Miller Caves on Handing Over Member Purchase Records to USDA

millers-sign-img_7105-copyEaston is a pretty little town in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, on the border with New Jersey, with trendy restaurants and coffee houses.

But yesterday, it was the host to a not-so-pretty court hearing at the U.S. District Court on the matter of a contempt-of-court motion by the U.S. Justice Department against Pennsylvania farmer Amos Miller, in connection with disputed food club purchase records  It was a hearing at which the U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor, Paul Sullivan, pretty much got his way on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its demand for three months of food purchase records from Miller, which he had previously declined to provide.

The tenor of the hearing was set from its earliest moments Tuesday afternoon, when Miller’s lawyer, Joseph Macaluso, was introduced to the court, after months when Miller had represented himself before the court. Judge Edward Smith immediately expressed concern about whether Miller had had “an adequate opportunity” to update the lawyer about the case. Judge Smith was clearly prepared to extend Miller a delay of at least several weeks to enable him to forge a well-considered approach to dealing with the USDA demand for Miller’s records in the contempt-of-court motion.

No, no problem, Miller’s lawyer indicated. They didn’t need a delay, and were ready to go forward yesterday afternoon. It was downhill from there as the government grab bag was clearly open and accepting all the gifts Miller was prepared to throw in.

By the end of the afternoon, Miller indicated he was prepared to hand over a thick black notebook sitting on the defense table, filled with purchase records he had brought along. When Judge Smith inquired about the reams of private member invoices, Miller responded, “My secretary said there is three months of records in this file. I am not sure which months are on there. I would like to just hand it over to them and have it done.”

Judge Smith cleared his throat and then stated, “After it is redacted.” He was referring to a redaction commitment from USDA covering member names and street addresses, including city, but not affecting, state, and non-meat purchase information.

These are records that seem destined to be used to incriminate Miller and possibly subject him to many thousands of dollars of fines from the USDA. (However, the records can be redacted for non-meat information, meaning they can’t be easily used by other agencies, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for potential prosecution and further penalties.)

While Miller ostensibly was represented by Macaluso, the lawyer seemed very quiet, both before and after a series of two private 20-minute “negotiation” sessions between the government’s lawyers and Miller’s team over exactly what would be turned over to the USDA. Miller’s team clearly wasn’t directed by his lawyer, but rather by two representatives from a quasi-legal organization, ProAdvocate, which organizes private member associations and helps defendants represent themselves (pro-se) in legal cases.

At one point, Miller and his team briefed about a dozen friends and food club members in attendance about the status of the negotiations. When one member questioned the ProAdvocate representatives about whether an agreement might include a government commitment to simply seek compliance with USDA rules, without penalties from alleged previous violations, one of the ProAdvocate reps said that was “a good point, because we did not cover that.”

Another food club member inquired whether the agreement might redact other information besides member names and street addresses, such as non-meat products that had been ordered. That also seemed do-able, the ProAdvocate rep indicated.

But when Judge Smith finally returned to the courtroom following the private negotiation sessions, and summarized the agreed-to arrangement, there was no mention of either point about penalties or redacting non-meat items being part of the agreement.

Instead, Miller is required to turn over between 2,000 and 3,000 records covering a three-month period during 2016, at a rate of 500 records per week, beginning next week, and continuing for up to six weeks. Should Miller fail to meet any of his weekly deadlines, Judge Smith ruled, he could be subject to a penalty of $500 for each day he fails to comply.

Judge Smith noted that the records handover only resolved the matter of the contempt hearing, and no other legal problems facing Miller. In fact, the judge at one point asked Miller if the word “organic” was part of the farm’s name. Miller’s lawyer replied, “Yes, sir.”

The judge was clearly making reference to the USDA case in North Carolina by the agency’s organic group, over Miller’s use of the term “organic” in the farm’s name. As described in my previous post, the USDA has sought member purchase records in that case as well. Miller’s legal team clearly hadn’t thought about bundling the “organic” investigation into a settlement of the contempt of court case.

Judge Smith twice took the unusual step of bypassing Miller’s lawyer and ProAdvocate reps to ask Miller directly whether he had any questions or comments about the proceedings. Miller had none, but the message in the judge’s questions directly to the defendant was clear: He was completely unimpressed with Miller’s legal team.

And the government rout was complete.

68 comments to Miller Caves on Handing Over Member Purchase Records to USDA

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    The word ” organic ” is defined by USDA law. That happened when Dr. Glifkman took the dramatic step to push the organic standards through congress about 16 years ago. This market a landmark event that propelled a revolution in foods even faster!!! Now organic foods are a serious and growing part of the American market feeding millions of consumers each year and sustainably supporting farmers as well. But…organic means more than a name. It is a policed set of standards with audits, restrictions, fees, and costly inputs.

    Amos has no right to use and abuse the use if the word organic if he is not actually organic. Nothing says that Amos can not become certified organic under the laws….nothing. He can become organic if he so chooses. Illegal raw milk can be certified organic everywhere in America. Organic Valley producers produce organic raw milk all over America!!

