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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Raw Milk

The Seattle Times ran a HUGE article (front page of the Sunday paper) about the dangers of raw milk. Obviously it was of interest to us since for over three years now we've been pretty much drinking NOTHING but raw milk, whether it be from our own goats or the Dungeness Creamery mentioned in the story.

Now, I've a bit of scientific background - specifically in terms of infectious diseases. Thus, I know full well that pasteurized products are always going to be safer than unpasteurized products...however, how much safer? And are unpasteurized products such as raw milk so unsafe that they ought to be branded akin to a combat enemy in the drug war? (This is one of numerous stories about raw milk farms being raided like crack houses.) See also this article where raw milk drinkers in Canada and marijuana users in California have to rely on similar practices in order to obtain their contraband.)

While I think the "God made this naturally good for us" argument doesn't really make a case, I would suggest a couple of points. The first being precisely HOW unsafe is raw milk? Well the ST article notes that between 1993 and 2006 there have a grand total of 2 deaths linked to raw milk consumption. GASP! Well this begs the question...so ummm...how many deaths in general are linked to food-borne illness? Well according to CDC data we lose about 5,200 people PER YEAR to food-borne disease. Thus in that 13 year period, while 2 people's death were blamed on raw milk consumption, somewhere around 67,598 people's deaths were linked to some OTHER food. Of course, one will then think to consider the number of people who actually drink raw milk as compared to the number of people who were eating other foods and that's a fair question, but alas one we probably cannot answer. From my point of view, given the number of people using raw milk (again whether they milk it themselves or they buy from the ever expanding number of local sources) I think the risk is NOT really that great. Many of us (myself included) can remember buying raw milk from farmers...some even taking straight out of a holding tank with a ladle. Good stuff...many uses...OH the CREAM! Anecdotal, yes, but we all survived.

Now, it should not surprise us that the CSPI is chiming in on this issue. They seemingly have a desire to chime in on everything that revolves around protecting you from yourself. They play themselves off as being some sort of non-profit advocacy group, but in reality they are an activist organization bent on growing massive government policies regulating pretty much everything you might actually enjoy.

CPSI was responsible for terrifying us out of eating popcorn during our movies:


But here is where the rubber meets the road: freedom. Yes, that much forgotten word. I do not believe the government (nor it's manipulator the CSPI) has any business telling us what we can eat or drink....NONE. There's no reason that the FDA should be raiding farms and taking away our freedom simply because 2 people have died in 13 years. If that were justification, my guess is a WHOLE HECK of a lot of things ought to also be made illegal (e.g. automobiles, alcohol, electricity, skydiving, bungee jumping, carnival rides, airplanes, swimming pools - which are particularly dangerous to children - a surefire political win....you get the point.) No we don't have precise statistics, but how many deaths per users warrants illegality? And is this a rule to be taken to apply to all things? And is it REALLY the government's job to do this?

The Seattle Times article is clearly written to start a discussion that they expect (and want to) end up in Olympia where legislators will tell us sob stories regarding the two people that died and demand that government take action to prevent it from EVER happening again. And then we can all rest easy knowing that once again the state has saved us from ourselves. We are ever pushing in this direction...#2 on the CSPI's list of "dangerous foods" happens to be eggs - curiously raw milk doesn't make the top 10 - and thus I expect that they are quite happy to seek heavy regulations on eggs sales.

Thinking about eggs...every time you cook or order one over-easy (liquid yoke) you are choosing to increase your risk of food-borne illness. Anytime you eat sushi you are increasing your risk for food-borne illness. You like that super juicy burger? So does E.Coli. You like a little red in your steak? Guess who else does? Did you REALLY wash that lettuce enough? (I always laugh - knowing my microbiology - when people rinse lettuce with water and think that helps with microorganisms...they ought to be bleaching it. Maybe CPSI should seek to mandate the bleaching of our lettuce?

Of course I will say this...use of raw milk has been shown to lead to heavier drug use like meth.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:16 AM [+]
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9 comments


9 Comments:

Pasteurization of raw milk significantly decreased infant morbidity and mortality in the 20th century, just like immunizations did--and still do. We don't see the big numbers of illness and death now because so few people actually partake of raw milk. As long as the dairy farmers carefully inspect their cattle and check the milk for disease then illness from raw milk should be minimal. But all it takes is one slip-up to make a lot of people ill.
Angela

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:42 AM  

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Yes, I would avoid giving raw milk to infants - just like honey.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 7:49 AM  

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LOL! Actually I recant!
Of COURSE I'd give an infant RAW milk...just not cow's.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 8:11 AM  

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I recant again!

*I* would be unable to give it. But I would encourage others of a more feminine persuasion to do so.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 8:12 AM  

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You're funny, honey.
Children under the age of 1 shouldn't be given cows milk! But back when I was a babe cows milk was given once the babe was weaned, which in the 70's and other decades as well, this was mighty early!
But now....it is very well known..no cows milk before 1 year old.

By Blogger Susan Sophia, at 1:47 PM  

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Actually, I think it is physiologically possible, just a whole lot more trouble than it's worth.

By Blogger Peter Gardner, at 7:12 PM  

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I was merely trying to explain why it's not in the best interests of national health for raw milk to be widely available for consumption. If we have mass outbreaks of food poisoning with the oversight there is currently---pitiful as it is--- just imagine if raw milk were available from a large supply of dairies for the majority of the public.
Again I stress that you've got to be sure your dairy supplier is diligent on cleanliness and inspection of the cattle and milk.
Angela

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:38 PM  

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Angela...my principal issue is regarding individual liberty to accept risk, which we do everyday. Each person should be allowed to decide if they believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

I don't think raw milk will ever be widely distributed, but people SHOULD be able to drink it if they should so opt.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 7:29 AM  

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Raw milk is yummy. My farmer's dairy is very clean. Glug glug.

Even being able to say "my farmer" is a very political and significant statement. Let freedom ring, I say.

By Blogger Alana, at 7:22 AM  

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