Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Raw Milk---friend or foe?

So, as some of you know we unfortunately joined the VOLUNTARY scrapie eradication program years ago. However, as we sell off our sheep and quietly try to remove ourselves from this program (and correspondingly NAIS---which I am completely against) we find our selves in the direct line of the state vet.

Now...the state vet here is a good enough guy if not a bit misguided in my opinion. When he came this past April for our annual check ----so my sheep could go to their new owner without compromising the new owners scrapie status----he tried to encourage me to join NAIS.
Now...the problem I have with this, as he spent an extra 1/2 hour of his time to try and encourage me "just to fill out the paperwork---it's no big deal" is some comments he made. When we spoke of a few of the problems with NAIS....he agreed with me that NAIS wouldn't help. So, if he doesn't feel NAIS lives up to what it promises...why push it???

Now, today I receive this letter from him. And let me tell you...I never asked to get emails from them. (Quickly, off topic...the state vet called me the other day with a question about my sheep and told me that he had corresponded with Ohio about some sheep I purchased last year. The lady's scrapie status was in question and so they were going back through her EMAILS sent over the past YEAR by her to the Ohio scrapie program/state vet office to find out about the animals in her flock and whether she had purchased new ones. So let me tell you...Pappa Bear is watching you and keeping your emails if you correspond with him in any form or fashion.)

Here's part of the letter with part of it's attachment:

FYI For those of you that make cheese, I thought you might find this interesting. M. bovis is rare in cows in the US and even less likely to be found in a goat. However, we can not be too safe when it comes to consuming unpasteurized milk from any animal.

Stan Crane, DVM
Designated Scrapie Epidemiologist
Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 MLK Jr. Dr., S.W.
Room 105
Atlanta, GA 30034


Date: 6 Jun 2008
Source: News Inferno [edited]

A rare form of [human] tuberculosis [TB] due to _Mycobacterium bovis_
has emerged and has been traced to illegal, unpasteurized dairy
products, including tainted 'queso fresco' cheese. The outbreak is
rising among Hispanic immigrants in Southern California and is also
raising fears about a revival of this strain that was nearly
completely destroyed in the USA in the 1900s.

The increase in this TB is being seen chiefly in San Diego,
particularly among children who drink or eat dairy foods made from
the milk of infected cattle, but _Mycobacterium bovis_ TB can infect
anyone who eats contaminated fresh cheeses sold by street vendors,
smuggled across the Mexican border, or produced as so-called "bathtub
cheese" made in home tubs and backyard troughs. The problem
originates from cattle in Mexico, where _M. bovis_ infects about 17
percent of herds; occasional outbreaks among isolated herds affect
the USA.

This rare TB accounts for about 10 percent of all new TB cases in the
California border region. "_M. bovis_ TB is a disease of antiquity,"
said Timothy Rodwell, a researcher who led a study published by the
federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "It is
important that it not be allowed to re-emerge as a cause of TB in
this country."

Unfortunately, this species is uniformly resistant to one of the
front line anti-TB drugs [pyrazinamide]. Adults who contract _M.
bovis_ TB are more than twice as likely as those with traditional TB
to die before completing treatment.

Researchers analyzed nearly 3300 culture-confirmed cases of TB in San
Diego between 1994-2005. Approximately 265 were identified as due to
_M. bovis_; this increased by nearly 65 percent, rising from 17 to 28
cases annually. By 2005, over half the _M. bovis_ cases were diagnosed
in children under 15. The majority were in Hispanics, 60 percent from
Mexico. Between 2001-2005, 19 adults with _M. bovis_ died before or
during treatment. Dr. Kathleen Moser, director of TB control programs
for San Diego County, said: "It's clearly being seen in places where
people drink unpasteurized milk and eat unpasteurized dairy products."

In California, 108 million pounds of legal, properly pasteurized
'queso fresco' and other cheeses were produced last year [2007],
according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Last
year, Moser launched a public health campaign, and agricultural
officials seized over 375 pounds of "bathtub cheese" from an open-air
market in San Bernardino, according to Steve Lyle, the agency's
director of public affairs. Such illegal cheeses have been infected
with _Salmonella_, _Listeria_, _Escherichia coli_, and _M. bovis_.

