The terrible things happening to non-corporate farming and pure food rest, oddly enough, on liberal fears and on ill-founded assumptions science. Those assumptions leads not to better choices for all Americans but to massive, mandatory regulations and programs which have large destructive consequences for farmers and food and our health.
It seems the only way to stop those destructive consequences, then, is to begin to undo the most fundamental assumptions about science and a simplistic trust that it can eliminate all threats and solve large human health problems through the application of more and more complex "scientific" technology.
Pasteurization of milk is pointed to as a major public health triumph. The public appears to believe that milk itself was a problem which modern science finally "made safe." That is an entirely false understanding of both the history of pasteurization and the science of milk.
The actually history of pasteurization had nothing whatever to do with making milk from normal dairy farms safe. Pasteurization was SOLELY a response to the urban industrialization of milk production. That is, pasteurization was only a response a very specific milk - industrial milk.
[All emphases in the quoted material below are my own.]
"The War of 1812 with England resulted in the permanent cutting off of the whiskey supply America procured from the British West Indies. As a result, the domestic liquor industry was born, and by 1814, grain distilleries began to spring up in the cities as well as the country. Distillery owners then began housing cows next to the distilleries and feeding hot slop, the waste product of whiskey making, directly to the animals as it poured off the stills. Thus was born the slop or swill milk system.
"Slop is of little value in fattening cattle; it is unnatural food for them, and makes them diseased and emaciated. But when slop was plentifully supplied, cows yielded an abundance of milk. Diseased cows were milked in an unsanitary manner. The individuals doing the milking were often dirty, sick or both. Milk pails and other equipment were usually dirty. Such milk sometimes led to disease. ...
"Physicians in cities throughout the country considered raw milk essential in the treatment of their patients; they worked together to certify dairies for the production of clean raw milk. This resulted in the availability of safe raw milk from regulated dairies. Initially, from around 1890 to 1910, the movements for certified raw milk and pasteurization coexisted and in many ways even complemented one another.
Notice there was a two tier milk system. Raw milk dairies only needed to be certified as clean and doctors actually treated diseases with that natural milk. But industrial milk required pasteurization of its dirty and inferior product to make it safe enough to drink, and it was not used for medical treatments.
Our public school science classes teach that Louis Paster invented the pasteurization of milk. That is untrue. He developed pasteurization for preserving wine and beer. He was not responsible for applying it to milk.
"That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk. As milk became more mass produced, pasteurization became necessary for large dairies to increase their profits. So the public then had to be convinced that pasteurized milk was safer than raw milk. Soon raw milk consumption was blamed for all sorts of diseases and outbreaks until the public was finally convinced that pasteurized milk was superior to milk in its natural state. [Note the food industry's power to overturn a "scientific" reality and impact public health for over a century, still not yet righted.]
"... T]he truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. ....
kills the friendly bacteria,
greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk
has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E.
has a vitamin C loss usually exceeding 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective.
Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization.
destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones.
destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaksdown fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D.
diminishes vitamin D content so the dairy industry fortifies their milk with a synthetic vitamin D [which does not work
makes calcium and other minerals less available. Complete destruction of phosphatase is one method of testing to see if milk has been adequately pasteurized. Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium.
"involves higher temperatures, longer treatment times, gives a longer shelf life and renders the milk virtually sterile. The industry justifies this saying that microorganisms have become heat resistant to ordinary pasteurization."
[Why are micro-organisms in industrial milk becoming resistant, even to heat?]
The Lancet in 1937 reported on a study of a group orphanages in which 14 cases of tuberculosis occurred in the boys fed pasteurized milk, only one in those fed raw milk. ... and in certain institutions children brought up on raw milk had perfect teeth and no decay.
"Very little research was done after about 1950 on the relative nutrient content of raw versus pasteurized milk. The move toward universal pasteurization was in full swing and interest in raw milk was waning in agricultural colleges increasingly supported by dairy industry and agribusiness funding."
Pasteurization is NOT the story of marvelous modern science making an unsafe food safe. It is the story of a new "technology" being used to mitigate the excesses of the industrial contamination of a centrally important and incredible food and then destroying much of that food's value.
Yet, today, raw milk dairy farmers have been almost entirely displaced by an industrial monopoly over milk, using the public's misdirected fear of (industrial) contamination as the means.