    The bottom line is this….Amos has been caught and now he should immediately confess, cut a deal to save his hide. Where I come from this is called a “learning opratunity and a hard learned life lesson”. His best course of future conduct is admitting the errors, cutting a deal and changing his ways…..then gather the forces of good with in his group of buyers to stand up and try to change what ever laws might need changing.

    I have spoken with several legal raw milk producers that actually want interstate restrictions to stay in place….it forces raw milk to be local and protects against outside completion.

    So many ways to look at a challenge. The Amish live in America along with the rest of us….not in a vacume.

    • blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      Actually, the word “organic” is defined in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as follows: “grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals.” Contrary to what Mr. McAfee states, the USDA has not cornered the market on that definition merely because they say they have. That type of BS comes straight from the desk of the likes of Michael Taylor, who also has advocated that the government, via the USDA, state that GMO foods are “substantially similar” to real food, and therefore, is okay for human consumption. What a crock or organic manure.

      I do not know enough of the facts underlying Mr. Miller’s case to comment one way or the other on it, but I will make this comment in reference to the comments made by “A Passionate Person.” We are all adults here. Most of the folks I know who are passionate about their food and who are passionate about where their food comes from, know far more about their food that the average government idiot out there who is defining that food for us via certifications, permits and inspections.

      In this regard, I am shocked that Mr. McAfee has fallen into line with der SS, I mean, USDA, on the Orwellian double speak that has occurred with the word “organic.” I personally am with “Passionate” on this one. If you know your producer and you have the ability to ask your producer face to face about the food being produced, as far as I’m concerned, I just certified that food for my own usage.

      I do not need a government idiot to do that for me. Thanks, but no thanks. Stay out of my food Mr. USDA organic certifier. I don’t need you . . .

      It appears that the only ones who were complaining about Mr. Miller’s food is the government. Is that correct?

      • jim

        The ones complaining about Mr. Miller’s food were the ones that found themselves in competition with him… they alerted the government. sad!

        • Gordon Watson

          who – precisely? – are “The ones complaining about Mr Miller’s food …” ? If that’s an oblique way to blame Mark McAfee for the trouble Amos Miller is in, then you’re obliged to review the posts on this forum at the time of the WA Price exposition in San Francisco Apparently Mark McAffee told the hotel staff that the Miller’s Organic Farm contingent were breaking the law. He pointed out to all-concerned, that Amish Amos © was cheating at the game of commerce, so the hotel was in jeopardy, but he was NOT the one who called down the heat.

          Apparently, the kids then running Miller’s pop-up shop just laughed and carried on vending. The Campaign for REAL MILK is worse off, now, for the sake of those Amish chin-whiskers getting caught in the wringer of regulatory authority. Open that Bible and read the part where it says “a word to the wise is sufficient, but the backs of fools are made for stripes”…. in the Pennsylvania Dutch version, too

        • Gordon Watson

          how could someone be “in competition with him (Miller) ” when one of the most basic tenets of the Amish religion, is : avoidance of competition? Are you saying that itinerant pedlars in Amish garb, trundled across the continent, with a wagon-load of goods, to deliver to people at the Weston A Price convention, ALL Of whom were already members of their ” expressive association”? I find that hard to believe. No, Miller’s H’orgasmic Farm © went to San Francisco, hoping to exploit their brand-name, so as to make a windfall profit. But they bit off more than they could chew

          • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

            The Amish are certainly not the type of people to challenge government dictates. However, if “avoidance of competition” is indeed one of their tenets, that’s sure a surprise to me! I’m surrounded by Amish folk; their school is merely a slingshot away from my farm and I can confidently say that competition is alive and well

          • David Gumpert David Gumpert

            I agree, Ken. Amish farmers remind me a little of pro athletes. They’ll joke around with each other, exchange gossip, before or after the game. But on the field, during competition, it’s dog eat dog, may the better man win.

    • Amanda

      I am a Miller’s Farm member, and I do not want his farm to become “certified organic” …which is a virtually meaningless title. The grocery stores are flooded with “certified organic” produce and other items that are clearly not organic. As private association members, we believe the food regulations to be useless and damaging… also adding unnecessary price increases to cover the cost and work that goes into maintaining these useless certifications.
      As far as buying local goes, I would love to be able to purchase raw dairy locally but that is not an option for me. We have tried to get a raw milk bill past in our state 3 years in a row so far, to no avail, and without that no local dairy farmer is willing to take the risk. Until our state is willing to change it’s laws (if ever) I should be able to get raw dairy from Miller’s private member association, and it’s really none of your business to say whether or not that’s “fair.” It is fair because I’m an adult and I agree with Miller’s practices, whether you or the gov’t agree with it or not is beside the point.

