.By Meryl Williamson
What if what we have been taught was clean and pure is actually filthy and even implicated in an on-going epidemic? What if what we have been taught was dangerous to our health may actually be crucial for it?
We have been taught to believe that pasteurized milk is free of bacteria and thus safe. That turns out to be dangerously untrue. European studies show that pasteurized milk can contain a bacterium known as Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), the same bacterium as Johnes disease in cattle. It can be cultured from 5-20 percent of the “pasteurized” milk sold in supermarkets. American milk undergoes an identical pasteurization process and can also be cultured for MAP. Johnes disease is a cattle disease rampant throughout the industrial dairy industry where dairy cows are confined.
Johnes bacterium is the same bacterium in Crohn’s disease, a disease that NIH reports is impacting almost a million people in the US (the Crohn’s foundation reports that 1.5 million are affected).
The FDA and CDC and other government agencies have known of the relationship between MAP (Johnes disease) and Crohns for some time.
“Is MAP in our food supply?
“It is an undisputed scientific fact that live MAP is excreted in the milk of infected cattle. FDA is relying upon single, highly controversial study, to conclude, quote, “it is the position of FDA that the latest research shows conclusively that commercial pasteurization does indeed eliminate this hazard,” referring to MAP. Despite PARA’s urgings, the FDA has ignored the overwhelming body of scientific evidence. Congress should ask why!
“U.S. Agencies have passed the buck.
“Since 1997, PARA has been attempting to get various agencies of the U.S. Government to act on behalf of the American public with respect to our concerns about the MAP/Crohn’s disease issue. (See PARA’s Paper Trail for complete details.) What has transpired over the course of the past six years is a “passing of the buck” from one agency to the other. At best, the issue has been given mere lip service by the agencies responsible for human health. Congress should ask why!
“The U.S. dairy industry now appears to see the ‘handwriting on the wall’.
“The U.S. dairy industry has, for some time, been well aware of the mounting scientific evidence that implicates MAP as the cause of human Crohn’s disease as well as the fact that, in the majority of scientific studies, scientists have concluded that MAP is capable of surviving U.S. pasteurization standards. In early 2001 NMPF rushed to develop a plan to test herds and to kill every cow in this nation infected with MAP and submitted its plans to request ‘indemnity from the U.S. Government in the amount of $1.3 billion’ so that these MAP-infected cattle would be killed and sent to rendering (not for human consumption). Certainly, these sudden actions on the part of the U.S. dairy industry appear to only further support the potentially grave and critically urgent situation that this nation may likely soon find itself in with regard to possible contamination of our retail food with MAP.
“Questions that need to be asked.
“It is not surprising that NMPF was attempting to downplay it for the public, concerned about the mounting evidence implicating MAP may cause at least some, if not most, cases of Crohn’s disease. PARA urged Congress to ask the NMPF, Why now? Why not ten years ago when Johne’s was a relatively small animal disease?
“Very likely the reason it’s finally being addressed is because of the Crohn’s disease/MAP association. Yet, conspicuously absent in that request for funding was any mention of the human health implications. Why was this information deliberately withheld from Congress?”
Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall can answer that question.
“At present most Mycoplasma Avium Paratuberculosis (MAP) research takes place in Europe, even though Rhode Island surgeon Dr Rodrick Chiodini was the first to culture MAP from children with Crohn’s in the mid-nineties. MAP research is extremely controversial in the US owing, in part, to a US Department of Agriculture Survey (USDA) revealing that 68 percent of US dairy herds test positive for MAP infection (which can be asymptomatic)….
“In my opinion, the dairy industry and the federal agencies that regulate them have a moral and ethical duty to inform the public of these facts – giving American parents the choice of whether they want to expose their children to a potentially fatal disease (or at least boiling their milk, presently the only safe method of eradicating MAP). For some reason, neither the farm lobby nor the US government see it this way. The dairy industry specifically opposes boiling milk, claiming that it adversely affects the taste.
“As in the case of the banking regulators, whose inaction led to the economic collapse, the FDA and other government regulatory agencies steadfastly refuse to fund studies testing US retail milk supplies for MAP. Moreover, thanks to the black-out in the US media on European research, most American doctors continue to regard Crohn’s as a genetically inherited autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are a varied group of illnesses in which the immune system goes haywire and begins attacking the patient’s own body – in the case of Crohn’s the intestinal lining.”
