A Fight for Raw Milk

A fight for Raw Milk

The future of Raw Milk in California in jeopardy

The governor of California and his henchmen have just legislated away our right to drink raw milk. Of course they didn’t ban it outright: that would have been noticed by the citizens of the state of California and protested against. No, they chose to pull a sneaking maneuver and inserted eight little words that will have the same effect.

These eight words will prevent California dairies from selling raw milk:

"or more than ten coliform bacteria per milliliter"

Those eight words were added to dairy legislation in California on October 8, 2007.

Assembly Bill #1735 (AB 1735) was signed by the Governor and becomes law on January 1st, 2008. Contained in this law are new standards for raw milk. These new standards require 10 coliform bacteria per ml or less. This standard does not increase the safety of raw milk and it will make the production of organic raw milk in California nearly impossible. Under the tried and true old standards that have been in existence for forty years or more, coliforms could be 50 or 500. It did not matter.

A press conference was held at the Fresno Farmer’s Market in Fresno on Saturday, October 27 at 11 a.m. in protest of the new law. This post will be updated as more details become available.

You might be thinking, "I don’t drink raw milk. Why should I care?" While many of us who grew up drinking raw milk and extol the benefits of drinking a healthy natural beverage. This isn’t merely about the availability of milk. This issue extends far beyond the obvious in that our government is supposed to be transparent. Ours is supposed to function as a government for and by the people. When our public officials use underhanded, sneaky and unethical tactics to achieve their goals, we all pay the price.

The EPA reports that even testing for fecal coliforms (a subset of coliform bacteria) is a "a poor indicator of the risk of digestive system illness." The EPA goes on to advise that the only way to determine whether food is actually sanitary is to test for those specific coliforms that can be a sign of something harmful such as E. coli and enterococci. Neglecting to test for those specific harmful coliforms, but banning all coliforms outright is equivalent to forcing Ford to recall every vehicle they ever made when only a single model year of one product is found to have a flaw. Even then, the previous law set the limit of coliforms at 750 coliforms per mL. A legal reduction of over 98% over the course of less than 3 months cannot be interpreted as anything other than a direct attack on raw milk providers, particularly when far more than 90% of coliform bacteria are not harmful.

This is not the first-time I’ve personally witnessed the blatant disregard for public opinion and openness required for our government to function properly by those in Sacramento. For instance, it’s not an uncommon practice for a legislator to reuse a bill number that is no longer active – after the date legally prescribed under California law. There is a reason legislation isn’t allowed to be introduced after a certain date, but that doesn’t stop our legislative branch from manipulating the rules to their advantage.

How long will Californians stand by and allow our elected officials to skirt the laws that guarantee the rest of us a spot at the table? If you are sick and tired of being railroaded and regulated to death, now is your opportunity to let your voice be heard in Sacramento. Contact your legislators and let them know what you think about the way they are conducting our business.

More Information:

Pet Peeve of the day

I’ve been watching the news (particularly CNN, due to a lack of choices) these past few weeks, something that requires a great deal of patience for me. It amazes me that when Clinton was in office, everyone complained about the ‘liberal’ media, today talk show hosts are ranting about ‘conservative’ media bias.

Excuse me but I don’t see any difference. The shoddy reporting hasn’t changed one iota.

When I turn on the news I’d like to hear the facts of the matter. I can formulate my own opinions, thank you. What passes as news these days is a farse. While media elite jockey for position, the news is getting lost in the shuffle. It’s all about hype and glitze. Everyone has their own agenda.

A case in point…

Liberia Civil War

I’ve been trying to follow the Liberia story but it’s impossible to form a reasoned opinion. Supporting information simply isn’t being provided by CNN. We know they are in the middle of a civil war but we aren’t told why. What caused it? Why are the citizens in upheaval? We know that someone there has requested our assistance, what we are not told is who is requesting it?

Just why is the current leader being asked to step-down? Is he such a terrible leader that he must be replaced? Why would our government seek his removal? I have many more questions than answers on this one.

If you have ever watched CNN for a day or two, you soon come to realize they cycle the same news, over and over again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to provide some details? They seem to think, if it won’t fit in a 30 second spot, it’s not worth reporting. Perhaps American’s simply don’t care or is it that we have such short attention spans that longer segments will be ignored?

Kraft Food Modifications

We’ve been told that in a proactive move probably related to other law suits against Kraft. They will be making some changes.

Am I the only person to realize that if Kraft decides to make portion sizes smaller, consumer prices will increase? The packaging costs will remain the same but more packages will be required. The media neglected to mention this fact.

In light of recent biotech initiatives regarding genetically engineered foods, could Kraft be on the verge of making drastic changes in their products? I’d hate to speculate, but a company doesn’t change recipes that have worked for them for 50 years without a very good reason. Call me skeptical.

When I called the company for details, they couldn’t tell me much more than CNN had. I was able to voice my opinions regarding their packaging decision. Where are all the environmentalists who love to speak out on these issues? They should be up in arms. If Kraft really wants to do something, they should consider making their packages resealable, so their product stays fresh longer. Have you attempted to open a bag of Oreo’s, without destroying the package? Who invents these things? It’s nearly impossible to keep Cookies from going stale.

Do you have a Pet Peeve? Email me with your priority peeve, we just might post it here for our readers.

Annette M. Hall

Additional information on Liberia:
Liberia’s History 1816 – 1980
MapZones: Liberia
Liberia Human Rights
PBS: The Lone Star – The Story of Liberia
Additional information on Kraft Foods:
Trans Fat and Oreo Cookies
Kraft Foods Announces Global Initiatives
Kraft Safe Food Campaign
Additional information on Genetically Engineered Foods:
Mothers for Natural Law
The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Food
Organic Consumers Association: News Links
Organic Consumers Association: Food Irradiation