For the first time, AB1735 limits levels of coliform bacteria in bottled raw milk to just 10 per milliliter, which is the same level required of pasteurized milk.
The California state Department of Food and Agriculture, against which the lawsuit was filed, claims the law will enhance food safety. Raw milk proponents, however, say the limit is “not technically possible nor economically feasible” for raw milk.
Coliform bacteria exist in the environment and typically do not cause illness, according to food safety authorities. The lawsuit maintains that raw milk producers are being unfairly singled out since other food providers do not have to comply with a coliform limit in their products.
Further, raw milk is already tested for pathogens that could cause illness, such as E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter.
California is home to the biggest raw milk industry in the United States, and raw milk sales are permitted in stores in the state.
The lawsuit asks that AB1735 be declared unconstitutional and says that it should be kept from taking effect. AB1735 is a front that would make it nearly impossible for raw milk to continue to be sold freely in California (one of only a handful of states where raw milk can be purchased conveniently in stores).
But there is very good news.
According to Organic Pastures, a new law is set to be introduced tomorrow by Assemblywoman Nichole Parra that would reverse AB1735 (keep reading to find out how you can voice your opinion at this hearing!). Reportedly, an investigation of certain California Department of Food and Agriculture employees found that they advised staff members to place “eight special anti-raw milk words” into the law.
Further, the law, which was supposed to be reviewed by the governor’s office, was reportedly passed “rapidly and secretly” without discussion or open debate. A note on Organic Pastures’ Web site says that “Assemblymen and State Senators who voted for AB 1735 are now very upset that they were misled, and support immediate repeal on procedural grounds.”
How did these changes come about? From support from people like you who care about the future of their food supply and who spoke out loudly against this unfair legislation.
But the fight is far from over.
Raw milk is still hard to get for many people in the United States, as in most areas it must be purchased through cow-share programs, direct from a farm. Many are traveling several hours to get their hands on this wonderful food source, which should be widely available to everyone and anyone who wants it.
Yet it seems the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), too, has its sights set on restricting your access to raw milk. They have made an unwise move that could threaten your ability to purchase raw-milk cheese, and they’ve added a prominent section to their Web site citing the supposed dangers of raw milk.
Well, you could take this one of two ways. Either the FDA has got some extra time on its hands, or they are getting worried that the truth is out. As increasing numbers of people demand access to this healthy food source, citing real science about its health properties and superiority over pasteurized milk, they will need to work harder to protect the interests of their real partners: the mega-food factories that profit big-time from selling pasteurized milk.
Why Drink Raw Milk?
If you are new to the raw-milk scene, you may be wondering what all of the hype is about. Well, raw milk is an entirely different food from pasteurized milk, which I don’t recommend drinking.
- Raw milk still contains all of the valuable enzymes that are destroyed during pasteurization. Without them, milk is very difficult to digest. So if you have lactose intolerance, it may very well disappear once you start consuming raw dairy products.
- Raw milk is an outstanding source of healthy, “good” bacteria and micronutrients, including lactobacillus, acidophilus, and vitamins, which are virtually eliminated by the pasteurization process of commercial milk. It is an outstanding nutrient to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine.
- Raw milk still contains natural butterfat, which is homogenized or removed in pasteurized milk. Without butterfat, it becomes very difficult for your body to absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Butterfat is also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Raw milk does not contain synthetic vitamin D, which is known to be toxic to your liver, yet is still added to most commercial milk.
- Raw milk contains healthy unoxidized cholesterol.
- Raw milk from grass-fed cows contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which fights cancer and may help reduce your body fat.
Join the Cause and Support Raw Milk
As I said earlier, tomorrow Assemblywoman Nichole Parra is poised to introduce legislation that would amend AB1735. If you live in California, please consider showing your support for raw milk by attending this important hearing:
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The more people who attend in support of raw milk, the better!
If you're unable to attend or do not live near Sacramento, you can also show your support through the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF). This is the official non-profit organization handling the legal defense and consumer revolt against AB1735. Gary Cox is the lawyer handling the case. They are a legal 501 (C)(4) organization connected to the Weston A. Price Foundation.
You can donate directly at FTCLDF, or you can donate to the “Save California Raw Milk Political Action Fund.” These funds are being used by Organic Pastures and Claravale Dairy to offset the $10,000 per month costs to fight AB1735. Their goal is to raise $60,000 by May 2008. To donate, go to www.organicpatures.com and read the right-hand banner to “Help Us Save Raw Milk!”
Remember, whether you live in California or not, this bill will set a precedent that may eventually eliminate raw milk everywhere … and together, we can make a difference!