milk drinkers about the dangers of the product. 


“This product is risky,” said Schaffner. “We have to figure out a better way to get to the people with that risk information.” 


Giving the professors new hope, they gushed, was the recent Minnesota study on raw milk (sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control)--the one that estimated that more than 20,000 people got sick from raw milk between 2001 and 2010, versus the 21 reported.


“Kudos to the people in Minnesota who carried out that’s a fascinating piece of work,” said Schaffner, who is taken by its confirmation (to him) of the huge risk associated with drinking raw milk. It seems so obvious to the professors that not only is raw milk terribly dangerous, but that anyone who chooses to drink it must be completely uninformed....or just plain weird. 


After all, how could anyone not understand? “It’s going to be hard to reach them” (these hardcore raw milk drinkers), bemoaned Schaffner. 


“Maybe by reaching the farmers,” offered Chapman, and quickly dropped the idea: “Or maybe not if they are making money selling raw milk.” 


Ben Chapman, assistant professor of food safety at North Carolina State UniversityEventually, the two profs came up with a plan, the “take-me-to-your-leader” brainstorm. They recalled an effort by public health people in Washington state to convince poor Hispanics to avoid raw-milk queso fresco, the soft cheese that has a history of causing serious illnesses because it is often made in home bathtubs, from conventional raw milk intended for pasteurization. The public health people decided they couldn’t convince ordinary Hispanics, so the officials worked through leaders in the Hispanic community, and apparently made progress in reducing queso fresco consumption. 


All of which brought Schaffner and Chapman back to the dilemma at hand: how to get word out to the fast-growing number of ordinary Americans who persist with this crazy habit of drinking raw milk. “We have to figure out a better way to get to the people with that risk information (about raw milk),” said Schaffner. “The people don’t trust us.”  


The solution: Identify the leadership in the raw milk community who can get the word out. Just one problem, said Schaffner: “We don’t know who those advocates are, how to sell them.” 


Huh? Don’t know who the advocates are? I didn’t realize that those of us advocating for availability of raw milk were so invisible. People like Mark McAfee, John Moody, Liz Reitzig, Pete Kennedy, Sally Fallon, Michael Schmidt, Vernon Hershberger, Alvin Schlangen, Heather Retberg, among many others, even yours truly. I didn’t realize the discussions over the last couple years about the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) and reducing the risks associated with raw milk had gone entirely unnoticed. 


Shortly after exploring this line of reasoning, it must have hit the profs that they were considering actually speaking with the natives. They backed off. Encouraging discussion, Schaffner said, is akin to trying to eradicate needle sharing by drug users. “You don’t want to make it safer so that you encourage it (needle sharing).” 


Did I hear that right? (I do know they were comparing raw milk consumption with drug use.)


In the end, they collectively shrugged their shoulders. “There’s something about raw milk that gets people all in a bind,” concluded Schaffner. 


Maybe what gets people in a bind is that these guys seem so completely clueless about what is going on outside their ivory towers. That they fail even to pay lip service to the possibility that raw milk drinkers experience health benefits, as suggested by research from Europe. That they fail to find even a hint of a problem in the Minnesota raw milk research. That they fail to explore even a little why so many people are so distrustful of what the public health community's dire warnings about raw milk. 


Or maybe it’s their reluctance to actually engage in any kind of serious direct way with people who might have a different view than them. It’s kind of like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doing a risk assessment of raw milk cheeses without even setting foot in a cheese-making facility, and then determining that soft raw milk cheeses are 50 to 160 times more dangerous than pasteurized ones. It’s the sanitized approach. You don’t dirty your hands by messing with the natives. 


Part of the problem stems from their own logical and emotional inconsistencies. Several times during the podcast, Schaffner and Chapman said they were in favor of people having the freedom to choose raw milk. Yet they agonize about how to warn raw milk drinkers about the dangers so there is no chance they will want to continue consuming it. Totally irreconcilable goals. 


In the end, Schaffner and Chapman said they welcomed comments, and are considering another show on this same subject. Here’s a suggestion: Why not include some real live raw milk drinkers and get some real-world input, and possibly initiate serious discussion about effectively reducing risks while also building bridges. 



mark mcafee's picture


Thank you for writing about damn ignorant PhD's.

When your paycheck or grant sources depend on being focused on raw milk irradication....then you focus on raw milk irradication. It is simple math.

Again....nobody wants to talk about RAWMI successes or the blistering hot CA Raw Milk Markets. Denial is completely ignorring the staggering successes of the CA raw milk market and its raw milk standards. This denial is behaps the best way to not acknowledge success. If this success was acknowledged, in any way, then a new model would be given some credit!!!

Damn ignorant PhD's are all arround. That is why we have PhD experts. They are tools of a system that needs and demands credentials to protect itself when it does not have the uses credentials and butchered Minnesota studies instead. Why didn't the CDC fund a study of CA raw milk market successes?

Sick of this fake world of false experts and denial of true market successes. Denial of RAWMI standards that work great!! Denial of the 800 pound raw milk drinking gorilla that sits very happily in the middle of the pasteurized fluid milk market collapse. Someday some brave Phd will start to speak of this huge gorilla, they mat lose their jobs, but they will speak of this gorialla and perhaps even study this healthy mom and kids friendly gorilla. When their are no illnesses to report from well managed raw milk marketsthese PhD's will soon seem pretty darn NON-PhD.

My challenge to PhD types...prior to saying things and knowing it all, do your 21st century homework and stop reciting 100 year old garbage. Study RAWMI RAMP plans and their test results. Study PARSIFAL, GABRIELA, Ton Barr, PASTURE and the AMISH studies. Then study the EU QMRAs and recognize the data that shows clearly raw milk is a low risk food and that raw milk is fantastic for pregnant moms and their unborn babies.

Study the CDC and find that only pasteurized and heated milk is associated with Listeria! your own soul and figuer out if you are ethical and what you truly believe in. Then you can speak and have a true opinion. Until then...your PhD was wasted time and it is not a measure of your intellect. It is instead a measure of how far you will go and how many classes you will attend to get a pay-check .

Kind of what we actually talked about in the podcast (and in other episodes)- there are models that work and I kind of like the regulated states/inspection model and let people choose what risks they want to be exposed to. And let them make informed choices.

Shelly-D.'s picture

Letting us makes informed choices - sounds all very well and good until we see what you and other "food safety experts" are doing - putting raw milk consumers under the microscope to study us, so you can figure out how to manipulate us. Do you realize how insulting it is to be treated like a guinea pig or a rat in a maze? It is very dehumanizing. Your conversation in that podcast, as described in the article above, displays this tone: that we are all mindless lab-rats and you are looking at ways to "shape" our behaviour. B.F. Skinner would be proud of you.

As for your support for us making informed choices, it is clear that you will shape the information such that it will modify our behaviour, and reflects the CDC's current message that "raw milk is dangerous." The term "Informed choice" is disingenuous - it actually means being provided with the information you feel will cause us to make the choice you have decided we should make.

We have seen this attitude before - it is illustrated in the study "Raw Milk Consumer Behaviour and Attitudes" prepared for Food Standards Australia New Zealand - this study was done in order to find out how to "create" message to tell raw milk consumers that what they are doing is wrong (see page 8 "These areas for potential growth in demand indicate potential areas of misconception that may need to be countered. The power of the existing behaviour and attitude research is in describing and understanding the prevalent perceptions in the community so that alternative messages could be developed address high risk food practices."

Instead of talking WITH us as equals, you talk about us, outline how stupid you consider us to be, and discuss ways of "modifying our behaviour." Along with inflated statistics of illness, hyperbole in language on your sites ("Raw milk is dangerous"), you and your colleagues' (CDC, FDA, other "food safety" institutes) refusal to recognize the difference between CAFO IPP milk and milk which has been produced by methods intended for *direct human consumption," and talking about us this way - are you surprised that we take issue with your approach?

