In a few recent emails I have seen the advice to re-read The Untold Story of Milk as we exercise our food rights. Apparently the Michigan Raw Milk Workgroup has already done so. For everyone’s benefit a synopsis of the important historical milestones is now available. Here is today’s guest blog by a member of the workgroup, Dr. Ted Beals.
Ted Beals, M.D. is a presenter at the 2nd Annual International Raw Milk Symposium, on April 10, in Madison Wisconsin. Tickets are available at rawmilksymposium.org.
Raw Milk is a Profoundly Different Product
by Dr. Ted Beals
There is now another comprehensive historical review of raw milk and pasteurization. On the Michigan Workgroup’s website. Visit http://www.miffs.org/MIfuwmilk, then click on the History topic summary on the upper left of the home page. Some clarifications and revisions based on examination by the group of historical documents from the critical times at the turn of the century. Most of the false dogma and historical revisions were kept out of the summary.
Legislation for pasteurization came late because all understood from the beginning the importance of farm, milking and handling management. All of the original push was for sanitation and cleaning up the outrageous conditions on dairies that didn’t care about the quality of their product and in an industrial model where the only interest was in quantity, efficiency, lower costs and bigger is better principals. The public’s and official’s concern for sanitation was there then, was incorporated into all dairy oversight, and it should remain the cornerstone for our current position.
Farmers and Consumers Need to Understand Good Practices
But there are a whole list of other good practices that are probably critical to the quality of our fresh milk. I agree we need to get consumers and farmers to understand which practices make our product so profoundly different. It certainly isn’t dependant on a “kill step” and it is not just sanitation. There is the soil, feed, housing, equipment, quality of the herd, management of lactation, care in handling the milk, consumer responsibility, on and on.
Coming to agreement on which are critical, which important, and which are good; will be a challenge. But we need to start with the understanding that we have a different product, and that product’s quality is not simply starting with existing standards based on producing that other product for over a century.
Teleseminars Offer Farmers Help to Serve this Growing Market
With the huge increase in families that want fresh unprocessed whole milk; and with real economic pressures on existing conventional dairy farmers, there is a real and imminent danger of naïve or ambitious people moving into this market.
Some will do it right if they can understand and use good management practices (such as are available from the Cow-Share College of the Farm to Consumer Foundation). But recent experience with Organic has taught a hard lesson. We need to have consumers that can recognize a quality dairy and will not simply obtain milk for their family from someone because they have “raw milk” available.
I’m ready to take this on. The detractors of raw milk can fight us to the ground if we keep trying to fight the war based on their terms. And one of their terms is that our product must be guaranteed 100% safe. There are over a million people out there in North America who do not believe the “Milk is Milk” slogan. They want and are regularly drinking this distinctly different product.
Ted Beals, M.D., is a Pathologist, Health educator and administrator. He is the Retired National Director of Pathology & Laboratory Services, Dept. of Veterans Affairs. He is also a researcher and faculty member of the University of Michigan. A lifelong advocate for organic principles and nutrient dense foods, Ted has recently written on bovine TB and milk. Ted is active in promoting the rights of farmers to provide and consumers to obtain milk and other local farm products. He lives with his wife Peggy on 40 acres in rural Michigan.
The Untold Story of Milk is available from NewTrends Publishing.