The Illinois Department of Public Health recently invited a local farmer of raw milk to a meeting to discuss proposed restrictions on the fledgling industry. Apparently, concerns have been raised by The Center for Disease Control and The Food and Drug Administration, the latter of which is run by - wait for it - Michael R. Taylor, the former Vice President of Monsanto, the largest farming monopoly in the world. Monsanto's business model depends on two things: patents and lobbyists. The Agribiz titan genetically engineers insect-repelling, herbicide-resistant plants, then guarantees their distribution by padding the pockets of your representative, who votes for legislation that either curbs the company's competition or mandates the use of their product. In addition to genetically-engineered plants that synthesize crystalline insecticidal proteins, Monsanto is responsible for the creation of DDT, PCB, Agent Orange and recombinant bovine growth hormone.
Recombinant bovine growth hormone is injected into cows by large milking companies to increase milk production by 11 to 16 percent and is responsible for mastitis (infection of the udder) in the animal, and an increased risk of cancer in the consumer. Mastitis is treated by widespread use of antibiotics and is suspected of contributing to the recent preponderance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
When the farmer met with The Illinois Department of Public Health, I'm told that a form replete with blocks of 6 point font and a signature line was waiting for her. The IDPH was hoping they could lubricate the halls of bureaucracy with a legal document stating her explicit consent. Naturally, she declined and contacted her lawyer instead. Then she called up other farmers of raw milk in the state, the largest of which is owned by my Aunt and Uncle . . . and by "large," I mean anywhere from 20 to 30 naturally-born, free-range, grass-fed Jersey Cows that are milked by hand and cared for by their two loving owners and the owners' five children.
Of course, maybe The Illinois Department of Public Health is right. "Public Health" is in the title, after all. Why would they steer us in the wrong direction? Well, they have in the past. Since American milk increases the risk of cancer to the consumer, milk produced in The United States is outlawed in The European Union, but if you live in The United States - if you're tied to a budget and are unable to buy organic - that's probably the same milk you consume with your Cheerios every morning.
Raw milk - on the other hand - is better for you in almost every instance. Unlike processed foods, raw milk is easily digestible. Raw milk contains 3-5 times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid than milk from feed lot cows. CLA raises the metabolic rate, helps remove abdominal fat, boosts muscle growth, reduces resistance to insulin, strengthens the immune system and lowers food allergy reactions. Raw milk contains all 8 essential amino acids, which means that a person could subsist on a diet of raw milk alone. Raw milk contains peptide segments hidden in casein molecules that exhibit anti-microbial activity. Raw milk contains lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein that has numerous beneficial properties including anti-cancer and antiviral properties. Raw milk contains lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, which break apart the cell walls of undesirable bacteria. Raw milk contain immunoglobulins, an extremely complex class of milk protein that provides resistance to viruses and reduces the severity of asthma. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that can help people suffering from digestive ailments such as Crohn's disease.
If raw milk contains such a long list of health benefits, why would The Illinois Department of Health inhibit its production? My guess is that someone with an agenda and a lot of money has stacked the deck in their own favor, and if this legislation passes, they win. And if they win, you, my family, and all of my family's customer's lose.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has arranged two meetings with raw milk farmers in Illinois to further discuss the proposed legislation. The farmers oppose only two of the suggested restrictions. One is a cap on the number of gallons sold per month. The IDPH believes 100 to be an amenable number. My Aunt's farm sells 100 gallons of raw milk in about 3 days. The second restriction they oppose is the acquisition of a Grade-A Dairy license, which could cost a farmer up to $25,000.
So, what can you do?
For the time being, stay aware, spread the word and stay tuned. On May 1st, The Illinois Department of Public Health will host a public hearing. If you're inclined, you can make the trip to Springfield to voice your support. I'll be sure to fill you in with the details once I'm notified. Shortly thereafter, The IDPH will make its decision. Legislation will be announced and open to public opinion for a period of 40 days before a vote is cast. That's when we could really use your help. That's when I might be asking you to write your congressman, to call his office and annoy the shit out his secretary.
And if you're still not convinced about the benefits of raw milk, consider this: you can buy a pack of cancer sticks with no hassle, but in order to buy a gallon of cancer-fighting raw milk, you have to drive to the farm and pour the milk from the farmer's container into your own container by yourself. That's how my Aunt and Uncle make a living. They're not even allowed to advertise because for some reason, imbibing what Hippocrates - "The Father of Western Medicine" - described as "white blood" as our ancestors had for millenia is considered to be as great of a health risk as coating your lungs with tar.