Monday, October 22, 2012

Value Added Agriculture

See that dollar sign as the dot for the i? Clever!

Hey party people! (That's your warning: it is about to get irreverently sarcastic up in here!)

I check in on the Complete Patient Blog from time to time. You know, it's like that poorly written, miss one day, (heck miss a month!) and you can keep up with the storyline. It's daytime drama...yet you just can't. stop. watching.

So today I was surprised to see comments from both Victoria Bloch (who recently told her side of the story here) and Aajonus Vonderplanitz, presenter extraordinaire of

Heavy hitters in the Rawesome/Healthy Family Farms drama, no?

Victoria's was a glowing report of HFF and Sharon as per usual. Aajonus' was the hardline reproach of Palmer/Rawesome that we are used to...


"Four months ago, an investigation for my law suits against Palmer and Stewart turned up veterinarian Daniel Drake who has documentation that Palmer bought non-organic goat's milk from his herd and peddled it as organic and as produced on the farm for at least 1 year. Palmer acquired a huge batch of non-organic goat's milk cheese from his elderly parents goat farm in Utah and sold it as if it were grass-fed and from her goat's.
By the way, Palmer only paid approximately $3k for the nearly $21k that she promised and contracted (in 2008) to pay for the cheese. Palmer has never contacted the elderly farmers, who really need the money, to pay them even though I understand that Palmer won a windfall lawsuit of $1M plus recently. In an email from September 2011, Palmer claims she dumped the cheese because it went bad. However, another past employee of Palmer's said that she knows Palmer sold the cheese. Even if Palmer had dumped some of the cheese because she did not take care of the cheese, does not release her from her contract. She received the cheese and she owes the $18k. Additionally, she peddled it as grass-fed from her farm to gain outlandish prices. Neither Dan's or his parent's goat farms are organic and certainly not very grass-fed."

Read all about it here.

If you want to get into the nitty gritty and have 10 minutes to spare you can read this beaut of a document. Of note is Roger Prince's interview. I prefer Aajonus' nuggets o' wisdom myself. And hey, doesn't he claim he played a character on a soap opera once upon a time?

Yup. We know by now it is a classic he said, she said argument. But if there is paper proof of some of this stuff it will be interesting.  I'm thinking I'd like to be a juror in the civil suit against Palmer filed by Vonderplanitz that will be starting come February 2013.

And David Gumpert, forget not that hundreds of customers are peeeeeeeeeved that we were supposedly sold grass-fed, pastured and organic meats, eggs, milk and cheese at premium prices only to find out they were likely not. They were sold as value-added agricultural goods, but were supposedly just plain 'ole agricultural goods.
See. My. Point?

Oh, yes, and stop getting all in a frenzy about "public health officials" and how the public distrusts these people people that actually work for them. Last time I checked, they got their degrees from universities, are evidence based scientists, and care very much for the public and their health. Especially little children who get e.coli 0157:H7 and come breaths away from death. The value added raw milk they drank did this to them, and none of your hard hitting journalism will take that fact away.

Having said that, will I get a flu shot? Probably not. Because although I don't drink raw milk anymore I still like to live dangerously.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing at Rawesome or Healthy Family Farms...or is it?

Think what you will: I still don't want to eat eggs or young chicken or beef or sheep from who knows where when I bought them thinking they were coming from the farm/farmer I bought them from. 
That is IF she was/is outsourcing.  
You all know I'm not omnipotent. I'm just one person with a loud mouth and opinion. There is no going back for me, however. I found out too many ugly things, most of which I have written about here. here.
I just wish someone with authority would care enough about outsourcing to look into it. For now, Sharon Palmer still has a farm and still sells at farmer's markets. The next court date for Palmer is in Ventura on September 12, 2012. That ought to be interesting.

Friday, May 11, 2012

E.coli 0157:H7 Survives in Raw Milk! No Way!

Sally Fallon-Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation would have you believe that raw milk kills the point that it renders raw milk completely safe to drink? I don't know. She doesn't clarify that last part, but she certainly has said it kills pathogens a lot. In my last post I showed how she still claims this as of 2011 and exposed the network she has created to carry this message.

This subject was covered extensively almost 3 years ago on the Ethicurean blog

Click the link here and download the latest raw milk e.coli news coming out of Oregon, and tell me you want to feed your young child raw milk again. I certainly don't. When that mother's voice describes her daughters hospital trials, and breaks up and trails off at the know she has shed many tears for her daughter. I cannot even fathom the agony and the heartache. It probably will not end when her daughter eventually leaves the hospital, however. HUS, unfortunately, can cause a lifetime of health problems:

"Among survivors, at least five percent will suffer end stage renal disease (“ESRD”) with the resultant need for dialysis or transplantation. But, “[b] ecause renal failure can progress slowly over decades, the eventual incidence of ESRD cannot yet be determined.” Other long-term problems include the risk for hypertension, proteinuria (abnormal amounts of protein in the urine that can portend a decline in renal function), and reduced kidney filtration rate. Since the longest available follow-up studies of HUS victims are 25 years, an accurate lifetime prognosis is not really available and remains controversial. All that can be said for certain is that HUS causes permanent injury, and it requires a lifetime of close medical monitoring."

Then flip to the uninformed statement that many raw milk supporters keep saying and keep believing, despite lack of peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support their claims.

On The Bovine blog today they posted a video:

39 seconds in, a woman says, "E.coli can't even SURVIVE in, uh, raw milk. It can't."

If you think raw milk can kill pathogens, and that e.coli can't survive in raw milk so that raw milk is completely without risk to drink, then please read this excellent paper by Dr. Amanda Rose:

From the Amanda Rose:
"Like a whole lot of other foods, raw milk can be contaminated. The temperature of the milk and the type of pathogen both matter to the discussion. The research is really not as simple as advocacy groups would suggest.
And then there is the FDA. The had a FAQ with the question “Does raw milk kill pathogens?” Their answer: “No.”

Life and research should be as simple as these two sides suggest.

I got heckled by one side at a symposium. Then my little white paper was just weeks old when a surprising review of it appeared in the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation written by Ted Beals, M.D. [PDF]. I actually had a lot of respect for Beals’ testimony here in California a couple of years ago and recommended him as a speaker for the aforementioned symposium, so I was surprised first to read his review. I wrote a detailed response to his review at the Rebuild blog.

I have continued to be surprised that he has not backed up his review with citations from the scientific literature. I write this update about one year since I first asked for citations. In the concluding paragraph of his review of my white paper, he essentially accuses me of cherry picking and argues that “raw milk does kill off pathogens in realistic real-life situations. That fresh raw milk has the properties to kill off pathogens is no urban legend, it is proven science.”

If you see Ted Beals at a raw milk conference, you might ask him for the citations that support his conclusion because I have had no luck. The “proven science” remains locked in the WAPF chambers in Virginia."

Before you go on to send Dr. Rose hatemail, read what she says here. She staunchly defends a consumers right to purchase and consume the food of their choice. She firmly believes, however, as do I, that the consumers need to have information that is correct when making the decision to buy and consume said food.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sally Fallon-Morell, The Weston A. Price Foundation, and Raw Milk

Sally Fallon-Morell, above: "The funny thing is we now know a lot about raw milk and raw milk will actually get rid of bad bacteria by itself. There are a lot of components in raw milk that kill pathogens."

