The media in recent months have been full of articles about raw milk. While many of them now quote proponents of raw milk, the writers color the articles heavily with fear mongering, like this from the Chicago Tribune. Even those written by supposed raw milk drinkers, like a smarmy one in The Atlantic, talks about raw milk containing “a rogue’s gallery of bugs.”
I just kind of shrug at most of these as reflecting the long-held bias of the media in favor of officialdom. I figure many of these publications are on their way to extinction anyway, and I know it’s in significant measure because they are so far out of touch with the marketplaces they supposedly serve.
But the reporting of the Minneapolis Star Tribune about three illnesses attributed to raw milk from the Hartmann Dairy Farm takes the anti-raw-milk fear mongering to a new level of insidiousness.
I wrote in my previous post how the Minnesota Department of Health issued an announcement saying illnesses had been “traced to raw milk” from the Hartmann dairy. Just to confirm the agency’s unbiased position, the next heading in the announcement stated, “Consumers warned against consuming unpasteurized products.”
Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune came out with an article headlined, “Raw milk farmer Michael Hartmann has rebel history.” The subheading: “E. coli investigators are focusing on Minnesotan Michael Hartmann, described as anti-government.”
Next you learn that the Star Tribune has three reporters assigned to write the article. This is big-time coverage by any newspaper. For businesses under tremendous financial pressure, as the Star Tribune and all big-city papers are, this is a huge commitment of resources.
The way they report the story tells us of the cozy relationship between officialdom and the media. “State officials said Thursday that the investigation of his dairy is continuing but said they have little doubt it produced the raw milk containing a deadly strain of E. coli.” In other words: We’ve got inside sources, and they tell us exclusively, we’ve got our man.
But what’s even more damaging is to learn what kind of man. We already know from the heading he is “anti-government.” That could mean a lot of things–anything from encouraging overthrow of the government to being pro-Republican and anti-Democrat.
But the strong suggestion is it’s more likely the former, when the article says, “He has kicked inspectors off his property, refused to tell a judge his name in court and asserted he is a ‘natural man’ with a constitutional right to raise and sell food without government interference.”
There are two very telling points in the article. First, there’s this: “Randy and Kathy Ahlbrecht run a nearby dairy farm and have known the Hartmanns for decades. She described Michael Hartmann as a generous, church-going man who is always fighting the government…”
Consider this: When does a team of newspaper reporters go questioning neighbors about the subject of an article? Let’s see. Terrorist cases. Child molestation cases. Spousal murder cases. Typical quote in those cases: “He seemed so normal.” Or “He was very quiet, kept to himself a lot.” No matter what people say, the message is the same: this is a very serious case and the target is a creep.
Then there’s this observation: “As that case ground through the courts, the Agriculture Department discovered the dairy selling its raw M.O.M.s milk out of a truck in an Excelsior parking lot in 2004. This time, it was Hartmann’s brother, Roger, who was caught in a sting operation, but when the case was presented to Hennepin County prosecutors, they declined to file charges,..Kassenborg said she doesn’t know why the case was dropped, but said the sale of raw milk wasn’t considered a big problem then…”
Implied messages: Raw milk is now “a big problem.” In fact, the message is much more alarming than that, as in: Public officials had an opportunity to get this creep, and they were lax on the job, and now look what he’s done.” Sounds like we should fire the prosecutor and launch a special investigation.
There’s lots more troubling material in this article, such as the bit about Hartmann having demanded to know why a feedlot inspector wanted to conduct an inspection (is that an unreasonable request?) and chickens “defecating” in the milk parlor (awful, why can’t the chickens use toilets, like people).
WI Raw Dairy Consumer got the message clearly (before softening) that what we have here is “a conspiracy theorist and whack job.”
Hartmann’s main error, if it can be called that, was refusing to be interviewed by a reporter (or maybe by three reporters). Could it be he was advised by his lawyer not to speak publicly? I’m not sure there’s anything he could have said to have answered the reporting team, but I’m certain they appreciated him not commenting, since it gave them totally free reign to put together their package depicting lax prosecutors letting a sociopath run free to poison people with contaminated milk.
Fortunately, lots of people now see through such questionable media tactics, as is apparent in many of the comments following the Star Tribune article. And it helps explain why lots of people are foregoing the major media for other news sources.
By early today, Hartmann and his lawyer had composed a statement that read in part:
Michael Hartmann and his family have taken great care for more than 15 years to provide wholesome and nutritious products to private individuals who choose to consume his farm natural foods, produced without dependence upon pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, or genetically modified grains.
“The family had not received any information from any consumer about concerns, or allegations of E. coli. contamination of any food product until the farm was subjected to the execution of a search warrant by the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health. Aided by the Sibley County Sheriff and eight armed deputies, the department officials seized samples of milk, cleaning water, waste barrel contents, and manure, along with copies of records of customers, phone numbers, and delivery sites.
“No results of sample testing have been released to the family. When the results are made available, everyone will be better able to understand the identification of any bacteria and its source.
“The Hartmann family is seriously concerned for the health and welfare of the individuals who became ill. The family would be surprised to be found the source point for these illnesses and looks forward to the opportunity to review any evidence the State may have.
“While the family received a copy of the search warrant, it has been unable to obtain a copy of any affidavit or testimony provided to the Judge to support the issuance of that search warrant. The family has only been able to contact two of the individuals reportedly diagnosed with E. coli Illnesses. Of these two, one is not a customer, and the other has denied consumption of raw milk product. The family is continuing its efforts to identify the remaining consumers who became ill. Of course, this task would be easier if the State disclosed the names of the complainants or the content of reports of product consumption.
“The Hartmann family requests that its farm not be pre-judged by the media. Please be aware that farm producers, and particularly those who engage in the private sale of raw milk to individuals who make that choice, have been the subject of intense investigations and enforcement actions in a number of states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.”
Sounds like a real creep, huh. A creep who asks to be considered innocent till proven guilty, and who expresses concern about people who became ill.
It may be that the illnesses will be traced to the Hartmann dairy. What then? I’d normally say the legal and regulatory systems should take their course. The problem is that we won’t be able to trust the systems at that point. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has intentionally stirred up a cloud of fear and suspicion, not only for consumers but for public officials already accused of being lax in going after a small farm that sells milk and other foods privately to eager buyers.
You have to wonder if this is where the anti-raw-milk forces are going, having failed to scare people away from drinking raw milk. Officially sanctioned witch hunts can do the job…unless the people see them for what they are.
It appears that this farmer sold milk other than on his farm – he broke the law. You may think the law stupid, but it is the law:
Minnesota Statutes 32.393 Limitation on Sale of Milk:
"No milk, fluid milk productsshall be advertised, offered or exposed for salefor the purpose of human consumption in fluid form in this state unless the same has been pasteurized and cooled this section will not apply to milk occasionally secured or purchased for personal use by any consumer at the farm where the milk is produced.
Minnesota DOH, is the best in the country at Epidemiology. If they have four E. coli cases and they linked it to this farmer, there is nothing more to argue about. They milk is his. The illnesses are his product. He should be reaching out to help the victims.
The questions you should be raising are how did E. coli get in the milk and why does it appear that he was selling the milk in violation of the law?
Do I think that Minnesota DOH is being more on top of this farmer than other businesses that poison their customers – I think the answer may be yes. But, the argument should not be that this farmer should get a free pass because he sells raw milk, it should be why is Minnesota DOH, not enforcing the law evenly.
This is a discussion I would have liked to have had with you. But, you seem more intent in creating a cult of victims.
Also, it is a good idea to keep chickens out of your milking area if you are producing raw milk for consumption as raw.
Bill Marler — what non-circumstantial evidence do we have right now that the milk was the culprit?
This is no different than most foodborne illness outbreak investigation – raw milk, pasteurized milk or something else. Again, you all should be asking the questions about how at least nine raw milk outbreaks have happened in the last six months? Instead, you let me do it:
And how reliable do we know this "fingerprint" method is? What studies are there that demonstrate its statistical relevance?
You are assuming an awful lot, Bill.
I agree that raw milk CAN be risky if it is not produced with the proper precautions. However, in states like WI and MN, where the Dept. of Agriculture is really just an extension of the big dairy processing industry, there are no precautions, at least officially. Some producers may take more precautions than others, but it means naught when the authorities decide that good producers should be punished for the screw-ups of the careless producers.
WI’s governor just vetoed a bill to regulate raw milk as a legal market, because of pressure from the big dairy processors. The bill was temporary and imperfect (while the issue was being studied further) but at least it established some kind of safety testing and recall protocol. Instead raw milk will remain an unregulated "grey market" commodity in WI. (Remember: incidental sales of raw milk on the dairy farm are not prohibited under WI law, and the demand for raw milk is only growing by the week, as it gets more and more media coverage.)
