Volunteers Wanted!

volunteersDo you support local, sustainable agriculture; food sovereignty and food security; direct farm-to-consumer commerce; and farm-fresh, unprocessed milk?  Do you believe in the vision of a province-wide organization to serve the herdshare community of B.C.?   Please consider volunteering with the BCHA.

Even if you can only lend a bit of time, that would be great.  We have a list of possible volunteer positions here – but certainly if there are other skills or interests you would like to offer to contribute, please suggest! You can email contact@bcherdshare.org if you have questions, or would like to volunteer.

Mark McAfee’s Talk at UVic

rawmi uvic talk 2About 120 people attended Mark McAfee’s September 10th presentatio at the University of Victoria, both UVic students and members of the community.

The title of Mark’s talk was:  “The New Science of Farm-Fresh, Unprocessed Milk: Does It Still Constitute a Health Hazard?”  To give some background on why this is relevant, in 1988 in BC, the Health Hazard Regulation (now the Health Hazards Regulation) was passed under the Health Act (now the Public Health Act), defining raw milk as being a health hazard:

“Division 1 — Food / Hazardous food”
” 2 The following are prescribed as health hazards:  (a) milk for human consumption that has not been pasteurized at a licensed dairy plant in accordance with the Milk Industry Act;”

The penalties for “Causing a Health Hazard” are severe:

15  A person must not willingly cause a health hazard, or act in a manner that the person knows, or ought to know, will cause a health hazard.99  3) A person who contravenes either of the following commits an offence:  (a) section 15 [causes a health hazard];108  (1) In addition to a penalty imposed under section 107 [alternative penalties], a person who commits an offence listed in
(c) section 99 (3) is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3 000 000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 36 months, or to both.

What is very interesting about this law – which has shut down herdshares; forced BC dairy farmers to sell their animals and in at least one case, into dire poverty because she no longer has an income from agistment; led to health inspectors threatening farmers with the loss of their farms; and saddled other farmers with tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, fines, and paying the court costs of the health authorities which charged them, is that the BC government has no documented evidence that this law was ever necessary: no studies, correspondence, reports, briefing notes, or any other proof on file.  This is evidence from a recent FOI request:

Health Hazards Regulation, FOI Request

Mark’s talk addressed the question, “Is it a health hazard?”  He provided plenty of hard data, scientific evidence that it is not.  He detailed the “Grass to Glass” best practices for producing farm-fresh, unprocessed milk; the critical control points which farmers must be aware of, and how these best practices can produce an even cleaner milk than pasteurized.

We hope that some of the people in government and in the health authorities who were invited to this talk attended it, and if they were not able to make it, that they see the video of the talk once it is posted online.  The BCHA will also continue to engage in dialogue with the government and the public health community, in order to find a way forward that enables our farmers, and our communities, to survive and thrive without fear.

Is unprocessed milk a health hazard?  It is sold in over 600 stores and from farms in California, is available again from stores and from farms in Washington State (and regularly brought across the border into BC by shoppers).  There have been no deaths from it in the United States since it began being tracked in 1972, and over 12 million Americans regularly drink it.  Qualitative Risk Management Analysis (QRMA) studies and RAWMI date proves it.  Our answer is “No.”

Many thanks to Dr. Martha McMahon for providing this wonderful facility for this lecture, for inviting the students in her classes, and for inviting Mark into her classroom to address the students as well.  Many thanks as well to all our volunteers, including Jackie, Bijan, Alice, Steve, and the many others who helped make this event possible.

Thanks the Saanich Voice Online for videotaping this event for posting online.

Mark McAfee of RAWMI at UVic September 10th 2014

rawmi uvic talk 2

“The New Science of Farm-Fresh, Unprocessed Milk: Does It Still Constitute a Health Hazard?”