How can they consider another show on this topic when they had nothing useful to discuss the first time around?? Do these guys ever get off campus and interact with the real world?? Think of all the problems we have with our food supply; antibiotic resistant bacteria in meats and produce, 66% of chicken contaminated with salmonella, increasing levels of Round Up being found in foods. And these highly educated twits are concerned with raw milk.

I was reading a interview with Judy Carman Ph.D. in the December AcresUSA re: inadequate testing of GMO crops and came across a great statement by her which I will paraphrase: "it shouldn't be anecdotal versus scientific, it should be anecdotal evidence should lead to scientific investigation." I thought WOW that sure doesn't happen anymore. If you get a chance I highly recommend reading this interview. Needless to say the research FDA has relied on for GMOs is highly questionable.

We'd love to have you on to talk raw milk, risks and choice (all the stuff you posted about). We're recording another podcast on Monday Jan 20 at 1pm EST. Can you join us? All you need is Skype, some high speed Internet and a decent headphone/mic combination. If you don't have the mic/headphones I'd be happy to ship you a set to borrow. The comments about not getting to the advocates was in the context of us (the academic food safety nerds) not being credible/trustworthy as reported in the Katafiasz and Bartlett paper from Michigan State.

David Gumpert's picture

Ben, thanks for the invite. I can join you on Monday. I have Skype, the headphones, internet, so should be good to go. Looking forward to a good discussion. 

With regards to raw milk I have long been an advocate for “Informed Consumer Choice”.
In July I delivered an invited presentation at Drexel University titled “Raw Milk and Informed Consumer Choice”. I have offered to give a similar seminar to the Food Science Department at Rutgers University.
I have also given talks on raw milk at the American Society Agronomy Meetings. Links to abstracts:
Professor Schaffner and I are both faculty working on the same campus at Rutgers University. We have had discussion before about raw milk. Don, I would be happy to talk with again about raw milk.

Joseph Heckman, Professor Soil Science, Rutgers University

David Gumpert's picture

I'd love to hear that discussion between Schaffner and Heckman, especially given their common academic roots. I'd especially like to learn about their views about how this issue plays out in academe. 

dschaffner's picture


"Schaffner, who is taken by its confirmation (to him) of the huge risk associated with drinking raw milk"
Nope that's not true, and I never said that.

said Schaffner: “We don’t know who those advocates are, how to sell them."
Ok, my mistake. We know you. Are you interested in communicating about the risks of raw milk to consumers of that product?

"Or maybe it’s their reluctance to actually engage in any kind of serious direct way with people who might have a different view than them." Nope, not true. As Joe Heckman so nicely points out in the comments, I engage with him on a regular basis. And Ben engaged you, and I thrilled to see you are willing to be our guest on Food Safety Talk.

"Yet they agonize about how to warn raw milk drinkers about the dangers so there is no chance they will want to continue consuming it." Again, not true. Ben and I never said we want people to stop consuming raw milk. We want people to be aware of the risks.


Neither my paycheck nor my grant funding depends on me being focused on raw milk irradication. I have tenure. I can study what I want and I can say what I want. Just like Joe Heckman who is also a tenured faculty member at Rutgers University.


All Ben and I do is "get off campus and interact with the real world". We are Extension Specialists. Interacting with the world is what we do.

Ken Conrad's picture

Being Extension Specialists, what is your opinion with respect to the use of GMO's and glyphosate in agriculture and their overall effect on food safety?


I think the retraction sets a disturbing trend in science communication. I am one of many scientists that signed the protest:
Joseph Heckman

dschaffner's picture

I'm not a GMO expert, so I don't have an informed opinion.

I am not a GMO expert - I strongly believe censorship is wrong, period.
Joseph Heckman

Ken Conrad's picture

Your evasive answer is not surprising.

Neither am I an expert, however, as an extension specialist is it not your job to provide a wider range of communication and learning activities visa vie the latest developments in scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education?


Ora Moose's picture

Well, Mr. Schaffner you certainly seem to have a strong uninformed opinion and then pretend to be an expert by preaching things to a public audience that you acknowledge you have not researched . Let me give you a hint: Stick with the wisdom of the ages, and avoid any food that is MAN-ufactured. If old school foods were all that dangerous, you would not even be here or alive.

Let me ask you a question that maybe you can tackle in your next show: Would you rather eat an apple or an ear of corn with a worm in it, or one that you know is GMO or has chemical poisons instead? I think I know the answer but wouldn't want to put words in your mouth so maybe you can elaborate and clue us in as to how you feel on that subject and please justify your opinion rather than just claim "you are wrong," that's not very academic of you.

Imho tenure is a poor excuse for possible comforts, complacency, lack of motivation, endeavor and accomplishment without that crutch. To me it's akin to being born a Rockefeller therefore you are entitled because you are obviously better than us peons that want to keep learning new stuff even if it proves us to be previously wrong. You should try that sometime.

I don't mean to insult you and am glad you are joining our little milk discussion here, but beware that we are generally very good at sniffing out falsehoods and ulterior motives, just ask Mary.

You claim ignorance, yet you're "president" of a GM cartel-supported front group.

That didn't fly at Nuremburg, either.

For another perspective, I organized this seminar on glyphosate by Dr. Don Huber. Watch it from this link:

Ora Moose's picture

Mr Heckman, great content but somewhat poor production at the beginning - not being critical just trying to improve what we share. Please pass the word that the person speaking should have a working, tested microphone and needs to understand that they need to speak into it. Us hearing impaired lip readers only get a small percentage even when we turn up the sound to the max.

David Gumpert's picture

Don, on the MN study, you guys sure sounded totally taken by it, by the research effort and the results. Did I miss something? Do you have a different view about the MN research than I described? 

On warning people about the risks, you definitely seemed troubled that the many public warnings about raw milk risks haven't deterred the growth in raw milk consumption. It sounded as if you both were troubled by that reality, and that you thought the problem was that the warnings somehow aren't getting through to the people who need to hear they will reduce their raw milk consumption. 

I'm glad you and Joseph Heckman engage on this subject. I was referring more to finding ways for the two communities--public health and raw milk consumers--to somehow engage. I'm glad Ben reacted positively, and I'm looking forward to an informative discussion.

Following up on Mark McAfee's comment, and your response, I would pose this Q: Do you think you (or any public health researchers) could get American funding for a study following up on the European studies about the health benefits  of raw milk?

Thanks for the input. 

dschaffner's picture


Let's discuss on the podcast.

This organization's a pure fraud, just a corporate front group. Just look at the long, distinguished list of supporters from the GMO and CAFO cartels.

As always, agriculture and food based on the massive systematic poisoning of crops, soil, water, animals and people; the systematic cultivation of antibiotic-resistant microbes; and artificial scarcity for the sake of corporate enclosure, profit, and control, is represented Orwell-style as "safe", "sustainable", an attempt to "feed the world", etc. There's even "war on terror" rhetoric for good measure - check out "food defense" on that drop-down list.

Of course it's a proven fact that corporate agriculture cannot feed the world and does not want to. Meanwhile anyone who's not an idiot or a paid liar knows that decentralized agroecology is the most productive, healthiest, safest, most resilient, and most defensible way to organize agriculture, while nothing could be more of a hyper-vulnerable hothouse flower than industrial monoculture based on hermetically narrow corporatized germplasm.

Front groups like this have the two jobs of whitewashing destructive, dangerous, poison-based agriculture, and suppressing knowledge of the proven capacity of decentralized agroecology. Or, as in this case, attacking agriculture and food practices which are pro-democracy and anti-corporate.

Meanwhile they'll never say a word about the spreading antibiotic resistance among human pathogens, systemic Bt and herbicide toxicity in most of our food, the wholesale destruction of our soil (and coming soon from their USDA - a massive surge in 2,4-D splattering which will leave vast swaths of arable land laden with dioxin residues).

