Monday, October 5, 2015

Raid on raw milk farm thwarted by social media

Wrong that raw milk raids continue | Guest column | Opinion | Toronto Sun - Karen Selick:

October 4, 2015 - "On Friday, Oct. 2, 20 or so investigators from various Ontario government departments, accompanied by six armed police officers, raided Glencolton Farms, the co-operative farm in Grey Bruce County where raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt manages the dairy operation .... They arrived with a truck and a search warrant authorizing them to seize and remove numerous items for a raw milk investigation.

"The news spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter. Soon, 50 co-op members were at the farm, shoulder-to-shoulder, barring the exit to the invaders. Eventually, a deal was negotiated: the cops and bureaucrats would leave with nothing more than a few computers that had already been removed (which they promised to return), and the co-op owners would stand aside.

"This is the third such raid that Michael Schmidt has undergone.... Each time, Schmidt has been convicted of one or more regulatory offences relating to raw milk. Each time, he has been fined thousands of dollars.... Each time, the story caught the attention of increasing numbers of Canadians, who became curious about raw milk and wanted to acquire some. So each time, the province’s strong-arm tactics have backfired, increasing rather than reducing the number of raw milk drinkers in the province....

"Today, Canada makes the pasteurization of milk mandatory, but many countries around the world do not. Roughly half of the U.S. states allow sales of raw milk. In at least six European countries, raw milk is legally sold in vending machines....  The Canadian government says that unpasteurized milk is dangerous and people shouldn’t drink it. But ... there has not been even a single report of illness relating to the raw milk that Schmidt has produced over the past 27 years.....

"The controversy over raw milk has led researchers in Europe to conduct wide-ranging scientific studies.... The GABRIELA study published in 2011 ...  involved 8,000 school-aged children. Those who had consumed raw milk had a roughly 50% lower risk of asthma and allergies.

"Since asthma kills approximately 250 Canadians every year, it is perfectly reasonable for adults afflicted with the disease to seek out raw milk as a preventative measure for their children.

"Schmidt has consistently sought opportunities for the past 27 years to meet with provincial officials and negotiate a way to give Ontarians the option of consuming raw milk without breaking the law. The response has always been a cold shoulder.... Kathleen Wynne’s administration continues to follow the failed policy of raiding and harassing Schmidt and the co-owners of the co-operative farm."

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