Where is the CDC’s warming to the public and the medical community about the connection between Johnes disease, pasteurized milk, and Crohn’s disease? Instead, the CDC puts out a report that went nowhere, ending with these words: “Target appropriate public prevention and intervention strategies towards high-risk populations.” A warning would be sufficient, but there has been none.
Where is the FDA’s warning of an immense “food safety” risk via pasteurized milk because of a cattle disease rampant within the industrial dairy industry?
Though failing to ensure that milk, the most basic of foods, is safe or even alert the public to the “food safety” risk which it has itself allowed, the FDA now seeks to be in charge of a powerful, centralized “food safety” agency through S 510, the Food Modernization Act. S 510 would put the FDA in control of all food and farms in the US. The bill includes a requirement that all milk in the US be pasteurized. The existence of Johnes bacterium in pasteurized milk, though, indicates pasteurization provides no protection to the public. However, such a requirement does provide protection to the dairy industry by eliminating its competition, those selling unpasteurized fresh milk (raw milk) straight to customers. Those small farmers would be out of business, and there would be no more access to the real and fresh milk they provide.
That milk comes from cows raised under healthy, natural conditions outside the confined operations of the dairy industry, and in some states, their cows are routinely tested for Johnes disease. Raw milk is safe from pathogens and full of essential bacteria (a distinction the public is beginning to understand), and the milk is also free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs as well. There has been only one recorded death from raw milk in 57 years.
On the other hand, the industrial dairy industry herds are not tested and would not pass if they were. The FDA under S 510’s banner of “food safety” would be getting rid of safe milk while leaving on the market the dairy industry’s pasteurized milk which killed three people in 2007 alone and can be cultured for Johnes bacterium, the same bacterium as in Crohn’s disease in humans. The FDA’s bill, S 510, would define as “safe” the dairy industry’s pasteurized milk which contains pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, and the Johnes/Crohn’s bacterium.
And were S 510 to pass, the dairy industry milk in supermarkets could also include melamine, for S 510 would put the US under Codex Alimentarius. The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) just voted to set an allowable level for melamine, 2.5 ppm (ppm, equal to 1 milligram per kilogram of food) for adults and 1.0 part per million for infant formulas. Though a strong effort was made by health groups to have Codex ban all melamine in baby formula, CCCF would not set a zero tolerance, even in babies’ milk.
“Logic would dictate that the acceptable level of melamine in food – whether intentional or unintentional – should be zero.
“Over time, the melamine you ingest can accumulate in your body and create what essentially amounts to rock hard, indigestible, insoluble, unbreakable plastic particles… We know it can do this because thousands of pets and several infants have already died from renal failure after consuming melamine contaminated foods.”
By insisting that all milk flow through the dairy industry for pasteurization, the FDA would automatically destroy local raw milk farmers and leave the country without any source of safe milk. And even if the FDA insisted that the dairy industry pasteurized the milk at a high enough temperature to kill off the Crohn bacterium (that would require boiling it), that process would do nothing to rid milk of industrial slaughterhouse waste, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and GMOs, that make up the normal diet and treatments of dairy industry cows. Each item is associated with diseases. How much do they contribute to the ill health of the cows within the industrial dairy industry?
The CDC reports that 5000 people a year die from food borne illness but that number does not include deaths from Crohn’s disease, or deaths from MRSA attributable to antibiotics in animal feed, or cancers and deformities associated with pesticides, or deaths from diseases such as diabetes and asthma now linked to GMOs, or deaths from CJD (Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, or Mad Cow disease, related to slaughterhouse waste. Concerning all these deaths from chronic diseases related to dairy industry, agribusiness, the pharmaceutical industry, and biotech’s industrial chemicals, drugs and GMOs, the FDA is silent. What is the real number of deaths from unsafe food if one goes beyond acute infections to tabulate chronic diseases caused by food fundamentally contaminated by the routine use with poisons, drugs, animals fed to animals, and GMOs?
S 510 would allow all that to continue, and would allow melamine to be added.
