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News Update: Minnesota's Hartmann Farm releases statement re: accusations of E.coli-contaminated milk

The content of today's blog post is the entire text of a news release I received yesterday. It is the official response from Michael and Diane Hartmann, owners of the Hartmann Dairy Farm, to charges that they sold raw milk that infected four people with E.coli 0157:H7. It is the only public statement that the Hartmanns have issued so far. Although I have talked to Michael Hartmann off-the-record twice since the story broke a few days ago, he has been advised to refrain from giving any public interviews.

For Immediate Release:

May 29, 2010

What follows is a statement on behalf of Michael Hartmann, owner of Hartmann Dairy Farm, and his family in response to a number of news reports that milk from the farm has made people ill. If you have any questions, please contact Gary K. Wood at 612-384-9250, or garykwood@msn.com.

___________________________________________________________

Michael Hartmann and his family have taken great care for more than 15 years to provide wholesome and nutritious products to private individuals who choose to consume his farm natural foods, produced without dependence upon pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, or genetically modified grains.

The family had not received any information from any consumer about concerns, or allegations of E. coli contamination of any food product until the farm was subjected to the execution of a search warrant by the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health. Aided by the Sibley County Sheriff and eight armed deputies, the department officials seized samples of milk, cleaning water, waste barrel contents, and manure, along with copies of records of customers, phone numbers, and delivery sites.

No results of sample testing, which generally take 15 hours, have been released. When the results are made available, everyone will be better able to understand the identification of any bacteria and its source.

The Hartmann family is seriously concerned for the health and welfare of the individuals who became ill. The family would be surprised to be found the source point for these illnesses and look forward to the opportunity to review any evidence the State may have. While the family received a copy of the search warrant, it has been unable to obtain a copy of any affidavit or testimony provided to the Judge to support the issuance of that search warrant. The family has only been able to contact two of the individuals reportedly diagnosed with E. coli illnesses. Of these two, one is not a customer, and the other has denied consumption of raw milk product. The family is continuing its efforts to identify the remaining consumers who became ill. Of course, this task would be easier if the State disclosed the names of the complainants or the content of reports of product consumption.

The Hartmann family requests that its farm not be pre-judged by the media. Please be aware that organic producers, and particularly those who engage in the private sale of raw milk to individuals who make that choice, have been the subject of intense investigations and enforcement actions in a number of states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Anyone interested in the science and politics of raw milk should read
The Raw Milk Revolution by David Gumpert, or The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid. Last week, the Governor of Wisconsin (The Dairy State) vetoed a bill adopted by that state’s legislature to authorize the sale of raw milk. In Minnesota, the sale of raw milk by farmers direct to consumers is legal. Minnesota’s Constitution, Article 13, section 7 provides: “Any person may sell or peddle the products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by him without obtaining a license therefor." Michael Hartmann was the Plaintiff in the 2005 decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court that reaffirmed the validity of this Constitutional provision. The Court divided, however, on the issue of whether the licensing or permitting was a matter of health and safety, or if it restricted product marketing. Justice Barry Anderson filed a separate opinion that the record was insufficient to determine whether the statute in question was the result of a concern for public health and safety or a marketing restriction. The entire opinion is available at http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mn-supreme-court/1081314.html but the majority stated: “We hold that article XIII, section 7, grants farmers the right to sell products of the farm or garden that they are not otherwise legally prohibited from selling, without obtaining a license. The language of article XIII, section 7, is broad and clear. Defining ‘products of the farm’ to include any farmer's product for which a license may issue gives effect to the ‘clear, explicit, unambiguous and ordinary meaning of the language’ and honors the intent of the Minnesota voters who ratified Minn. Const. art. XIII, § 7. Therefore, the Hartmanns may not be prosecuted for failure to obtain a license to sell meat products of their farm.”

The many of us who regularly consume raw milk do so with the knowledge that raw milk is not unsafe to drink as stated by Heidi Kassenborg, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture director of dairy and food inspection. It does not appear that Ms. Kassenborg’s bias is based on science or experience, but upon the arbitrary conclusion of a chief regulator. Regardless of the manner in which this matter is resolved, one has to be concerned about the intentions of state regulators.

