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News for May 9, 2010

Debate over raw milk grows

ST. LOUIS — Tim Vetter was overweight. He felt unhealthy and needed to make some changes in his life.

So he launched what he calls his "health revolution" — and found his miracle potion.

"I was about 250 pounds," Vetter says now. "Sixty pounds later, I'm pretty passionate about raw milk."

Vetter is one of millions of people who drink unpasteurized milk, believing in its power to cure everything from allergies to obesity. And he is among a growing number of raw milk converts, estimated to be as many as 3 million Americans.


The Economics of Organic Farming

Growing local organic food may be the best path toward economic recovery.  It may also be key to building stronger and healthier communities.

"Our [struggling] economy is making a compelling case that we shift toward more local food," said Ken Meter of the Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis.  "The current system fails on all counts and it's very efficient at taking wealth out of our communities." 

Meter spoke at the annual conference of the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) held recently in La Crosse, Wisc.


Wisconsin goes the udder way -- but with limits

There’s no crying over spilled milk, but there still is a lot of debate over raw milk vs. the pasteurized kind.

Wisconsin, “America’s Dairy State,” joins 20 other states in allowing the sale of raw milk directly to individuals through 2011, thanks to a bill passed by the Legislative last month and signed by Gov. Jim Doyle.

But the new law allows raw milk to be sold only on farms where it is produced and requires signs to be posted declaring that the product may contain harmful pathogens.

According to the new law, the milk must meet Grade “A” standards and is subject to random tests for pathogens. A farmer could lose his license if pathogens are found in two of four consecutive samples.

The authorization for raw milk sales is set to expire December 31, 2011. Meanwhile, a raw milk task force under the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture is to develop a longer-term plan by then.

The federal government doesn’t allow sales of raw milk because of concerns about food-borne illness, but states can allow them as long as the milk doesn’t cross state lines. Nine states allow retail sales.


State sour on raw milk dairies

BRIDGEWATER — Dave Hanson’s customers often ask how soon he will start selling raw milk at his Bridgewater farm.

His answer? It’s going to be a while.

The number of raw milk dairies in the state has more than doubled since 2006, increasing from 10 to 27. But farmers who want to sell the milk, which is not pasteurized and comes straight from the cow, face a web of local and state regulations.

Now, the state is proposing new language that could add another obstacle for farmers by firmly prohibiting people from picking up raw milk for others.

It is legal under state law for farmers to sell raw milk if the customer comes to the farm to pick up the milk themselves.


Chewing on food regulations

CASPER — Millie Copper doesn’t buy much food from the grocery store.

She feeds her family with eggs and meat from chickens she raises on her property in rural Natrona County, or with produce and grains from a natural foods supplier.

The mother of five also prefers raw milk, but doesn’t have enough land for her own dairy cow. Instead, she pays room and board for an animal that lives elsewhere, and in exchange, gets fresh milk.

Wyoming prohibits such arrangements, but Copper doesn’t have another option for buying fresh milk, which she believes is healthier and more humane.

“My only other option is to drive to Colorado,” she said. “And I just can’t do that with a baby. And I don’t think I should have to drive four-plus hours to get milk.”


FDA Wants to Control Everything Your Family Eats

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has achieved a tremendous coup in their suit against the FDA regarding the FDA's abuses over transport of privately owned fresh (unpasteurized) milk. In a brief the FDA filed requesting that the case against them be dismissed for lack of standing, the FDA has shown that they truly think we cannot decide what we want to eat or drink without their permission. It's amazing. One would think that we could not have possibly lived prior to the formation of the FDA just over one hundred years ago.


Raw milk, raw food popularity surges: Is the FDA fighting against our health?

Are raw, living foods sourced from safe local producers better for your health and immune systems than processed, genetically modified, pasteurized, homogenized, or irradiated foods?

Do you have a right to decide for yourself, and to choose healthy, raw, nutritious, natural foods from local growers and purveyors?

Take raw milk as an example. Since California established the nation's most stringent raw milk standards, more and more people are consuming raw dairy products. Many of those people tout what they view as raw milk's beneficial properties. They claim that raw milk and cultured raw dairy products help to relieve symptoms of allergies, asthma, arthritis, and other digestive issues, including symptoms of celiac disease.


Are Organic Foods Worth the Price? And Do They Live up to the Hype?

The sales of organic foods in the United States surged past the $20 billion mark a few years ago, and is continuing to climb. But, what are we getting from all of those dollars? Are we getting better quality food? Fewer pesticides? The possibility of improved health? Or, as an editorial in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, suggested last year, maybe we are just making ourselves think we are doing better.

The Lancet published this editorial after two reports by the same group of scientists came out of England about the "supposed" health benefits of organic foods. Because I have believed for years that organic foods are better for us and the planet, I immediately sought these articles out -- and actually read them -- something the editor of The Lancet and a number of news reporters apparently failed to do.


Cow in Boston Common for "Raw Milk Drink In"

Raw Milk Enthusiasts Slam Proposed State Ban on Raw Milk Buying Clubs

Press Conference Precedes 10 AM Public Hearing at Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

BOSTON, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Raw milk enthusiasts and dairy farmers will bring a cow to Boston Common for a "Raw Milk Drink In" and gather on State House steps for press conference.

The raw milk rally comes as the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) attempts to restrict the delivery of raw milk to thousands of consumers throughout Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the MDAR issued a cease and desist order to four raw milk buying club drivers who were delivering the milk to customers to urban and suburban areas of the state. 

Who: Raw milk cow, farmers and consumers.

What: Photo opportunity with raw milk cow, "Raw Milk Drink In" and press conference.


8 am Cow & "Raw Milk Drink-In," Boston Common

9:20 am Press Conference, State House

10 am Public Hearing, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

2 pm Cow leaves Boston Common

Where: Boston Common - Adjacent to Brewer Fountain, then Statehouse


Dairy clubs to fight for raw milk

BOSTON - When Blanche Lennington last year started a small club to purchase raw milk directly from farmers, she figured it would be a good way to share her passion for the product and support local dairy farmers.

The club thrived - until it was suddenly shut down this year by the state.

The state Department of Agricultural Resources is banning Lennington, a Becket grandmother, and other consumers from purchasing nonpasteurized milk from a farm and then distributing the milk to fellow club members.


Michelle Obama Can Lead a Global Movement for Organic Food

When Michelle Obama laid out an organic garden in the White House, and that was in March 2009, I must admit I was very excited. I thought the U.S. first lady, drawing from what Mahatma Gandhi had once said, was trying to be the change that she wanted the United States to be. "I want to make sure that our family, as well as the staff and all people who come to the White House and eat our food, get access to really fresh vegetables and fruits," she was quoted in a news agency report.

My excitement was, however, short-lived. Unmindful of the initiative the First Lady had taken to provide safe food, President Barack Obama appointed Michael Taylor, a lawyer by training and a former Vice-President of Monsanto, to oversee food safety. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Michael Taylor, but considering his background -- he is known to be the person behind the unwanted introduction of bovine growth hormone in dairy milk -- I wasn't expecting the U.S. President to be so taken in by the industry propaganda.


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