Compelling Raw Milk Evidence? For Opponents, There Is No Such Thing

Demonstrators in support of Michael Schmidt milk a cow outside an Ontario courthouse last fall.

It’s evidence we need to convince the anti-raw-milk public health officials that they are misinformed. Published studies in recognized academic journals.

That’s the insistent argument from Emma G in reference to the endless legal problems dogging raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt. Raw milk opponents could be persuaded, she suggests, if only there were published studies on behalf of raw milk’s safety and benefits. She points out that raw milk proponents in Canada and the U.S. have written hundreds and hundreds of letters in support of raw milk, only to have them completely ignored by Canadian legislators and mostly ignored by American legislators. “The BIG stumbling block is the public health/food safety community pronouncing their ‘expert’ opinion that legalization/expanded-access will result in more outbreaks. The lack of published science to support our side is what is impeding our efforts to get laws changed.”

Ah yes, if only we could present “published science,” the opponents would thank proponents, we’d all sing Kumbaya and everyone would work together to change the laws so consumers could make informed choices to obtain the raw milk and other foods of their choosing.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Emma G. and others, but you’re wasting your time. You can present all the published science you want, and the opponents won’t shift in the least. I know it shouldn’t be this way. It seems perfectly logical that public health scientists should be open-minded and rational, but in real life, it doesn’t work that way.

How do I know this? There has been a good deal of published science over the last decade on the benefits of raw milk in helping reduce asthma and allergies among children. One large study of more than 8,000 European children, known as the GABRIELA study,  reported on the reduction, in a 2011 article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a well respected medical journal.

The study’s authors, scientists from highly respected medical and academic institutions around the world, were firm in their conclusions about the benefits of raw milk, and the absence of such benefits in pasteurized milk. “Reported raw milk consumption was inversely associated to asthma atopy, and hay fever independent of other farm exposures. Boiled farm milk did not show a protective effect.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is well aware of this and other similar studies. You can find its reaction is on a CDC web site: “There are no known health benefits from drinking raw milk that cannot be obtained from drinking pasteurized milk that is free of disease-causing bacteria.” It’s the exact opposite of what the study concluded.

When the experts at the CDC and its apologists at academic institutions are questioned by journalists and others, they discount the GABRIELA study because many of the children in the study lived on farms, they say, where possibly other factors of farm life, like interaction with animals, could be helping promote improved immune system function.

I have pointed out to these experts that the study explicitly states that these other factors were accounted for, and thus didn’t influence the results. As the study states: “The results of this large epidemiologic study add to the increasing body of evidence identifying consumption of farm milk (early in life) to be associated with a reduced risk of childhood asthma and allergies independently of concomitant farm exposures.” (Emphasis added)

These experts ignore the corrections, and continue to state their erroneous interpretation of the results, suggesting that the GABRIELA study wasn’t comprehensive and well constructed, and thus lacks credibility. In other words, evidence that runs counter to their ideology can’t possibly be relevant.

Part of the reason you don’t see objective published studies on the safety of raw milk is that such studies are expensive to carry out. Moreover, academics shy away from seeking funding to carry out the studies because both the academic and government communities avoid proposing them, for fear of alienating the influential processing industry. The studies that are out there suggesting raw milk isn’t safe are basically what I would term “hit jobs”—cherry-picked statistics together with questionable calculations designed to support the preconceived conclusion that raw milk is inherently unsafe, and no more beneficial to health than pasteurized milk.  One that came out recently concludes raw milk is 800 times more risky than pasteurized milk. Yeah, sure.

My advice to the idealists among readers here, located in places like Canada that ban raw milk: Get out there and continue helping farmers like Michael Schmidt make their legal cases in court, keep writing and lobbying your legislators,  and then go out and buy lots of raw milk from farmers brave enough to product it for you, outside of the bans. In the U.S., at least, all these actions have had a significant effect over the past decade, with major states like Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland pulling back on bans, and allowing at least some raw milk distribution. It takes time and persistence, but positive change can and will happen. Use your time productively, instead of spinning your wheels trying to develop studies the opponents are only going to ignore or find fault with.

26 comments to Compelling Raw Milk Evidence? For Opponents, There Is No Such Thing

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Amen David!!

    Dollar vote and build huge markets. Bury the paid off acedemics with market strength and Farmers that outlast their struggling conventional counterparts. This is already happening in CA My local county health department inspector had this to say in February 2017 as he made a progress inspection on our new milk barn ” hey Mark, you better hurry up and get this milk barn done, cause I am closing 5 dairies this next couple of months and I need a job”.