This is what your friends in the so-called "food safety" authorities have done, because of their subserviance to big dairy. I hold them as much responsible for these outbreaks as the raw milk producers themselves. It is entirely possible to have safe, legal, and regulated raw milk for sale, both on the farm and on grocery store shelves. (Grocery store, should, of course have stricter microbiological standards than on-farm sales)
California has done it, as have many European countries. Why can’t half of the U.S. states, despite incredible consumer demand? Do you think that big dairy has anything to do with it, Bill? Or are you just going to keep blaming advocates for raw milk because we don’t have big $$$ like the dairy processing corpoations do to create food safety standards and influence legislation & regulation?
I really do not believe that your agenda is food safety, Bill. I think you are more interested in sensationalized fear-mongering and self-promotion.
WI – why the "I really do not believe that your agenda is food safety, Bill. I think you are more interested in sensationalized fear-mongering and self-promotion. " Could I say the same to you that you under-represent the risks so you can sell your product? Think about it. Why would I spend my time telling people about the risks of drinking a product so they might not drink it? If they don’t drink it, they don’t get sick…. hmmm, how does that financially benefit me? "Self-promotion." I am not trying to sell a book – yet.
Now, back to CSI Minnesota. Again, I said above: "think about it this way, police investigators found the same genetic material at four different crime scenes – good evidence – but you still have to place the owner of the genetic material (e.g. the milk) at the crime scenes – I can only assume MN DOH did." The four different "crime scenes" are not the farm or his milk, they are the victims who became ill. And, when I was talking "the owner of the genetic material," I was talking about did the victims have contact with the milk. My point, that I must have badly made, is that you need to show that the four ill have the same PFGE genetic pattern AND came in contact with the milk, and have no other food or contact in common that likely caused their illnesses.
In my experience with MN DOH, they do not move on a case unless they have that nailed down. Like I said, if "Team D" says its this farmers milk, it is the milk. Case closed.
What does this mean: "The reality is that in most foodborne illness investigations, there are seldom PFGE samples of food found (people eat the food to get sick) or environmental samples. It happens, but rarely. Does not mean the food was not the cause, just that you do not have the "smoking gun.""
It sounds like you’re saying that you can blame a food without proving it was to blame. The spinach, romaine lettuce, and hamburger cases produced smoking guns. What’s so special about raw milk?
On the "Smoking Gun" – I have been doing Foodborne illness cases since Jack in the Box in 1993. You are wrong, most time (although better in the last few years) most time "spinach, romaine lettuce, and hamburger cases [do not] produced smoking guns". And, there is nothing "special about raw milk." In most of the dozen outbreaks I have been involved with, I recall only two that the milk and/or cow pies tested with the same PFGE as the victims. Does not mean the outbreak did not happen. You just have to rely on EPI evidence.
Some how people need to more clearly understand that "healthy terrain" applies not only to the cows but to the people’s bodies – and if per chance your body isn’t up to par because of your not healthy diet, or cancer treatment or aids, or some other immune depressed state, you don’t need to go phoning Bill Marler to get some money out of your diarrhea problem("suit-happy"Americans!!)! There is a few other options that are totally simple.
I had to use them the other day actually.
Last week my 11 month old got diarreah really bad, it was bloody and really burning his butt! I knew if I phoned the hospital they would pull ot the only tools they have- antibiotics & steroids (the very things that wrecked my health at one point!) and I was more scared to do that!
So I got the the best kind of Colloidal Silver you can get (INVIVE1100- a stable kind), a good brand of acidopholus and homemade yogurt, pure aloe vera juice and white oak bark to help the bowl inflamation – less that a day later he was fine
What did he have and why did he get it when no one else did? I don’t know. we all eat & drink the same grass-fed milk, meat and eggs. Some times my kids get to eating more starchy carbs than is healthy and I need to be more strict, maybe it’s part of still being a baby with out a strong immune system yet.
What ever it was, I know that you don’t have to freak out and give the public health people a reason to jump down "raw milk’s throat" but feed ezyme rich REAL foods and just keep some tried and true good-quality remedies always on hand!
Does any one else have knowlege of colloidal silver and probiotics working in food borne illness situations? I belive it personally("anecdotal evidence" – of course!) I think this blog might have people that have had experience with this!
I do not make any money from selling raw milk. I am simply a consumer of it.
However, I am involved with the dairy industry in other capacities, which is why I need to protect my identity because it is not something you are supposed to talk about if you are part of the dairy industry in WI ("don’t ask, don’t tell", kind of like gays in the military)
You, on the other hand, have made money from raw milk illness.
Now tell me, Bill, who is self-promoting? Who is really concerned about food safety?
I promote making raw milk SAFE. I do not think you are interested in making raw milk SAFE, because that would mean you are out of a job. You are interested in promoting FEAR.
Regarding money. I have made most of it off of the corporations that you rage against. Raw Milk is a "drop in the bucket." I actually support smaller, sustainable agriculture, and raw milk may well be a part of that. However, I do not support people, like many here on this blog, who put their heads in the sand or cry victim to justify their continued desire to not change. This really is not different than the corporate bad behavior of Cargill and Con Agra.
Your faith in PFGE analysis is not supported by facts.
For those people who believe that two samples of bacteria can be definitely identified by a comparison of their "fingerprint",please read the following .
"The key point of RFPs in general and PFGE specifically is that while the data infer genetic relationships between isolates, they do not necessarily represent true genetic relationships "
No defense of the PFGE analysis?
"Qui non negat fatetur" "He who does not deny,admits."
If you come back for one last look…I think you missed my point.
You said, "the argument should not be that this farmer should get a free pass because he sells raw milk…"
I never argued for a "free pass." Quite the contrary. I allowed in my previous post that his milk could well be the source of the pathogen, and moreover, that someone who didn’t drink the milk could have contracted E.coli 0157:H7 from a family member who had drunk the milk. I am very much open to the possibility the pathogen came from this milk.
What I argued in this post is that Michael Hartmann was not only being convicted by the media before all the testing was completed, but that he was being portrayed via highly suggestive reporting and writing techniques as quite dangerous, possibly treasonous ("anti-government"). Once again, that’s not the same as wanting to give him a free pass.
Have you ever seen the media portray any other food producer (i.e. fast foods, raw spinach, ground beef) suspected of selling tainted product in anything like this way, based on incomplete testing and investigation? If so, I’d love to see the examples.
I sense you appreciate what’s going on here when you say, "Do I think that Minnesota DOH is being more on top of this farmer than other businesses that poison their customers – I think the answer may be yes." I’m saying this point is more important than you may allow. A media smear of the kind that has occurred here, with the aid of a government regulatory body, is serious business, but seems to be okay if we’re talking about a producer of raw milk. As a lawyer, I would think you’d give more credence to the concept of "innocent till proven guilty."
This is especially interesting — "The key point of RFPs in general and PFGE specifically is that while the data infer genetic relationships between isolates, they do not necessarily represent true genetic relationships (6). Differences in RFPs indicate that isolates are genetically different, but the true degree of the genetic distance separating these isolates cannot be determined from RFPs. In contrast, similarities in RFPs do not necessarily mean that isolates are genetically similar. As the number of REs included in PFGE increases, the correlation between RFP similarity and true genetic similarity is likely to increase (6). However, the conclusions drawn from any molecular study must be put in the context of the other information associated with the isolates. The strength of isolate identity is greatest when epidemiologic data support point source or common elements of dissemination. Because of the high degree of subjectivity involved with the interpretation of RFPs, the user must carefully and thoughtfully select the conditions and techniques for performing, analyzing, and using PFGE fingerprints."
As far as I am concerned, owning a cow or part of a herd is legal everywhere and sharing/trading of ones food is acceptable in all cultures and religions as far as I know.
The laws and enforcement of the milk laws are good for the general public for the type of milk produced for the retailing of it. But some rationale consideration must be given to those who want to produce it for those that want and need the raw milk– as do many states and countries throughout the world. We should have zero tolerance for zero tolerance.
Has the complete genome for the current outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 been linked to a FLUID sample of Hartman’s milk? If not . . . . then there is no smoking gun. Unless all of the three illnesses can be linked (there is only one raw milk drinker at this time) – then other sources of the E. coli should be investigated. Anyone eat spinach, beef, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, chicken, been in a daycare setting, etc., etc. If you don’t have a positive E. coli sample in the milk – then this is not the vector = something else is.