"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it."– Stephen Leacock
Industry hegemony allows for misinformation through advertising, control of media, and influence over government and institutions, making it possible to do three things simultaneously:
1. greatly encourage public fear of contamination from raw milk
Suddenly, we have government raids on raw milk dairy farmers happening across the country, though people had not been falling ill from raw milk and customers value it highly enough to go far out of their way to buy it. Fear is created, the false history of pasteurization is revived, and it "appears" the public is saved once again from danger!
The same raids are now occurring in Canada.
2. that fear aids in pointing away from an actual source of danger - industrial milk,
Industrial milk to which the public has been limited, comes from cows:
a. eating genetically engineered grains heavily laced with pesticides,
b. living abnormally confined lives without feeding on grasses,
c. given antibiotics to cover the diseases they are getting,
d. and if they are injected with rBGH, the milk is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.
"As detailed in a January 1996 report in the prestigious International Journal of Health Services, rBGH milk differs from natural milk chemically, nutritionally, pharmacologically and immunologically, besides being contaminated with pus and antibiotics resulting from mastitis induced by the biotech hormone. More critically, rBGH milk is supercharged with high levels of abnormally potent IGF-1, up 10 times the levels in natural milk and over 10 times more potent."
All of those deficiencies and problems are true before the milk is pasteurized and none are corrected or compensated for by pasteurization. Finally, this industrially degraded milk is pasteurized, at which point the NECESSARY bacteria for absorbing what remained of the milk's nutrients and minerals are killed off.
3. both while heavily promoting the degraded industrial milk.
The inferior industrial milk is delightfully masked by millions of dollars in advertising for Happy Cow campaigns (the milk industry is being sued for the campaign's lies) http://www.peta.org/...
and for other "flashy makeovers."
The dairy industry's resurgence is attracting mainstream media attention. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an extensive feature on milk's "flashy makeover." The article, which was picked up by papers in other major markets, outlined the industry's efforts to make milk a more dazzling drink: colorful plastic bottles, kid-friendly flavors, and distribution in fast-food restaurants and school vending machines. The story also pointed out the success of these efforts, including the increase in milk sales at Wendy's and McDonald's restaurants that account for 150 million pounds of fluid milk a year.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The California Milk Processor Board is now targeting teens:
"Goodby, Silverstein and Partners created a page on MySpace to promote White Gold and the Calcium Twins, a team of new fictitious characters turned rock stars who spread their love of and devotion to milk through music. TV spots, print ads and PR will also support the promotion.
"The Milk Processor Education Program ... is funded by the nation's milk processors ... committed to increasing fluid milk consumption."
Our country's only real food security comes from a growing, not shrinking, population of small local farmers. That will require a thorough roll back of all oppressive regulations our small farmers are now trapped in and should never have had to bear.
To support that roll-back and begin rebuilding farming in this country, liberals would need to begin by confronting their:
1. misunderstanding of the history of pasteurization
Pasteurization was only ever needed for industrial excesses, never for non-industrial dairy farming where bacteria was not a problem but a critically necessary aspect of the milk.
2. misplaced faith in pasteurization to deliver a worthwhile food
Pasteurization does nothing to correct a host of problems inherent in industrializing milk production.
3. extreme fear of the bacteria.
Bacteria is a necessary and highly valuable aspect of milk which aid in digestion of milk's nutrients and minerals. "L-casei immunitas," an invented name advertised as a very special addition to yogurt that will aid in digestion, is nothing more than lactobacillus which comes for free and in abundance in unpasteurized milk. So, one of the bacteria in raw milk which the milk industry encourages the public to fear, is suddenly touted as a "new" scientific contribution when they isolate and sell it themselves before killing it in the industrial milk people are left to drink.
Upton's Sinclair's book, The Jungle, was misunderstood by the public as well. It was only about the industrialization of meat, but the public's fear and outrage have been used by industry/government to impose massive and INAPPROPRIATE regulations on small local farmers - though the industrial conditions Sinclair reported didn't and still don't exist with those farmers. Those regulations have taken from farmers the right to slaughter animals on their own property and to sell to neighbors, something that they had done for centuries.
Those regulations, in fact, have centralized production further and thus compounded the very problems Lewis sought to address. Rather than applying regulations ONLY at the source of the problem - industry - government has been controlled by industry, and used "food safety" regulations to crush farmers outside the industrial system while relaxing standards for industry http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/... and failing to inspect the still existing intolerable conditions in corporate contaminated animal factories, disease-ridden feedlots, and immense and filthy slaughterhouses.
