We used to have a saying when I was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal a number of years back. One incident is curious, two is interesting, and three is a trend.
I think it’s safe to say we are witnessing a trend, or shall we say an assault, by the science-medical establishment, on raw milk. In just the last few weeks, there have been warnings/criticisms of raw milk consumption from Harvard Medical School, the American Academy of Pediatricians (per my previous post), and now, Clinical Infectious Diseases.
You might argue that these are random occurrences, except that they use very similar language in arguing that raw milk is dangerous (“a serious health hazard”) and that there is no evidence of health benefits (“no scientific evidence supports…”). The new wrinkles in this one: that an increase to five-plus incidents of illness annually is big news, as Don Neeper points out following my previous post, and “that those who are opposed to pasteurization have found ways to circumvent the law and obtain raw milk…” So raw milk drinkers aren’t just reckless, they are sleazy criminals.
Steve Bemis suggests there may be holes in the data, and he’s probably right. But I don’t think the people who are publishing this stuff really worry about the sanctity of their data. They are part of a propaganda campaign based on the notion that if you repeat a lie often enough, the public will eventually believe it, and you also turn your opponents into scapegoats. It’s especially sad when so-called scientists allow themselves to be used, though as Dave Milano suggests, they use the rationalization of control-group studies to try to discredit whomever might disagree with their ideology.
The authors of this latest study indicate they are disturbed about raw milk’s growing popularity, and that’s probably what’s behind this “trend.” People are voting with their feet and their pocketbooks, and raw milk and other nutritionally-dense foods are winning, and the authorities are gnashing their teeth, and turning up their propaganda machines.
While you can ignore propaganda, it’s tougher to ignore regulators who beat down the doors of co-ops, custom livestock processing facilities, and raw dairies. An Ohio chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation has the right idea—it just issued “an alert” (via an email sent to the media) warning Ohio food producers of possible harassment. “With the Family Farm SWAT Team Raids occurring and more to come, it is time to get serious and get organized and prepared in every way.”
Looks like they’ll have to take down that “Pollan for Secretary of Agriculture” web site.
The latest word is that former Iowa governor Thomas Vilsack will be named secretary of agriculture by the president-elect, Barack Obama. I suspect this is going to be another big disappointment for proponents of sustainable agriculture and food freedom.
If you look at what he’s written, Vilsack is a proponent of ethanol and bio-fuels as the next big thing. He makes an allusion to family farms, but it sounds like a throwaway, not a primary concern.
Obama’s choice of Vilsack, together with his 2007 statement on raw milk, together with his other appointments, don’t inspire a lot of confidence about the “change” he so often preached about.
Well, at least the Haphazard Gourmet Girls have wrapped up their raw milk slogan contest.
Considering their adoration of food poison lawyer Bill Marler, their kind words for Mark McAfee and his anti-FDA stance are noteworthy. Maybe they will join Mark for a weekend at the raw dairy.