Kissed by the Nanny State  


This is an excerpt from a back issue of the New York Times. Although it is not about milk, it is yet another example of a loss of quality foods and ancient traditions to unfounded fears and overbearing regulations.

"On Monday inspectors destroyed all the cured meats at Il Buco restaurant in NoHo. They did so, according to the owner, Donna Lennard, not because of any evidence of contamination but because the temperature in the curing room was six degrees higher than it should have been.

"These are pigs that were raised for us," Ms. Lennard said. "We knew their names. We were trying to do something sustainable and traditional, and this is what happens."

The process of curing meat has been refined over thousands of years by people who are on intimate terms with their handiwork. Food historians believe that the Romans picked up the craft from the Lucanians, a tribe that for almost 1,000 years ruled part of what is now Basilicata in southern Italy, developing a reputation for sausages while fending off imperial conquerors. The Greek sausage loukanika and its Mediterranean cousins the longaniza (Spain), luganega (Italy), and linguiça (Portugal) are all descendants of the ancient lucanicus."

It seems more and more as people are removed from the actual production of actual food, they want the government to control their fear of the unknown. Factory farms and huge industrial animal processing plants cannot completely control their final product in the best of conditions, and arguably, they do not create the best of conditions. An individual producer, be it of raw milk, fresh spinach, or in this article salami, can and must be aware and control intangibles that science may never define. And that is an art. And art must be free to express and create. Just as we are a nation founded upon individual liberty, all men deserve the freedom to eat as they choose.

Please click here to read the whole article


Raw Milk and Boiled Information  


The language is different, the concerns are the same. and the underhanded tactics remain always. This is from Beppe Grillo's Blog, an Italian blog that I find interesting. Read the story and see if it doesn't sound familiar. I regret my crude Italian doesn't allow me to understand a lot of the interview with Dr. Cavalli, but if you read the story, it helps. Here is the Link - Beppe Grillo


What in the World?  


As if our country doesn't have enough problems to deal with... Armed deputies have successfully raided another family farm. This evildoer was actually selling food while her husband was in Iraq. To think that her children were exposed to...natural food. And all the while his parents actually knew and condoned the behavior. Read the links below and just stop to wonder...

ODA Raid

Raid on Manna Storehouse

More on Manna Storehouse Raid




This crap is real, and if the bigger picture, the ramifications beyond the smaller details of this case, do not absolutely terrify you, then we are not from the same planet. I am just a simple country boy who grew up somewhat removed from pop culture and mob thought. I am not a Luddite, exactly, (though I believe a technology should useful for more than its own sake). I am American. I have always believed that individualism was the ultimate root of freedom and was the basis for the founding of this once great country. As the years go by, I realize that mob thought is becoming more and more prevalent in all aspects of our daily life, whatever your political views, and is fast becoming the downfall of our great country. "Us against them," and "Who will take care of us?" have become the battle cries (or baby cries) of the new century. As we seek protection from every imagined danger like, God forbid, milk, we put our own shackles on and enslave ourselves to anyone or anything promising that protection. It has been decades since my Mom and Dad knew my every move, and yet society as a whole wants that kind of parental protection from itself and the dangerous world.

The beacon of individual freedom coupled with individual responsibility is dimming, and with the loss of the greatest free republic the world has ever known, is about to go out. Drink your damn milk, raw if possible and grow the hell up babies.

Check this link, and if you don't get as angry as I have, I am truly sorry.

USDA: Judge should pull plug on Amish case


Raw Milk Trial an Abuse of Legal Process  


Schmidt Vows to Continue
Owens Sound Times, Friday October 31, 2008

In his way Phil McNichol added a valuable point to the current debate about raw milk. Certainly his view was much more constructive than the editorial a week ago where I almost got the feeling The Sun Times was slamming me because MPP Bill Murdoch has been instrumental in trying to start a constructive dialogue about raw milk in parliament. I also would like to thank The Sun Times for Grant Robertson's article regarding regulating the raw milk market. That was constructive, thank you.

When I returned last May from California, where I testified in front of the State Senate Committee in respect to the criminalization of raw milk in Canada, I met with Medical Officer of Health Hazel Lynn in a coffee shop in Owen Sound. I told her how constructive a dialogue can be if there is a will to deal with issues. I also told her how much fun it is to go into supermarkets in California and find raw milk on the shelves.

She replied with the recommendation that I should move to California. In her own words, "The only thing that bothers me is that you break the law. What about the health issue?"

This comment is consistent with many situations I have encountered in the 14 years of trying to engage Government and the DFO in a dialogue. It is consistent with the York Regional Health Unit's offer last July that they will drop legal proceedings as long as I would move into another jurisdiction. It is consistent with the previous medical officer of health Murray McQuigge who compares drinking raw milk with manslaughter and, yet, he has done nothing after 1995 to stop me, knowing full well that I had publicly announced I would continue.

Phil McNichol needs to study history to understand that the democratic process is severely compromised when government policy is dominated by corporate interests. We cannot talk about a democratic process when money rules politicians, when money rules policy making, when money buys all the legal power to bring down justice in the name of democracy.

Yes, we think that we in Canada have a free country, have a working democracy, however, it seems as if more and more people are starting to question exactly that.

I attended a lecture this spring by Robert Kennedy Jr. where he clearly pointed out that when corporate interests have taken over government policy making we cannot talk about a working democracy.

Countless profound changes in the history of democracy could not occur without breaking the law. Breaking the law does not come easy to me. It comes when the political process stops working. As the late Martin Luther King wrote in his letter out of the Birmingham Prison, "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all.'"

The trial in Newmarket itself displayed how the legal process has been abused. Instead of waiting for the main trial, which deals with the legality of cow shares and also with the question, if in fact the ban of pasteurization is conforming to the Charter of Rights and Freedom, York Region misused its position to interfere in the due process of law, not me.

I have not been found guilty in any of the charges laid by the Ministry of Natural Resources or the local Health Unit.

In my response to Justice Boswell's ruling, I responded with the following:

When Gandhi started his march to the Indian Ocean to encourage his people to make salt in order to defy the tax on salt imposed on India by the English Empire, he did that knowing full well that they needed to break the law in order to bring about justice.

When the black woman, Rosa [Parks], started the bus boycott in Montgomery, Martin Luther King knew that they had to break the law in order to eradicate injustice towards the Blacks in America.

When Stephen Harper apologized this year in the House of Commons for the government's injustice towards the First Nations, he had to do it because the legal system failed to protect their individual rights.

In addition, I would like to remind everyone that the rule of law is indeed arbitrary. In history there have been countless executions and prosecutions of people in other countries and here in Canada who objected to injustice based on the rule of law of that country. We here in the west praise those in other countries who have the courage to stand up for lost rights, despite their breaking the rule of law in that country.

In March 1995, I offered in writing to the government of Ontario and the Milk Marketing Board my co-operation to study together the safe production of raw milk.

In December 2006, Bill Murdoch introduced a proposal to study the issue of raw milk at Queen's Park.

For many years now, James McLaren in Ottawa has been trying to work with the different agencies to look at the issue of raw milk, so far without any success.

In November 2007, we prepared a proposal for the Ontario government about how Ontario might regulate a growing underground market based on working models from around the world.

Canada is the only G8 country with a total ban on raw milk. Here I can ask also, why is the Canadian government so arrogant to ignore these facts.

If they are concerned about the health of its citizens, cigarettes, alcohol and many, many other food items should be off the shelves. Hypocrisy wherever you turn.

All of the above has been ignored or ridiculed. What choices are left for me?

This is not only about health, this is not only about milk. This is about the growing awareness that especially the government and its public servants are accountable, and also their need to learn to respect the unalienable individual rights that grant everyone equal standing before our creator and before each other.

Michael Schmidt Durham
Article ID# 1272564


Globalization battle plays out in French cheese industry  


By Matthew Saltmarsh
International Herald Tribune
Published: October 17, 2008

PARIS: Philippe Alléosse's cellar in Paris is an Aladdin's cave for lovers of French cheese.

His temperature- and humidity-controlled subterranean storage rooms in the 17th Arrondissement are packed with carefully aged varieties, among them Brin d'Amour from Corsica, Bethmale from the Pyrénées and Bleu de Gex from Haut-Jura. He knows just when to add a dash of water or Chablis to the rind and when the product should finally be released to the public.

But Alléosse, premier maître artisan fromager affineur, or master cheese ager, fears that he is one of a dying breed.

He is worried that industrial processes - from sourcing through production and distribution - are squeezing small farmers and threatening to deny consumers the choice, complexity and quality of a product that is considered a luxury in many countries but a staple on French tables.

The giant producers counter that such complaints are sour grapes and that traditionalists are scared of losing market share to new techniques, resentful of their profit. Consumers, they say, are happy with the products available and prices charged.

