Wasted resources on raw milk: Regulators not pursuing raw milk sales in Wisc.

There’s rules, and then there’s rules.

raw.milk.idahoAnd as long as no one gets sick, it doesn’t hit the chatting classes, and no goes to jail, they’re just rules (sorta).

I’ve always said, hypocrisy is parents’ disease.

Applies to regulators too, apparently.

An Australian prof-type who is traveling in the U.S. sent this picture from Idaho today, another state of many grappling with the ambition and angst of sick people.

Approaching summer, when city dwellers often seek fresh food from area farms, Wisconsin state regulators say they’re not aggressively pursuing cases against farmers who illegally sell raw, unpasteurized milk to the public, but the laws are still in place.

“Some people are simply willing to take their chances with the authorities…while others are quite deep in the underground. Certainly I will protect my farmer,” said Margo Redmond of Madison, a board member of the Wisconsin Raw Milk Association.

Wisconsin has been at the center of a national controversy over raw milk sales. That’s partly because of the trial of Loganville farmer Vernon Hershberger, who in 2013 was acquitted of three criminal charges that included operating an unlicensed retail store and operating a dairy farm and dairy processing facility without licenses.

Earlier this year, state officials suspended for 30 days the Grade-A milk production permit of a Durand dairy farm blamed for a raw-milk illness outbreak that sickened nearly 40 people.

But some raw milk consumers say state officials have been less aggressive since the Hershberger trial.

“That’s what we have been assuming and hoping for,” Redmond said.


Australia and raw milk: delusion continues

Controversial south-west farmer Swampy Marshnice handle — has opened up another front in his battle with bureaucracy, this time over his sale of raw unpasteurised milk to Melbourne farmers’ markets and health food shops.

swampy's.organic.farmMr Marsh is challenging Dairy Food Safety Victoria to take him to court over his refusal to comply with the new licence conditions that require raw milk to be treated in a manner that deters people from drinking it.

Mr Marsh said he was selling the raw milk for cosmetic use and it was not his concern if people drank it.

“Once they buy it, they can do what they like with it,” he said.

The new licence conditions, which require raw milk suppliers to change its taste, texture or aroma to deter human consumption, were introduced following the death of a three-year-old child on the Mornington Peninsula last December after consuming raw milk.

Four other children, aged between one and five, also became ill after drinking raw milk late last year.

But Mr Marsh claimed the child who died had terminal cancer and the death had “nothing to do with milk.”

Dr Rosemary Lester, who was the Victorian chief health officer at the time of the child’s death, said the child died from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which affects the kidneys and the bloodstream.

Mr Marsh said he sold about 1,000 litres of raw milk each week to Melbourne outlets, such as farmers’ markets and organic food groups.

The raw milk came from two milk producers in the south-west, he said.

It was a sideline to his sales in Melbourne of organic eggs and other grades of eggs, Mr Marsh said.

He had been selling the raw milk in Melbourne for about 20 years and “drinking it for about 65 years”, he said.

Terrible idea: UK kids meet animals at a raw milk farm

In the fall of 1998, I accompanied one of my four daughters on a kindergarten trip to the farm. After petting the animals and touring the crops – I questioned the fresh manure on the strawberries –we were assured that all the food produced was natural.

raw.milk.petting.zooWe then returned for unpasteurized apple cider. The host served the cider in a coffee urn, heated, so my concern about it being unpasteurized was abated. I asked: “Did you serve the cider heated because you heard about other outbreaks and were concerned about liability?” She responded, “No. The stuff starts to smell when it’s a few weeks old and heating removes the smell.”

But it’s all smiles at one Rimington farm as children enjoy the sunshine and all the farm has to offer.

Gazegill Farm in Rimington welcomes school groups and visitors to come to the farm and to have a look around.

Public health: It’s about resources

A shot rang out.

It was about 7:30 p.m. last night. I said to Amy that sounded like a gunshot, she said, nah, I grew up in Montana around guns, that wasn’t a gunshot.

revolver_webley_and_Scott_A_seriesIt was.

Ten minutes later we got an e-mail from the townhouse next door, saying a bullet had ripped through their walls.

We’ve lived beside these bogans for three years, but they’re getting worse.

The street was in lockdown, cops were negotiating with people inside the house, I was told to stay with Sorenne.