      • Amanda

        (and by “past” I mean “passed”)

      • David Gumpert David Gumpert

        Good point, Amanda. I am also a Miller’s Farm member and, like you, have no interest in him becoming “certified organic.” It’s important to appreciate that the real government agenda has nothing to do with Miller’s organic status, or with USDA regulations, or other “violations” still to come. I don’t want to speak for him, but I have a feeling he’d be open to ridding his farm’s name of “organic,” since he makes no claims in his labeling or communication with members of his products being “organic.” No, the real agenda is to cripple his operation, or eliminate it entirely, since he keeps attracting so many new members he is viewed as a competitive threat by other food producers. That’s why it’s especially discouraging to see Mark McAfee join in on the government’s piling on. It may be Amos Miller in their sights now, but who knows who will be next?

        • Linda

          I agree David, it is a real shame that Mark McAfee has joined forces with our corrupt government in heaping condemnation against Miller’s Farm when he is sadly clueless. I don’t want Miller’s to become “Certified Government Organic” either.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      I’ve been farming organically for the last 35 years, yet after perusing government endorsed organic certification standards many years ago I decided against going down that path.

      For sure, organic produce is becoming increasingly available, and I do buy organic whenever I can. However, I do so with a measured degree of trepidation and wariness. As far as the organic food movement supporting sustainable agriculture the potential is only there, if (AND THAT IS A BIG IF) government and the public place a higher priority and likewise value on food. Let me assure you politically motivated cheap food policies are still very much alive and well.

      Plato suggested that, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” And that unfortunately is exactly what is happening with government sponsored organic certification.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      With respect to certified organic food the devil is in the details.

      If you observe the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal on food, the item must have an ingredients list and the contents should be 95% or more certified organic, meaning free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, etc. and must not be processed using industrial solvents.

      However, if a person goes to the USDA’s “National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances”, as per organic food production, that person will soon discover that the above definition is certainly not the case. Many of the substances allowed in the production of organic produce are not, in my opinion, conducive to organic food production and are also counterproductive to sustainable agriculture.

      If these allowed substances (drugs and chemicals) are in fact used in either raw or pasteurized milk production for example, then it would be disingenuous to classify and label either of the milks as organic.

      Rather the USDA list of allowed substances appear to be geared toward placating the pharmaceutical and chemical industries while at the same time making it possible for CAFO’s to make the ludicrous claim that their products are organic.

      Raw milk… “nature’s perfect food”, is subject to some of the strictest and draconian food laws in the country. However its pasteurized, bastardized counterpart that adheres to certified organic standards and is subjected to intense processing and adulteration, can be, “LEGALLY” classified as organic! Do you not think there is something wrong with this picture?

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      Listen to what this farmer has to say about USDA standards. “It’s a Joke”
      You might want to think long and hard before you put any faith in products that are certified “organic” as “defined by USDA law”.

    • Linda

      You are wrong! Once the Government is in control of anything, you should know that it is NOT for your benefit. If you know your history, the Government was originally set up BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE, but not it has become a money hungry, power driven establishment, it DOES NOT care about the lives and health of the people, they are only out for the control and power for themselves. What right do they have to control what we want to eat, pretty soon they will be in your house telling you have to live your life. Hopefully the next four year will change some of this nonsense!

      I am a member of Miller’s Farm and am so thankful for them! They have a very High standard of care and cleanliness, a well cared for farm, that produces Healthy nutrition dense food. It is my right to belong to a PRIVATE farm, and purchase HEALTHY food of my choosing, not regulated food stripped of the nutrition God placed in the foods He created for our bodies to function. Government has NO right to control anything I choose to eat. If some people want to buy Grocery Store foods, that’s their choice, NOT mine. The mass Food Stores chains are full of processed foods, stripped of it’s nutritional value, so then those people then have to be dependent on the Pharmaceutical Companies for their ever rising aliments, in turn the Pharmaceutical Companies are paying off the Government and the Control Circle keeps spinning. Even the Organic milks, etc, are regulated to be pasteurized, homogenized and heated to kill everything good that are bodies need. This is one of the many really good documentaries on our food…

  • I personally know this farmer, Amos Miller. The infringement of the government is not going to stop with the use of lawyers, attorneys, and judges, or any other agency that come out of the same depraved money pool. It is us folks – we the people – that need to be writing letters and standing with Amos to protect him, not giving more money to an already corrupt system but with the use of our mouths, pen to paper, and in addition – our very own presence. They need to be told to leave Amos & his business alone. FDA wants case laws established to gain more ground for more control, what better pickings than an Amish farmer – who they know will not sue them under any condition because of their non-resistant beliefs. Why does Amos have to buckle under this tyranny? If I want to drink raw milk, eat meat from a farmer that is not USDA approved – with their poisoned ink stamp right on the meat, and believe that a farmer uses organic practices without the government’s certification – that is my right. Not my right given to me by the government but my right given to me from GOD ALMIGHTY when HE knit me in my mother’s womb. We run scared at “what if” – what if the milk is bad, what if the meat is bad, what if the farmer is spraying the fields and says that he isn’t. It is my responsibility to know what I put in my mouth. Yet I can legally walk into a store, taint myself with the government regulated foods and not even know what the farmer’s name is that put that “food” on the shelf. If I become sick from that food – what happens then – do I get to talk to that farmer to find out what his farming practices are? Nope. Both my parents have health issues which I blame on the foods that they put in their bodies – instead of seeking the government “safe regulated foods” – we are coming together as a family to improve & heal their health problems, it is called taking responsibility for my own actions. We know the hands that produce our food choices, and not one single one of them or their family members are sick either. I implore you – stop sitting there – and help our farmers, the real farmers, if you don’t these type of farmers will become extinct. The farmers are not the villains, without them we will and are dying. If we don’t personally produce our own food then stand & protect these innocent men who are caring for their own families by sharing and providing us these unregulated foods. We don’t need to start another organization or group to deal with this. Pick up the phone people and call the Judge’s office & shut this craziness down. Tell the FDA & USDA – we are watching every move they make, and they need to STOP bullying Amos. Flood that parking lot when Amos goes to court. You pay attention to what is going on – don’t take my word or the media – Let’s take responsibility as “We the People” – stop letting the government and media do our thinking for us.