The debate seems to go to the heart of an acutely French dilemma: whether to embrace globalization, or to fight to preserve heritage. For now, the tussle is centered on the process of pasteurization and the effect that it is having on the product and the market.

"Raw milk is the battlefield," said Pierre Boisard, a sociologist who is author of "Camembert: A National Myth." One mass producer in particular, Lactalis, has altered the landscape through its production of traditional products using industrial methods, he said.

"It's a problem," he added. "It hurts the brands of the traditional producers" who have "legitimate grievances."

Citing health concerns, and related import restrictions imposed by large markets like the United States, Lactalis moved away from making cheese from raw, or unpasteurized, milk, favoring pasteurization, which it says helps kill harmful bacteria. Small producers say that pasteurization wipes out positive bacteria as well. Both sides can produce scientific studies to back their claims.

Tensions recently bubbled over after Lactalis and the Isigny Sainte-Mère cooperative, a smaller rival, began to treat the milk used in their Camembert, which previously had been made with raw milk.

Lactalis, a private group based in Normandy, is the largest cheese and milk producer in Europe and also the world's biggest producer of unpasteurized cheeses. Globally, it is No.2 to Kraft of the United States.

It started using a gentle form of pasteurization that heats the milk to a lower temperature than is the norm for pasteurization. This so-called thermizing process removes potentially harmful bacteria, the company says.

Champions of small producers say that the health concerns are a smokescreen for seeking greater profit through increased volume and efficiency, as pasteurized cheeses are allowed to stay longer on supermarket shelves.

In thermizing its milk, Lactalis sacrificed its Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, or AOC, status, a label supplied by a government body to verify that a product has achieved certain standards. But the industrial giant subsequently led a fight to win back the precious stamp, arguing that pasteurized cheeses should be included.

Camembert lovers were relieved when, after a long public battle, the authorities said in March that they would protect small producers by reserving the AOC only for Normandy Camembert made in the traditional way. The small producers won that battle, but the broader war continues, as many are wondering whether Lactalis will open up a new front.

Cheese is big business here. There are an estimated 400 types of cheese in France, and no other country offers the creativity and range in its cheese making. In addition to world-famous AOC cheeses like Roquefort and Brie de Meaux, there are hundreds of cheeses with regional nuances.

At first glance, the industry appears healthy. According to the Maison du Lait, which represents dairy producers, French cheese production rose 1.7 percent to 1.9 million tons last year from a year earlier. Sales at large stores rose 2.2 percent and French exports were 4 percent higher. But production of AOC cheese was down 1.2 percent last year and raw milk cheese production fell 3.8 percent.

"The big worry is whether we will be able to preserve what we have inherited," Alléosse said as he darted around his cellar, tapping a maturing Tomme de Brebis Ottavi with his "sonde," one end of which is a small hammer used to test density. The other end bores into the rich interior to produce a "carotte" for tasting.

"There's a scarcity of producers," he said. "They are leaving the regions for the towns. No one wants to run these small businesses. They have been built over centuries, and in a matter of years, we are losing them in many parts of France."

Lactalis, meanwhile, employs 15,000 people in France in 74 locations, of which 19 are in mountainous regions. While it mass-produces brands like Président Camembert and Bridel Emmental, it is also makes a swath of AOC cheeses.

Dairy prices have risen alongside nearly all food prices in the past year, but small producers say the price that farmers get for their milk has not risen in line and hence only the distributors and the big players like Lactilis have benefited.

"We never wanted to kill small producers; they have the capacity to kill themselves," said Luc Morelon, director of communications at Lactalis. "We have other objectives: to develop a French company and to increase the consumption of cheeses and dairy products worldwide with good brands and consumer confidence due to quality."

"It is a silly debate," he added. "We have invested a lot of money in modernizing these facilities. It is a clear that our consumers are satisfied."

Alléosse bemoaned the passing of an era, noting that his children were not interested in taking over his business after his retirement. "It's a taste, a texture, an ideology," he said. "Cheese brings pleasure, and if we can't provide that people will look elsewhere."

He is supported in his battle by Véronique Richez-Lerouge, founder of a regional cheese association. She complains about a "standardization" of the product as the mass market elbows out smaller producers by buying their land, pooling milk and hence deteriorating the final product.

"It's not just big industrial groups that are responsible," Richez-Lerouge said. "It's the public, it's society, it's government - we've accepted, we've compromised."

Richez-Lerouge has even produced a calendar of French women posing in their underwear to try to bring publicity to the cause. She wants certain producing areas to be protected from sale to large groups in the way that Champagne producers are, and for the benefits of price rises to be passed on to small producers rather than distributors and large groups. Others hope a solution can occur without such intervention. "The battle is not lost yet," Boisard said. "There are still cheese shops, there is still choice. We must hope that there are enough passionate people out there to preserve what we have."


Raw Milk Farm Raided Again  


By JIM HOOK Senior writer -

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture again has seized raw milk at Mark S. Nolt's farm near Newville, confiscating $20,000 worth of milk, cheese, yogurt and other raw dairy product.

"Mr. Nolt is continuing to sell raw milk and raw milk products without a permit to do such," said department spokesman Chris Ryder. "None of that is legal to sell."

Around 10 a.m. Friday the state confiscated raw milk and products made from raw milk -- including yogurt, cheese and cream -- from the Wenger Mennonite's farm..

The seizure, worth $20,000, brings to $70,000 in milk products and equipment the state has taken from Nolt's farm in the past three raids, according to Jonas Stoltzfus, a friend and spokesman for the Mennonite farmer. The Nolt family has been forced to purchase milk and cheese from a neighboring farm for their own use.

Raw milk has not been pasteurized, or heat-treated to kill bacteria and then cooled. Potentially beneficial bacteria and enzymes, along with any pathogens, thrive in raw milk.

Government agencies do not recommend consumption of raw milk, but a growing number of consumers consider raw milk a natural, beneficial food. Many drive from the Washington-metro area to buy raw milk on Pennsylvania farms.

The state Department of Agriculture regulates the sale of raw milk.

The state has no jurisdiction to interfere in a private business doing business by private contract, said Stoltzfus, president of the Pennsylvania Independent

"He has a Constitutional right to do what he is doing," Stoltzfus said.

In June Magisterial District Judge Vivian Cohick found Nolt guilty of three counts of selling raw milk products without a permit. Nolt has appealed a prior conviction to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the state continues to send agents attempting to buy raw milk at Nolt's farm. One agent told Nolt he was acquainted to Stoltzfus, Stoltzfus said.

"We have constant entrapment going on here," Stoltzfus said. "They won't quit. We have a state that doesn't have enough to so it picks on a guy like Mark? It's unconscionable."

Nolt, a father of 10 children who drives a buggy, has said he did not renew his 2006 state permit to sell raw milk products because Pennsylvania's permit does not allow a permit holder to sell butter and soft cheeses made from raw milk. Only raw milk and aged, hard raw-milk cheeses are permitted to be sold.


Jim Hook can be reached at 262-4759, or


NY Hearing Officer to Smiths: “Raw Milk Is Raw Milk, Whether It Is Sold or Bartered or Given Away”  


David E. Gumpert

The notion that a hearing officer engaged by New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets would recommend a ruling in favor of the agency, and against Barb and Steve Smith, is no big surprise. What is surprising is the logic the officer, Susan Weber, used in her 21-page report--just sent last week to the Smiths--which is based on two days of hearings held last January concerning charges against the Smiths and their Meadowsweet Dairy LLC. The Smiths established a limited liability company—really, a type of herdshare—and argued that the LLC placed them outside the tentacles of NY Ag & Markets.

Please use this link to go to the original article and read the comments. They are worth the extra effort.

Even less of a surprise is that the Ag & Markets Commissioner, Patrick Hooker, accepted the hearing officer’s recommendations and ordered the Smiths to abide by state regulations, including obtaining a raw milk permit, if they want to make unpasteurized milk available to their shareholders. Of course, that would mean they couldn’t make other products like yogurt, cream, butter, and buttermilk available. Hooker actually went further than the hearing officer, ignoring even her two modest favorable conclusions for the Smiths-- that no raw-milk sales had occurred, and that the Smiths' milk hadn't violated coliform standards, since none exist in NY for raw milk.

What’s interesting about Weber’s report is that it seems to be telling the Smiths: You may be doing everything correctly in using an LLC to distribute milk to shareholders, but it’s illegal all the same.

For example, to the argument by the Smiths' lawyer, Gary Cox (of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund) that New York’s milk laws don’t prohibit herdshare-type arrangements, hearing officer Weber states: “There is the definition of raw milk, which appears to require a sale; there is the consumer who must apparently purchase in order for the milk she or he drinks to be regulated under law; there is the milk plant which must apparently receive milk intended for pasteurization or not qualify as a milk plant. Respondents would have us hang our hats upon these inconsistencies, find them dispositive, and dismiss the State’s case. To do so would fly in the face of common sense and defeat the clear legislative intent to cover the field of dairy regulation for the protection of public health.”