 

Shari Danielson is editorial director at Simple, Good and Tasty.
You can write to her at shari@simplegoodandtasty.com.

Comments

Healthy food is living food. The subject of healthful bacterial flora does not sell as many advertisements as a story involving the prospect of death. Why do we want to see car wrecks, rather than hear about ways to drive more safely? It's our culture. I guess.

Government agencies work across an incredible breadth of applications. There's not enough acknowledgment of the disparities. Multinational food corporations work on the same fundamental compliance issues as the family farm, but with an dramatically different operating model and a much deeper pockets.

Government agencies seem to want black and white definitions, and want to remove ideas requiring personal responsibility from our collective knowledge. There's no acknowledgment that the food that can't hurt you is also the food that weakens you. The very same issue invades the realm of healthy versus sterile soil. Government out, personal responsibility in!

I am sympathetic to your argument, Karl, but how far do you want to go with the "government out" language? Are you advocating that government should not play a part in public safety?

I will be interested to hear the findings when they come out. If, in fact, 2 of the 4 people who became ill did not have their milk, I doubt the source of this illness is their milk. I find it disturbing that the state started pointing a finger before the results are in.

Government agencies have a place in having rules in place to ensure our food is safe. My concern is that they seem more interested in going after a small farm that sells raw milk rather than going after the big ag companies for all that they do. But of course, big ag has a lot more money funneled to Washington than the small farms do.

It's unnerving to think that there are agendas at play - on all sides - that may make it hard to get to the bottom of the story quickly - if at all. If our goal is to keep ourselves and each other safe, as in this case it needs to be, we need to be able to separate fact from hype and move forward.

All I can say is that my daughters (ages 7 and 9) have benefited from the raw milk from the Hartmann's farm since they were born. I was drinking it long before I was pregnant with them and supplemented with Sally Fallon's recipe in "Nourishing Traditions" for "Raw Milk Baby Formula" along with breast feeding. My daughters have never been on an antibiotic. I attribute that to the nourishing milk that we have been so fortunate to have access to (oh and also maybe the fact that they have never had the experience of McDonalds food).

Not to get off track, BUT, I would like to get back to the happy song of "Old McDonald had a farm, e, i, e, i, o" and buy from the farmer. I have been giving talks on nutrition to the 7th and 8th graders at my kids' school. The other day I went to McDonalds to buy some chicken McNuggets, a hamburger,and french fries. They so generously threw in BBQ sauce for the McNuggets (first ingredient - high fructose corn syrup). I was amazed that they offered a soda pop of any size for only $1.00. I showed this food to the students and promised them that I would show it to them in a year from now and it will look the same. I am storing it in my garage until then. At last look it all looked the same as 3 weeks ago when I made the purchase.

I am sad, mad and repulsed by the nutritional state that we are in. But as always there is a silver lining and for me that is the fact that I am in the medical profession and our current nutritional state means job security for me.

In good health,

Mary

With many kudos to the fine folks of FoodDemocracyNow.org, here are "5 Things You Can Do to Break up Big Food and Build Local Food Economies":

http://bustthetrust.org/what-can-you-do

"The many of us who regularly consume raw milk do so with the knowledge that raw milk is not unsafe to drink as stated by Heidi Kassenborg, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture director of dairy and food inspection. It does not appear that Ms. Kassenborg’s bias is based on science or experience, but upon the arbitrary conclusion of a chief regulator. Regardless of the manner in which this matter is resolved, one has to be concerned about the intentions of state regulators."

What?! Do you have even a basic scientific understanding of microbiology?

1> You are completely and totally misinformed. I normally would not phrase an argument in this nature, but to be honest I'm infuriated by this trend of witchcraft that seems to be catching on. You have turned your passion for a sustainable lifestyle into an idealistic religion, and your assertions are based very little in fact and very heavily on emotion.
2> The fact that you can call into question the intentions of state regulators is egregious. Most of the folks in our health and human services departments are vastly underpaid vs. the education required and generally do the job for the love of public service.

People like you give people like us (those concerned with corporate irresponsibility and the literal poisoning of our society) a bad name. Focus your efforts on the real harm (like Monsanto) and stop flailing about undoing the efforts of those who are legitimately trying to add value to our community.

