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REAL MILK for British Columbia   

asserting the right to use and enjoy our property

from : Calamity Howler  

A.V. Krebs

Merchants of Greed Corporation: n. "that inglorious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, Neale Publishing Co: 1911

Greed: n. "excessive, inordinate or rapacious desire, esp. for wealth . ... when unqualified, suggests a craving for food; it may, however, be applied to all avid desires ..." - The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged Edition), Random House: 1967

In another era they would have been called "the robber barons." Today, the ADMs, the Cargills, the ConAgras, the IBPs, the Smithfield Foods, the Tysons, the Chiquitas and other corporate agribusiness behemoths which produce and manufacture our food have become the merchants of greed.

Food, next to life itself, is our greatest common denominator. But to the merchants of greed it is but the coin of the realm, a means by which they can enrich themselves while the poor go hungry; family farmers are discarded as "excess human resources;" farm and food workers and peasants become the slaves they rent. 

These entities profit while politicians, regulatory agencies and academics serve merely as corporate figureheads to be bought, borrowed and brownnosed. And they profit while consumers, in the immortal words of Archer Daniels Midland ("ADM, "Supermarkup" to the World"), "the competitor is our friend, the consumer is our enemy," are all being fashioned merely to serve a self-serving corporate definition of "free enterprise" and "free trade."

To these merchants of greed food is but an international weapon while multilateral trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and multinational bodies like the World Trade Organization (WTO) have not only become simple policy and governing instruments whereby these corporations can implement their "economic imperialist" agenda, but, in reality, their wholly-owned subsidiaries.

In its process of substituting capital for [ecological] efficiency and technology for labor, corporate agribusiness--the realm in which these merchants of greed rule--have turned [commodity-producing] family farmers not only in the US, but throughout the world, into technological "junkies," endangering their own and their families' health and safety, converting "stewards" of the land into "miners" of the land, creating an elite class of corporate "welfare cheats" living off taxpayer dollars, and basing farm survival not on earned farm income but on borrowed capital and so-called "rural development."

The human toll, however, of such tactics is and continues to be staggering. By deifying, for example, "cost benefit analysis" at the expense of the "common good," corporate agribusiness has also managed to annul the positive dimensions of the family farm system and eliminate its economic and environmental advantages, particularly as they relate to building genuine communities.

As social anthropologists Patricia L. Allen and Carolyn E. Sachs [of Penn State] point out, any system built upon a foundation of structural inequities "is ultimately unsustainable in the sense that it will result in increasing conflict and struggle along the lines of class, gender, and ethnicity."   Corporate agribusiness has become just such a system.

THUS, WE HAVE ARRIVED at a point where our family farm system of agriculture is facing its dark night of the soul, standing now on the threshold of eradication. Throughout the 1980s we saw an ever-mounting numbers of farm bankruptcies, foreclosures, and forced evictions reap a grim "human harvest" of suicides, alcoholism, divorce, family violence, personal stress, and loss of community.

Continuing into the 1990s we witnessed the very economic and social fabric of rural America being ripped asunder as the control of our food supply was seized by those merchants of greed whose purpose is not to feed people, or provide jobs, or husband the land, but simply to increase their cash flow and reduce their transactional costs in order to placate their excess-profit-obsessed institutional investors.

Thus, in the grand scheme of history, the 20th century may well be remembered as the point in the evolution of humanity when those corporations that trade, process, manufacturer, pack, ship and sell the world's food successfully removed the culture from agriculture. In the name of "efficiency" and in the pursuit of a globalized industrialization of the world's food supply, they reshaped agri-culture into an agri-business.

By attempting to deify their own myopic view of efficiency, however, corporate agribusiness has brought family farming, the democratic control of the people's food supply, and a wholesome and healthy natural environment to the brink of global disaster which, unless immediately recognized, confronted and thwarted, will inevitably lead to worldwide economic, political, social and environmental chaos unlike any seen in human history. 

For in measuring efficiency in strictly quantitative and economic terms, such as is currently being practiced by corporate agribusiness and its merchants of greed, the qualitative aspects of an agri-culture and a family farm food production structure are rapidly being discarded on the scrap heap of history as mere impediments to improving the "bottom line" of the unaccountable corporations that process and manufactured our food.

And as corporate agribusiness seeks to metamorphose agriculture from a culture based upon the traditional family farm system of agriculture into a business where capital is substituted for genuine economic, social and environmental efficiency, and where expensive technology is substituted for labor, we see a standardization of our food supply through an industrial manufacturing process based on the creation of synthetic foods, such as is now taking place through the use of genetic engineering.

Considering those characteristics with which corporate agribusiness has become identified, and comparing them with the historical characteristics of the family farm/ peasant system of agriculture, we begin to see more clearly how corporate agribusiness is the antithesis of family farm agriculture and how incompatible the two systems are in a democratically-structured society.

Whereas family farming/ peasant agriculture has traditionally sought to nurture and care for the land, corporate agribusiness, exclusive by nature, seeks to "mine" the land, solely interested in monetizing its natural wealth and thus measure efficiency by its profits, by pride in its "bottom line." Family farmers, meanwhile, see efficiency in terms of respecting, caring and contributing to the overall health and well-being of the land, the environment, the communities and the nations in which they live.

