The Washington Post Sheds Light on the Raw Milk Community in DC Area

The Washington Post recently published an article that asks how far fans of raw milk will go to get it. By profiling various raw milk drinkers in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, the article sheds light on a community of health-conscious consumers who value freedom of choice over possible persecution from their state governments.

While one family went so far as to move to a 66-acre farm and purchase 3 milking cows, other families have sought alternative ways to access farm-fresh, raw milk. Many Virginians participate in cow share programs, in which members pay to own a portion of the herd in order to gain access to the herd’s milk as owners. Maryland doesn’t allow cow share programs, and D.C. has no cows to be shared. Instead, many D.C. drinkers use buying clubs or “citizens associations” to hire a driver from Pennsylvania to deliver milk to their neighborhoods.

One D.C. raw milk drinker says that her initial departure “…from processed foods for her family didn’t take her much farther than the Whole Foods Market near her Adams Morgan home. Then, after committing to one food tenet, then more – local meat, local eggs, no genetically modified foods – raw milk became the ‘next step.’”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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UK’s Food Standards Agency Still Reviewing Raw Milk Guidelines: Input Needed

On February 3, 2014 the UK’s Food Standards Agency published proposals that would continue to allow farmers to sell raw milk directly to consumers at their farms, farmers markets and over the internet, but would prohibit wider retail sales, including vending machines at grocery stores.

The FSA began reviewing raw milk standards in October 2013, following a high profile prosecution against a dairy farmer who sold raw milk through a vending machine in Selfridges’ department stores. The FSA’s review covered England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (the sale of raw milk is banned in Scotland).

After four months of review, the FSA “…does not believe the regulations need changing, but businesses and those who enforce the rules need greater clarity on what is acceptable,” says Steve Wearne, Head of Policy at the FSA (Dairy Reporter). Dairy UK, the largest “Big Dairy” lobbying group, has called to outlaw all raw milk sales and there is some concern that the FSA’s final review will include an option to require that all milk is pasteurized before going on sale, therefore completely banning raw milk.

However, as part of the consultation, the FSA has invited members of the public to share their views on raw milk. Click here to share your support of raw milk.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Raw Milk Fears Kill Virginia Food Freedom Act

On January 20, 2014, the Virginia House of Representatives shut down the Virginia Food Freedom Act (HB135), which would have allowed for the sale of prepared foods by local farms and small producers directly to consumers, due in part to raw milk fears.

Many Virginians would prefer to buy premade items such as lasagnas, soups, and beef jerky from their neighbors instead of the preservative-laden items sold in the frozen aisle of their grocery store.

Currently, Virginia producers who want to sell processed foods out of their homes must have a state-inspected kitchen. To be approved by the state, producers must keep a separate refrigerator and cookware dedicated for food items sold and, unfortunately, very few small producers have the money, time or space to build out an industrial kitchen.

“These small producers don’t want to become the next Kraft Foods; they are simply looking to make enough money from a side business to supplement their income,” says Bernadette Barber, a Virginia farmer and a proponent of the Virginia Food Freedom Act.

Several residents and farmers testified in favor of the bill and the economic opportunity it affords, but it was ultimately shut down because of fears surrounding how the bill might allow for the sale of foods prepared with raw milk or raw meat. Such fears were spurred by exaggerated and at times ludicrous testimony from parties opposed to the bill, such as the veterinarian who said, “It would allow me, if I understand the bill correctly, to slaughter an animal as I choose, this morning for breakfast, stand on the side of the road and hang it from a loader bucket and ask if you’d like a piece.”

Although the bill was shut down, the subcommittee chairman did ask Travis Hill, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, to examine the problems that small producers are having entering the market. It is expected that a meeting will take place in April in Charlottesville; visit www.virginiafoodfreedom.org to stay up to date on information. Barber expects to introduce a revised version of the bill in 2015.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Raw Milk Bills Across the States: South Dakota, West Virginia, Maryland and Vermont

Rules and regulations pertaining to raw milk have been examined in several states over the past month. Here’s a roundup of what is happening across the country with raw milk bills:

South Dakota: New Bill Introduced to Clarify Raw Milk Rules

Senator Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City) has introduced a bill to clarify and improve raw milk regulations that were adopted in November 2013. Opponents of the November 2013 regulations expressed concern that they were so strict that it would be nearly impossible for local farms to sell raw milk, and that they could be enforced improperly, resulting in the shut down of some small dairy producers.

In early January, the Department of Agriculture manipulated the regulations to unjustly shut down a producer for the wrong species of listeria. Senator Jensen argues that this new bill goes to the heart of a “…food freedom issue. South Dakotans deserve to be able to produce and consume what they like without interference.”

West Virginia: Proposed Bills Would Allow Raw Milk Sales

West Virginia is one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to the sales of raw milk but two new bills, Senate Bill 478 and House Bill 4273, would legalize sales in one form or another. Senate Bill 478 would allow raw milk sales beginning in January 2015, making the Department of Agriculture responsible for establishing regulations that must be approved by the Legislature. House Bill 4273 would allow raw milk sales through herd sharing (also known as cow sharing or cow boarding), which is common practice in other states. Petition your support for the bills here.

Maryland: Cow Boarding Bill Awaiting Vote

On January 28, 2014, the Maryland House of Representatives held a hearing on bill HB 3, “Raw Milk/Consumer-Owned Livestock,” which would reintroduce cow boarding in the state. Cow boarding allows residents to buy shares in a cow, granting them access to that cow’s fresh milk, raw from the farm. The bill will now have to be voted out of committee before moving on to the full House.

Vermont: Rural Vermont Pushes for Ease of Raw Milk Regulations

Five years ago, Vermont began regulating raw milk production and sales across the state. Now, a group of local farmers and concerned citizens have banded together to push for easing some of these rules. Rural Vermont intends to bolster support for Bill S.70 which proposes allowing the sale of raw milk at farmers markets, making required animal health testing more “reasonable and affordable,” and changing the language of warning labels, among other goals.

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt Back in Court February 5, 2014

On February 5, 2014, Canadian dairy farmer Michael Schmidt will be back in court to appeal his 2011 conviction of charges stemming from the sale of raw milk. This February marks 20 years of his raw milk struggle.

On his blog, The Bovine, Schmidt notes that since he began his raw milk struggle against the Canadian government 20 years ago, there have been: 3 Popes in the Vatican; 3 U.S. presidents; 260,000 deaths directly related to smoking in Ontario alone; and 0 deaths due to raw milk.

“And raw milk still keeps flowing at Glencolton Farms, because the cows keep coming home in the morning and in the evening – the amazing reality of life,” he writes to his followers. “I have not counted the days in court, the amount of court papers and the money spent on defending our right for food of our choice. I just know that we WILL prevail.”

The Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation. Donate to help fund research into the benefits of nutrient dense foods.  http://www.westonaprice.org/lab

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