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Thread: When Food is Outlawed...

  1. #51
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    For goodness sake! I live in France, where raw milk and raw-milk cheese is sold in every supermarket (alongside the pasteurised versions); they are basic, everyday foods here. I don't see the French dropping like flies around me from unsafe milk ...
    I have seen some good, compelling arguments about the ridiculousness of the United States government's policy on raw milk and raw milk cheeses. The problem here in the US is that raw milk is an illicit product, untested and unregulated. People have to sneak around, and nobody is truly overseeing safety, good intentions notwithstanding.

    I'm willing to bet France tests its raw milk and regulates its safety. It's not really a fair comparison.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    My question would be: why is it so unsafe in America? It is clearly not inherently unsafe, if Europeans are busy consuming it on a daily basis.
    I can offer a theory I've heard before, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. What I've read is that in France, it's more common for people to go to the store and buy only the food they intend to use for that day. That kind of practice is better for something like raw milk, because raw milk is (supposedly, from what I've read) safer the sooner you drink it.

    Whereas in America, folks are more likely to buy their food and expect what they buy to last for days or even weeks.

    But again, I'm not sure if that is really how it works in France, so maybe you would have some insight into that, since you live there.
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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    When the USDA and the FDA organize SWAT teams to raid dairy farms because the farmer was selling raw milk, I don't think the title of this thread is over the top.
    Not raw milk, ARTIFICIAL MILK.
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  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    In regards to sale of home-made foods in general, yes, I'd like people to be properly informed so they can make their own decisions, but that would still require some kind of enforceable regulation to make sure that sellers do inform buyers of just what they are buying and eating.
    That sounds reasonable to me.
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    My question would be: why is it so unsafe in America? It is clearly not inherently unsafe, if Europeans are busy consuming it on a daily basis.
    That's a good question. The data from this Cornell University position paper might be a possible answer. It appears from their data here that US dairies are doing a much worse job of keeping nasty bacteria out of their vats than dairies in Ontario, Canada.

    http://foodscience.cornell.edu/cals/...ment-01-09.doc
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  6. #56
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    But does it not seem odd that raw milk can be safe enough for a whole population in one country - France - and hugely unsafe in another - America?

    My question would be: why is it so unsafe in America? It is clearly not inherently unsafe, if Europeans are busy consuming it on a daily basis.
    It might have something to do with our farming methods, our food distribution methods, or our food storage methods at point of sale.

    However, I'd say it's unlikely the problem with milk is at the farms. Big Agra has created problems mostly in crop harvesting and meat slaughtering, but not so much in dairies at the point of production. However, our food gets ridiculously shipped, trans-shipped, and re-shipped all over this freaking huge country before it finally ends up in a store. So I'd be more likely to put it down to problems in transit. ETA: Or I could be mistaken, and the farms are just as bad as everyone else, viz clintl's link. /ETA

    At the same time, it's also cultural. Americans are far more obsessed than many other nations' people with sanitariness in our food, even if it's just an illusion. I think it comes from my grandparents' generation, who grew up in the days of raw milk, saw illness and death connected with it, and then saw the Miracle of SCIENCE! and the Miracle of INDUSTRY! eliminate those problems. I recall people of that time -- those who grew up to adulthood in the 1920s -- taking enormous national pride in food industry reform, and such like. I think part of it goes back to the American obsession with NEW! as being better than OLD, and raw milk was part of the Old Ways from the Old Country, to be tossed with the rest of our Old Baggage.

    But it's hard to argue against that cultural prejudice in the face of a combination of a food distribution system that is dependent on food being sanitized, and a population so ignorant that just this week the metro Boston transit authority had to issue a public reminder that there's such a thing as germs, and yes they do clean the trains every day, but they can't help it if the riders get sick because they're licking the damned hand rails or whatever it is they're doing instead of washing their hands, what -- were they raised in barns by wolves or something? (That's a slight exaggeration, but there was a tone of exhaustion in the MBTA announcement about public health on the transit system.) There's a reason why I might drink raw milk in France but would never touch it in the US.
    Last edited by muravyets; 07-30-2011 at 03:36 AM.
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  7. #57
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    Not raw milk, ARTIFICIAL MILK.
    That's interesting, and a little weird. What are the author's sources of information? I have never heard of producers of organic or minimally processed food being forced to label their products "artificial."

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Wolfe View Post
    I can offer a theory I've heard before, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. What I've read is that in France, it's more common for people to go to the store and buy only the food they intend to use for that day. That kind of practice is better for something like raw milk, because raw milk is (supposedly, from what I've read) safer the sooner you drink it.

    Whereas in America, folks are more likely to buy their food and expect what they buy to last for days or even weeks.

