November 6, 2007

2008 – goodbye to raw milk in California

By posted in

Not sure if everyone's keeping up with the threat to raw milk in California. As we've stated on our WeWantOrganicFood.com blog:

October 8, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB1735, an amendment to the food laws that requires that milk sold in California contain 10 or less coliform bacteria per milliliter — despite the fact that most coliform bacteria are not harmful and/or are beneficial. Strangely, it does not require that milk be tested for pathogens (disease-causing micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungus).

This news was sprung on us as a fait accompli. But there's still time.

The issue here is that coliform bacteria could include e-coli, and that raw milk contains more than 10 or less coliform bacteria per milliliter. So it's reasonable to assume that this amendment was intended to cut down incidences of e-coli illness — that is, it's reasonable *if* you don't look at the facts staring us all in the face:

  • testing directly for e-coli isn't a requirement
  • the amendment will require raw dairy producers in California *not* to sell all their product, with the obvious financial hit that will cause
  • pasteurizing the milk would kill much of its nutrients and render it difficult for some to digest properly (although we've been propagandized for ages about how good pasteurization is for us)
  • pasteurization will not kill all e-coli

Now, I've heard it argued that this amendment is "good" because the less coliforms that milk contains, the less "chance" there is that it'll contain e-coli. And, what … the longer I live, the more chance there is that a bucket of paint will fall on my head?

Throwing out a whole line of *real* and nutritious food over a half-baked idea that will deprive consumers of the choice of nutritious raw milk (and forcing raw milk producers to foot the bill) is not so great.

There's some history to all this. I've posted much of it at at Deadline 2008: raw milk under threat in California. And, of course, Dear Arnold.

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