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View Diary: The Illinois Department of Public Health vs. Illinois Raw Milk Farmers (267 comments)

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  •  Consumers . . . (0+ / 0-)

    can pasteurize their own milk. You just need to pour it in a pot and boil it.

    Instances of E.coli have been found in both pasteurized and raw milk. It's a matter of sanitation. Unfortunately, at the moment, I don't have access to all the information you desire, and - in all honesty - it's something that should be discussed in a separate article.

    Like I said, your concerns are valid. It seems your a stickler for details, and that's a good thing.

    I can tell you there's never been one instance of illness from milk obtained at my Aunt's farm. I can also tell you that farmers have been threatened and their rights have been violated by a draconian campaign spear-headed by The Federal Government. Watch the documentary "Farmageddon." Check out The Farmer-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

    A lot of people seem to think that the farmers are staunch Libertarians. Some of the farmers may sympathize with some Libertarian viewpoints - some may even be self-described Libertarians - but the vast majority just feel alienated by industrialized society. The vast majority of them are socially liberal and economically progressive. You might call them rural, salt-of-the-earth hippies. My Uncle is friends with all of the gurus and monks of Hindu and Buddhist temples in The Chicago Region. In general, I think a lot of people don't know who they're attacking.

    These farmers don't feel antipathy towards the concept of government in general. Many of them have Phds. Many of them were scientists, biologists or child-psychologists. They're intelligent people who believe that The Federal Government is pursuing an agenda regardless of the facts, regardless of the human benefits of the farmer's activities.

    They're political activists.

    •  I understand. (0+ / 0-)

      In no way did I mean to imply that your aunt's farm in particular had caused any health issues.  I would never make such a claim without having something to back it up, since it's a pretty serious charge.

      I do have to ask though, if any consumer can pasteurize their own milk, why is it, then, unreasonable to ask that small farms pasteurize all of their milk as well?

      I think the main disagreement you and I seem to have is that I'm of the opinion that requiring pasteurization serves a legitimate public health interest.

      I agree that some of the enforcement methods you mentioned are unreasonable.  And I would never defend that.

      I simply feel that the requirement, in and of itself, is perfectly reasonable.  

      •  The Farmers . . . (0+ / 0-)

        don't want to serve pasteurized milk. They're ethically and morally opposed to it. They believe their product is better for the consumer because it's nutrient-rich and stimulates local economies. They also don't want to farm on the scale of dairies that pasteurize. They believe it's inhumane to the animals, and - frankly - I think they nail that one right on the head.

        I asked a local at the coffeehouse about this. He's working on his doctorate in medicine and has a background in ecology and evolutionary biology. He told me, based on his experience, there's nothing wrong with raw milk. In fact, it's probably better for you. I even asked him a hypothetical question: if he were to diagnose a patient with food poisoning and - assuming he and I had never had that conversation - if the patient told him that she drinks raw milk, would he attribute the illness to it? And you know what he said? He would. I asked him, "Wouldn't that be an illogical, unscientific conclusion?" "Yes," he said. "I just never considered it." He confirmed that he would be inclined to blame raw milk out of ignorance. Now, I don't need you to believe this story, but I'm proud to note that he told me he would go on the record with it. I also showed him the majority of responses I was receiving to this article and his words were, "Yeah, that's strange," because even he detected bias and fallacy in the arguments that were levied upon me. It was reassuring to me because I started to wonder, "Am I fucking imagining this shit? Am I a 'conspiracy theorist' like these people are saying." People make some ballsy remarks when they don't have a face and a fist to confront.

        As an aside, my doctor friend  told me that it would be a simple matter to draft legislation that would provide regular inspections that are crafted for the raw milk industry. It would probably require a laboratory, office people, a couple scientists. Then I asked him, "Well, what would you say if I told you that the farmers would chomp at the bit to help draft sane and reasonable regulations alongside doctors and scientists, yet they've continually been denied?"

        He just shook his head.

        •  If you want to institute regular inspections, (0+ / 0-)

          then I'm all for that.  Absolutely, that would be a good idea.

          I just ended up getting the impression from your diary that you were of the opinion that any kind of regulation of the raw milk industry (though "industry" may be the wrong word to use here) only served to benefit companies like Monsanto.  That's what I took exception to, really.

          However, the more you and I discuss the issue, the more I see that I misinterpreted.  I apologize for that.

          •  I would also propose, (0+ / 0-)

            if the government wants to force the Grade A thing on them, that may be reasonable if the feds are willing to subsidize it so it's less cost prohibitive to the smaller farmers.

            •  The Bottom Line Is . . . (0+ / 0-)

              The Federal Government is trying to shut them down, and if one set of regulations doesn't work, The IDPH, The FDA or CDC tries another approach. I've already found one soon-to-be medical doctor with a handsome background in evolutionary biology and ecology who's willing to admit that there's bias in The Healthcare Industry. The issue was certainly never taught to him or any of his peers  in medical school. Why would it be? Only 3 to 5 percent of all the food in the USA are produced on farms today. Our food comes from companies with shareholders and CEOS that are owned by other companies, which are owned by even more companies. These farmers don't want to just offer people the choice to drink a different product, they want to offer people the choice to live a different lifestyle, and I think there are a lot of powerful, moneyed people who find that notion threatening.