Tony, this is an emotional and controversial story, and we have readers who represent both sides of it, as well as many more in the middle, who are undecided. Some see it, as you do, as "witchcraft" vs. "microbiology." Other see it as David (the small farmer) vs. Goliath (the state of Minnesota).Then there are those who think it's about the government telling us what we can/can't eat or drink; and those who think government has every right to protect us from food that can potentially poison us. We have tried not to take sides here: but there are four things I want to make clear:

1. The words of the news release printed above, are not our words; they are the words of Michael and Diane Hartmann and their team of advisors. We simply printed their side of the story, which so far, has not been represented by any other media source. That's only fair, right?

2. We've all been schooled about the dangers and risks associated with drinking raw milk, but there is a body of evidence supporting the substantial benefits of drinking milk in its unprocessed form when its source is healthy cows milked in clean surroundings with sanitary equipment.

3. Conventional wisdom also touts childhood vaccinations, flouridated water, and the use of pharmacology to treat ADHD, but there are plenty of people who have reason to believe there are safer ways to boost immunity, prevent cavities, and overcome behavioral issues in children. Can you say for certain that they are wrong?

4. People who are rude, accusatory and defensive give everyone on the same side a bad name. Let's tone down the rhetoric and engage in a respectful, collaborative dialogue, shall we? After all, I'm guessing that we mostly agree on everything else.

Thank you,

Shari

 

 

Hey Shari, I apologize for my tone. I'm flustered on this issue because I have been personally impacted by individuals who have chose to disregard scientific consensus in favor of their beliefs. (I'm leaving that very generic on purpose :-D )

Real quick:

1> Yeah, I suppose that is fair.
2> I'm not convinced that the risk/reward proposition is sufficient to make lifestyle changes that could endanger my family in the short term. I will continue to consume emerging data however.
3> Wow, alot here that I probably shouldn't really touch on for fear I will spend far too much time typing. Two points: correlation vs. causation and my opinion (hence mentioning this point specifically) that ADHD is a personality type, not a disorder. Until pharma companies could "fix" this "problem" it wasn't ever a problem, was it... perhaps our societal infrastructure needs to change to fit people rather than change people to fit the societal infrastructure.
4> You are right.

"Other see it as David (the small farmer) vs. Goliath (the state of Minnesota)"

David (Hartmann)is the only one with a profit motive. Goliath as prescribed (Kassenborg) is actually an individual who has been explicitly called out by the party who stands to loose ground financially.

"Goliath" is our government. Our government is us. We can work to change that if needed, (which in many cases is very necessary) but the State of MN has proven time and time again that they are one of the most capable public health departments in the nation. Hartmann represents a business; one who has (inadvertently) injured the public and should be asking for forgiveness rather than fighting in this manner. I find this entry particularly offensive: "Of course, this task would be easier if the State disclosed the names of the complainants or the content of reports of product consumption." Are they really requesting that the state release the names of people who are potentially seriously injured? This sort of communication is anti-consumer and should not be tolerated by our community.

Thanks!

Symptoms of O157 (EHEC) infection include severe abdominal pain and abdominal tenderness which often is associated with bloody diarrhea. Curiously, there often is little or no fever. The diarrhea typically lasts for six to eight days.

Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is the most worrisome complication of EHEC infection because it is a serious and potentially fatal illness. "Hemolytic" refers to the breakup of red blood cells which leads to anemia. There also is destruction of platelets which leads to low blood levels of platelets (thrombocytopenia) which, in turn, promotes abnormal bleeding. "Uremic" refers to failure of the kidneys. In addition, problems in the brain with seizures and coma may occur.

Hemolytic-uremic syndrome most commonly affects children under the ages of 10 years and is the most common cause of acute renal failure in infants and young children. It occurs in 6%-9% of hemorrhagic colitis caused by E coli 0157:H7 and usually occurs approximately 7 to 10 days after the onset of diarrhea.

Their little bodies bleed from the inside, bloating with all the fluid. Its horrific.