This is an attempt to tell my friends on Facebook why I post so much about Raw Milk. It is also an attempt to not make myself go insane with rage when raw milk supporters and leaders of the movement make themselves look foolish when they callously disregard the illness of a two year old who drank raw milk (more on that later) like they do here in the comments section.

Here is my response to a raw milk supporter who says there are no real raw milk leaders in the raw milk movement.

First of all, let's state the obvious: is it possible to have a movement without leadership?

chirp... chirp...

Second, and watch out: Here comes my Sally Fallon-Morell (from here on out Sally Fallon) rant about raw milk. Which will one day be followed by how Sally Fallon Makes Her Money (still gathering the evidence, not yet angry enough to post said evidence, but man do we have one good heck of a page turner on that one)

Sally Fallon-Morell says "Cheese!" at her state of the art cheese making facility that she makes from the raw milk from her state of the art milking facility that comes from the cows on her newly renovated farm. Whew! Read all about it here. By Jill Nienhiser for Farm Food Blog

The Weston A. Price Foundation, with it's leader Sally Fallon, advocates raw milk formula for babies. Her baby, WAPF, grew out of her desire to evangelize the nutrition info disseminated in "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Dr. Weston A. Price. Nowhere in that book does Price mention feeding raw milk to babies. She was a board member of PPNF, The Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, for twenty years before she left that organization to pursue a more politically active role in the food/nutrition arena. I'm not making this up.

Since its inception in 1999, WAPF has been espousing the health benefits of raw milk for mothers and babies. It runs a chapter based organization. How do you think a majority of people find their raw milk herd shares??? These chapters help connect raw milk seekers with raw milk producers.

David Gumpert's blog, The Complete Patient, is quoted in Wise Traditions, WAPFs pseudo scientific quarterly journal, as a source for raw milk news. He writes the occasional article for them in their raw milk update section. He also wrote, Raw Milk Revolution, the top selling raw milk book according to

Mark McAfee, "owner of the largest raw milk dairy in the world" has a symbiotic relationship with WAPF. He boosts raw milk and so do they. A friend from my past involvement in WAPF-LA recently titled he and his wife: "Mr. and Mrs. Raw Milk" and I think that's an apt description of how WAPF members view him.

Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm: Would you deny that he's not a leader in the "Real Food Movement"? Star of such tomes as Pollan's The Omnivores Dilemma and the movies Food Inc. and Fresh. He calls Mark McAfee his raw milk hero in his most recent book, Folks, This Ain't Normal". Joel is a card carrying WAPFer and I doubt the two would have connected without WAPF. Salatin also wrote the forward for Gumpert's Raw Milk Revolution.

Search "raw milk" at and see what comes up. First, as mentioned above, is Gumpert's venerable Raw Milk Revolution. Second, a little book called The Untold Story of Raw Milk by Ron Schmidt. Who is the publisher of that book? Sally Fallon's Newtrends Publishing, Inc.

Lest we not forget the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, WAPF's legal arm. They've got their knees deep in raw milk litigation, no?

A lot of arrows in the Raw Milk activism world point to Sally Fallon's WAPF that she created to promote her political agendas, and the ones that deviate most from Weston A. Price's teachings and writings are raw milk and anti-soy.

If you would like to take a peek at what she advocates:

I was at this talk and had my Nourishing Traditions book signed by Sally Fallon-Morell herself.

She devotes more than enough time to raw milk, but here is why I do not think she should be a leader of any movement, no less one that advocates feeding raw milk to babies:

1. Destroys pathogens in the milk.
2. Stimulates the Immune system.
3. Builds healthy gut wall.
4. Prevents absorption of pathogens and toxins in the gut.
5. Ensures assimilation of all the nutrients.

Use our homemade formula based on raw milk
Added lactose and whey to approximate human milk
Added cod liver oil to ensure adequate A and D
More Info:

In the video above she spins her tale: "Raw Milk will actually get rid of pathogens itself

The End.

Friday, April 13, 2012

E.coli 0157:H7 in your Raw Milk

This week has reinvigorated my interest in Raw Milk Politics, especially surrounding E.coli 0157:H7.

Why? It seems an unlikely topic of obsession for me since we have removed dairy from our family diet temporarily for health and dietary reasons. However, I wrestle with raw milk because, like a lot of raw milkies, I frankly prefer the flavor of raw milk over pasteurized. I often wonder if I will ever drink it again?

I also read "Poisoned" this week and learned quite a bit about e.coli 0157:H7, and it answered many of my lingering questions about the subject.

Bill Marler is that ambulance chasing personal injury lawyer according to some in the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) crowd. I've also seen this reference many a time in the comments section on The Complete Patient blog. What doesn't hold water for me is their total disdain for him. This is the guy who gets financial compensation for those who have gotten seriously sick from tainted food, whether it be Cargill, Odwalla, Jack in the Box, or your mom and pop raw milk farmer. He has done his fair share to try to clean up the system. Far from being an ambulance chaser, he is internet and marketing savvy and knows how to put his agenda out there. "Poisoned" shows his personal and family life, political savvy and work ethic, and ultimately, his humanity. I hope you will consider reading it. It is well written and I could hardly put it down!

After reading it I learned that the author, Jeff Benedict, lives the life I dream of! His homesteading wife, Lydia, convinced him to write a book about food politics and food borne illness. That this author comes to admire and befriend Bill Marler and chooses to make him the central character in his compelling true life story is telling of Mr. Marler's character:

Yesterday, and probably not-by-coincidence on her birthday, Mr. Marler's Food Safety News published the story of Mary McGonigle-Martin. One of Marler's more famous (infamous?) raw milk cases involves Chris and Mary Martin vs. McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Company. I've extolled Mary's virtues on this blog before here and here, but now she really has gone and done it with this article. The reason there is so much mis-information regarding her son's illness are the blatant lies told and spun by the likes of Mark McAfee and Sally Fallon. They've been told, warned, and asked to stop repeating these lies.  Once and for all Mary called them out this week publicly on Food Safety News.

Seriously, Sally Fallon and WAPFers, it's time to put the lies about the Martin case behind you and move on. One lie, specifically, is that Chris Martin ate spinach and that is how he contracted e.coli 0157:H7, because his case happened to occur at the same time as the Dole Spinach outbreak. Marler also handled most of the e.coli 0157:H7 cases against Dole for that spinach outbreak, and has said numerous times that if the evidence showed that Chris was part of the spinach outbreak, he would have been included in Dole spinach litigation and not raw milk litigation. However, the Chris's case centered on the fact that Chris consumed OPDC raw milk. The second red herring promulgated by Fallon, which can be found here, is that Chris was given anti-biotics which is given as the explanation as to why he developed HUS from the e.coli infection. Yes, antibiotics, especially certain types, are contraindicated in suspected e.coli cases. But the fact remains that about 10% of e.coli 0157:H7 cases go on to contract HUS. Chris Martin contracted a severe e.coli 0157:H7 infection from drinking raw milk and developed HUS, whether antibiotics were at play or not is a side argument and distracts from the original vector: raw milk. The third red herring is that this case was settled out of court, and McAfee and the raw milkers, including Fallon, have insinuated that this is because there was not enough evidence to bring it to trial or some other such rot. What if the opposite is true? Could it possibly be that it was settled out of court on a sum that cannot be disclosed, because like most personal injury cases settled out of court it are financially favorable for the injured client? Hmmmmm...