As we always say, by definition anyone who really cares about food safety would devote all his efforts to the scourges of subtherapeutic antibiotic use, GMOs, intentional endotoxins in our food, and the spraying of agricultural poisons. (Not to mention the looming biodiversity crisis, as the available agricultural germplasm becomes ever more hermetic and unresilient, and what's left becomes ever more contaminated by GMOs.)

Meanwhile, anyone who supports this corporate assault on humanity and the earth is an enemy of both, and is seeking to render our food, water, and environment as toxic and unsafe as possible in every way.

dschaffner's picture


You are wrong.

Anyone can go to the site and see for themselves.

Shelly-D.'s picture

"Again, not true. Ben and I never said we want people to stop consuming raw milk. We want people to be aware of the risks."

So they will stop consuming raw milk.

Forgive me for being blunt, but it is not awareness you want, it is modification of behaviour based on this "awareness," and which in this case can be defined as being in possession of the specific one-sided information set which you wish people to believe, discounting all other opinions to the contrary.

But, to dissect this further, you wish them to be aware of your definition of the risks, but to be remain unaware of contrasting viewpoints. In fact, your side seeks to dismiss and discredit them. So, your "awareness campaign" will likely also mean taking action to phrase opposing points of view as being "questionable" or from unreliable sources. Am I correct?

And it is not just information that is in question: it is the presentation of this information. So, we will see attempts to apply "right-brained research" to this as well -- with the use of music, graphics, imaging, and wordings designed to specifically invoke emotions and the non-verbal, "emotional," side of the brain. We already see this being used on the CDC website, with slickly-edited videos showing such images as E.R. personnel rushing a "raw milk illness" patient down a hallways, presumably to save his/her life.

We here on the other side are all volunteers, we do not have funding from universities, governments, or large corporations in order to try to fight these battles. All we have is information which you "food safety" professionals refuse to listen to, and experiences which you dismiss, because it does not fit your paradigm that "raw milk is dangerous." We see our children thrive on it, our family members heal from illness and build immunity from becoming ill, us and our parents and our grandparents drinking it for decades without harm, but your media representatives state that you "would rather drink gasoline" than raw milk, and that giving raw milk to a child is child abuse. Various raw milk "studies" which your side cites have big questions as per methodology (was the milk IPP or DHC? CAFO or pastured?), and yet we are supposed to be believe them without question.

Sorry, but you (group plural, the "food safety and public health community") have not gone to any effort to dialogue with us or treat us with any respect, and have dismissed our efforts to communicate with you, responding with "We are the experts and we know best," and meanwhile you have never even set foot on a farm which has implemented internationally-recognized raw milk best practices and often have no idea that these protocols even exist. How are we to trust you when you have treated us this way?

Ora Moose's picture

Most awsomest comment in a while, thanks Shelley.

Good comment, but isn't it about time people stop begging these gutter criminals to respect them, and return their contempt a hundredfold? They don't despise you because they've come to believe they're correct and you're not. They despise you, and believe on faith that they're correct, because they start out seeing themselves as better than you, and no amount of argumentation is ever going to change that indelible elitism.

This is true of the vast majority of credentialed cadres by now. For example, their support for GMOs is primarily an exercise in ideological discipline. (God knows it can't draw support from reason or from any kind of evidence.)

Humanity can't win unless it develops the same discipline against this corporate scourge.

Ora Moose's picture

Russ, are you saying that home schooling or real life hard knocks beats the crap out of fancy framed institutional diplomas? I completely agree with that. I don't need no doctor

Sure does, if the main effect of credentialism is to inculcate corporatist indoctrination and render the vast majority of these cadres either passive conformists or active criminals.

Ora Moose's picture

"indelible elitism" I saw them back up the frogs, or was it the turtles I'm too slow to remember. Sorry, I couldn't resist because I'm a capacitor.

Shawna Barr's picture

Ben Chapman, welcome to The Complete Patient, where there is not shortage of strong opinions!

It might surprise you to know that a growing number of raw milk producers around the country would agree with you that all not all raw milk is a good choice for consumers. What we would maintain that all raw milk is not the same, and that for raw milk to be a good choice for consumers, it must be produced very intentionally under a well-developed risk managment plan.

We produce raw milk for our community from our small herd of three cows. We practice meticulous sanitation, have undergone training, and welcome third-party over from Raw Milk Institute, a private organization comprised of a community of experts in the area of low risk raw milk production. We also regulary test our milk for bacteria levels, and consistently produce milk that has extremely low counts. Our last test revealed a Standard Plate Count of 280 and a Coliform count of 0. These type of test results are typical for farmers who practice excellent safety protocol.

I would encourage you to visit some of the RAWMI Listed farms. The Raw Milk Institute is a great way to join the discussion. Here you will find some of the leaders you seek.

Please consider that the supression of information about raw milk production best-practices, and the denial that raw milk can be produced safely under certain conditions may be contributing to more raw milk related illness outbreaks. People choose raw milk for a wide variety of reasons. You don't need to make it safer in order to encourage it. People are already choosing it, and often from less-that-ideal sources for lack of better options. Check out this RAWMI LISTED farmer's message to would-be raw milk consumers: This kind information benefits both raw milk farmers and consumers.

Ken Conrad's picture

Another reason why it would be wise for them to drop this notion of reaching out to farmers, is that most dairy farmers whether they sell raw milk or not, drink raw milk themselves and feed it to their children, family and friends.

Most of the dairy farmers I know would label individuals such as Don and Ben as seriously misinformed crackpots.

They got one thing right though, people don’t trust them, and for good reason.


Perhaps we might call them crackpots, but that's to easy. I'd say Don and Ben also suffer from what Thoreau might have referenced as a problem related to the either or ness of rural and urban. It seems to me there is a certain disconnect and a complete lack of understanding of small scale agriculture blossoming across the country.
Regardless of the minutia of differences of interpretation of their discussion, it's crystal clear they just don't get it.
I am a dairy farmer, you see, at great personal sacrifice and commitment. I have worked at commercial dairy farms, one where the milking claws were regularly dropped into the manure gutter to suck up ingredients to the boiling process. I find more and more people beating a path to something they want desperately as informed consumers. They want to reconnect with a safe and far more nutritionally beneficial food source, a relationship with the land that is being lost and they're paying less and less heed to government blowhards with no credibility because they have to true science to rely on.
The truth is, Don and Ben, that very few farmers today would risk their livelihoods for an unsafe product, and that the vast majority are meticulous about the process- much more so than on farms where milk is tainted by bovine growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals added to GMO grain rather than grass even before a claw sucks it up. It carries risk, but not as you are presenting.
Read up on some of the other studies- on asthma and the Amish, and on immune systems and gut bacteria. You haven't done your homework. I live in a state where pasteurized milk killed three people in 2008.
Bathtub gin doesn't translate to bathtub raw milk, unless its milk improperly gathered for pasteurization.
You've got your head stuck in the swill dairy epoch.
Yesterday, I received a note from a new herdshare member, a registered nurse.
"Me and my family would love to be part of the farm. My children are very excited to see Daisy. My son has taken a very special interest in her as well as letting everyone know that it is Daisy's milk. The milk is amazing and once I drank it I felt robbed knowing how many years I have been drinking pasteurized milk. "

mark mcafee's picture

D Schaffer,

I respectfully invite you to join the discussion of safe raw milk. As a RUTGERS extension specialist, you are indeed connected and speak routinely to your community of influence.

The RAWMI data gives a great basis for study. Why is it that when special protocols and conditions are used from Grass to body gets sick, farmers thrive and every one gets well and consumers line up to buy the product at 5 x the price of commodity processed products! Instead of praising a poorly conceived and over funded hypothetical Minnesota study of people that never reportedly got sick, using invented numbers in a black market system with no standards, why not study the CA market experience and truly discover why so many consumers choose raw milk....and why there have been so few problems!! I challenge the Rutgers PhD community of extension specialists to look far to the west and study a success story. That is where learning and discovery will take place. Do you want learning and discovery?