Persons infected with E. coli 0157:H7, particularly the elderly, can develop a syndrome similar to hemolytic-uremic syndrome called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) with clotting of blood within small blood vessels, anemia due to fragmentation of red blood cells, and shortage of platelets (thrombocytopenia) that results in easy bruising, neurologic abnormalities, impaired kidney function, and fever. Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, once almost always fatal, is still a serious consequence of E. coli 0157:H7.

These are the dangers folks....and it only take 2 yes 2 cells of E. coli to do all this

enjoy your milk!

Microbiology PhD.
So..... just a question, Do you boil all the peanut butter that you eat as well as the fresh spinach that you purchase???

Peanut butter: Salmonella poisoning is in general a much less serious illness than E.coli O157:H7. I am not immuno-compromised or under the age of 10 so i don't feel that eating peanut butter is a large risk.
Spinach: I wash my spinach carefully, and yes i tend to eat more cooked spinach than raw.

Raw milk.. is a risk to everyone who consumes it, especially the young, old and immuno-compromised. Its common sense.

Microbiology PhD.

I agree that drinking the majority of the raw milk is a risk - for the simple reason cattle are feed WAY too much corn. Increased consumption of corn puts incredible strains on the digestive system. The result being that it compromises the systems of cow and makes their bodies pH become acidic. When cattle are grass fed with little or no corn, their bodies pH remains at a pH that is basic. Correct me if I am wrong, but Ecoli CAN'T survive in a pH that is basic.

For those farmers who have chosen to feed their cattle entirely on grass, the animals are healthier! I have been drinking raw milk since I was a child. I consider myself blessed that I have found a farmer in my area feeds his cattle grass. The result is raw milk that is loaded with good bacteria. It is NOT milk that needs to be adulterated in order to be consumed. And you are right. . . I will ENJOY MY MILK!!!

Here are two conflicting reports in the hay vs grain debate
so you can believe what you like. If you search hard enough you can find that some one has published something to support every argument. I might add that the science paper uses generic E.coli and not pathogenic strains.

http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/65/7/3233
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/281/5383/1666

As for basic pH... the stomach of a cow is certainly not basic by any means (perhaps 'less acidic' is what you meant to say). I disagree with corn feed cattle for many other reasons but i still want my milk without a side of Listeria, Salmonella or E.coli

Furthermore, Adulteration generally means adding something, and heat is not an adulterant. Pasteurization was one of the the greatest developments in public health and has saved millions upon millions of lives. The E.coli and other organisms that were contractible from milk in the 1800's are very different from the bugs that exist today (but maybe you also don't believe in Evolution). Horizontal gene transfer has made closely related species into monsters beyond belief. There is no point in going backwards and taking the risk in consuming them.

Microbiology PhD,

I stand by my use of the word adulterant. Heat is something that is added to the milk. Heat does indeed change the milk into something that it wasn't before the heat was added. The extreme heat that is added to the milk destroys all the helpful organisms - leaving the finished product devoid of ANY protective mechanisms should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply.

Heat alters milk's amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available. Heat also promotes rancidity of the unsaturated fatty acids and it destroys many of the vitamins of the milk. Vitamin C loss in pasteurization usually exceeds 50%. Loss of nutrient value from other water soluble vitamins can run as high as 80%. Vitamin B12 is destroyed - which is a nutrient needed for healthy blood and healthy nervous system. Pasteurization reduces the availability of milk's mineral components, such as calcium chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium & sulfur as well as other trace minerals. There is evidence available that pasteurization alters lactose. Drinking pasteurized milk puts unnecessary strain on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes - solely because the enzymes that are needed to digest the milk are killed in the pasteurization process. The lipase that is in raw milk helps to digest and utilize butterfat, but lipase gets destroyed during pasteurization.

After pasteurization, chemicals may be added to suppress odor and restore taste. Synthetic vitamin D is added.

The benefits of pasteurization are not as cut and dried as they appear to be. Pasteurization came about during a period of time when the quality of milk and the health of the cattle was extremely poor. It was a way to make unhealthy and unclean milk safe to drink. The modern milking equipment, stainless steel tanks, effective packaging and distribution make pasteurization unnecessary for the purpose of sanitation.

