BC Raw Milk Research Presented at IMGC Conference

Photo of Dr. Whitehead in Aarhus, Denmark, Nov. 12 2019.

Sponsored by the Raw Milk Institute, BC researcher Dr. Joanne Whitehead, PhD, gave a poster presentation at the International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC) 2019 symposium in Aarhus, Denmark, November 12-14.

Producing Hygienic Raw Milk: Standards, Testing, and Farmer Education” by J. Whitehead, B. Lake, M. Coleman, and N. Azzolina.

Dr. Whitehead presented data from both the BC Fresh Milk Project and from her own analysis of dairy related outbreaks in the U.S., “Recent Trends in Unpasteurized Fluid Milk Outbreaks, Legalization, and Consumption in the United States“.

This article was published last year in the peer-reviewed  Public Library of Science (PLOS) journal Currents: Outbreaks, showing evidence that legalization does not correlate with outbreak rates – i.e. that if a state or province legalized raw milk, outbreak rates will not increase.


UPDATE from Dr. Whitehead:

“Thanks to RAWMI for a fantastic opportunity to talk about our work with a wide cross-section of academic and industry scientists.  It certainly is an important time to connect with these folks, given the emphasis on the gut microbiome and healthy microbes, the need for sustainability in farming practices, and especially the growing recognition of the role of the dairy matrix (the complex microstructures formed by caseins and minerals, the milk fat globules with their embedded membrane proteins, the nanovesicles with their RNA and small molecule cargo, etc) in providing highly bioavailable nutrients and immunomodulators that we as mammals have evolved to produce and consume.  Dedicated fresh raw milk has all these great features built in, while industry is working very hard to re-engineer what we have lost through processing factory-farmed milk.

“Dozens of scientists dedicated to studying milk from such different perspectives collectively agree that we are just now starting to understand the many levels of complexity inherent in this wonderful substance.

“It was certainly a week well spent!”


Download this poster:  To download a PDF copy of the poster which can be viewed and printed, click here.

Printing this poster:  This poster can be used to educate politicians and government employees who still oppose the legalization of raw milk based on outdated information.  The PDF is 48″x55″ (~122x140cm) at full size but prints well at smaller sizes (e.g. 50% size = 24″x27.5″).  The PDF can be submitted online or taken on thumb-drive to a local print shop for printing on large-size paper.

Event Announcement: RAWMI Training in BC

“Producing World-Class Raw Milk”

Details:

  • Speakers:  Mark McAfee and Sarah Smith of RAWMI, and local herdshare community members
  • Sponsored by:  The Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) and the BC Herdshare Association
  • Date:  Sunday,  September 8, 2019
  • Time:  12 noon to 4 p.m.  Registration available at the door.
  • Place:   Parksville Community Centre, 132 Jensen Ave E, Parksville, BC, in the Arbutus/Garry Oak Rooms
  • Cost:  No charge, but donations welcome to help cover room rental cost.  (RAWMI is a registered charity in the U.S., and donations are tax-deductible against US income.)

Description:

There are two types of raw milk.  Raw milk produced for the processor is different from clean safe milk produced by best practices for people to consume fresh.

You’re invited to a gathering hosted by the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), a non-profit dedicated to educating dairy farmers in the safe production of raw milk.

We will discuss Grass-to-Glass optimization of raw milk production, which results in low-risk, safe raw milk which benefits both the consumers and the farmers. These recent developments in HACCP-based “best practices” help prevent foodborne disease outbreaks.  Clean milk doesn’t need to be pasteurized.

The Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) has trained hundreds of raw milk farmers in the United States and Canada. The training is FREE for the farmers, and has been shown to reduce outbreaks and illnesses, increase safety, and lower insurance costs. RAWMI training means that raw milk can be safely legalized in Canada without increasing outbreak rates.

Topics to be covered:

Introduction:

    • The current legal status of raw milk in BC
    • The history of RAWMI and its community and benefits
    • The achievements of RAWMI and our work with the BC Herdshare Association

In Depth: 

    • Risk Analysis and Management Planning (RAMP)
    • The risks from grass to glass
    • The science of biofilms and pathogens
    • Udder hygiene procedures, before and after milking
    • Equipment and where risks are found inside of systems
    • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment
    • Farm biosecurity planning
    • How to build a RAMP plan

Other Topics:

    • Learning from others crises:  Review of past recalls and real life case studies
    • Raw milk benefits and teaching methods for consumers
    • How to build and protect a raw milk brand
    • Liability protection
    • Discussions and answer all questions

Registration:

Participants can register at the door, but we need to know approximate numbers, so if you are planning to attend, please email contact@bcherdshare.org with your name; town; whether you are a farmer or consumer; and if you are a farmer, what types of dairy livestock you are milking.