    • Gordon Watson

      when you put out the impassioned question = “Why does Amos have to buckle under this tyranny?” = then listen well to the answer ; summed up by Nobel laureate Bob Dylan : “you’ve got to serve some body”. >>>

      In 1913, America was given over to the usurers, by race traitors in high places. The banksters identified demselves with the Eye of Horus on the Federal Reserve Notes, which they managed to get accepted ‘for all debts public and private’. After that, it was only a matter of time ’til the tentacles of the anti-christ wrapped around the institutions of the Republic. So, now, the tyranny proceeds from the all-seeing eye atop the ziggurat on the back of their currency, to the very grassroots, i.e. farming.

      The travails of Mr Miller / the directing mind of his enterprise, are a textbook demonstration of what happens when a ( so-called ) Christian community, depart its fundamental principles. Miller’s Organic farm was quite happy to profane demselves in a game controlled by racketeers as the Big Bucks came a’rollin’ in … so quit with the kvetching about having to abide-by dictates of commerce.

      >>> the REALLY OMINOUS part , is : ‘Moreover, the records can easily be made available to other agencies, . . . for potential prosecution and further penalties regarding sale of non-meat products.” Be assured = that includes the Infernal Revenue Service

    • lis

      You are partially right. Remedy comes from the people, not the corrupt govmint. It will behoove all people everywhere to learn common law (youtube Karl Lentz), organize your own jural assemblies and start protecting your families and communities from corruption:

    • Pete

      Until I hear actions and strategies being proposed and successfully implemented that have not been tried before, we will continue on the same path we have. Outrage and writing letters have gotten us exactly nowhere.

  • Leon Moyer

    This story sums up the reason we the people have lost the freedoms guaranteed by the highest law of the land, the U. S. Constitution. It is a rare person who is willing to lay their head on the chopping block and see if the gov’t will really swing the hatchet by use of incarceration or other forceful means. The Amish think of themselves as not being “Worldly” or part of the world, yet by using the world’s money, the world’s methods of buying and selling, the world’s form of financing, even stooping to hiring a lawyer or possibly paying $30,000 to join Pro Advocate (see the link above), they have become joined at the hip and the heart with the basest of people in the world, the governments and those who are “just doing my job” in the government, to grind up and spit out those who stand against the accepted ways of the World and governments. Shame on everyone who caves; it is better to do the time or suffer the world’s retribution, as our forefathers did when they paid with their lives for standing by their religious CONVICTIONS, which the Supreme Court has defined as something for which one is willing to die, as opposed to a mere “belief” on which one might compromise. Compromise is the negation of leadership; we need leaders who practice what they profess!!

  • Bill March

    Amos Miller did the right thing by turning over his records ,he should have done it long ago.Amos should now cooperate with the US prosecutor to get this resolved before he is charged with many felonies.Amos friends in the buying groups that tell him the goverment is corrupt are not facing these serious charges .

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Bill you are right….

    What if Amos used Costco purchased conventional Herseys chocolate in his organic chocolate raw milk? Do you know what is in that crap? Would you care if he used that ingredient and called it organic ?

    If you do not care…then I guess posting here is a complete waste of my time.

  • Shana Milkie

    I’m glad that Amos Miller has obtained legal representation, but he needs better than that described in the post. It seems like there were a lot of missed chances during the hearing. It’s very worrisome.

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    James Stewart got into some very serious legal problems because he took advice from the patriot freedom and “claim that you not an American Citizen voices” that also claimed that he did not have to pay taxes and was not subject to the IRS. He was treated worse than ISIS in the LA County Jail and literally lost his rights…..because he disclaimed them.

    The fringe conspiracy groups and people ( of which I feel that are a few voices represented right here )….are so pissed off that they can not see reality. Instead they hear what they wish they could hear and make up the rest. Amos must not follow their advice or he will get what James Stewart got.

    Pure Hell…and James is a really good guy. Be careful who you get advice from. They do not pay the price…but you will.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      I agree with you on this, Mark. Amos Miller hasn’t done himself any favors with his legal representation. I’m not sure why he insists on such sources, except that the Amish try hard to avoid entanglements in the legal system, particularly hiring lawyers. Unlike Donald Trump, they hate suing anyone.