For the disease the FDA and other agencies have set in motion, their answer is not to clean up a polluted industrial system and stop the abuse in it, but to leave all horrors in place and merely apply more industrial “solutions” such as a vaccines for Crohn’s – though vaccines are themselves associated with Crohn’s now. Each harm is caused by an industrial product and for each harm, a new product or process (they want to irradiate all food now) is added on top of it, which brings with it another level of destruction and new more bizarre illnesses but each time brings more profit, in what economists call “supplier-induced demand.”
Shiv Chopra – former food and drug safety scientist at Health Canada (the Canadian equivalent to the FDA) who helped stop rBGH from being approved there and was fired for trying to stop antibiotics in animals – calls hormones, antibiotics, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs, “the toxic five.” None, he says, are in the food chain legally because the FDA failed in its duty to test any of them for safety. Three (hormones, antibiotics and slaughterhouse waste) have been banned for years in Europe and the EU has been trying to ban the other two, pesticides and GMOs.
If S 510 were truly a food safety bill, it would ban all five – every one of which has now been proven through years of exposure to be unsafe. In doing so, Chopra says that in one stroke all food in the US would become organic by default. At which point, animals, the environment, and people would be relieved of being chronically poisoned and could heal.
Anything bill falling short of removing the fundamental problem causing US food to be unsafe, can not be called a “food safety” bill. S 510 only gives the FDA more power so it can apply fees, surveillance, warrantless entry, paperwork, fines, none of which addresses in any way the sole issue that has made food unsafe in the US – the poisons which the industrial system have put into the food chain for profit and in the case of GMOs, for ownership through patents.
S 510 fails to deal with the real source of food dangers by focusing only on infections, but even here the FDA fails. It does not even provide minimal “food safety,” though aware of the issue, it has not tested and or pulling contaminated pasteurized milk from supermarket shelves, nor has it warned doctors of the risk and even alerted the public so they could at least boil the milk they buy. And instead of such measures to protect people from the known dangers from industrial milk, the FDA charges out under a banner “food safety,” using those words as its justification for employing armed FBI and other means to shut down access to safe milk.
As upside down as that is, things become yet more so. For the FDA’s position in seeking a giant centralized “food safety” agency (which S 510 would set up) is that it simply doesn’t have enough power to protect the food supply for the sake of the public’s health, but in court the food safety division of the FDA has recently asserted that public has no right to its health.
The FDA attack on small farmers or buying clubs is reminiscent of how USDA behaved around Mad Cow, attempting to distract from its inaction on the industrial side, not stopping the use of slaughter house waste being fed to animals, by attacking a farm and killing a family’s healthy sheep. Borrowing the words of Ronnie Cummins, head of the Organic Consumers Assocation, in his review of the book Mad Sheep, and substituting facts about raw milk dairy farmers (within brackets) with the facts about what happened to the sheep farmers, the same story of industrial harm, government trickery, and undeserved attacks, emerges.
“As this twisted and wicked pastoral unfolds, outrage after outrage, it will become increasingly clear that this is not just a tragic case of administrative bungling or faulty science on the part of the [FDA and] USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
“What we are confronted with [in regard to raw milk] is a government conspiracy. A politically inspired ritual of fabricated charges, manipulated science, and doctored evidence. A modern witch-hunt to sacrifice the innocent in order to protect the massive profits and scandalous practices of the guilty. A diabolically orchestrated, media-scripted search and destroy operation [across the country], designed not just to [shut down] some innocent [dairy farmers and raw milk buying clubs] and thereby exorcize mounting consumer fears about food safety …, but also to turn us all into sheep, to fan the flames of fear and ignorance, and to foster our continued dependence on an abusive Big Brother government that has promised to protect us from the contemporary terrors that lurk, well, nearly everywhere.
“Meanwhile the disinformation flacks at the [FDA], aided by public relations firms and the news media, [have swept] under the rug the alarming fact that corporate agribusiness [has been touting pasteurized miik over raw milk, while selling contaminated pasteurized milk which may be a contributor to Crohn’s disease].
“The [raw milk is] healthy and present[s] no risk whatsoever to the American public. … As for those farmers and consumers who won’t behave like proper sheep, who refuse to shut up and swallow the official story: harass and threaten them, seize their animals, ruin their reputations, and destroy them financially and psychologically. … [These farmers] along with … consumer and farm activists who [stand] by them, are not only good shepherds, they are national heroes. [FDA[ bureaucrats like [Michael Taylor], CDC bureaucrats …, indentured politicians, and their puppet masters behind the scenes‹the leaders of the corporate-industrial agriculture and pharmaceutical complex are the real offenders….