More Information:

 

In Memory of Jackie Ingram

Jacqueline (Jackie) Ingram, founder and first spokesperson of the B.C. Herdshare Association, recently passed away from cancer.  Many of you would have known her from Home on the Range, both speaking for the herdshare and with her husband Allan running the Home on the Range Organics store at 235 East Broadway in Vancouver.

Jackie was a powerhouse — as a spokesperson for the herdshare community and for BCHA she met with Premier Christy Clark (in 2011) and then Agriculture Ministers Don McRae (in 2011) and Norman Letnick (in 2014) — all of whom supported raw milk legalization.  Health Minister Terry Lake said he was too busy to meet with her, but she then had productive meetings with his staff.

You can hear her speak in this at the 2011 raw milk demonstration at the B.C. Legislature (go to 27:30 in this video).

She also organized the “Fresh Milk Food Politics” conference (Vancouver, 2013) where she announced the creation of the BC Herdshare Association.

To many of us, she was our inspiration and our “fearless leader.”   We’ll all miss her!

Meeting with Agriculture Minister Lana Popham

On February 26th 2018, BCHA and Raw Milk Institute  representatives had the pleasure to meet with the Minister of Agriculture and MLA for Saanich South, the Honourable Lana Popham to discuss the legalization of herdsharing in B.C.  The Minister of Health  was also invited to the meeting, but did not attend.

Many in the herdshare community remember Minister Popham from her visits to herdshare farms while she was the Opposition Agriculture Critic and her presence at the 2011 raw milk demonstration at the Legislature (see video here), where she and NDP MLAs Mike Farnsworth, Nick Simons, and Jenny Kwan stood in solidarity with herdshare members and farmers.

At this meeting, we presented information about:

  • the health benefits of raw milk, addressing official Ministry of Health statements that that there are no health benefits of consuming fresh milk rather than  pasteurized (cooked) milk;
  • raw milk sales by commercial dairy farmers, illustrating how the current law is ineffective in preventing a flourishing “black market”;
  • outbreak rates in the U.S., illustrating how the Raw Milk Institute‘s on-farm food safety training program has had an impact;
  • a preliminary report from the BC Fresh Milk Project — laboratory evidence of the efficacy of RAWMI training for the production of clean raw milk (proof that the current law is obsolete!); and
  • a proposal for legalization incorporating the requirements stipulated by the previous BC government, amending the Health Hazards Regulation to exempt micro-dairy herdshares certified under a new regulation to be passed under the Milk Industry Act.

Mark McAfee is the CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy, a large milk farm in California which is now the #3 brand (by volume) of organic milk in the U.S.   OPDC sells over a million gallons of raw milk ever year.   Mark traveled up from California so that he could provide information and answer questions about the legal raw milk market in his state and the Raw Milk Institute.   Mark showed samples of his product line, and Katharina brought a jar of farm-fresh milk sourced from a BCFM participant farm plus organic cookies from True Grain Bakery in Cowichan Bay.

Included in this was a binder containing printouts of 42 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the health benefits of raw milk, prefaced with this summary list.

The Minister and her staff listened to our presentations and asked questions.  One staff person said that the B.C. Ministry of Health cites the Federal government as the reason why B.C. law cannot change.  This would likely be the Federal law banning sales, but herdshare agreements which transfer livestock ownership to consumers address this issue.  Currently, eleven U.S. states allow herdsharing while still banning sales, so it can be done in Canada too. In addition, the current law in BC is the only one of its kind in Canada, and was passed in 1988, whereas the Federal law was passed in 1991. The two laws are unrelated.

We hope that there can be further meetings with the B.C. government so we can continue dialogue and provide the additional research which we did not have time to present at this one meeting.

The B.C. government has not made any announcements regarding legalization, but news and updates will be posted on this website as soon as they are available.  (For summaries of previous meetings with the BC Government, see the “BC Status Report for March 2016” and past BCHA newsletters.)

A big thank you to Mark who volunteered his time and travelled up from California to attend this meeting, plus to meet with UBC researchers and to give a public presentation; to Dr. Whitehead who presented a summary of peer-reviewed studies and her research on outbreak trends; and to the volunteers who hosted Mark during this trip as well as his trip to BC in 2014 to provide farmer training and public education opportunities.