Be honest, Bill – you have no smoking gun. (in Mary Stuarts case you always mentioned that the child not only drank raw milk but ate spinach as well. It makes me want to go HMMM . . . .) I understand the settlement but if it were myself – I would make you PROVE that the E. coli came from the milk which in the above case you could not do.
"It appears that this farmer sold milk other than on his farm – he broke the law. You may think the law stupid, but it is the law…"
Jim Crow laws were the law. Roosevelt interred the Japanese under cover of law. The original Boston Tea Party was against the law.
So…other than saying we are to acquiesce to unjust laws, shrinking back into slavery…what the hell is your point?
Bob BubbaBozo Hayles
This blog is correct about "big dairy." There is a desire to rid the industry of a small group of reckless people who taint the reputation of milk by putting children in the hospital and condoning illegal activities in order to sell raw milk.
Please see my posts. Unless you can link these illnesses to a positive E. coli O157:H7 DNA match – then there is no case.
Yes, I may be a farmer and raw milk drinker – but I do understand the science. If there is no E. coli O157:H7 DNA match in the FLUID milk (and I hope the Hartman’s have sent samples to a private lab for analysis) – then there is no case and you should look elsewhere for the source of the outbreak and send an apology to the Hartman’s and I hope they sue the appropriate parties for the loss of business over this witch hunt.
When Lykke and Marler are challenged they leave the blog. That certainly shows how interested they are in working together to get raw milk available to anyone who wants it.
Now we have Susan. She tells us that a small group of reckless people condone illegal activities.
As was pointed out earlier segregation was legal. Blacks and whites could not marry. By Susan’s logic african americans need to get to the back of the bus and any interracial couples should be arrested and jailed preferably for life.
The law may be the law but it is wrong and we are in the midst of an uprising that will give the people food rights. How many people can they arrest? All we need to do is get a few percentage points of milk away from big ag and the whole system will collapse. Their margins are so thin.
By exercising our right to civil disobedience we will ultimately win. As David said earlier go out and buy extra milk. Give it your neighbors and feed it to your children. Better health will result.
Remember Susan the only deaths in MA from milk products was from Pasteurized milk.
Please blow your CAFO claptrap in another direction.
Big dairy doesn’t really care about "reckless producers." They punish careful producers as well as reckless ones, in states where they have regulatory allies. Big dairy cares about control of the milk market. They do not want consumers connecting directly with dairy farmers.
The Dept. of Justice is currently looking into anti-trust issues regarding big dairy (a little late, don’t you think?) Raw milk falls exactly under this category.
btw, what is big dairy doing about the reckless contamnination of the pastuerized milk supply with sanitizers and antibiotics, by careless CAFO operators, or the reckless abuse and mistreatment of animals at factory farms? That is certainly hurting the image of the dairy industry, moreso than raw milk I dare say.
That’s the spirit.
Don’t forget raw yogurt, cheese and kefir.
Susan, etc have lost the war. They just don’t know it yet, grasping desperately and futility on old defunct beliefs and paradigms.
Big ag and dairy has injured more innocent children than can be counted.
Susan is desperate masquerading her opinions as fact. Also notice the name calling attacking people personally rather than discussing the issues.
"Miguel’s use of the the links and conclusions show he does not understand the science."
Susan,rather than attack us with name calling I would love to have an intelligent discussion concerning the science behind using PFGE "fingerprinting" to match bacteria samples from unknown origins.The conclusions were not mine,they were the conclusions of those microbiologists that did the research.
From my understanding,PFGE analysis is valid when,and only when,it is used to differentiate between strains of bacteria that are the result of the division of one original known cell.Since the analysis only compares fragments of some of the DNA,the assumption must be made that all of the genetic material not compared is identical.This is an example of public health departments using the wrong tool for the job.To actually compare the ecoli from a stool sample to ecoli found in the milk and say that they match is much more difficult and at this time an impossible task.
yes raw yogurt etc for sure !it’s so delicious.i used to love fage greek yogurt ,even though it wasn’t organic,but raw greek yogurt is even better !sorry fage .
and i agree with augie too. other countries,italy for instance , have much more acceptance and availabilty of raw milk. even vending machines .and no wonder.. italy the home of slow food, i think anyway.and such delicious and healthy food and i think i read italy is going all organic , maybe is wishful thinking, but they should know, such a wonderful food tradition.
This blog is much better when we are supporting each other and having intelligent discussion around the issues of food rights and freedom. I particularly find miguel’s posts fascinating.
I’m glad that we have not allowed a few malcontents hijack this blog.
haha, that was my first thought on seeing the post by Susan Smart. She sounds like a Big Dairy shill…
Wow, in previous posts his knowledge has been vast.
". Based on his logic, murderers and child abusers would be released from prison if DNA evidence was used to prove the case. "
And that does happen, more than the public realizes.
"The fact people on this blog blindly believe his statements without researching the issue"
And you know this how?
" confirms that raw milk afficionados are a bunch of quacks."
LMAO, name calling only proves you haven’t a leg to stand on, very childish of you.
"This blog is correct about "big dairy." There is a desire to rid the industry of a small group of reckless people who taint the reputation of milk by putting children in the hospital and condoning illegal activities in order to sell raw milk. "
Is there a reason to twist words? What causes you to become so defensive and obnoxious? Is it that people don’t agree with you? Who on this blog said they are "supporting" reckless people? I see debating isn’t your strong point.
Has a fluid sample of Hartman’s milk tested positive for E. Coli?
Bill makes money by scaring insurance companies and settling cases.
He wins based on Epidemioligic evidence….he does not need smoking guns.
The win will come from farmers taking food safety and specialized raw milk production very seriously and also….making the effort to research and teach about the medical claims and medical applications of raw milk.
If raw milk makes a few people sick every year.,….but also cures or prevents tens of thousands of killer diseases every year…this conversation will change pretty damn quick.
And if it did test positive,the question becomes" Are these diagnostic tools(PFGE) reliable and are they being used in the way that they have been intended to be used?Is there BIAS in the results as is suggested by the University of California’s research?These test results are not supported by any other epidemiological evidence that is conclusive.If there is good reason to doubt the tests then a lot of farmers have been falsely accused of having contaminated milk.This puts to doubt all of the circumstantial evidence such as statements that "Raw milk is inherently dangerous."
And for cp,Who will say that" people have gotten extremely ill after drinking raw milk,that is all the evidence required",Obviously they did many things immediately before they got extremely ill.Let’s look at those other things with the same approach as you take to looking at raw milk.
According to the statements here: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/95044099.html?page=1&c=y "But customers say they pay the dairy directly for the raw milk, which is dropped off at a customer’s home for pickup by other buyers."
So where is the proof that he is selling milk away from his farm? It takes up to 2 weeks for the symptoms to show up….seems if it was the milk, there’d be more than just 4 illness, oops one of the 4 wasn’t/hasn’t been linked yet, so there should be more than just 3…..
Why do the dairy farmers allow anyone to palace a specific $ amount on their milk? Is it like doctors allowing insurance companies/HMOs/PPOs etc to run their practices? what kind of way is that to run a business?
I read that the family was distraught. I looked up some synonyms to distraught: Beside yourself, out of your mind, hysterical, panic- stricken. Yes, distraught is how they are feeling. I still think the best description is living hell.
The timeline for where they are at today is difficult to calculate. I think the first news reports appeared last Wednesday. It takes a while to determine an outbreak. Kids get sick, a few days pass, the kids get worse and taken to the doctors or emergency room. If the doctor is concerned by the severity of symptoms a culture of a bowel movement will be taken. It takes 3 days to get the results of the culture. At this point, if it is positive for E.coli 0157:H7, it will be reported the states public health agency and the information will be uploaded to Pulse Net at the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/pulsenet/whatis.htm
I actually had the privilege of visiting the CDC and had a tour of their Pulse Net division. Our ability to track foodborne pathogens is mind boggling. Once two matching blueprints are identified in a short period of time, it indicates an outbreak. Local laboratories also have the capacity to look for matching blueprints. So, we dont know if a lab in Minnesota noticed a cluster of matching blueprints or if someone at the CDC found it. Either way, this is where state public health agencies go into action.
The next step is to determine the common source. What did these children consume or what high risk pathogen activities have they participated in? The questions are asked,
Have you been out of the country? Have you been swimming in a lake? Have you been to a petting zoo? Have you eaten a hamburger? Have you eaten leafy greens? Did you drink unpasteurized juice? And I assume they ask if you drank raw milk or consumed any raw milk dairy products. In our case, we were never asked this question. My husband told the doctor in the emergency room. The family will also be asked to list all the foods consumed a few days before the onset of symptoms.