  • Grannyue

    As am I! However, it is all too common to retain legal representation of this low caliber, accept whatever they tell you you have to and pray you walk away with the ability to return to your farm. And these, these organizations claim are “wins!!!!!”

    And just to belabor yet another peeve of mine – it is HIGH time the government ownership of words ended. Organic means nothing anymore anyway – just ask Michelle.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    “Organic ” only means something if the rules for what it means are enforced. Enforcement means someone has to be the food label police. The USDA has been appointed to do this job. That’s exactly what they are doing right now.

    Every product and especially certified products have label names which require authorized use. Low fat means something….Kosher means something, Humanely treated means something, Tested means something. Inspected means something….words have meaning in America. Those that rebuke words and use of language to define our societal norms do not really get what it takes assure relative order in the market place etc… If we as a people did not have labels on things we buy…..we would be completely lost. We would be subject to scams, misrepresentations, snake oils. Consumers would be completely lost and terminally confused.

    Consider shopping at a store with no labels on the packages. Even farmers market products have labels that indicate what you are buying.

    How about this….a farmer pasteurizes his products and brings them to a farmers market and sells them as raw because it makes more money. The product does not have a label. What are you buying?? Label integrity is essential for consumer choice and consumer protection. It is also needed to protect the market place and assure fairness to all. Organic does mean something and I deeply appreciate the USDA and their effort to police this market integrity policy. Organic means that the farmer cares enough to pay extra for a stranger to audit his books, inspect his operations to assure that no GMOs, no antibiotics, no pesticides, no herbicides or weird hormones are used. It is a lot of work and it deserves protection from those that would like to have the extra money from selling organic but cheat or just do not do the extra work to deserve the market distinction.

    • blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      What a crock. Did they water board you, Mr. McAfee? You must have never read one of Joe Salatin’s books. Kosher means something to those who insist on their food being Kosher. The government has nothing to do with that. Humanely-treated means something to those who insist on animals being humanely treated. The government cannot guarantee that and don’t care about that. Testing means something to the government, but does not guarantee one thing. Inspected means something? By whom? The government inspectors? Give me a break.

      Then, of course, if someone disagrees with your woefully flawed and unsupportable positions, you call that person a member of a “fringe conspiracy group” “who cannot see reality.” Typical leftist argument when facts and supporting evidence cannot be called into the argument. Just call them names, right?

      The only reality I see with the content of your posts on this topic is that either you’ve completely caved in to the government to CYA, you’ve been water boarded into submission, and/or you have drunk copias amounts of that good ol’ gubmint Kool-Aid. Either way, I challenge you to support your positions with facts and examples. Otherwise, your interjections are merely unsupportable opinions.

    • Gordon Watson

      Mr McAffee … your comment shows how out-of-touch you are, with the debasement of the term “organic”. The way the govt. has perverted the word organic, is like like cheeses labelled pretending they’re made from raw milk, when in fact that milk has been “thermalized” . Only much worse. This is not your area of expertise ; If you feel like getting up to speed on the issue, educate thyself with the excellent work done by the Cornucopia Institute.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      I agree with you about “label integrity”…..for the public marketplace. When I go to the grocery store, I value the information on the labels, because I have no direct contact with the producer of whatever product I am buying.

      However, when I join a food club, and buy directly from the farmer, that is an entirely different ball of wax. I am buying from a particular farmer because I value that farmer’s products, and trust him/her to produce what is promised. I am entirely happy with a hand-written “label” that says simply: “kombucha” or “yogurt” or “cottage cheese”. What more do I need?

      Part of your difficulty with this whole issue of food clubs and buying privately is that you, like many government regulators, refuse to accept the realities of people buying their food privately, of entering into private contracts with food producers. People buying privately don’t need or want regulators looking over everyone’s shoulders to ensure there has been proper labeling, inspections, etc.

      Let me put it this way: Do you know of a single member of Miller’s food clubs who has complained about the farm’s labels or not getting what was promised? I don’t.

      • Joseph Heckman

        At least for dairy products the organic versus conventional nutritional differences are measurably evident based on laboratory analysis. A recent study (Benbrook et al., 2013) looked at the type of fats in organic vs. conventional milk across the USA. In almost every region there was a significant difference in the omega 6 / omega 3 ratios. The one exception was in Northern California where organic and conventional dairy cows are both pasture-based. In all other regions the ratio was more favorable for organic milk because in those cases pasture was a more significant feed source for the organic cows. The study also found that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), in pasture-raised organic milk increases in the spring and summer months in association with the return of cows to pasture. Concentrations of CLA in organic milk are maximized during grazing season while in the conventional milk it remains flat regardless of season. The relatively new USAD-NOP pasture standard requiring grazing for 30% or more of dry matter intake may be a key factor (NOP 7 CFR Part 205.240). The authors of this study (Benbrook et al., 2013) on how organic production enhances milk quality conclude that “increasing reliance on pasture and forage-based feeds on dairy farms has considerable potential to improve the FA [fatty acid] profile of milk and dairy products” and “it is far more common – and indeed mandatory on certified organic farms in the U.S. – for pasture and forage-based feeds” and “improvements in the nutritional quality of milk … should improve long-term health status and outcomes, especially for pregnant women, infants, children, and those with elevated CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk.”
        Benbrook, C.M., Butler, G., Latif, M.A., Leifert, C. & Davis, D.R. (2013). Organic production enhances milk nutritional quality by shifting fatty acid composition: A united States-Wide 18-month study. PLOS, 8 (12) Retrieved from e82429
        Heckman, J.R. 2015. The Role of Trees and Pastures in Organic Agriculture. Sustainable Agriculture Research. 4: 47-55.