Chris Martin in the hospital. fighting for his young life.

I think this passage is worth a reprint here:
"Victimized again by falsehoods

My experience with these characters has been appalling. My son's near-death experience was hell to pay for my mistake, but I was not prepared for the second victimization. Rather than acknowledge the tremendous harm done in the first Organic Pastures outbreak, and then  search for the reasons this happened to avoid future problems, they chose a different, rather slimy path to muddy the truth and deflect any culpability.

Their reaction was morbid. The lies began immediately about our son's case and some of these falsehoods could be found on the Weston A. Price Foundation website. I wrote to Sally Fallon requesting that she remove the distortions. Instead of honoring my appeal, she injected these pathetic fabrications into Ron Schmidt's updated version of his book. This whole matter was very twisted and patently shows how they would hawk their souls to convince their followers that raw milk is always safe to drink.        

People who choose raw milk for themselves or their families believe they are making an informed decision. They believe the benefits outweigh the risks. They have read the Schmidt's book or literature endorsed by WAPF. However, a truly informed decision should also address the potential health consequences. Until both sides are presented and considered, any decision to consume raw milk is based on propaganda and ignorance.

I was ignorant and I have spoken to many others who have become ill or who have had children that became ill after consuming contaminated raw milk. Sadly, they all believed the risks were minimal, which brings me to bottom line: would any mother's choose raw milk for their children if they knew that it could seriously harm or even kill them? Never!"

Mary was gracious enough to recommend Nourishing Traditions, despite the history of lies told by the likes of Fallon and the WAPF crowd.

"One final thought about Sally Fallon: despite my believing she is completely irresponsible promoting the consumption of raw milk to infants and children, her cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" does have excellent information.  This book is like having your grandmother in the kitchen passing down generations of food preparation wisdom. Food fermentation, both dairy and vegetable, is a focus for obtaining beneficial bacteria. Sally Fallon writes that people can obtain beneficial bacteria from kefir and yogurt made with pasteurized milk, so I'm not sure how or why the hyper-focus on raw milk emerged. So, if you are looking for a healthier way to eat, follow the suggestions in her book and just disregard everything you read about raw milk."

Mary and Chris, in more recent and happier times.

 Over and over again Mary has shown the courage of a mama lion. I've got your back, Mother Mary. Call me anytime.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On being banned and SUE-age

Via Stuck in Customs who does not endorse the content of this post

I received a threat this morning of being banned from another blog (whose author rhymes with "Rumpert") if I don't follow a two comments max per post. I think that is reasonable and I respect someone who is able to lay a boundary.

I just don't appreciate when I am asked not to speak about the boundary. I spoke about it on the blog and here. Oops!

I was banned from commenting on AnnMarie's Cheeseslave blog and Facebook page last week. The funny thing on that one was I never brought up this blog or it's content, she did. So then naturally I defended myself. I guess she didn't appreciate my viewpoint. I was asked to stop "bothering" Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen awhile back. If they don't want to hear what I have to say, so be it. I am starting to think of these as badges of honor that I can put on my brownie sash.

Another wise truth teller is threatening to make t-shirts. Threaten. It's a good word.

I was also threatened with SUE-age by one of Palmer's supporters on Gumpert's (yeah, that one that rhymes with Rumpert) blog today.

"Some claim to know the whole truth of Sharon and her outsourcing behavior, criminal background and everything in context and have chosen to continue to slander her, try to poison the community with out proper facts, I encourage you to stop now, unless you have verified information that has been clearly authenticated." This person doesn't use THEIR legal name, of course.

I got a call awhile back from someone in Palmer's community that my name was used in connection with a proposed slander lawsuit. I haven't been served yet. Too bad there is not much they can take from a family with young children living on a single income with no property. We have enough family and friends to support us and the worst case scenario would be that we would end up homeless. That won't happen. That said, I also wouldn't want to go through the legal process.

In my heart, I am not afraid. A beloved mentor told me when I was young, "Kristi, you are a truth teller and a shining light in this world. Some people do not want to hear your truth and will stop at nothing to silence you. Telling the truth is good, but you also have to use caution and protect yourself." If someone is a lawyer who reads my blog and feels I am being naive, please advise. If you have been a part of a slander suit and feel I am being naive, please advise. kristi dot cakes at gmail dot com.

Otherwise I will get on with my regularly scheduled activities: taking care of my children, feeding my family wholesome food, and spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet for no good reason. Cheers y'all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Tale of Two Sharon Palmers

Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms, via Edible Ojai

Here is the story the Healthy Family Farms apologists would like you to hear. It is the same story I heard about a year or so ago: 
Two things from this lovely pastoral farmer profile that I would like to point out: 
1) Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia and hero of the real food movement (what, you haven't heard of him?) recommends in his book, You Can Farm, that as a new farmer it is wise to not keep pets because their feed bills add up and when you are getting any new business off the ground you need to cut out all unnecessary expenditures to ensure that your business will be economically sustainable and viable. Not that the act of rescuing isn't noble, but Sharon Palmer rescues many animals and that means more mouths to feed.

 2) "A longterm frustration for Sharon has been finding high-quality feed. For example, she believes soy to be much too challenging to a chicken’s digestive process to produce a truly healthy bird. After a long search she finally found a supplier that custom mixes her own soyfree, non-GMO recipe including high-protein whey and pea, flax, essential minerals, etc." This is the same long term frustration of many local animal farmers and ranchers, especially if they produce at the scale that she once did. If she has found a feed supplier that is doing all of these things than I am sure that that feed supplier would be a huge success and in demand amongst the local farming community. Unfortunately, no one can figure out the name and location of this supplier.

The second tale that hit my inbox yesterday paints a far more sinister image of Palmer, from a bonafide local news article:

This is testimony coming out of the Ventura District Attorney's case against Palmer, Stewart and Otting that paints a picture of Palmer as the main player in a scheme to bait others to help her buy her farm:

"Frank Huber, an investigator with the District Attorney's Office, described how criminals use a "straw buyer," an individual who lends his name and good credit rating on a bank loan application. A criminal also will use so-called "silent seconds," money concealed from bank officials and used as a down payment on the loan....The focus of Tuesday's testimony was how the bank loan was obtained. Huber said that in his opinion, duping the bank and in some cases not being straightforward with people about a business venture constitute real estate fraud."

Another important point for both myself and Palmer's apologists:
"Huber said his concern isn't about the farm operation but only about fraud that was committed.
"It was about being ripped off and a bank being ripped off," he said."
My concerns about potential consumer fraud at farmer's markets and apologists concerns that she is being targeted by "the powers that be" because she is independently providing food, specifically raw milk, outside of government regulation...neither of our concerns matter in this case. It is about real estate fraud.