As this is done with each of the sick children, a common source will appear. In this case it was raw milk. In other cases, it is hamburger, petting zoos, spinach, etcFrom the time a child becomes ill to the time the common source is identified, weeks can pass. For example, Chris went to the emergency room on September 7, but the OPDC recall didnt happen until September 21st, 14 days later. .
Now the search for the matching blueprint in the milk or on the farm begins. If weeks have passed since the illness began, the milk during that time period has been consumed. Testing the milk at the farm so far after the fact doesnt really mean anything if the pathogen isnt found. Remember, only a very small amount of E.coli 0157:H7 can cause an illness. One sloppy day on the farm and you can have contamination for that batch of milk. The next day could be perfectly fine. If the pathogen is found, it is usually an indication that the farm has not established a solid sanitary routine for its milking practices. The Dee Creek outbreak is an example of that.
Now finding the matching pathogen in the cows manure is just as tricky. If time has passed, the cow may not still be shedding the same blueprint. Miguel has commented extensively on this subject. E.coli bacterium multiplies and changes quickly. If the matching blueprint of the pathogen is found, luck was on the side of public health and the smoking gun was found. Just because the smoking gun was never found, doesnt mean the E.coli 0157:H7 wasnt in the milk. This is why epidemiological evidence along with a matching blueprint is so powerful.
In this case, 3 of the childrens families drank raw milk from the same farm and one childs didnt. Who has this child been playing with? Is it child whose family is part of the milk club? Secondary infections happen. Recently a child died from E.coli 0157:H7 because a child at a daycare center passed it to him. Also one or two of the children who died in the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak never ate the hamburger. They played with a friend who did. Also, someone can be a carrier and never have symptoms. It is a crazy pathogen. .
Based on the timeline above, Im guessing the child with HUS has been in the hospital for around 2 to 3 weeks. If that is the case, hopefully they are out of the danger zone for death. HUS is typically diagnosed on day 6-8 and it takes 10-14 days for the Shiga toxin to work out of the body. The next phase is waiting to see what permanent damage has been done to the kidneys. Then after the kidneys start working there is always a chance of seizures due to high blood pressure. This is actually typical and to be expected. When Chris had seizures, they referred to it as a bump in the road. It didnt feel that way as a parent because he had to be put back on a ventilator so that brain tests could be run. The kidneys regulate blood pressure. After complete renal failure, it takes a while for them to work properly. Hopefully this child only had kidney issues and was spared colon, pancreatic and brain issues.
Ive prayed for this family numerous times. Their lives will never be the same.
The assumption here is that there is a single point source of the ecoli 0157:H7.What if this assumption is false?If the PFGE analysis is questionable(and it definitely is),then the 4 cases cannot be reliably linked.I would ask questions like : have you or anyone in your family taken antibiotics recently?what food preservatives have you consumed?Do you drink chlorinated water?Have you been exposed to any bacteriacides or pesticides recently?If you have been swimming in a pool,did you swallow any water while swimming?Did you check the concentration of chlorine in the water?Have you been under severe stress for any reason?Are you taking any medications for chronic disease?As David mentioned there are many ecoli 0157:H7 infections each year.The majority of them cannot be traced to a point source.You seem to have great confidence in these laboratories finding "matching blueprints".Do you understand that they are misusing the test simply because they need a tool that can give them this "fingerprint".Even though they don’t really have any such tool,they use the closest tool that they can find.Their firm belief that there is a germ that was the cause means that they need to have a way to identify that germ.
Everyone has common ecoli in their gut.Common ecoli can become ecoli 0157:H7 whenever it needs to adapt to survive.If the gut environment is favorable it will reproduce and cause a problem.Swallow chlorine in too strong a concentration and you will eliminate the complex community of commensal bacteria that protect your gut from opportunistic bacteria like 0157:H7.The infection that results is not from a point source,it is not caused by a bacteria contaminated food that you ate.It cannot be linked to any particular source of bacteria.The bacteria came from your own gut because something damaged the protective community of bacteria.In the epidemiological investigation you need to ask questions about things that have the potential to damage the community of bacteria that normally protect the gut.Without asking these questions the epidemiological study is biased.If you asked these questions you might have a chance to learn what it was that started the imbalance that led to the infection.
Many factors regulate blood pressure, hormones control the response from the kidneys." A primary component of the renin-angiotensin system is ACE, or angiotensin converting enzyme, which converts angiotensin I, an inactive protein in the blood, to angiotensin II, a protein that constricts blood vessels." Breathing and even pain changes BP.
Bet they don’t boil their milk.
E. Coli is one of the most genetically manipulated organisms in bio-tech, so is it any surprise that this deadly strain started showing up? Factory farming practices are also responsible for its evolution.
The fact of the matter is, now that it exists, and since we live in a society with a large number of people with comprimised immune system and poor gut flora, raw milk producers need to take the problem of E. Coli 1057:H7 very seriously. Even healthy grassfed animals can be carriers of it. Minizimizing or eliminating grain can certainly reduce the risks and the population, but this is not enough to guarentee that it will not be present.
If Ecoli can transform itself in a cows gut, why couldn’t it do the same in a human’s gut?
It is no different than a cancer cell, a mutated ‘normal’ cell caused by faulty immune response and/or environmental response. With the increase consumption of processed foods, there has been a vast increase in GI problems along with a huge increase in ‘medication’ consumption, thus leading to more problems, a vicious circle.
"Not only is E. coli mutating within itself, it’s also claiming new genes from elsewhere."
"enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) known as O157:H7, appears to have acquired many of its genes by horizontal transfer since it diverged from K-12 about 4 million years ago. Horizontal or lateral gene transfer is a special talent of bacteria, which can exchange DNA within or across species lines. Such gene-swapping takes place through bacterial conjugation, when two bacteria join and share DNA; through the intervention of bacteriophages, or bacteria-infecting viruses; or through transformation, wherein they take up "loose" DNA from their environment. "
The entire system that has been setup in the US, Canada and various other countries around the world to track food borne illnesses is based on incomplete knowledge, fear and a narrow focus on the organism as the sole cause of disease, sickness or infection.
I happen to agree in large part with what migel is saying and I am quite certain that he in no way is he suggesting the victim is at fault. He is merely alluding to other factors involved in the disease process that officials fail to consider in order to broaden their understanding.
The information that migel is presenting is only dangerous to your integrity and the validity of your belief.
I do agree that the health authorities, and food safety people (like Bill Marler) are turning a blind eye to the root causes of E. Coli 0157:H7 — factory farms and bio-tech GMO manipulation. But the fact that one of our raw milk producers can be an intermediate vector is an issue we will need to start taking more seriously.
Dont underestimate the ability of organisms in our ecosystem. They are extremely complex protein structures with an adept ability to survive. The encoded information governing there survival process was established long ago by an intelligence far superior to current human knowledge.
I would think that it is highly probable that the e coli organism could have acquired a specific genetic ability to mutate into 0157 H7 at will given appropriate circumstances.
" Adaptive mutation is common in E. coli, say IU researchers"
"Biologists Patricia Foster and Jill Layton found that as E. coli cells begin to starve, the bacteria quadruple their expression of DNA Polymerase IV (Pol IV), a mutation-causing enzyme that is notoriously bad at copying DNA accurately. The culprit, the scientists discovered, is sigma-38, a stress protein that appears to activate expression of the Pol IV gene."
""We’ve known that bacteria respond to different kinds of stress by activating 30 genes or so," said Foster, who led the study. "We now know Pol IV is part of the response to starvation, which E. coli experience regularly during their life cycles. This polymerase may provide the bacterium with new properties that help them get out of difficulty by, for example, giving them the ability to use other food sources for growth.""
"Whenever bacteria reproduce(as often as every 20 minutes), they divide in two and must make a copy of everything inside them, including their chromosomes. E. coli’s DNA polymerases are replication enzymes responsible for making copies of the bacterium’s DNA. Among the bacterium’s suite of different DNA polymerases, Pol I, Pol II, and Pol III are extremely accurate, making exact duplicates, or near-exact duplicates, of the DNA they copy. Pol IV and Pol V, however, are remarkably error-prone, mutating the copied chromosome so that it differs in sequence from the original chromosome. Pol IV and Pol V are also known to be the only DNA polymerases that can get past DNA lesions, such as DNA damage ccaused by a traumatic chemical event inside the cell."
Ecoli are only responding to their immediate microclimate.They will respond to that microclimate similarily no matter that they are in the soil.,in or on a plant,in a cow or in a person.They also have access to genetic material from all the surrounding bacteria no matter what type of bacteria,through lateral gene transfer.This gene transfer can take place immediately,so the cell can change it’s DNA without waiting to replicate itself.
