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Got Raw Milk? by grzbear ..... Milk Debate Forum

Date:   7/20/2010 9:15:17 AM ( 12 years ago ago)
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Small farmers and consumer advocates say unpasteurized milk bans are about protecting big industry.

In Massachusetts, a controversy over raw milk regulations has cast doubt on our seemingly basic right to unprocessed food. Government, public health and dairy industry officials want to restrict the sale and distribution of raw (unpasteurized) milk, citing grave safety concerns. But small dairy farmers, organic consumers’ advocates and raw milk drinkers say the issue isn’t safety—it’s control of the dairy market.

In January, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) proposed new regulations that would ban off-the-farm sale and distribution of raw milk. Prior to making the revamped regulations public, MDAR issued cease-and-desist orders to four milk-buying clubs that buy raw milk directly from small farmers and distribute it among members. MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares insists the clubs’ activities are illegal and that the new rules are “intended to be a clarification over what has always been the case.”

Soares says MDAR began revising raw milk protocol in an “effort to align regulations with those outlined by the Food and Drug Administration.” And according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the bottom line here is safety. But Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director of the Organic Consumers Association, describes Soares as an “[a]nti-raw milk crusader.” And David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution, says that regulation is “not about safety—it’s about protecting markets.”

“Conventional dairy doesn’t want raw milk tarnishing the image of pasteurized milk,” says Gumpert, who notes that while no one has died in Massachusetts because of raw milk, three people died in 2007 from Listeriosis from pasteurized milk. He adds that the “the [Center for Disease Control] and FDA have blind spots around raw milk. They don’t want to do research on it.”

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