“After campaigning in the trenches for thirteen years to get the USDA and FDA … I read this book, and like post-combat stress, a flood of memories rushed back….
“Fruitlessly petitioning the Centers for Disease Control to make the human equivalent of [Johnes disease, Crohn’s disease], an officially reportable disease. Petitioning the CDC, again in vain, … [w]atching the [FDA] blame [raw milk as a danger] and shortly thereafter threaten [food buying clubs for trying to obtain raw milk, while withholding the fact that the dairy industry’s contaminated pasteurized milk presents a public health threat to millions]. No wonder millions of Americans no longer trust the government or the media.
“No wonder millions of consumers are turning away from industrial meat and food and voting with their pocketbooks for healthy, sustainable, locally produced organic foods.
“But voting with our consumer dollars is not enough. The [raw milk] battle described in these pages is not an isolated case. Armed with $90 billion in taxpayer money each year, the USDA [along with the FDA which is seeking billions more and massive power through S 510, are] waging war against all of us‹consumers, family farmers, farm animals, and the environment. The direct and collateral damage of this war includes rampant water, air, and food pollution; an epidemic of cancer, birth defects, obesity, and hormone disruption; pollution by genetically engineered crops; an unsustainable, massive venting of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases; pesticide and antibiotic contamination; proliferation of junk food; systematic exploitation of small farmers, farm workers, and slaughterhouse workers; and the dumping of millions of tons of subsidized crops and meat at below the cost of production on developing nations, thereby destroying the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and rural communities.
“It’s time to follow the example of the [raw milk dairy farmers and their supporters]. It’s time to stand up and fight, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.”
The ads put out by the dairy industry read “milk does a body good.” But the dairy industry monopoly over milk seems not to be doing bodies or the body politic good. Below is a snap shot of the battle between industrial agriculture (using the power of the FDA, state officials and police) and real dairy farming, between industrial milk and whole milk.
* Does Dean Foods Have Unfair Advantage?;
* Farmers Plead for Help as Milk Prices Destroy Profits;
* Farmers Call for Federal Probe of Dairy Industry;
* Farmers Will Face Industry Giants at Dairy Workshop;
* Dean Foods Accused as Dairy Farmers Say They Are Getting Milked;
* What’s the FBI Doing in My Milk?;
* FDA found conspiring with Midwest ag departments to shut down raw milk buying clubs (video);
* SWAT team attacks Ohio organic coop providing raw milk;
* Fight over Raw Milk Moves East, amid Charges of Collusion with Big Dairy;
* FDA Says You Have No Right to Real Food Unless They Give You Permission First;
* FDA Steps Up Enforcement Against Raw Milk.
Everything is at stake since S 510, the Food Modernization Act is now in the Senate and being pushed hard by lobbyists from Agribusiness, the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, the biotech industry and others. It would give power and discretion to the FDA to crush small farmers and local food producers of all kinds and to ignore industrial contamination.
In his article in The Atlantic, Where the Salmonella really came from, Barry Eastabrook, formerly contributing editor at Gourmet Magazine, pulls no punches about which system is causing the problems.
“It’s been nearly one month since the nationwide recall of 550 million eggs, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still hasn’t figured out where the salmonella that sickened 1,470 people originated.
“Well, I know where it originated, and I am about to reveal it here, both to save the FDA further trouble and to warn the public that the food safety bill currently before the Senate (which may be fast-tracked as election-wary lawmakers return from their break) might not prevent future food contamination epidemics. In fact, it could even cause serious harm to conscientious farmers whose meat, poultry, and produce has never sickened anybody.
“Put simply, the cause of the current salmonella outbreak is industrial-scale factory farming, which has also been the cause of virtually every instance of bacterial food contamination the country has experienced in recent years. Huge farms and processors that ship their products across the nation have given us E. coli in ground beef and spinach, Salmonella in peanut butter and fresh salsa, and Listeria in processed chicken.
“Scanning this list of food-borne illness outbreaks in the United States in the last 15 years, I can find only one instance, Listeria-tainted milk from Whitter Farms in Massachusetts, where a small, local operation sickened its customers.” (Emphasis added.)
