Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raw milk recall

I quit drinking milk when I was a small child.  I couldn't stand the taste of it anymore for some reason.  I tried several times to force myself to drink it because I knew I needed the calcium, but I just couldn't stomach it.  So for over 20 years of my life, my dairy consumption has been limited to cheese, ice cream, and other more palatable versions of milk products in limited amounts.  After I had my real food revelation, I began seeing things on the blogs I was reading about raw, organic milk from grass-fed cows.  After doing extensive research on the pros and cons (and risks and benefits) of raw organic versus pasteurized conventional dairy, browsing through the wealth of information on the Real Milk website, and reading about raw milk in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, I determined that I wanted to try this milk for my family.  The things I read made so much logical sense - a lot of the problems most people have with dairy products are a direct result of the damage done by pasteurization, homogenization, and the unnatural diet, hormones, and antibiotics fed to abnormal, selectively bred, modern-day dairy cows.  Milk was created by God to be consumed in its whole, pure, natural, raw state by healthy cows in healthy conditions fed a healthy diet.  I live in California - we are one of only 10 states in the country where you can go into a health food store and buy raw milk off the shelf.  There are only 2 licensed dairies in the entire state of California who are permitted to sell raw milk - Organic Pastures and Claravale Farm.  Organic Pastures supplies 95% of the demand for raw milk in the state of California, and it is the only brand available for purchase in my geographic region.  About 5 months ago, we bought our first half-gallon jug of Organic Pastures raw whole milk.  It is the sweetest, creamiest, most delicious milk I have ever tasted.  While our diet has changed dramatically over the past few months, and it's hard to pinpoint a single thing that has resulted in the most benefit, my husband and I have both experienced drastic detoxification, dramatically improved digestion, weight loss, and an overall improved sense of energy and well-being, and our consumption of raw dairy has certainly been a contributing factor.

Needless to say, I was deeply saddened this morning (I have been out of the loop for the past few days), when I checked my e-mail and received a message containing the news that Organic Pastures raw milk has been recalled until further notice.  Anne Marie at the Cheeseslave blog has put together an excellent post about what happened here.  In short, 5 children over an 8-week period earlier this year have been infected with E. coli O157:H7, and a common link has been that these 5 children have consumed Organic Pastures dairy products.  I quote from Organic Pastures' website:

"OPDC milk products are highly pathogen resistant. In more than 120 million servings, and more than eight years of intensive testing, not one single pathogen has been found or detected in our raw milk samples."

And to quote from Anne Marie's article on this issue at Cheeseslave:

"According to the California Department of Public Health, all products collected from the ill patients have been negative for E. Coli 0157:H7. The CDFA tests all Organic Pastures’ products every month for pathogens. Organic Pastures also uses a third- party for pathogen testing multiple times per week. All these tests have been negative."

My sympathies are with the families of these 5 children; however, clearly there has been no proof that these children were sickened by Organic Pastures dairy products.  There is a huge bias against raw milk in this country.  Sadly, what you don't hear about are all of the long-term health issues that are caused by our consumption of dirty, pasteurized milk (which, for the record, has had it's own share of recalls and E. coli contaminations despite all of the pasteurization).  I am fully aware of the risks involved with drinking raw milk and am also fully aware of what to look for in a dairy where I choose to buy that raw milk to ensure that I do not get sick.  I completely agree that conventional milk from dirty commercial indoor dairies absolutely must be pasteurized.  I believe that clean organic milk from the grass-fed cows at Organic Pastures is perfectly safe for me and my family to drink raw, and I should have the right to obtain it.

Even though my blog is obscure and in its infancy, I wanted to post about this issue and let you know what you can do to help.  This morning, I sent an e-mail to Steve Lyle at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, voicing my complaints and requesting that the government health bureaucracies respect my right to choose food that I feel is healthy for me and my family.  If you feel the same about this issue, I would urge you to contact him below:

Steve Lyle
Office of Public Affairs
(916) 654-0462

According to this article, it looks like Organic Pastures won't be back up and running possibly until after December 1.  This is truly a sad day for our family as we have no other option unless we drive 50 miles to purchase Claravale Farm milk between now and then.  The moment Organic Pastures milk becomes available again, I will be the first in line to stock up our fridge with this wholesome, nourishing food, and vote my dollars towards something I wholeheartedly believe in.

1 comment:

  1. That's too bad. I do think that people have an aversion to raw anything. I'm actually surprised that sushi ever made it to main stream.