The RAWMI board would love to hear from you and help you to join the search for knowledge in an effort to reinvent American Dairy...for the better. The current CAFO consumer disconnected PMO cheap dirty dead milk model is committing suicide and going bankrupt. My neighbor John Boss killed himself just before Chrismas 2014 as his CAFO dairy business failed. The commodity dairy system is also losing 2% of its fluid pasteurized markets to non-milk products every year!! Is this a ship you want to go down on ??

I know that Dr. Joe sees the light and he has seen it for years. We need other PhD's to join in and enter the 21st century. The emperor is truly naked and those with open eyes need to look at this nakedness and say it like it is.

Please constructivekly join us and leave the 18th century distillery raw milk history to the historians. We now have clean water and understand what it takes. We have even proven it. Yet....130 year old dogma persists!!

Because it is such a controversial subject, when I speak with anyone on the subject of raw milk I try to stick with factual material that I know I can defend. I do, however, often tell my personal story about how switching to raw milk has given me major relief from allergies. Working in this area since 2007, I have developed a very extensive collection of literature on the science, history, legal, economic, and political aspects of raw milk. Many of the historical materials are copies of rare documents. I quote from that data base when I speak. I always like to point out that no food can be eaten without some risk. That pasteurized milk has its own safety problems as documented in several JAMA articles and other documents. Massive outbreak of antimicrobial-resistant salmonellosis traced to pasteurized milk C. A. Ryan et al., JAMA. Vol. 258 No. 22, December 11, 1987 Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333. And: Outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes Infections Associated with Pasteurized Milk from a Local Dairy – Massachusetts, 2007
Scientists working in food safety are well aware of these outbreaks but outside of that discipline others are often surprised to learn that pasteurized milk is ever linked to illness and even death.
Next I like to point out that when speaking about raw milk that it is critical that we define quality. It has long been known from the history of milk that when not properly produced raw milk can make people sick. It may be said that the raw milk movement began over a hundred years ago in New Jersey with the founding of the Medical Milk Commission by Dr. Henry Coit, a pediatric physician working at a hospital in Newark. The Medical Milk Commissions established standards of bacteriological, chemical, and veterinary practice along with medical supervision of farm hygiene and dairy workers. As a result of the work of Dr. Coit a distinction was drawn between the safety of carefully produced legitimate food-quality raw milk intended for direct human consumption and milk of lesser quality that needed to be pasteurized to ensure safety. Hospital Delivers Certified Milk:

Next I like to talk about the existing scientific studies, like the European ones you already listed, that provide evidence that raw milk drinking does confer special health benefits not available from drinking pasteurized milk. Besides the studies from Europe, I like to tell (and show photos) about the interesting feeding trial with rats given raw versus pasteurized milk. This experiment was conducted at The Ohio State University. The study found “Normal growth, good health and gentle disposition in rats fed an exclusive raw milk diet” and “Rats fed pasteurized milk were anemic, had slow growth, rough coats, loss of vitality and weight, and were very irritable, with a tendency to bite when handled (Jersey Bulletin, 1931, Vol 50). Other more recent animal feeding trials like the one by Michael Schmidt had similar findings.
Drinking raw milk may save lives. According to a recent article in the NY Times: "Nine people die daily from asthma attacks." In the same NY Times article (plus several peer reviewed journal articles concerning asthma and allergies) raw milk drinking protects people from asthma.
I also like to point out that mothers breast milk is raw milk. Several relevant studies in the scientific literature have shown better growth and health outcomes in babies bottled fed with human raw milk as compared to human milk that was pasteurized. The conclusion from one such study reads: “Feeding preterm infants pasteurized as compared to raw own mother’s milk reduced fat absorption. When the infants were fed raw milk, they gained more in knee–heel length compared to when they were fed pasteurized milk.” (Acta Paediactrica 2007 96, pp 1445-1449).
For anyone unaware I point out that raw milk is widely available in many countries in Europe, in many cases from raw milk vending machines:
With regards to the economics of raw milk I published an analysis at this link:
As a soil scientist who would like to see dairy farming return to The Garden State I like to use this quotation from a 1917 textbook on First Principles of Soil Fertility: “But for the gist of the whole matter is this: That for an easy and economical method of maintaining the fertility of soils there is nothing equal to the practice of farming.”
From a social science perspective, what I find most interesting is that when facts are provided to others, they are typically very slow to adapt their position to the new information. How to more effectively teach this is my question.
I often recommend reading Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights as well as viewing of the DVD Farmageddon.
Here is a link that provides some context to the raw milk debate at Rutgers: Debate Over Raw Milk Stirs Up Controversy in New Jersey and at Rutgers

rawmilkmike's picture

Mr. Heckman, you said “when I speak with anyone on the subject of raw milk I try to stick with factual material that I know I can defend.” but then you said “It has long been known from the history of milk that when not properly produced raw milk can make people sick.” Do you mean when it's pasteurized, separated, and homogenized or are you talking about swill milk? Do you have any reliable data on swill milk? I spent several hour researching it on the net on more than one occasion and found some interesting facts that I have posted in the past. Obviously swill milk can make people sick after it's pasteurized but do you have any proof that raw swill milk ever made anyone sick?

There is no “raw milk debate”. Consumers say they want raw milk. The cheese and the pharmaceutical industries say no they can't have it. That's not a debate.

Thank you for posting: “Feeding preterm infants pasteurized as compared to raw own mother’s milk reduced fat absorption. When the infants were fed raw milk, they gained more in knee–heel length compared to when they were fed pasteurized milk.” (Acta Paediactrica 2007 96, pp 1445-1449).

Ken Conrad's picture

Do we really understand what it takes to have clean water?

I have good clean water. It’s uninspected, unsanitized, untreated, and comes from an 80 ft. deep drilled well. In cities and towns however, reputed water cleanliness is achieved via a so-called “science based” purification process that sees the addition of toxic chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride and aluminum.

Here is a profound quote where if we substitute the word water for milk, equally applies, "We are not destroying our water (milk); but we are rendering it unusable, which amounts to the same thing." And clearly, one of the greatest threats to our ability to assure ongoing and adequate supplies of clean water (milk) is the increasing presence of toxic elements and compounds in those precious resources. William Ashworth

And why is the above scenario such a profound illustration of the truth?
Because of an obsessive, irrational fear of microbes, which tptb have used as an excuse to fuel paranoia and make imprudent decisions with respect to our food including milk and water.


These PhDers need to talk about the "rest of the story"...
-Is there such a thing as a "Safe Level of Drug Residue" in milk? Sounds like an oxymoron....
-How many antibiotics are actually tested in milk? 6
-How many antibiotics are available to dairy farmers? 100's, if not 1,000's
-Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. (my comment: if it is in the meat, it is in the milk)
-In 2008, inspector generated sampling covered 80,131 dairy cows – fewer than 3% of all dairy cows slaughtered for meat. Of these, 788 cows had violations across a wide range of drugs...

-And let us not forget this pasteurized milk tragedy: "One person has died, a pregnant woman has miscarried and three others have been hospitalized after eating contaminated soft cheese from an award-winning Wisconsin cheese operation, officials said Monday."

The FDA is conducting an inspection at Crave Brothers' processing facility in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the cause of the contamination.

Mr. Schaffner, please explain the dangers of pasteurized milk products to the public.....

The bottom line is this....NO FOOD IS 100% SAFE!!!!

Raw milk is not a food safety is a $$$ & thus political issue....These folks gave no facts...only uniformed opinions...

They are looking for (a wolf in sheep clothing) Raw Milk Community Organizers......

The more industrialized the food system becomes...the more dangerous to people and to the environment it will become....


