Raw Milk in the News

December 1, 2011

  • “Raw Milk Rally to Transport 100 Gallons Across State Lines Dec. 8″: The Raw Milk Freedom Riders will distribute 100 gallons of milk from a Wisconsin farm to a rally in Chicago on Thursday, December 8, as the Rock River Times reports (11/30). In two successive articles, the Food Poison Journal, a publication of the law firm Marler Clark, attacks the rally as “poorly timed” (10/28) and says the anonymity of the Wisconsin farmer donating the milk asks supporters to “forget ‘know your farmer,’ a well-informed mantra of the local, whole food movement” (11/30).
    Organizers of the act of civil disobedience (the second in a series, the first aimed at the FDA national headquarters in Maryland on November 1) argue that farmer anonymity is necessitated in this case by food safety enforcement activities that are unevenly meted out against small dairy farmers. Far from asking supporters not to know their farmers, organizer Max Kane said in a recent interview with the Food Rights Network, “The consumer’s relationship with the farmer should be as intimate as the farmer’s relationship is with the soil.”
    Raw milk advocate David Gumpert of The Complete Patient blog writes (11/30) in another publication of the Marler Clark law firm, Food Safety News, that “a relatively small 2010 Midwest outbreak of 25 illnesses (and no deaths) from Campylobacter in raw milk seems to have brought the ire of law enforcement down on the owners of two tiny farms in Indiana and Michigan” while “Peanut Corp of America has been cited for responsibility in nine deaths and more than 700 illnesses from Salmonella in its peanut butter, [and] its president, Stewart Parnell, has remained seemingly immune from prosecution nearly three years after the fact.” In a comment on this article, attorney Bill Marler himself calls for “some proportion here.”
    The Food Rights Network supports a well-informed and close relationship between eaters and farmers, policies and practices in dairy farming that make it possible to have appropriately sized herds and pasture for grazing that will help ensure good quality milk, and policies in regulation that make this possible without disproportionate risk to small farmers or eaters. FRN will be reporting from the Raw Milk Freedom Riders’ caravan and rally on December 8. Stay tuned for more.
  • “Idaho Legitimizes Small-Scale Raw-Milk Producers”: According to the Boise Weekly (11/30), “in early 2010, instead of drawing guns and raiding those operations, the state of Idaho — with the help of raw-milk advocates and a less-enthusiastic dairy industry — modified the regulations to make it easier for small raw-milk producers to go legit. . . . Since the new rules were put in place in 2010, [the Idaho State Department of Agriculture's Dairy Bureau chief Marv] Patten said 70 small farms across the state have applied and qualified for the Small Herd Exemption (along with four Grade A dairies) and can now legally sell raw milk in Idaho.”
  • “Schmidt Fined, Won’t Pay”: According to the Owen Sound Sun Times (11/26), “Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt says he has no intention of paying a $9,150 fine handed down by a court Friday for convictions related to the production and distribution of unpasteurized milk.” ”If I paid it, that would be an admittance of guilt and I’m not guilty,” he said in an interview with the Sun Times.

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