Announcement: “Raw Milk: RAWMI, Safety, Science, Politics, Our Biome, and the Future”

 Free public lecture at UBC by two of North America's
foremost raw milk experts, Mark McAfee and Alice Jongerden

Update:   A  video of this talk will
be posted on the website soon.

When:    Tuesday February 27, 7:00 PM
Where:   The University of British Columbia:   HR MacMillan Building, Room 166  (click for map)

Mark McAfee

Mark McAfee from the Raw Milk institute (RAWMI) in California:

  • The Raw Milk Institute and how RAWMI-listed farmers are producing clean milk
  • The "BC Fresh Milk" Pilot Project
  • The nutritional benefits of raw milk and its effect on the gut biome.
  • BCHA and RAWMI meetings with government and researchers
Alice Jongerden

Alice Jongerden, BCHA Volunteer and RAWMI Trainer:

  • The past journey: A compilation of actions surrounding Fresh Milk in BC
  • The future journey: Where we go from here and the important part that we as citizens can play.

Maine’s Licensed Raw Milk Farms

Maine is one of the 43 U.S. states which provide consumers with legal access to raw milk.  Unlike in B.C., raw milk farmers and consumers in Maine live without fear of penalties of up to three million dollars or three years’ incarceration  (B.C.’s Public Health Act, section108, the penalty for “causing a health hazard”).

In the State of Maine, raw milk farms are licensed and raw milk is regulated. Raw milk is readily available to consumers from farms, at farmers markets, and in grocery stores.  Farms openly advertise (examples:  Tide Mill Organic Farm and Winter Hill Farm).  They can produce value-added products such as raw milk cheese, butter, and yogurt.  In Maine, raw milk is not a “hot button” topic that governments will not go near.  In fact, the government of Maine provides a PowerPoint presentation advising farmers on how to get licensed and helpful guidelines for licensed raw milk farmers.

Maine has an estimated population in 2017 of 1,350,200 and  currently has 74 licensed raw milk farms.  There were only 10 licensed farms in 2003 – and this chart shows how consumer demand for raw milk has grown in the state (and similarly in the U.S. in general):

If British Columbia had a proportional number of raw milk farms to population,  it would have 264 licensed raw milk farms. 

Despite steady requests by the public for legalization, currently B.C. has no licensed farms, and the law details severe penalties for raw milk distribution. (Note that this is not stopping the many herdshares currently flourishing in B.C.  Because government refuses to provide the public with legal access to raw milk, herdshares have no alternative but to operate in violation of the current law.)

There is always some concern in places where raw milk is illegal, that legalization will put farms out of business.   This leads some farmers to believe that they are better off in a “black market,” living with the risk of prosecution.  However, Maine shows that farms can flourish under a regulatory system which legalizes raw milk.  It also provides an example to government that raw milk can be legalized.

Data Sources:   Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry; Statistics Canada; Population of America 2017; Maine Dairy Program: How to get a Dairy License (PowerPoint)

Make Raw Milk Legal in Canada

By Linda Morken,  WAPF Vancouver Island Chapter Leader

Why do Canadian consumers want raw milk?

There is plenty of evidence that probiotic-rich raw milk is a health-enhancing food and that its vital elements are destroyed by pasteurization and processing. Raw milk therapy is currently a well-used protocol in German hospitals, just as it was in the early 1900’s at the then named Mayo Foundation when the ‘raw milk cure’ was used as successful therapy for hopeless cases.

Raw milk can truly be a life-saving food and has been shown to help with asthma, allergies and many other conditions. And the taste – delicious! In most countries of the world, this traditional, real and unprocessed food is widely available. Why not in Canada?

Canada needs thriving small farms and local dairies.

Small local dairies boost the economy and selling milk, butter and cream can actually be what saves the family farm. Thirty years ago in British Columbia, for example, there were over 4,000 dairy farms, today there are 480 and declining. One small farm can easily employ five full-time staff and more. The unfair and senseless regulations imposed upon Canadian farmers deprives them of making an honest living, and this has been the case for over a century.

Because of a food regulation that doesn’t apply to many other higher risk foods, farmers that produce traditional raw milk risk going to jail and ludicrous fines that can mean losing their farms.

Is raw milk safe?

​No one will argue that in days long gone there were serious problems with swill milk that came from sick cows in deplorable, dirty conditions. However, with proper standards and modern testing with a food safety plan (such as with a Risk Analysis and Management Program – RAMP), regulated raw milk can be extremely safe. In fact, raw milk is deemed to be no more risky than eating spinach. Raw milk isn’t risk free, but it is a low risk food. This conclusion was documented in a Grand Rounds presentation at BC’s own Centre for Disease Control by researcher Nadine Ijaz. Modern safety checks and methods ensure healthy cows and clean milk.