While corporate agribusiness stresses institutionalized organization, hierarchical decision making, volume, speed, standardization of the food supply and extracting as much production from the land as quickly and impersonally as possible, family farmers and peasants strive through order, labor, pride in the quality of their work, and a certain strength of character and sense of community to take from the land only what it is willing to give so as not to damage its dependability or diminish its sustainability.

But the so-called "conventional wisdom" in agriculture historically has been that through the continual substituting of capital for true efficiency and technology for labor, "inefficient" farm operators are eliminated by "market forces" while those who survive manage to thrive. Such "wisdom" also perpetuates the myth that the world's agricultural system is still dominated by independent family-operated farms and with the ever-increasing elimination of "inefficient producers" ("excess human resources"), we will witness a never-ending expansion of production to feed the world.

Nowhere has this "conventional wisdom" been more apparent and become the driving force of a nation's agricultural and food policy than in the United States. Today, such failed policies derived from such "wisdom" are being exported globally by the US by way of corporate agribusiness and its merchants of greed's self-serving trade policies. Thus, it is imperative that farm and food policy makers, family farmers, peasants, workers and consumers world wide understand the implications and dire consequences of such "conventional wisdom," for to ignore or dismiss corporate agribusiness's inefficiencies as merely anti-capitalist rhetoric is to do so at their own future peril.

While some of these "merchants of greed" may not be familiar to most urban consumers, as they have no recognizable food brands on the local supermarket shelves, their meddlesome hands continue to shape this country and the world's agriculture and food policies while the ingredients they manufacture are found in nearly all of our foodstuffs. In the Cargill Corp., the nation's largest private corporation, we see the political and economic power and ability of the world's largest commodity trader to influence, shape and implement food policies that benefit its own corporate interests. At the same time that it hides behind the cloak of privacy, until only very recently unrecognizable to brand-conscious grocery shoppers, it often remains the sole market to which a farmer is forced both by geography and/or lack of competitive markets to sell the raw materials that they have produced on their farms.

No corporation other than Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) probably better illustrates the depths to which the corporate culture will sink, fraud, conspiracy and corruption, in its efforts to control world markets in farm commodities. While producing and manufacturing a wide array of food, feed and fuel additives, it also has the reputation as the nation's single largest benefactor of corporate welfare through federal subsidies and tax loopholes.

At the same time, through its former board chairman and CEO Dwayne O. Andreas, the self-styled "Supermarket to the World" has in the post-war years been extraordinarily well politically connected and whose law firms Williams & Connolly and Akin Gump Hauer & Feld have been shown to have unbridled influence within the US Department of Justice.

One of the most dominant characteristics of modern-day corporate agribusiness has been its "urge to merge," to concentrate market power, reduce raw material and labor expenditures and eliminate competition. No better examples of this rush to concentrate can be found than in Tyson Foods and IBP, Inc. Here we have the world's largest poultry producer and processor and the nation's largest meatpacking company respectively dominating their industry.

THEN IN LATE 2000 Tyson's announced its intent to purchase the controlling interest in IBP's stock, leaving the nation's independent cattle producers and poultry growers, much less the consumers of these two staples of the American diet, at the price determining and availability mercy of Tysons. Now, because IBP was not forthcoming in some questionable past financial dealings, the two corporate giants are embroiled in a legal battle to determine who pays and who profits from Tyson's attempt to monopolize the meat and poultry industry.

Likewise, along with increasing concentration in the food production, processing and manufacturing industry we have also witnessed in the past 50 years the rapid movement toward vertical integration, where one corporation controls many or all of the various stages of food production. There is only corporation, however, that can boast that it literally controls everything from "the ground to the table" and that corporation is ConAgra, the nation's second largest food manufacturer behind tobacco king PhilipMorris. Its story of how it acquired such power, marked by its ruthlessness in its relationships with its suppliers while purporting to give consumers healthy choices in their brand selection, is emblematic of corporate agribusiness today.

Used-and-abused perhaps best summarizes the fate of the environment at the hands of corporate agribusiness, and in Smithfield Foods, the nation and the world's largest pork producer and processor, we see case after case where its processing facilities and its factory farms have been despoilers of the water and air we and nature depend on for life. Finally, there is Chiquita International. For anyone familiar with the history of 20th century Central American political intrigue, economics and land ownership the name should be no stranger. The history of the company, recently known as United Brands and before that the infamous United Fruit Company, now currently under the control of Cincinnati businessman Carl H. Lindner Jr., Chiquita's chairman and chief executive officer, and his family, is notorious.

Not only has the company maintained its historically cruel tradition in its treatment of its foreign workers, but efforts by ex-president Bill Clinton to express his gratitude for a generous Lindner campaign contribution has in recent years precipitated an all-out trade war between the European Union (EU) and the US, acting on behalf of Chiquita, over banana imports abroad.

 Thus, with just these seven merchants of greed, we can see exposed not only what has become standard corporate behavior in pursuit of economic and political dominance, but a lexicon of those characteristics that threaten to destroy our family farm system of agriculture, do immeasurable damage to our environment, sell farm and field workers into economic slavery while destroying rural communities, raise serious questions about the health and safety of our food supply, and restrict the consumer's freedom of choice while at the same time leaving them less and less democratic control over the price and availability of their daily food supply.

