Support For Raw Milk Farmers In Ontario

Today about 30 people were at a farm just north of Clinton, Ontario in the cold and rain to show support for their cow share farmer.  Raw milk consumers are realizing the importance of speaking up and supporting their farmers.  Farmers who board, care for and milk cows for informed consumers deserve our support when our outdated laws are used to try to stop them.  It is the belief of all of us present today that we have the right to choose what food goes in our mouths and that health units and government has no right to interfere with a private contract between an informed consumer and his/her farmer.  These laws are being challenged in Ontario and BC courts right now.  As one of the consumers pointed out today to this official, private contracts are none of governments business.

 

 

 

 

 

The health unit visited the farm last week and made an appointment for today, Tuesday, September 18th at 1 p.m.  The reason for the appointment was to investigate and get information on this farm and their cow share.  Unlike the raids on Michael Schmidt’s farm, this visit was prearranged and two representatives of the health unit showed up right on time.  They were both polite and respectful which was a pleasant surprise.  Their questioning though led some of us to believe that there was an idea of trapping this farmer into saying something they could use against him.  It was stated over and over again that they were just there to gain information.   What information?  What context?   Questions were asked such as how would a consumer find out about a farm like this one.  The answer to that of course is word of mouth but if this farmer had been openly advertising and admitted it, this would be something they could have used against him a court of law.  What these officials need to realize is that the market for raw milk is so big that there are not enough farmers to supply the demand so advertising would never be necessary.  Consumers are tired of the health advice from government.  Advice that has not improved health in the long run.

The interview was recorded by my friend Andrew Kohl, a talented producer, and will be up on You Tube within the next couple of days.  I will post it here when I have it.

The whole interview was done on the porch of the farmhouse and the inspectors did not ask to go into the barn or see the operation.

Here are my thoughts on this. This inspector said that he was raised on a farm and could understand the struggles farmers go through. He was not condescending in any way and certainly didn’t appear to have a God complex the way some inspectors do. So here is my question and it’s not based on anything he said specifically but I can’t help but wonder how many of the inspectors, especially those from farm country, really believe that hunting down raw milk farmers is the right thing to do? They are doing their jobs and I can’t fault them for that, but do they really believe that raw milk is a dangerous substance? A substance dangerous enough to warrant the taxpayers money to hunt these farmers down and prosecute them when most of the rest of the world accepts raw milk distribution in some way or other?

How is it that we have allowed our food to be so closely regulated that a natural food like raw milk is now so criminalized? When did society decide that a few scientists know better than nature herself how to create healthy food?

It is a very slippery slope we are sliding down when a tax paying citizen cannot contract privately with a farmer for food. What’s next? Are we going to have to buy our meat already cooked from our farmer? The recent outbreak of e-coli in hamburger in Canada http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/09/17/beef-recall-e-coli.html is an example of how a regulated large industry can make thousands sick.  Does that mean that we should not be able to buy raw meat?  Our government would like to irradiate all our raw foods.  Radiation is safe?????

Its’ time folks for us to take responsibility for what we put in our own mouths and demand that government get out of our kitchens and out of our personal choices.  I realize there is a place for food safety laws.  Faceless large industries producing foods for the masses need to be regulated.  A small farmer, who knows his customer on a first name basis, does not.  Am I saying that nobody could ever get sick from food from a small farmer?  Of course not.  What I am saying is that the chances are far reduced when a good farmer produces food for people he knows.  Even if there was something that went wrong one time, it is a darn sight easier to contain than a mass marketed food that makes thousands sick.

Please add your voice to the many of us across this country who want to stop the increasing stranglehold the government has on small farms so that our food future is secured.  Consumer voices must start to be heard along with our farmers if we are going to make any headway in changing regulations that limit what we can consume.

Margo McIntosh, RHN, RNCP, CGP

Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner

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2 comments

  1. It was interesting in Alberta when the farmer here was charged. The Health Appeal Board Committee was basically accusing the government officials of setting out the milk they confiscated to rot and then test and you could very clearly tell they believed the government was wrong. Of course we were told we lost but we know differently. The final judge in the case told Michael Schmidt that she grew up on a farm and knew all about raw milk. She wasn’t concerned at all about raw milk. Most of the judges and other staff had more of the attitude of “your kidding you taking up court room time for raw milk?!” In the end it is my opinion that the health inspector and the lawyer of Alberta Health really had enough of the raw milk issue and wanted to get onto something else that really mattered to people’s health.

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