Rodwell cautioned that people worried about _M. bovis_ TB should pay
close attention to dairy products, not people. "It is not a disease
you are very likely to get from a foreign-born person," he said. "The
increase in _M. bovis_ cases is more about what you eat, not where
you were born."

Now here is the problem with this. In my search mostly what I seemed to find was that this disease was shown over and over not to come specifically from drinking the raw milk but from the fact that:

Some cattle had the disease and WORKERS caring for them came in contact with the lesions and then became infected and passed it along to friends and family through coughing and sneezing. Supposedly they can sneeze or cough (yuk, but it does happen) onto the raw milk and THEN you will get it while drinking it---possibly. I am not defending this disease by any means. It is serious and irregardless we don't want cattle to have it...transmit it to the people caring for them and then those people transmit it to us. But why, and of course I can guess, pass along this seemingly misleading information that seems to say if you drink raw milk....that is how you will get it and no other way? TB is passed through coughing and sneezing...why say don't worry about people that may have it (which it does in the above article)...just the raw milk you might drink?

In my search for information this blog linked up some good information. Though it is older than this new "article" now circulating.
Also, notice the article says its difficult to treat and resistant to one "frontline" drug used to treat it in some cases? Oh, do I wonder why that is so..(can you hear the sarcasm?)

How about this Canadian site.

Update 6/12/08 here is an older government site. It makes a comment about getting the disease through raw milk but then farther on it does talk about how this form is transmittable through captive/farmed deer also. many of you drink raw deer milk?...please raise your hand.

This, in my opinion is a load of hockey puck. This misinformation is passed along in this case by the Georgia STATE VETS office. More people have problems with our "supposedly" safe industrial meat products than they do raw milk. Maybe if we all drank raw milk it would be higher....but maybe not. Who's to say since the government won't let us, in this fine democracy we live in, drink raw milk without practically going to jail for it. And absolutely getting in trouble with the law if we sell it.


Robbyn said...

Monica, it makes me wonder where the incentives, er kickbacks, come in to the equation. Why does the vet spend that much time indoctrinating this agenda? I wonder if there are incentives, $$, vets and others are garnering for their efforts. Will people who don't go the NAIS route be denied vet care for their animals?

The raw milk thing bothers me a lot. There is deliberate misinformation, which tells me that the REAL milk movement and its subsequent health benefits must be catching on...why else would the govt be stepping up the scare tactics when so many of its "approved" foods are so obviously more risky than certified raw milk? I think they're just trying to get rid of the competition. I never used to be a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe in following the money trail. Again, I suspect the govt's interest in preserving Big have filthy antibiotic-dependent cattle who've never seen a pasture, you have disease.

Our experiences with raw milk have been dramatically exceeded my expectations. We actually feel different after drinking it. It's the difference between garden-grown vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes and those vapid pale and pasty-tasting things in the supermarkets.

Good, I hope good, clean raw milk IS a threat to Big Ag. It's a sign someone's onto something good!

TOCCO said...

They (the government) don't want us to be self sustaining. If we are we spend less and pay less in tax $$$. Any rule they can force upon us to make it harder to survive, they will do it!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...'s absolutely about money. Always about money. Greedy $#^&@#$!

Tocco...That's the best form of control...control the food. If people are hungry they do things they wouldn't normally do. Look at some of the things that go on in Africa. The governments control what little food there is and the people do really bad stuff to each other. Shameful.

Hayden said...

Thanks for this post. I'm a big fan of raw milk - I appreciate your analysis of the garbage the government is handing out. I think sometimes it's difficult for consumers to figure out what's happening if we aren't farming ourselves.

Gina said...

Why did the State Vet send it to you? I would not like receiving an email as such and would respond with the counter-information.

As far a NAIS, I have not met one person in USDA or the state who agrees with it. It is about the money (states that set up the protocol since it was illegal federally received money incentive packages. Even tribal govns benefited from the handout. And the employees are raised up throught the career chain by quotas and pro-gov deeds and are rewarded ($$$). Money trumps good sense, I guess.

Thanks for sharing!!