I do agree that the majority of the milk that is available to consumers should not be made available in the raw form. The farm industry has gotten too big to offer a quality product. Which is why I choose to get my raw milk from a farm with 50 milking cows instead of 400! I see the bacteria count and somatic cell count on every batch of milk.

So again, you enjoy your pasteurized adulterated milk, and I will enjoy my raw, grass - fed milk from my local dairy.

Its nice to read that you are well informed.

I'm interested to hear about the practice of getting somatic cell counts and bacterial counts. Does your farmer get every batch tested for listeria, salmonella, and E.coli? How long does he/she hold the milk for before releasing it with test results, as i'm sure you are aware they are not instantaneous. What are the counts usually?

Microbiology phd.

The somatic cell count is just an indicator of a possible infection in the herd. I am going from memory, but I think that the acceptable levels in the United States are 100,000 cells per ml for a healthy animal. At the level of 300,000 there is an infection that warrants looking into. (It is interesting to note that Europe has much stricter standards and has banned the importation of milk from the United States because of poor quality. Many European countries do NOT pasteurize their milk - in fact, they have RAW MILK Vending machines!)

The somatic cell counts of the farm that I get my milk from are usually at about 50,000 or less. The bacteria count is just that. It is just bacteria from any source. It is a count of bacteria post production, or bacteria from the milk itself. The levels of the milk that I get are always well below 10,000 - usually around 3,000 to 5,000. Every batch is tested by the creamery that accepts the milk. No, the test is not instantaneous. I am sure that every batch is NOT tested for specific bacterias - it would be cost prohibitive. Farmers - even organic farmers don't make very much money on the milk that is produced. Pasteurization is the clear cut way to make dirty milk acceptable for the consumer. There isn't any warrant to test milk that is going to be ultra pasteurized to such extreme temperatures. It would be great if high quality milk could be tested to determine if indeed it needed to be pasteurized. But that is not the world that we live in. So that is why I make the choices that I do.

Being an organic farm - he never uses antibiotics on his cattle. If there is ever an instance where antibiotics are warranted, than that animal is culled from the herd and sold - usually to a conventional dairy herd if she is in good health after the infection. I never have to worry about drug residues, because there aren't any.

In short, I know my farmer. I know him very well. In addition, I grew up on a dairy farm. I grew up drinking raw milk. When you are around cattle long enough, you can predict when something is amiss. The bacteria counts and somatic cell counts are just a confirmation when something is wrong. The farmer - if they are committed to producing quality milk - will be able see if something is wrong in any member of the herd. That is his job, and he takes his job very seriously.

Ok, so you get test results at a later date relating to some batches of milk with no specificity. I'm glad you made that clear. Your farmer does sound conscientious, but testing, especially non-specfic testing, albeit good practice, is certainly no safe guard or should not give peace of mind. Test results after the milk is consumed just helps the Department of Public Health to trace back outbreaks.

You made some nice points, Somatic cell counts are lower in the EU and they are an indication of mastitis infections. Staph.aureus is certainly not something you want in your 'fresh milk'.

Raw milk vending machine sound ludicrous to me. I am European and in general we drink pasteurized and even UHT milk. Countries that have a long tradition of raw milk cheese do use it.

Sam, I have a question to ask you but want to take it offline.

Can you e-mail me?

Here's more fodder for debate: today's blog post from Raw-Milk advocate David Gumpert:

http://www.thecompletepatient.com/journal/2010/6/12/lets-get-real-the-ha...

Every dairy farmer that is worth a snap drinks their own raw milk. They always have. I doubt that Mike is foolish enough to let his cows shit in the bulk tank because he is drinking out of it.

Granted, it is possible that he did not do a good enough job with wiping off the udder on a cow. It is also possible that the MDA and the MDH have it in for Hartmanns since they got their asses handed to them after they put Mom's out of business. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the State had overstepped their authority in that case.

Minnesota is a kind of paranoid place for food safety. Mike Osterholm thinks everything should be irradiated all the time. He is simply not a credible source anymore, just like the NRA who thinks any restriction on firearms is pure evil. Short term, irradiation kills everything. Long term, who knows what the effects are. Food alergies shot up after GMOs introduced novel proteins into our diets, but since they look like soybeans, they are completely safe to eat. Right. Long term thinking is not encouraged in our society.