---references for the comments above---
"Safe Levels of Drug Residues"

"Safe levels" are used by FDA as guides for prosecutorial discretion. They do not legalize residues found in milk that are below the safe level. In short, FDA uses the "safe levels" as prosecutional guidelines and in full consistency with CNI v. Young stating, in direct and unequivocal language, that the "safe levels" are not binding. They do not dictate any result; they do not limit the Agency's discretion in any way; and they do not protect milk producers, or milk from court enforcement action.
"Safe levels" are not and cannot be transformed into tolerances that are established for animal drugs under Section 512 (b) of the FFD&CA as amended. "Safe levels" do not:
1. Bind the courts, the public, including milk producers, or the Agency, including individual FDA employees; and
2. Do not have the "force of law" of tolerances, or of binding rules.
Notification, changes or additions of "safe levels" will be transmitted via Memoranda of Information (M-I's).

Screening tests were evaluated by FDA for six antibiotics in the beta lactam family: penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, cloxacillin, cephapirin, and ceftiofur. Only tests successfully completing FDA evaluation may be used for official testing. The criterion was established that the test must detect four of the six antibiotics. An abbreviated summary of the results is shown in Table 1.

Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.

Dairy cow results from 2008
In 2008, scheduled inspections for dairy cows included only 1,099 of the 2.7 million dairy cows slaughtered for meat in total – less than half a percent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no residues that breached FDA requirements were found.
In 2008, inspector generated sampling covered 80,131 dairy cows – fewer than 3% of all dairy cows slaughtered for meat. Of these, 788 cows had violations across a wide range of drugs, as shown below. Note that some cows tested positive for more than one compound so the list of drug violations shown below totals more than 788.
Amikacin    1
Ampicillin  8
Ceftiofur   69
Dihydrostreptimycin   3
Flunixin   269
Gentamicin   57
Neomycin  25
Oxytetracyclin    46
Penicillin   350
Phenylbutazone    3
Sulfadimethozine  193
Sulfamethozine   34
Tetracycline    21
Tilmycosin   6
Tylosin 1

Crave Brothers

mark mcafee's picture

If you have 49 minutes, this is an interesting and constructive conversation about the status of raw milk from all sides of the argument. I am really pleased at the tone of the conversation and especially considering that the five raw milk horseman included: Dr. Michele Jay Russell, Bill Marler Esq, Sally Fallon, Vernon Hershberg and me...Mark McAfee.

The podcast does a very nice job of getting all the voices heard and getting & letting it all out.
This discussion could not have been had just a few years ago. This is serious progress!!

As a reference.....OPDC sales of fluid raw milk was its highest ever in its 14 year history of production last week here in CA!. At the same time....our FOOD SAFETY plan and its testing results and conditions have never been better or more consistent. The growth of sales, trust of brand and food safety systems all drive each other!!! This is not something that dairy watchers understand. It would appear that the concept of excellence with on the farm food safety is not possible. sure is!! This new concept is awkwardly difficult for regulators, researchers and others to see happening undeniably right before their eyes.

I am very proud of the space and respect each of the speakers gave each other as they discussed their perspective on politically super-heated raw milk issues. No attacking...just solid sharing.

Thanks Bill, Michele, Sally and Vernon...good job to each of you!

2014 is the 100th Anniversary of the Extension System:

Extending Knowledge - Changing Lives in New Jersey & Beyond
“In 2014, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System. This national celebration will highlight Extension's past and focus on the contemporary application of Extension's transformational, educational programming into the future.”

In the first 100 years what has the Extension System done to improve the safety of milk for people who choose to consume this special food as fresh whole unprocessed milk?

Extension has certainly been active in sounding the alarm about the risks. But what have they done to improve on the safety of this food that about 10 million people are drinking?

As I have said to my Extension colleagues before, people will never stop producing and drinking raw milk.
If anything the number of people choosing fresh whole unprocessed milk appears to be on the rise in spite of the Extension’s educational programming on risk and warnings.

If the Extension System is to remain relevant in its next century, it must step up to its responsibility to be truly transformational in its educational programing.

Other organizations will be created to serve farmers and consumers when Extension fails to act:
Farm-To-Consumer Foundation:
Raw Milk Institute:

I now call upon my colleagues to conduct research and work with dairy farmers who want to produce the best and safest fresh whole unprocessed milk for direct human consumption.

Joseph Heckman, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility

Ken Conrad's picture

“If the Extension System is to remain relevant in its next century, it must step up to its responsibility to be truly transformational in its educational programing.”

If by “transformational” you mean a dramatic change in form or appearance then I am not about to hold my breath.

I think you may be asking a little too much from a system of so-called self-righteous specialist who are paid by tptb to indoctrinate and preach a seriously biased and less then scientific status quo.

We all tend to put people in boxes, but the urge is particularly strong with extension specialists.


Dr. Heckman,

I also applaud your call to conduct (and publish) research into raw milk...but this is not enough...

Your industry cannot have it both ways....your colleagues have done their best to scare the
public about raw milk (and failed) while choosing to not educate the public about the dangers
of Processed milk (and succeeded).

I would like to see you and your colleagues to also "Tear Down The (Facade) Wall" of Processed Milk.

Why doesn't the dairy industry test ALL milk for ALL antibiotic residue? (instead of just 6 or so...)
Why not call for ZERO tolerance of antibiotic residue in milk? (as opposed to a "safe" antibiotic residue level)
Why not call for ZERO tolerance for antibiotic residue in cull cows?

Some possible research topics:
Conduct and publish research investigating the origin/cause of lactose intolerance...

Conduct and publish research showing the differences in viable enzymes between pasteurized milk and raw milk...what does pasteurization really do to the milk...(not to mention homogenization)

Conduct and publish research showing the differences in antibiotic residues between organic raw milk and
industrial raw milk...

Conduct and publish research showing the differences in taste and flavor of cheese made from organic raw milk
and industrial raw milk.

Conduct and publish research on the effect of "Save Level Antibiotic Residues" on human health/growth...


Ora Moose's picture

Mark, two words: Beware intelligence and sabotage. You are doing some great things and probably some not so great things that you don't advertise here or anywhere in public. I plead guilty.

Point: Infiltration and damage is sometimes only evident in retrospect and even then.

TRANSPARENCE is such a simple concept yet so hard to live up to unless you have nothing left to lose like bobby mcgee but do it while you can. RIP Janis.

Ora Moose's picture

Vulnerability is our best or worst human trait depending on how you look at it. Subsistencee. Sex and seed diversity depends on us. This applies to every aspect of your life, from raw milk to synthetic. Choose well for you and yours.

Ora Moose's picture

ok i'm out of here nice knowin you all but in' now getting too much negative feedback and I dont need or want that, Consider me dead

mark mcafee's picture

Bravo to Dr. Joe Heckman!

What a wonderful call to your colleges for a new direction and for excellence in raw milk research!

rawmilkmike's picture

Presentation by Nadine Ijaz “Raw milk myths and evidence”. Nadine's study proves raw milk is a low risk food.
… …
This is so ridiculous because anyone who drinks raw for even a few days knows the state is wrong about raw milks health benefits and within a few months they know the state's wrong about it's safety.
Raw milk sells itself. There is know raw milk leadership. Just go to any raw milk rally and try and find someone in charge.
They said they“worked through leaders in the Hispanic community” not the cheese producers. They have already convinced community leadership that raw milk is unsafe and unnecessary. They're not going to convince the farmers and consumers. “Schaffner and Chapman said they were in favor of people having the freedom to choose raw milk.” But yet they go to “community leadership” in order to eliminate any choice by the consumer.
It's called epidemiological evidence. Their entire discussion is based on the false assumption that raw milk is a high risk food with no nutritional value. Don't expect any rational conversation to follow that.
In most states, including Wisconsin, the term “Milk” has been legally defined as pasteurized. So is it possible, the only way any raw milk sale, even in a supper market, would in fact be illegal is if it were labeled “Milk” rather than “Fresh Milk”? And since Nadine Ijaz has proven raw milk to be low risk even a warning label would be ridiculous.
… …
“I kind of like the regulated states/inspection model and let people choose what risks they want to be exposed to. And let them make informed choices. ” that's a contradiction Ben.
… …
“How can they consider another show on this topic when they had nothing useful to discuss the first time around??” I agree Wayne.
… …
To be continued.

rawmilkmike's picture

This is not a debate. Consumers who already know the value of raw milk want to buy it for their health. Farmers want to sell it to them. Raw milk's competitors(cheese makers, dairy processors, pharmaceutical companies and anyone else in the healthcare industry) want to prevent this interaction between farmers and consumers by any means possible. That sounds more like a battle. Or a fight to the death.

