I’ve written about the safety of raw milk before in my Infoletter – Good Health Is Real Wealth, however, this issue came up again when I received an email from reader who read a blog post about Organic Pastures Dairy being sued over an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak in 2006. The blog post was written by William D. Marler, the lawyer who brought the litigation against Organic Pastures.
Since I had never heard of this particular lawsuit, I started doing some research. I got in contact with Bill Marler himself, Sally Fallon (head of the Weston A. Price Organization and realmilk.com) and the CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy – Mark McAfee. What emerged was probably a representational picture of the raw milk issue in North America.
On the one side of debate, we have raw milk supporters (of which I’m one) saying that raw milk is a healthy superfood and the risk of infection, although present, is much lower than that of pasteurized milk. Indeed, there have been far more E. coli 0157:H7 outbreaks from pasteurized dairy products, than raw dairy.
On the other side of the issue, we have some powerful players who are resolutely opposed to the legalization of raw milk and who use the FDA and other regulatory bodies to harass and raid small raw milk farmers – sometimes with FBI officers with machine guns (believe it or not!) storming their farms. Why?
I suspect it has to do with money. If the mass public started demanding raw milk, the current large factory-farm dairy suppliers would be in a real fix. How could they possibly get their diseased, antibiotic-laced, hormone-enhanced cows to produce healthy milk? They would lose a LOT of money and many would simply go bankrupt. These are pretty strong motivators to maintain the status quo.
In addition, as raw milk gains acceptance and usage increases, who is losing customers? Who is making less money? Again, it’s the large agribusiness dairy corporation.
Then we have Bill Marler (officially, William D. Marler) – a lawyer who specializes in foodborne illness litigation, who is blogging and publishing rather avidly against raw milk. What are his motivators? Is he an FDA-pawn (as some have accused), or is he primarily motivated by the desire to make money from a contentious issue? Or, has he been very negatively affected by his raw milk litigation cases, feeling that someone has to trumpet the dangers?
I had a lot of emails back and forth with Bill, with him sending me documents from the local State and CDC investigations of the Organic Pasture