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Sep 28, 2011 03:53 PM

Ontario Court Rules Against Raw Milk Farmer


So much for "cow shares."

  1. The Dairy Cartel in action... this man should be supported not penalized.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TexSquared

      The courts decided, and it was a local action, by Grey county. Would you really want to drink milk from cows with dirty rear ends? Schmidt offers no protection, but pasteurization prevents at least four major diseases.

      1. re: jayt90

        uh oh, I saw the milk came from the udder instead.
        Schmidt looks after our cows well, healthy & clean. The milk tastes like the real milk, rich and not watery.

      2. re: TexSquared

        Give it up Tex. "Heirloom" foodborne diseases aren't my idea of freedom--or fun.

        1. re: Kagemusha

          OK, many of you here (well, Toronto board, but I'm sure it's prevalant all over CH) love to buy local and fresh, right? Let's list the examples: I can go to Whittamore's Farm and pick my own fruits and vegetables. I can go to Sweet Ridge Farm or Stroud's Farm and get ears of corn or bushels of apples that were picked that same day. There are many cattle farms that will sell me a side of beef that they raised organically. I can go to one of many farmers' markets or roadside stands and buy fresh produce directly from the farmers. Hell, I can even drive to Niagara on the Lake and buy wine direct from the wineries and avoid the LCBO if I wanted, don't even have to cross the border!

          But as this case has shown, I can't go directly to a dairy farmer and buy a gallon of milk from him that came out of his cows that day. Pasteurized or not.

          If you think the milk cartel system we have is so great, you should not be shopping at any of the above, since you're just contradicting yourself. There's no wine cartel, corn cartel, strawberry cartel, bell pepper cartel, apple cartel, or beef cartel (I yield to whoever corrected me on that!). So why should there be a dairy cartel and poultry cartel? Cartels are WRONG, plain and simple. It's wrong for oil and it's even more wrong for food.

          1. I think it’s clear that the law was broken.
            But isn’t the real issue whether the law as currently written is a ‘good one’.
            ‘Should’ there be a place for unpasteurized milk (and milk products) in a ‘free’ society. For example we still allow cigarettes, despite their health risks, to be sold and ‘enjoyed’.
            Should we allow ‘raw milk’ cheeses – which are mostly prohibited (with a few exceptions; please don’t miss the point of the argument by citing the rare exception, which is typically arbitrary like ‘aged 60 days’) in Ontario – whereas they are perfectly legal in many jurisdictions? A slight clarification here – it is ONLY cow raw milk cheeses that can’t be made – legally – in Ontario – it’s perfectly legal to use unpasteurized goat milk and sheep milk cheeses – which is why you find so many Ontario made cheeses come from these alternative animals.
            Nobody can deny the benefits of pasteurization, but I’m not sure I’d prefer a pasteurized milk containing levels of antibiotics and hormones (used to increase production, as well as ‘protect’ the animals) to an unpasteurized product from a ‘naturally’ raised animal. At least give me the choice.

            Personally I avoid almost all liquid milk (regardless of pasteurization) – don’t see the logic in drinking it after weaning, so I have no vested interest – other than I have had both cheeses and butter confiscated at the border when returning to Canada with products more tasty than those I find here, but are perfectly legal in Europe (and U.S.).
            Plus, I am fed-up with ‘chemical’ ice-cream which is made from imported dried milk products rather than REAL cream (which it is also illegal to import for ice-cream making purposes).

            My conclusion is that this is indeed more ‘protect the industry’ legislation that health-based considerations.

            As is the decision not to label genetically modified plant materials as such – it’s more political than health-based.

            3 Replies
              1. re: estufarian

                That said, how about non-treatment by OHIP when you contract one of the many milk-borne diseases? Not likely? Dunno but I'm not keen to find out. My take is that "freedom" also extends to footing the bill when you come down with something nasty from Farmer X's illegal products. That's "choice" I'm not sure you'd enjoy all that much.

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  Mind you, we already foot the bill for people who undercook their chicken and/or eat luncheon meat that's been in their fridge way past its best before date.

                  That being said, more people drinking more raw milk could make personal injury law in Ontario a little more interesting.

              2. Thanks mods. Earlier today when I was looking I couldn't find this thread anywhere. I guess it was maybe in the process of being moved. It is a very important item.

                I would like to see raw milk available in some capacity so try my hand at some hobby cheese making. I really see the main issue as being to protect the monopoly of the dairy council as mentioned about. I saw Mr. Schmidt talking at the Concious food festival and hearing him swayed me over to his side. Crazy how much dairy farmers need to pay for a license per cow.

                6 Replies
                1. re: ylsf

                  I'm surprised that so few Hounds appear to be concerned with listeria, salmonella and E coli.

                  Our food system is already dangerous enough, especially for those with weaked immune systems, without giving new opportunities to well-intentioned raw foodie business people to introduce more pathogens to our market.



                  1. re: prima

                    Wiith respect, this concern is a red herring. There hasn't been a raw milk/cheese based listeria outbreak in CANADA since the 1930's. The recent problems were from 'approved' factories producing processed meat. Of course, you could argue that we don't have listeria BECAUSE these were banned - except they weren't until legislation for Marketing Boards was introduced! And Quebec has always turned a blind eye to the importation of 'illegal' French cheeses - and no listeria there either.

                    Similarly salmonella is rife in virtually ALL commercial chicken - but chicken isn't banned - we have legislated procedures REQUIRING kitchens to use different cutting places for chicken.

                    E coli is similarly rife in many vegetables - but we don't ban those either. I beleve we are delinquent in NOT testing more widely for this - but in these political times of less taxes I don't expect much improvement there.

                    I have great sympathy for people with immune issues - but why is it OK for some foods and not others? Aren't chicken (and eggs) leading to more problems than raw milk (I'm happy if you choose to ban both - at least that would be consistent!).