"Self-engineering capabilities of bacteria"
"We expect that such and other future experiments
will soon lead us to reverse the current notion of
bacteria as mere solitary and simple creatures with
limited capabilities, and recognize that bacteria are
cooperative beasts that lead complex communal lives
with rapidly evolving self-engineering skills (Ben-Jacob
2003; Ben Jacob et al. 2004; Ben Jacob & Shapira 2005).
We might even discover that the last five decades
evolution in bacterial resistance to antibiotic is largely
a result of their encounter with our socially irrational
massive use of antibiotic materials in agriculture and
I don’t disagree with you that bacteria are highly adaptable. What I’m saying is that the probability of O157:H7 being created in the human gut is extremely low. The evolution of O157:H7 is a response of E. Coli to acidic conditions in a cow’s rumin, among other things which we probably don’t even begin to understand. Genetic engineering of E. Coli bacteria in labs is also probably a big factor in introducing foriegn genes to the bacterial community.
""We accelerated evolution, generating as many as 15 billion genetic variants in three days and increasing the yield of lycopene by 500 percent," Harris says. "Can you imagine how long it would take to generate 15 billion genetic variants with traditional cloning techniques? It would take years."
The pathway the team refined plays a role in the synthesis of many valuable compounds, ranging from hormones to antibiotics, so the reprogrammed bacteria can be used for a variety of purposes. In addition, the MAGE platform itself unlocks new possibilities.
"We decided to engineer in the context of biology, embracing evolution rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole," says Church. "This automated, multiplex technology will allow labs to engineer entire pathways and genomes and take cell programming to a whole new level."
FIGURE 4. MAGE automation.
From the following article:
Programming cells by multiplex genome engineering and accelerated evolution
Harris H. Wang, Farren J. Isaacs, Peter A. Carr, Zachary Z. Sun, George Xu, Craig R. Forest & George M. Church
Nature 460, 894-898(13 August 2009)
BACK TO ARTICLE
a, Detailed schematic diagram of MAGE prototype including climate-regulated growth chambers with real-time cell density monitors (green), anti-fouling fluidics for transfer of cells between growth chambers and exchange of media and buffers (blue), and real-time generation of competent cells for transformation with synthetic DNA (yellow). Cultures are carried through different chambers at different temperature regimes (30 C, 42 C, 4 C) depending on the necessary MAGE steps (that is, cell growth, heat-shock, cooling). Cells are made electrocompetent by concentration onto a filter membrane and resuspension with wash buffer. Oligos are delivered into cells by electroporation. b, Step-by-step diagram of MAGE cycling steps at a total run time of 22.5 h per cycle. Owing to high voltage (18 kV cm-1) electroporation, approx95% of cells are killed at each cycle. Hence, the electroporation event serves to both introduce oligos into cells and to dilute the cell population, cells are then recovered and grown to mid-log phase (7 times 108 cells ml-1) in liquid medium for the subsequent cycle
What they are doing is growing cells,then exposing them to some stress(electric shock) in the presence of the pieces of DNA that they want them to take in.The stress makes the cells accept the new DNA in an attempt to adapt.The stress also reduces the number of cells that survive.Then they select out the cells that have characteristics that they want,grow them and repeat the process.All of these step are what happens naturally to bacteria in the environment.Genetic engineers are just managing these bacteria according to natural laws that bacteria follow.Sort of like the way we try to manage the cows for our own purposes but according to natural laws that we and they must follow.I doubt that we can think up or create any foreign genes that bacteria haven’t already thought up.
You cause more harm than you know by accusing raw milk advocates of blaming the victim.
Is it impossible for you to accept even the possibility that a healthy host is naturally protected? Or that a toxin imbibed by a host is relevant to that host’s response to bacteria? Or that a type of mass effect of bacterial reproduction and action rather than the mere presence of a small number of pathogenic cells causes disease? Or that the interplay between endogenous and exogenous bacteria can either protect or damage us? Or that opportunistic bacteria can morph into pathogenic forms when circumstances allow (or encourage) them to do so? Are these things, in your mind, simply not possible? Well, I can tell you that they are not only possible, but proven. It is nothing but dogmatic, and emphatically NOT compassionate, to pretend otherwise.
What do we know about the life cycle and ecology of pathogenic E. Coli?
I hope you will agree that there is a complex interaction between an organism and its enviroment. None of this can be reduced down to "its just the enviroment" or "its just the organism" that causes disease. Organisms have the ability to alter their enviroment, and vice versa. Much of it depends upon having critical populations (i.e. Staph Aureus is harmless until it reaches a certain population density)
I don’t want to ruffle any feathers here, but I’ve been thinking more and more that most of our children today are being raised in a CAFO environment. From birth, they are coralled into day care systems where they are fed inferior food starting with formula from birth. It is common today for kid’s to be placed on a "maintenance dose" of antibiotics just to get them through the winter. The majority have ear tubes in place due to chronic ear infections.
This in not normal! Why do we accept such poor conditions for our children?
On the farm, it is so easy to see the difference in health between an animal that is separated from its mother and raised on milk replacer and one that is raised naturally. The animals who are raised with their mothers on natural food are healthy and strong. The animals who are raised unnaturally might appear like they are doing okay, but they are the first ones to succumb to one thing or another and die.
You absolutely cannot fool mother nature. It does not matter if you are a cow, a duck, or a human. If your immune system is weak, you will suffer the consequences.
My question is, why do we have to search and destroy the farmers who bust their humps every day to produce our food? If Mary Martin wants to feed her kids sterile foods, that is her choice, but her solution is going to weaken their immune systems even further. I was horrified a few weeks ago when I was at a state park with my children and my young daughter bent down over the creek and scooped up a handful of water and drank it. (I assumed she knew better than that!) However, she did not get sick in any way.
If 99 people can consume any food without ill effects, but your son gets sick, it is because he is immunocompromised! It doesn’t mean that you are a bad mother, it means you better figure out quick how to build his immune system because if you don’t, he is going to be sickly and weak for the rest of his life, much like a confinement cow.
I do not want to upset Mary Martin in any way, but I am a Mamma Bear too. My kids are healthy and strong. They don’t wear glasses and they don’t have any cavities and I intend to do everything I can to keep it that way.
We live on a farm (our kids are exposed to "livestock and canine" germs daily:)
Our kids are the picture of health.
Both of our children drink raw milk – from cows that are on pasture, milked once a day and the calves are still on momma. There is no stress on this farm and the milk reflects this. The cows are of the Jersey breed – lots of omega-3’s here.
My daughter has NEVER had an ear infection ( she is 2 1/2 years old).
When we lived in Virginia prior to our move to a "raw milk friendly" state (see our blog – http://firstname.lastname@example.org) my son who was raised for his first six years consumed organic but pasteurized milk (we lived in Virginia where raw milk sales are technically illegal) – he had ear infections from the time he went to preschool until we moved up to Maine. Since we have given both our children raw milk – none of our children have had any ear infections,
I think Mary Martin should just go away. Although I am so sorry about what happened to her son, I do not think that her child was sickened with raw milk. If this was the case than so many, many more people would have been ill with Mark’s McAfee’s milk. No bugs were matched with Mark’s milk either.
I think her child was sick with a bug either picked up in the spinach he ate from the health food store or he may have even picked up the germ at his school. So many people drink raw milk now – it is just a "gotcha" if anyone gets sick – the blame is placed wrongly and the dairy farmer suffers the consequence.
When anyone out there buys milk in the "Raw" form I always recommend that a visit to the farm is in order to see how the husbandry of the animals is carried out. Steer clear from farms that take the babies away from the mom’s, smell of manure and have dirty cows (a grass or hay fed cow NEVER has runny stools) or milk more than once per day. Know your farmer.
Believe me when I say there isnt anything you could say to upset me. You cant top calling me a Propaganda Producing Child Exploiter. Someone on this blog called me that a few years ago; lovely group of compassionate people.
Bottom linepathogens are getting into raw milk. http://www.marlerblog.com/2010/05/articles/legal-cases/raw-milk-a-potentially-risky-elixir/
I ran a little test. I posted something describing what the child and family with HUS is probably going through. Wanted to see if anyone would show one once of compassion. Heck no! Same old bullshit! It wasnt the milk. If it was the milk, the child had a weakened immune system. The pathogen didnt cause the illness. The childs weakened body did. The focus is NEVER what went wrong at the dairy or how is the child and family doing.
I would like to mention that the rhetoric has changed since 2007 when I found this blog. Back then, everyone believed that if you drank raw milk you wouldnt become ill from a pathogen because you immune system would be strong enough to fight it off. I dont hear that tune anymore. Now it has changed to what have you been exposed to that made your immune system weak even though you were drinking raw milk.