        • Lynn_M Lynn_M

          Where I live in western Nebraska, the only certified organic milk in my grocery store is Horizon ultra-pasteurized. I’m wondering how the demerits of ultra-pasteurized compare to the benefit of organic over conventional milk, even if the organic may have more CLA in it than conventional milk. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

          During the winter, when my farmer can no longer provide me with raw milk, I do buy store milk so I can keep my kefir grains going. I’m not sure which milk to buy come winter time.

      • Shana Milkie

        Yes, it so crucial to distinguish between the anonymity of grocery stores (where the public does need to be be protected) and customer-farmer, person-to-person relationships.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      Mark, I agree with Gordon. I’d just like to add however that you appear to be so enamored by enforced regulation that you are unable to articulate reality; namely, that the term organic has been perverted by the rules and their enforcement.

      The enforcement of rules is little more then a knee jerk response as to what ails society. Indeed, there are many people who relish the idea of enforcement since it gives them a sense of security in knowing that things appear to be under control. What they all to often fail to realize, is that their enforcement driven mentality will come back to bite them in the ass. Enforcement nurtures tyranny.

      You cannot enforce faith…
      You can’t enforce love…
      You can’t enforce charity…
      You cannot enforce integrity…
      You cannot enforce loyalty…
      These are things that can only be genuinely achieved by those who freely choose to put them into practice in their life. Exactly what Amos Miller and his clientele are attempting to do.

      • Emma Gardner

        I’d say that once our raw milk producers get a handle on the number of outbreaks they are causing, then we can start complaining about enforced regulation. But right now this community is not proving that it can self-regulate, and hence the authorities are forced to step in and regulate in the interests of protecting public health.

        The Canadian petition to the Minister of Health was recently dismissed, with an outbreak caused in Colorado cited as an example of why the Canadian government feels that raw milk is too dangerous to legalize – see . Another farm in Utah caused an outbreak in 2014 that caused 99 illnesses, 10 hospitalizations and one death. Another outbreak in Wisconsin in 2014 caused 38 illnesses.

        I’m a Libertarian at heart and I don’t like government intruding on our business, but at the same time, governments aren’t going to stop doing this while our community keeps giving itself a bad name. Maybe we should start with encouraging farmer training, on-farm food safety (OFFS) plans, and regular testing (including for pathogens). Think this is onerous? All commercial dairy farmers in Canada must be trained and certified in the Canadian Quality Milk (CQM) program and have OFFS plans — and all their milk is *still* entirely going for pasteurization. While RAWMI training is freely available, why not get trained and try to produce the safest milk possible?

        • Gordon Watson

          Emma Gardner

          unfortunately = you’ve bought-in to the urban myth about illnesses caused by raw milk, particularly : the notion that anyone ever died from drinking it, in the last 60 years. When we scrutinized those stories in the media, we hit the brick wall of patient anonymity = health officials who bleat wild allegations, yet refuse to produce evidence. Time after time, they get away with rank slander. The tip-off, being, the words “associated with”. Innuendo works perfectly for poisoning the minds of the general public, who assume confidence in “officials” … ‘oh, those nice government guys would never lie to us!”.

          in fact : the number of outbreaks ( of illness) caused by producers of artisanal raw milk, is un-notice-able against the thousands of harms done, daily, by foods Generally Recognized as Safe, by those same regulators.

          the “risk of harm to the public health’, is a canard, played by the monopolists, who are terrified as they see their market share of fluid milk, falling off the edge of the cliff.

          • Emma Gardner

            Don’t think of this in terms of raw milk causing death, but think of it in terms that Campylobacter can be fatal, and that raw milk – or any food – can become contaminated by Campylobacter if contamination has been allowed to happen, if steps weren’t taken to prevent it.

            Supposedly the gent who died in Utah in 2014 had a “compromised immune system” – see – so he could have succumbed to any pathogen he ate, drank, or breathed — it just happened to be the milk, by random chance.

            Yes, deaths from raw milk are rare. Two in the last 60 years compared to 70+ from pasteurized milk, and both of those in 2014. Pathogens in any food can kill. But my point is that there is room for improvement when outbreaks occur because farmers don’t know how to prevent them and don’t think it necessary to find out because “No-one ever got sick from drinking our milk” (heard just last week). Don’t let there be a first time.