    If that is not a truth coming through…. nothing is.

    The science found in the Parsifal, Gabriela, Pasture cohort, Koala, Lmu, and the recent Lalles French Paradox raw cheese study are all unrefuted, peer reviewed published and very well done.

    When ever a scientist says “there is no evidence that raw milk has benefits”. You just heard the statement of a non scientist. That’s a paid spokesman speaking.

    That is why Davids words are golden. Yes we need good science. More importantly, we need great food safety systems. In the end it will be the market examples of places where raw milk is legal ….leading the way. Interstate jealously and the consumer demand for equal food access and nutritional rights.

    The good news ( or sad news ) is that pasteurized milk gets weaker by the day. Literally everyday a dairy is lost in America. Pasteurized milk is in decline. No question. Heat treatment creates an allergic and hard to digest food out of natures greatest whole food.

    One of the greatest slight of hand magical tricks played by researchers that want to hurt good raw milk is this. They test raw milk that is intended for pasteurization and then claim that all raw milk is dangerous.

    This fraud is constant in all studies used hurt raw milk that is produced for human consumption.

    Those paid off researchers never go to dairies that produce clean milk and test or study it!!! That would blow their case!!!

    Enough to piss off the best of us for sure. Very frustrating. So much the fraud. Scientific malpractice!!

    Build big markets and teach teach teach. Time will automatically provide the change. A weakening enemy and a growing raw milk market and the rest will take care of its self.

    Corruption and bias in science is very disheartening.

  • Joseph Heckman

    David, your description of the problem is correct. Being in academia, I have witnessed such examples. I made the published scientific literature easily available for digital sharing among faculty and grad students at my institution. Yet academics go on to talk about or write extension articles about the raw milk movement and they never mention the published evidence for health benefits. And when I go on to point out the important information they ignored and call them out on it as decided failure of scholarship I am said to be “confrontational”.
    Mark McAfee is also correct about the way forward: “Dollar vote and build huge markets.”
    And that is how the organic farming and food movement got noticed. For example: “In 1971, then US Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz uttered these unsympathetic words: “Before we go back to organic agriculture in this country, somebody must decide which 50 million Americans we are going to let starve or go hungry.” Since then, critics have continued to argue that organic agriculture is inefficient, requiring more land than conventional agriculture to yield the same amount of food. Proponents have countered that increasing research could reduce the yield gap, and organic agriculture generates environmental, health and socioeconomic benefits that can’t be found with conventional farming.”
    Now in the 15th edition (year 2017) of the most widely used textbook “Nature and Properties of Soil” to teach soil science around the world there is this acknowledgment (page 1020): “A generation ago, many skeptical agricultural scientists and officials said it would be “impossible” to grow food on a commercial scale using organic farming methods, but organic food now common in modern supermakets and the thousands of organic farms that produce reasonably high yields and make good profits have proved such skeptics wrong”

  • Michael Schmidt

    Thanks David

    It is a twofold problem . number one. There are always people who know how it should be done to convince Government ,but never battle in the trenches, and always know why it never will work how I do things.
    Number two.
    There are Government trolls who invade blogs and create conflict.
    The Bovine Blog was a perfect example how trolls tried to lure me into statements which later were used to incriminate me.
    A dance with the devil within and from the other side.
    Things are defenitly coming to a head here in Canada. At least you know who your real friends are.
    Thank you David for your analytical assessment

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    Well said David…


    Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s is at best full of shit and at worst a hypocrite! Indeed, his thought process is indicative of a reductionist approach/attitude towards food production that is unsustainable.
    If government bureaucrats are indeed interested in feeding the populous at large then they aught to work at rectifying the problem of industrial and urban sprawl onto prime agricultural land… In Southern Ontario it is bewildering to witness the amount of farmland that is going out of production for the sake of accommodating and servicing the major city centers such as Toronto. At present governments appear more concerned with introducing collectivist cheap food and so-called safe food and environmental policies that erode private property ownership rights and drive farmers further into never ending debt… all of which has in turn has resulted in the attrition of small family farms.