A.V. Krebs operates the Corporate Agribusiness Research Project, P.O. Box 2201, Everett, Washington 98203; email; web:


here's what's being said about us on March 26th 2010 : amusing that at this late date,  Dr Kendall is hedging his bets, now saying that it's  "likely"  'the anonymous sick child got sick from drinking milk from our dairy'.   For months, the Health Authorities asserted it as a fact.  What changed? ..... maybe us getting our side of the story out in Public?

I say = absent evidence, there was no 'sick baby' = it never happened.   But the diktocrats don't care. They've done their job, leaving the impression in the public mind that REAL MILK is dangerous.  And that govt.-licenced milk on store shelves is good for you because it's been sterilized.   A generation ago, Daniel Boorstein described how, in the modern communication milieu, image supercedes reality.
Dr Kendall further displays his ignorance on the topic ... admitting he doesn't understand why people diagnosed as 'lactose-intolerant' drink raw milk, with no problem.   Can you spell "enzymes" Dr. Kendall?!
Gordon S Watson
Justice Critic, Party of Citizens Who Have Decided To Think for Ourselves & Be Our Own Dairy

Raw milk producers defy court ruling

Chilliwack farm distributes non-pasteurized milk to Vancouverites

A dairy farm in Chilliwack is providing raw milk for shareholders in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland despite a permanent injunction passed by the B.C. Supreme Court last week to shut down distribution of the farm's non-pasteurized milk.

The Fraser Health Authority sought the injunction on the grounds the milk constituted a health hazard.

Alice Jongerden, the owner of the farm, said she would honour contracts with her shareholders by providing them with "real milk."

Jongerden said she plans to appeal the court's decision on the grounds that shareholders are entitled to their property and that the milk she distributes is labelled "not meant for human consumption."

Approximately 400 investors are part of Home on the Range's cow-share and receive a weekly share of raw milk.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall said part of the reason for the injunction was an infant who suffered a bacterial infection, likely from drinking the raw milk.

"It's one thing for adults to do things I would consider unwise, but when children are involved [it has to be stopped]," he said.

Dr. Kendall said he disagrees with the notion raw milk is more wholesome than pasteurized milk, and even with stringent inspections the safety of raw milk cannot be guaranteed.

Jongerden, a mother of five, said she grew up on raw milk and regularly serves it to her children.

She said raw milk should receive the same treatment as cigarettes, and once the product is properly labelled, people should have the right to make their own decision.

Jongerden said she's discussing her appeal with a lawyer.

Jonathan Baker, a Vancouver lawyer with 35 years experience in administrative law, said a successful appeal was unlikely.

"My guess is that public health requirements will trump all else," he said.

Baker said the argument that the owner of the cow should be able to drink the milk was credible, but a large distribution system likely conflicted with the public health interest.

He said the appeal might hinge on whether the court sees the distribution system as being primarily designed to evade B.C. health legislation.

Lindsay Lee, a Vancouver resident, single parent and shareholder in Home on the Range, said raw milk has been medicinal for her 14-month old baby.

Lee said when her child drank pasteurized milk he suffered from thick, scaly rashes on his chest, indigestion and nights when he'd wake up a dozen times.

When he was 10-months old, Lee stumbled onto raw milk.

"I just thought the yogurt would be tastier," she said.

Lee claimed within one week of switching to raw milk from pasteurized milk her baby's rash went away and he started waking up two or three times a night.

Lee said she's been unable to get raw milk since Home on the Range's legal problems.

At least four other shareholders in Home on the Range said they suffered adverse reactions from drinking pasteurized milk, but regularly enjoyed raw milk with no ill-effects.

But Kendall said he couldn't see why a lactose-intolerant person would be able to drink raw milk.

Gordon Watson, a Burnaby resident and the first shareholder in Home on the Range, said no one has fallen ill from the milk.

Watson, who paid what he called a "token amount" to become the first shareholder in Home on the Range, said he plans to lodge an appeal by April 19.

He said the government's protection of "profits for the dairy cartel" motivated the case against Home on the Range.

Jeremy Shepherd, Special to Vancouver Courier

Published: Friday, March 26, 2010

Read more:


March 4th 2010 - In the last couple of weeks, members of our cowshare have been approached by people asking to buy raw milk. Some of the inquirers are honestly mistaken about how we must operate in order to stay within the law, but others gave themselves away as spies. There is no doubt in my mind but that attempts are being made to entrap us into offending against the Milk Industry Act so the tattletales can run back to court.

I warn cowsharers … look out for the tactic Secret Agent Atherton used as she gathered evidence with which to prosecute Glencolton Farm. Beware of someone cajoling you into ignoring the requirement to own a share in the herd. What they’re after is proof of a purchase of raw milk - no matter how small, dollarwise - as evidence the agister operates in commerce, rather than as a strictly private enterprise.

At the bottom of my comment is an article today’s Province newspaper. Finally, a reporter has raised the question of whether the “child which got sick from drinking raw milk” purported by Fraser Health Authority, really exists.