Public fear of milk contamination originated with industrial degrading of milk production but fear is valuable to those who have desire and control of media to be able to use of it. The USDA (to the advantage only of the milk industry) is criminalizing clean, raw milk dairy farms, by putting regulations in place that cannot be met by raw milk producers. http://wewantorganicfood.com/...
In this way regulations become an effective (and unseen weapon) against the milk industry's competition - real farmers and the whole, nutrient-dense, healthy food they produce.
The fear rests on not knowing the real science of milk. It rests on not knowing the real history of pasteurization. It rests on not knowing the impact of pasteurization on milk. And in all of that, liberals miss that fear supports raids and intolerable regulations on the very small farmers we need for food security. As raids increase and industry continues to eliminate farmers, the public is taught to believe they are being protected (nothing to fear) while they are actually being increasingly locked into dangerous and inferior industrial food.
Human beings have depended on milk since before cultivation of crops. Milk "went bad" once "modern industry" took over and began subtracting all the normal factors cows need to produce good milk - their free movement outdoors in sunlight and rich grasses to feed on. The industrialization of milk, like the industrialization of all food, treats all parts of the "product" (animals being but one) as an endless series of items to cut corners around in order to squeeze out maximum profits. The more that can be short-cutted or even eliminated and the cheaper the inputs, the better for profits, the worse for the food, and the worse for public health.
Dairy farmers producing raw milk on small farms are not cutting those corners but continuing to reproduce the natural conditions cows need to be healthy and thus to produce healthy milk and thus through it to provide health to the public.
One need only look at raw milk's protective value against type 1 diabetes, for educated people to begin questioning a strongly held "modern science" truism about the dangers of bacteria. That view is proving to be simplistic and even dangerous.
"The findings, reported in the journal Nature, support the so-called "hygiene hypothesis" – the theory that a lack of exposure to parasites, bacteria and viruses in the developed world may lead to increased risk of diseases like allergies, asthma, and other disorders of the immune system."
"Science" can be wrong. It has a history of condemning traditional use of nature as unscientific. Consider another milk once dismissed as not being hygienic - breast milk. Medical "authorities" treated mothers as ignorant fools, telling them they were behaving like backward natives of third world countries, and risking their children's health, in giving them some that was in fact, normal and infinitely rich in protection for infants. Instead, "science" aggressively and arrogantly promoted bottle feeding over breast feeding, misguidedly promoting an industrial product as a better because it was"more hygienic."
That was abysmally wrong scientifically. It did, however, support billions in sales of industrial baby formula. And recent "science" coming out of the FDA (the country's "food safety" department) hid evidence of melamine in baby formula in the US, and when confronted with the evidence, promptly created a standard defining it as safe.
The hand of industry in each of these examples is easy to see once the assumptions and misinformation are gotten past which is why they must be. The only problem with raw milk or breast milk for that matter is that they are not industrial products. They get treated as "backward' things, because they have immense nutritional and health value. Thought human beings have depended upon them for millennia, there is no corporate profit in them. At all. They are "backward" only in being pure, whole food, infinitely complex versus "modern" food, impure, far from whole, their parts infinitely subtracted.
So, to look at pasteurization as a miracle of modern science which produces "good" safe milk is a serious fallacy. It elevates a mere "technology" with its own serious limitations into a "whitewashed" magic bullet, ignoring its true negative downstream consequences - it damages milk in the process of "cleaning it up." While it saved people from some of the worst effects of industrializing dairy "production," it eliminated the health-giving value of milk and allowed industry to sell a "cleaned up" but highly diminished "product."
And all of that ignores its being manipulated for economic and political uses - the destruction of real dairy farmers and farming communities, the entrapment of the public into ONLY industrial milk, and the use of "health" regulations to massively undermine constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties.
The USDA, harking back to the misunderstood history of where the diseases originated (on the industrial side) is busy finishing off eliminating non-corporate American raw dairy farmers - the Amish, the Mennonite and others.
Raw milk sales had been outlawed or severely restricted in virtually every state, and the total number of farms has shrunk to less than 2 million; less than 100,000 have milk cows. ...
The story of what's happened to quality milk is same as the story of what's happened to America's farmers. Both have been mostly eliminated, marginalized by a culture that has allowed corporations to promote the big lie that the processing of natural foods has nothing to do with the epidemic of disease that cripples our society. Corporate spokespersons for the food, drug and medical industries have used billions of dollars – a drop in the bucket compared to their profits – to convince most of us that this rape has been carried out for our own good. "Food safety," cry the corporations and their media and government lackeys. Farmers who would sell fresh raw milk and meat raised and slaughtered on the farm would endanger the public.
