Corporate Welfare

Milk Cow Blues

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John Schwenkler pens a detailed exposé of the government's war on raw milk. An excerpt:

rawmilk

[O]nce the fallacy in this initial rationale was pointed out, the [California Department of Food and Agriculture] was ready with plenty of other justifications for the new standard. It was, they suggested, a matter of public safety. But when raw milk advocates argued that coliform bacteria are not themselves a health threat and that raw milk dairies were already subject to extensive pathogen testing, this justification was abandoned. Instead, the CDFA claimed that, given the growing public concern over food safety, the new regulations were really being put in place for the good of the industry. (How Claravale, which had just spent 11 years and a million dollars building a new dairy to improve their product and help conform with the state's preexisting regulations, was going to be "helped" by AB 1735 is anyone's guess.)

That last rationale actually makes sense, if "the good of the industry" is code for "the good of the biggest companies in the marketplace":

In the midst of all this controversy, California's "conventional" dairy producers–whose representatives have donated an average of just under $300,000 a year in the last five election cycles–have been strikingly silent. Ron Garthwaite argues that we should not take this at face value: "Big corporate dai

cows

ry" has indeed been a factor in the controversy–but as a behind-the-scenes force aiding those who are against raw milk. Its representatives have been pushing legislation like AB 1735, and "spending lots of time and money" to do so….

This sort of cozy relationship between regulating government and regulated industry is not uncommon, and its results are not always a loosening of the regulatory bonds. Lawrence Busch, director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Standards at Michigan State University, explains that regulatory standards are often manipulated to key constituents' ends. Busch points to the recent push by large juice manufacturers for laws requiring the pasteurization of juice–a demand which, he says, would make "lots of small cider producers, among others, incur considerable extra costs." By taking a practice that they already have in place, or a standard they've already managed to meet, and making it mandatory across the board in the name of industry uniformity or public health, established corporations can use their political influence to put their rivals at a competitive disadvantage.

[Via Rod Dreher.]

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  1. if “the good of the industry” is code for “the good of the biggest companies in the marketplace”

    It is.

  2. Busch points to the recent push by large juice manufacturers for laws requiring the pasteurization of juice–a demand which, he says, would make “lots of small cider producers, among others, incur considerable extra costs.”

    An orchard down the street from my parent’s house used to make their own blend of fresh, unpasteurized cider. I had it all through my youth. It was unequaled in flavor by any other cider I’ve ever had. You could also put it on the porch in the fall and let it go hard, which was even more delicious.

    A year or two ago I stopped by when visiting my parents and went to the cooler where it was normally stored, and only saw pasteurized cider from some other place. The owner then informed me that new CT regs made it too difficult for her to make the cider.

    Seems like the pasteurized producers didn’t like the competition. No one had ever gotten sick from her cider. Ever.

  3. Well, if they didn’t fraudulently claim on the bottle that the product is pasteurized, then the raw milk industry won’t being facing regulation.

  4. Well, if they didn’t fraudulently claim on the bottle that the product is pasteurized, then the raw milk industry won’t being facing regulation.

    Huh? Now that’s the first time I’ve heard that one …

  5. “won’t being”, our public education money at work

  6. our public education money at work

    At least you being a cuntrag on-line is still free.

  7. Episiarch: Agreed. I grew up in a rural part of northwestern lower Michigan, and the cider mills were just a tradition during the fall… then all the rules got changed around after a couple of kids in California got sick from E. coli, mainly because that particular apple farm a) used manure as fertilizer, b) was picking their apples up off the ground for cider, and c) wasn’t taking proper precautions associated to that. So everybody has to suffer with crappy apple cider just because some idiots on the left coast can’t figure out how to farm on their own.

    Sad.

  8. Thank you, “bill”, for that excellent illustration of joez Law of Teh Internetz.

    Bravo, sir.

  9. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when some bright legislative bulb decides that breast milk should be pasteurized and regulated, too.

  10. Bronwyn,

    Don’t boil your boobs. It never works out how you might imagine.

  11. Thanks for the tip, NutraSweet. Although a bowl of very warm water has provided much-needed relief on more than one occasion, I’m always cautious not use boiling water 🙂

    Actually, you’re not even supposed to boil expressed breast milk, as boiling destroys all those wonderful antibodies.