My question to the Sharon Palmer apologists is thus:
How can you reconcile these two very different women named Sharon Palmer?
One wants to grow healthy food for her community, and
The other allegedly ripped off members of her community for her own gain: "He said the Hetheringtons were promised 12 percent interest on their $60,000 investment and were sent an unsigned promissory note through an email. ...
Investors allegedly weren't told that their money would be used as a down payment on the farm or that it would be concealed from bank officials.
Huber said none of the investors have been repaid. One investor, Michael Kirrene, testified he was promised 9 percent for two months on his initial $25,000 investment. Kirrene invested $125,000."

Take Home Points:
My intro to criminology teacher taught me a valuable lesson through countless examples:
"If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is." People have, can, and will try to scam you in this life. It is your obligation to protect yourself and do your homework.

What I have learned:
I would like to highlight that the Edible Ojai farm profile was written by Joanie Blaxter, who was at one time a WAPF co-chapter leader for Ojai/Ventura County (I cannot confirm the current status of the Ventura WAPF chapter as they are no longer listed as a chapter on the WAPF website). AnnMarie Michaels and Victoria Bloch are also Sharon Palmer supporters, and were both chapter leaders of the WAPF Los Angeles chapter when my curiosity in this matter began. Victoria Bloch is a current co-chapter leader of the Los Angeles WAPF chapter, and AnnMarie is a current co-chapter leader of the Las Vegas WAPF chapter.

I would caution people to learn how to source food from farmers and farmers markets on your own and not to take anyone's word for it, even, in all likelihood, the good intentioned WAPF chapter leaders. Like I keep promising, it is my goal to write a Farmers Market Consumer Guide. I promise to float it around to the knowledgeable farmers and farmer's market managers: the food producers and distributors that have helped me make sense of Sharon Palmer's claims versus farm reality and the very people and markets who will be hurt WHEN this story is made more widely public (It is not a matter of IF anymore). 

Caveat Emptor!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do you know the names of the pathogens that end up in raw milk products?

"Raw milk does have a checkered history of safety issues," acknowledged McAfee, alluding to the high incidence of milk-borne illnesses before the 1900s. But with modern sanitation, he believes "we know now how to produce very safe, very clean raw milk."
"We just don't know how it happened," said McAfee, who has since added new cleaning protocols.

Mary McGonigle-Martin, 52, of Murrieta, says she didn't fully grasp the health risks when her 7-year-old son Chris was sickened in the 2006 outbreak. Pro-raw-milk websites and conspicuous advertisements at her local health foods store convinced her that raw milk could be a safe, natural remedy for her son's chronic sinus congestion. She bought Organic Pastures milk after reading about the farm online. "That they tested the milk and they'd never found a pathogen -- the testing was what sold me," said McGonigle-Martin, a school counselor.

Even with sophisticated lab tests, E. coli can be much harder to detect in milk than in, say, ground beef, said Michael Payne, a UC Davis food safety expert. "I have zero faith that there exists technologies that currently allow for the adequate on-farm testing of raw milk for pathogens," he said.

Chris Martin developed HUS, experienced kidney failure, and at one point required a ventilator. "My choice almost killed my child," said McGonigle-Martin. For other parents, she stresses that drinking and serving raw milk is a personal choice that should be made knowing all the risks.

 "You better know what pathogens could be in the milk and what could result," said McGonigle-Martin. "If you can't name those diseases and illnesses, then you shouldn't be making the choice."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finally someone has the story right

"Harman added that Palmer is a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' who preys on people who distrust the government.

Stewart was 'rounding up people to put money' into the business, said Harman, adding that Stewart considers himself a 'sovereign citizen' not subject to state laws."

I hope that Sharon Palmer learned from her last criminal proceedings that fleeing the country to Mexico doesn't solve any of your problems...

Or you can keep reading the paranoid conspiracy theorists choice news outlet which I keep seeing re-blogged:

The truth hurts sometimes, people. I doubt that the District Attorney would have gotten involved in this without some complaint by the investors. I also doubt that Sharon will repay them as soon as is practicable.  According to this video, she says she's doing right fine financially.

Which Sharon are we to believe?
The poor single mother of 5 (at the time she had three children at home) who consistently and historically couldn't pay her feed creditors around town? or this Sharon Palmer, above, who is a victim of someone trying to take away her 3 million dollar property? And 2 million has been payed back into the property!?!? Why wouldn't the loan be re-payed and she'd be well on her way to paying back her personal creditors?
I'd say neither, because I've come to learn you can't trust a thing that comes out of her mouth.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm basically outraged, and why you should be too...

From a Healthy Family Farms Facebook post: "Here's an amazing, painterly photo of a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader and mom elsewhere in the country."
I would warn people like I, who once had the idyllic notion of farm life as pictured above, to take heed of the lesson in the story below.

The word is out, folks. Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms has today been charged with "38 felony counts, including two counts of conspiracy, multiple counts of grand theft involving several victims, two counts of elder theft, several counts of money-laundering, violations of the corporate code relating to the offer and sale of securities, and tax evasion," according to an article just released by the Ventura County Star.

Healthy Family Farms formerly and may still sell in farmer's markets from Santa Barbara down the coast to Santa Monica. They are also a vendor last I checked at one of the biggest farmer's markets in the state of California, Hollywood Sunday Farmer's Market.

"Ventura County Senior Deputy District Attorney Chris Harman said Palmer faces a significant amount of time in prison based on the amount alleged to have been stolen, which includes $1,144,542.10 from Rabobank."

At first I was shocked, and then it all came to me in a wave. I remember trying to figure out how in the world a known felon like Sharon Palmer was gifted a farm. The private investigation report on had an interview that I remember precisely because of the amount of money people who are devoted to good food had invested in Sharon Palmer:

"Judi Dawn von Schleifer was also interviewed in detail and a detailed statement was prepared based on the interview. Ms. von Schleifer indicated that she was introduced to Sharon Palmer by James Stewart and that when she first met Ms. Palmer in August, 2008 and asked Sharon what she needed help with. Sharon replied, "I need money." She began fundraising efforts by identify and developing contact information for investors and determining the amounts that the investors would be willing to invest in an organic farm. This information was given to Sharon Palmer who made the actual arrangement with the investors as to how much they would invest and what return was being promised them. It was Judi's understanding that each of the investors were promised a 12 percent return on their money to be paid back within three to six months. Sharon indicated that she was "on track" to get a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan between $900,000.00 and $1,000,000.00. Judi said that she never saw any paperwork pertaining to the loan. Judi's fundraising assistance permitted Sharon to raise $500,000.00 to help in purchasing the farm." 

The article states that the felony charges are between Feb. 1, 2008, and April 1, 2009. This woman met Sharon Palmer in August 2008 and Sharon moved to her new farm some time that Fall.  

From The history and Facts presented by Aajunus Vonderplanitz on his website: "In about 2008, James Stewart and a small goat’s-milk farmer Sharon Palmer entered an agreement to purchase a 62-acres farm for approximately 2 million dollars. James Stewart and several Rawesome members invested about 1 million dollars. Member Larry Otting acquired a 1-million dollars loan for the balance to secure the property and leased the property to Sharon Palmer who completely runs the farm. They called it Healthy Family Farms (HFF)." This must be where Larry Otting comes in as a new defendant as per Aajonus' account he secured the loan. There is that amount of "$1,144,542.10 from Rabobank." which may be the loan. It will all come out eventually. 