    • Gordon S Watson

      Ken Conrad … what you describe evidences the outworking of the grand plan, articulated over a century ago entitled “The Protocols”. Especially important in it, is : race traitors in high places cooking-up ” …policies that erode private property ownership rights and drive farmers further into never ending debt”. Congruent with the first plank of the Communist manifesto = elimination of the right to private property.

      what is happening in Europe this very hour – deliberate breakdown the hedges of protection around white Christian societies, so that hordes of non-whites who cleave to anti-Christian religions, flood in to white territory, is another a critical tactic in that scheme, Marshal Mcluhan taught that ” artists and prophetic types are the antennae of the race”…. Dismissing me / my warnings as “insane”, Mister Dutcher is a textbook example of “Boobus Americanus” = refusing to consider the Big Picture ’cause it’s too scary. Confer with the book “It can’t happen here”, popular between World Wars one and two

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    So the lesson here is this: Teach, Build Markets, Stay Safe, Deny them any excuses, Fight when possible, but always spend most of the time teaching and building. The consumers will in the end demand that their democracy reflect their needs. The most powerful message that can be sent in a society is this:

    ” we refuse to buy your dead crap. I instead chose living, whole,safe, raw milk from grass fed cows. That’s my dollar vote!!!”

    Scientists, politicians, legislators, retail stores, even other farmers get this message. That is why organic products are now everywhere. Unfortunately, Organics has lost some of its luster by the usda allowing the processing steps to deprive us of critical nutrition.

    We must define our products and futures and teach it. Dollars will show the way.

    It really upsets me when the usda allowed pasteurized almonds to be labeled as raw. That was a major blow to easy teaching. When our words are stolen!!! That hurts.

  • Emma G.

    David, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Let’s see what works in Canada: (1) ignoring the law, or (2) organizing and lobbying for change, asking the decision-makers, “What are your conditions for legalizing raw milk?”. Two different approaches being taken in two different provinces: Ontario and B.C. Let’s see which one succeeds, the court room or the board room.

  • Michael Schmidt

    I guess Emma you have not done your homework at all. Ignoring the law is a determination made usually by government agents if you truly would have looked into the issue you would if you would could revise your position that we ignore the law. It’s that kind of rethoric which does not deal with the issue at hand. I was truly hoping the BC group with the new strategy of negotiating towards a solution with the bureaucrats and regulators. So far I haven’t seen anything… the reality is that the raw milk Market is pushed underground. When Alice Jongerden filed the charter application and a group of people wanted to negotiate with the Government, government demanded to withdraw the charter application before any talks can start. Guess what the charter application was withdrawn and apparently nothing happened. Please look at naturalmilk website
    There James McLaren has detailed his 14 year effort to find any possible way to work with bureaucrats and ministries to change existing laws. NOTHING came of it.
    Don’t assume we do nothing but break the law.
    We met with any board possible. Ministers, Members of parliament, and on and on it goes. I am waiting for your success it would make our life much easier believe me. Please don’t brag before the chicken is hatched. You will get all the credits after you succeeded but not now. sorry I heard these phrases too many times

  • Raoul Bedi

    Why isn’t the fact that Germany, a country of 80 million people,along with 20 other European countries, allows retail/farmgate organic raw milk equivalent, if not better, than a few ,negative hodge-podge “peer-reviewed” studies (probably funded by the processed dairy industry) whether or not they have been refuted ?
    What could be a bigger study than that ? You have the multi-year CDC-equivalent statistics from the whole nation to determine whether or not anybody became sick, needed hospitalization or died.

    If the approach is that if you find even one harmful bacteria per billion or trillion in the organic raw milk then it must be harmful , Raw Milk will NEVER BE LEGALIZED IN CANADA.

    I would be interested to know what kind of funding the University of Guelph receives from the DFO as it never ceases to amaze me what kind of of out-dated and obsolete information they continue to put out on this topic . Does the University of Guelph exist in a vacuum where no other international jurisdictions exist or are worth talking to about how Organic Raw Milk can be made safe for human consumption ? I have never heard of a university that does not seriously collaborate with other international partners, entities and universities. I can only conclude that the University of Guelph has become a mouthpiece for the DFO lobby and does not have the slightest interest to research or dialog intelligently on this subject. And since the Province of Ontario only runs to entities like the University of Guelph, we are locked into a perpetual lose-lose situation ?
    Using a similar logic , did it ever occur the Ontario Ministry of Health to “talk” to the equivalent ministries in New York or Michigan or England about how they are so easily able to make Organic Raw Milk available for human consumption. Or is there something uniquely “Canadian ” about the risk of raw milk so that is why we have to ignore what most of the US and Europe are doing ? Are Canadian cows and their milk unusually filthy and toxic ? (I don’t think so ).

