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Food Safety News

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Letter From The Editor: A Fix

Just a few hours before writing this week’s column, I thought I was going to refrain from expressing an opinion on anything and just stick to reporting on some good things that have happened to Food Safety News.

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But then events conspired. First, Rupert Murdoch and Apple came out with The Daily, a news site for the new iPad. What caught my attention is that The Daily is coming out with its new edition every 24 hours, but not doing updates in between.

That is precisely the approach we take at Food Safety News, and since imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I just wanted to note the compliment we’ve logged from Mr. Murdoch.  (Note to the law firm: can we sue the bastard?)

However, it does not stop there. It took only one or two days before this publication for the 15 million iPads sold to date was taking a little walk on our territory.

In “Amish Smuggler’s Shady Milk Run: Farmers bring their unpasteurized -and illegal–product to the big city,” writer Jordan Heller shows how Pennsylvania raw milk producers on deliveries to “yuppies” in Manhattan use the language of drug dealers and bootleggers.

Maybe you are surprised you can read articles from “The Daily” without an iPad. Direct your questions on that one to Mr. Murdoch.  

In the nation’s 50 statehouses, the legislative processes are mostly just getting under way.   It’s too early to declare a trend, but it appears there are going to be several attempts to expand raw milk sales in the states.

Yours truly spent numerous hours this week on the subject. Expanded raw milk sales are part of a package of legislative proposals in Oregon designed to make it more likely that younger and smaller farmers will succeed.

While listening to hours of debate on this legislation, I could not help but think about whether there might be some kind of solution that both addresses public health and still loosens up some.   

Pathogens that too easily find their way into raw milk are most threatening to children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems. It occurred to me the medical marijuana model might be a solution.

In Colorado, under a voter approved initiative, marijuana for medical purposes can be sold to adults who obtain a card for that purpose from a professional who suggests weed might ease or control pain. (Do not hit me up on the details; I am only skimming along on the surface this one.)

I do know if you obtain a medical marijuana card and use it to sell or give away weed to someone else, you can go to jail just like anyone else.

So, here’s my plan. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 65 could obtain a raw milk card so long as they sign a pledge not to share or sell it to anyone else under penalty of law. Anyone providing raw milk to children, the elderly, or the immune compromised would be guilty of a felony.

Oh, one proviso: owners and operators of raw milk dairies would NOT be exempt from the law.  

The cards would also be used to track who has purchased raw milk and would provide the means of immediately contacting them in the event of an outbreak.

Protecting all children from raw milk is my goal. I personally think putting more adults at risk would be worth it. I am probably breaking a bunch of public health ethics thinking this way.  What other system would persuade farm families to buy pasteurized milk at the store for their own children?

© Food Safety News
  • Tina

    I’m not sure if I should take you seriously or not. Comparing milk and marijuana?? Are you saying if I own a cow and choose to milk it for my family – kids included – I should be sent to jail? My whole family and the entire countryside were raised on raw milk and there were never any outbreaks of pathogens in the milk (maybe, in general, we have become weaker and less immune to pathogens as a population because we drink and eat sterile foods and not everyone farms anymore and even live in sterile environments??) I’m not convinced that we are getting the whole picture on raw milk. I am not convinced that raw milk is as ‘bad’ as proponents of the pasteurized milk industry would like to have us believe. The data is not cut and dry – it seems rather subjective.

  • Doc Mudd

    “The data is not cut and dry – it seems rather subjective.”
    Yeah, in about the same way a good case of HUS is subjective.