    But again, I'm not sure if that is really how it works in France, so maybe you would have some insight into that, since you live there.
    I think that's one of those things that used to be true, but nowadays shopping once a week is the norm. Sure, if you put a bottle of raw milk in your trolley, you're not going to wait a fortnight before drinking it. But at the same time, mature cheeses made from raw milk last for months once you buy them, if you keep them cool - and they've often been maturing (under controlled conditions, of course) for over a year before they're ready to eat.
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    Not raw milk, ARTIFICIAL MILK.
    Um, what is artifical milk? It doesn't sound like something I would like to drink. (the link didn't enlighten me - did I miss something?)
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  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    I think that's one of those things that used to be true, but nowadays shopping once a week is the norm. Sure, if you put a bottle of raw milk in your trolley, you're not going to wait a fortnight before drinking it. But at the same time, mature cheeses made from raw milk last for months once you buy them, if you keep them cool - and they've often been maturing (under controlled conditions, of course) for over a year before they're ready to eat.
    Interesting. Thanks for the extra info.
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  11. #61
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Cheese, though, is already a self-preserved product. Americans may not trust the bacteria in cheese to keep it from spoiling past the "Use By" date or without refrigeration, but it still has a preservative quality that milk doesn't. Paranoia about milk is, thus, somewhat less wacky than paranoia about cheese, in my opinion.
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  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    Cheese, though, is already a self-preserved product. Americans may not trust the bacteria in cheese to keep it from spoiling past the "Use By" date or without refrigeration, but it still has a preservative quality that milk doesn't. Paranoia about milk is, thus, somewhat less wacky than paranoia about cheese, in my opinion.
    Paranoia is paranoia, whatever it's about.

    But sure, cheese came about precisely as a method of preserving milk, so I do take your point.
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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    Cheese, though, is already a self-preserved product. Americans may not trust the bacteria in cheese to keep it from spoiling past the "Use By" date or without refrigeration, but it still has a preservative quality that milk doesn't. Paranoia about milk is, thus, somewhat less wacky than paranoia about cheese, in my opinion.
    Might not be as safe as you think. I remember a number of years ago there were a number of deaths in Southern California from tainted raw-milk cheese.
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintl View Post
    That's a good question. The data from this Cornell University position paper might be a possible answer. It appears from their data here that US dairies are doing a much worse job of keeping nasty bacteria out of their vats than dairies in Ontario, Canada.

    http://foodscience.cornell.edu/cals/...ment-01-09.doc
    I read it. Catch me ever drinking raw milk. I wonder why US dairies are so much dirtier than Canadian.

    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    Um, what is artifical milk? It doesn't sound like something I would like to drink. (the link didn't enlighten me - did I miss something?)
    And fiendish, "artificial" is a misnomer. The author quoted claims the US government forced a farmer to label his raw milk "artificial" because it was not processed and pasteurized like "normal" milk. The same author also claims a maker of pasta without preservatives had to label it "artificial." I cannot speak for the accuracy of this author's comments.
    Last edited by Alessandra Kelley; 07-30-2011 at 03:56 AM. Reason: added fiendish's quotw

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  16. #66
    Old revolutionary muravyets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintl View Post
    Might not be as safe as you think. I remember a number of years ago there were a number of deaths in Southern California from tainted raw-milk cheese.
    Oh, I don't think it's safe. I wouldn't dream of eating raw milk or raw milk products, at least not in the US. And all of my cheese is kept safe and sound in the refrigerator. If it tastes better at room temp, I'll take it off ice before serving. I'm just saying that, in general, it's easier to argue that cheese is more likely to be safe because of the natural preservative properties of the bacteria in it, as a general proposition.
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  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Hignutt View Post
    Is it only going to be a couple? Then, I'm all for freedom, I suppose. You were kidding, I'm not.
    If only two people per year died from food they bought that was prepared and sold under FDA regulations, or more of the same food two years later we'd be doing great.
    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    Then I'm not really sure what your point is. Are you arguing that because these food raves have been going on, and we haven't heard about anything really horrible happening, that food safety laws should not exist? Because that doesn't really convince me.
    Hmm. It seems "food rave" is an unfortunate comparison to mainstream food production and distribution. A "regular" rave is essentially a "private" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) party where drugs are used - drugs that aren't inspected nor approved by the FDA (actually some of them may be, but they're being used "off label").

    Perhaps a bake sale would be a better comparison. Surely those PTA moms know everything there is to know about safe food practices, and no one has ever gotten sick from eating products made for a non-profit school-supporting (perhaps high-school-football-supporting rather than anything academic) bake sale. So, no need for any permits or inspections there. If they had to pay a permit, the cost would eat up all the profits proceeds, anyway.
    Last edited by benbradley; 07-30-2011 at 04:12 AM.
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  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintl View Post
    Comparing war casualties to food poisoning victims is ludicrous. Especially when the "freedom" being argued for is the "freedom" to sell dangerous products without regulation for a profit. It's not a "freedom" that anyone should have.