Ten years’ experience working on the topic has taught me that most of the propaganda shovelled by the Health Authorities concerning the risks of harm from raw milk, is BS. The hue and cry distracts people from thinking about the nature of the quota system.

The agreement each of our share members has with the Agister allows her to set the price for her services. Those who want it, can have REAL MILK, if they’re willing to abide-by the Biblical principle that “the workman is worthy of his hire”.    As long as there’s freedom of association so that the flow of information is unhindered, the cash register will very quickly tell you what something is worth.

Not everyone who has a vested interest in the dairy cartel grasps the implications of it right away, but, intuitively, they know our tiny exception to the rule threatens their paycheques, because the way REAL MILK is produced exposes the inherent insanity of factory farming. The Berlin Wall was such a powerful symbol people assumed it would be there forever. But it came down in days. Similarly, the milk marketing boards are doomed because the free market is - ultimately - more powerful than the bunch of social engineers who pretend to be in charge

People who think for themselves and have decided to run their own dairies are the class enemies of the milk marketing boards and all the rest of the apparatchiks. A genuinely free market in milk is the antithesis of the centrally-controlled food supply system which Canada has suffered for half a century.

As an aside : for those who don’t agree with my use of the word “suffered” there, go look in the mirror at the fillings in your own teeth. Those cavities resulted from the milk you drank as a child having had factors essential for your optimum development, cooked out of it by pasteurization or destroyed by homogenization. For-instance : Vitamin K2,  the catalyst for metabolizing minerals in growing bones and teeth.   There we were last generation, in the richest country in the world in all history, yet our parents were kept poor,  spending a big part of their income on dentist bills, because nutrition was being stolen out of our very mouths.

In California, Organic Pastures grosses about $6 million per annum wholesaling REAL MILK at around $10 per gallon ( last I heard).    Meanwhile, farms all over the country are going bankrupt, being forced by “the system” to take less for their milk than it costs to produce. If there’s one thing the commies hate, it’s a side-by-side competition between genuine free enterprise versus “managed supply”

Self government belongs to people who can govern themselves ; dairies which we’ve organized our own sustenance, are self-regulating. We don’t need an army of bureaucrats at our elbow, overseeing the quality of the milk.

Our success in enabling people to get in touch with the vitality existing in REAL MILK deeply insults the communists. What‘s really sticking in their collective craw, is not the fact that we who own the cows get to enjoy the fat of the land, but that yeoman Agisters set their own price for services. Nothing scarier to the Stalinists than someone who doesn’t acknowledge a need to get permission from them to prosper and be in good health

Gordon S Watson


B.C. raw-milk drinkers are celebrating two small victories in their fight to continue consuming unpasteurized milk.

"I feel we won the day," raw-milk advocate Gordon Watson said Tuesday. "But this isn't over yet."

For now, it's life as usual at the Home on the Range dairy in Chilliwack, where 400 shareholders own 22 grass-fed cows and share the raw milk they produce.

A court injunction to stop the dairy from processing, packaging and distributing the milk to shareholders, brought against the co-operative by the Fraser Health Authority, was heard by a judge in B.C. Supreme Court last month. The judge reserved her decision, but did not immediately stop production.

"That's a victory. People are still getting their milk," said Home on the Range caretaker Alice Jongerden. "If the judge felt there was imminent danger, she could have stopped us while she deliberates."

No date was set for the decision. The group is also celebrating a second victory.

A recent Ontario Court of Justice decision cleared Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt of 19 charges relating to a similar "cow-sharing" agreement in that province.

The judge said Schmidt, who has been in and out of court for 16 years to preserve his raw-milk operation, did not break the law since he was providing milk to the herd's joint owners, and not the public. The decision is being appealed by the Ontario Attorney-General's office.

It is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in Canada, but it is not illegal to drink it.

Raw-milk advocates would like to see B.C. adopt a similar program to one in Washington state, where licensed dairies can sell to the public. They believe pasteurization, a process involving high heat to kill harmful bacteria, also kills some good bacteria and enzymes that boost the immune system.

Opponents argue consuming raw milk is dangerous and can lead to illness and even death.

In January, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control advised anyone with Home on the Range dairy products to discard them after a batch of raw milk was found with "extremely high coliform-bacteria counts."

The dairy argued that the tested milk was old and warm.

The Fraser Health injunction came after an 18-month-old child who drank the co-operative's milk suffered a gastrointestinal illness. The child has never been named.

Fraser Health cannot comment on the situation because it is "still before the courts," said a spokesperson.

a good letter to the Editor of the Chilliwack Progress,   upholding our position in the debate about raw milk.    The writer is responding to a letter published the previous week,  which said that drinking raw milk is dangerous because it exposes consumers to TB and brucellosis. 

A matter of choice

In reply to letter by Celia Rogers in your Feb. 5 2010 paper, I would like to bring her up to speed on a couple of things. The diseases of Brucellosis and Tuberculosis were eliminated in Canadian Cattle years ago.   As a former Supervising Inspector in Contagious Diseases for many years,  I can assure her that Brucellosis was totally eradicated by 1985. Tuberculosis was declared eliminated in the 1970s. So these diseases are no longer a factor in the safety of raw milk.