If I were Mike Hartmann, I would certainly want to see the result from the manure testing and hear who got sick. Remember the last big E.Coli scare on tomatoes that turned out to be jalapenos ? Or how about the E.Coli spinach scare that was over by the time the FDA/USDA figured out that there was a problem ? Even then they went ahead and ruined the market by advising people not to buy spinach. I suppose that they had to do something or they would look like complete idiots.

Minnesota's Head Food Safety Cop is a stand up guy. The people in the agencies in charge of food safety and public health are doing god's work. However, the agencies themselves are subject to polictics and the revolving door to industry (check out the movement of Monsanto employees who worked for the FDA when GMOs were approved in the Clinton administration). If you don't think that is happening here, you are fooling yourself.

Why doesn't the anonymous microbiologist identify her/himself ?

What I would really like to know is how many outbreaks of food poisoning are traceable it industrial agriculture versus small farms. And I would like to see the numbers for the people affected. Is the MDA/MDH/USDA/FDA spending all their time barking up the wrong tree ?

We have taken part in every UofM study of food safety that has come along. We have birds pooping on our fields, deer eat our crops, rodents chew up our drip lines, bugs are everywhere and they have never found any pathogens on our produce. We've got more reseachers coming out this week. If we have a problem, I want to know about it. i'm guessing that anyone selling raw milk is of the same mind.

Greg
Riverbend Farm

Greg, and everyone at Riverbend Farm,

Well said!!! It is so sad that people have to defend their choice to eat raw food. Thank you for being an advocate for people who are trying to maintain healthy, nutritious food that isn't depleted of all of the vital enzymes, vitamins, minerals & beneficial co-factors.

I want to be able to make the choice between eating non - GMO corn and organic corn. I do not want to eat corn, soy-beans or alfalfa that was sprayed with Round-up to kill the weeds. How can eating something that was sprayed with such a toxic chemical be good for you????

Again, Thank you!!!

Hey friends, just want to clarify something here. Are you saying that:

  • When you know the farmer, raw milk is not as risky as conventional milk?
  • When you know the farmer, raw milk is more risky than conventional milk but well worth it?
  • It doesn't matter either way, the government shouldn't tell me what to do?

Thanks for your thoughtful, passionate, intelligent discussion.

-Lee

A lot of you are ignoring the fact that the lives of two children are hanging in the balance right here in Minnesota because of a careless farmer and even more careless parents. E.coli is a killer... pasteurization is an E.coli killer

Riverbend Farm: I wouldn't expect anything less than watching the safety of your produce and caring about you customers. The easiest way to keep E.coli out of your spinach is keeping cattle out of your fields.

Ask for the data on small farms vs big, i'm sure its out there somewhere. And i'm sure it will show that small farms are less likely to cause outbreaks, which makes sense, less people eat from your farms, small distribution network etc, safety practices are easier to control on a small scale. I really don't disagree with you there. I admire and support local agriculture.

An outbreak investigation is extremely tedious, time consuming and its like looking for a needle in a haystack. Much of the food in the outbreaks that you named had been consumed, fields turned over to new crops, some freak storm occured in Mexico when they needed to take samples.... The system is not perfect but it is what we have right now. This latest outbreak could have been much worse without the system. If the system and this outbreak stops one mother feeding her child raw milk then it has done a great job.

'Granted, it is possible that he did not do a good enough job with wiping off the udder on a cow.'

This is a pretty flippant statement considering the gravity of this outbreak.

Just did a quick google on Bill Marler, and it is interesting to note that there is a personal injury lawyer by the same name who has a specialty in Ecoli law suits. Now why would he be interested in putting a post on this site!! Trying to drum up more business, or really interested in providing information??

Bill has been a friend to us, and is an expert on this topic. We're okay with him promoting his own business once in a while too. :-)

All be it an INCREDIBLY biased "expert".

Just listen to Bill talk and you will know where his loyalties lies...with the people who get sick.
On a side note: Bill is pretty good at hunting down those big corporations that some of you folks find so vile.

Just read the website, you might just learn something. Educate yourselves.