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee


    I have debated the issue with the professor at University of Guelph..he said simply that raw milk was just simply unsafe. It did not matter what I said or how I said it….it was unsafe. Look talking to a red brick.

    That is because this a political thing not a science or safety thing.

    No one will talk about the normalized California raw milk markets….its like we do not exist. To speak of it would be to acknowledge the painful knowledge that raw milk is very safe and it can be done!!

    How do we address this issue if it is purely political. Well….you fight for it. Just like a women’s right to vote or black civil rights. First You have a DREAM…you protest and you fight like hell. All the while you vote with your dollars and you show up…stand up and speak up. Its ugly until magically it is a reality.

    It is time to grab headlines….the women’s rights movement did it in the 1960s and the 1970s. Some group of moms and dads is going to have to go shirtless and topless and breast feed in front of some national place and demand that raw milk be legalized in Canada. If it is not edgy…it will not gain the attention of the national press. Canadians are much too nice for this. But that’s how we do this kind of thing. We get in your face and grab the headlines. Michael is doing his best…

    Time to get ugly and in your face. Pain is the only political force that creates heat and pressure.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee


    If pathogen free Breast milk was regulated…. moms would be prohibited from Breast feeding When raw breast milk was tested at UC Davis, guess what ??? In constrained up to 700 different kinds of bacteria including pathogens!!

    Come to find out pathogens in breast milk play a role in immune development. Babies that are exposed to an occasional bad bug become protected from them. It exercises the immune system to make it stronger.

    Makes you really wonder. Why is it that you never hear about breast feeding babies gettihg HUS?

    It is almost always older kids.

    Something about this.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    Austin Bennett is running in 2018 to replace Senator Richard Pan who authored and championed SB277, a bill recently signed into law that removes personal belief exemptions, including religious objections, for vaccinations of school kids.

    One of his stated objectives is to. “Protect
    Children from forced vaccinations. Forcing vaccinations on children by the government is unconstitutional. The legal decision must be left to the rightful authority of parents”.

  • I. C. PETA_bait

    Please David be mindful of graphics — the poor Guernsey cow in that photograph obviously is emaciated…either chronically ill or nearly starved! Why would we want to bring out questionable props like that poor old rack-of-bones cow if we aim to convince non-believers we are in the right? It’s as if we are incriminating ourselves as we protest. Surely some in the raw milk community have more cow-sense and common-sense than this, David? Are you not able to make the distinction yourself? Don’t hesitate to get help when you need it if you aren’t at all familiar with domesticated livestock.

  • Gordon S Watson

    PETA_bait? one immediately wonders if the “bait” part is a Freudian slip? … I see “Troll-bait”
    if you have the cow-sense to which you allude, you oughta be able to C that that cow in the photo is “thrifty” but in perfectly OK condition

    • Gordon S Watson

      The dangers of ‘salad juice’

      citation from peer-reviewed journal at the bottom

      Gone are the days when people thought the only salads that led to food poisoning were egg and potato salad. Leafy greens can now harbor pathogens as well : green salads are now “the second most common source of outbreaks of foodborne illness”. The danger lies, however, not so much in fresh greens straight from the field, but in packaged pre-torn salad greens. 
 The source of the contamination is varied and includes “animal or insect contacts, soil, contaminated irrigation and wash waters, and nonhygienic equipment and human handling.”
 As more farmers sell pre-cut packaged lettuce at their market stalls and in CSA boxes, hygienic salad preparation becomes a critical issue

      Farmers can work to reduce exposure to pathogens by basic hygiene of farm workers, using clean wash water ( pathogens can be spread by recycling wash water) and ensuring only well-composted manure is used when growing salad greens. After harvest, however, the culprit is “salad juice”, the liquid that comes from cut or damaged salad greens, including the drops of liquid that come from cut stems.

      If disease–causing organisms are present on the greens, the salad juice makes the problem much worse. The researchers looked at salmonella on cut, packaged greens and found that salad juice helped the bacteria spread throughout the package and even stimulated the pathogen’s growth. They found that “salad juice exposure also helped the salmonella cells to attaché to the salad leaves so strongly that washing could not remove them.” Another study found a similar effect with E. coli. The juice also helped the bacteria stick to the packaging. 