And like I said before. Anyone who drinks raw milk for even a few days, knows the state is wrong about raw milk's health benefits and within a few months they know the state's wrong about its safety.

Ora Moose's picture

rmm, you are like my other twin that never was, hugs and welcome to the arena

Ora Moose's picture

be free or di she was my best friend ever

I would'a sworn that I saw a post go by in which the Moose declaimed he was "outta here". Guess that report of his death was greatly exaggerated. Just goes to show how the internet is not much more than glimmers passing across a crystal ball. Where I came in on all this was the one-hit-wonder "Cows with Guns" Now, for extra points : who was it did "My Back Pages" ? No, not the Cow-sills

Ora Moose's picture

Gordon, one of my best friends just passed away a few days ago excuse me if i'm depressed lately and possibly following those foot steps soon/ But ya, internet and we don't need any extra points (great name for a band eh?)

Ora Moose's picture

It's a kicker of a name if you ask me, but please don't. There's no foot in football, the American version anyways.

Ora Moose's picture
Ora Moose's picture

Oh and why you pulling on that cow in your icon shouldn't it be following you willingly? Guess you don't use the reward system that works so well for me, my dogs, chickens, wife and kid but hey, it's your life< And yes if you want me to go away just say so, I'm not hard to get rid of unlike some Marys. You canaducks baffle me sometimes. Hasta luego, C'est la vie, saudades.

mark mcafee's picture


Love your comment. Kind of a "self-evident" spontanous consumer funded researchproject. Accept that instead of a 'cohort of a few selected patients" ( god and FOOD INC paid off PhD's only know how they are selected and why)....we use tens of thousands of random volunteers!!!...sounds like great science to me. At the end of the study, the study subjects ( consumers ) even vote with dollars to tell everyone how they really feal about the study!!! Thats irrefutable evidence based science in the purest form.

That is what really scares the living PMO out of them!!!

Shelly-D.'s picture

Dear Don and Ben, as a Raw Milk Mom, I have a challenge for you: Find a RAWMI listed farm or a farm which follows RAWMI practices but is not yet listed (and many many do), become an informed consumer by purchasing yourself a copy of "Safe Handling" by Peggy Beals and reading it from cover to cover, join a raw milk forum such as the FB group at for advice if you want it and to listen with respect to our voices, and drink raw milk (preferably from "old breed" cattle like Jerseys) for one year. Eliminate the other heavily processed foods and junk foods out of your diet (including pasteurized fluid milk) and allow your gut to heal. See how you feel, see if your health improves or not. Then come back to us here and let's discuss.

mark mcafee's picture

I just spent 5 hours at the Visalia Farmers Market. It was "meet the farmer day" and I was there to meet and greet the farmers market customers at our booth. repeatedly...I asked each of our customers and even the new customers why they they seek out raw milk. The answers were uniformly the same....

They said, "we can not drink store bought pasteurized processed milk".
The reasons given were broad:
1.Allergies to processed milk!
2.Can not digest processed milk!
3.The flavor of raw milk is so much better!
4.The raw kefir settles my stomach & healed my Crohns or IBS etc.
5. Raw milk is great for my asthma...pasteurized makes it worse.
6. My kids love
7. Excema resolved with raw milk...gets worse with processed milk!!
7. My family will not touch anything else.

The Visalia Farmers Market is in the heart of very conservative CAFO dairy country. This is not down-town LA or San Francisco. This is mostly "good-ol mostly red-neck conservative San Joaquin Valley old-school America with a sprinkling of all sorts of other political and cultural flavors throw in for good measure!"

Sounds to me like the fluid processed milk dairy industry has a very serious problem. A problem being universally experienced by everyone. This drives the 2% decline of fluid milk sales every year!!!

All of us at TCP know this by heart...but I thought I might remind the AAP, AMA, FOOD INC processors, FDA & CDC one more time why they should and must open their eyes and climb out of their raw milk denial tent and stand behind raw milk food safety efforts. Raw milk is not going away!! It is growing like crazy.

I asked our new consumers how they found out about raw milk.
The answer: it was mostly internet research driven by intelligent people with support from other moms that suggested raw milk.

Perhaps saying this a million & one times will help the FDA and CDC educational absorption process.

University professors need to get out there and ask the same question.

Ora Moose's picture

A 1,000,oo2 mllions and 2 would bettetter than butter, but ok. Make bread your house will smell better. And Mark don't your ever get tired of just posting good news? Surely there's something you can grumble about

mark mcafee's picture

It also helps for the farmer to outreach & touch the consumers.
They want to look you in the eye... and "Get to know their farmer & Get to know their food"

Ora Moose's picture

Eye to eye is UNbeatable , here's my neighborhood local farm nicest people I ever known Eat different but stay local Just wish we could have that California winter weather/ What's a cold rooster crow in the morning in New Egland? Yup that's right BRRRRRRRRRR
Sorry, i think I missed an n there. thought just occuring, is Nova Scotia kinda like New England in it's naming? Just wondering since wifey's mom was from there

Ora Moose's picture

Why you guys so quiet around here lately? and I'm the one that sposedly died? Are we not stirring the pot hot enough? Or has it come to the point that only proponents preach to the choir and there is no serious debate anymore. David? Looking forwrd to next weak

Ora Moose's picture

Sorry, not meaning to things getting hot enough as in pasteurization, just mental. And speaking of the pot, I'll brb. Wait I forgot to go danr lyxdesia.

Just tell me when to stop David thanks for you tolerance/

Ora Moose's picture

Oh and one last word don't ask why or how she may spew at you, wonder why she's never jumped on me guess I'm not worthy orgood looking enough.


Happy belated BY/

mark mcafee's picture

More good news...

The California Dairy Campaign acting as the board for the National Farmers Union in CA, nominated me again to be a CA delegate to the NFU congress to be held this year in Santa Fe NM in March 2014. I was then nominated and elected to sit on the Executive Board for CA Farmers Union which is the board that versees NFU activities in CA.

I was humbled and very gracious. The CDC is an organization made up of 250 or more conventional and organic dairymen in CA.

I do not want to blow my cover....but as a raw milk dairyman I feel something like achieving super spy-mole status...except that I am not a spy & not a mole. The CDC dairyman actually have some regard for what we have achieved in CA. We all stand together ( Conventional, Organic and Raw ) and in doing so...we will achieve great things for all of us as a team of producers serving all of the markets including the emerging niches.

It feels really good. I had to pinch myself...I did not expect this at all. As a special treat, I was able to have some very quality & connected time with Diane Feinsteins CA staffer, David Valadao ( state congressman ) Rudy Salas State representative and USDA federal milk pool order experts from WA DC.

Sorry...Ora, more good news! It is my humble opinion that organic raw milk has earned its place at the table. It may be in the baby high chair or booster seat...but we are at the big table. No question.

Shelly-D.'s picture

Congratulations, Mark! Wish we has this type of good news here in BC where (by current laws) I can receive a 3 million dollar fine or 3 yrs in jail for just giving a glass of raw milk to my neighbour! :(

but if there's no proof that glass of milk is for human consumption, Shelly-D, then your explanation is : it's for the cats. There is no law regulating pet food in British Columbia. I recommend that people who have extra milk, sell it as the base for milk paint, which is certainly is. Before World War One, that's what a lot of paint was made from. Rather than dig through the mountain with a teaspoon, go around the mountain. Just be sure when some badge-wearing statist comes 'round, you can point to a nice big barn wall painted with the classic colors = mellow pastel 'buttermilk' and 'violet'. Milk paint colors were still around on lots of buildings in BC, when I was a kid ... a mere 6 decades ago.