  12. Uh oh, I spot a typo in that last comment. I will now quiver in fearful anticipation of bill’s impending witty and grammatically perfect criticism of my oh-so-flawed comment.

    *quiver*

  13. Bronwyn,

    Yes about boiling expressed breastmilk – but that’s also one of the arguments used by raw cow milk proponents. Why they want cow antibodies in their system is a bit beyond me, but whatever.

    Also, have you noticed how shrilly people rail against wet nursing/cross nursing and sharing breastmilk? Usually anyone who is against it says something along the lines of “it’s not even pasteurized!!!” which… is kinda the point. If you’re using someone’s expressed breastmilk for your sick child, you want live human antibodies, not just breastmilk for its nutritive value.

  14. So, what with being pregnant and parenting a toddler, we’re all about the whole milk in our house. As a former devoted drinker of skim, this is the closest I’ve ever been to drinking Real Milk.

    Someone tell me, please, how do the flavors of whole milk and raw milk differ? I’m so curious, but don’t have an opportunity to try it for myself.

  15. Oh, and about the cider thing – rules about pasteurizing cider make it really effing hard to find anything that will work to make hard cider. I think this year we’re at the point where we’re just going to end up using the juicer and getting apples.

    But then, if we made hard cider, a child could get it! So I guess it’s ok because it’s for the children…

  16. Leah,

    Yeah, I’ve wondered about that, too. I was such a prolific producer with Samuel, I considered donation. Then I heard that donated milk is pooled (ok) and pasteurized (wtf?).

    What’s the point? It seems that pasteurized breast milk would be no better than formula, aside from the lack of casein, right?

  17. It’s an expansive study with an n = 1, but my husband gave my EBM to our nephew one day, when my SIL failed to leave any of her own for him.

    He survived.

  18. Pasteurized breastmilk still has the nutrients they havent’ put into formula yet. The stuff they don’t know is missing, and therefore don’t know to put in. And it doesn’t have the fake DHA/ARA that studies are mixed about. So nutritionally it’s still better (plus, like you said about casein, it’s not going to sensitize a kid to cow proteins before they’re ready to handle it). But yeah. You’re certainly not getting an immune system boost anymore.

  19. do the flavors of whole milk and raw milk differ?

    It’s been years, but raw milk is much richer. The fat isn’t as broken down and none of the sugars are destroyed. You can get close to the flavor difference by trying non-homogenized pasteurized milk. (Your local expensive grocery store has some. Shake the fuck out of it before drinking. And it makes damn fine cottage cheese and mozzarella.)

    As much as it is raw milk itself, most of it has to do with cheese. There are a lot of cultures that don’t grow correctly or are just killed by adding them to pasteurized milk.

    There’s are methods of pasteurizing milk that leaves a lot of what raw milk fans are after, but they are slow and therefore more expensive. There’s a ripe market for slow-pasteurized milk. So ripe, I bet someone is already filling it.

  20. good point in re the nutrients… had I allowed my brain to complete the thought process, I’d have realized that 🙂

    And HEY! Congratulations!!!

  21. Ohhhh… the cream… I’m not sure I’d want to shake it. Maybe taking a spoon to the top of the bottle would be yummier.

  22. Ever had cream top yogurt? Awesome.

  23. Yes! I only buy the full-fat regular yogurt from Stoneyfield Farms.

    I mix some of the cream in for my son, but I always have to take a few spoonfuls for myself. Gawd, is it ever good!

  24. Anyone else find it amusing that REASON links to BELIEF.NET?

  25. a) used manure as fertilizer, b) was picking their apples up off the ground for cider,

    a = ORGANIC!
    B = SUSTAINABLE!

  26. So ripe, I bet someone is already filling it.

    And I bet someone is trying to regulate against it.

  27. Why not irradiate the raw milk to sterilize it without heat?

  28. Gabriel Kolko, please report to the white courtesy phone.

  29. All right, since y’all were clamoring for it…
    Milk Cow Blues

  30. I just noticed the numbers on the cows’ ears in the article. “Some like it raw”? Or some like RAW? 😉

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