I get the fact that E Coli is dangerous. I also get the fact that this issue is not black and white! And to try and pass judgement is not doing justice to either raw milk or pasteurization!

Just some food for thought: Has anyone ever heard of a dairy farmer getting Ecoli. This group of individuals has been quietly drinking raw milk from their milk tank everyday of their lives - and why don't they get sick??????????

Not that Bill needs me to come to his rescue, but I have to interject that he may be interested in putting a post on this site because (1) we did a two-part article about him last December, (2) we are currently working on an article about raw milk that includes his input, and (3) he is a genuinely caring and compassionate person who cares about the victims of food poisoning. (He delivered a package of information to the U.S. Senate last year, urging them to adopt "meaningful food safety legislation," which included a t-shirt that read "Put a Trial Lawyer Out of Business.") Yes, he makes a lot of money representing these victims, and, yes, he is an accomplished self-promoter, but he is also very generous funder of causes that most Simple, Good and Tasty readers would approve of. So I'm going to give Bill the benefit of the doubt and guess the answer to Anonymous's question is: He is really interested in providing information.

Let's look at states where the legal sale of raw milk is working. What are the statistics in South Carolina, for instance? Why does it work so well there? Why isn't everyone dropping dead from ecoli? Maybe because its perfectly safe within the scope of reasonable risk when it is legally brought to market? Or is there something magical about S.C.? Perhaps germs don't grow there?

So far it seems that the Hartmann's are considered guilty until proven innocent.
For many generations people have consumed raw milk from family farms with no ill effects. The advent of factory farms with thousands of animals in unsanitary conditions, fed hormones and grains, not allowed to pasture and graze produced milk that was unfit to drink without extensive purification processes.
To demand that milk from healthy, pastured, grass fed cows be treated like the milk from chemical factory farms is ignorant and paranoid.

I'm sharing this e-mail that I received yesterday:

LEASE PASS THIS EMAIL ON!
*You need not be a Hartmanns customer or Raw Milk Drinker to support this case about our FOOD FREEDOMS!!
HELP!    
YOU are Needed!
 
If you cherish healthy raw milk, fresh eggs,
lovely cheeses and safe meat products,
or just the Freedom to access the Foods of your Choice,
SHOW that YOU CARE  -
 
 
THIS WEEK: Wednesday – August 25th!
 
 
NEXT WEEK: Mon, Tues, Wed– August 30th, 31st, Sept 1!
 
 
Grab your friends,  Grab  your family!  
Call in sick to work!
Round up your children!  
Bring their crayons, coloring books,
and the Etch-a-Sketch!!  
Promise the kids a treat on the way home!  
 
 
Let’s fill up the courtroom!
 
Wether we are Hartmann fans & loyal customers,
drink raw milk or just recognize this as being
the front lines in the fight to secure our Food Freedoms! *
OUR SHOW OF SUPPORT IS NEEDED NOW!
 
 
Wouldn’t it be FUN to be SHOULDER-to-SHOULDER
together with our like-minded milk families?
 
 WE NEED TO SHOW THE COURT THAT THE PUBLIC CARES ABOUT THIS CASE
**Let’s REALLY pack the courtroom and STAND TOGETHER!**

It starts at 9:00  and ends at 4:30,  
Show up at any time of the day -
stay as long as you can!
 
 
Let’s do this together and support the Hartmann family
And our rights to fresh foods!
 
 
 
Gaylord Courthouse
400 Court Ave (Intersection of Hwy 19 and Hwy 22, has stop light)
Gaylord, MN 55334
 
 For carpooling info from Chanhassen contact Mary Jane Hogan secretgarden@mchsi.com
To see about carpooling from other areas, get on the Consumer Free Choice Forum http://mims.onlinegroups.net/groups/cfc
 
 
PLEASE PASS THIS EMAIL ON!
*You need not be a Hartmanns customer or Raw Milk Drinker to support this case about our FOOD FREEDOMS!!

Check out the photos of Hartmanns 'fresh, safe, healthy foods'
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/08/19/raw-milk-sales/

For those of you who trust and know your farmer... did you look inside his milking barn and think ...hmmm lovely, i will give this milk to my children!?