      To reduce the growth of the pathogens, the researchers recommend “refrigeration after harvesting and rapid processing and packaging in a modified atmosphere containing reduced oxygen levels.,” but add “despite all these efforts, salad-associated infections still occur.”

      Farmers can find other solutions by avoiding the accumulation of salad juice. Selling head of lettuce rather than pre-cut greens and minimizing damage and cutting of leaves can help reduce the risk.

      Source : Salad leaf juices enhance Salmonella growth, fresh produce colonization and virulence.
      Giannis Koukkiddis, Richard Haigh, Natalie Allcock, Suzanne Jordan and Primrose Freestone.
      Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2016. Volume 83, issue 1, e02416-16, pp: 1-13

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    I agree with Gordon… there is nothing wrong with the cow her coat is clean and she looks perfectly healthy for what I presume is a grass fed dairy cow.

    If you want grass fed milk don’t expect your cows to look slick and fleshed out like the ones that are fed a daily diet of grain ration. In fact this cow in the picture is likely much healthier and will live longer then the ones that are fed excessive amounts of a grain ration and who thus tend to accumulate fat in and around their liver, leading to a condition known as fat cow syndrome.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    IC Peta Bait,

    You are new around here. Who are you? Why don’t you use your real name?The one your mom named you when you were born.
    That cow by the way is just fine. She is not immaciated. I agree she is efficient.

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    ““The motto of Greenhouse is: ‘Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.’” What it signifies is “that the influence of money on our government isn’t a partisan issue. Whether Democrat or Republican, we should all want a political system that is independent of the influence of big money and not dependent on endless cycles of fundraising from special interests… “In the last 5 years, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support – earning a return of 750 times their investment.””

  • mark mcafee mark mcafee

    Here is powerful evidence of: paradigm shift, possible surrender and probable bewilderment.

    I was approached by the Chief Executive of one of the largest conventional dairy coops in CA yesterday. I am not going to mention the name or expose the relationship for obvious reasons.

    That person requested that I speak at an upcoming board meeting to brief them on why the raw milk niche is on fire with buzz and sales and conventional is struggling or worse.

    I was both honored and shocked at the same time. What does this mean…?

    The CEO is smart…yes
    The Coop has finally over come its old guard and the young blood wants to know more…yes
    Dollar voting is extremely powerful and speaks very powerfully….yes.

    My message to them when I speak will be, not to go organic or raw. They do not have the DNA, systems or mechanics to do it. My message to them will be to stop cannibalizing one another and start cooperating. Build a ” quota supply management system” that is good and tight. Be a little more like Canada so the milk markets are not chronically over supplied and farmers can sustain themselves. Dairymen are each others worst enemy in their current over supplied Milk Pool system.

    I am still in shock that a huge dairy coop wants to officially hear from a branded organic raw milk guy.

    This is a sign of massive change. I am very honored to see this starting to happen.

    Wow…..what can I say???

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    The irrational twitterpated psychopathic idiot in the Whitehouse is screwing Farmers. Mexico has sought other trade partners to feed itself. Now trade has been lost and US farmers can not sell their products and prices are falling further.

    All I ask is that in 3.25 years, we at least elect some one with basic mental health requisites to be our president. This insecure whacko can not restrain himself from twitter and is totally addicted to retribution and striking back at anyone that does not kiss his raw royal ring or his ass.

    I would take Pence over this jerk any day. Now that is a really a desperate admission.

  • Gordon S Watson

    aaahhh!…. now he’s at the next stage in the Twelve Steps to recovery : “bargaining”. Mark McAffee showing signs of progress from Trump Derangement Syndrome

  • Blesse'd are the Cheese Makers

    Observation —

    Today is June 23 and there have been 25 posts on this particular feed compared to the usual 100 or so. I am seeing a trend here as folks grow weary of McAfee’s whiny, far left rants. Soon, there will only be about 12 to 15 posts on here, and they will all be by Mark McAfee.

    Mark. You’ve got to move on, son. Trump is living in your head, rent free and it is making you sick.

    Just look at the Georgia special election where the Democrats were once again (in their own echo chamber) going to come back and show Trump a thing or two. And they LOST once again.

    Lots of folks in this country. Most of them don’t agree with the far left folks like Nancy Pelosi, Chuckie “Cry Baby” Schumer, Hollywood Nutflakes and Mark McAfee.

    Go milk some cows, Mark, and give it a rest.

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