Yes, “protection” over all.

Similarly, she states: “I conclude that the arrangement between its members and Meadowsweet for the distribution of raw milk and raw milk products is not a purchase and sale transaction, but is a distribution of profit based upon the value of the members’ contributions.”

But then she adds, “It is well established that the law cannot be employed for an illegal purpose…Consequently, while members may obtain raw milk and raw milk products at the farm as a distribution from the LLC, I find that the LLC must be in compliance with applicable laws governing manufacture, processing, handling, and distribution of dairy products.”

Shades of Catch-22?

Finally, she expresses concerns about sanitation violations discovered by Ag & Markets, including “the north wall is caked with old manure, chickens were found roaming free in the milking barn,” along with flies, mouse droppings, and spider webs observed. Even though she allows that “the Department offered no evidence that there was any actual injury to the public or any intent to deceive consumers by offering product which was not what it was purported to be,” the claim about unsanitary conditions “was the most compelling”to her.

To Weber, “The Department’s evidence establishes beyond doubt that the conditions at Meadowsweet in October of 2007 were not sanitary, that the products produced, processed and manufactured there may have been contaminated with filth or rendered diseased, unwholesome or injurious to health.”

Never mind that real farms have for ages had chickens intermingling with cows, and have had spider webs and mouse droppings around…or that no members of the LLC-herdshare have become ill, or even made a single complaint to any governmental authorities, after numerous visits to the dairy to pick up their milk.

It’s easy to dismiss this report as inherently biased and also point out that it isn’t yet enforceable because the Smiths have a court case pending against Ag & Markets in state court seeking exemption from Ag & Markets of the LLC-herdshare model.

But the fact is that a quasi-legal opinion has moved the nation's second-largest state a large step closer to rendering herdshares illegal. You can be sure the judge in the Smiths' case will read the hearing officer's report. This NY decision comes after a court in the largest state sided with the California Department of Agriculture a few months ago in refusing to suspend enforcement of the state’s 10-coliform-per-milliliter coliform standard.

In both cases, the voices of the judiciary were essentially saying: You raw-milk people may have logical arguments, but we mortal judge types don’t pretend to really understand this stuff, so we’re accepting everything the regulators tell us, whether it’s true or not, because...they're regulators and, doggon it, we trust them to protect our health. And you few who don’t trust them to protect your health, well, that’s your problem.


Raw milk in cheeses doesn't pose same risk, prof says  


August 09, 2008



Popular cheeses such as Parmesan, Emmenthal and old cheddar are often made from unpasteurized milk, but they don't present the same health risks that fresh raw milk does, an expert at University of Guelph says.

Fully pasteurized milk is subjected to a temperature of 72 C for 16 seconds, which kills most of the harmful organisms in milk so that it's safe to drink.

But there's another process used for milk, called "heat-treating," in which the milk is held at a lower temperature: 55 to 65 C for 16 seconds. This doesn't pasteurize the milk; it kills dangerous bacteria but leaves a wider range of bacteria alive, says food sciences professor Art Hill.

And it's these other bacteria that give the cheeses their flavour.

Meanwhile, the cheesemaking process, which often involves "cooking" the cheese curds for hours at temperatures resembling a very hot bath, is a further guard against harmful bacteria.

So is the aging process.

Overall, the drier and harder that cheese made from unpasteurized milk is, the safer it is to eat. Parmesan cheese has no safety issues, Hill says. Raw-milk cheddar presents more risk, but it's still a very small risk.

Hill said he will eat raw-milk cheddar with no concerns. "But I wouldn't give it to my immune-compromised grandmother."

Cheeses made from raw milk are legal in Ontario, provided they've been aged for 60 days.

Quebec recently changed the law to allow some raw-milk cheeses aged less than 60 days, mostly to allow for the production of raw-milk Camembert.

The rationale is that this cheese is riskier to eat the longer it ripens.

Some of these cheese are made from heat-treated milk, others from milk that hasn't been treated at all.


Skirt The Law With A Herdshare  


Aug 6, 2008

Get Your (Legal) Local Milk

By Samantha Cleaver

Raw, unpasteurized local milk illegal in your state? Still want to get a frothy cup of local milk each morning?

There may be a way around the raw milk laws—a herdshare. When you own the cow getting your raw milk isn’t illegal.

For example, Valerie Taylor with Eat. Drink. Better. is part of a herdshare. She owns 3/25 of Cinnamon, a Jersey cow, who lives on a local dairy farmer’s land and pays $50 per share. Each week she drives to the farm and picks up 3 gallons of milk, at $5.08 per gallon its getting to be a bargain.

The benefits of herdsharing: knowing that your milk comes from cows raised on pasture (instead of in huge, corn-fed barns) and without rBGH (bovine growth hormone). And, for some people, the benefit of drinking raw milk.

To make sure your herdshare is safe, buy milk from farms that are set up to produce it and learn more: has information about how to set up a legal herdshare, and raw milk farmers around the U.S.


Dairy Farming Over 8,000 Years Old  


The Press Association

Cows and goats were being milked more than 8,000 years ago, according to new evidence which pushes back the origins of dairy farming by two millennia.

Scientists found fatty traces on ancient pottery that showed they were used to store dairy products.

The findings also suggest that milk processing was taking place as long ago as the seventh millennium BC.

Raw milk residues would not have survived so well over the centuries. The traces found by the researchers are thought to have been left by dairy products such as cheese and ghee.

Although cattle, sheep and goats are known to have been domesticated in the Near East by the eighth millennium BC, there was no early evidence that they were used for anything other than meat.

Until now the first clear evidence of milk production only appeared in the late fifth millennium.

The new discovery arose from an analysis of 2,200 pottery vessels from the Near East and the Balkans.

Residues found in some of the pots contained residues with a particular carbon signature which showed they were derived from milk.

Milking was especially important in north-western Anatolia, the ancient region that covered most of modern Turkey, the scientists reported in the journal Nature.

The international team, led by Dr Richard Evershed from the University of Bristol, wrote in the journal Nature: "Our results provide new insights into the emergence of dairying as a component of the domestication of animals. The appearance of dairy products at early sites in the region is the earliest evidence so far, by one - two millennia, dating back to the start of ceramics in the region; this indicates an earlier date for the milking of domesticated animals than predicted by reconstructions based on other lines of evidence".




Raw-milk fans simmer at seminar

For The Daily News

Lebanon Daily News

Area farmers want to sell raw milk. Consumers want to buy it. And the government wants to regulate it.

Those three sentences sum up the reason for “The Real Deal About Raw (Real) Milk,” billed as a “Farmers and Consumers Freedom and Liberty Seminar,” held yesterday at Cedar Crest High School. More than 250 people registered for the event, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Independent Consumers and Farmers Association and hosted by Sen. Mike Folmer.

Pennsylvania is one of eight states that allows retail sales of raw milk — defined as unpasteurized milk — and one of 28 that allows on-farm sales of raw milk, with permits.

According to Jonas Stoltzfus, PICFA president, the organization is one of a growing number of groups across the country aiming to promote and preserve unregulated farmer-to-consumer trade of locally grown or home-produced food products.

The permit system in place now in Pennsylvania for sellers of raw milk has little to do with health and much to do with a government wish to control farmers, Stoltzfus explained.

“We do not need or want to get permission or use a permit to decide what we eat and drink,” he stated to a cheering crowd. “We are perfectly capable of deciding that ourselves. ... The market will take care of itself by demanding a clean, healthy product.”

Folmer said his interest in hosting the seminar was more than just a wish to highlight information about raw milk.

about freedom and liberty, the Constitution and rule of law,” he said, adding that he believes the land and profits from it are gifts of God, all property is an extension of a person’s life, and attacks on those are attacks on the essence of life.

Two area residents offered personal insight into their attendance.

Dennis Wenger, an area dairy farmer, described an incident in April in which the state stopped him from selling milk, calling it contaminated. Multiple private-lab tests indicated there was no problem, he said. After several weeks and multiple retests, state officials noted there were no problems with his dairy, and his license to sell raw milk was reinstated.

Wenger said he learned two things from the incident: He will never allow the milk tested by the state to leave his farm without a private test, because he doesn’t trust the state; and he no longer believes state officials who say they support the raw-milk industry. The state’s purpose, he said, is to intimidate farmers to keep them from selling raw milk and to stop people from buying it.

Meanwhile, Maureen Diaz said her reason for supporting farmers’ right to sell raw milk is that she believes raw milk is healthier for her children.

“It’s a crying shame if I can’t have the free choice to go to my local farmer and friend and purchase whatever products I want from him,” she said. “I am an intelligent person, you are intelligent people, and we have constitutional rights and freedoms about what we feed our families. It’s my choice. I don’t need Big Brother looking over my shoulder. ...

