Will Sick W.VA Joke Hamper Other Raw Milk Initiatives?


West Virginia legislator Pat McGeehan looking sick on his office couch–sickness some media attributed to raw milk, and others attributed to a stomach bug circulating among legislators.

Days after West Virginia became one of the most anti-raw-milk states to reverse itself and allow herdshares, news reports began appearing that legislators who had helped pass the legislation were sick from drinking raw milk.

In a television news scene that looks as if it was choreographed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a West Virginia legislator, Pat McGeehan, lies on his office couch, eyes closed with his hand on his head, bemoaning his stomach bug.

Except if you listen to what McGeehan says, he doesn’t blame the “small sip” of raw milk he took.

Nor, if you read other articles that have appeared, do additional legislators. The articles suggest that legislators who didn’t drink the raw milk given out last Thursday to celebrate the passing of the herdshare legislation have also been getting sick from a stomach bug going around among the legislators. Says one report: “Some lawmakers were sick before Thursday and did not drink the milk, including House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha County, House spokesman Jared Hunt noted.”

I wouldn’t have even bothered to write about this flimsy report, except that the timing is curious. Consider these related developments:

  • Legislation allowing herdshares is pending yet again in Maryland, and this time, after any number of previous tries, it looks as if it has a shot at enactment. Not only are many legislators in favor of it, but the Maryland Department of Health is, for the first time, not opposing the legislation. Maryland, of course, is in the FDA’s back yard, yet it is inching ever closer to allowing availability.  The one remaining obstacle appears to be the chairman of the legislative committee who has long blocked herdshare legislation from coming to a committee vote, Peter Hammen. He didn’t answer my request for comment.
  • Legislation allowing herdshares is inching along in Massachusetts as well, after several false starts in previous years. Massachusetts has long allowed raw milk sales from the farm by licensed dairies, but herdshare legislation would legalize distribution from very small dairies that don’t want to formalize their operation to the extent required to obtain a raw milk permit.
  • Legislation that would allow raw milk sales from local farms is up again for consideration in New Jersey, a state that has long banned all raw milk sales and distribution. Its prospects aren’t clear.

It’s difficult to believe that the yuck-yuck stories emerging from West Virginia about legislators falling like flies from raw milk just appeared by accident. There’s mention in a few of the stories about an unnamed informant attributing the illnesses to raw milk. There’s usually a context to stuff like that, and I’d say the recent spate of raw-milk legal initiatives in the East is the context for the sick-legislator stories.

Nonetheless, raw milk activists in a number of states with pending legislation are now terrified that the West Virginia incident, as flimsy as it seems to be, could be used by opponents in the dairy industry, and their paid lackeys, as an excuse to derail initiatives currently moving along. You see, the opponents don’t have evidence of recent illnesses in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey to do their usual fear-mongering. So they seem to have concocted this West Virginia thing in hopes of impeding the rapidly falling last few anti-raw-milk dominoes.

25 comments to Will Sick W.VA Joke Hamper Other Raw Milk Initiatives?

  • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

    It will be interesting to see where all this rhetoric leads us.

    Richard Moskowitz M.D. states, “The myth that we can find purely technical solutions to all human ailments seems attractive at first, because it bypasses the problem of healing, which is a genuine miracle in the sense that it can always fail to occur. We are all authentically at risk of illness and death at every moment: no amount of technology can change that. Yet the quixotic mission of technomedicine is precisely to change that: to stand at all times in the front line against disease (illness), to attack and destroy it whenever and wherever it shows itself”. If indeed it has shown itself…
    Emphasis in brackets is mine.

    • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

      I should have included these follow up words by Dr. Moskowitz to the paragraph above, “Quite apart from the truth or untruth of these claims, they exemplify the smugness and self-righteousness of a profession and a society that worships its own ability to manipulate and control the processes of Nature itself.”

      • Ingvar Ingvar

        Call this “the curse of credentials.”

        It falls in line with the old saying that if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
        Moskowitz says: “Worships its own ability to manipulate and control…” This worship is the switch (think of a railroad) that has put a whole entire train on a downward direction, more and more blind, more and more wrong. And finally, just plain wrong. And that means useless. And that means, economically, bankrupt, or, garbage.

        We need credentialing processes. It is not enough. The credentialing process is corruptable. Look at the main stream media, they are the credentialed current events information purveyors, molding and forming public opinion, and by that, choosing elected officials, and by that, creating statutes.

        Look at Warren Meyer’s (coyoteblog.com) category “Trend That Is Not A Trend.” The subtle deceit of the MSM is laid out there. Untoward decisions at the societal level are made because of this. Untoward but for a few well-placed elite scoundrels who can engineer matters to their own benefit, the commonweal (Lazarus, you know) be damned. This is exactly what James Madison laid out in the Federalist No. 62. Exactly.

        When you discover real competence, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

        Credentialed or not credentialed, we need the competent.

        But the pasteurizers and homogenizers of commerce and initiative are death to civilization.

        Have a nice day!
        Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

        [posted March 13th, 2016 at 1710 hrs PDT (1210 UTC 3/14/2016)]

    • Ingvar Ingvar

      Thanks, Ken Conrad!

