Friday, August 26, 2011

More Tales From the Over Regulated State - A Series

Wherein tonight's installment can be entitled, "What's up with the FDA and their weird, raw milk fetish, anyway?"

Earlier this year, everyone reported about the year long sting against an Amish farmer who only sold raw milk to local folks who went out of their way to buy it.  Likewise, people have reported on the raids in California and earlier raids on Amish farmers.  They seem to latch on to some group, like Rawsome foods in Venice, California, and simply will not let go until they've taken their ton of flesh.  

As I'm fond of saying, don't worry, it's not that bad; it's worse.

Mike Adams, at NaturalNews posts a chilling article about a secret war between the FDA and raw milk dealers.  I'll be honest; I'm a bit uncomfortable about posting this because, from my standpoint, it's single-sourced to Natural News - there are no links in that article to check.  Mike says he bases this story on confidential informants who are in fear for their careers - if not their lives - if they were traced.  In this case, I'm going to treat Mike and Natural News as I treated Mike Vanderboegh in December when he said he had confidential informants who were telling him about BATFE allowing guns to walk to the worst of the Mexican drug cartels. Perhaps we'll have some informants on TV before this is over, too. 
You should read the whole piece on NaturalNews, but let me pull out a few bits to get your attention.  On the matter of sources:
The existence of this elaborate spying operation has been confirmed by NaturalNews through three different sources, all of which demanded anonymity as they fear being targeted by the FDA with armed raids, false arrest and destruction of their property, as we recently witnessed with the Rawesome Foods raid. One source told NaturalNews they feared the FDA would stage a Waco-style siege of their farm and invent some justification to assault their farmhouse and shoot them and their family. Yes, this is how much freedom has been lost in America today, where farmers are afraid to speak out for fear they might be killed. And yet, it's not paranoia: They have legitimate reason to fear their own government is targeting them for termination.
....
• FDA agents visiting local farmers' markets and gathering names of possible raw milk providers to be targeted. [tense is correct in context - GB]

• FDA agents calling those targets and trying to convince them to sell raw dairy products by telling "sob stories" of how they have a baby that can't breastfeed, and they need raw goat's milk to keep the baby alive. (This is why most undercover FDA agents are women -- they make more convincing social engineers when it comes to issues like finding goat's milk to feed babies.)
.....
The FDA, in particular, simply writes its own law without any congressional approval whatsoever. It wages its own secret wars, runs its own spy network and is essentially rising up to become its own secret police organization (or terrorist group). None of this has ever been approved by Congress. The head of the FDA is not elected by the voters.
Possibly the most bizarre thing in the article is this:
• FDA officials have stated, during these monthly "Raw Milk Calls," that their goal is the complete destruction of the raw dairy industry in the United States, and that achieving this goal was a top priority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. [emph added - GB]
But why?  Why raw milk?

Look, this isn't the 1800s and people who drink unpasteurized milk are doing so because they want to.  I have no idea if the benefits claimed for raw milk or cheese are true, but that's not the issue.  The issue is whether it's so dangerous that the FDA should outlaw free choice in what people choose to eat, and make destroying raw milk "a top priority".  I was able to find a CDC web page full of scary tone about how dangerous it is, but the only statistical facts were these:
From 1998 through 2008, 86 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 1,676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. Most of these illnesses were caused by Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter, or Salmonella. It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children; among the 86 raw dairy product outbreaks from 1998 to 2008, 79% involved at least one person less than 20 years old.
Let me get this straight:  1676 illness over 10 years is a crisis?  Two deaths in 10 years makes raw milk a "top priority"??  One incident of contaminated Spinach (2006) killed 3 people in one summer of one year.  But that wasn't tracked to a small health-food farm like Rawsome; that was tracked to contamination from a factory farm.   This year's outbreak in Europe was many times more deadly with 45 deaths - again in a few weeks in one year.  So far spinach and fresh vegetables are many times (28) more deadly than raw milk - and I'm not digging hard to find these.  And by the way, did you notice they did the same thing the gun control freaks do and called 19-year olds children ("a substantial proportion of the ... disease burden falls on children") ? 