“I’m an activist mom, and I will continue to be until the government backs off and let’s me make healthy choices for my family.”

Yesterday’s keynote speaker was Sally Fallon Morell, author of “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.” She founded Campaign for Real Milk, dedicated to creating consumer awareness of the health benefits of clean, whole, unpasteurized milk from grass-fed cows.

Real milk — the way nature intended, from cows eating the food they were intended to eat — is the “safest food on the planet,” Morell stressed.

Raw milk from grass-fed cows has built-in protective systems, she said, systems that don’t harm people who drink raw milk and actually provide multiple benefits, she said. There are many more food-borne illnesses caused by eating uncooked eggs and undercooked meat.

Other speakers included Dr. Ted Beals, a retired pathologist and professor at the University of Michigan Medical School; William Taylor Reil, a member of the Communities Alliance for Responsible Eco-Farming and PICFA who has been studying state constitutional law; Rep. Sam Rohrer, who cited the need for both free-market reform and fiscal discipline in spending; and Peter Kennedy, an attorney and vice president of the board of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.


The Raw Deal  


The FDA says it's dangerous. Selling it is illegal. So why does an avid band of devotees swear by the virtues of unpasteurized milk?

By Thomas Bartlett
Sunday, October 1, 2006; Page W18

IT ARRIVED VIA FEDEX IN A BOX MARKED "PERISHABLE." Inside, packed in Styrofoam and dry ice, I found a one-gallon plastic jug. There was no label or price, no brand name or expiration date -- just a four-letter word scrawled in black marker across the side: Milk.


This is one of the best articles I've seen recently. You gotta read it.


Strengthen Your Immune System to Fight Cancer and Other Diseases  


Dr. Ali Mzige
Tanzania Standard Newspapers
Daily News; Sunday,July 27, 2008 @14:28

Cancer is a process that has affected humans since prehistoric times and is just as common in domestic and farm animals, birds and fish. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion.

When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.

When the person’s immune system is strong, the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumours. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation (mionzi) will often reduce tumour size. However, prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumour destruction. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply. What cancer cells feeds on? Sugar is a cancer-feeder.

By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. It is on this note, that people who are diabetic or who indulge in eating a lot of sugars in the form of chocolate, candy, ice cream put their bodies at risk to make it vulnerable to develop not only cancer but prone to other diseases. Sugar substitutes like Nutra Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful (check the ingredients of your soft drinks).

A better natural substitute would be honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are being starved. Those children or adults who have intolerance to milk are the ones to be advised to use soy milk. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment.

A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Let me emphasize on pork, that the cancer patients are not supposed to eat pork because of the uric acid content which causes gout. Uric acid interferes with chemotherapy (drugs given to fight cancer cells) that patients use, absorption is impaired. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are harmful, especially to people with cancer.

A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells, try and drink fresh vegetable and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day.

Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Studies done in Kenya have shown that those who indulge in Nyama Choma (roasted meat) without addition of salads and other vegetables have been seen to suffer from colon cancers and other cancers. This tells us that nyama choma alone washing it down with beer and not water is detrimental to our health. Cancer cell walls have tough protein covering.

By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. Vegetarians live longer than those who eat meat and animal products. Some supplements build up immune system (anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, minerals, vitamin E, IP6) Supplements like Vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted or unneeded cells.

Cancer is a disease of the mind, body and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level.

Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells. Seventy five per cent of cancers globally can be prevented if people refrain from use of alcohol, tobacco and change their lifestyle by eating healthy diet and do physical exercises. Treating infections early has an impact in building immune system. Prevention is better than cure, change your lifestyle now and start investing in your personal and family health.

Reference: Updates from Johns Hopkins and Dr. Mzige’s publications.


In Search of the Milk of My Youth and of Human Kindness  


I originally started this blog to document and share my experiences as I return to my roots in the country and in the kitchen. You see, I grew up in a rural area, with a depression era mentality. Even though it was the 1960's and 1970's, we grew and foraged much of our food, and we purchased seasonal produce from local farm stands and canned or froze or dried it for the upcoming winter. Stocking our pantry was as much a part of the daily rhythms as the the sunrise or the need to eat. Anyone can tell when its suppertime without a clock, and so with blackberry time or any other time we were aware of. The years were filled as a progression and and our pantries expanded and contracted with a regularity of a long comfortable breath.

As the years went on, like most kids, I left home and headed for the city, and so gradually lost touch with much of my food supply. Oh, I still picked berries and made my own jelly, but it was easier to spread it on some of the cake like substance the chain stores market as bread. I grew my garden and canned a few tomatoes, but the bulk of my winter vegetables came out of a can rather than a mason jar and were grown in some anonymous distant place rather than out back.

Blessed with such a healthy childhood I took for granted my reasonably decent health. But Occasionally I noticed how many of the folks I worked with battled chronic weight issues, or had minor skin ailments, or perhaps high blood pressure. Health issues were often the topic du jour around the coffee pot as everyone stuffed themselves with "healthy" bran muffins rather than the ubiquitous offering of doughnuts. Some of the younger trendier types even eschewed the coffee for a nice morning pick me up of diet soda of even water flavored with some artificial stuff I could not spell much less pronounce.

Gradually the years went by and we all aged, and more than a few of us passed from the standard illnesses of the industrial age, cancer, diabetes, heart disease. We all accepted these losses as part of the attrition of life. Like the divorces and corporate failures we endured them and moved on.

So now I find myself back in the country, in the mountains of my youth. And I begin to rebuild and restock my pantry. But my blackberry patches have been replaced with condos and my walnut trees cut for some fool's firewood. Little by little I begin to rebuild worn out soil, to search out foraging spots. I reach out to find local sources of the food I need to feed my family, only to find many of the old farms and farmers gone. Those that remain are beset on all sides. Market forces and big agribusiness have all but eliminated all the sources of local food. Tomatoes are available year round, but even in August are not from around here. Even the laws are seemingly against simple local food.

Recently I was looking for a farm to buy milk from directly. Most of the farms I worked on or around in my youth have been replaced by Housing developments and blacktop, so I asked at the Mountain Herb Shoppe when I went to buy some multi-vitamins for my kids. The folks there were so nice, and really wanted to help, but there simply was no farm locally that was selling milk directly. The reason it seems, is a fear of raw milk.

As kids we generally drank fresh milk right from the farm. Those days we knew each cow by name and habit, and if anything was off in her health or behavior, we were sure to investigate. And if anything accidentally fell into the milk, we fed it to the calves after a serious scolding against our carelessness.

Daily we brought our jugs and, at the end of the evening's milking, we filled them from the bulk tank, a stainless steel refrigerated tank that held all of our, and the cow's, efforts. The milk was fresh and creamy. Though the tank had a motorized paddle that stirred the milk to cool it more quickly and to keep the cream from separating, an hour or two after it was in the bottle though, it needed to be shaken to remix the milk and the cream.

Sometimes we would draw off the milk from a tap in the bottom of the jug and take the cream for our coffee, or to make butter or ice cream, or even for whipping and serving on dessert. The skimmed milk that was left was not completely free from cream, and still tasted nearly as rich as the store stuff anyway.

Seldom was it ever wasted. Even though in its raw state milk tends to not stay fresh as long, it was not as nasty nor as harmful as the store bought stuff when it was "sour". It could still be used as sour cream or in a recipe where the slightly off taste would not be noticed. Heck, you could still drink it, especially if you added a bit of flavoring like chocolate or a bit of vanilla and sugar. Worst case, the dog would promise undying loyalty for just a taste.

Store milk is another story. First off, the store stuff is nowadays produced on farms that milk in a continuous, 3 shift day, from cows that are given drugs to speed their production of milk and so require more than the morning and evening milkings traditional for thousands of years. The cows are more or less simply an input in an industrial process and not a member of the extended family as were most of the cows on the farms of my youth.

Next this milk is Pasteurized, or cooked, to kill any nasty germs that may have fallen into the milk. This could happen in the barn, in the tank, in the truck on the way to the factory, or during any one of the many processes through which it undergoes. To be fair, this could happen, and probably does happen on smaller farms, but the ability to oversee and correct such problems is worse on an industrial scale. In addition, the cooking creates a nearly sterile product that has a much longer shelf life to enable shipping long distances and sales for a longer period of time.

The milk is also mechanically separated from its cream, much of it being diverted to other products and uses. A portion of the cream is forced through small screens under high pressure to break the fat particles into unnaturallly tiny pieces that can not separate when they are added back into the milk at controlled ratios to create the various percentages of milk from whole, one percent, two percent and so on.

Trouble is, the Pasteurization kills beneficial bacteria as well, and without the enzymes and bacteria that have for thousands of years helped people to digest the milk, many folks find they can not drink milk at all. Some yogurt companies have made fortunes by adding the same bacteria back into the milk and loudly proclaiming their health benefits. (They are probably right, but why kill them in the first place? But I digress). In addition, the smaller particles of cream can pass through the stomach lining of many humans and cause even more health problems.

