What Do Aspirin and Raw Milk Have in Common?
I heard from Walid Abdul-Wahab, the California camel milk guy, and he says he’s just doing what any red-blooded entrepreneur would do—he’s out there hustling his product.
“We actually sell raw camel milk in California, from Missouri, (and) we are in nine Lassens (Natural Food and Vitamins) stores. We will be in 40 Whole Foods stores in northern California in the next couple of weeks (but with pasteurized camel milk).”
Moreover, Abdul-Wahab says he is legal in California. “We actually applied for a raw camel milk license in California from the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) and we clearly stated on the application that the milk was coming from out of state and we got approved.”
So his company, Desert Farms, is in kind of a regulatory never-never land, legal in California, but uncertain elsewhere. But Abdul-Wahab is also an optimist: “I really think we can lift the ban on all interstate raw milk, that is our ultimate goal.”
In the U.S., if you are going to sell a health-giving product that doesn’t make money for Big Ag or Big Pharma, you better be optimistic, persistent, and entrepreneurial.
Last week, two Harvard Medical School researchers (Michelle Holmes and Wendy Chen) vented in a NY Times op-ed piece about their frustration in obtaining $10 million of government research funds to explore the great promise of aspirin in countering breast cancer in women.
Government research panels have turned these scientists down over the last four years for a relatively small amount ($10 million is a small amount, as drug research goes), yet “the government is still willing to test new cancer drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies, despite very high failure rates for those drugs,” they complained.
These Harvard scientists must be slow learners if it’s taken them four years to understand that Big Pharma (together with Big Ag) calls the shots on both drug and food regulation in this country. It doesn’t take a lot of smarts to realize that aspirin isn’t going to get government, or Big Pharma, support because aspirin doesn’t ofter the promise of exclusive patents that then churn billions of dollars for years and years. How is Big Pharma going to make billions on a generic item like aspirin?
As we well know, the politicians and their Big Pharma buddies have the same attitude when it comes to raw milk. European researchers have come up with highly promising findings about the power of raw milk to protect children from asthma and allergies.
Anna Petherick of the international scientific journal, Nature, detailed these findings in a groundbreaking article in a University of California, Davis, newsletter back in 2012: “GABRIELA found substantive evidence that raw milk-consuming farm kids were much less likely to develop allergies including asthma and dermatitis during childhood,” she said. She concluded by asking a question: “Is raw milk good or bad for you?” Her answer? “It’s clear that it can be harmful when contaminated. And there is strong evidence that it benefits young children, but almost no information of substance about adults. To answer the question fully, the world needs studies testing whether large numbers of grown-ups suffering from asthma, hay fever, and similar medical problems see their allergies dampen down after drinking raw milk for a prolonged period.”
It was an article so explosive the FDA had it removed for several weeks; the agency only relented (and even then, with “edits” on the article) when this blog objected to the blatant disregard for academic freedom.
We sometimes think that the FDA has it in especially for raw milk. But really, raw milk is very similar to aspirin in the FDA/Big Pharma/Big Ag scheme of things: milk is a generic item with as little money-making potential for Big Ag processors as aspirin has for Big Pharma. More research is needed to determine the mechanisms that heal and protect. But, of course, there’s no money for research that will only benefit the masses.
It’s up to people like Walid Abdul-Wahab, Vernon Hershberger, Mark Baker, James Stewart, Mark McAfee, and others to push the envelope, and it’s also up to people who care about their health to educate themselves, and do what they need to do to get the food they need to keep themselves and their families healthy. We're on our own.