Meanwhile, as Eric Schlosser has so elegantly written of the nation's commercial food supply in Fast Food Nation, "There's shit in the meat." The Center for Disease control estimates that over a quarter of all Americans come down with food poisoning each year.
Meanwhile all foods rich in cholesterol are maligned as dangerous. ... The best foods in the world come from healthy animals. ... The studies that purport to show that cholesterol in foods is dangerous have been manipulated, misinterpreted and propagandized by the drug industry to dupe doctors and the public into buying billions of dollars worth of dangerous drugs. Every year, corporations and a wealthy few grow richer, while many Americans struggle and many more just get by. Thirty-five million people now live below the government's admittedly low poverty line. We can only guess how many millions would love to have a small family farm if it could support even a modest lifestyle.
It is strange to think that the political and literal health of this country depends on urban liberals letting go of pasteurization as a monument to modern science. What else explains why liberals who normally care about civil rights and vulnerable people, have not seen the severe violations of constitutional rights happening to raw milk dairy farmers. For certainly fear and "food safety" doesn't trump the rights of other human beings or justify violence against them.
What else explains how liberals who pride themselves on justice, have not seen through a milk monopoly frightening the public into imposing draconian regulations or outright criminalizing milk produced by non-corporate farmers? What explains their tolerating the government eliminating farmer's most basic freedoms? Unless they didn't understand the "real" history and science of milk, what else would let them passively sit by while the food industry eliminates the only people bringing clean and real things "to the table"?
"Food safety" is a hoax if it does not mean access to "safe food," to real food, and uncriminalized exchanges with farmers who provide it. So, though the raids and regulations are couched in the interest of "food safety" "hygiene" has been used before for totalitarian purposes (racial hygiene, anti-misegenation are but two instances) and is being used again, now. Liberals have allowed a filthy but powerful food industry to proceed in its intent to destroy its competition - small farmers who are, in fact, the safest and most hygienic sector of our food system.
The raids are violent and unconstitutional and the regulations are massively discriminatory and undemocratic.
Liberals who care deeply about civil liberties and vulnerable populations have missed what is happening.
Their misplaced trust in scientific authority and their fear of diseases appears to have blinded them to the plight of vulnerable farmers. Undoing the lock that pasteurization has had on the beliefs of educated people, and letting them see who it serves and how their own fear is being used against them, appears to be the only way to open up the possibility of actually rebuilding real local farming in this country. And dairy farming is utterly central to accomplishing that.
"The dairy cow doesn't ask for much but she asks every day. People who are creating wealth with a cow either are hard working and reliable or they get that way in a hurry. The need to milk the cow twice a day determined the location of churches; people had to be able to walk there and back without disruption to the schedules of cows. It is certainly no coincidence that such a large number of our finest American statesmen were born on farms. Important virtues are nurtured on the farm, including a graphic understanding of the relationship between working and eating. I have come to understand and accept the words of that great 19th Century agricultural essayist, William Cobbett: 'When you have a cow, you have it all.'"
Seeing through a false glorification of pasteurization is deeply democratic ... because it is about seeing the truth and knowing and caring about the real people who are being affected.
"[We] got a protest rally going on the farm. This year we got another one going at a district justice hearing where Mark [Nolt - a horse and buggy Wenger Mennonite] was being tried for various violations. We got some publicity for the case in both instances.
"Mark credits these protests for him not being in jail now.
"Mark has been raided three times for selling raw milk without a permit. A total of over 65,000 dollars of product ad equipment, including personal food that he had made for consumption by the family of ten children. The last raid was made after a police undercover agent went to the farm, using my and my wife's name as a contact, was able to convince [Mark's] children that he was new to the area and to sell him some milk.
"He then promptly took it to a state lab, confirmed that it was raw, a warrant was issued, another raid was conducted and the winter's supply of food was stolen and dumped, all in the name of food safety, courtesy of the people who are supposed to be protecting us.
