As the raw milk controversy continues to heat up, the amount of biased statistics, misguided opinions, and statements pointing to propaganda, forgetting what country we live in, and even out-right corruption is dizzying to say the least. Where does one begin?
I suggest starting with our values and principles. It should be understood that everyone—be they drinkers of raw milk, skim milk, almond milk, or no milk—does value good health. Considering that you don't have much if you don't have your health, who has the best interest of your health in mind? Well, YOU do, of course! Except in cases where your health could be a danger to others, why should it be anyone else’s business how you choose to nourish and care for yourself?
This leads to my favorite principle—you guessed it—Freedom!! And with freedom comes personal responsibility. Just as many people’s actions are inconsistent with valuing their health when they’re smoking, consuming junk food, or not getting enough exercise, the actions of many self-proclaiming patriotic “Proud-to-Be" Americans are inconsistent with the core principle of what it means to be American: freedom of personal choice. The raw milk battle is a proxy battle: Are we are going to live true to our fundamental patriotic principles where every person is allowed to be free and responsible for the choices they make or do we want the "protection" of a Stalin-esque society where someone else—in government—minds our business for us: how we should eat, what information we can have, which vaccinations we must get. In such a society, everyone must live with the consequences of someone else’s (lawmakers') decisions. The life you live may not be your choice.
All I hear from government health agency representatives is how dangerous raw milk is. "Dangerous" according to what? When I'm flying we have parameters that define when we enter caution zones and when we are in "dangerous" or emergency zones just as you have "caution" and "red" zones on the instrumentation in your car. What exactly constitutes "dangerous" when it comes to an unacceptable level of risk? What is the definition of "dangerous"? Whether flying, driving a car, taking many FDA-approved drugs, or even eating cantaloupe (which is legal to sell at Farmers Markets), risk of illness from raw milk is LOWER than all of these by far!
By the way, since health regulators have their opinion that raw milk is so dangerous, we cannot bring it to public venues. Don't get me wrong, if they have reason to suspect a raw milk provider's operation is without a doubt a cause for concern for significant risk, then by all means I hope the health safety officials do speak up. However, what will it take to PROVE to health agency bureaucrats that consuming raw milk is statistically safer than many other activities we engage in on a daily basis? Not only is their argument against raw milk flawed from the get-go on the fundamental principle of personal freedom, but their arbitrary and capricioius statements are based on no consistent application of any defined standard.
Folks, while I'm a raw milk producer, my agenda is not raw milk. My agenda is discovering the truth and acting on what I believe to be the truth. I believe that raw milk, produced safely, is a far better choice for people. And if anyone is allowed to disenfrachise us of a most basic freedom as food choice by usurping their opinion to regulate how we choose to nourish and care for ourselves, how can we believe in the patriotic American dream they, too, are touting? We must fight to have a society free of this over-reaching government. Raw milk drinker or not, the stakes in this discussion are much higher than just our ability to provide/access raw milk.
As the 4th of July nears, are the following words from the Declaration of Indpendence starting to make more sense and ring louder?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
If you think the FDA and those who agree with their anti-milk agenda are searching for the truth and acting on it, please consider the following examples of double-talk and manipulation. The first two anti-raw milk points are listed on the FDA website.
FDA: "Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself."
FDA Doubletalk: The FDA recognizes Lactoferrin as a naturally occurring protein from milk that acts as a powerful deterrent to pathogenic bacteria, and approved its use to kill bacteria on the exterior of meat carcasses in processing plants.
FDA: "Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins."
FDA Doubletalk: Yet on the FDA's own website, Milk is listed as the #1 most allergenic food in America. So why the increase in dairy allergies? While it's true that both raw milk and unpasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to the mutated casein protein, a percentage of people allergic to pasteurized milk for other reasons are not allergic to our raw milk. Not to mention, for many raw milk consumers their hay allergies are greatly relieved when consuming raw milk. The FDA offers no explanation.
Anti-raw milk "People need to be educated about the risks of consuming raw milk." Great idea, and while we're at it, can we educate people about the risks of long-term consumption of pasteurized and, worse-yet, homogenized milk? Government officials and sympathizers deny and censor such information.
Anti-raw milk: "We are concerned that people getting sick from raw milk will harm the entire dairy industry." Huh? It is more like the raw milk segment of the dairy industry has been harmed by the litany of side-effects stemming from long-term consumption of processed dairy. We are always hearing "my doctor recommends I stop consuming all dairy (after years of eating mainstream, processed dairy)." Yet the FDA still claims there is nothing wrong with processed dairy?!
How far will this go? There seems to be no end to the propaganda. With statements like these, how does the FDA and its cronies and sympathizes expect to retain some semblence of credibility? Be an informed consumer, and sift through the hype. Make the best choice you can and fight for your right to have that choice. It's your freedom and health that are at stake.
Farmer Mark Grieshop