Is the FDA Quietly Beginning a Campaign Against Raw Milk Cheese?

Maybe it is because it is considered “artisanal” or maybe because it is camouflaged in grocers’ coolers among other cheeses but, for whatever reason, unpasteurized cheeses have never produced quite the same uproar as has raw milk. That might change in the future – David Gumpert is watching the FDA and, on his blog The Complete Patient, he suggests that the FDA is quietly gathering information to begin a campaign against raw milk cheese.

Gumpert noticed that the FDA recently posted a notice on its website that it is seeking input to help it “minimize the impact of harmful bacteria in cheeses made from unpasteurized milk” and is particularly interested in “learning more about the standards and practices in use by…the growing artisanal cheese manufacturing community.”

While this might seem to be an innocent start of an ongoing dialogue between the FDA and the cheese community, Gumpert points out that the FDA does not currently have any evidence of illnesses caused by raw milk cheeses. Gumpert suspects that the FDA appears to be looking for data that will allow it to ultimately try to ban raw milk cheeses.

Read more here.

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Tennessee State Legislator Criticizes Department of Health for Going Overboard with Warnings Against Raw Milk

All across the United States, there is a constant battle between health officials who argue that unpasteurized milk is too dangerous for consumption and raw milk advocates who argue that it is no more risky than buying produce or raw meat which is left up to the consumer to prepare. Each side uses its own carefully selected words and distributes its own propaganda to try to convince others to see it their way.

On July 21, 2015 the Tennessee Department of Health released a news bulletin that said: “Consuming raw milk in the belief it’s healthier than pasteurized milk is a perilous risk that shakes off the possibility of a range of serious and occasionally fatal illnesses for the individuals and anyone they share it with. Our best choice for healthy, nutritious milk is the pasteurized kind. Even if one believes there are health benefits, an upside, is it worth gambling on the downside risk of a serious illness, especially in a child?”

Senator Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains, who sponsored 2009 legislation allowing cow sharing and has pushed for legalization of marketing for raw milk from these cow shares, believes the TN Department of Health is going overboard in their continuous warnings.

“Blue Bell ice cream killed three people, and it’s made with pasteurized milk,” he said. “Why aren’t they up in arms warning about that?”

Read more via Knox News here.

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Chinese Researchers Discover New Test to Detect Melamine in Milk & Infant Formula

In 2008, an estimated 300,000 infants in China became sick from milk powder formula, some with kidney damage that ultimately led to fatalities. It was later discovered that The Sanlu Group, one of the largest dairy producers in China, had tainted the milk with melamine, an additive that is used to give the appearance of higher protein content to conceal watered-down milk and is toxic to infants.

This was one of the largest food safety scandals in Chinese history, and serves as an example of how imperative it is to stay away from processed foods and instead build a diet with natural, wholesome foods.

Now Chinese scientists have discovered a new, faster, simpler and more reliable test that will detect melamine in milk – in hopes of making it more difficult for farmers and dairy producers to get away with this crime. After learning that gold nano-particles (AuNPs) bond easily with melamine, the researchers were able to devise a test using just AuNPs and a UV-Vis spectrophotometer to watch for a color change in the solution. This on-site test takes about 15 minutes from start to finish and can detect melamine levels as low as two parts per million.

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Canadian Government Wants Peaceful Farmers Imprisoned in Sheep Case

Raw milk celebrity farmer, Michael Schmidt, and Shepherdess Montana Jones, are threatened with potentially ten years in prison. According to its website, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is charging the farmers with a litany of violations related to thedisappearance of Jones’ herd of healthy, heritage breed Shropshire sheep in 2012.

The farmers’ crowdfunding page, set up by attorney and Canadian Constitution Foundation litigation director, Karen Selick, explains the details, including the need for immediate and continuing funding to keep these two peaceful, courageous farmers out of prison.

In addition to the CFIA ire over the disappearing sheep, various government agencies have attempted, for years, to prevent Michael Schmidt’s staunch support of raw milk and his continued persistence in supplying it to his community. According to Selick,

“Michael is a celebrity in the Real Food movement because of decades of activism aimed at legalizing the sale of raw milk. It’s reported that the CFIA desperately wants to put Michael in jail.”

This case could define the lives of two heroes of the real food movement. More importantly, it will define the movement: will outrageous and draconian criminal charges stick against peaceful farmers whose lives are dedicated to raising animals humanely? Or will the people come together in unity to stand with these farmers upon whom we all depend?

Please donate to the legal defense of Michael and Montana. And, once you have, as Karen requests, please ask others to do the same. Let us set a different precedent than the CFIA hopes to set and send the message that we value our dedicated farmers.

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Massachusetts Legislator Wants to Loosen Raw Milk Restrictions

Raw milk sales are currently legal in the state of Massachusetts via cow sharing. However, there are restrictions in place – requiring consumers to pick up the milk on the farm and mandated monthly milk testing, for example – that one Massachusetts legislator wants to loosen.

State Representative Smitty Pignatelli of Lenox is sponsoring a bill that would exempt small dairy farms from some of these rules, and he is hopeful that the bill will gain support and move forward in Fall 2015.

Massachusetts Animal Health Director Michael Cahill defends the guidelines that are in place, saying they are for the consumer’s benefit: on-site pickup allows consumers to see the health of the cows for themselves and monthly milk testing protects consumer health.

The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Massachusetts published a notice about the bill and is asking people to contact legislators in support of the new, less restrictive laws.

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