"All raids were made with state police involvement, to protect the invaders from this pacifist farmer and his wife and children. At one raid a state policeman was asked by [a] neighbor how he felt about being part of the activity. He said "[i] am just doing my job" to which the neighbor replied "yes, that's what Hitler's Gestapo [were] doing too" At one raid, Bill Chirdon [a former employee of Dean Foods, one of the largest milk corporations in the country, now with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture] was seen taking the book "All I want to do is ILLEGAL," by Joel Saladin, along with him tucked under his arm.
"As a result of all this we formed the PICFA organization to inform folk in Pa. as to the danger we are all facing from this kind of suppression by our state and federal government.
"We hope [to] change the way private business between private citizens is being in this commonwealth. So there you have it in a nutshell, the unvarnished truth as I see it."
Jonas Stoltzfus, farmer and head of the Pennsylvania Independent Consumer and Farmers Association.
Perhaps once liberals put aside false assumptions about pasteurization and their fears of bacteria, they will remember their commitment to civil liberties and justice and to vulnerable people who are being harmed.
"What has all this to do with raw milk? Just this: the same repressive, reactionary forces that have concentrated power and wealth into the hands of a few have outlawed raw milk and destroyed the ability of small farms to survive and thrive – and [simultaneously] ushered in the epidemic of heart disease, cancer and other chronic problems plaguing the modern world [and making corporations rich].
"Raw milk is the key to the health crisis, the farm crisis, the economic crisis, the small town crisis, even the environmental crisis, the political crisis and the educational crisis. Farmers who could freely advertise and sell raw milk and its products, and fresh quality meats, free of government intervention and hassles, could prosper, and their communities could blossom. The restoration of our individual and national health could become reality."
The public is not living on real milk or even reality but on the milk industry's Happy Cow ads falsely suggesting their (industrialized) cows live decent lives while, in fact, co-opting the reality lived only by small dairy farmers' cows - the same dairy farmers being wiped out by the milk industry.
Non-corporate farmers raising unconfined healthy cows living outdoors and eating a normal diet of grass are producing the only whole and FULLY nutritious milk.
THAT is the lesson that the history of pasteurization needs to teach.
Those farmers were functioning without industry-contamination issues since long before pasteurization. They deserve and NEED freedom from intrusive "public health" laws that were meant to stop industry's worse excesses. One size does NOT fill all. If it did, we wouldn't have lost so many dairy farmers while the industry side continues to grow, despite all its excesses and abuses.
http://www.metnews.com/... And the system is so unjust, that SWAT teams attack farmers while the USDA doesn't even inspect the massive corporate animal factories, feedlots and slaughterhouses.
Certification for cleanliness is fine for small farmers but million dollar building and equipment standards, massive paperwork, global tracking systems, industry-imposed standards that in themselves eliminate normal food, http://wewantorganicfood.com/... - are not. They fit only corporations. They are unnecessary and have been and are meant to be literal threat to our fast disappearing small farms. Testing for diseases is fine as well. But by independent, not by government labs controlled by agribusiness.
The limited understanding of the history of pasteurization and of its impact on food has played into the hands of the powerful food industry. People have been taught to believe they are being saved by this process, when it is lie. In fact, they are losing out. And in having faith in pasteurization based on scientific misconceptions, liberals end up promoting industry's final destruction of the few real farmers we have left in this country, eliminating their healthier food, and removing all possibility of local, sustainable agriculture ever existing.
Pasteurization is considered a basic "wonder of modern medical science" - an assumption that liberals must revisit in light of its true impact on food, its use in the service an industrial monopoly, and its false relation to food safety. It must be seen in its true historical and industrial and democratic context if we are to save real farming, real food, and ... ourselves.
In this context, there is something you can do immediately to try to protect American farmers from the mother of all regulations that will destroy our farmers - NAIS
Farmers are asking the public to please vote against it.
Please help them in this small way and and ask your friends and family to as well. Thank you.
While I have no faith left that Obama is sincere about saving American farmers and supporting sustainable agriculture after he selected Vilsack, an Monsanto crony, I have immense faith in farmers themselves and liberals believe in listening to the people involved and not governments or corporations to learn what is really going on. So, vote with a will and with increasing concern for YOUR American farmers.
The Obama Transition Team has set up a section calld "Open for Questions" on the official website. They have not specified the deadline for submitting or voting on questions, but said they will respond to the top issues "in the new year."
Step 1: If you are not already signed up for the site, register at: https://www.change.org/...
Step 2: Go to http://www.change.org/... Be sure to click the box labeled "vote!" to the left of the Stop NAIS! Simply leaving a comment does not count as a vote.