      What Moskowitz said. God bless Moskowitz.


  • Suzanne

    I have been drinking raw milk for 10 years and have never been sick from it. I guarantee that congressman’s sickness was from a stomach bug going around and not the raw milk, always the scapegoat. WV should ask for help from Joel Salatin or Sally Fallon if they need help with raw milk. So should any of the other states.

  • Gary

    Does anyone believe the media anymore? Yes, too many; but, we are winning the battle, one skirmish at a time. Lets hope the actions in West Virginia gave John Sheehan heartburn, or shingles, or something.

  • Mark Mcafee Mark Mcafee

    Prior to the WV vote, during the hearings, RAWMI Listed producers were engaged by the WV health department to assist in the understanding of raw milk safety. Yes….progress is being made.

    More and more….smart people in governemnt are beginning to read the research and respect the will of informed and educated people. It is just a matter of time, persistence, patience and hard work.

    RAWMI has producers from WV that have been in contact that are interested in safety. I know of no producer that wants illness for their consumer. Health, strength through nutrition, immunity and happiness is the goal. As hundreds if not thousands of conventional dairies collapse this year….it will be raw milk that feeds America and the world going forward ( at least on the fluid side ). Pasteurization will have indeed been a 100 year phenomenon of the human experience. It did good until it didn’t. It also destroyed the family farm by elimination of value and market differentiation. Raw milk gains value by the innate efforts of the farmer and the conditions afforded the cows on the farm. Processors take all of that away.

    In a recent presentation at the NFU last week, a farmer and author noted that some products have lost their “social license”. In other words, through a combination of production practices ( CAFO )or lack of food value, or negative environmental impact….consumers will stop buying products. Skim milk is a real example. The science says….the fat is good. Pasteurization is losing its “social license”.

    Congrats to WV….it took years of work and now it paid off. Now the work begins to win broad social license and bring health. It appears that the good senator needs more raw milk in his diet….not just a few sips. It is the consumer that drinks plenty, that resists the bug that everyone else gets.

  • D. Smith D. Smith

    Whose idea was it to serve raw milk to the Legislators? If you can find the answer to that question, you’ll find out why this happened. You’ll have to find out whose idea it was ORIGINALLY, however. The timing is very, very suspect.

  • Jim

    The main argument used by the FDA against the legalization of raw milk and herdshares is that raw milk is “inherently dangerous”. Here is a quote from the testimony of the FDA’s John Sheehan: “Raw milk is inherently dangerous”. And because raw milk is inherently dangerous, John Sheehan draws the conclusion that “Raw milk should not be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason.”

    The Supreme Court describes vaccines as “unavoidably unsafe” which means that vaccines are also inherently dangerous.
    Since vaccines are inherently dangerous, the logical conclusion that the FDA would have to draw is that “Vaccines should not be given to anyone, at any time, for any reason.” (Logic 101)

    Blame Game

    If someone falls ill and they recently drank raw milk, then raw milk is automatically indicted as the cause without any question and without any proof – because – raw milk is “inherently dangerous”.

    If an infant or child screams in pain at the top of their lungs for hours or even days immediately after receiving vaccines, it is a coincidence.

    If an infant or child has seizures immediately after receiving vaccines, it is a coincidence.

    If an infant or child dies shortly after receiving vaccines, it is a coincidence.

    If an infant or child regresses into autism after receiving vaccines, it is a coincidence.

    If someone comes down with the flu shortly after getting a flu shot, it is a coincidence.

    But the FDA would have to draw the same logical conclusion when evaluating all of these – the vaccines caused all of these outcomes without any question and without any proof – because – vaccines are inherently dangerous.

    Looks like the FDA needs to alter its flimsy indictment of raw milk as being the cause without any question and without any proof or otherwise needs to similarly indict vaccines because both have been deemed as “inherently dangerous”.

    • bora petski

      Spinach is inherently dangerous, so why is it still legal? How the heck does spinach contain glass unless it’s from the handling process, not the farming and growing of it? It wouldn’t be because Nestle has a team of lawyers that the FDA can’t afford to take on would it? Now transpose that to the raw milk world.

      Just a reminder as to why you should buy your foodstuffs from local markets and farm stands that you can visit in person and trust.


      • D. Smith D. Smith

        Many things are “inherently dangerous” although none moreso than raw milk, according to the fda. This is the same agency who, for example, approves Pepsi and Coke. Zero nutritional value, loaded with sugar. Diet sodas are even worse but they approve those, as well. If people were touting Coke and Pepsi as health foods, I wonder if those products would be receiving the same type of treatment as raw milk. But, of course, no one is going to tout them as health foods because everyone, including the fda, knows better than that. Still, Coke and Pepsi remain on the market.

        True story: there was a guy (about 350 lbs) in the town where I grew up who LITERALLY pickled himself by drinking so much Pepsi – and that was about 40 years ago. But it’s still on the market. Why? I don’t know. God gave me lotsa charm and good looks, but he drew the line at psychic ability, and that’s what it would take to understand how the fda works (or doesn’t work).