There is now a vaccine for E Coli 0157-H7, developed at the UBC, that prevents cows from shedding it in their milk, It is approved in Canada , so that problem is eliminated.    The spread of other types of E.Coli, present in almost everything that we eat, is as always, good sanitation will keep it under control.

I might add that most people over 50 years of age drank raw milk regularly, and we are still here.

In conclusion, it should be up to people what they feel it is safe to drink what they wish, and not up to some “the world is coming to an end type”.

It is called freedom.

Bruce Davis


Raw milk: let’s have regulation, not litigation

ONTARIO’S RAW MILK producers are essentially in the same position today as the province’s paralegals used to be. Despite last week’s victory by Michael Schmidt, they remain at risk of prosecution because of laws either restricting or banning their activity altogether.

After decades during which unregulated paralegals challenged laws barring them from doing work reserved for lawyers, the Province finally agreed to permit them to perform a fairly wide range of legal services, but only if they subjected themselves to regulation by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The legislative policy change seems to be working well, with most if not all the province’s paralegals now law society licensees and new entrants being required to complete community college courses. Client complaints against the more than 2,000 licensed paralegals have been amazingly few.

When it comes to the matter of raw milk, laws in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada currently bar its sale, but in the wake of last week’s ruling by a justice of the peace in Newmarket, non-farmers can at least temporarily acquire raw milk by purchasing shares in producing cows at Mr. Schmidt’s farm and a few others in the province.

In dismissing charges alleging that Mr. Schmidt was breaking the Ontario Milk Act and the Health Protection and Promotion Act, JP Paul Kowarsky simply found that the laws as they stand don’t ban cow-sharing.

The decision clearly leaves the provincial government with several choices, and in a knee-jerk reaction last Friday, the Toronto Star published an editorial simply urging the government to appeal the ruling.

The editorialist could not have given any serious thought to the potential ramifications of the government making that choice.

One obvious one would be a long period of uncertainty, as the complex legal issues wended their way through the courts, potentially leading to a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Another would be a decision by other Ontario dairy farmers to get on the Schmidt bandwagon, with thousands of Ontarians signing up in the belief the raw milk is just another form of pesticide free organic food.

But in the absence of any regulation, another potential consequence would be serious illness and even death from raw milk produced in unsanitary conditions.

A second choice the government might make would be simply to change the existing laws to outlaw the cowsharing. But that would carry with it the risk that Mr. Schmidt and others would devise some other means of meeting a fairly obvious consumer demand.

Vastly preferable would be a third choice: careful regulation.

That option could involve simply adopting legislation already found in California, Washington and several other U.S. states that permits the sale of raw milk by licensed producers and retailers who are subject to tough regulation.

Although there’s a mountain of evidence that pasteurization has made milk a much safer commodity, supporters of raw milk contend that it has better flavour and provides health benefits, among them improvements in the body’s immune system resulting from exposure to low levels of pathogens.

To us, it’s both passing strange and wholly unacceptable that raw milk sales should be banned altogether at a time when tobacco products known to cause cancer and other illnesses can be sold, legally consumed by young adults and used by vast numbers of teenagers.

Let’s face it, conditions have changed a lot since pasteurized milk was introduced in the late 19th Century and the current laws requiring it were enacted in Ontario.

In today’s circumstances it should be possible to devise a regulatory scheme under which licensed dairy farmers would have to adhere to the strictest conceivable sanitation rules, including daily provision of samples of their raw milk, and suspension of their licences whenever testing shows bacterial counts above the amounts allowable.

The regulation should also extend to packaging and transportation of the milk, and labeling of the product both as to its potential risks and the need for immediate refrigeration and speedy consumption.

Obviously, such tough regulation would be costly, and the costs would have to be passed on to the consumer, making raw milk a lot more expensive than the pasteurized alternative.

However, since that’s already the case with most, if not all, products carrying the “organic” label, there’s little doubt that a significant minority of supermarket shoppers would opt for the raw alternative.

One of the most interesting aspects of the litigation before and since the Ministry of Natural Resources raid on the Schmidt farm in 2006 is the fact there hasn’t been a shred of evidence of any ill effects from consuming the farm’s products, no doubt thanks to Mr. Schmidt’s self-regulation. (The JP noted that public health tests of the Schmidt milk products showed “no disease,” and the Crown had produced no evidence of anyone getting sick.)

So why not just regulate, and give consumers one more choice?


Cow sharers see ruling as raw milk precedent

Members of a controversial Lower Mainland raw milk co-op hope an Ontario court ruling will force B.C. health officials to stop trying to stamp out their use of unpasteurized dairy products.

The Fraser Health Authority is in B.C. Supreme Court next Monday seeking a court injunction to block the packaging and distribution of raw milk and other products from Home On The Range dairy in Chilliwack to its 400 members around the region.

It's illegal to sell unpasteurized milk in B.C., but not for farmers to drink it, so the cow-sharing scheme skirts the law by charging not for the milk but for shares in the operation, which give members a flow of milky dividends.

The Ontario ruling found a similar cow-share model where nobody pays directly for the milk does not violate health regulations there.

