Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Government control over dairy industry 2

This letter to the Ag committee from my friend Paul Hamby:

To: Idaho Senate & House Ag Committees

The controversy over raw milk boils down to people’s basic right to choose what they eat, from whom they can purchase their food and how it is produced.

There are compelling arguments for and against both types of milk. I believe raw milk and processed milk are both reasonably safe when produced, refrigerated and distributed in the proper way.

Commercial bottled milk carries some potential risks, with pasteurization often being cited as the culprit. However, if you have ever made tomato soup for your family by combining a can of soup and a can of milk and heating to just below boiling, then you pasteurized the milk. I think the other steps of processing are more dangerous. Homogenization changes the structure of fat cells. Pouring cold milk into a just made hot plastic jug changes the flavor by adding plastic particles. If toxins can leach into bottled water from a plastic bottle, then isn’t it possible that milk can get toxins from a plastic milk jug? Knowing that risk, I still drink pasteurized milk from plastic jugs, but prefer milk from glass bottles.

I am in full support of pasteurization of milk produced in a traditional commercial setting. Milk shipped to a processing plant, handled and transferred by machines several times should be pasteurized.

Raw milk is reasonably safe when it comes from healthy animals, harvested in a clean sanitary way, quickly cooled and stored at 40 degrees or below. Thousands of Americans consume raw milk every day. Banning or limiting the production, consumption or distribution of raw milk will not stop the free market – it will only drive it underground. Limiting Idaho farmers to only 3 cows makes no sense. Are you suggesting that someone cannot produce clean milk from 4 cows or 9 goats? America experimented with this concept in the 1920’s with Prohibition of Alcohol.

In the 1970’s, the media went after butter because some scientists said it caused heart disease. America switched from butter to margarine. Respected doctors told their patients to switch. Today we know that real butter is healthier than margarine. The dairy industry suffered. Americans health declined based on bad science.

‘Scientists’ and activists have been sounding the alarm a lot recently. Just a couple of years ago the nation was terrified of mosquitoes. West Nile virus was predicted to kill many many Americans. The virus is real but the pandemic never materialized.

History is full of examples where government officials with good intentions created rules with unintended consequences. Communist governments who attempted to control their nation’s food supplies usually ended with people starving.

Thomas Jefferson warned us;

"If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."

This issue is really about Liberty and personal choice. Liberty and Freedom come with Responsibility. Laws and government intervention take away all 3.

If the Idaho government has a role to play in this issue, it should be that of educating. The Milk Board could publish a list of safe practices for those new to milk production. Become a trusted source of reasonable advice and what would otherwise turn into an underground movement will be better informed. These Safe Practices could be posted on the State Milk Board page on the MDA web site.

Safe Practices could include:

- udder preparation

- sanitation

- quick cooling of milk

- animal health and testing for communicable diseases

- Milk testing – CMT test and electronic cell count tests

- Lab testing of Milk

- The pasteurization issue can be presented this way: Consuming Raw Milk is a personal choice that comes with some risk. Please study the issue and be informed before producing or consuming raw milk. Pasteurization is simply heating milk to a specified temperature for a specific period of time to destroy potentially harmful bacteria.

Since Y2K, the Homestead and hobby farm movement has continued growing. Many of these folks believe raw milk is a healthier alternative. They will continue to produce milk for their families and neighbors.

Idaho already has a great program for promoting locally grown food. This effort ties right in, but please don’t handicap your local producers by limiting the number of cows or goats

I would ask you to not regulate raw milk, not limit the number of animals, but direct the Ag department to publish Safe Practices for Idaho residents who want to produce raw milk.

In closing, I ask you to consider this question;

Who actually owns our bodies? The individual person or the government?

Paul Hamby

Maysville Missouri 64469

816 632 0602

I am writing to because I have extensive experience with both commercial dairy farms and small raw milk producers worldwide. I have customers in your state and they have asked me to write to you as an expert on dairy farms of all size. I am also active in and have cc the Idaho coordinators above. Here is my bio:

Paul Hamby was raised on a 50 cow family dairy farm. His entire family consumed fresh raw cow milk every day from 1955 to 1979. His children were raised (and thrived) on fresh raw goat milk from the age of 6 months to 2 years. His animals were tested for communicable diseases. His milk was tested weekly. Hamby consumes both raw and pasteurized milk and prefers milk from glass containers.

Hamby owns a dairy equipment and supply company based in NW Missouri. He has designed and installed more than 100 commercial milking systems for cows, goats and sheep.

Recommended reading;

Boise Weekly; Raw Deal Idaho moves to combat illegal sales of "real" milk

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights

The Untold Story of Milk, Revised and Updated: The History, Politics and Science of Nature's Perfect Food: Raw Milk from Pasture-Fed Cows

Hamby Dairy Supply guide for Milking Dairy Goats

Hamby Dairy Supply webstore our milking machine history site;

Thank you Paul!

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