    I did NOT say "without regulation," clintl. I said raw milk can and should be sold just like booze and cigarettes. That IMPLIES regulations should be put in place. But an all out ban on raw milk is just stupid.
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  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    And if people wanna drink raw milk, let them.
    What's a couple of dead kids on the road to freedom?
    Wow, TR, thank you SO MUCH for taking my words out of context. For anyone who wants to know what I REALLY posted, below is the entire post.



    Quote Originally Posted by Plot Device View Post
    And they do it because the machinery of the San Francisco system of food service regulation is working against them. The big picture that Don is trying to paint here is that the system needs revision.

    His OP is only using the San Fancisco situation as a jumping off point. The main thrust of his OP is that the system of food regulation in this country is too big and inefficient and is shooting at the wrong targets while letting other (big business) offenders go.

    ::ETA:: And if people wanna drink raw milk, let them. Just like we let them drink booze and smoke cigarettes.
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  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    For goodness sake! I live in France, where raw milk and raw-milk cheese is sold in every supermarket (alongside the pasteurised versions); they are basic, everyday foods here. I don't see the French dropping like flies around me from unsafe milk ...

    Then perhaps Diana and I will be moving to France soon.
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    That post was in response to Don's war deaths post, not what you had posted. Sorry if there was any confusion. As I said elsewhere, as long as sufficient regulations exist, I'm OK with raw milk being sold. But if we're going to do that, we have to recognize that without proper oversight and inspections, raw milk is an inherently dangerous product. I know I'm not drinking something that possibly has a 10% chance of being infested with e-coli, if that Cornell University data is accurate.
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiendish View Post
    Um, what is artifical milk? It doesn't sound like something I would like to drink. (the link didn't enlighten me - did I miss something?)
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  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by muravyets View Post
    I
    But in regards to advocates against government food regulation,
    I am not against food regulation. I am against the regulators being bought and paid for by Big Agri so that those now-corrupted regulators unfairly over-regulate relatively harmless matters like raw milk while they let shit like "pink slime" and "meat glue" into our grocery stores and restaurants and public school cafeterias.

    Over-regulating raw milk includes 5:00 AM SWAT team raids on family farms where children are living.

    Under-regulating "meat glue" includes not requiring meat distributors to TELL people that their products have been glued together. And therefore people like me who like their steak rare are in danger of serious food bourne illnesses because they bought a nice-looking steak which was really glued together from scraps. But then it was deceptively sold as a prime cut.

    And it's not just domestic households buying glued-together meat without knowing it. Restaurants are also buying them and they have no clue. And if a customer in that restaurant orders his steak rare, that restaurant could be held responsible for any contamination that the customer suffers --unless of course the restaurant can PROVE the contamination was in the steak aready. But since the regulators aren't requiring clear labeling of glued-together steaks, no one really knows anymore.

    I haven't eaten a steak in months now because I found out just how prevalent meant glue has become, and how in-the-dark that supermarkets and restaurant chefs are when it comes to these sham cuts of beef.
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  24. #74
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    Couple of points.
    That nice 2L carton of 2% milk you buy in BigBoxStore is hardly milk. Some of it started off as milk, but it was dissassembled and then stuff was added and a few of the original parts were added back to the stuff to create something that looks like/sorta tastes like milk.
    I think if you add the whole "dumbing down of America" notion in to this debate you can see that the food industry (read Monsanto et al) probably has a role in that too, in that if you create a nation of people too ignorant to question what's in their food then you have a ready market for your products.
    Last, there's a certain amount of evidence that the rise in allergy and auto-immune disease rates may have something to do with not only the fact that we're swimming in a soup of man-made chemicals these days (even before birth), but that we're just so darn bug-phobic these days that our immune systems go nuts with either a barrage of inappopriate targets presented to them, or a lack of target altogether.

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  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintl View Post
    That post was in response to Don's war deaths post, not what you had posted. Sorry if there was any confusion. As I said elsewhere, as long as sufficient regulations exist, I'm OK with raw milk being sold. But if we're going to do that, we have to recognize that without proper oversight and inspections, raw milk is an inherently dangerous product. I know I'm not drinking something that possibly has a 10% chance of being infested with e-coli, if that Cornell University data is accurate.

    Sorry if I was harsh.

    But the USDA and the FDA --two organizations that I think are very much needed-- are right now gunning for the wrong people with uncalled for degrees of force.
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