It seems James was working with Sharon from the beginning. I knew that he was her partner in crime from the testimony given to me by one of our sources. I just had no idea it went this deep. But the evidence was there, on all along. I am outraged. A monster describes her best, if indeed these charges are true. She was able to manipulate so many people into thinking she was a victim, a single mother of 5 children (when in actuality she had 3 living at home, now 2) and that she had good intentions of raising good food.
Let's face it folks. If these charges hold true, Sharon Palmer is a great con artist.

I have a few select words for James Stewart as well. His past with raw milk is not so clean. And now it appears he using the hard earned money of his Rawesome club members to con them as well. 

It looks like Aajanus is not so crazy after all. It was because of his website that I first decided to no longer buy from Sharon Palmer.

And this I say to you: I wish this was the only case of fraud in the real food movement that I know about. Sadly, it is not. This is a huge case of fraud that we can easily wave off as one that is an outlier...not normal. Yet, think about it this way: out of 100 people, 3 will be sociopaths who will only care about their own gain and not care about the wellbeing of the whole.
To think that the good intentions of the farmers market managers, raw milk supporters, Rawesome supporters, real food people, and her customers, employees, and volunteers were so badly manipulated... It is disgusting and despicable, if the charges are indeed true.

Caveat Emptor definitely applies to the real food movement and to farmer's markets. 

Further Reading: My investigation into Healthy Family Farms in Three Parts: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

New Arrests for James Stewart of Rawesome and Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms

Tweeted from David Gumpert approximately 1 hour ago: "At Rawesome hearing, James Stewart and Sharon Palmer arrested, jailed, charges unclear." And "James Stewart held on $1million bail, Sharon Palmer on $2million bail from Ventura County arrest warrant." More news to come, I am sure.

My take on this issue in Three Parts: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

No more raw milk from me

I just decided to opt out of raw milk politics. What does it have to do with my current enjoyment of life anyway? I don't drink the stuff.

I unsubscribed from WAPF "alerts" which used to annoy the crap out of me anyway. I stopped the google alerts. I've already un-friended all the people that would post this raw milk crap in FB a while ago.

It is going to be nice and quiet about raw milk in my little corner of the world. A welcome change.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CDC has a Raw Milk Problem

Updated 2/22/2012: To be fair, Claravale dairy, discussed below, is being investigated for a possible campylobacter outbreak. The dairy voluntarily recalled it's milk products. Sally Fallon of the WAPF rebuts the CDC article linked to below in a press release today. It's contents will be published at the end of the article. My only comment is that the facts and figures make my head spin and it's hard to trust either side who makes such hardline cases for and against raw milk. I just know I will no longer feed it to my family.


If you didn't already know that I used to be a member (well, technically I still am a member through the Spring, at which time I won't be renewing) of a cultish like group that claims superior health benefits from drinking raw milk and claims raw milk is inherently safe because it kills pathogenic bacteria, well, now you do. Dear Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation and any other group that makes such wholly inaccurate claims: "Here's your sign"

Why the angst? I used to feed raw milk to my children from Organic Pastures dairy and Claravale dairy, the two legal and regulated dairies in California. I blindly listened to Sally Fallon and thought it was safe!  Back in August, when I was shocked out of my idealistic sunshine and rainbows world by the Healthy Family Farms/Rawesome saga, I spoke with a lady who is very close to raw milk politics here in California. The inevitable questions she always gets from the newly enlightened raw milkies like myself are somewhere along these lines: "Should I drink the raw milk? Should I feed it to my kids?" Her answer to such a query from me, loosely paraphrased: "I've drunk enough raw milk in my life to know that my campy titers are probably through the roof." "Campy?" I said. "Campylobacter, it's a raw milk pathogen." "Oh" I said, sheepishly, feeling guilty about never knowing such a pathogen could exist in my raw milk. "As for my children, well, they probably don't have as much immunity as I do."  I was crushed. From then on I continued to buy Claravale milk only for myself but Strauss for the kids. Organic Pastures had a history of outbreaks, I soon learned. But Claravale, I reasoned, had never been associated with an outbreak in CA. They are a small operation with a closed herd. They MUST do it right, and their milk MUST be the safest, I hoped.

Well, after following raw milk politics closely since that August of 2011, Organic Pastures came down with an e.coli outbreak that sickened 5 children with 3 hospitalized. A raw milk dairy called "Your Family Cow" in Pennsylvania had a "campy" outbreak that sickened at last count 77 people.

The latest Campy outbreak, and perhaps most depressing for myself, is out of, you guessed it, Claravale. This farm was held up by some members of WAPF as a model raw milk dairy. I haven't met Ron Garthwaite, owner of Claravale, but I've heard he is a true dairyman and takes his raw milk quite seriously. The fact that he isn't such a smooth talking salesman like Mr. McAfee of Organic Pastures kinda endeared me to the guy. My heart breaks because I used to by his milk for my children. Just like with Organic Pastures dairy, those sick kids could have been mine. Those sick adults could have been me.

Thank you, dear Ethicurian, for helping my put my head on straight and sort through the disillusion. After reading this blog post, you might understand why we moms get a little bit ticked off when it comes to lies about raw milk.

I'd like to leave you with a comment on this post on The Complete Patient blog from a person who claims to have been sickened in the outbreak from the Pennsylvania dairy, "Your Family Cow". Just in case you might follow the raw milk supporters line of reasoning and feel that Campylobacter is not such a big deal:

"I am a victim of this tainted raw milk. In my life on this planet I drank raw milk ONCE! And it nearly killed me! About two weeks ago, I was so sick I almost wished I would die. I will never drink raw milk again, EVER! I do not care how clean your new facilities are or how nutritious raw milk is supposed to be. Thank God for Pasteurization!

I thankfully did not give any of the tainted milk to my grandchildren who I baby sat that day. Their young metabolism may not have been able to fight off this horrible infection. I am still not fully recovered but thankfully am getting better! I now worry about the possible complications down the road, but that is a concern for another day. All the science talk about how to clean this or that is all fine and good for future avoidance of such errors. But I have never been so ill as I was that week and a half. I do not have the time nor patience to read all the commentary above. All I can ask is "What about the victims?"
February 9, 2012 | Registered Commenterbill walker"