Look, food safety is serious.  I get it.  I actually took a junior level (college) class in microbiology so I'm probably more aware of what's out there than many.  But it seems to me that if you want to fix a problem, you should go after the big ones.  You know, pareto's principal: go after the 20% causing 80% of the problems?  Lather, rinse, repeat?

This looks more like going after an easy problem than going after an important problem.  And I get the feeling the most important aspect is that it won't affect the big corporations who are involved with all of these major food safety problems, and who feed the FDA lots of money.  

8 comments:

BS Footprint said...

Ponder the uses to which the regulatory infrastructure will be put should a tyrannical government ever come to power. Oops.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

Anonymous said...

The government seems to be getting aggressive in enforcing a lot of things, including importation of hardwoods:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904787404576530520471223268.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Having read about this on several different news sites, it seems that Gibson is not breaking US laws by importing the wood for their fretboards, but the DOJ is claiming the import is breaking foreign law (had the wood been finished by foreign workers it would not have been illegal).

Whether produce or wood products, the gubbermint is doing this with OUR money, at a time when we're trillions over budget. I need to take another pill now...

Graybeard said...

Anon 9:27 - The idea of our DOJ arresting people because those people are breaking another country's laws in the opinion of our DOJ seems to bend logic into impossible curves.

If the Indian company thought they were obeying laws, and aren't being prosecuted by their government, don't they know better?

I remember reading in another one of the cases I heard of that someone in the US was imprisoned for violating a foreign law even though the law had been repealed in the foreign country.

If that makes sense to you, you have a bright future as a federal prosecutor.

A Critic said...

"But why? Why raw milk?"

Pasteurized milk is usually produced from cows fed the waste parts of cows, chickens, chicken manure, chicken feathers, bubble gum + wrappers, grains they aren't designed to eat, antibiotics, growth hormones, and who knows what else? They are also confined in their own waste. As a result, the unbelievably poor quality milk just can't compete with raw milk producers. Whole commodity milk looks blue and thin compared to non-fat raw milk. Since crap milk is a huge industry it is imperative that raw milk be stopped from reaching the masses. In addition raw milk is usually purchased from a much shorter supply chain. It would be very dangerous if people were to stop relying on the industrial commodity food chain.

Graybeard said...

A critic - Thanks! - great contribution.

A really good expansion of my last paragraph.

Reg T said...

I raised my own Toggenburg goats from 1989 to 1993. They were milked in an old barn after wiping their udders clean, milked through cheese cloth into a stainless bucket. The milk was then strained through a milk filter into glass containers and refrigerated. It was the sweetest, best-tasting milk I have ever had. Made great ricotta and feta cheese from it, too. I never sold any, but I gave a lot away to friends.

The Feds have been after raw milk for some time now. Back then in Californica, if you were going to sell it you had to have what was basically a professional installation of concrete and tile, special plumbing, chillers, etc. I think the one time I looked at it it was in the neighborhood of $20K to get set up properly. To sell raw instead of pasteurized, it had to be tested regularly, the animals vet-checked, etc.

What a farce. My milk was certainly cleaner than the bovine crap that got pumped into tanker trucks that were marginally washed out between loads transported for Dow Chemical and Monsanto. Milk pumped into the same truck on the same trip from a variety of farms marginally operated and infrequently checked.

This is about control, not about health. Just as they recently passed legislation controlling what you can grow on your own land for your own consumption, this is certainly not about health.

BS Footprint said...

@Reg T:

It sure seems like it's about making damn sure that the little people are kept busy hopping on one foot while holding their noses, and having something to use against someone if the need arises. But mostly it's about having something to use against someone when the need arises.

Mt Top Patriot said...

Past the point of the who what and why.
It is tyranny, it is treason against we the people.
And quite simply the truth is there are no longer any checks and balances in the form of republican form of government remaining to redress the myriad instruments of this tyranny.
The only form of redress remaining that is sanctioned through the rule of law that has not been corrupted or usurped is the sovereign power invested in we the people via the first and second amendments.
Is it going to come to this last resorts?
Because if the very people who have been entrusted and who have sworn an oath to protect and defend our Liberty from all enemies, are they themselves the enemy, what recourse is there remaining?