          • Gordon Watson

            where I live = on Vancouver Island = there are 42 “boil water advisories” in effect as of this writing. Some of those Orders from the Health Authority, have been in place for years, continuously. Presence of Campylobacter in a water system, being one of the common reasons. So water is delivered to residences, with the VI Health Authority knowing full well that it does not meet the prescribed standard. Yet – knowing full well that people REGULARLY get sick from drinking such water – the Health Authority does not outlaw it. Beyond argument, thousands of people are at risk of illness from campylobacter in the water, daily, yet VIHA lets them choose to boil it, or not. Contrast that with the way VIHA deals with raw milk for human consumption.

            one of the laughable arguments used by the Chief Medical Health Officer in BC, is : that “children cannot make a fully informed choice to drink raw milk”. Does anyone think children in those communities with ‘boil water Orders’ for the sake of the presence of campylobacter in the system, boil it before drinking every time they want a glass of water?

            of course not. The notion that ‘public health is at risk from campylobacter in raw milk’, is propaganda, put out by the dairy cartel, to herd the sheeple into the big supermarkets.

          • Emma Gardner

            I agree that the differences here in enforcement regarding contaminated water vs. clean milk is lunacy. But the health authorities are bound by the laws (legislation and regulations) that the Ministry gives them to work with.

            The difference here is that public water systems fall under the “Drinking Water Protection Act” (see Not the “Public Health Act” and “Health Hazards Regulation.” Different set of rules.

            Again, a good argument as to why the Health Hazards Regulation needs to change. B.C. is the only jurisdiction in North America where all raw milk is classified in law as being a health hazard, with accompanying threat of a $3M fine or 3 years in jail, even if testing can find NO pathogens in the milk.

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee


    I agree wholeheartedly with your list of unenforceables.

    However, in a market system, if there are no standards, you will get cheaters….

    We saw this in CA, where a raw milk Cow Share started using retail markets to sell their products.
    These cheaters were so unethical sold their products with such disregard for standard that it was shocking. No testing, no standards, no labels….extremely cheap at $3 per gallon.

    To quote Charlotte Smith….cheap raw milk is dangerous raw milk. Ken you forget that not everyone is created with ethical standards. Some are just in it for the money and cut throat business.

    CDFA saw this unlabeled, uninsured, untested and uninspected product on the shelf at Greens Nutrition near Sacramento CA and it was confiscated. That is appropriate activity for our regulatory agencies.

    Ken….lets chill with all the angst and recognize that if everyone was made of the best moral and ethical fibre…there would be little need for any regulation or even a government. But that is not reality. In a competitive capitalist society….there is a tendency to cheat and get away with as much as possible. Our Mr. Trump has shown us how this is done brilliantly. He champions himself as a great business man, yet he has no integrity or ethics and thinks nothing of multiple Bankruptcies to avoid paying hard working contractors, not paying taxes for 20 years and grabbing women by the ……

    • Blesse\'d are the cheese makers

      Why did your post have to deflect over to an indictment of Mr. Trump? What does he have to do with this particular subject matter? You Leftists never stop, do you. Mr. Trump was not my first choice, but if you stand him up next to that evil, lying, cheating, stealing, big government hag he is running against, he looks like a saint. You have certainly shown your true colors on this little exchange. You should stick to the subjects about which you know, Mr. McAfee.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      Mark, No amount of regulation can adequately compensate for human depravity and as Plato correctly implied, “bad people will find a way around the laws.”

      Clearly, you are aware, that those who implement and enforce regulatory standards are not beyond reproach? The founding fathers of your country appeared to anticipate that fact when they wrote the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson states, “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” “Operations”, if I were to hazard a guess, translates into enforced regulations. Jefferson also states, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

      Indeed, there are unscrupulous shysters in all walks of life, including, politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, etc. The problem is exacerbated in a society where people lose sight of their status before God and their relationship to their fellow human beings. Again as Thomas Jefferson states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

      The one thing that food regulators appear to have been able to accomplish quite well via the standards they implement and enforce, has been to nurture and strengthen intimate ties between themselves and the food processing industry. Hmmm… allot of good that has done for us!!! In essence, regulatory standards, to paraphrase Joel Salatin has, “demonized and criminalized virtually all indigenous and heritage-based food practices”.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Mary, this is an important reminder about the importance of safety considerations, regardless of who is handling and distributing the milk. The real news here (and FSN is a news site) is that the kids who got sick have recovered and are doing well today–the illnesses were more than two years ago. The article almost feels as though FSN is failing to find enough current problems with raw milk and so has to go hunting for older cases. Not sure why they’d do that, though.

    • John

      I have first hand knowledge about this entire case, including insider knowledge, as one of the tech’s who worked at the lab where the immense number of farm samples was sent a number of months after the incident happened providentially crossed a friend’s path, and that friend put us in touch.