We are pleased to announce that Mark McAfee is giving a free public presentation at UVic on September 10th.  The details are: 

Location: Human and Social Development Building, Room HSD A240
Date & Time: Wednesday, Sept. 10th, 2014 7pm-8:30pm. Doors open at 6:30pm

Description:  In 1988, unpasteurized milk was legally deemed to be a health hazard in British Columbia, a clause currently found under the “Public Health Act, Health Hazards Regulation.”  Potential penalties for anyone distributing it – farmer or consumer –  include fines of up to $3 million dollars or three years in jail, and this policy of prohibition has resulted in a flourishing and expanding “black market.”  In comparison, raw milk is legally available from both farms and retail stores in both Washington State and California, from licensed micro-dairies in Oregon, and from vending machines in several European nations.  Mark McAfee, spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute in California, poses an alternative point of view on raw milk legalization, a proposal for legalization in BC, for discussion and debate.

The talk will include:

  •  Food safety standards
  •  Food safety protocols and practices on the farm
  •  Testing systems, protocols and results
  •  How to simplify raw milk safety to a very reliable and consistent science!! With data to prove it.
  •  History of raw milk
  •  Nutrition of raw milk
  •  Changes that occur in pasteurization and processing
  •  Data that flows from US and EU raw milk systems and practices

Speaker Biography:
Mark McAfee, spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) in California, is the founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, California, which is on their 4th generation family farm and distributes raw dairy products in over 600 stores in California. Mark is internationally recognized as an expert in raw milk safety and production, having headed a team which developed and published the first international raw milk production and safety standards. He has spoken at Rutgers and Stanford University Medical Schools and has been an expert witness in legislative and judicial proceedings across America.

Sponsored by BC Herdshare Association and the University of Victoria.

The Laws in BC

What is the current legal situation in BC surrounding farm-fresh, unprocessed milk?  In a nutshell, tightly regulated.

The current situation is, that like all other provinces, all food products in BC are controlled and regulated from harvest to plate under the Natural Products Marketing Act (other provinces have similar legislation, just with different names).  The B.C. Milk Marketing Board Regulation under this  Natural Products Marketing Act gives the BCMMB complete control over all milk produced in the province, even milk produced by a family cow!  The BCMMB however, has granted a “personal use exemption” for dairy animal owners:

” You can start up to 200 chickens or 50 turkeys every year, or keep any number of milking cows, as long as none of the milk is sold.” – (Farm Industry Review Board “Review of Specialty Production and New Entrant Programs Improving Access to the Supply Management System,” page 1).

Unpasteurized milk is regulated under several other laws as well, including section 6 of the Milk Industry Act and section B.08.002.2 (1)1 of the federal Food and Drug Regulation, both of which prohibit the sale of raw milk.

As in the rest of Canada, laws in BC prohibit the sale or distribution of raw milk to any destination other than to the milk marketing board, and only then if you have purchased quota.

British Columbia, of all provinces and states, is unique in that under BC law (specifically section 2(a) of the Health Hazard Regulation under the Public Health Act), unpasteurized milk is defined as being a “health hazard,” and to cause a health hazard is punishable by a maximum of a $3M fine or 3 years in jail.  This, for a product which can be purchased in grocery stores and direct from farms in Washington State and California.  An FOI request this June (see PDF at this link) revealed that the BC government has no evidence or documentation supporting the original passage of this law in 1988.  One would expect correspondence, studies, consultations with stakeholders, reports, meeting minutes, and other records for such a important law which has had such devastating consequences for farmers — but none exist.

This current legal situation has created a “black market,” creating a climate of fear and putting both farmers and consumers at risk. Canada was founded by fresh-milk farmers, and yet this product, part of our history and heritage, is now illegal.

The B.C. Herdshare Association exists because we believe that, as in other nations, our farm-fresh unprocessed milk deserves to be legally available, farm to consumer, without the risks of a “black market.”   We have a large and growing herdshare community in the province.   From our surveys an interviews, we estimate that there are close to 100 herdshares across the province, as well as other farms producing fresh, unprocessed milk..  Eighty-nine percent of commercial Canadian dairy farmers drink their own farm-fresh milk, according to a 2010 study, so we know it is safe.

We are working toward dialogue with government, with the goal of trying to modernize our laws here in BC.  Change will not happen overnight, but forming this organization and reaching out to those who write the laws are first two steps.