But you see, as a large scale industrial material, milk is a controlled substance. That's right. That white liquid is subject to search and seizure and can even be classified as a hazardous waste if it has been produced, sold or consumed outside the system.

Now, I have never been any kind of an activist. I prefer to take care of my family and friends, educating as many as I can reach, but never overstepping the bounds of social propriety. I don't view store milk as a poison. It is convenient and easily available and better than nothing. But I prefer milk fresh from a farm I know, and that is now illegal in much of the country. Similar battles are cropping up in other types of food as industrial meats and vegetables are being eschewed for locally produced varieties, even as the terms "organic" and "natural" and others are coopted and diluted by the same large concerns. Caveat Emptor. But the buyer can not beware if he has no choice. I don't care if you drink cooked milk, why do you care if I drink mine raw?

Please visit The Weston A. Price Foundation and for more and better information. Everyone who eats is being dragged into this battle, and even if you don't know it, decisions are being made for you that could affect your health more than any other single thing. What you eat is ultimately more important for your health than any vitamin or exercise program.


Is Dairy Co-Op Milking the System?  


By Jennifer Mann, The Kansas City Star, Mo.

Jul. 15--A consortium of consumer and family farm groups is pushing a Senate committee to investigate Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America amid claims of coercion and deceit.

A letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee claims the dairy cooperative has undue influence over prices that dairy farmers receive, controls more of the dairy market than it admits and overall has been detrimental to the majority of dairy farmers and the dairy-buying public.

With consumers paying prices near historical highs for the milk in their cereal and the cheese on their pizzas, it is an issue bound to get attention.

There is no doubt that collectively the 20,000-farmer-member organization, by far the largest dairy cooperative in the U.S., is a powerful force in an industry that generates more than $30 billion in annual retail sales. And the DFA, formed in 1998 through the merger of four regional farmer-owned co-ops, has been controversial almost from the start.

But DFA officials defend its place in the increasingly complex worldwide dairy industry. It was formed 10 years ago when the U.S. dairy industry became alarmed by the advent of multibillion-dollar international dairy conglomerates, which it believed would outmarket them here as well as abroad.

Randy Mooney, a producer based in Rogersville, Mo., and first vice chairman of the DFA, says the cooperative has helped the industry, even those who are not members, by building national brands like Borden and Keller's and by speaking for it in Washington.

"They help with a lot of issues, including going to Washington with one footprint," Mooney said. "For instance, they were instrumental in getting some important changes to the farm bill that were beneficial to dairy," including increasing payments made to producers when prices go down.

But chief executive Rick Smith acknowledges that today, 10 years after the formation of the co-op, controversy still swirls.

"If you are not the one involved in the consolidation, it can be unsettling and disconcerting if you're not the one getting bigger," Smith said.

To critics, the DFA's enormous size is at the heart of what they see as its negative influence on the industry.

The Department of Justice has brought several antitrust cases against the DFA, including one alleging that collusion by the DFA led to higher milk prices for Appalachian schoolchildren. The co-op undid an acquisition to resolve that case. The most recent lawsuit accusing the DFA and others of illegally colluding and monopolizing the milk market was filed by more than a dozen smaller producers last year in Tennessee.

And there have been long-made allegations by some producers that DFA insiders milked the organization and the industry for their own financial benefit.

The most recent hubbub was sparked in part by the co-op's disclosure several weeks ago that its former CEO made a $1 million unauthorized -- and still unexplained -- payment to its former chairman in 2001.

At the same time, the co-op confirmed that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating the DFA amid allegations of manipulated cheese prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Those prices are used to set prices for raw milk.

"Earnest pleas from constituents from Maine to California about the repeated coercive actions by the DFA (and others) against fair marketing of farmers' milk have been ignored too long," the consortium headed by the National Family Farm Coalition wrote to Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "As welcome as the CFTC and DOJ investigations are, they do not capture the scope of the DFA's stranglehold on the dairy industry."

What the DFA does

The DFA, located in a nondescript, nine-story, glass-faced building off I-29 near Kansas City International Airport, represents dairy farmers in the lower 48 states -- from 600 Amish dairy farmers in Lancaster, Pa., to those milking thousands of cows in factory-like settings in Colorado.

With the push by global dairy conglomerates beginning in the 1990s, including giants such as Parmalat of Italy, Fonterra of New Zealand and Campina in Europe, some in the dairy industry saw a need to band together to provide a national and international presence for members to sell and market milk.

And market it did.

Last year, the DFA marketed almost 62 billion pounds of milk and dairy products with total sales of $11.1 billion, up 46 percent from 2006. The DFA, however, reported a $109 million loss in 2007 because of non-cash write-offs totaling $144.8 million tied to underperforming and non-performing assets.

Members of the DFA, which has become the second-largest cooperative of any type in the U.S., provide about 20 percent of the milk supply in the U.S. But through joint ventures with other entities and co-ops, the DFA markets about 30 percent of all dairy products produced in the U.S.

The DFA's export sales, mostly in the form of hard cheeses and powdered milk, totaled $211.4 million in 2007, up 75 percent from $120.8 million in 2006. Joe Horner, a dairy and beef economist at the University of Missouri, says that with the cheap U.S. dollar, exports have been gaining traction. And unlike years past when the vast majority of exports were powdered milk, they are moving more towards higher-priced items like cheese and butter.

Yet just because business is brisk, it doesn't mean it's good for the producer down on the farm.

"Yes, they're finding a market for their product as demand is staying strong even with higher prices, but margins in recent times are getting really squeezed as input costs soar," Horner said.

In fact, this is a crucial time for milk producers. While consumers have been paying high prices for milk since last year, the producer's take has been greatly diminished by significantly higher feed and energy costs.

All segments of agriculture are under tremendous pressure, but maybe none more so than dairy, said Dave Drennan, executive director of the Missouri Dairy Association. About 90 percent of the organization's 600 members belong to the DFA.

"Energy is a big deal to us -- each individual dairy uses a lot for milking equipment, the bulk tank to keep the milk cold, and the other thing is hauling," Drennan said. "The state law in Missouri is that milk has to be picked up every 48 hours. That means someone is in the lane every other day to pick up the milk, and all those are diesel-powered.

"Throw in that dairy is the most regulated in agriculture, and that dairy producers are price takers, not price makers, and it's tough."

Smith concurred.

"Dairy farmers are getting at or near record prices, but they have to because of their input costs," Smith said. "In the second half of 2007 they had good margins, and those carried over into the first quarter, but I would say today many producers have negative margins again."

Along with tougher economics, in May the DFA hit the news when Smith sent a letter to members revealing that in 2001 the then chief executive officer, Gary Hanman, made an unauthorized, under-the-table $1 million payment to the then chairman, Herman Brubaker, reportedly now living in a nursing home.

Hanman, who lives in Platte City, didn't return calls. But Smith said the money has been repaid with interest. The co-op has hired outside legal counsel to investigate Hanman's payment, and to look for others, and has given the Department of Justice a heads up about the situation.

Smith said the co-op still doesn't know what the payment was for.

"The whole thing is very sad, and it was a bad act," Smith said. "We've recovered the money, but it's more that it was a breach of trust."

As for the seemingly continuous string of antitrust litigation and allegations of collusion and monopolization, Smith says he doesn't think it's unusual for an organization with the size and scope of the DFA to come under such scrutiny.

In a lawsuit filed last year, 16 smaller milk producers in the Southeast alleged that the DFA and other entities, including Dean Foods of Dallas, the largest single milk bottler in the U.S., conspired to monopolize the market in that region. The three entities together, the lawsuit says, own 33 of 51 processed milk bottling plants in the Southeast, representing 77 percent of capacity in the region.

"Depending on your viewpoint, there are some who feel we're too concentrated," Smith said.

He continued: "Yes, it's true the DFA has 50, 60 percent in the Southeast and with two or three others might have 80 percent of the raw milk. Getting farmer co-ops working together -- frankly we feel like that's what we should do."

Smith says the DFA is cooperating with the Department of Justice, as it has with the CFTC, which he said is investigating cheese purchases made by the DFA in 2004 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the cheddar cheese pit, where spot prices serve as a benchmark for setting prices for raw milk.

That inquiry is tied back to Hanman, who, according to a December 2004 story by the Chicago Tribune, boasted to DFA members in an October 2004 meeting in New York that through trading actions of the DFA at the CME from that spring through September, it was able to increase prices paid to members by $1.3 billion.

"I don't believe we did anything wrong, but I guess I would say the CFTC isn't as certain of that as we are," Smith said.

The CFTC and the Department of Justice would neither confirm nor deny any investigation of the DFA.

Then there are allegations of self-dealing, one of the most often-cited examples involving a joint venture in the Northeast.