        And that’s just one example of something that shouldn’t be allowed in the food chain.

  • Realist

    If the farmer who had supplied the milk had a track record of test results, published on the internet as many RAWMI-listed farms do, then this would provide better proof that this farm did not cause the outbreak. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call, that testing milk samples and having testing standards is vital in disproving the myth that “raw milk is dangerous.”

    What farm did this milk come from? I suggest that they have a moral duty now to disclose their identity and get independent testing done on their products, because this “outbreak” gives everyone a bad name and could set back the raw milk movement for some time. We all need to see evidence that “it was not the milk.” And if it WAS the milk, then they should invite in Mark to help them identify the cause of the contamination and give them remedial RAWMI training.

    • D. Smith D. Smith

      @ Realist: It wouldn’t make an iota of difference if people in high places knew the testing/safety stats. I’ve now had time to read several accounts of this story, and most if not all of the legislators who were interviewed said that the flu has been running rampant around The Hill for a couple of weeks, and most of them felt the milk had nothing whatsoever to do with them feeling/becoming ill.

      Apparently the mainstream media is overlooking that part of the story to a great degree.

      That’s why I mentioned above that the timing in all of this is very suspect.

  • Funny to see Pat McGeehan’s picture being used to illustrate the “illness.” I met him while he was campaigning for office. My take was that he is a true liberty person. All for raw milk and the freedom to ingest what we choose to nourish our bodies.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      I had the feeling from the video that it was almost as if he was play-acting, that the TV people perhaps had suggested he do the interview lying down if he wasn’t feeling all that well. He’s all dressed up in shirt and tie and dress shoes, so he’s clearly not all that sick. Weird.

  • D. Smith D. Smith

    I don’t understand why some of the comments don’t show up. I made a post here over 3 hours ago and it still isn’t posted.


    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      D, we’ve been having some hiccups with the comments. We’re trying to straighten out. Should gradually get back to normal.

  • JHeckman

    Back in the 1940’s as a way to promote the pasteurization movement deceitful magazine articles appeared. For example, Coronet magazine May 1945 page 84 began and article with a big headline “Raw Milk Can Kill You”. The article is about some big outbreak of disease from raw milk in “Crossroads USA”. But there is not such town as “Crossroads”. It was a fabricated story. Shortly thereafter, Readers Digest and other magazines ran similar stories highlighting the dangers of raw milk.

  • Mark McAfee Mark McAfee

    Just want to share a little about one day in the life of a mentor at RAWMI. I took calls today from an Amish cow share in a mid western state. They hand milk and their church refused to let them use chlorine or other chemicals to clean their milk systems. Yet…. They have applied to RAWMI and want help.They started testing and found Listeria M in their raw milk samples. They shared with me that their conditions are horribly muddy because of the unrelenting rain.

    Where does a person start when speaking to a person from a different world.

    Not a bad world …. Just a different earth connected one.

    Advice…don’t test unless you are prepared to address the results of the tests. They started asking the hardest questions of all… Do we share the results of the tests with their cow share ?

    My advice, the owners of the cows deserve to know what is actually happening with their cows and milk.
    Attempting to assist someone that is so far removed yet conscious enough to care is a real mental exercise for me.

    My advice…. Perhaps the young pregnant women at their church should not drink the milk until it tests clear of LM.

    Their tests cost them hundreds of dollars. They do not know the first thing about things we take for granted.

    This is what humanity is all about. It is as much about respecting an older culture and yet looking at the possibility that perhaps the entire closed congregation is immune to good and bad bugs alike. Who am I to judge their immunity? Yet…try to help in a way that helps and does not disrupt their culture and community. Buyer be ware…. The bacteria counts are unknown cause they do not test. When they do, surprise… it is a house of conflict with calls going to RAWMI.

    Perhaps this is a message to all the consumers all over America that order from the Amish. Be aware of the complete conflict of immunity and culture.

    Just a day in my life. Thought I might share.

  • Beware the headlines. The do not tell the story…they sell the story.

  • as for the Amish-folk getting the test results : tell them to confer with Romans 8:28. And don’t just read half that verse, as the pulpit parrots always do. Point being : these people are ready to move on up in maturing as Christians … confronted with the discrepancy between the Law of our God, versus doctrines of men. This will work out alright for them.
    …. If the Amish – and others – prefer to separate demselves from da world, according to “Friendship with the world is enmity to God”, fine. But you cannot have it both ways = operating in commerce using the specie of the usurers – Federal Reserve System – meanwhile holding out they’re “holier-than-thou” for the sake of closed Covenanting.

  • Paula

    I have been drinking raw milk for 8 years ,my new partner is a dairy farmer his farm is AAA and exceptionally clean ,I have several health issues along with a stomach ulcer and have never had any ill effects if anything I think my health has improved since drinking his milk ! ?

  • This report on the illnesses was so poorly done, a new article also points out it was an anonymous tip was involved to boot.


  • Sorry, by this report, I mean the media’s reporting on this entire incident, not this particular article. Any hope of ever getting an edit feature on your blog comments David?

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