Let’s stand up for raw milk rights

Congratulations to Michael Schmidt – the Ontario farmer who’s due in a Newmarket court today for the verdict on charges he violated the provincial Milk Act by selling unpasteurized milk – for standing up to the anti-raw-milk lobbyists. I am very aware of what he and his supporters are up against, having founded the Association for Unpasteurised Milk Producers and Consumers in the United Kingdom back in 1989 to prevent the British government’s proposed ban of unpasteurized milk – and again in 1997. We won our battle on both occasions, maybe because of the “and Consumers” factor and much press support.

I ran a doorstep delivery service of our own Guernsey organic raw milk and cream, and this inspired me to write a leaflet with a tear-off strip briefly proclaiming the positive case for raw milk. The purchasers then signed the statement and sent the slip back to AUMPC. This was reproduced amongst 150 raw milk producers and their customers. We collected 15,000 signatures and delivered them personally to the Minister of Agriculture.

The scientific case was greatly helped by a very useful publication, The Case for Untreated Milk, by Barbara Pickard. The other element in our favour was that the Prince of Wales is a keen supporter of raw milk and family farms. He was able to support our campaign with some well-chosen words, and this greatly helped in promoting the issue in the press.

I still have hundreds of letters of support from raw milk enthusiasts. They are outstanding for their passion and determination to keep the raw milk tradition – and associated family farms – alive. I can see that the same enthusiasm is alive and well in Canada and the United States.

But we are up against the intractable obstinacy of technocrats and more than that: a deliberate attempt to destroy independent mixed family farms by corporate/government cartels only interested in exercising total control of the global food chain. I have no doubt we will win this battle – “people power” once harnessed to a strong grassroots cause will always come through the victor in the end. With this can come a genuine “renaissance” of food and farming: real food and real farming.

The positive values of responsibly produced raw milk greatly exceed the negative factors. In fact, there are virtually no negatives when real milk is coming from well- cared-for family farms whose owners understand and apply the simple laws of animal and land husbandry.

The cream layer of raw milk has enzymes that are of the highest value to our health – highly protective of our immune system. Which is probably why “the industry” insists that butter fat is a cholesterol raiser and thrombosis threat. In the 1980s, Japanese firms were approaching British raw milk producers and contracting owners of high butterfat herds to sell them the cream off their standing milk in order to develop special anti-cancer medical products with these high-enzyme derivatives. As we know, pasteurization kills off the subtle nutrients and vitamins that our bodies must have for proper protection.

It’s a sad reflection on the bewitching powers of the reductionist “dead food is safe food” lobby that our supermarket-obsessed culture can’t even access real food any more. But it’s a sure sign of hope for farmers’ markets and other alternative marketing ventures that are burgeoning in the U.K. and beyond. There are new raw milk producers registering their farms every month, and public interest in acquiring their products (milk, cheese and cream) is on the rise.

More and more people are waking up to the reality that most of what is called “food” is nothing more than a synthesized conglomeration of quasi-food materials to which are added various synthetic chemical components, including colours, preservatives and flavourings, with the now added-value factor of genetic modification and nanoparticles.

Standing up for our rights to produce and consume real food is probably the single most important act of independence and responsible citizenship we can make.

Julian Rose
January 2010