In that instance, Smith said the DFA joined with an industry veteran, Bob Allen, in a joint venture. In the end, the DFA and Allen, who invested about $1 million of his own money, sold the dairy operation, and each partner pocketed almost $22 million.

"That was a success, but because of the money involved, the story makes for good fodder for some people," Smith said, "but frankly I would hope I could find more deals like that that were successful."

Conflicting views

Jerry King has been in the dairy farming business for more than 50 years. During most of that time, he said, he's been a member of a co-op of some sort.

King and his brother-in-law, Ed Steele, sold the Steele King Dairy outside of Butler, Mo., last December, but both still help out the couple who bought it, Robert and Theresa Shine.

"I guess the good thing about (co-ops) is I never had to worry about having someplace to sell my milk," King said. "You could be selling to a private company, and one day they could just up and tell you they didn't want your milk anymore."

As for the prices he received from the DFA, King said he was pretty satisfied.

"It was pretty competitive, but probably never as much as we wanted," King said. "But I guess we always want more, don't we?"

But others are frustrated that in some instances the DFA is their only option.

Take Tony Whitehead, who has a dairy operation in southern Missouri, where unfortunately, he said, Dairy Marketing Services -- a joint venture of the DFA and Dairylea of Syracuse, N.Y., where Smith got his start -- is his only option.

"I was selling to another smaller co-op down here, but they got bought up by DFA, too," Whitehead said.

Then there's Freddie Martin of Humansville, Mo., who now sells to DMS, but back when he did his own bottling, the DFA refused to buy his surplus.

"Now I don't have anything against them, but they don't like us little boys," Martin said. "I was in competition with them, so they didn't want to buy from me."

Martin said he was one of the producers who over the years had been contacted by the Department of Justice, asking questions about the DFA.

One who has long criticized the DFA is Pete Hardin, publisher and editor of a dairy industry weekly newspaper, The Milkweed, based in Brooklyn, Wis.

Of the uncovering of the recent $1 million covert payment, Hardin thinks it's just the beginning of an unraveling.

Hardin has also been critical of the DFA's financial performance, including last year's loss.

Hardin also noted that some smaller co-ops return a much higher portion of sales to farmer members, including the Scenic Central Milk Producers in Wisconsin. That co-op, with 300 members and $62 million in sales last year, returned about 90 percent of revenues to members, compared with less than 70 percent at the DFA.

But he's willing to give Smith some benefit of the doubt to see if he can clean up the organization and its reputation.

"At this point I can't tell, but I'm sure he's at least trying," Hardin said. "But it's hard to turn the ship around when it's been going in the same direction for such a long time."


Who's got milk? Industrywide, more than a third of the milk produced in the U.S. goes into drinking milk. A little over 40 percent goes into butter, powdered milk and cheeses like those used by pizza makers. Twenty percent goes into what the industry calls "soft" products -- ice cream, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt.

Hard products -- butter, cheese and powder -- can be stored and shipped internationally. About 10 percent of milk produced in the U.S. ends up in products that are exported around the world, mostly hard cheeses and powdered milk.

At the same time, about 6 percent of the dairy products consumed in the U.S. are imported, much of it high-end soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie and Roquefort, although the higher prices for these make the value of dairy exports and imports about equal.

To reach Jennifer Mann, call 816-234-4453 or send e-mail to


Cheesemakers Root For Change in Raw-Milk Laws  


Posted by DAVID N. DUNKLE, The Patriot-News July 15, 2008 15:25PM
Categories: Food
Christine Baker, The Patriot-NewsPennsylvania law currently allows the use of raw milk only in hard cheeses aged more than 60 days.

Pennsylvania's more than 100 cheesemakers could stand to benefit if proposed legislation expanding the legal uses of raw milk is approved.

Currently unpasteurized milk, whether from cows, goats or sheep, can only be used in cheeses that are aged more than 60 days. That includes hard cheeses such as cheddar, romano and colby, but excludes most soft cheeses such as chevre and ricotta.

"If Pennsylvania would go through with this change, there would be the most incredible explosion of cheesemaking in the entire state," predicted Sandra Miller, a Newburg resident and spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Farmstead and Artisan Cheese Coalition, a non-profit group that promotes mainly family-run cheese operations.

Two state legislators from Lancaster County, Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-100th, and Sen. Mike Brubaker, R-36th, have introduced identical legislation in their respective houses that would allow Pennsylvania's nearly 9,000 dairy farms to make and sell more raw milk products, which would also include yogurt, cottage cheese and butter.

Cutler said the state's Milk Sanitation Act has been essentially unchanged for 70 years. "The main question is this: Is the science that made the law 70 years ago still good science?"

Cutler said he believes current dairy practices allow for the safe production of unpasteurized products, and that testing and monitoring would continue. He said there is a clear consumer demand for raw milk products, which proponents say contain beneficial bacteria and proteins that pasteurization destroys.

State health officials have a different view, contending that public safety demands continued use of pasteurized milk, which has been exposed to high heat that kills potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

Cutler said the battle over raw milk probably won't be fought legislatively until next year, as state lawmakers have few remaining session days this year.

Meanwhile, you can meet some of the central Pennsylvania's talented cheese makers Wednesday in the Living section of The Patriot-News.


Owners of new Molto Formaggio shop indulge a passion for cheese  


11:34 AM CDT on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By KIM PIERCE / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Molto Formaggio, Dallas' first shop devoted to artisanal cheese, notes on its blackboard: "Tasting a must. Buying optional."

At the new cheese shop Molto Formaggio, an Italian cow's milk cheese called Sottocenere al Tartufo (the large round adorned with leaves), takes center stage in one display.

How sly. Because if you are a cheese lover and the owners can get you to taste, resistance is futile.

I was thus broadsided recently when co-owner Michael Perlmeter scraped off a half-teaspoon sample of Carles Roquefort. The sheep's-milk blue melted on my tongue like the finest chocolate truffle, its briny, subtle flavor lodged in my brain for hours.

Research reveals that Carles Roquefort is made by Jacques Carles, who is nearly 100, and his daughter. It's considered by some cheese experts to be the finest Roquefort in Roquefort – in short, the finest in the world.

Even though it's $44.95 a pound, Mr. Perlmeter smiles and says that because the taste is so intense, you needn't buy much. He doesn't understand (or maybe he does) that someone like me will eat it spoonful after spoonful.

Molto Formaggio, which opened July Fourth weekend at Preston Royal Shopping Center, grows out of a passion for cheeses. The three families who own it – Mr. Perlmeter and wife, Rosemary; Tony and Christy Martinez; and Rodney and Ann Marie Roeske – were vacationing together in Florence, Italy, and one night, "after too much prosecco or too much brunello," Mr. Perlmeter says, they hatched the idea for the shop.

Four years later, you can walk through the door and find a selection of artisanal and high-quality industrial cheeses. Most of the artisanal cheeses are handmade from raw milk, Mr. Perlmeter says. The industrial cheeses are produced commercially from pasteurized milk.

Which you prefer is "purely a matter of palate," he says. "We don't push one over the other."

The cheeses come from around the world, and the country of origin is signified by a small flag next to a description of the cheese. Unlike cheeses sold in most supermarkets, selections are custom-cut to order. The only Texas cheese so far is a custom-made, creamy burrata from the Mozzarella Co.

The shop also sells all manner of items to go with cheese, from Italian pasta (including toasted-wheat orecchiette) to plum confit. The team imports BruCo (short for Bruno and Constantina) small-producer chocolates made with olive oil instead of butter and sells three kinds of bulk olive oil (bottles are provided and may be refilled) as well as fondue and raclette equipment.

A second Molto Formaggio is to open at Highland Park Village in September.

Kim Pierce is a Dallas freelance writer.

Molto Formaggio

Where: 6025 Royal Lane (at Preston Road)

Phone: 214-361-9191

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday


The Raw Secrets  


The Raw Secrets

The Raw Secrets
"What You Should Know About the Raw Food Diet — Secrets That Can Save Your Life"

From: Frederic Patenaude
Montreal, Canada

The power of raw foods is not only one of the most well-known "rejuvenation" secrets of celebrities and Hollywood stars (such as Demi Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Sting, Edward Norton, Carol Alt, and many others) it is also a concept that has the potential of giving you what you're looking for: incredible health, increased energy, and a youthful and slim body.

Let's see if what I have to say today applies to you.

  • Please answer the following questions truthfully.
  • You have amazing energy. You wake up in the morning ready to go, and you rarely feel ups an downs in your energy during the day.
  • Your skin looks great. People often comment how clear your skin is.
  • You're at your ideal weight. Your friends envy you and ask you what kind of diet you follow.
  • You don't feel deprived when eating. You can eat as much as you want and not gain weight.
  • You fall asleep easily. You rarely suffer from insomnia. Your sleep is deep and sound.
  • You have regular bowel movement and rarely experience constipation or indigestion.
  • You look younger than most people of your age.
  • You have greater than average fitness even when you don't exercise regularly.
  • Your eyes are clear and bright. People often comment on how bright your eyes are.
  • You feel happy for no reason. You don't need coffee to stimulate you or alcohol to make you laugh. You are never depressed.
  • You can easily focus and concentrate for long hours without feeling tired.
  • You are in touch with your intuition. You "instinctively" know when something is good for you.
What is your score?