Mark McAfee at KPU Richmond September 11th 2014

rawmi kpu talk 2

For the Love of Farm-Fresh Milk!
with Mark McAfee of the Raw Milk Institute

Location: Melville Centre Conference Room, KPU Richmond, 8771 Lansdowne Road
Date & Time: Thursday, Sept. 11th, 2014 8pm-9:30pm. Doors at 7:30pm
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/793500317369380/

Free public presentation with Mark McAfee, spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute in California. RAWMI is committed to being the most-trusted source of information for and about the raw dairy industry.

Whether you’re a dairy farmer looking for help in producing the highest quality product, a consumer trying to make an informed decision about this important source of nutrients, or a legislator or regulator building your knowledge of the raw milk industry … you’ve come to the right place.

The talk will include:

– Current legal issues surrounding raw milk in BC
– Raw milk best practices on the farm
– Testing systems, protocols, and results
– How to simplify raw milk safety to a very reliable and consistent science – with data to prove it
– History of raw milk
– Nutrition of raw milk
– What RAWMI can do for farmers
– Changes that occur in pasteurization and processing
– What American and European raw milk systems and practices show us
– and, plenty of Q&A with Mark

Speaker Biography:
Mark McAfee, spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute(RAWMI) in California, is the founder and CEO of Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, California, which is on their 4th generation family farm and distributes raw dairy products in over 600 stores in California. Mark is internationally recognized as an expert in raw milk safety and production, having headed a team which developed and published the first international raw milk production and safety standards. He has spoken at Rutgers and Stanford University Medical Schools and has been an expert witness in legislative and judicial proceedings across America.

Sponsored by BC Herdshare Association, Young Agrarians, and KPU Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems

http://bcherdshare.org/mark-mcafee-rawmi-visits-bc-and-ontario/

Mark McAfee of RAWMI visits BC and Ontario!

We have exciting news!   Mark McAfee, spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute, will be visiting British Columbia and Ontario this September.

Updated schedule:  Mark will be giving a public talk in Victoria on the 9th (Update: Watch the video of his talk), meeting with farmers in Duncan the 10th,  speaking in Richmond on the 11th, likely heading to Kamloops on the 12th (events still being planned), touring a farm in Chilliwack on the 13th, and then he will fly on to Ontario for the 14th and 15th (details to come).

Full details yet to come.  If you would like to host a free public talk, a private meeting of local farmers, or have Mark out to visit your farm, please get in touch!  Important:  Farmers in the Okanagan and Interior of BC:  Please contact us for information about events being organized in Kamloops. Email contact@bcherdshare.org.

Some of the topics which Mark will be speaking on are:

  • “Grass to Glass”  milk best practices on the farm
  • Testing systems, protocols, and results
  • How to simplify fresh milk safety to a very reliable and consistent science – with data to prove it
  • History of farm-fresh milk
  • Nutrition of farm-fresh milk
  • What RAWMI can do for farmers
  • Changes that occur in pasteurization and processing
  • What American and European farm-fresh milk systems and practices show us
  • and, answering all your questions.

About Mark McAfee, CEO and Founder of Organic Pastures Dairy and Spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute: 
markmcafee
Founder of Organic Pastures Dairy, Mark is internationally recognized as an expert in raw milk safety and production. He has spoken in more than 25 states and three countries on the subject. In 2000, Mark brought together the team and systems that founded OPDC and then in the last 14 years grew the CA based company to include 65 employees, 24 delivery trucks, more than 600 retail stores, 15 farmers markets and 30 buyers clubs. Mark founded the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) in 2011, to teach, research and create low risk raw milk production systems and practices for the humanitarian benefit of the emerging raw milk markets. In addition, he taught paramedic medicine at a local County Health Department and worked for sixteen years as an EMS paramedic responding to more than 15,000 calls. Mark served on a STAR rescue team and airborne EMS services, while also serving as marketing director and operations manager for a $30 million dollar EMS company. He is pre-med trained, and is an experienced medical educator. Mark started flying at 15 and is an active clinic mission pilot for LIGA, “the flying doctors”. Mark flies all over California and the western USA meeting raw milk customers for much requested free “Share the Secret” presentations.

 

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