Yes, of course, everyday! Better that than the "safe" food in the grocery stores and Walmart. Have you heard about the egg and meat recalls?

Well, from what i know of the egg recall the man behind that company has a similar disregard for food safety and human health as your friendly farmer.... and the E.coli O157:H7 in beef is that same bacteria that can be found in raw milk, that can kill your children. So what is your point?

Microbiology Ph.d.

I looked at the pictures on the web site of the Hartman farm, and they are hardly the 'smoking gun' that you may think that they are. Granted, a picture of an owl is not in the realm of ordinary, but the other two pictures! Hardly!! That would be like me inviting some one over for a sit down meal, and they said - "Oh wait, I need to take a look in your attic and see if you have cleaned up there lately." And the guest proclaims after seeing my disheveled attic that they can't eat my food because my attic isn't clean enough. Where is the connection?? The picture of the stainless steel milking unit is circa 1960. It is HIGHLY unlikely that container is used anymore.

Where are the pictures of the milk house, the parlor, the cows themselves, and other equipment that is actually used in the process of milking the cows????

By the way, have you ever stepped foot on a working farm??? Do you really understand what goes into farming????

Microbiology "Phd.", my point, you've just made. All your precious "safe" industrial food is hardly safe.

I love and support local agriculture and i also buy processed foods, so shoot me! As we can see neither is perfect. The people that need to be held accountable are the ones that mess up... Hartmann and the big boys at Cargill, ConAgra and PCA. Raw milk is inherently unsafe, as is processed food where shortcuts or regulations have not been adhered to. Food safety should be a given across the board. I have no interest in arguing about processed food, the issue at hand is raw milk.

I just personally feel very strongly that children should not be fed milk that could potentially kill them.

But its fine with you to drive children around in cars or feed them processed food - food that can and does kill children? Mr. "Phd" that is hypocritical. Further, this statement requires a citation: Raw milk is inherently unsafe. Prove that.

If raw milk were inherently unsafe, humans would not be alive today.

Microbiology Phd.

Just noticed that you choose not to answer my question as to whether you had ever stepped foot on a working farm.

Thanks!

..and yes, i have been on plenty working farms. I grew up in rural Ireland and worked for the Dept of Ag Dairy Science Lab. I am proud to say raw milk consumption is a rarity in Ireland.

How, then, to explain the vigor of the Maasai who have lived primarily on raw cows milk and raw blood for eons?
http://www.maasai-association.org/maasai.html

ok so the issue is raw milk. the sale of raw milk in my state is legal. and personally i plan on purchasing goats next spring soley for milk. and until then i am going to consume raw milk that i purchase at my local health food store. as well as my family. i was fed an organic diet as a child that included raw goats milk tho that isnt the milk on trial now is it. as a teenager i strayed away from the organics and started eating junk. you know what happened i gained alot of weight and in return developed lots of stomach problems. so i switched back to organics and low and behold my stomach problems ceased. but that is also not the issue discussed here. raw milk is bad for us? then why do mammals produce milk in the first place? um i am pretty sure it is for consumption.. evolution didnt make females capable of producing food so that it would go through all kinds of processes before the animal consumed it.. what comes next you are going to try to tell me that breastfeeding your babies is unsafe? lots of people i know chose to formula feed versus breast feed their babies and you know what my kids were healthier. because ANTIBODIES are produced to germs that are in the body and excreted in breast milk.. are you next going to say oh mom u can breast feed but u have to pasturize your breast milk first because its unsafe. you didnt wash your boobs right. and for you safe processed food.. have u watched the documentary food inc? if not i STRONGLY urge you do. then come back and critisize the cob webs on the top of the barn. $$ is all the big corperations think about and they will run all small farms out of business whether or not they deserve it. it is easier to deny the problems with the big corperations and make small farms the scapegoat. i could go on all day. it infuriated me how critical peopel are of the small hard working honest farmers but turn a blind eye to what is going on with our "safe" food.

We have been using organics including milk and feel safe about it. I sometimes feel that the price I pay is too high but for quality sake it seems appropriate. Good useful info here!

I work in the weight loss field which includes healthy, practical eating habits - which includes being safe regarding food!