Dear Members,
Yesterday the CDC issued a press release claiming a rate of 150 times more outbreaks from raw milk than pasteurized.  We have prepared the press release below, with a critique of their data.
Please send this press release to your local newspapers and post on your various email lists and websites.  You can also use the information below to write to local newspapers and your elected officials.
Thank you for joining us in raw milk activism!
Sally Fallon Morell, President
Kathy Kramer, Executive Director
Agency ignores data that shows dangers of pasteurized milk
WASHINGTON, DC, February 21, 2012. In a press release issued today, authors affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control claim that the rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from it was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.” The authors based this conclusion on an analysis of reports submitted to the CDC from 1993 to 2006.
According the Weston A. Price Foundation, the CDC has manipulated and cherry picked this data to make raw milk look dangerous and to dismiss the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk.
“What consumers need to realize, first of all,” said Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, “is that the incidence of foodborne illnesses from dairy products, whether pasteurized or not, is extremely low.  For the 14-year period that the authors examined, there was an average of 315 illnesses a year from all dairy products for which the pasteurization status was known.  Of those, there was an average of 112 illnesses each year attributed to all raw dairy products and 203 associated with pasteurized dairy products.
“In comparison, there are almost 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year on average.  Whether pasteurized or not, dairy products are simply not a high risk product.”
Because the incidence of illness from dairy products is so low, the authors’ choice of the time period for the study affected the results significantly, yet their decision to stop the analysis with the year 2006 was not explained.  The CDC’s data shows that there were significant outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to pasteurized dairy products the very next year, in 2007: 135 people became ill from pasteurized cheese contad with e. coli, and three people died from pasteurized milk contaminated with listeria (
Outbreaks from pasteurized dairy were also a significant problem in the 1980s.  In 1985, there were over 16,000 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection that were traced back to pasteurized milk from a single dairy.  Surveys estimated that the actual number of people who became ill in that outbreak were over 168,000, “making this the largest outbreak of salmonellosis ever identified in the United States” at that time, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to Fallon Morell “In the context of the very low numbers of illnesses attributed to dairy in general, the authors’ decision to cut the time frame short, as compared to the available CDC data, is troubling and adds to questions about the bias in this publication.”

According to Fallon Morell, the CDC’s authors continue to obscure their study by failing to document the actual information they are using. They rely on reports, many of which are preliminary. Of the references related to dairy outbreaks, five are from outbreaks in other countries, several did not involve any illness, seven are about cheese-related incidents, and of the forty-six outbreaks they count, only five describe any investigations.
Perhaps most troubling is the authors’ decision to focus on outbreaks rather than illnesses.  An “outbreak” of foodborne illness can consist of two people with minor stomachaches to thousands of people with bloody diarrhea.  In addressing the risk posed for individuals who consume a food, the logical data to examine is the number of illnesses, not the number of outbreaks. 
“The authors acknowledge that the number of foodborne illnesses from raw dairy products (as opposed to outbreaks) were not significantly different in states where raw milk is legal to sell compared with states where it is illegal to sell,” notes Judith McGeary of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.  “In other words, had the authors looked at actual risk of illness, instead of the artificially defined “outbreaks,” there would have been no significant results to report.”
This does not end the list of flaws with the study, however.  The link between the outbreaks and the legal status of raw dairy mixed an entire category of diverse products. Illnesses from suitcase style raw cheese or queso fresco were lumped together with illnesses attributed to fluid raw milk, a much less risky product.  In the majority of states where the sale of raw fluid milk is allowed, the sale of queso fresco is still illegal.  The authors had all of the data on which products were legal and which products allegedly caused the illnesses, yet chose not to use that data.
Similarly, to create the claimed numbers for how much riskier raw dairy products are, the authors relied on old data on raw milk consumption rates, rather than using the CDC’s own food survey from 2006-2007.  The newer data showed that about 3 percent of the population consumes raw milk—over nine million people--yet the authors chose instead to make conclusions based on the assumption that only 1 percent of the dairy products in the country are consumed raw.
The authors also ignored relevant data on the populations of each state.  For example, the three most populous states in the country (California, Texas, and New York) all allow for legal sales of raw milk; the larger number of people in these states would logically lead to larger numbers of illnesses than in low-population states such as Montana and Wyoming and has nothing to do with the fact that raw milk is illegal in those states.
“It would hardly be surprising to see some sort of increase in foodborne illnesses related to a food where that food is legal,” said McGeary.  “If we banned ground beef, we’d see fewer illnesses related to ground beef products.   Yet this new study fails to prove even that common-sense proposition, even as it claims to prove a great deal more.  What the data really shows is that raw dairy products cause very few illnesses each year, even though the CDC data indicates that over 9 million people consume it.” 
Contact:  Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, The Weston A. Price Foundation
703-860-2711, 703-675-5557
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501C3 nutrition education foundation with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 13,000 members, supports 500 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly conference. The Foundation headquarters phone number is (202) 363-4394,,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Organic Pastures Dairy Company, Raw Milk Kefir, and E.coli 0157:H7

After reading The Complete Patient blog, Mary Martin, whose son was sickened with e.coli 0157:H7 in 2006 after drinking raw milk from OPDC, is turning into a real hero in my eyes. If you make it to the end of this post, you will see why.

Here is what I wrote when I found out the news:

"I for one, am extremely pissed off by the news coming out of OPDC today and I don't know how to reconcile my feelings in the moment, but I will try:

When I first started WAPF, everyone glorified the benefits of raw milk and perpetuated the myth that pathogens cannot grow in raw milk and hence it is inherently safe. You know, the whole Sally Fallon real milk website idiocy. I was skeptical. I did not "drink the raw milk koolaid" for over a year or so.

Then, I got pregnant the second time around. I turned to WAPF guidelines and started making raw milk kefir. I thought, critical thought and cynicism be damned, my body NEEDS this stuff to make a healthy baby. I even made kefir smoothies with raw egg yolks. I got the vomit/diarrhea flu 3 or 4 times that winter, a record for myself. I thought it was so strange that I got the flu so many times.

Then I read that the kids who were most sickened had raw milk kefir made at home. That could have been me, pregnant, immune functioning lowered and in the hospital and possibly having a miscarriage because of it.

Have a little f-ing empathy for the victims here, you raw milk advocates!!! Seriously."

After reading Gumpert's latest post about the e.coli in the OPDC milk issue, I decided to do some digging to get to the bottom of who has said what about raw milk and fermentation/making kefir as it relates to the food safety. Quite quickly, I found the comment section discussion on Bill Marler's blog and reading it in hindsight is extremely EERIE.

I sure wish the mother of the two children who ended up hospitalized had had this information before she made raw milk kefir from OPDC milk. Not that she is at fault in any way. She was following the directives of the likes of WAPF or Sally Fallon I am sure.
How do I know there is a mother out there who had BOTH children sickened by OPDC? Mark McAfee's words are a real work of art. He discusses a private conversation on a public forum:
"I spoke at length with the mom with the two most sickened children. They were both from the same family. She and I are working closely on a very constructive path for improved consumer education. She and I both felt better after our very open and exposed discussion. I learned a boat load from her. She had previously been a close WAP follower and believes in the value of whole food nutrition. I am dedicated to protecting her family from further injury or criticism....she will remain nameless. I am dedicated to her protection and want to help her family become whole again. I want more than know how in the hell bacteria from our calf area became connected with five With all bacteria samples being negative from every place and very

There are massive questions remaining. How do 60,000 people not get sick for three weeks in a row and the then one gets sick and the three more weeks pass with no illness. Then a family with 2 kids sick ( the most ill ) had consumed fermented raw milk with an unknown culture in an unknown kitchen brew. Then the family also consumed raw whey fermented vegetables....was there salt in the whey mix???"