              When my Aunt and Uncle revealed the extent of the problem to me, when my Aunt told me that she has raised my five cousins with the knowledge that they may be forced at gunpoint to surrender their property and livelihood, I was crying from anger. I was also surprised. Could this be happening in this country? No, I thought. It can't be. Why would this be happening in our country.

              But the fact remains that stranger things have happened in this country. The President has signed a document that states that he has the authority to kill you without due process. All he needs to do is wave a piece of 8X11 piece of paper in the air with your face on it and "TERRORIST" in big bold letters on the top of the page. When the government declares that it can secretly spy on everyone without cause, and that a person can file suit only if they have proof that the government is secretly spying on them. What sort of due process is that? When it comes to the government having the ability to spy on everyone without giving legal notice to specific individuals and also having the power to kill them - again without charge, hearing, or court process - where does that leave us? Or "The Environmental Protection Agency." Wow. There's a misnomer. Fracking is one of the most disgusting practices that's ever been conceived and there's plenty of evidence of its harmful effects, but those folks in Pennsylvania are also running into roadblocks. They can't even drink their tap water. They can use it as fuel to light their cigarettes, but they can't drink it or bathe in it.

              I was raised being told that we live in a democratic Republic. I just don't think that's true anymore. I think we've reached the point where there's no difference between government and corporation and there are real people everywhere who are suffering because of it, and the extent of the problem remains cut off from the public spotlight. Do you watch MSNBC? Tell me, when was the last time the mentioned fracking? Never. I've stopped watching it. I've stopped watching all of it.

              The farmers are reasonable people being put into an unreasonable situation and the deck is stacked against them. The only thing that will help them are their neighbors. The only thing that will help them is if more people know the extent of what's going on, and if the government gets their way, 100% of your food would come from corporations. I don't know about you, but that scares The Hell out of me. The idea that the actual knowledge of farming, actual farming will have been stripped from the collective knowledge of the people. If that were to happen, the commons will have suffered a deadly blow. That's our FOOD. Our fucking food, man. Can you imagine if no one in the country knew how to farm. Can you imagine if the only option you had was to buy food that is genetically engineered to synthesize it's own insecticidal proteins?

              The only reason they started to pasteurize in the first place is because the swill dairies were making people sick. Industrialization was making people sick, so they produced their own solution: pasteurization. If you're a history buff, look it up and get back to me. I'm serious, any information would help.

              The bottom line is that it's game time, and The American people need to wake up, or we, and all of our children, and all of our grandchildren will be majorly fucked.

              •  I don't disagree with most of what you said. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But the first couple paragraphs are in line with what you've said before here that's given me the impression that you're against ANY kind of regulation. Because it does make it sound like you're saying any kind of regulation is a plot to fuck over the small farmers.

                •  Right . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  In the article I did say,

                  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.
                  But I understand how the following statement could give you a different impression.
                  The Federal Government is trying to shut them down, and if one set of regulations doesn't work, The IDPH, The FDA or CDC tries another approach.
                  The fact remains that the raw milk industry is highly regulated. My Aunt cannot advertise, she cannot ship her product and she can't even service her product despite the fact that there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't seem like The Federal Government is concerned with the safe regulation of the milk. If they were, wouldn't they just draft legislation in collaboration with scientists, medical professionals and farmers? Would there not be peer-reviewed research?

                  Don't you think the restrictions placed upon the sale of marijuana have opened the doors to a New Jim Crow? The facts would certainly suggest it. The fact that there are private prisons that lobby congressman to continue locking people up for no reason is suspicious too, don't you think? The government doesn't seem to have a problem with that. There are open-air illegal drug markets in the streets of Austin, Chicago - the cars line up down the block - but The Feds are worried about my Aunt's raw milk farm? Six of them go to her farm and interrogate her and my Uncle? Don't they have better things to be doing? These aren't inspectors. These are armed agents. I'm sorry, I've got to say it. That sounds like a whole lot of bullshit to me. It seems like The Federal Government is concerned with stopping the farmers no matter what. That's the problem, but because it's our trusted democracy, our trusted bureaucracy that's making the decisions - and the bureaucrats have deemed themselves to be right - people are convinced that people like my Aunt, Uncle and I are conspiracy theorists.

                  The whole world has been turned inside-out. Everything's backwards, if you ask me.

                  •  To an extent (0+ / 0-)

                    I can understand the shipping thing, if we're talking about shipping it to people outside of her general area, just because of some of the concerns others have brought up here which seem valid.  

                    However, I agree that not being allowed to advertise seems like unnecessary regulation that really only serves to harm those who make those products.

                    There's really no reason for the government not to consult with raw dairy farmers at least to some extent on this stuff.  Especially since they're clearly willing to do so with Monsanto and the like.

                    I know our debate has gone on quite a bit past when you posted this diary, but I'm actually glad it has.  I feel I have a better understanding now of where you're coming from than I did before.

                    Having said that, I can't see myself ever trying raw milk, just because I do have a tendency to be a bit paranoid about such things.

                •  Also, (0+ / 0-)

                  * * * * *

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                  WATCH THIS

                  And READ THIS

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                •  And if anyone has any questions concerning . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  the sanitary requirements of a raw dairy farm, perhaps this will provide you with some insight.

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