Isnt this the way milk pasteurization started? You have a number of disease outbreaks. You try pasteurization out in a few places, in a few markets. You reassure the public that pasteurization doesnt change the nutritional value of milk. Processors love it because it extends shelf life. And presto. After a few decades, its the only legal product and the old way is illegal.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just approved ionizing radiation of spinach and lettuce, in response to outbreaks of illness from E.coli 0157:H7, some of which have been linked to spinach and lettuce. Were told it doesnt affect the veggies nutritional value. The technique is expected to be applied initially in just a few markets. But that may well change, since the FDA says the irradiation extends produce shelf life. It makes sense that dead veggies last longer than living veggies, just like dead milk lasts longer than living milk.
Irradiation is currently allowed for meat and some fish. Now it extends to veggies. The FDA seems likely to extend approval to other foods. It all follows up on required pasteurization of ciders, juices, almonds. Seems we really are edging closer to the time when all our food is sanitized, and to get the real thing, well have to grow it ourselves or go directly to farms.
As Steve Bemis points out in a link following my previous post, there is an excellent retrospective on the politics of raw milk by John Schwenkler in Doublethink Online. I had spoken with John during his research, and it looks as if he went and did his homeworkthe article is well worth reading.
The most intriguing parts of the article have to do with his reporting efforts to tie Big Dairy to the sabotage campaigns against raw milks legitimacy. Ive long been dubious of this tienot doubting that Big Dairy would prefer a world without raw milk, but suspecting that it isnt a big enough threat for Big Dairy to spend a lot of time and money on. And that looks to be kind of what Schwenkler found–that there is opposition, but its not a high-priority matter for Big Dairy.
One dairy official worries that all the attention paid to illnesses from raw milk might damage the overall milk brand.
I think Schewnkler is probably more on target when he examines the raw milk situation in the context of factory farming/agribusiness and the consumer movement. Here, though, he neglects to point out that the 1987 FDA ban on interstate sales of raw milk occurred over the objections of the FDA, at the behest of the dean of the consumer movement, Ralph Nader.
Finally, germ lawyer Bill Marler seems to have discovered a potential marketing opportunity in the pending California raw milk legislation, SB 201, which is designed to undo the crazy coliform regulation that threatens to put the state’s two raw milk dairies out of business. There hasnt been anything in the way of real opposition, so Marler leaps into the fray with a press release on BusinessWire, claiming, the country’s top food safety advocates are calling on California legislators to vote against it.
I read through the release, looking for the names of all the top food safety people who have aligned themselves with the germ hater. But, alas, only one person is mentioned in the release–the person who paid (the appoximately $500) for putting it out: Bill Marler.