According to a WashingtonTimes.com article, “The federal government said Tuesday that fresh milk is 150 times more dangerous than pasteurized milk . . .” The CDC is trying to scare us, and it’s working. My fear has nothing to do with their “study”; it has more to do with an erosion of consumer liberties and my freedom to choose what I put into my body.
Those of us close to the raw milk debate have seen it coming. Under the guise of protecting us poor, dumb citizens, we’re losing our right to choose what’s best for our own bodies, for our families, and for our communities. After all, we’re too stupid to make informed decisions, so the government has to come in and protect us from ourselves, or so they would have us believe.
I happen to think that the powers that be feel so threatened by raw milk for many of the same reasons that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynacology feels threatened by the 1% of women who choose to birth their babies at home. It’s all about the money!
The dairy lobby, like most commodities lobbies, is incredibly powerful because they have money. They perceive those of us who drink raw milk as threats to their revenue, so they fight tooth and nail to bolster their case that dairy from anything but Big Ag farms isn’t acceptable. I don’t know what the statistics are, to be honest, but I’d guess that those of us who choose to consume raw milk, like those of us who choose homebirth, make up a very small percentage of the whole. In the end, our money doesn’t matter that much to the big guy, but in their eyes, it sure does!
To be honest, I’d like to examine the raw data on which this “study” was based. As of yet, I haven’t been able to locate the paper. I’d wager though that the 239 illnesses that were reported over 13 years weren’t all attributable to raw milk consumption. And even if we knew for sure that they were, we can’t be sure that those folks were consuming raw milk from animals with which basic cleanliness procedures were followed. For instance, if I send my kid out to milk the family cow and he doesn’t even bother to clean the cow poop off her belly or he fails to wash his hands after milking, it’s just as likely that the cow manure could make someone sick as the consumption of the milk.
Let me be clear. I’m not saying that raw milk can’t make people sick. It absolutely can. But for those of us who’re making informed choices, for those of us who know the farmers or the animals that provide the raw milk, I view the risk to minimal. I feel that I’m much more likely to get food poisoning from a fast food restaurant than I am to get sick from consuming raw milk.
I’ve said this many times before, but I’ll say it again. It’s much easier to keep the food supply safe when you know where your food comes from. Eat local. Grow your own food if you can. Talk to the farmers who produce your food and visit their farms. If you do those things, you’ll be much less likely, I think, to come down with E. coli from contaminated veggies or salmonella from chickens bathed in poop soup! Sorry if I’m being too graphic for some of you folks, but I’m calling it like I see it. The government can’t protect us from food borne pathogens while simultaneously protecting their revenue stream from the commodities lobbies. That’s how I see it. In the end though, it’s our right to decide, or at least that’s how it should be.