      What they shared with me was astounding confirmation of how biased and broken the food safety investigations are. The fact that FSN is still slandering a farm that was tested as many as 40 times or more, shows the depths of their bias and lack of credibility. I may pass this on to the farm for them to consider suing FSN for liable and slander.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Mary, very soon a published, peer reviewed PhD written article in Canada will clearly show that illnesses and outbreaks from raw milk have dramatically declined since 2010. It just so happens that RAWMi and FTCLDF Tim Whiteman both started teaching about raw milk safety in 2010. RAWMI published raw milk common standards in 2010-2011 and now 12 dairies are officially LISTED with seven pending in the process. More importantly, a standard has been set….expectations have changed. Now…serious raw milk producers do some testing and do not blindly produce raw milk with out true concern for safety. This is evident in the data.

  • Gordon Watson

    rumor has it that the sun did rise, this morning, over the Eastern seaboard, with the anti-Establishment standard-bearer, now undeniably President -elect. After drinking their own bathwater for the last 2 years … proving how far-removed they are from the soul of America … let’s see if the overeducated idiots, have it in them to present one one-thousandth the magnanimity shown by Donald Trump last night.

  • Sad really that few attorneys, as well as Amos Miller do not comprehend that the Federal Court shall not compel self incrimination. Such an action that the Court successfully imposed upon Amos Miller is a violation of the Court’s limitations as clearly articulated in the Fifth amendment.

    This fact is self evident when the Presiding Black Robed Commissar initiated direct conversations with Amos, where neither his ProAdvocate Support team, or his public policy wonk, inclusive of himself, objected to the improper actions moved under the Show Cause Order for Contempt, initiated by the USDA’s federal public policy wonk.

    The nature of a Civil Trial does not authorize the Court to violate the Fifth Amendment.

    Furthermore the USDA’s Attorney violated the Brady Rule, by withholding the known fact the Agency had no administrative oversight over the actions of Amos Miller.

    Neither Amos, nor his newly acquired public policy wonk stood first to object to the subject matter that sat improperly in an Judicial Arena that may only sit in judicial review of an Agency Order, and or sit in equity to impose sanctions upon a Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law, included within the fours Corners of the Agency’s issued final order. Read FTC v. Standard Oil Co. of California, 449 U.S. 232 (1980)

    IN this instance Case the USDA never held a Title 5 USCA Chapter 5 rule hearing as such Amos was denied the administrative due processes of the law. Why? Well, the USDA never had, nor does it have subject matter authority to compel Amos’s supplication to its administrative jurisdiction. Read Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528 (1974)

    This is what occurs when fools gather claiming to know something, when the fact is they know absolutely nothing, which was exposed when the Defendant, and his supporters failed to object to the corrupted practices on the floor of the “Court” when the confronted by a Broken governance populated by Progressive rubes.

    It is never a point of proving one’s self right. It is all about substantiating by the Plaintiff, in this instance an Executive Agency of the United States is WRONG!

    Those who do not comprehend the fundamental law of the Republic will discover the hard way why their wrongs perfect the Frauds of the State.

    “He has erected a Multitude of new Offices,and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our
    People, and eat out their Substance.”

    • Gordon Watson

      18 years ago, when I got sucked-in to the so-called DeTax thing, I encountered guys like you, Mr Iverson. At first I was respectful, but it soon became evident that – with exceptions – they fell into the categories of Predator, or parasite, or Patriots-fer-Profit. Yeah …. it sounds good when you’re spinning that yarn to an audience of legal illiterates, who showed up because they got word someone has a magic silver bullet to remedy the trouble they got demselves into. And it’s only $19.99!

      Last week, one of the noblest of them all, namely Michael Spencer Miller, was sentenced to 5 years in prison, for preaching the Paradigm School of Taxlaw interpretation as prophesied by Russell “Big Daddy” Porisky. Well do I remember the day I told both of them : “that stuff is not going to fly in a real court”. on top of the world then ( 2005) and handling more $$ than they’d ever seen, they laughed at me. They sure ain’t laughing now.

      If you, Mr Iverson / the guys with whom you’re hangin’ around, are trundling-along in your naivety, assuming that the members of the Cult of the Black Robe are going to play by the rules, in their own ballpark, you are going to learn the hard way = they won’t. Irwin Schiff died in prison. A word to the wise is sufficient but the backs of fools are made for stripes.

      Piping up … muddying the waters of discourse in this forum with that NON-sense, as though it will assist us in the Campaign for REAL MILK … onus is on you to provide one single case* where that kinda talk has ever succeeded. * not rumours ….. case file numbers ; court jurisdiction ; name of the Defendant ; place of the courthouse. The basics

      My friend Gordon Edward Allen Waddell spent about 5 years mentoring me, incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in Vancouver PreTrial, fighting extradition to the US of A. Down in Arizona about 20 years earlier, Al had gotten farther with making the thugs play by the Rules, so that they were worried. He was framed-up by the BATF, as #10 on America’s Most Wanted.

      Point being – in times like this, the Tyrant is not going to let you win … regardless if you’re logically correct. Your homework is to read the sad tales of Gordon Kahl and Robert Mathews. The immature man is willing to die for his cause : the mature man is willing to live for his cause. Siegfried Gursche said “Find a way to tell the Truth”.

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