Overheard in a British Columbia Cheese Shop

Rumor has it that legislation to legalize raw milk is in the works in British Columbia. Though nothing is official yet, this tip comes to us from a customer of a high-end specialty cheese shop who heard from a reliable source with connections to the health department. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

Share

Milk a Terrorism Threat?

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed an “intentional adulteration rule” which requires that domestic and foreign food facilities address risks of contamination that could occur by intentional acts of terrorism.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has asked the FDA that dairy farms be exempted from the intentional adulteration rule, arguing that because pasteurized milk goes through so many processing steps it would be a poor choice for intentional adulteration.

“In considering whether activities that occur on dairy farms represent a high risk for intentional adulteration, FDA concluded fluid milk storage and loading in a dairy farm operation pose a significant vulnerability,” wrote Beth Briczinski, the Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition at the NMPF. “However, for a number of reasons, we disagree with the premise that on-farm milk destined for pasteurization is a high-risk food and, therefore, we maintain that activities on dairy farms should not be addressed through this rule.”

“Raw milk that is produced for direct human consumption and not destined for pasteurization should not be exempted,” NMPF noted.

NMPF also submitted comments to the FDA in conjunction with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) arguing that food defense and food safety should be regulated differently. The deadline for the FDA to issue its final ruling in response to these comments is May 31, 2016.

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

Share

Vermont Farmers Can Now Deliver Raw Milk at Farmers Markets

A Vermont law that went into effect on July 1, 2014 allows farmers to deliver raw milk to customers at farmers markets, making it more convenient for busy consumers who can’t always find the time to travel out to the farm.

The law does not allow the sales of raw milk at farmers markets; it only allows buyers to pick up the milk they have previously purchased. Furthermore, the law requires that potential customers first make one visit to the farm they’ll be buying from – after the first visit, the customer can purchase from the farm without going in-person.

Allowing delivery (and, hopefully in the future, sales) at farmers markets is an important opportunity for small farmers looking to expand into larger markets. One state dairy farmer expressed disappointment in the law, saying he had hoped it “…would allow him to pick up new customers at the farmers market, not just at his farm.” Still, he recognized the law as “…baby steps for making raw milk more easily accessible to consumers in Vermont.”

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

Share

Dairy Farmers of America Settle Lawsuit Alleging Conspiracy to Drive Down Raw Milk Prices

On July 1, 2014, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and its marketing branch Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) have settled a five-year lawsuit that alleged the organizations conspired with Dean Foods to manipulate raw milk prices in the northeast United States.

According to DairyReporter.com, “DFA was accused of ‘tying up access to milk bottling plants’ in the Northeast ‘through unlawful exclusive supply agreements.’ As a result, independent farmers in the region were forced to join DFA or market their raw milk through DMS.” This allowed DFA to drive down raw milk prices paid to dairy farmers, increasing profits for themselves and Dean Foods – between the two of them, they processed approximately 90% of bottled milk in the region at that time.

As part of the settlement, DFA and DMS are required to pay $50 million in cash compensation and a series of “meaningful non-monetary benefits” to the dairy farmers who brought this class action lawsuit, but are not required to admit any wrongdoing.

Although it is good news that the DFA and DMS are being held responsible for their actions, this lawsuit and its settlement without admission of wrongdoing is a sobering reminder of how Big Dairy is threatening independent dairy farmers across the country – regardless of whether they are trying to sell raw milk to bottling plants for pasteurization or direct to consumers. It’s also a reminder of the importance of supporting local farms by buying directly from them whenever possible.

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

Share

Raid on Co-Op Delivery Truck Leaves Michigan’s Approach to Raw Milk Unclear

On July 15, officials from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) stopped and searched a My Family Co-Op delivery truck, ultimately forcing the co-op to dump 248 gallons of raw milk and 1,200 organic eggs.

MDARD told the co-op’s director, Jenny Samuelson, that they were looking for raw dairy products other than milk. Raw milk sales in Michigan are banned except through herdshare arrangements like My Family Co-Op, which operates a herdshare with a local farm to provide raw milk, meat, eggs and honey to 600 local families. In March 2013, MDARD adopted a policy formally endorsing raw milk through herdshares but this policy excluded non-milk products.

The circumstances surrounding MDARD’s search and seizure of the My Family Co-Op truck are unclear and contradictory. Samuelson says the truck was pulled off the road for failure to have a food handler’s license that would allow her to sell the eggs and honey as a retailer – but Samuelson points out that she does not need a food license to deliver members’ products. MDARD placed some raw milk under seizure without offering explanation as to why in this statement:

“MDARD did place a seizure on illegally processed and distributed raw milk products that are not covered under a herdshare agreement. As part of our due diligence, some raw milk was placed under seizure as we work through our investigation regarding the illegal processing and distribution of raw milk products. My Family Co-Op herdshare members may still obtain milk directly from the farm while MDARD completes its investigation.”

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.  westonaprice.org/lab

Share