David Gumpert said:
"On the matter of fermenting the milk to make kefir or yogurt, lots of consumers do that. Is McAfee suggesting people shouldn't do that, or that it should be done "at your own risk"?"

Jennifer Feiney said:
"I don't think Mark is suggesting that cultured milk products are inherantly bad. I have known that the harmful bacteria often survive in acidic environments (that is why stomach acids don't destroy them). That is why I choose to pasturize my cultured milks and soft cheeses."

Reading up on this subject, I found this article on the Marler blog.

Now, Mark McAfee is the head of OPDC and RAWMI. Bill Anderson is on the board of the RAWMI along with, David Gumpert, the author of The Complete Patient blog. What is RAWMI? From their website: "Headquartered near Kerman, California, in one of the top dairy and agriculture centers in the world, the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) provides training and leadership through its common standards to safely guide the growing raw milk market. The process involves scientific research, farmer training, the publication of listed farmers’ test results, and continuous education."

Here's the conversation, a little eerie really:

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 20, 2011 6:43 PM
Bill Anderson,

What are your thoughts on grass fed raw milk gently pasteurized at home with a double boiler? How damaged is this milk? We cook other foods and they are still considered healthy. Why would it be different for milk?

Bill Anderson - July 20, 2011 8:33 PM


Coli in milk:
(there are many more studies similair to this one)

However, I can address the issue of home pasteurization.

Firstly, legal vat pasteurization requires that the airspace of the vat be maintained at least 5 degrees above the legal pasteurization limit for the entire duration of pasteurization, using culinary-grade steam. (Believe it or not, I am trained and licensed to pasteurize milk by the state of Wisconsin). In case there are particles of the raw milk that splashed onto the upper side wall or cover of the vat, this is to ensure those are pasteurized as well so they do not re-contaminate the milk after pasteurization. It would be very difficult to do this properly on the home scale.

Secondly, complicating the home pasteurization would be the ability to rapidly cool the milk after pasteurization. If contaminants (such as those mentioned above) make their way back into the milk while it is cooling, they will have free-reign over the milk since you have just destroyed all the natural flora of the milk. Since it is difficult to rapidly cool milk on the home scale, there is ample opportunity for these contaminants to grow. (You may have been better off just leaving the milk raw to begin with...)

Thirdly, I think that the term "gently pasteurized" is problematic. I actually think that HTST pasteurization (161.5F for 15 seconds) is preferable to vat pasteurization (145F for 30 minutes) because of the extended hold time in the latter. While both are equivilent in their logarthmic destruction of pathogenic organisms, from a quality standpoint the proteins in the vat pasteurized milk are more damaged.

Finally, speaking as a cheesemaker, pasteurization limits are fairly narrow. If you cook milk above 180F, you denature whey proteins which fundamentally alters the way that the milk thickens and coagulates. I can't speak to the nutritional properties, but I can say that this milk will never make good cheese because the whey proteins are now unfolded and bound to the casein (curd proteins) preventing good seperation of curd and whey.

The preferable option is to get good clean tested & certified raw milk from your local grass-grazed dairy farm. If you want an extra measure of food safety, turn it into kefir or yogurt and then age it for a few days in the fridge. The acidity and competition from beneficial lactic-acid producing bacteria will render the milk safe in the off-chance that any small quantities of pathogens are initially present.

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 20, 2011 8:56 PM


If milk was pasteurized in a double boiler at 161.5 degrees for 15 seconds, placed in glass quart size canning jars, and then put in a metal tub filled with ice would this cool the milk rapidly enough? Also, would you consider this damaged milk in regards to the protein structure?

Another question, when yogurt is made, what degree is it heated to and for how long?

I'd love to see a study done on kefir and yogurt to see if it does 100% kill pathogens.

mark mcafee - July 20, 2011 9:05 PM

I agree with Bill Anderson 100%. Culturing is a far better and more probiotic method to use than to pasteurize. The acidification, colonization, competition and other fermentation chemistry has been used for thousands of years. In fact history shows that most civilizations that drank rawmilk, drank as a fermented clabber... available refrigeration. We are spoiled in first world countries and like are cereals etc.

I love my raw milk. I am also spoiled. I have 2000 gallons of it every day at the OPDC creamery 1400 feet from my house. We provide this non allergenic, easily digestible food to about 65,000 people every week in CA. 400 stores carry the product and more demand is measured every day.

There are truly Two Raw Milks In America.

The Milk Pool milk that has up to 750 coliforms and god knows how many pathogens and up to 100,000 SPC ( all of this as measured at the dairy milk tank and gets much higher at the creamery tank)

The Other Raw Milk that is for Direct Human Consumption with less than 10 coliforms, less than 15,000 SPC per ml and zero pathogens allowed ever and this is in finished product tell me there is only one kind of RAW MILK in America....

Clearly, there are state laws that define these two raw milks. If you deny this, then I have a captive space alien that I would like Anderson Cooper to interview.


Bill Anderson - July 21, 2011 6:57 AM


Well, speaking from experience canning things other than milk (salsa, pickles, etc...) you never want to put a glass mason jar full of hot liquid into an ice bath. The temperature differential will cause the glass to shatter.

If your only goal with home pasteurization is to render the milk safe to drink, I'd say you don't need to worry about the narrow limits of industrial pasteurization to prevent excessive protein denaturation. The better option is just to start with clean raw milk to begin (SPC less than 15,000/mL and coliform less than 10/mL) with and then culture it with a measured dose of robust beneficial lactic-acid producing bacteria. Many industrial yogurt producers will cook the milk up to 180F to denature whey proteins, but this is a modern practice and not the traditional way that yogurt is made.

Here is more interesting information about how lactic cultures kill E. Coli:

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 21, 2011 8:22 PM

Thanks for the information Bill. I wish all three had the actual journal article sited.

Bill Anderson - July 23, 2011 8:41 AM


It looks like the story on the CNN website also appear on a Marler-Clark blog:

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 23, 2011 9:23 AM

Don’t get me wrong Bill. If someone was going to ask me to choose between consuming raw milk or yogurt or kefir made from raw milk, I would choose the later. Having said that, I want to see hard data showing that raw yogurt and kefir have the capacity to 100% kill all pathogens dead equal to pasteurization. The article you site states it has the potential to fight E.coli. That is different from making a statement that it kills all pathogens that could be present in raw yogurt and kefir. And by kills, I don’t mean reduces. I mean kills, eliminates, wipes-out with zero pathogens remaining.

Bill Anderson - July 23, 2011 6:45 PM

Hi Mary,

Even PMO standards require certain bacterial limits in the raw milk in order to assure food safety. If CAFO raw milk with a Staph Aureus count of 5 million per mL is pasteurized using PMO time/temperature guidelines, it will still make you sick because Staph entero-toxin is heat-stable and can survive pasteurization.

To expect that there is a process that can be 100% effective in ensuring food safety is unrealistic. Pasteurized milk has caused innumerable outbreaks and even 2 recent deaths. Clearly it is not the pancea you make it out to be.

The whole point of using HACCP-like plans (such as Mark's RAMP) is to analzye risk factors, and work to ensure they are effectively managed and minimized.

