May 15, 2012
In Minnesota, a mother’s struggle to raise her children, and to provide them with a complete and healthy diet has come under scrutiny from local civil courts. Local authorities are trying to shut down a ring of raw foodies. The community, like many other across North America (and about 1% of American families), has resisted the sanctions against the distribution of raw milk.
The cost of freedom
Across the majority of the townships and cities in the United States, along with other farm produce, milk farms follow strict standards of safety and cleanliness in order to prevent the spread of disease. Twenty of the fifty states explicitly ban the sale of raw milk across state lines, because of the possibility that it may be contaminated with disease causing bacteria such as Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, or E. coli.
Willing martyrs for the right to choose
While authorities rarely take action against individuals purchasing raw milk for their own consumption, they frequently target distributors, even if they aren’t exporting their product across state lines.
Neighbors in the community have come together in a show of support for their raw milk supplier in a civil disobedience rally. A unique resistance to what they consider unnecessary regulation has created a backlash. The club manager, responsible for overseeing the access to local farm fresh produce, has been criminally changed for acting as a distributor of raw milk. Several mothers, who call themselves the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, have defiantly taken over the responsibility of organizing access to these resources in the absence of their manager, knowingly risking being changed themselves. These women, and other consumers, have received threatening letters from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
What is pasteurization anyway?
Pasteurization is a heating process that is used to reduce the microbial content of milk, which can contain any number of bacteria, viruses transferred from the cattle, and other foreign bodies. The practice was adopted on the heels of the germ theory, after advances in microscope design led scientists to understand that many diseases were caused by microorganisms.
Pasteurization applies a brief but high temperature to the milk, to kill 90% of pathogenic bacteria that might be present. While supporters of raw milk don’t dispute this fact, they believe the cost to milk’s nutritional benefit outweighs the benefits of pasteurization. In addition to the bacterial threat, raw milk also contains anti-microbial and anti-viral agents that are presumably remnants of the cow’s immune defenses. The consumption of raw milk itself is associated with lower incidence of asthma, hay fever, and other allergic responses to contact with plants.
A resistance rally is planned for May 14, 2012. Many members of the local communities, many of whom are not themselves raw milk consumers, are simply opposed to the overtly aggressive tactics of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Attendance is predicted to be in the hundreds.
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This article was posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 2:44 am