                    And people with immune issues would still have the 'right' to not consume these foods.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      WIth respect, there have been food poisonings in Ontario due to raw milk.

                      Most people cook their chicken and eggs, which would kill pathogens that might be present. Washing, peeling and cooking vegetables usually take care of the e coli that might be present. As far as I understand, most raw milk enthusiasts do not cook their milk.

                      People already have the "right" to consume raw milk and raw milk products, with or without a weakened immune system. No one has made the consumption of raw milk illegal. It's the business of selling raw milk that is illegal.

                      1. re: prima

                        I agree.
                        Except I SPECIFICALLY identified Listeria - not food poisoning in general. I fully support any moves to eradicate E coli (as I mentioned in my previous post). Unfortunately I can't find my reference on listeria - I 'think' it was all Canada - but can't confirm that - I had the article 2-3 years ago. Do you know if the Quebec cases were domestic or imported?

                        However, there is nothing to stop people using raw eggs (by coincidence I watched a bartender make two separate cocktails this week using raw eggs - actually only the albumin; the yolk was discarded). That's potentially double-jeopardy - salmonella from the egg and E coli from the shell!

                        But I'm really arguing for an 'intelligent' assesssment of the whole issue.
                        I'm all for safer food (not sure anybody could rationally argue against it) - but this raw milk issue is predominantly a political issue, not a health issue. There are far more dangerous foods out there not being controlled (and/or food handling procedures).

                        I've been poisoned by chicken (seriously - had to send samples to the Centre for Disease control for 2 weeks) and Mushrooms - was served one of the most dangerous varieties in Ontario (guesswork but informed guesswork as the evidence was not in a suitable form for examination - but the diagnoser (a farmer) was able to exactly describe my symptoms) - by a chef who gets a lot of love and respect on this Board.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          There is a case of an infant likely contracting Listeria in March 2007, which is mentioned in the Grey Bruce County's website's Raw Milk Outbreak- Canadian Experience article.
                          There is a Globe article on the Quebec raw cheese/listeria outbreak, but the link wasn't working when I tried to post it.

                          Sorry to hear you've experienced such nasty food poisoning.

                          On a complete tangent, last winter, I purchased some smoked whitefish at a foodie event hosted by a Chef who also gets a lot of love and respect on this Board. I wondered if it was smoked thoroughly, since it still looked shiny and somewhat translucent, like raw fish. I approached the Chef, showed him my serving, and asked him if it was smoked enough. The respected Chef assured me that his smokehouse reached XXX degrees F (don't remember the exact temperature), and told me it was fine. I took one bite, and it was certainly still raw, and not smoked nearly enough. That was a lesson to me to trust my instincts, and not bother asking for a second opinion, even if the Chef gets respect on this Board. Luckily, the bite of raw lakefish I did ingest didn't give me a tapeworm.

                          1. re: prima

                            Thanks - I trust your research - guess I shouldn't believe everything I read on the internet!

                            I still feel chicken and eggs are more dangerous - but everyone should also be aware of the potential risks of 'raw' milk too.

                2. Considering that most of us do not live in environments that are conducive to raising a cow for the private consumption of raw milk, this ban severely diminishes our right to consume it. Consume it how? Where?

                  No one is forcing anyone to eat or drink any unpasteurized product. It is a choice, and it should remain a choice.

                  If there is demand for the product, why ban the supply? Wouldn't it actually help the economy?

                  Oh, and to say that someone who contracts a food-borne disease from ingesting a raw dairy product does not deserve public health insurance coverage is asinine.

                  We all pay into the public fund, and we are all entitled to tap into it when our health is in jeopardy. I wouldn't begrudge a smoker medical treatment simply because their lifestyle is different from mine. The same applies to the obese and drug addicts, bikers who crash their motorcycles and youths who dive into shallow pools and break their backs. I mean, really, where do you draw the line?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Grapefloat

                    Point is, it's a public health issue. Period. Don't like the law, then elect officials interested in changing them. Simple. I do suspect, though, you'd be keen on pursuing a product liability suit if Michael Schmidt's milk irrevocably damaged your health. How do you think that would go? Just your tough luck, right?

                    1. re: Kagemusha

                      Oh, if it really were that simple!

                      If my vote changed everything the way I wanted it, wouldn't I be the lucky one?

                      As a child, I drank raw milk growing up in Europe. I have family that still drinks it warm, straight out of the cow. For years, I ate raw milk cheese in Quebec when I lived there.

                      However, I haven't touched dairy products in well over 5 years.

                      Not too long ago, innocent people in Walkerton died from drinking tap water that everyone believed was potable. Should drinking tap water be banned just in case it happens again?

                      My point is, there is risk inherent in everything.

                      By the way, let's just say that down the road a year or two, or more, the current elected officials do change the law and the sale of raw milk does become legal. Ask yourself how that would change your stance on the issue. Would a change in legislation shift your opinion? If not, why not?

                      Somehow, I get a sense that there is much hysteria lurking beneath this debate, and it reminds me of the rift between those who advocate for flu shots and those strongly opposed to vaccinations. In the end, all I have said is that it should come down to personal choice.

                      1. re: Grapefloat

                        You might research where and how Walkerton's E. Coli originated.

                        It's scientific consensus that food-borne disease is preventable. It's also widely known how to prevent it. In light of that, I doubt laws will be changed to satisfy anyone's self-indulgence.

                        I see no hysteria apart from the usual arguments about food safety and public health regulations somehow representing affronts to individual liberty.

                        There's no debate generally about vaccination: they work when you get them--if you get them. No obvious analogy with doubts concerning food safety regulations.

                        Overall, there are private opinions but really no such thing as private facts.