CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 15, 2012 — In the ongoing debate about what food is best to eat, a passionate group of farm food activists tout raw milk as a superfood.
Just as human breastmilk has powerful and uniquely nutritious elements, so, too, they say, does raw cow’s milk. But heat the white stuff up to pasteurization point and you kill off the enzymes that help it get digested, they say. No wonder lactose intolerance is a modern problem: our pre-Pasteur ancestors got the good stuff unadulterated, while we’ve grown up with the processed version (especially if the fat is removed).
Advocates of “Real Food” tout raw milk as a healing food and paint the government’s desire to tell you otherwise as part of an effort to cater to the milk lobby of big agriculture.
But what about disease? Not a problem if the conditions are right, argue these advocates for small family farms. If the animals are eating grass and are not pushed onto feedlots in unsanitary conditions, we shouldn’t have to worry about illnesses. Problems result from poor conditions in industrial farms or from sick cows being fed grain their bodies can’t process, not from a problem inherent in raw milk, which people drank for centuries.
These pro-raw milk positions will be pitted against the counter-arguments of the pro-pasteurization camp tomorrow at a debate on the campus of Harvard University hosted by the Food Law Society.
On the side of raw milk – and the right to consume it – will be Sally Fallon Morell, president of the tradtional foods-promoting Weston A. Price Foundation and David Gumpert, journalist and author of The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights. In the other corner will be Fred Pritzker of Pritzker & Olson Law Firm and Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Director of the Dairy & Food Inspection Division of the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture.
The debate was scheduled weeks before the FDA ruled against Amish farmer Daniel Allgyer, who will shut down his farm now that he has been barred from selling raw milk across state lines.
Followers of the Weston A. Price Foundation and its allies have been promoting the debate across social media, no doubt hoping that Fallon Morell and Gumpert will expose holes in the pro-pasteurization position. The event is open to the public and will take place 7:15-8:45 p.m. Thursday night, February 16 in Harvard Law School’s Langdell South. The event will be streamed live via the Food Law Society’s site at http://www.foodsoc.org, later to be archived on YouTube.
Jessica Claire Haney is a freelance writer, editor and tutor. Her writing has appeared in parenting publications and poetry journals. A former high school English teacher, Jessica is mother to a five-year-old son and a baby girl. She is passionate about holistic health and well-being and is a leader of a chapter of Holistic Moms Network.
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