Talking to the two police officers this morning following up on the shooting – and this isn’t the U.S., they take such things seriously here – I said isn’t that house a drain on your resources. Don’t you have better things to do?


It’s the same with raw milk, anti-vaxxers and whatever else is out there: It’s a huge drain on public resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Italian child in hospital with Listeria from homemade cheese

A child of 18 months in Vigevano, in the province of Pavia, is hospitalized in serious condition in the pediatric ward of the Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia due to listeriosis, after eating a homemade cheese made with unpasteurized milk.

cheese_mites430x300Talking with the parents of the young patient, doctors have learned in recent days that the child ate a cheese that had been prepared at home. Once arrived at San Matteo, the child has undergone brain surgery to reduce complications of meningoencephalitis.

Public health has better things to do: Increased outbreaks associated with nonpasteurized milk

The number of US outbreaks caused by nonpasteurized milk increased from 30 during 2007-2009 to 51 during 2010-2012. Most outbreaks were caused by Campylobacter spp. (77%) and by nonpasteurized milk purchased from states in which nonpasteurized milk sale was legal (81%).

rw.milk.outbreaks.2Regulations to prevent distribution of nonpasteurized milk should be enforced.

Increased outbreaks associated with nonpasteurized milk, United States, 2007-2012.

Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2015 Jan;21(1):119-22. doi: 10.3201/eid2101.140447.

Mungai EA, Behravesh CB, Gould LH.


Australian farmer prosecuted for supplying unpasteurised milk under cow share scheme

Mark Tyler of South Australia says the raw milk distributed from his 50 or so cows at his Willunga Hill property to shareholders who paid $30 plus a fortnightly boarding fee, then picked up their milk regularly from the farm, is safe.

colbert.raw.milkA judge didn’t agree.

The Tylers could face a fine of up to $50,000 for breaching food regulations.

Raw milk sales are illegal and the South Australian Government argued the couple’s “cow share” arrangement constituted a sale under the Food Act.

“We’ve got over 2,000 people drinking it every day, really no one’s having an issue,” said Tyler.

“There’s virtually no proven cases of raw milk causing illness in people.”


There has been a push by legislators to crack down on raw milk sales across Australia since a three-year-old Victorian boy died last year.

This is happening: Baby formula made of raw milk in US

The Washington Post reports that three years ago, after giving birth to her daughter, Nancy Noe had to accept the disappointing fact that she wasn’t producing enough breast milk to feed her baby.

colbert.raw.milkAfter trying everything—like frequent pumping and help from a lactation consultant—she did what she considered the next best thing: she went in search of the most organic baby formula she could find. “Reading the ingredients on the commercial formulas hardly made me feel any better,” Noe said recently. “I had no idea what any of this stuff was. I wanted another option.”

Then that she came across a recipe for a make-at-home formula created by the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), whose stated mission is to restore nutrient-dense foods to the American diet. The formula is made using raw, or unpasteurized, cow’s milk and 13 additional ingredients—like homemade whey, lactose, gelatin, and healthy oils—designed to mimic the fat and nutrients in human breast milk.

Nancy was nervous to feed raw milk to her 7-week-old baby, and it initially didn’t go well. Her daughter experienced cheese-like vomiting, strange colored stool, and a lot of upset. “At first I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ ” Noe said. “But after two weeks, she began to thrive. She grew well, slept well, and loved her bottle. She’s now a very healthy 3-year-old.”

But the idea of a do-it-yourself formula—especially one made with raw milk— unsurprisingly has very vocal opponents.

“The idea that you would feed raw milk to an infant is completely insane,” says Katherine Lilleskov, a Brooklyn-based lactation consultant and RN. “With their weakened immune systems, infants are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria. It’s our job to keep our babies away from that stuff, not willingly feed it to them.

The WAPF formula was first developed nearly 20 years ago by Sally Fallon Morell, the foundation’s founding president, and nutritionist Mary Enig, early advocates for whole foods. Since then, Fallon estimates, nearly 20,000 families have used her recipe to feed their babies, and the number of parents experimenting with the formula doesn’t seem to show signs of abating. Fallon argues that the formula provides immune-stimulating, health-promoting, and antimicrobial components very similar to human breast milk, and hears often from parents happy to have found an alternative to commercial formula.