Gordon Watson, a Home On The Range member who is defending the operation in court, said it's a precedent that leaves Fraser Health with no jurisdiction to seek an injunction.

"What it does is it protects our cow share from the health authorities," he said.

Because the ruling accepts the co-op structure as creating a wall between the general public and those who want to be members, Watson said, the Public Health Act does not apply to the cow share.

"The rules for public health don't apply to that private situation."

Fraser Health spokesperson Joan Marshall said the authority is studying the Ontario ruling but the injunction application is going forward.

The Ontario ruling has fanned hopes among raw milk enthusiasts there that more cow shares could be set up and those now operating underground could do so more openly.

Home On The Range has continued distributing milk despite what provincial health officials say were extremely high fecal coliform counts in some samples of raw milk seized and tested in December.

The investigation was triggered by one case of sickness in a young girl from the Fraser Valley, who has since recovered.

Fraser Health had previously issued orders to the dairy to cease distributing to members. Several commercial outlets have stopped serving as distribution points.

Those who drink unpasteurized milk believe it conveys probiotic and other health benefits, but officials maintain any benefits are far outweighed by the elevated risks of bacterial infection.

Watson states in his legal filing that cow share members believe "that fresh whole unadulterated raw milk is necessary for our health."

Raw milk can be sold in the majority of U.S. states, including Washington, and can legally be brought into B.C.

He also contends enforcement here is an attempt to block outside competition for milk producers in the mainstream "dairy cartel."

"Consumers are now farming co-operatively after losing confidence in what comes out of factory farms," his filing said, adding government enforcement against cow shares is effectively imposing communism by bolstering a "Stalinist model of a centrally dictated food system."

Published: January 27, 2010 1:00 PM
Updated: January 27, 2010 1:01 PM


Have you ever had a glass of real milk?   Are you sure about that?

The milk you buy in your local grocery store is either pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized milk harvested from conventional cows kept in confinement. By confinement, I mean you have to wear a space suit to get near them.

These cows are not natural cows. They are highly-engineered freaks of nature. As recently as a century ago, a cow produced an average of two or three gallons of milk per day. Today’s conventional industrial dairy cow gives up to three or four times as much milk!

What’s wrong with that, you ask. If science has helped us produce more milk per cow, then that means we can give more people milk for less money. That’s a good thing, right?

Wrong. The increased milk yeild comes at a cost. Not only does the milk produced from these cows contain an unnatural and disarmingly high amount of growth hormones (which in some studies have been linked to excessive tumor growth and cancer), but the cow herself is weak and disease-prone. Her milk is always laden with pus, and she is fed a steady stream of antibiotics to keep the sustained mastitis from overwhelming her system and killing her.

Did you catch that? The milk you buy at the supermarket is riddled with antibiotics, growth hormones, and pus.

Pus. Just the sound of that word gives me the willies.

The milk is so unhealthy for you, in fact, that milk manufacturers have to pasteurize it or ultra-pasteurize it to make it “safe” for human consumption.

What is pasteurization? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Pasteurization is a quick heat process designed to kill unpleasant bacteria and protect us against infectious diseases. But, it is no guarantee of cleanliness. Every single outbreak of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades have occurred in pasteurized milk — milk that’s supposed to be “cleaned.”

Besides not being the fail-proof protector that we’re told it is, pasteurization does a lot to milk to rob it of its value to us as a source of good nutrition. From Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions (available in our bookstore), we read this succinct summary:

Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%; loss of other water-soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%; the Wulzen or anti-stiffness factor is totally destroyed as is vitamin B12, needed for healthy blood and a properly functioning nervous system. Pasteurization reduces the availability of milks mineral components, such as calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur, as well as many trace minerals. There is some evidence that pasteurization alters lactose, making it more readily absorbable. This, and the fact that pasteurized milk puts an unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, may explain why milk consumption in civilized societies has been linked with diabetes.

Last but not least, pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk — in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes.  These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer from osteoporosis. Lipase in raw milk helps the body digest and utilize butterfat.

After pasteurization, chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D2 or D3 is added — the former is toxic and his been linked to heart disease while the latter is difficult to absorb. The final indignity is homogenization, which has also been linked to heart disease.

Powdered skim milk is added to the most popular varieties of commercial milk — one percent and two percent milk. Commercial dehydration methods oxidize cholesterol in powdered milk, rendering it harmful to the arteries. High temperature drying also creates large quantities of cross-linked proteins and nitrate compounds, which are potent carcinogens, as well as free glutamic acid, which is toxic to the nervous system.

Modern pasteurized milk, devoid of its enzyme content, puts an enormous strain on the body’s digestive mechanism. In the elderly, and those with milk intolerance or inherited weaknesses of digestion, this milk passes through not fully digested and can build up around the tiny villi of the small intestine, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients and promoting the uptake of toxic substances. The result is allergies, chronic fatigue and a host of degenerative diseases.

Raw milk to the rescue!

Raw milk got a bad reputation in the 20’s when poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods led to increased epidemics of TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases. That’s when pasteurization became the law of the land.

But today’s ultra-clean methods of production, stainless steel tanks, milking machines, and refrigerated trucks keep milk clean.