Michael Pollan issues the same warning:
“Instead of seizing on these threats as a reason to decentralize our food supply, the government is bringing in more regulation and technology.
“Progressive senators are proposing that we begin to regulate farms the way we regulate meat plants. That will put small farms out of business. So you see what happens as industrial agriculture fails and sickens us. The solutions promote more industrialization of agriculture. And that’s what we need to resist.”
Apparently, the government’s rejection of local agriculture is not new, nor its working for food industry.
MICHAEL POLLAN: … Eleanor Roosevelt put a victory garden in, in the White House in 1942.
BILL MOYERS: …during second world war
MICHAEL POLLAN: It was over the objections of the Department of Agriculture, who thought it was going to hurt the food industry if people started growing food at home. You know, God forbid.
BILL MOYERS: Some things never change
MICHAEL POLLAN: Yeah, I know. So they were on the wrong side of that issue, too.
With Crohn’s disease “rising at such an alarming rate,” with a series of pleas to the United States Government to investigate the relationship between Crohn’s disease and MAP, with the CDC aware of its etiology in cattle and that pasteurized milk which doesn’t kill it, when the CDC writes a report, why does it bury among a slew of other questions, these already answered questions?
“Is M. para pathologic to humans?
“If so, how is it transmitted to immunocompetent and to immunocompromised hosts?
“Is the organism found in food products?”
All of which lead to the question: Who are these agencies really working for when they claim to be in charge of health decisions? What person wouldn’t immediately warn their neighbors if they learned that pasteurized milk may contain a bacterium identical to that in Crohn’s disease? How concerned is the FDA about “food safety” if it is plotting [video, start at 5:40] behind the scenes and using armed men to eliminate safe milk and ready to leave the country with contaminated milk filled with toxins, GMOs, and now melamine?
In S 510 requiring the pasteurization of all milk in the US, and in giving the FDA power to wipe out the last of our true dairy farmers – small raw milk dairy farmers – the FDA and S 510 would also be ending sustainable agriculture, the only source of safe, clean food in the country.
Vandana Shiva noted that:
“Most of India’s organic farms are not officially considered (or certified) as organic, they are ‘organic by default.’ In India, we worship cow dung as Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Gobar-dhan puja is literally the worship of gobar (cowdung) dhan (wealth). Cow dung is worshipped because it is the source of renewal of soil fertility and, therefore, a key factor in ensuring sustainability of human society. The cow has been made sacred in India because it is a keystone species for agro-ecosystems — it is vital for the sustainability of agriculture.” (Emphasis added.)
And S 510 includes more than one means to get rid of raw milk dairy farms.
There is a great deal upside down in all this.
— A corrupt dairy monopoly is wiping out dairy farmers across the country, is investigated by the DOJ and is not being charged.
— In the name of food safety, the FDA under S 510 would destroy safe dairy farms and end access to their safe food – milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, etc.
— In the name of food safety, the FDA under S 510 would leave the industrial food system in place though it is making people diseased from the products it profits from – antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, slaughterhouse waste, GMOs, and soon melamine.
— In the name of food safety, the FDA under S 510 would promote industries that are making food not only unsafe but actually poisoned and that then provides immeasurable profit to the pharmaceutical industry which would collapse if the food were safe, whole and fully nutritious so people stayed or got well.
— In the name of food safety, the FDA under S 510 would end local sustainable agriculture and the safe food that people want and need, and leave an industrial system that people detest and want to be rid of.
— In the name of food safety, the FDA under S 510 would eliminate safe milk and leave contaminated milk on the shelves that is associated with Crohn’s disease.
But perhaps the most upside down thing of all is that pasteurized milk, which people believe is clean, actually contains the Crohn’s bacterium and may be causing Crohn disease, while raw milk, which people have been told is dangerous to their health, is desperately sought out specifically because people are using it to treat Crohn’s disease.
Michael Pollan: “I say we put our faith not in technology or regulation but in relationships, relationships with small farms.”
The Crohn’s organization says this:
“It is time for the priorities on this issue to be reversed – human health should take precedence over politics and economics. We of PARA are convinced that this can only happen if Congress intervenes immediately on behalf of the American public.”
Tell your Senators to vote no on S 510.