How to Get a Perfect Score

Let's be honest. Chances are that if you're reading this, you did not answer all 12 as yes. In fact, you may be wondering if it's actually possible to experience all these benefits!

Actually, it is.

I created this list because those are the most common benefits people experience when they eat raw and living foods!

I receive testimonials all the time from people all over the world who have experienced the power of raw and living foods, and I noticed that the benefits I mentioned above are the ones almost everybody who tries this way of eating experiences!

Are you Already Eating Raw? Are You Getting the Benefits or Are You Still Struggling?

Read the introduction from the book "The Raw Secrets":

"Radical ideas have much more power than common advice. But in their power lies the danger. Like an explosive charge, radical ideas must be handled carefully.

The raw vegan diet is such an idea. It can save your life. It can help banish “incurable” conditions. It can help you feel great all the time. It can give back your joy of living. It can give an entirely different direction to your life or turn it upside down.

But the practical application may be difficult. Pitfalls line the path of raw eating. Many people have fallen into them — and they will continue falling into them until they know what these pitfalls are, and how to spot and avoid them.

Some people are damaging their health by eating the raw food diet incorrectly. Mostly, this is because they received poor or confusing advice. This book is my antidote to the false information that is being spread in the raw food movement, hurting people as it goes. This is the book I wish someone had handed to me in 1997 when I started on this path.

My dietary adventures have led me to write The Raw Secrets. Even though I had experienced benefits in eating a raw food diet immediately, my personal experience with it has not been an instant success story. It has been one of the most positive things I have ever undertaken — but it has also been a struggle. So before revealing my findings, I wish to share with you my story."

To read the rest of the story

Click Here!




Should you be a locavore? : Part III: politics, food shortages and globalization
Laura Silver
Special to the Valley News

Friday, June 27th, 2008.
Issue 26, Volume 12.

Last week we learned that the distance our food travels is less of an ecological issue than the type of food we eat and how it is produced. In First World countries every aspect of food production is political and the effects are anything but local.

Here in the US federal legislation, referred to as the Farm Bill, is enacted every five to seven years to set the direction of farm and food policy. It affects the cost and availability of food, methods of growing and producing it, the use/preservation of farmland and much more.

The latest version of the bill is currently in Congress. Its name – “The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008” – appears to signal a change in the wind. There are some new players and the focus has shifted fractionally away from agribusiness toward many of the issues espoused by the local-food movement.

It sounds like good news, but so far these players are just pawns making the first move in what may or may not be a new game. The 2008 bill will replace a 2002 version enacted in a time of budget surplus. Even if the reforms survive debate and receive funding, they’ll be merely a carbuncle on the nose of agribusiness-weighted policy.

Take corn, for example. Corn is big business – almost exclusively agribusiness. When, where and why it is grown are as much a function of Farm Bill subsidies as market forces. And on the fate of corn rests the fate of many.

Besides being a food crop, corn is the primary ingredient in livestock feed and an additive (corn syrup, anyone?) in almost all junk/fast food. Corn is also the easiest plant to convert to biofuel with current technology.

With what I’m sure was good intent, the 2002 Farm Bill included subsidies for growing corn for the biofuel market. However, rather than putting more corn under cultivation, agribusiness diverted existing crops from food and livestock use to biofuel, creating an artificial shortage and increasing costs to the livestock and food markets.

If you think this was accidental or unavoidable – may I just say “California energy shortage, early 2000s”?

In addition, corporate farming methods use huge quantities of petrochemical fertilizer, the cost of which continues to skyrocket as oil prices rise and get passed on to a groaning consumer. Even Ugh the Caveman can follow the cascade of consequences:

Less food/feed corn + higher growing/transportation costs = higher prices for poultry, pork, beef, corn itself and thousands of foods that contain it, as well as less available for foreign markets. (Don’t even get Ugh started on oil prices, the cost of plastic packaging and its effect on food prices.)

Europe has also subsidized food crops for biofuel – perhaps more than we have – with much the same result.

Though this is by no means the only factor in recent global food shortages, most analysts agree it is part of the problem – a part that can be laid at the door of politics and public policy. Government sets the rules; big business just perverts the intent and takes advantage of them for profit.

(Reasons for the shortages also include, among other things, a perfect storm of natural disasters, droughts and flooding worldwide. I’ll leave it to you to decide how much the resultant crop failures fall under “acts of God” or are part of the public-policy debate on global warming.)

We are also the primary market for specialty foods and items produced (hopefully by Fair Trade policy) in Third World countries pulling themselves out of grinding poverty by those efforts. Do we throw these producers to the wolves in our attempts to eat locally?

No one is saying we must get all of our food locally. But we must bear in mind that we see this, and all issues, through a First World lens. The average world citizen can’t even imagine a day when their food problem is deciding whether to buy from a farmer’s market or a fully stocked grocery store.

I have to confess that a certain fraction of local-food literature gives me a tiny chill. Occasionally I perceive a faint, tinny echo of the merest possibility of zealotry and xenophobia. For some folks, does that 100-mile radius make anyone outside it “them” to our “us”?

The local food movement asks some very cogent questions about our dysfunctional food system. But that system has global effects, as will any changes we make to it. While some of the solutions may be local, their effects will not be, and we need to factor that into the equation.

Laura Silver works as a Web designer and freelance writer from her off-the-grid straw bale home in Jamul. She is a lifelong “practical” environmentalist with a particular interest in green building and healthy home issues.

She can by reached by e-mail at


Food safety inspectors struggle with swelling volume of imports | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Mexico News  


Food safety inspectors struggle with swelling volume of imports | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Mexico News
Food safety inspectors struggle with swelling volume of imports

12:29 AM CDT on Monday, June 30, 2008


LAREDO – Day after day, Mexican trucks line up as far as the eye can see for entry to the U.S. at the World Trade Bridge, carrying everything from raw tomatoes, broccoli and fresh basil to frozen seafood. They also bring in salmonella, listeria, restricted pesticides and other food poisons.

Customs and Border Protection officers take less than a minute per truck to determine which products enter the U.S. and find their way into grocery stores and restaurants across North Texas.

Most trucks are waved through. The avalanche of imported goods – especially food from Mexico – is too much for the limited number of inspectors at the nation's 300 ports of entry to effectively screen, critics say. And the sheer volume makes it impossible for them to carry out their mission: protecting the U.S. food supply and American consumers.

Concerns about the nation's food inspection system are gaining urgency – especially as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration looks at Mexico as a likely source of salmonella-tainted tomatoes that have sickened more than 800 people in the last two months. The FDA last week sent inspectors to three Mexican states – Jalisco, Sinaloa and Coahuila – and Florida to check farms and packing plants.

The great majority of the food that crosses the southern U.S. border is safe, U.S. officials say. But a surge in imports in recent years means that the system of border inspections is badly strained and in urgent need of repair, the officials acknowledge.
Also Online

Chart: Top five importing countries (.pdf)

Part 2: Strict safety guidelines enforced as produce travels from Mexico to Texas

Inspectors at the border are tasked with enforcing hundreds of regulations from more than 40 government agencies. And just a tiny percentage of agricultural products, seafood and manufactured goods is actually inspected, say the critics.

"We have this huge growth in imports, this huge growth in trade; at the same time we have severely cut back on our regulatory agencies and their ability to do their job, especially the food portion of the Food and Drug Administration," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine.

"If they are only checking 1 percent of the stuff and finding lots of problems, then ... there are a lot of problems that are never caught," she said.

What is getting stopped, critics say, is representative of what is getting through.

Overall, about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply and 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed are imported, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

Mexico is the second-largest foreign source of agricultural products and seafood for the U.S. – moving to No. 1 during the winter months and filling about 60 percent of the supermarket produce aisle. And it's the worst offender when it comes to food shipments turned away at the border by U.S. inspectors, a review of food rejections shows.

Overwhelmed system

Here in Laredo, trucks sent to a dock for inspection are greeted by a hired crew that unloads samples of broccoli, tomatoes, and dried corn husks used for wrapping tamales. Customs and FDA inspectors move quickly, checking for poisons or pests that could damage U.S. agriculture.

On another dock, manufactured goods are hauled out of rigs by forklift and inspected for safety issues, such as lead in toys. Even tigers on their way to a U.S. circus tour are checked out for potential health risks.

"Whatever is put in front of you, you are going to make sure it meets all of the regulations in order to be introduced into the country," said Mucia Dovalina, a veteran inspector and public affairs liaison for Customs and Border Protection.