WRMC, I appreciate the statements you are making about E.coli being in our food supply. It is a non issue how it got here. It is here and it is contaminating raw milk.
Im patiently waiting for people on this blog to talk about raw milk safety. Im sure Im being delusional and I must me a masochistic to keep posting here. However, my motives are pure. I want to prevent people from becoming ill from raw milk. Is anyone interested in coming up with a safety plan?
I feel so bad about your son – but as I have stated before – I don’t think he became sick from drinking raw milk. He was sick from either something he ate (perhaps the spinach) or even picked it up at school. Otherwise so many more people would have been sickened other than your son and a few other children during the "CALIFORNIA E-COLI SPINACH OUTBREAK".. Please place the blame where it belongs. Mark’s cows never showed positive for the germ that made your son sick.
Bill Marler got you a nice settlement (wrongly perhaps). Maybe you should think more clearly on where the blame should be placed. Perhaps you may never know where your son picked up his germ. So many 100,000’s to millions of people out there are enjoying the benefits of a "whole foods" diet and these people have never been sick.
Before you label me a "raw milk nut" please be warned that I HAVE seen my own son hooked up to machines and nearly lost him during his first few months of life due to severe Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (he was a pre ECMO baby). I was warned that after the medical drama was over (on supplemental oxygen for the first six months of his life with mulitple nebulized medications, etc.) that he would have a 90% chance of developing severe asthma. Only his "whole food" diet including "RAW MILK", no air conditioning (even when we lived in Virginia) and settling him on a Maine farm exposing him to multiple animal species and with plenty of fresh country air has kept him from developing asthma – he is 11 years old now.
Please take your complaints somewhere else. Raw milk has kept my son healthy. Your son’s health MAY have been caused by something else and not 100% positively from raw milk.
Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying.
Factory farming is responsible for the existnence of pathogenic strains of E. Coli. The best way to minimize the presence of pathogenic E. Coli would be to get rid of factory farms, stop feeding cattle grains, and stop bio-tech genetic engineering.
Trying to control it in specific food sources (such as ground beef, raw milk, or spinach) is only a band-aid solution. What I am arguing is that it is a neccessary band-aid to try to control it in raw milk. But this still fails to address the underlying causes of pathogenic E. Coli.
"Factory farming is responsible for the existnence of pathogenic strains of E. Coli. The best way to minimize the presence of pathogenic E. Coli would be to get rid of factory farms, stop feeding cattle grains, and stop bio-tech genetic engineering."
The US must go back to producing food locally without the above methods. Only then will the health of this country improve and our local rural economies recover from the decrease in small local farms over the last 60 years – due to increased regulations that fostered the creation of CAFO farms that have caused so much illness. Remember the mantra back in the 60’s and 70’s from the US Dept. of Ag was to "GET BIG OR GET OUT". Please see my posts several months ago.
Around 7 million small local farms must be created to improve our health.
WRMC, people who choose to consume raw milk are faced with the fact the deadly pathogens are out there and they are finding there way into raw milk. If a raw milk safety plan is called a band-aid solution, Im fine with that.
Idealism is nice, but sometimes life boils down to just being practical. IMHO, if you all want raw milk to be legal in every state, you need a solid safety plan. Is anyone ready to talk about that yet (I know Steve Bemis has)?
"Im patiently waiting for people on this blog to talk about raw milk safety. Im sure Im being delusional and I must me a masochistic to keep posting here. However, my motives are pure. I want to prevent people from becoming ill from raw milk. Is anyone interested in coming up with a safety plan?"
There are oodles of comments here dealing with milk safety, but if one believes, as you seem to, that the presence of a particular bacteria inevitably leads to illness, then you cannot see them. The sticking point, of course, is the paradigm you are using to inform your safety plan.
Here are two things I believe that I suppose you would find unacceptable in your food producers. First: Optimal safety is achieved by promoting natural biological forces (this means on the production AND the consumption side.) Second is a consequence of the first: The endless chasing down and attempted precision killing of certain bacteria with toxins is short-sighted, dangerous, and harmful.
If your belief system is similar to mine, every suggestion to improve the health of soils and of beneficial microbial communities in those soils as well as in animals and humans, is a safety plan. (These are only a tiny number of the factors that can effect a full and happy life, but you get the idea.) If, on the other hand, you are looking only for tactics to make war on certain bugs, then you will not see those suggestions as a safety plan. You might even conclude that people like me who follow such suggestions in lieu of disinfection, biological isolation, and pathogen testing, are cavalier, or perhaps even unconcerned with safety.
Our culture is a blaming culture. We have no regard for immune systems and that is why we are taugh to purchase Health Roulette Insurance and see the doctor for every sniffle.
We have created 19% of our GNP that way. Greed before Human Need!!!! When health care is for profit and not our citizens health we will never discover cancer cures or a cure for anything. Looking to the future for cures from GMO this and that is a complete waste of money….we must look to the past to reach the furture sustainably…..old news to you guys I know.
When consumers awaken and realize that a strong immunity is earned and they begin to know where super bugs come from ( CAFO’s GMO ecoli bombardment, and antibiotic abuse ) then America will be on road to health and preventionl.
Wake up America…..it is the terraine….the millieu.
Illness is the symptom…. corporate greed is the disease.
I will be in France, Switzerland, Germany and northern Italy for the next three weeks. I am going to buy and drink some raw milk from a street vending machine and visit some raw milk dairies….
Have a good time beating the hell out of each other….I may post a little from EU.
Hugs and health,
Yes, I did read David’s book and I also know that spinach may be bagged and packaged with a "farm name" but spinach also goes through centralized processing facilities to become washed and then distributed – either bagged or unbagged. Did you know where the spinach at your local health food store came from? Was the distribution point also handling spinach for Dole?
Remember the salmonella outbreak involving tomatoes about a year back? – the salmonella was transmitted at the "distribution" point where tomatoes and peppers had been brought in from Mexico and other US states, washed and then sent to supermarkets all over the country. The contamination originated at the distribution point – probably from Mexican produce. The Florida tomato crop was wrongly implicated and many tomato farmers needlessly lost millions of dollars in sales.
Sorry, I think your E-coli came from either the spinach or something else otherwise more people would have been sickened if it came from Mark’s milk. No E-coli match was ever found on his farm.
I’ve been on this blog since before 2007 and I never believed that, nor do I recall ever stating such words. Raw milk safety has been talked about numerous times on this blog. What specifically are you looking for?
Violet, believe what ever you want to believe. You have my blessings.
Sylvia, Id like to create a national raw milk safety plan. Is anyone interested in talking about that?
My husband has a great saying . . . . "you cannot and should not argue with fools".
I am so sorry you do not understand my logic with regard to pathogens cross contaminating produce at a distribution/washing facility. These are not beliefs – these are facts.
Why DO you think your son got so sick and no one else? I’m really interested in your perspective – not trying to pick a fight
Is it true that antibiotics given to ecoli patients can set you up for further complications? (like HUS) What part could Colloidal Silver and probiotics play in dealing with these cases pre-HUS? I’ve had some sucesses in our own family (although I never tested to see what types of viruses or bacterias I was dealing with)
I’d like to know if this is something you’ve had experience or knowledge about, good or bad.
Raw milk safety plan – Sounds like a great idea – but wouldn’t you actually have to have govenments and big dairy willing to let it in the market place?? They are doing their utmost to stamp it out,not make it safe and feasible – they wouldn’t want that at all!!
It sounds like OP Dairy had/has a pretty stringent safety plan in place. You obviously aren’t in total agreement with it – what aspects do you feel need to be changed? inproved?
Again…interested in your perspective, as I haven’t seen it before
My first thought to Mary’s comment "Im patiently waiting for people on this blog to talk about raw milk safety." was that we have talked about safety. It seems that the only people that don’t want to talk about safety is the government who is in bed with big ag. The only thing they want to talk about is eliminating raw milk. I don’t think there is one, not a single one, person on this blog that would say it is unnecessary to try and produce raw milk safely. So how can you say that we don’t care about safety.
Also here is a bit of educational material that my wife received during her training as an aromatherapist:
"Bacteria have the capacity to generate scores of unique chemical compounds. As soon as a bacterium encounters an antibiotic [or any other stress], it begins to generate possible responses."
"Once a bacterium develops a method for countering an antibiotic, it systematically begins to pass it on to other bacteria at an extremely rapid rate of speed. In response to the pressure of antibiotics, bacteria are interacting with tremendous numbers of other bacteria and the first thing they do is share resistance information, using a wide variety of mechanisms."
