Last night I had the honor of seeing a movie, http://farmageddonmovie.com/, which is like as not to be at some independent film outlet, hopefully near you. It’s worth catching, if you care about food and its sources.
I’ll be up front about this. This from a person who has no problem eating tongue, or just about any other mammalian body part. The concept of raw milk (as milk, not made into cheese or yogurt, which I’d certainly do) skeeves me out. Hey, cottage cheese, raw, pasteurized or otherwise, skeeves me out. Them curds… I did have an eye-opener when I went camping with friends last August in Vermont — the milk I put in my coffee (which is usually only where I use milk — as milk — to begin with) was raw. Well, okay, deep breath, okay. It’s cooking, after all, in my hot coffee. It’s my own head-snake. I certainly don’t want SWAT teams traumatizing people because they are ***ack*** making cottage cheese! No matter my own personal opinion of even the pasteurized stuff. I don’t want people traumatized because they grow tobacco, either. And there’s a better case for doing that, if you truly look at the health data. But the tobacco industry is safe.
Cut back to the movie. The USDA seems to have big head-snakes over raw milk. And, apparently, not only over raw milk, but over small independent farms doing what they know to do best. Personally, I want to be an informed consumer. Is this raw milk I am about to purchase? (here, I’d like them to say, are the pros and the cons, decide for yourself. There appear to be immune benefits) Is this food I am about to purchase genetically modified, and in what way? (here, I’d like them to say, are the pros and the cons, decide for yourself. Promoting pesticides.. No. Promoting vitamins aka the “golden rice” promise.. Perhaps. We’ll talk about it.)
Nope, the government wants to protect us from freely choosing raw milk, but doesn’t care if we know another purchase is full of pesticide-laden GM product. No, modify that. We don’t have to know. It can just happen, labels do not have to disclose. We can eat that junk, and no SWAT team is going to beat down the door of that factory as if they were a bunch of ammo-laden meth factory workers. We can even eat Twinkies, E. coli-laden spinach (no one SWAT-teamed them! — and yes, I know that Earthbound is organic, but industrial organic), but we cannot choose to decide our own personal healthy choice for milk.
I learned last night that the reason yogurt and cheeses (under 60 days of age) are not allowed to be sold here in Connecticut if raw, is because processing steps add possibilities for more contamination. This is also true, if one thinks about it, for pasturized yogurt and cheese.
Back to the movie. It’s not just raw milk. A family imported in sheep from Europe. They were accused of fostering Mad Cow in their sheep. After an extended period of espionage upon them, agents arrived SWAT style, confisticated and destroyed all the sheep, ran tests, discovered no disease, hid the results, and THEN went back and confisticated all the relevant farm equipment AND their hay (which instead of properly incinerating if they really thought it dangerous) they just dumped in a landfill nearby.
There are several other non-raw-milk examples in this film, in case you are wondering. Security cameras at a private co-op — I forget where, but I think California — provide full-on SWAT attack video. As if the zucchini is about to stand up and spray back with mustard gas.
While raw milk will remain the main “rallying cry”, pro and con, this was indeed a great eye-opening film. Farmageddon is something you may want to view, and do your own follow-up research on. And even if you think raw milk is “evil” — what is passing into our stomachs, every day, simply because we don’t have the time (or think we don’t have the time) to stop and think about it?
Enough commentary on this topic. But you may want to read this in conjunction with Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, just to help pick out the disconnects we’re experiencing. (I re-read that book a month ago)
This is the movie trailer: http://vimeo.com/16513455