Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for July 19, 2010

Drinking Raw Milk Is Worth The Risk, Advocates Say

Raw milk - milk that comes straight from the cow or goat without being pasteurized - has been effectively banned in many states because the Food and Drug Administration says it presents a health threat. But people who believe it's an important part of a diet with more local and natural foods are finding ways to get it, and they say it's worth the risk.

At 3 in the afternoon on a sweltering summer day in Bowie, Md., the Reitzig kids are ready for their snack.


Don't let Big Ag drive small farmers out of business

A renaissance in sustainable food networks could be stopped in its tracks if one-size-fits-all food safety legislation is approved by Congress.

Currently, legislation is stalled in the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee because of concerns that if passed it could force small- and medium-sized farms out of business.

READ MORE (Brattleboro Reformer) ]

Raw Milk: New Video with Mark McAfee

Raw milk. I talk about it a lot. Not only is it a thousand times more delicious than conventional milk, it’s also a whole lot more nutritious.

I also can’t get enough of Mark McAfee, founder of Organic Pastures Raw Milk Dairy here in California. I buy all of our milk from Mark and dairy, and all of our cream and much of our butter (not to mention some ground beef and cow hearts, and I love their kombucha).

READ MORE (Cheeseslave) ]

Ban On Raw Milk Makes Enthusiasts Curdle

The milk in your morning cereal is most likely pasteurized, which means it was heated super-hot to kill all the bad bacteria and then immediately refrigerated cold for preservation. Lovers of unpasteurized milk say that process kills all the flavor, too.

This morning NPR reports on the growing fight between raw-milk enthusiasts (they call it “real milk”) and health experts who say the stuff is dangerous. Unpasteurized milk, handled improperly, can poison you with the same strain of E. coli that turned up in ground beef, spinach, and cookie dough. It recently sickened 30 people in Colorado. But it’s really, really good.

READ MORE (Daily Mail) ]

Why Grass Could Save America's Dairies

It's no secret by now that American dairy farmers are in trouble. Although consumer milk prices have remained steady, the price paid to farmers has plummeted, putting thousands of farms out of business. The conventional advice to those that remain is, "Get big or get out." But some farmers see only increased debt and lower quality of life in that future and are looking to a different path to financial solvency. Spurred on by economic crisis, they are giving grass-based farming a shot, and most are finding that it's saving their hide.

The dairy industry has focused on increased milk per cow to the exclusion of almost everything else, and this in no small part contributes to the financial crisis it now faces. If you measure success by that sole criteria, the industry should be doing better than ever. It has produced the amazing Holstein cow and placed her in a confinement system that allows her to produce between 21,000 and 23,000 pounds of milk per year (milk is measured by the hundredweight). But increased production has come at an increased cost. Industrial equipment, higher vet bills, waste removal expenses and more have all increased operating costs to the point where that income is often completely negated. Switching to a pastured system, though, is seen as foolhardy by many seasoned dairy producers because it leads to a decrease in milk production and a decrease in profits. What those producers fail to add into the equation is that in a pastured system, costs are much lower, too.


With milk prices low, dairy farmers turn to beef cattle

In what used to be a dairy farm region, more and more farmers are raising beef cattle, either to keep their farms operational or try to turn a profit amid sour milk prices.

Numerous beef outfits have opened up in the mid-Hudson over the past decade, including at least 15 new farms just in the last five years, said Audrey Reith, the equine and livestock educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County.

READ MORE (Times Herald-Record) ]

Should Taxpayers Subsidize Soda?

The soft drink industry receives a $4 billion subsidy from taxpayers each year, according to an editorial published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the paper, that’s about how much carbonated soda is purchased with money from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as Food Stamps. And that total doesn’t include non-carbonated soft drinks. Considering that the overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is helping fuel an epidemic of obesity that disproportionately affects low-income people, the authors raise the question of whether it is time to exclude soda or other junk foods from the SNAP program in the same way that alcohol, tobacco, dietary supplement pills, and hot prepared foods are already excluded.

READ MORE (Center for Science in the Public Interest) ]

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