Ora Moose's picture

Guess we need to get ourselves a cat just in case and a really big teaspoon but then again we don't have big mountains around here... and maybe make some official looking badges too.

What did they use for food coloring in those days Gordon?

Shelly-D.'s picture

Yup Gordon, made milk paint myself and did the grape trellis in the garden one past summer Dry curds, lime, water, and a bit of iron oxide powder for colour. Has held up wonderfully against the weather! And no horrid chemicals to drip into my plants! :)

that's so neat! Shelly-D. If you're inclined, I'd love to have a photo of the trellis done up with milk-paint, peeking out from the grapes, for the gallery on my website. If the govt. of BC can 'deem' raw milk to be a health hazard, then I deem it to be milk paint base. Amusing ... that when I first looked up websites for milk paint, they emphasized that it wouldn't work 'lest'n the milk was pasteur-ized. THAT I don't believe

do you have a recipe for the milk paint base? what proportions did you use? when you say "dry curds", how dry? Inquiring minds want to know... any suggestions for other natural substances which will lend a distinct color?

In his Reasons for convicting us, Judge Wong grumbled that we 'did not have any material posted on the website, convincing him that the stuff in jars labelled Cleopatra's Enzymatic Bath Lotion, was sincerely intended for cosmetic use'. Wherefore he drew the inference it was not. But if I sell raw milk for use as milk paint base, satisfying the Learned Justice that it's actually being brushed-on barns ... at least, some of it will be ... who's to know otherwise?! : one of the hallmarks of communism = it compels good people to break the law. In this case ... not 'break' it, rather = "circumvent it".

my raw milk website < > < >

Shelly-D.'s picture

I made my own recipe from scratch - didn't measure anything -- but it was similar to . Remove as much cream off as possible before curdling the milk. I used some lime from the big bag out in the shed, and some iron oxide powder from a potter's supply shop (they have other mineral pigments as well, for other colours - and maybe try chalk or talc for white). You can use industrial pasteurized "cottage cheese" from the grocers as well (best use ever for IPP milk, imho). Mix together the curds, water, and lime in a plastic bucket with lid on, and let sit a bit (took mine 2 days) until the lime has dissolved the curds (I eventually helped it along with a blender). Add in pigment and paint on a nice sunny day. :) A little went a long, long way.

BTW, this has me curious: "Paint has been used by mankind since before recorded history, first as decoration, and much later as a protective coating. The oldest painted surfaces on earth were colored with a form of milk paint. Cave drawings and paintings made 8,000 years ago, even as old as 20,000 years ago, were made with a simple composition of milk, lime, and earth pigments. " ( - so, could this mean that we had domesticated dairy animals 20,000 yrs ago? :)

Ora Moose's picture

Mark, I think you know that I was just jesting about good news, keep them coming and making it happen. Congratulations we are glad to see you get recognition but don't lose your head, you can declare yourself humbled but gracious is a word that can only be used by others, or is it gratuitous inducer?

mark mcafee's picture


Red barn paint was made from Milk and Rust. Thats why they were red.

As far as BC is concerned....they really sucks!! Sorry to hear about this darkages approach. In Canada, the dairy farming economics stakes are much greater than the US dairy economic stakes. Canadians have protected their dairymen with huge financial protections that preserve their wealth and markets....artificially with their crazy QUOTA system that costs upwards of $35,000 per cow for the right to ship milk to the approved state processors for state apporved products. That economic intrastate trade barrier IS THE reason that the anti- raw milk forces are as strong, persistent and as huge as they are.
Good old money...the source of all that lives and breathes behind the Wizzard of Oz curtain.

Ken Conrad's picture

You could have fooled me Mark!

The few remaining dairy farmers that are left in Canada are in debt up to their eyebrows. From 1971 to 2011, under the reign of quota managed marketing boards the number of dairy farms in Canada has dropped by 91 percent. In my area where we used to have over 40 producers in the early 1970’s, there are now less then a handful left.

For farmers wishing to enter the market and start a new farm in Canada, the price of the quota at $30,000 plus/cow can be prohibitively expensive. This leaves those farmers entering the industry with a huge debt burden.

I can assure you the few remaining dairy farmers left in this country do not feel that their wealth and markets are protected, especially with the advent of this new free trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

In the US dairy farmers are manipulated via government run subsidies in Canada via government legislated marketing boards with both being equally manipulated via government trade agreements and cheap food policies.

As far as I am concerned they are one and the same with both systems having been equally effective at decimating the small family farm.


I agree with rawmilkie and Mark, getting to know the product and the consumers of it will be by far the best way to understand the reasons why most choose to ignore or even laugh at reports such as the Minnesota one. If you use the saying about “6 degrees of separation”, then using their mathematical figures, everyone would know someone who got sick, which is of course absurd.

Ben & Don, another suggest is to get along to local gatherings of raw milk consumers, especially if food is part of the gathering. You will see that its not just milk changing their lives, they have also rediscovered some really good food. Sure you will find a few followers, but most are leading, having done their research and are “experiencing” their own true science. It is not based on mathematical probabilities using a false starting point, theirs is real food and they experience the difference, not just think about it.

Most Raw milk producers don’t need to do what we are doing, we could do without all the agro. But we hear over and over from our customers what a difference the milk makes to their lives. In some cases it is truly lifesaving, so how can we not continue to battle through the insanity based on 100 year old information. And whether you realise it or not, there is a stampede happening of families giving up on food produced based on politically corrupt policies. They know politics is corrupt and are gradually seeing their food is affected in the same way and are returning to true nutrition.

So you can either get caught at the bottom of the stampede or you can help manage it and the consequences of it.

David Gumpert's picture

Jeneraytions, excellent advice. One difficulty for Don and Ben (and others among raw milk opponents) is that they work for institutions that may receive support from Big Ag, and view raw milk as the enemy. Mixing it up with raw milk consumers thus becomes more problematic than we may appreciate. 

Dr Heckman doesn't appear to be affected by that pressure. It comes down to a question of ethics and having a will to make a difference. Should teachers use only theory or personal experience to spread a message?

All of us are teachers in some form or another, but Don and Ben as extension service people, are teachers by profession. I take more notice of people with personal experience in a subject, as against those who have only read about it, especially if the information has come from the top and not from grass roots.

Growing up on an organic farm before organic was cool has given me some experience in dealing with controversy.
Heckman, J.R. 2006. A History of Organic Farming: Transitions from Sir Albert Howard’s War in the Soil to USDA National Organic Program. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. 21:143-150.

Republished by Wise Traditions:

When It Comes to Raw Milk, Joseph Heckman Finds That Academia Not the Best Place for Open Debate

Traditional Organic Food & Farming Systems

mark mcafee's picture

Thanks for the report from sources obviously need some updating.
On a lighter & very innovative side.....This is awesome-simple...we need more of this kind of thought!!

Ora Moose's picture

Pretty cool Mark. Is this how I should launch my one cow home operation but using a 5 gallon sized bottle? And how do you propose cleaning the bottles and making sure no BPA or manure leaks into it. Do you wash your eggs? We almost never do unless it's a real messy or bloody blotch, and yet nobody ever gets sick.

Actually I almost never separate the yokes from the whites unless I'm dealing with Gordon each has it's own merits, like Benedict. Scrambled or sunny side maybe over easy? Sorry for the rye humor, but the Patriots are getting spanked and I'd rather laugh than cry.