"Bacteria. like most life, possess transposons, unique movable segments of DNA that are normally a component of their genome structure. Transposon activity rearranges the genetic structure of organisms and hence their biological makeup. Transposons easily move between chromosomes and plasmids and can easily integrate into DNA structures. Bacteria use transposons to transfer a significant amount of resistance information and often release them in free form into the environment to be taken up later by other bacteria."
"Integrons are a unique type of DNA sequence that integrates into the genome at nonrandom sites. They have been found to be especially active in the transfer of both resistance and virulence information. They are readily shared between bacteria."
"Bacterial viruses, or bacteriophages, also help transfer resistance information between different bacteria. It is now known that instead of making only copies of themselves when they reproduce, bacteriophages take up and make copies of host chromosome segments that contain resistance information, which are then transferred to newly infected bacteria."
A related study found this out:
"After placing a single bacterial species in a nutrient solution containing sublethal doses of a newly developed and rare antibiotic, researchers found that within a short period of time the bacteria developed resistance to that antibiotic AND to seven other antibiotics that it had never before encountered – some of which were structurally dissimilar to the first, Stuart Levy observes that it is almost as if bacteria strategically anticipate the confrontation of other drugs when they resist one." [Levy, The Antibiotic Paradox, 101]
In my mind it is not to far fetched to wonder how normal and healthy bacteria in our own guts can change to take on a pathogenic form under favorable environments. My own opinion is that there is no way to kill all of the "bad" bacteria out there. We are only making them stronger the more we try to kill them. The only smart thing to do would be to learn how to improve our own immune systems. That does not mean though that safety considerations are not needed. Both must be taken together.
I mean we have no right to choose what foods we want to eat. Only the FDA can tell us what is OK to eat and what is not. Right?
The projects that we work on are largely focused on developing better ways to detect, control and eliminate microbes along the food chain, from the farm to the table. (Mike Doyle, regents professors and director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, Griffin, Ga., 5-24-2010)
Janeen, 6 children became ill in the OPDC outbreak in 2006. As far as the plan, step 1, create it, step 2, work with individual states to implement it.
Brandon, you need to let go of your fear. This is not an attempt to get rid of raw milk.
Joseph, this is not about eliminating microbes. Its an attempt to have safety standards so they dont get into raw milk.
Food can be nutrient dense and clean burning and provide a high ratio of fuel and nutrients to waste products.Food can also be nutrient poor,low energy and high in waste products.This low nutrient ,low energy and high waste food leads to these garbage dumps throughout our bodies.These are the conditions that lead to the destruction of communities of commensal bacteria and to the explosion of opportunistic bacteria.My personal food safety plan is to avoid eating nutrient poor,low energy,high waste food.Pasteurized dairy products produced in factory farms are at the top of the list of nutrient poor,low energy,high waste foods.That is why so many people do not tolerate them.
Mary,We have a plan in place and it is working.What would your plan look like?This whole unpasteurized movement started with consumers like you,we have responded by producing what you wanted.We will respond to your safety concerns,please tell us what kind of a plan you want.
For example, Listeria lives in the soil. It is capable of growing at a wide range of temperatures (including near-freezing temperatures) but is a poor competitor with other organisms present in milk that are more active at warmer temperatures (mesophilic and thermophilic lactic acid producing bacteria). Listeria is also a faculative anaerobe, and so it grows in the absence of oxygen, but again is a poor competitor with aerobic yeasts and molds that can grow on cheese.
So in other words if you want listeria to grow, keep your dairy products cold and anaerobic!
I am excited and very happy to hear your comments about developing and implimenting raw milk safety plans nationally.
I have been asked to address the issue of food safety and food safety plans at the WAP conference this fall. I will not only introduce the OPDC Raw Milk RAMP food safety plan I will also address the issues and challenges with the HACCP five log reduction based kill step prorgams that are used nationally. I am certified in HACCP management from Chapman University and was the first farmer in America to impliment an on farm HACCP program in 1997. McAfee Farms was recognized as a "best of the west grower" in 1998 for this effort. Lynn Sherr with 20/20 even did a special on our McAfee Apple Gardens food safety program. I also presented for the FDA and the University System on food safety before food safety became the "next big thing".
As this year rolls by, there will be more and more talk about raw milk safety systems and a national standard for these programs. It is truly unfortunate that the FDA does not commit to getting involved. Perhaps with your close associations with them they could be convinced to get involved.
What ever we do independently will take lots of work and will probably become the back bone of a National Raw Milk Producers and Consumers Association standards. There has been work to get this going. Tim Wightman has been working on this.
This association will collect dues, inspect operations, develop standards, and only authorize the use of brands for the association if the operation meets those standards.
When this comes to pass, many operations will not meet the standards. This will be by design. At least at that time there will be a roll model system and something for everyone to attempt to follow.
Mary, I do not see any reason why you should not be involved as a consumer and interested citizen. There can be no better person involved than a mom who’s child she believes was sickened by raw milk. Your imput would give great authority and validity to the Association.
I do not follow the ideology that raw milk is a perfectly safe food ( no foods are perfectly safe….because no two immune systems are the same and we have superbugs wondering arround looking for welcome mats ). I do however strongly believe that raw milk is a medical superfood that can prevent and or cure a host of immune related illnesses and that raw milk can be produced very safely if done properly and intentionally.
Mary, I would welcome you to the table when this program gets going….I would also invite you to bring the highest level FDA people with you as well.
I hope your son is thriving….
….all the best,
"Violet, lets remove my sons case from the equation."
Yes Mary…let’s do that. Let’s depersonalize the issue so decisions…by producers, consumers, victims, lawyers, insurance companies, and, especially juries, quit making decisions based on emotion, relying instead on facts. Let’s bar ambulance chasers like Marler from using the sleazy, sensationalistic videos that pull at heartstrings rather than appealing to logic for court decisions. Let’s remove the fear of an insurance company’s deciding to fight a wrongfully filed suit because of those emotion based tactics. Let’s make the Marlers of the world follow Sgt. Joe Friday’s instructions, "Just the facts, mam." Let’s stop the legal argument of, "Give my client big bucks because the insurance company has deep pockets and someone MIGHT have screwed up." and make it,"Give my client big bucks because we proved…PROVED, like in a criminal case, that there was a screw-up."
Then we have the last paragraph:
"Idealism is nice, but sometimes life boils down to just being practical. IMHO, if you all want raw milk to be legal in every state, you need a solid safety plan. Is anyone ready to talk about that yet (I know Steve Bemis has)?"
That’s just fine, and I don’t disagree…but who can and cannot, legally and constitutionally, decide what is a "solid safety plan"? I maintain, and Marler has not been able to overcome the contention, that government cannot constitutionally do so. What would be so bad about a private, voluntary certification plan, ala Underwriters Labortories? A company doesn’t have to use them by law, but the marketplace dictates its use…when was the last tim you saw an electrical appliance for sale without UL certification?
BTW folks…blog re-do is pretty well done with a few minor tweaks…navigation is a LOT easier.
Bob BubbaBozo Hayles
Very interested in this certification group you are looking to form, for raw milk safety and quality.
Can you fill us in on more details. How does one become involved with it?
Mark, here’s a conference for you: http://www.mediconvention.com/en/
Teach, teach, teach!
Some here are talking about national safety standards; I am both supportive and cautious. With great respect for Tim and FTCLDF, I caution against One-size-fits-all standards. Because it never fits all. If you give a producer the stamp of approval, consumers will look to you, instead of their farmer, for verification.
We have a producer milking less than 10 goats. She hand-milks out in the field into a filtered bucket. Her milk test results are consistently stellar. Her husband built her a shed to milk in, but she is loathe to use it. "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it", she says. All her consumers know what she does, and they also see her test results; she passes them out with the milk.
Part of RMAC’s mission statement is "…seek to provide a safe supply [of traditional raw milk]" . We are constantly reviewing and revising standards, but the only required standard is consistent milk test quality.
It is my belief that private herdshare contracts are inherently safer than retail sales. The less handling/middlemen, the better. The more face time a farmer gets with his/her consumers, the better educated they both are. I am accountable to my farmer, and my farmer is accountable to me.
The agister contract keeps production reasonable, and distribution limited. This is local food. Now if I could just get them to raise their prices a little, They might actually earn some money.
Roundup the most common weed killer used in america does not kill weeds…..directly.
It prohibits the uptake of minerals and makes the plant suceptable to disease and that is what kills that plants….in a few days.
Roundup does not carry the disease, it is everywhere and healthy weeds have resistance to disease if they are nutrient dense which is why they are so hard to kill otherwise.
Late blight is cuased by the lack of calcium magnesium and potassium in a tomatoe plant….not that fact that a disease floated down on your plant and killed it.
it s already floating down on that plant everyday, but if you have good microbial activity in the soil and available calcium potassium & magnesium in the plant, late blight is not a problem.
