Raw milk dairy club raided (again)

by Walter Olson on August 6, 2011

Knock three times at the cheese-easy: “A yearlong sting operation involving a multitude of state and federal agencies brought to justice Wednesday a dangerous ring of raw dairy enthusiasts in California.” [C.J. Ciamarella, Daily Caller; Reason.tv]

{ 19 comments }

1 Dan 08.06.11 at 12:22 am

Infuriating, but I don’t see this as an example of “overlawyering” except insofar as most politicians are nonpracticing lawyers. Also raw cheese is an essential food-group.

2 Doug 08.06.11 at 6:50 am

First, I think raw milk is just dangerous without any real benefits. But, look at all the manpower and time that went into busting this raw milk operation. I feel so much safer now. Totally overlawyered.

3 Bob Lipton 08.06.11 at 8:06 am

Doug, if you feel it’s bad, don’t do it.

Bob

4 Mannie 08.06.11 at 9:19 am

Bob Lipton 08.06.11 at 8:06 am

Doug, if you feel it’s bad, don’t do it.

That’s the issue. If everyone who drinks raw milk dies, well, they had it coming. I can see restricting its public sale, but a buyer’s club? Come on.

This is witch hunting. Where’s my copy of Malleus Milkefacarum?

5 leafs 08.06.11 at 10:38 am

Doug, you don’t happen to work for the FDA do you?

In light of these recent events, the government is now investigating any persons or business that put the people in danger by serving sushi, steak tar tar, or a rare steak.

Since there is potential to become sick from raw vegetables, those will also be banned.

The only governemt approved food is now soylent green.

6 John Rohan 08.06.11 at 11:29 am

I’ve asked this before, and I will again. If drinking raw milk is illegal, then shouldn’t breast feeding be banned?

7 Dan 08.06.11 at 11:31 am

Doug – Raw cheese, in particular, is only marginally more dangerous. It’s bacterialy infested by design. That’s what makes it cheese. It’s also much, much tastier. Real, unpasteurized fresh goat’s cheese is amazing, and worth the minuscule risk in the same way that rare steak and oysters are. The French eat their cheese this way, and the country isn’t rampant with food poisoning – it’s known for having some of the best cheese in the world.

But I guess you can stick to velveeta and flavorless burnt cowhide, if you insist. But seriously try it.

8 John Burgess 08.06.11 at 3:11 pm

@Dan: Actually, most cheese if fungally infected. Very few rely on bacteria for their development or characteristics.

Nor are all French cheeses made of raw milk.

You start running into problems when you’re using raw milk coming from unvaccinated herds, though…

9 John Burgess 08.06.11 at 3:18 pm

I correct myself: All cheeses do, indeed, start out with bacterial action. It’s the ones that interest me the most that have fungal activity later in the process.

10 Jonathan Bailey 08.06.11 at 5:35 pm

Doug, there are actually several beneifts to raw milk which are neutralized by pasteurization.
The Virtues of Raw Milk & Cream:
• Raw milk contains heat-sensitive folic acid and vitamins A, B6, and C.

• Raw milk contains important heat-sensitive enzymes: lactase to digest lactose; lipase to digest milk fats; phosphatase to absorb calcium, which, in turn, allows for the digestion of lactose.

• Raw milk has beneficial bacteria, including lactic acids, which live in the intestines, aid digestion, boost immunity, and eliminate dangerous bacteria.

• Raw cream contains a cortisonelike agent (the Wulzen factor), which combats arthritis, arteriosclerosis, and cataracts.

• Raw butter contains myristoleic acid, which fights pancreatic cancer and arthritis.

There is no reason raw milk can’t be as safe as pastuerized as long as the milking/bottling equipment is kept clean and the milk is refrigerated at the proper temperature. Pathogens can contaminate pastuerized milk just as easily at any point after the pasteruization process if any equipment it comes into contact with is contaminated or it is kept at too high a temperature. You should read Nina Planck’s excellent book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why if you’d like to find out more.

All that being said, if I am aware of the risk I am taking eating raw milk cheese or drinking raw milk, that is my informed choice to make as an adult and I really don’t need to be saved from myself. There’s also probably more to this incident than just safety as well. Think incumbents and cartels and dislike of competition.

11 LisaMarie 08.06.11 at 7:59 pm

Oh good grief. Raw milk is risky. There are several bacterial diseases you can get. Outbreaks have been caused by it. If people want to take those risks, I completely support their right to do so. But don’t go spreading woo about how raw milk is supposedly more healthy than pasteurized. If you want to take risks, go right ahead. But don’t spread misinformation about those risks to others. BTW, I’m a microbiologist.

12 Doug 08.06.11 at 9:02 pm

I feel strongly about drinking raw milk, so I don’t drink it. If you bothered to read my post, you would have seen the sarcasm directed at the amount of time and money used to prosecute this “crime”. I have no problem with others assuming the risk. As I said, this raid belongs on overlawyered. And, obviously, from what I wrote, you should have been able to figure out I do not work for the FDA.

13 leafs 08.07.11 at 10:10 am

Actually, I did. My comment about the FDA was what I feel is your over-reaction to say that raw milk is dangerous. The FDA site lists it as being such. While the risks are higher, and speaking as someone who did get seriously ill from steak tar tar, and two friends who were hospitalized following some bad sushi, I recognize that some foods are not perfectly safe, but not dangerous.

The rest of my post was comedy about government control and the lifestyle nazis who are currently waging war on we choose to eat, hence the reference to soylent green. I thought the reference to the film would have indicated my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek.:)

14 Doug 08.07.11 at 1:13 pm

geez, give the raw milk thing a rest. drink it up all you want. That is not the focus of the post. It is over reaction by the govt. I can think of several things that could have been done instead of raiding the place and destroying the businiss.

15 david 08.07.11 at 4:19 pm

Are you also aware that a kitchen garden is illegal according to the feds. Picked that up from “The Forgotten Man”. This highlights what our government has become. As a physician, I am perplexed as to why we have to see doctors to get permission to obtain a medication. It really does not make sense as the process does not stop or even reduce addiction and elict drug use. In fact, I suspect that it promotes the use of street drugs and certainly increases the cases of AIDS, hep C and other illness that are extremely costly. If someone wants to destroy their lives, let them. Currently doctors are being prosecuted for giving 60 tablets of pain medications after a surgery rather than 20 or 30.

I sense that a pressure cooker is building and will pop if we don’t stand down.

16 ps 08.08.11 at 2:30 am

david – unfortunately the current litigious climate of the USA allows people to choose to indulge in behaviour that incurs a certain amount of risk as well as to sue somebody (anybody) when things go wrong. The concept of personal responsibility takes a back seat when lawyers keep pushing the idea of a huge jackpot for our troubles.

17 Frank 08.08.11 at 8:54 am

“There is no reason raw milk can’t be as safe as pastuerized … I am aware of the risk I am taking eating raw milk cheese or drinking raw milk, ”

Isn’t this a contradiction? Or are you saying there is just as much risk in consuming pasteurized milk products?

Isn’t a practice either safe or risky?

18 Mark Biggar 08.08.11 at 11:18 am

This is a direct consequence of the movement toward government-only provided health care. If you buy into the whole government health care thing. then that implies that the government is justified in regulating everyone’s dietary habits (and many other lifestyle choices) in minute detail simply on a cost savings basis. Government health care is the biggest and sneakest excuse for government regulatory tyranny anybodies ever come up with.

19 mojo 08.08.11 at 11:46 am

Food safety laws are to protect the unsuspecting public, not to strong-arm people making risky decisions in full knowledge.

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