Tell the Mendocino Board of Supervisors: “Protect the Right to Drink Raw Milk”
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is making it increasingly difficult for people to obtain fresh, unpasteurized (raw) milk from their local farmers. Across the state they are issuing “cease and desist” orders to small, private dairy shares. Now the CDFA is also pressuring county officials to take action against the “risks and dangers” of raw milk. Help defend everyone’s right to the food of their choice!
Please write, call, or visit your Supervisor to ask that he or she consider all sides of the question.
Here are some points you may want to make.
1)Many people rely on raw milk for a variety of health conditions. Many people in this county get milk directly from small farmers not licensed by the state. Some depend on raw milk because they are lactose intolerant, have digestive disorders, or immune system deficiencies that they feel are benefited by the consumption of raw milk.
2) Raw milk is no more dangerous than other foods and a lot safer than meat from the supermarket. On average, over the last ten years, there have been fewer than 20 confirmed cases of food poisoning from raw milk annually, according to government statistics. Yet, in August 2011, 70 people were sickened and one person died from eating turkey burgers infected with salmonella bacteria. The manufacturer, Cargill, has not been shut down, nor has ground turkey been banned.
3) Raw milk is what our grandparents and ancestors drank. The contamination the public health authorities are so worried about occurred at the end of the nineteenth century as huge urban dairies began supplying milk produced under appalling conditions. Once those conditions were removed, the epidemics associated with milk disappeared before pasteurization became widespread.
4) Many people get their fresh (“raw”) milk from small farms and dairy share arrangements. A dairy share is a group of people (unable to keep their own livestock) who collectively purchase cows or goats and hire a farmer to feed, board and milk their animals and provide them with the dairy products. Members of dairy shares do not believe the state (or the county) has the right to prohibit them from drinking the milk from the livestock they have purchased. Don’t adults in our society have a right to the foods of their choice? We have a right to buy tobacco products and alcohol. Why not real milk?
5) We need to support small family farms and dairies – especially in these hard economic times. Small family farms contribute diversity to our local foodshed and offer stability to our rural way of life by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community.
6) Our county needs a resolution or ordinance, like those recently passed in Maine and Santa Cruz County. This would protect our right to the foods of our choice and send a message to Sacramento and to our legislators that we will not stand for further intervention in consumer choices.
Email your Supervisor directly through the Board of Supervisors portal: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/contact.htm.
Call the Board of Supervisors’ number, (707) 463-4221, and leave a message or ask for an appointment.