I still wouldn’t want to drink raw milk that was full of pus, antibiotics, and growth hormones. But raw milk from healthy, pastured cows eating their natural diet of green grass has a lot of advantages. It contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria that protect against pathogens. It contains milk’s natural and full array of vitamins and minerals. It contains the enzymes your body uses to help digest it, easing your pancreatic load and preventing degenerative diseases. And, it comes rich with butter fat — good wholesome cream that I use to make fresh butter & cheese. YUM.

Compare this to the denatured, pasteurized, antibiotic-laden, growth-hormone riddled, pus-filled milk that comes from industrial cows fed a conventional diet of grains, soy, bakery waste, and pellets containing chicken manure, and the choice is clear.

I drink raw milk. Correction, I drink real milk — natural, God-given milk


Raw deal. . .or are they just milking the system?

Alice Jongerden never planned on running a dairy farm and she never planned on doing anything that, if not illegal, comes pretty close.

Jongerden and her husband home-school their children and they simply wanted to buy raw milk for the family. She couldn't find a farmer in Chilliwack who would sell her the unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk, because it's illegal.

So they bought a cow and quickly realized they had more milk than they could consume.

Alice Jongerden has received a cease and desist order from Fraser Health over the production of raw milk from these cows in Chilliwack.

Alice Jongerden has received a cease and desist order from Fraser Health over the production of raw milk from these cows in Chilliwack.

Paul J. Henderson/Times

"We didn't want to throw it away, we want to share this with other families so we called Gordon [Watson] and he said he knew some people," she said.

Watson is a raw milk advocate who runs a website devoted to the health benefits of what he and others call "real milk."

A year and a half later and Home on the Range Raw Milk Dairy has approximately 250 members who own shares in the 16 cows. These cow owners who come from Abbotsford, Langley, Vancouver and as far away as Vancouver Island, get dividends paid to them in the form of milk.

"We have people that ride two hours on the bus to get one quart of milk," Jongerden said.

It may sound like a legal loophole to the law of selling milk and that may form part of the legal battle currently underway that may shut them down.

"We all have rights to our property," Jongerden said. "The premise is if we own the cows then we can drink the milk. So people have purchased a cow and since they can't care for it, that's what we do."

Just this month an Ontario farmer, Michael Schmidt, was found guilty of contempt of court for defying a court order to stop selling and distributing raw milk. Watson and Jongerden emphasize that Schmidt was not found guilty of selling raw milk, but of contempt of court. But Schmidt had the same method of selling shares, so the local raw milk enthusiasts may have a tough legal battle on their hands.

When contacted by the Times, a spokesperson for Fraser Health, who gave the cease and desist order, declined to comment because the matter is currently before the courts.

Out in a field on rented property in Chilliwack, Jongerden visits with the 16 cows and one calf. She talks to the animals the way one might talk to pets and that's because the dairy has a philosophy that goes beyond the production of raw milk.

"People want it the way it used to be," she says. "This is a whole thing they are supporting."

The issue around raw milk is that it is not pasteurized to kill germs and bacteria. The B.C. Ministry of Health's website says that while many people who grew up on farms and who drank raw milk never got sick, "public health authorities know of many cases of people who became sick from drinking raw milk."

It continues: "Mandatory pasteurization of milk has eliminated large outbreaks of milk borne disease in Canada. However outbreaks still occur and remind us of the hazards of drinking raw milk."

But people who believe that raw milk is not only harmless, but has health benefits tend to believe it with a zeal that is hard to match. The natural health philosophy, debated by government and mainstream dairy operations, is that we have, in a way, become too clean. Humans not exposed to the bacteria that occur in raw milk become more susceptible to disease

Paul J. Henderson, The Times, Chilliwack British Columbia

Published: Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Raw Milk Enthusiasts want the right to choose = Epoch Times
 Almost two years have passed since 20 inspectors from Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and several armed police officers stormed Michael Schmidt’s farm and confiscated his equipment, a computer and documents.

Schmidt’s crime?    He was distributing milk — raw milk, that is, the kind that has been banned for direct sale in Canada. 

But while selling raw milk is illegal, it is legal to drink it if you own the cow.    So Schmidt and other farmers like him got around the ban by selling shares in the animals, so-called cow-shares.

This way, the shareholders own the cows and can legally obtain raw milk while the farmer looks after the herd. However, Schmidt stands accused of selling and distributing unpasteurized milk. The case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2009. 

Shortly after the raid on Schmidt’s farm, the Ontario Ministry of Health issued a warning of the health risks posed by untreated milk, which range from mild illness to death.

Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to becoming seriously ill, the Ministry said, because bacteria found in raw milk include E.coli 0157, the strain found in the water that caused the deadly outbreak in Walkerton in 2000. 

Despite these warnings, there is a burgeoning black market for unpasteurized milk in Canada, and Schmidt’s case has raised awareness of the ongoing raw milk saga across the country.

Advocates of raw milk question the logic of keeping the sale of it illegal when it is widely sold in many European countries and in 28 U.S. states. They argue that they should have the freedom to choose. 

“We can just walk right over the border to Washington and buy it and bring it back and the Canadian government allows for that. We can go and get it and consume it here but we just can’t produce it here, so there’s something wrong with that,” says Alice Jongerdan.

