The August 3, 2011, shakedown of the Rawesome food cooperative in Venice, California, in spite of the tragic outcome, has produced one positive result. The ruthless raid on the part of miscellaneous government agencies has sparked a wave of unprecedented discord over the question, How can government dictate what we choose to eat when we each have unique standards for good nutrition?
This federalista blitzkrieg came at a time when raw milk alarmism had reached an all-time high. The folks who wish to banish raw milk can’t leave the issue alone, and instead they have ramped up a cacophonous crusade against one of nature’s glories. Day after day, articles and news bits appear in the mainstream media, full of fear mongering and panic-producing propaganda in regard to the safety of raw milk.
A July 2011 article on Dairyherd.com has some interesting survey results on comparative raw-milk regulations on a state-by-state basis. To summarize, 30 states allow consumers to transact with raw-milk producers while 20 states prohibit that act of freedom. And don’t forget that federal laws prevent the sale of any raw milk over state lines. The federal government’s response to the good white stuff moving over state lines is to send in armed soldiers in full battle gear to seize and destroy.
Thirteen mini-regimes across the United States allow the sale of raw milk on the farm where it was produced, while four of those thirteen allow only “incidental occurrences,” with that being defined as “occasional sales, not as a regular course of business; no advertising.” Surely, the feds can interpret “occasional” and “regular” and “advertising” in a whole host of capricious ways. After all, it is the use of arbitrary laws with a host of potential interpretations that enables the feds to conduct their criminal operations that consist of seizing product and regulating small producers out of business.
Four of those 13 states only allow raw goat milk while Kentucky and Rhode Island — now get this — require a prescription from a physician! Of course, you can interpret that to mean raw milk must be medicinal (ask moms who remedy their child’s allergies with raw milk), but then again, there’s no such thing as a Big Milk Pharma that exists as a corporate arm of the state to keep its products available for the masses. Lastly, 11 states allow raw milk to be sold in retail stores outside of the farm.
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In a recent edition of the Atlantic, an article was published that does a solid job of covering the Rawesome food-club raid and its aftermath. The Atlantic writer, Ari LeVaux, compares the Rawesome raid by federal and local agencies to the contamination of 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey (one tally is 77 known ill people, 1 dead). Rawesome was raided, trashed, and shut down, and meanwhile, Cargill executives were analyzing the costs of a recall vs. the potential for negative publicity from the tainted meat so they could voluntarily decide whether or not to recall the product.
LeVaux went on to say that food freedom in America is vanishing. A quote from the end of the article states the following: “This is the state of food freedom in America today: It’s being sacrificed in the name of food safety.” But this is not about safety. These raids that are hostile to food choice are about
– seizing power, which benefits federal and local governments and provides justification for their continued growth through the looting of taxpayers;
– eliminating the competition for the rent-seeking corporate state, meaning the big business–big government alliance;
– displaying the omnipotent power of the enforcement state (militarized police and federal/state agencies); and
– affirming rejection of any individual’s right to self-ownership, and thus making the case that we are subjects to be ruled, including our behaviors and personal lifestyle choices.
The FDA is, in desperation, trying to influence consumers against raw milk. Even so, sales of raw milk keep increasing and new consumers come into the market. Since the FDA does not have the power to regulate intrastate commerce, it is up to the states to regulate raw milk. The FDA’s job, then, is to apply pressure on states to restrict or ban the sale of raw milk.
The fear mongering over the dangers of raw milk is rooted in government–special interest propaganda with no basis in facts or science. In the interest of alarming the populace, the prohibition campaign has portrayed the decision to drink raw milk as a public danger rather than a personal choice. In response, Ted Beals, MD, delivered a presentation at the Third International Raw Milk Symposium in Bloomington, Minnesota, in May 2011, where he delivered these remarks:
From the perspective of a national public health professional looking at an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses each year; or from the perspective of a healthcare professional looking at a total of 90,771 (data from Healthy People 20204) confirmed bacterial foodborne infections each year (about 0.2 percent), there is no rational justification to focus national attention on raw milk, which may be associated with an average of 42 illnesses maximum among the more than nine million people (about 0.0005 percent) who have chosen to drink milk in its fresh unprocessed form.
Using this average of 42 illnesses per year, we can show, using government figures, that you are about 35,000 times more likely to become ill from other foods than you are from raw milk.