(Just a digression, raw milk in the main ingredient to counter late blight if the weather has complicated the uptake of less than optimal mentioned minerals)
We constantly are assulated by disease, complete mineral uptake is the best immune support we can have.
In humans we call it nutirent density, here on this blog posting it has been called many things, but simply put, we who have gotten sick were sick for a reason, not that we just happend to pass by a bug and it got to us.
E-bola, exotics like that do not count, but our everyday exposure to that we now get sick from must be examined.
Back to my original point….if your ingesting a product through food that prohibits the uptake of minerals, where are we headed in that senerio.
If you are eating animals that ingest this prohibition of uptake, how mineralized do you really think that meat is?
Consider the above when we talk about raw milk safety.
We can talk process till we are blue in the face.
if we do not look at the principals of mineral uptake and their availability no grass and sun alone will make up the lack of the natural process we have over time so gotten out of wack, in the cows and in the soils.
What we depend on for for the majority of raw milk cows are way to closely related to the conventional herds and that lack of mineral complextity may be our most limiting factor.
So when we talk about a national raw milk safety policy it will go way behond how to wash stuff and how often to test.
Safety starts in the soil, and 12 years of an concerted effort of mineralization of the cow and soil at the same time is the committment one needs to make to grow a real raw milk cow, and then ones life get easier as the health fo the herd removes the daily oversite we have had to endure all of those years.
No farmer can do this alone and this is where the raw milk drinkers come in.
Complain about the price and your going to get worse that what we have seen this year in the raw milk movement.
We are the generation that begins to put things back, not take like the 5 generations before us.
I got mine is over, and if we continue on the path of extraction, we will have to live in bubbles, communicate by electronic means and eat sterliized food………sound familair?
We need people like you and Gary Zimmer to come talk to the WI DATCP raw milk working group, to explain the importance of soil mineralization for food safety.
You and Dave Milano (as well as Ken and miguel) all have the same focus. Yes. The soil is the foundation of a healthy cow: weak soil, weak grass, weak milk.
Being a raw milk farmer should be a privilege. It is an undertaking with an enormous responsibility. It appears that people are getting into the raw milk business because they can (want to save the farm) and some dont have slightest idea about the big picture (soil and diet) or the need for exemplary safety precautions. Some of the recent raw milk videos have demonstrated this. Not just any Joe Farmer should be able to become a raw milk producer.
Don’t forget the 11 Great Thoughts – http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-11-Great-Thoughts.html
"Not just any Joe Farmer should be able to become a raw milk producer."
Fine…but who decides?
Until the issue of rights is settled, COMPLETELY settled, who should do it, who should be deciding who should do it, and standards themselves, are, and will remain, moving targets, moved and adjusted to serve regulators’ agendas.
There will be NO final answer without the issue of rights being settled.
Bob BubbaBozo Hayles
5) Transactions (whether sales, cow shares or otherwise depending on state law) direct from farmer to consumer whether on the farm or otherwise, or from farmers with herds smaller than a yearly-average  milking cows, should not be regulated other than by individual agreement.
[precedent for a similar exemption of raw milk, is the federal Egg Products Inspection Act (Pub. L. 91-597, 84 Stat.1620 et seq.) which exempts eggs direct farm-to-consumer or any sales from flocks of less than 3000 birds. At the state level, some states permit sales to various degrees and at the other extreme, some few prohibit all kinds of raw milk transactions; these issues will have to be dealt with at the state level.]
6) Parents are free to feed their children whatever foods they choose.
This stands for the freedom of choice based on private agreements. That said, I also urge the development of voluntary standards in GT #11. If there are voluntary standards, this will give the consumer a choice: get their milk from a farmer they trust without the "seal of approval" of voluntary standards; or have the added assurance of a "seal of approval," wherever the milk is obtained. Milk obtained remote from the farm (as OPD and Claravale do so well in CA) should have additional regulation. This also is covered in the 11 GT.
I obviously don’t agree with Mary’s flat statement which you quote, if it were to be interpreted as a flat prohibition of private arrangements, since in its logical extreme, her statement could be seen to prohibit the family cow.
My sense is there is an emerging basis for considered dialogue, since I do believe that many on this blog are saying similar things with differing emphases, some historical and personal, some regulatory or anti-government, and some with other "overhangs" (like the lawyer overhang). I’m simply trying to emphasize the possibility for commonality among us; but I believe, as I think you do, that some things are basic and freedom of choice is one of those basics.
There was never any compelling proof that OP milk caused Mary’s son’s illness, yet she successfully got an out-of-court settlement because the judicial and insurance industries in this country are so screwed up. Should she be able to take away Mark’s livelihood as well?
That’s quite a chilling statement.
It ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS comes down to number 5…rights. With the rights in the constitution, and the government power constitutionally limited, and the rights and limitations recognized in today’s world, by high courts, all else can be worked out.
Without those rights and limitations, NOTHING can be worked out.
Here goes that dead horse again…
The Raw Milk Wars will be won with, and only with, recognition of rights and subsequent limits on government enforced. Without that, we lose. Period.
"Just look at us. Everything is backwards; everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health,lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, government destroys freedom the major media destroys information and religion destroys spirituality." Michael Ellner
A farmer stated last week that the US prison population now exceeds that of the US farm population .Something is very very wrong!!!
Yes Bob it all boils down to INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS but these days after years of so called public education few understand what that means least of all the "legal folks"
Here’s my main beef with this "linking" of E. Coli to Hartmann’s farm. The whole thing sounds fishy. First of all, the Star Tribune posted their article (which pulled info from the MN DOH?) and this reported "linking" was BEFORE the Hartmann’s farm was raided by armed officers to take samples. No milk testing, no manure samples, no nothing. So exactly how is the "link" made?
Here’s my guess. The Hartmanns have a very loyal (my guess happy as well) customer base. In my opinion, their milk is on the top of the list of raw milk drinkers in the Twin Cities. I drink their milk over the winter months when my dairy farmer doesn’t produce. So if MN wants to put the squeeze on raw milk farmers, Hartmanns are a great target.
Back to the facts. The MN constitution states says that a farmer may sell any product that he/she produces on his farm at the farm. Period. I’m not sure what the jurisdiction is of the raw milk laws listed above, but I know that it is in the same section for milk intended for conventional processing, distributing, etc. From my understanding, Hartmanns do not have a milk license and it’s by choice. They don’t need one and are not under the jurisdiction of the dept. of agriculture. They market directly to their customers.
As far as the Twin Cities dropoff locations, I’m sure the MN Dept. of Ag and the DOH are not happy with that. I’m just waiting for the day when I’m pulled over and the sheriff asks what the white liquid in my cooler is. We’re talking MILK here, folks. My question is how many Minnesotans are admitted to hospitals DAILY for drinking legal alcohol? We all take our risks. I’ll take mine uncooked!
Kirsten, where in that sentence did you read that OP would be considered incompetent to produce raw milk and that Im trying to take away Mark McAfees livelihood? Hes legally licensed in the state of California to sell raw milk. I was referring to the recent videos that showed raw milk farmers milking their cows with shit all over them
I can see the discussion is going to turn into the same old stuff again. Tim, if you are interested in talking to me, please email David and he can forward it to me.
Mary, I would have to say that it should be considered a right, a choice. Producing any kind of food product that will be consumed by the public carries great responsibility. And is something that big ag. has fallen short in.
The folks selling raw milk that don’t follow common sense in cleanliness are just as guilty as the big industry meat packers that instead of changing the big system, just wash food with ammonia. It has nothing to do with the product, but rather the person, or industry that is producing it.
Would you buy your food from a grocery that is falling apart and nasty? From a farm that is a dump? I think you would like to know the place it comes from, its condition, it’s practices.
It’s just easy to put raw milk in the spotlight.
Any Joe Farmer that has common sense should be able to produce and sell raw milk. Unfortunately that’s not always the case…as is with so many other things.
Take for example a movement or belief…has many members…a few of the followers practice actions that are not really representative of the majority…or the "true". The spotlight gets put on the majority as being the way those few act.
I am all for cleanliness and safety in raw milk production…Lord knows I don’t want the farmer getting sick or hurt!! Then who will ever milk the cows??
But in all seriousness, your idea of having some sort of law or regulation in having cleanliness and safety standards are all in good intentions, but usually end up having ridiculous over regulatory outcomes.
People need to be wise in their purchasing and consumption.
It’s like having signs saying "Dont stink fingers in pencil sharpener" "Don’t put hands under mower while cutting grass."
"Do not insert hand while boiling."