CA recalls raw milk that tested clean; targets agtivist Mark McAfee

By Rady Ananda
Food Freedom

In another frenzy by freaked out regulators, the California Dept of Food and Agriculture recalled raw milk products from Organic Pastures Dairy Co. in Fresno, after five children became ill and admitted to drinking raw milk from OPDC.  Tests confirmed, however, that the products did not contain the variety of E. coli known as O157:H7 from which the children suffered.

“Each month [the California Dept of Public Health] tests all Organic Pastures’ products for pathogens,” explained owner Mark McAfee in a public statement. “In addition, Organic Pastures uses a third party for pathogen testing multiple times per week. All these tests have been negative.”

Three of the five children were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that may lead to kidney failure, reports the CDFA.

The recall of Nov. 15 covered of all OPDC’s raw dairy products with the exception of cheese aged a minimum of 60 days, which includes its “Truly Raw Cheese.”  Also not affected is the farm’s organic beef and organic eggs.

O157:H7 is a type of E. coli that causes disease by production of the Shiga toxin.  “The bacteria that make these toxins are called Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC for short,” reports the Centers for Disease Control. People acquire a STEC infection by ingesting feces – usually by unwashed foods, but also from animal contact or even from swimming pools.

McAfee is one of the key raw dairy advocates in California, long being a thorn in the side of regulators who seek to criminalize “nature’s perfect food” to the benefit of monopoly milk producers.

While the debate over the health benefits of raw milk rages on, it is exceedingly rare for anyone to become ill from it. As reported in my recent piece on the global milk wars, amid a 15-year battle in Australia, food standard authorities admit that “fewer than 10 people” have become ill from raw dairy in the past decade.

In the US, according to data collected by raw milk opponent Bill Marler, at least 158 people became ill from raw milk products in 2010.  Among nine million raw dairy fans, that’s an illness incidence rate of 2/1000 of a percent, or one illness for every 41,000 raw dairy imbibers.*

However, according to analysis of government data by retired pathologist Dr Ted Beals, an average of 47 people become ill each year from raw milk (and zero deaths)  in the past 12 years in the US.

Despite the conflicting data, food business writer David Gumpert estimates that of the 21-25 thousand foodborne illnesses reported each year to the Centers for Disease Control, about one-half of one percent result from contaminated raw dairy.

California has simply targeted a chief proponent of raw milk, shutting down his business without evidence that his dairy caused the STEC infection.  Can you imagine the CDFA trying to do that to a multi-billion dollar dairy corporation? Talk about myth-based vs. science-based regulators.


*Updated Jan. 8, 2012 to correct that Dr Beals did not claim no illnesses, but rather no deaths, from raw milk.

*Updated Nov. 23 to include Marler’s data. To reach 158, I excluded his erroneous inclusion of “raw” milk illnesses when 18 children became ill in Wisconsin, since the milk was from a dairy CAFO that was intended to be pasteurized, but was stolen by the farmer’s relative who provided it to a school. Gumpert predicted that “raw milk opponents would try to categorize that case as a raw milk problem.”

Marler is aware of his continuing erroneous claim, given his response to my article on the subject. He is fully aware, based on his chart, that the milk was intended to be pasteurized. No one can drink raw milk from a dairy that intends to pasteurize it because of the filthy conditions under which that milk is produced. All of it is contaminated, so it is disingenuous for Attorney Marler to label this a “raw” milk outbreak.

Related: Global milk war ramps up as citizens face off with regulators


17 responses to “CA recalls raw milk that tested clean; targets agtivist Mark McAfee

  1. The truth is irrelevant Rady… they have an agenda.

  2. “Can you imagine the CDFA trying to do that to a multi-billion dollar dairy corporation?”

    It will never happen!!!!

  3. Based on my reading at Gumpert’s blog, it looks like McAfee’s been telling raw milk producers for awhile that they need to punctiliously jump through the government’s hoops, “work with” them, as if it’s possible to work with someone who’s out to get you, period. One would think he believed that the government actually cares about “food safety”. Now we see where all his obedience has gotten him.

    But then, the whole RAWMI idea looks like nothing but trying to legalize (not decriminalize) raw milk within the corporatist framework. It’s definitely opposed to relocalization.

    • thanks for the heads up, Russ. I see in Gumpert’s blog that Marler posted a page of raw dairy illnesses, contradicting my source — so I many have to modify this article if it’s true that raw dairy caused 158 illnesses in 2010. Have to pore thru his sources now.

  4. Dear NaturalNews readers,

    Despite all the fear mongering and warnings about raw milk, the CDC has now openly admitted that not a single person has died from drinking raw milk in the last 11 years.

    And yet, the government still criminalizes raw milk sales and “trafficking.” Meanwhile, Big Pharma’s drugs have created 40,000+ drug addicts in America while killing 200,000 Americans a year — and they’re still legal!

    Read more at:

  5. Pingback: Global milk war ramps up as citizens face off with regulators | COTO Report

  6. This doesn’t make any sense.The milk tested negative for the bacteria which poisoned the kids, yet it is being fingered as the cause?
    At any rate, my instincts tell me to buy my raw dairy from a small, local, transparent operation where I can see everything and get to know my farmer.
    Bigger usually invites speed which generates sloppiness…
    I’m not terribly happy with McAfee but this seems absurd!

    • Yes, I didn’t want my above comment to look like I was siding with the State against him. I was just pointing out how he’s been the one calling upon everyone to fully cooperate with whatever the State wants. Yet the evidence keeps compounding proving that we need to do the opposite, like in the recent Farm-to-Fork assault.

  7. Pingback: Citizens face off against regulators over raw milk and food rights issues | The Bovine

  8. Pingback: Monopolies | Food Freedom « Secrets in the Hunter

  9. cooperating w/ the ‘state’ is futile becuz whatever ‘rule’ is met, will only trigger a new one, or ones that can not be met financially. the ‘states’ goal is to 1) weaken the farmers resolve, 2) bankrupt the farmer 3) steal the land. all driveways must have gates & all meadows have guard dogs. farmers must video all the shennanigans & post on youtube – while we still have youtube

  10. Good piece, but you mis-quote Ted Beals, whose data shows an average of 47 cases of illness annually attributed to raw milk over the last 12 years. It’s the “no deaths” that Beals claims, and now the CDC has admitted that it mis-classified those two deaths (from raw milk cheese). And yes, check Marler’s sources. He’s very, very sloppy.

  11. Pingback: Ecuador in the Raw | Living in Ecuador Blog

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