Come to Canada, Queen Elizabeth, and have a glass of our wonderful raw milk – well, maybe not.

Canada is the only G8 Country that restricts 100% access to farm fresh milk. Many European countries commonly dispense raw milk in vending machines. It is long past time to bring Canada to a place where the need for raw milk is acknowledged and the rights of its citizens to produce and access this traditional food are respected.

There are an estimated 100 micro dairies operating under the radar in British Columbia alone. The 20+ year legal fight that Ontario has had with farmer Michael Schmidt has cost taxpayers untold dollars, and this cruel harassment is nothing short of the bullying of a farmer who simply wants to provide a clean, nourishing food to his community.

Please consider showing your support for Michael Schmidt (Agister), Agricultural Renewal Co-op, and the livestock owner group, Our Farm Our Food Co-op, in solidarity with all Canadian raw milk producers and those who depend on raw milk products in Canada by donating here to help
cover ongoing court costs: https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights.

​Isn’t it beyond the height of ignorance and irony that in Canada, Queen Elizabeth could not be served something she is accustomed to in her homeland without breaking our unfair and ridiculous raw milk laws?

For more information about raw milk and its benefits, check out the non-profit Weston A. Price Foundation’s®​ Campaign for Real MilkWAPF has been instrumental in the fact that raw milk is now legally available in 42 American states and in many countries the world over. In this time of never-before-seen numbers of children suffering from chronic, degenerative diseases, the awareness that fresh, organic raw milk from grass-fed cows can be a health-giving food is growing. It is ludicrous that Canadian law continues to deprive its citizens of their fundamental right to consume the foods of their choice, provided by the producers of their choice.

And while we’re on the topic of food choices…

Take a look at this article about why we need to fix Canada’s Food Guide. Please sign the share the petition that is backed by over 500 Canadian physicians and allied health professionals to have Health Canada change the food guide so that it represents evidence based nutritional policy that is free from industry influence. Find the petition here: ​http://www.changethefoodguide.ca/

 

 


Reprinted with permission from Alternative Boomer Legacy.

RAWMI Webinar: Write a RAMP food safety plan

Free Webinar:   How to Write a RAMP
Presented by Mark McAfee, Spokesperson, Raw Milk Institute
Click here to view.

“RAMP” stands for “Risk Assessment and Management Plan” and is a key part of the HACCP-based “Risk Analysis and Management Planning” food safety system developed by the non-profit Raw Milk Institute.

The B.C. Government stated that any new law legalizing raw milk will require raw milk farms to have on-farm food safety (OFFS) plans.    The goal is to prevent disease outbreaks, because pathogens such as E.coli STEC, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria Monocytogenes in contaminated food can cause severe illness.

OFFS are already mandatory for all commercial dairy farmers in Canada via the “Canadian Quality Milk” (CQM) training program.

A RAMP is an on-farm food safety plan specifically designed for raw milk farmers.   Plans are crafted for the unique conditions of each farm, but the process of creating the RAMP plan is common to all.

Mark McAfee, the founder and CEO of the Raw Milk Institute, presents this free webinar on how to write a RAMP plan.

As a farmer-friendly tool, the RAMP plan assures that, “from grass to glass,” risks have been identified, explained, and are continually managed.   Farmers can feel confident that they are producing a safe product.

Consumers appreciate the delicious flavor, longer shelf-life, and the low risk profile of clean raw milk.   Knowing how the milk is being handled lets a consumer make an informed choice about raw milk consumption.  Herdshares can show prospective members their RAMP plans along with test results to prove that they are taking care to produce a safe product.

Mark will explain the RAMP writing and assessment process in an easy to understand, step-by-step webinar.  Join him to take the mystery out of writing a RAMP plan.

(Consumers – please pass this information along to your raw milk provider!)

Volunteer Coordinator Wanted!

Are you good at working with people, pro-active, and able to supervise and mentor? BCHA needs you! Can you spare a few hours a month to volunteer?

In order to accomplish its goal of serving the herdshare community, bringing farmers and consumers the services they have asked for, BCHA need volunteers. And we need a Volunteer Coordinator to recruit and mentor them.

Your job will working with the directors and committees to identify volunteer needs, advertising for volunteers, interviewing them, and helping supervise and mentor them. As a Director, you will also be involved in management decision making for the organization.

Interested? Please email contact@bcherdshare.org