Ora Moose's picture

To warm you up at the end of this long weekend (MLK a true hero but you knew that right?) except for those of us that have to work and a return visit from the Polar Vortex, but this is not that long and mostly right on so enjoy:

"For local eating to remain possible for the foreseeable future, our local economy has to be economically viable, balancing food access for everyone with prices that allow farms and other food establishments to be decent places to work. Along with clean air and water (they somehow either forgot real milk or are afraid their job may be on the line to even mention it) food is a basic human right, recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by every civil government except our own."

What next, they outlaw sweat because it smells?

as for "(MLK a true hero ...right?)" > hardly
once upon a time - having been brain-washed in the communistic public fool system - I did believe that much. But when I found out the rest of the story about the real Martin Luther King Jr - I don't accept the made-for-the-masses fable anymore.
Get the facts : think for yourself
coming to understand how he has been apotheosized, is part of learning how utterly stupified this nation is, by communism

rawmilkmike's picture

Gordon, don't one or two families control the private companies that control the international corporations that control the governments that control the people? What's all this talk of Communism?

But don't worry, Gordon. The anti-corporate movement would never dream of lifting a finger for the likes of you. You'll get the wages of going it alone, exactly as you deserve.


Here is a quote from the Wisconsin State Farmer, Jan 17, 2014, titled "Stephenson forecasts strong year for U.S. diary producers in 2014"

The following statement is made by Dr. Mark Stephenson, a leading UW-Madison dairy policy and marketing specialist.

He noted that fluid milk sales in the U.S. have been disappointing in recent years.
"Mostly, we managed to maintain total sales of fluid milk because our population was growing at a reasonable pace" Stephenson said. "Our domestic fluid milk sales have been dropping like a brick over the last four years. Last year per capita consumption of milk dropped below 20 gallons."

It is interesting that the article does not mention raw milk as one of the competitors....


rawmilkmike's picture

Lensmire, hasn't the number of children been dropping? Aren't they the only ones who can drink pasteurized milk?

I do not know...I guess the question is what does the author mean by "...population was growing at a reasonable pace..."? births? legal immigration? illegal immigration? visitor? I do not know....he did not give any reference to back his claim...

Sounds like the author is trying to "soften" the bad news that fluid milk consumption of dead milk is in a downward spiral...

In a related article, you have the National Milk Producers Federation urging the scientific advisory panel working on the next round of federal dietary advice to keep the recommendation of three daily servings of dairy products for most Americans....

Look at our society today as the result of the current federal dietary advice....I can just imagine what the next set of federal advice will do to the population.....


So why does he think this year will reverse that trend? Just typical market hype, of the type a flack like him is paid to spew. Otherwise more dairymen might think of making the leap from industrial servitude to raw milk independence.

mark mcafee's picture

I have been invited to speak and appear at a raw milk legislative hearing to be held in Indianapolis Maryland on the 28th of January. This should be a really interesting is in the back yard of the FDA. The FDA made even humble cow shares illegal in Maryland.

After spending some quality time with top administrators of the USDA federal milk pool orders, I am reminded that " lincolns peoples department" is so different than the FDA. The USDA tends to listen, hold open hearings, and mostly try to reflect what the people want. This is far removed from the FDA, that secretly does its own thing and does what it's FOOD Inc corporations want.

Looking forward to a raw milk teaching moment for the good legislators of Maryland. CA may be 2400 miles away....but we are all still Americans and should have the same rights to food access.

rawmilkmike's picture

Mark, do you have poor people in California? Is it possible for you to donate raw milk to food banks, homeless shelters, and programs to feed starving U.S. Children?

mark mcafee's picture


We take on medical projects free of cost to the patient. One great example if the child in Mammoth Lakes CA that was cured of his head to toe excema with just raw milk. That support continues.

We have a huge heart that drives OPDC. Just this last weekend, we were approached by a mom that did not have enough pennies to buy her raw milk for her kids. We gave her our loose lid products for free. We try our best to be as humanitarian as possible.

The real problem is this....we have a country that has totally screwed up priorities. We would rather provide everyone with costly insurance than feed everyone with much more cost effective and effective food!!!!

I have never ever not provided food to people that expressed a need regardless of ability to pay. We always have some product someplace.

The other part of the situation is being sustainable. That takes money...there is a balance.

All of our OPDC employees are trained,brainwashed and indoctrinated to the concept of LOVE ALL SERVE ALL. We do our best to feed all people that want our products. Even our return products are sold at deep discount or given away. The homeless at some of our Farmers Markets get product at the end of the markets.

We are based in service to humanity. That is our Karma & guiding north star. All good things flow from this orienation with all that is good.

D. Smith's picture

I would imagine these "experts" will truly enjoy this story. It's the same story we're hearing in other States, too, like MT, WY, SD, ND, NE.

Ken Conrad's picture

This all sounds too familiar D.

“We keep being told, ‘You need to be more efficient.’ But we’re already doing everything we can,” said Tucker, whose family started the dairy in 1966. “And efficiency can only go so far when your feed costs double and the price of water doubles, and the price you get for your milk doesn’t change.”

I often queried this incessant propaganda directed at increased efficiency. ”How efficient do you expect us to get”, I would ask.

I don’t have an issue with being efficient as long as it’s feasible and doesn’t compromise quality and safety. Unfortunately however, it would seem, that efficiency in the food production industry is driven primarily by the desire for cheap food with little concern for its quality or safety.

In the name of efficiency (cheap food) farm family members have to seek off farm employment or expand, if they wished to preserve their traditional lifestyle.

It is politically expedient for politicians to capitulate to and manipulate the consumer’s desire for cheap food by adopting fiscal, trade, and regulatory policies that drive down the farmgate price.

What these self-serving, shortsighted numbskulls fail to comprehend is that bigger is not better and that it’s unwise to put all of your eggs in one basket.

This greed driven scenario, that ultimately compromises the quality of food and has resulted in the drastic decline in the number of small family farms, will only be broken by an inevitable catastrophic shortage of food.


D. Smith's picture

@ Ken: And when there comes that catastrophic shortage of food, and it WILL happen, people can grow their own veggies and even some fruits, depending on where they live and depending on whether or not it will be legal to do so. But who will they look to for eggs, milk, cream, etc? It won't be big dairy. If that was going to happen it would be happening now - and as far as I can tell, regular milk (junk milk, I call it) sales are headed down - because people are getting wise to the facts about sloppy production methods, however much they try to hide these things.

But people will be looking for neighborhood/local small dairy farmers - and there won't be any. I surmise a lot of people will opt not to use dairy rather than use the slop crap. That will be my choice if it ever comes to that.

BigPhood is cutting its own throat, and I say let them. It will take years to rebuild these small, local, great farms and farmers but I think that's exactly what's going to have to happen in order for the market to make a U-turn and set things right again. When bigfood and bigdairy have screwed up the entire food system, even more than they already have, people will start getting a bigger clue about what does and doesn't work.

And, Ken, I agree with you about that word efficiency. What do they want the small farmers to do, put their cattle on a diet? Cattle eat what cattle eat, and they eat as much as they need, the farmer is not in control of that - unless it's a CAFO trying to control everything - thus they produce an inferior product.

I recently received my latest edition of South Dakota Magazine and there is a pretty decent article in there about the loss of animals during the early October blizzard in 2013 here in western South Dakota. Official reports confirm 13,977 cattle, 1,257 sheep, 287 horses and 40 bison dead from that one storm. It is sad to lose this livestock in such a manner but we lose this many and more everyday to the mismanagement from the CAFO producers and few seem to bat an eye. It's totally mystifying to me that people just don't see it. Of course, to the ones who aren't paying attention and have never been on a farm/ranch much less know what it means to BE a farmer or rancher, it doesn't mean much. They really don't know any better because keeping things a secret from about 90% of the public is what these greedy producers want. Since the advent of the computer, more people are catching on. So to speak, the wind is blowing the buffalo hide off the tipi and exposing the inner workings! It can't come soon enough. More of the general public need to know what is, and isn't, in their food and where it comes from.