The problem, officials and analysts say, is the result of sometimes substandard agricultural practices south of the border, and a U.S. food inspection system that has become so overwhelmed that President Bush endorsed a 50-step plan that would put more emphasis on inspections in the countries of origin.

The in-country system would put U.S. inspectors in foreign countries or use third parties to check products before they are shipped to the U.S. It also would give the FDA mandatory recall powers over food products. Currently, the agency negotiates "voluntary" recalls.

"For many years, we have relied on a strategy based on identifying unsafe products at the border," Mr. Bush said late last year. "The problem is that the growing volume of products coming into our country makes this approach increasingly unreliable."

Both consumer groups and an internal FDA study group said the proposed Bush plan to fix the current system "within available resources" is far too modest.

"We can state unequivocally that the system cannot be fixed 'within available resources,' " the agency's subcommittee on science and technology said in a report late last year. The subcommittee called the inspection rate "appallingly low."

More eyes on imports

In fairness to Mexico, U.S. food producers were the subject of far more expansive recalls last year than foreign producers, including recalls of California spinach that tested positive for E. coli and was blamed for three deaths, and of 22 million pounds of frozen beef hamburger patties, also because of a dangerous strain of that common bacteria.

"I must emphasize that by and large, the food traded is very safe," said Suzanne Heinen, the USDA's counselor for agricultural affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. "We have very few problems, especially when you consider the volume of trade that crosses the border every day."

Still, food imports remain on Washington's radar – particularly in light of the latest salmonella outbreak.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced plans recently to open a food safety monitoring office in Latin America, similar to three being planned for China. He did not say which country might house the office, but he did say that a March salmonella warning against Honduran cantaloupes, along with the tomato scare, showed the need to be on the ground in exporting regions.

"What it demonstrates is that when these incidents occur, we need a quick response," he said in late June as U.S. and Mexican inspectors combed farms and packing houses in Mexican tomato-growing states for signs of the source of the salmonella.

Another recent recall targeting Mexican agriculture is an example of what consumer groups say is wrong with the system.

In December, officials took a sample for testing from a 5,500-pound load of Mexican basil moving through the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego. The basil continued on to its destination and was sold to restaurants and other customers in California, Texas and Illinois the next day.

When the test results came back two weeks later, they suggested salmonella contamination, sparking a late recall.

Mexico has been the subject of other recent recalls as well:

•In February 2007, the FDA recalled 672 cartons of Mexican cantaloupes after a sample analysis found salmonella, which can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and arterial infections.

•In September, the FDA recalled a hard, dry cheese from Mexico that it suspected was contaminated with salmonella.

•And in early December, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced the voluntary recall of several Mexican candies after tests showed high lead levels. Lead can harm mental and physical development in children and unborn babies. California had banned the candies in August.

Many of Mexico's problematic goods are especially dangerous for children and the elderly, who can't fight off illness as well as healthy adults.

Nonpasteurized cheese – which can carry listeria and even tuberculosis, Mexican officials say – is often brought into the U.S. by border-crossers who are allowed to bring in up to 22 pounds "for personal consumption."

Often, the cheese makes its way into flea markets and restaurants, mostly in the Latino community.

The toll in Texas from nonpasteurized cheese over the last five years: four miscarriages or stillbirths, one newborn death, and four deaths of adults who weren't pregnant.

All but two were Latino.

A top Mexican health official acknowledged that some Mexican food producers cut corners to boost their profits or have simply not adopted modern safety measures, although they've made great strides in recent years.

For example, chile peppers are often spread out to dry on the ground, where they can pick up lead or pesticides only approved for other crops.

"In Mexico, we have a lot of work to do," said María Esther Díaz Carrillo, a chemist and food technician at Mexico's Federal Commission to Prevent Sanitary Risks, part of the Health Ministry. "We also have producers who are very conscientious ... of the risks associated with their products and truly dedicated to public health. In some cases, it's ignorance."

Increasing vigilance

Still, Mexico is not China when it comes to the breadth of the U.S. recalls last year – including those of pet food that killed hundreds of animals, toothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol, a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze, and millions of Mattel toys with dangerous levels of lead in their paint.

"I don't think we've reached those extremes," said Ms. Díaz. "Our vigilance and ability to respond has been increasing."

For example, Mexican and U.S. health authorities jointly inspect slaughterhouses in Mexico certified to export meat to the U.S.

Two of eight slaughterhouses were suspended from exporting to the U.S. after an inspection in late 2006, according to an inspection report. In one case, the facility was not properly testing for E. coli.

Both are back in operation.

The panel that came up with Mr. Bush's import safety plan also detected a series of problems with the current inspection system. Those include government computer databases involved in import safety that can't communicate with each other, as well as a practice called "port shopping," in which a shipment rejected at one port of entry can get through another.

Mr. Leavitt, the health and human services secretary, said there is no estimate on what it would cost to upgrade computer systems, put more U.S. inspectors abroad and carry out the report's other recommendations.

But in recent testimony before a Senate committee, Mr. Leavitt said there is a sense of urgency in improving import safety as foreign foods and foreign goods become a staple of American life.

"U.S. imports are large and growing rapidly. American consumers like the variety and abundance of consumer goods and the competitive prices that result from global trade," he said. "The American people, however, have reasonable expectations that the products they buy for their families will be safe. We can and must do more to honor that trust."

COMING MONDAY: A look at one producer who works to ensure the safety of the products headed to places such as his hometown of Dallas.

Consumer groups, government oversight agencies and two congressional bills call for several actions to improve import food safety. Many focus on greatly increasing the percentage of food inspected before it gets onto the kitchen table, whether at U.S. ports of entry or in exporting countries. Among the measures being pushed:

• A $450 million annual increase in the budget of the Food and Drug Administration

• A single food safety agency, rather than parallel inspections by the FDA (agriculture, seafood, processed foods) and the USDA (meat, poultry, some egg products)

•I mport user fees to defray the costs of greater vigilance and more inspections

• Country-of-origin labeling for all meat, seafood and agricultural goods

• Restriction of high-risk goods to ports of entry where the FDA has its own testing labs

• Mandatory in-country inspections by U.S. officials or certified third parties


The Bush administration's "Import Safety Action Plan," presented in November, calls for measures that would not increase the FDA's current budget. It is a "risk-based" model that focuses resources on problematic foods. The administration warned that "physically inspecting every item would bring international trade to a standstill." It proposes:

• Requiring producers of high-risk foods to certify that their products meet FDA standards

• Publicizing certified producers so consumers can make better decisions

• Improving communication among government agencies and with foreign governments so better decisions are made on whether to clear import shipments

• Increasing the number of U.S. inspectors in foreign countries and training for foreign inspection agencies

• Toughening safety and inspections standards where needed

• Strengthening penalties against food safety violators, making them more likely to comply

SOURCES: Public Citizen; Consumers Union; U.S. Congress; White House press office




Lawmakers nix plan to dye raw milk

Agriculture officials wanted to dye the milk gray to ward off human drinkers.

Associated Press
A plan to make raw milk more
palatable – at least to animals – earned the backing of a House
committee Tuesday, as lawmakers rebuffed a state Board of Agriculture
plan that would have required the product to be dyed gray.

The House
Health Committee approved a plan requiring unprocessed milk, known as
raw milk, sold in-state to be labeled as not for human consumption.

Unlike the milk sold at grocery stores, raw milk is unpasteurized.

health officials say raw milk may contain harmful bacteria that's
unsafe for children. But the product's supporters say it contains
immune system-boosters that are otherwise killed in the pasteurization

N.C. law prohibits the sale of raw milk for human
consumption, but the product can be sold for pets and animal use. Raw
milk advocates say many people, including farmers, zookeepers and pet
owners, feed their animals raw milk.

But because the products
look similar, the N.C. Board of Agriculture in September passed a rule
requiring all raw milk sold in-state – and therefore not for human use
– to be dyed charcoal. The discoloration would discourage children from
consuming it accidentally, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

don't want to make this milk attractive to children,” Troxler said. “So
with red, that could mean strawberry. The charcoal seemed to be a color
that fit.”

But farmers and natural food advocates were appalled by the dyeing mandate.

said there are no suitable organic dyes that can be added to the
natural product, and their animals wouldn't want to go near a
dirty-looking product, anyway.

“I don't know how many animals
will actually consume black milk,” said raw milk advocate Ruth Ann
Foster, who lives in Greensboro and serves her rescued white poodle raw
milk. “I don't think my dog will.”

The milk advocates' protests opened the door for the legislature to intervene.

Tuesday, the House panel approved a plan from Rep. Pricey Harrison,
D-Guilford, that would require two warning labels to be placed on all
raw milk containers. One would warn that the product is not to be
consumed by people, while the other would explain that it's illegal to
sell raw milk for human consumption in North Carolina.

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