By Sally Fallon Morell
A public hearing held on May 19, 2004, in Denver Colorado resulted in a tremendous victory for the availability of raw milk against all the odds—not only in Colorado but throughout the US. The dairy industry was watching as hundreds of citizens testified before the Colorado Board of Health (BOH). New regulations by the BOH would have shut down the nation’s original cow-share program operated by David Lynch and Guidestone Farm. This program had operated with Colorado state blessings and without incident for many years. But as interest in raw milk increased and other farmers expressed interest in operating cow-share programs, the Board of Health decided that raw milk was dangerous and had to go.
A strong committee of volunteers, including several WAPF chapter leaders and guided by the admirable legal advice of attorney James Dean prepared for the event. Dean describes the day’s testimony as smoothly connected. Although those presenting testimony were randomly called, their storIes flowed together as if carefully planned. Many parents described the lifesaving benefits of raw milk for their children.
One of the strongest witnesses was Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures who traveled to Colorado to describe the success of retail raw milk sales in California and noted that no pathogen had ever been found in his raw milk.
Mark Anderson, the area Standard Process representative, focused his testimony on pasteurized milk as an adulterated food. He pointed out that the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 (revised 1/20/99) defines any food as adulterated (1) if any valuable constituent has been in whole or in part omitted or abstracted therefrom; or (2) if any substance has been substituted wholly or in part therefore; or (3) if damage or inferiority has been concealed in any manner.
He then enumerated all the ways that commercial pasteurized milk is adulterated, including enzymes destroyed (and their functions), protein alterations, homogenization and its effect, synthetic vitamin fortification, and naturally occurring vitamin destruction.
Anderson finished by asking the Board whether they really wanted to be in the position of mandating that the natural milk of 500 billion mammals on earth must be consumed by humans in only adulterated form and may not be consumed without adulteration. Fortunately, the word “adulteration” is a universally accepted term for vile corruption, and the FDA has used the word in a way that strikes discord in the human psyche. He observed that members of the board reacted visibly every time he stressed the “adulteration” of milk.
The panel voted 5-3 to allow cow-share programs to continue. Most of the women on the committee changed their minds during the testimony, while the men remained staunchly behind “sound science.” Visibly annoyed with the results, the chairman called the victory “temporary.” He said that cow-share programs were just another word for sales and that sale of raw milk was illegal in Colorado. He suggested that raw milk supporters get legislation passed that would officially legalize cow-share programs and/or on-farm sales of raw milk.
A committee has been formed to do just that. James Dean will guide current owners of current cow-share programs in the state along with interested volunteers in drafting legislation and guiding it to a vote. Several state legislators have expressed interest in sponsoring such a bill.
Meanwhile there are legal bills to be paid. Guidestone Farm has assessed a surcharge to each cow-share owner in order to pay a retainer of $1000 per month to the law firm of Dean and Stern, and several generous Colorado citizens have made substantial donations. But although Mr. Dean has charged only half his usual rate, legal bills remain—and more will accrue during the next phase. What happens in Colorado affects all of us. If you would like to help out with legal bills, please send a contribution to A Campaign for Real Milk, care of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Your contribution is fully tax-deductible and 100 percent of it will go to pay legal bills.
This article appeared in the Summer 2004 edition of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.