Jongerdan runs Home On The Range, a cooperative dairy farm in Chilliwack, British Columbia with her husband and five children. With its balance of protein, fats, calcium and enzymes, Jongerdan says raw milk is “a perfect food.”

While pasteurization rapidly heats the milk in order to kill the bad bacteria, proponents of raw milk claim the process also destroys the availability of calcium as well as enzymes and other qualities that give raw milk its rich taste and high nutritional value.

Many credit raw milk with alleviating conditions such as asthma, insomnia, Crohn’s disease and allergies. Jongerdan says she knows of people who are lactose intolerant who can drink raw milk without any ill effects.

A 2006 British study found that drinking just a few glasses of raw milk a week reduced a child’s chances of developing eczema by close to 40 per cent and hay fever by 10 per cent.

However, an August news release from Health Canada warned that “any possible benefits are far outweighed by the serious risk of illness from drinking raw milk.”

Home on the Range has 12 Jersey and Gurensey cows which produce milk for about 200 households from Chilliwack to Vancouver. Jongerdan, who grew up on a dairy farm in Ontario, also supplies yoghurt, butter, butter oil, cream cheese and colostrums (milk produced just before and after giving birth). 

Cow shareholder Gordon Watson
Cow shareholder Gordon Watson with raw milk from Home On The Range dairy farm
She says since she’s been operating the cow-share, nobody has become sick.

“We’ve put thousands of gallons of milk out over the last year and we’ve not had anybody ever get sick from it and that was before we even tested the cows. We do everything we can to make it clean and follow the rules.”

But she received an order to cease distributing raw milk for human consumption after an inspection of the farm in July by a health officer.  Raw milk is classed as a health hazard under B.C.’s Health Act.

Gordon Watson, one of Jongerdan’s shareholders, is challenging the order in the B.C. Supreme Court.   He says he has been trying for years “to get the government to agree that raw milk should be legal.”

The point is raw milk dairying can be done safely. And I’ve been trying to get the government of BC to acknowledge that.”

Watson points out that there are many other foods legally for sale that can make people ill, a case in point being the current deli-meat Listeria outbreak which has so far killed 12 people with another seven deaths under investigation.

This society puts up with all sorts of risks for food. There’s a whole list, and the first one on the list is sushi, then there’s raw sprouts, raw fruit juices…. There’s all sorts of things that are sold and people understand there is a risk in eating these things and people assume that risk.”

While the sale of raw milk is banned in Australia, Ireland and Scotland, it has always been legal in England. The royal family, it is said, has used “green top” milk for 500 years. In some European countries it is sold from vending machines at farms and on country roadsides.

In the U.S., raw milk is sold — with a warning label — in retail stores in California, Washington, South Carolina, Arizona and Connecticut. In states where it is illegal to sell it there are cow-share programs which are “holding up quite well legally,” says Sally Fallon, founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Based in Washington, D.C., the foundation has been lobbying for 10 years for “universal access to clean raw milk to those people who choose to use it,” she says.

Raw milk got a bad name when, around the turn of the last century, cows started being fed brewery swill. The swill made the milk watery so chalk was added to improve the look. This, along with the fact that the milk was produced in dirty conditions, resulted in high infant mortality rates.

The advent of refrigeration and pasteurization along with cleaner production methods changed all that.

However, pasteurization doesn’t make milk 100 per cent safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1960 and 2000 in the U.S. there were at least 12 outbreaks associated with pasteurized milk. In 1985, a type of pasteurized cheese sold in California killed more than three dozen people.

The CDC also estimates that since 1998, 800 people have become sick from drinking unpasteurized milk or from eating raw cheese. However, Fallon maintains that if some basic rules are observed, the risks from raw milk are minimal.

“There are risks as there are with any food, and the number one way to control those risks is to make sure the cows are eating green grass and hay and not in confinement. We do not recommend raw milk from confinement dairies.”

In December 2006, soon after the raid on Michael Schmidt’s farm, MPP Bill Murdoch introduced a private member's resolution calling for an all-party task force to examine the issues surrounding the sale of unpasteurized milk.

He says today that since many people are obviously drinking raw milk, he wanted to see if it could be determined once and for all whether the product is safe. But the bill was defeated.

“I honestly think we should look at it because there’s two sides here and I think we should have real experts look at it to see whether nowadays it’s as bad as it was 50 years ago. Milking has changed so much in the last 50 years that maybe its okay now,” Murdoch says.

But that may not happen any time soon, at least in Ontario.

“It’s certainly something we’re always looking at but I don’t anticipate any changes in the current system as it is now,” says Mark Nesbitt, spokesperson for the Ontario Health Department.

South of the border, however, Fallon predicts a different scenario.

“It’s changing as we speak. We have some rough waters ahead but I’m confident that within 20 years there will actually not be any pasteurized milk left, it’ll all be raw.”

By Joan Delaney
Epoch Times Victoria Staff
Sep 10, 2008

FREE RANGE: Charmaine Jongerden and Lucas Davis with Maple, a Jersey cow at Home On The Range raw milk dairy farm in Chilliwack, British Columbia. (Tyler Davis)


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