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News for October 18, 2010

Can a Scientist Who Threatens Legal Action Against Raw Milk...

Sometimes when I read major media financial publications, I think I'm reading something from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. I especially get this feeling when one or another provide commentary on investing in precious metals.

The current issue of Forbes is a case in point. One of its professional investor columnists writes, "Gold is supposed to be an anchor of stability in uneasy times. Currencies can collapse, stock markets can crash, bonds can default, but that yellow stuff is there forever. And so you are expected to put some portion of your retirement assets...in gold. I am going to try to talk you out of this...I think the best way to contend with these uncertainties over a quarter of a century is with a well-diversified portfolio of cheap index funds...Skip the precious-metals allocation."

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Milk: The Real Thing

Ok, a share of hands please. How many of you have ever suckled a baby? Maybe a few of you…? Ok then, how many of you were breastfed? In a place I call Happy Fantasy Boob Land, I imagine that 100% of you got breast-fed. But, like me, I know for a fact that a lot of you didn’t, and that maybe even some of you haven’t seen a baby breast feeding either. But whatever boob hang-ups we all have, I think we can all agree that breast is best. Years of research and public campaigning have finally shifted the preposterous albeit prosperous medical opinion that we could improve upon nature by synthesizing a substitute. Yes, almost every doctor will tell you that boobs are pretty great. And not only is breast-feeding good for you, it’s a quite a handy thing too. Here we have a whining crying screaming baby going on and On AND ON and all you need to do is stick a boob in it to shut it up. It’s a miracle. You don’t even need to wash the boob before using it. No sterilizing bottles and nipples and discarding plastic bags. It’s the ultimate in convenience, and 100% green. Breast milk is so totally hip.

But what if I told you that breast milk was a health hazard? What if I told you that your baby’s milk needed to be packed into huge vats and blended with other mother’s milk and taken to a factory to be industrially processed? First we’d skim off the fat and then add butter fat back to the milk to achieve the desired percentage of fat (e.g. 1%, 2%, 3% etc). After this we’d pasteurize the whole lot of it, and then run it through a high pressure nozzle upwards of 17,000 kPa in a process called homogenization, changing the physiochemical properties of the milk, turning it into a very different substance. Then we’d pack it up in cardboard boxes lined with polyethylene or high density polyethylene (HDPE) containers, and about a week after it had been expressed, you could finally give it to your baby. Does this make any sense to you?

READ MORE (Urban Diner) ]

Chilliwack raw milk court decision reserved

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has reserved her decision on whether the former operator of a Chilliwack raw milk dairy is in contempt of court.

Alice Jongerden appeared in New Westminster Thursday to answer to the civil charge.

READ MORE (The Province) ]

Regulatory Commission Tells PDA, 'Try Again'

A hearing room packed with raw milk producers and a few of their customers listened to Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials propose an overhaul of the state’s milk regulations on Thursday, Oct. 7.

Five PDA officials presented their case to the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission, a five-member group charged with ensuring that new regulations are both legal and effective. In the end, after nearly 4!-W hours of testimony and questions, the IRRC commissioners voted 3-2 to disapprove the PDA’s proposed rule change.

READ MORE (Lancaster Farming) ]

Panel readies raw milk recommendations

After months of debate, a panel that includes consumers, farmers and health experts is close to making recommendations that would allow the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk to the general public.

In January, then state Agriculture Secretary Rod Nilsestuen created the panel to consider what conditions would be required to protect public health should Wisconsin legalize raw milk sales.

READ MORE (Journal Sentinel) ]

Raw Nerves Over Raw Milk

The big guys in the dairy industry, The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), have their long knives out for rural dairy farmers who sell raw milk locally. We needn’t be surprised. We’re seeing the convergence of two social trends: a growing concern among people who can afford to be concerned about the quality and composition of the food they eat; and a growing awareness of the threat of global warming and, again among those who can afford it, a desire to spend less fossil fuel to get food to their tables.

Big food producers, addicted to the chemical way of feeding their animals and crops, to hormones and antibiotics and steroids and pesticides that make farming easier even as they make their products less palatable, are feeling the pinch. If you don’t eat processed foods, even a trace of chemicals comes through loud and clear on your tastebuds when you pick up a handful of chips at a party. If you eat only grass-fed beef, a bite of commercial feed-lot hamburger will shout Hormones! Antibiotics! on your tongue.

READ MORE (The Back Forty) ]

Milk 'drove Neolithic immigration of Middle Easterners to Europe'

New research has revealed that immigration from the Middle East to Europe was driven by the newcomers' sophisticated culture, mastery of agriculture - and their miracle food, milk.

Archaeologist Birgit Srock is analysing a large Neolithic settlement in the Upper Franconia region of northern Bavaria, discovered by workers during the construction of a high-speed rail line between the German cities of Nuremberg and Berlin, reports Spiegel Online.

READ MORE (Sify) ]

Do Organic Chickens Deserve Real, Outdoor Access?

That's the question up for debate on October 25th's meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the regulatory agency that makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the National Organics Program. The standards currently call for "access to the outdoors" for all certified organic livestock, including laying hens. Some organic producers, however, have taken great liberties with what that means.

I've written before about why pastured poultry is superior. Many people think that that's what they're getting when they buy organic or "free range" eggs. Sadly, that's frequently not the case. The typical problem purveyors are huge "organic" egg factories with millions of hens that offer only tiny wooden or concrete porches by way of "outdoor access." When these producers have been challenged in court, the judge often sides with the farm, given the lack of specificity in established organic standards. Many producers have even gotten away with providing no outdoor access whatsoever, citing disease concerns and providing letters from veterinarians that say that outdoor access is too dangerous. They might eat worms and bugs! Oh no! It reminds me of a certain ridiculous "happy chicken" campaign that tries to convince consumers that it's better for hens to be caged. Despite their shenanigans, these industrial producers still get to slap the organic label on their products.

READ MORE (Change.org) ]

Got Milk?

For the record, I am a proponent of dairy products. I love cows and everything from them. I eat more cheese than a person probably should and used to drink a lot of milk. In fact, when I was growing up, my father was a milkman. Ice cream and cheese were our snacks instead of chips and candy. We went through a lot of milk at our house.

Being from a European heritage, my body can still tolerate lactose, which by the way, is unusual. The peoples of Europe and Americans with European heritage are more tolerant of milk due to the fact that their ancestors did and still do have access to it. All other parts of the world grow a natural intolerance for dairy since their diet only includes mother’s milk and dairy isn’t part of their regular diet. We mustn’t treat lactose intolerance as a disease because it is not; it is actually a normal process for many people.

READ MORE (Homestead Letters) ]

Real Life: Unpasteurised pleasures

CLEOPATRA bathed in it, fitness fans swear by it, but you could be arrested for drinking it. Raw milk is gaining a growing band of supporters who believe unpasteurised and untreated dairy products straight from the cow are good for you.

Campaigns backing consumers' right to choose are running in Ireland and overseas, with health-conscious folk here, in New York, LA, England and Australia claiming back-to-nature unpasteurised milk can help everything from childhood allergies and asthma to adult digestive disorders -- and it tastes good.

READ MORE (Independent) ]

 

 

 

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