That being said, I am confident that raw milk that meets bacterial standards for human-grade raw milk (SPC under 15,000 and Coliform under 10/mL) and is cultured to under pH 4.5 using a measured does of lactic-acid producing bacteria, is equivilent to pasteurization in its pathogen destroying capabilities. The question which not yet been solved is which strains of which lactic bacteria need to be used to accomplish this.

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 24, 2011 7:07 AM

Yes. Bill. I know that you are biased against pasteurization, but most outbreaks involve either faulty pasteurization or contamination after it has been pasteurized. As for Staph Aureus, how many document outbreaks have been caused by this bacterium?

The point I am trying to make is that people can make the choice to purchase raw milk from a local farmer and pasteurize it at home themselves. I believe there are many people out there that would like to support their local farmer, as well as being able to purchase milk that has not been produced using growth hormones, GMO feed, antibiotics and homogenization and at the same time don’t want to take the risk of consuming milk that has not been pasteurized.

Home pasteurization is an option people can choose.

Bill Anderson - July 24, 2011 11:24 AM

If people want to pasteurize at home, that is their choice. I just want to make sure that consumers have a choice to purchase clean, tested, CERTIFIED raw milk, and that our regulatory system is based on science and not corporate interests.

My main point is that lactic-acid fermentation will achieve the same effect of destroying pathogens as pasteurization will achieve, only without destroying the bio-diversity or denaturing the nutrients and ezymes.

As a cheese maker, I know that raw milk cheese has more flavor than pasteurized. Raw milk cheese (with the notable exception of unacidified high-moisture high-salt varieties, i.e. queso blanco) also has an intrinsic immunity to listeria monocytogenes that pasteurized milk cheeses lacks. For this reason, it is actually safer to make cheese with CERTIFIED raw milk than it is to make it with pasteurized milk.

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 24, 2011 4:23 PM


I’m talking about people having the opportunity to home pasteurize their raw milk that is purchased from small farmers, cowshare programs or large dairies like OPDC. The very milk you would want people to buy. It is just an option for people who don’t want to take the risk of drinking raw milk, but want “healthy” milk. I’m not talking about sterilizing the milk, just pasteurizing it enough to kill the bad guys in case the farmer had a bad day and shit got in the milk. Why take that risk if you don’t have to?

As for raw cheese, I believe E.coli 0157:H7 made people ill last year. Remember the Costco outbreak. Shiga toxin E.coli is a potent bacteria.

As for this, “My main point is that lactic-acid fermentation will achieve the same effect of destroying pathogens as pasteurization will achieve, only without destroying the bio-diversity or denaturing the nutrients and ezymes.” I get that, but want to see had data proving that.

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 24, 2011 4:42 PM

Bill, I apologize. You did post this link. I'm reading through it. It looks promising, but to be considered valid, it would have to be reproduced in another study and the same results would have to be found.
Bill Anderson - July 24, 2011 5:54 PM
Your analogy is weak, DD. 40,000 Americans die in auto accidents each year. Not a single person has died from drinking raw milk in over 30 years. Even if 1% of the population drinks raw milk (the real number is likely around 3%), and we assume that 100% drive cars on a regular basis, that would mean for raw milk to be as dangerous as cars, it would have to cause around 400 deaths each year.
Again... not a single death from drinking raw milk in over 30 years.
HELLO, wake up please Doc! This debate isn't about food safety. We have the tools to monitor and reasonably assure the safety of raw milk. This debate is about corporate domination of our food choices.
We tried changing the laws in Wisconsin. Yet despite having overwhelming popular support for our cause, it was shot down by big-money dairy lobbyists and lawyers. As for the regulators and public health people, they may not pass the laws, but they often have a hand in writing them, and they certainly have a hand in how they are interpretted and enforced.
Once again, follow the $$$$$$$$$

Bill Anderson - July 24, 2011 7:51 PM


No offense to Mark and OPDC (love them!) but I do think that raw milk cheese is a preferable vehicle for the delivery of the delicious nutrients in raw milk. Of course, I could be biased... I am a cheese maker, after all.

The combination of lactic-acid fermentation, salt, reduced moisture content, and age, all work to eliminate pathogens. Plus with cheese, because of the age, you have a chance to test everything for pathogens before it is sent to market (where with fluid drinking milk, because of its short shelf-life, any test you perform is looking at something already heading to market).

The E. Coli outbreaks that happened last year from raw milk cheese, happened because the producers were not following good practices and testing their cheese like they should have been. By utilizing HACCP types of plans and testing protocals, it is entirely possible to produce raw milk cheese with equivilent or higher safety than pasteurized milk cheese.

That being said, I choose to drink raw milk. I like the flavor better, and living in Wisconsin there is an abundance of small local dairy farms to choose from. It also makes better cheese any day, hands down. The finest artisan cheeses in the world are made with raw milk.

Mary McGonigle-Martin - July 24, 2011 8:12 PM


I just don’t understand the logic of stating that no one has died from drinking raw milk in the last 30 years. It makes me angry when Mark says this and just as angry when you say it. What exactly is your point? Are you saying it is O.K. for raw milk to make people ill because they didn’t die? Is it O.K. that Mari Tardiff still has to use a walker and that Lauren Herzog and Kalee Prue have permanent kidney damage and will probably require kidney dialysis sometime in their lives? What, they didn’t die so contaminated raw milk is not a safety issue?

This information is posted on STOP about my son’s illness.

Labor Day Weekend of 2006 changed our lives forever. Little did we know the raw milk our son consumed was contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. While we innocently swam in our backyard swimming pool and enjoyed the holiday, this killer bacterium slowly invaded Chris' intestinal track. The first signs of trouble: a headache, followed by fever and lethargy. Next, a day filled with endless episodes of diarrhea, culminating that evening with blood in his stool. This signaled something was terribly wrong. From there, relentless, painful diarrhea and vomiting began, marking the beginning of our two month odyssey to Hell.

Nothing can prepare a parent for this medical announcement: "Your child has Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome". Or this one: "Your child will get worse before he gets better". Our son fought a war. It was against something invisible. You can't see or smell E. coli O157:H7 or the die off (called Shiga toxins) which are poisonous to the human body. The damage done by this bacterium is incomprehensible.

Christopher entered the emergency room during the evening of September 7th and was admitted to the hospital the following morning. He was diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome on September 11, 2006. He endured a ventilator, kidney dialysis, chest drainage tubes, central lines, PICC lines, blood transfusions, plasma transfusions platelet transfusions, intravenous nutrition, narcotics, antibiotics, and surgeries. He recovered from renal failure, congestive heart failure, a collapsed lung, acute pancreatitis, high blood pressure and seizures. While in critical condition, he was in the care of a nephrologist, cardiologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist and multiple attending pediatric ICU physicians. Christopher was released from the hospital on November 2, 2006.

Our family is blessed. Chris won his war against E. coli O157:H7 and HUS. He survived.

Our son, Christopher Chase, is our hero. He taught us so much about the strength of the human spirit and is living proof that miracles do happen.

Bill, please help me understand what your point is, because I am clueless." 

Mary Martin, you are my hero and I am glad Chris Martin is alive and here with us today. His story can be found here: