By Hwaa Irfan
Many of us were brainwashed into believing from childhood, that we wouldn’t grow up if we did not drink our milk. That message is still promulgated by the media, as well as the parents who were indoctrinated when they were young. As such, like most things, our appetite has grown larger and larger in most things. The appetite of the consumer demands more, losing sight of the person who produces what is demanded in the firsts place.
The main reason why, the first/third world remain the under-dog in terms of development, is because it is the home of the world ’s raw natural resources. These raw natural resources make millions for the importer by being processed into products with a big profit margin.
For instance, let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite luxury, chocolate. Africa is the main producer of the raw product without which, there would be no chocolate, cocoa. Africa supplies the world with 69%-75% of the world’s cocoa. From that Ivory Coast in West Africa contributes 38% of Africa’s production.
Africa exports (2005):
• Cameroon – 151,704 tons to Europe (92%)
• Cote D’Ivore – 516,747 tons to Europe, (54%) and 311,076 to U.S (33%)
• Ghana – 398,151 tons to Europe (73%) and 31,324 to Japan (6%)
• Nigeria – 226, 056 tons to Europe (89%)
Africa gets from this production U.S$, 1,500 per ton (2005), and it was difficult to establish what Africa gets for exporting the raw material cocoa, with all the vagueness/lack of information.
Some of the companies that process the raw material and it for a higher price are:
• Mars Inc. – US$9,546 million
• Cadbury Schweppes US$8,126 million
• Nestle US$7,973 million
• Ferrero US$5,580 million
• Hershey Foods US$4,881 million
• Kraft Foods US$ 2,250 million
• Meji Seika Kaisha US$1,693 million
• Lindt & Sprungli US$1, 673 million
• Barry Callebaut US$1,427 million
• Ezaki Glico US$1,239 million
Global sales from the price of chocolate in 2005 were US$68.1 billion with the U.S. and the U.K. as major consumers.
In the reductionist approach to our food supply, the same is happening on a local scale.., but this time the producers of the raw material are local farmers, and the raw material is the milk we are supposed to drink.
What does it mean the milk we are supposed to drink?
Cow’s milk, often the base of man-made formulas, frequently causes lactose-intolerance. In fact, very few populations remain able to tolerate lactose; and the ones who are tolerant are populations that have had to rely on the milk of their herds for food under difficult environments. However, over 70% of African, Chinese, Japanese, Ashkenazi Jews and those from the Mediterranean have lost their lactose tolerance ability. In the U.S. up to 25% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant. There also seems to be a relationship between colic in breast-fed infants and the cows’ milk drunk by their mothers. Furthermore, many children are allergic to the alternative soy-based formulas recently being sold as many minerals and vitamins are hard for babies to digest in synthetic form. For instance, the minerals zinc and iron are easier to absorb when taken in human milk. As a whole food, milk contains many properties, which it stripped of in the process of pasteurization/homogenized/fortified thus changing the natural state of milk.
The Vitamin D and calcium added to milk (fortified milk) is synthetic, and causes harm than good. By providing our bodies with more calcium than it can readily absorb, leads to deposits of calcium in wrong parts of the body causing calcification. If we are healthy enough, the kidneys can excrete the excess, but if not, it leads to cardiovascular diseases and calcification of the kidneys/kidney stones, and calcification of the bones in terms of arthritis itself.
Farmers Prevented from Doing Their Best
The U.S.- based Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, has done what many people have wanted to do over the years, and that is to file a suit against the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, and the Health and Human Services, HHS. The reason for the suit is that the FDA have made it impermissible to transport raw milk and/or raw milk products across state lines highlighted in several cases:
In the case of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund et al v. United States Department of Health and Human Services et al the complaint was we have the fundamental right to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk, FDA regulation Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act 21 USC 301 – 299a, and the Public Health Service Act 42 USC 201 – 300ii:
“…prohibits the sale or distribution in interstate commerce of unpasteurized milk and milk products (“unpasteurized milk”) for human consumption”.
The case also states that it is unlawful to sell raw milk and derivatives from a state where it is legal to a state where it is illegal, yet as stated in the case:
“… the government has neither brought not threatened to bring a single enforcement action against consumers who purchase unpasteurized milk for personal consumption or retailers of such products who do not engage in interstate commerce”
The FDA is oblidged by law to prevent the spread of communicable disease from one state to another, and we would complain if the authorities did not take responsibility by doing so.
It was not about the sale or distribution of raw milk interstate in the case of Commissioner Dept. for Agriculture and Markets of the State of New York State vs. Steven and Barbara Smith and Meadowsweet; yet the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets seized: 260 pounds and 7.5 gallons of raw milk, and raw milk products from the farm, claiming that it was adulterated, and the fact that it was unpasteurized. However, at no time did, the Department test the seized products from the farm. The Department also claimed that the milk was for sale, but there was no evidence that at anytime, did they sell or make available to the public their unpasteurized milk/milk products. You may ask why produce so much milk. Well the case succeeded in proving that the milk was for consumption by the members of the farm, and their families.
The contradiction created between producer and consumer when it comes to raw milk applies in Canada as well whereby it is not illegal to drink, but is illegal to sell. The paranoia involved in the case of the US, towards direct trade between producer and consumer would have an impact on export, and might be a panick response to the growing problem of foodbourne disease in the U.S. In 2009, the U.S. exported U.S$ 2.32 billion in:
milk solids 2.15 billion
Milk production 9.2%
Whey proteins 53%
Skim milk powder/nonfat dry milk 34%
Top milk producing countries (2005):
• United States … 80.2 million metric tons
• India … 38.5 million metric tons
• Russia … 30.6 million metric tons
• Germany … 27.6 million metric tons
• France … 25.3 million metric tons
• China … 24.5 million metric tons
• Brazil … 23.3 million metric tons
• New Zealand … 14.6 million metric tons
• United Kingdom … 14.58 million metric tons
• Ukraine … 13.5 million metric tons
If one is not doing so well in trade talks, as farmers fear being flooded by U.S. milk at the cost of their own (for which the U.S. as a track record), then holding onto domestic production seems to be an imperative.
What’s the Fuss!
We have been told for so long, that milk is essential to our diet. The FDA in their campaign against raw milk state:
“…raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks to you and your family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 800 people in the United States have gotten sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998”.
The FDA states that raw milk ‘can’ harbor dangerous organisms, not that it will , and considering how many people are dying or are seriously ill from the residues of drugs, and chemicals found in the meat produced in the U.S., 800 deaths in 12 years without specifying the nature of the deaths does not prove a serious threat.
“This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous food borne illnesses”.
Once again, the word can is used, and the dangerous bacteria referred to: Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. According to U.S. legal expert Marler Clark
– E. Coli causes 73,000 illnesses, and 60 deaths every year in the U.S., accounting for -1% of all food poisoning. As many people know, it lives in the intestines of cattle, chicken, sheep, goats, and pigs. Most outbreaks pertain to ground beef, and is “…increasingly associated with fresh produce, such as lettuce and spinach, but outbreaks have also been traced to unpasteurized apple and orange juices, raw milk, alfalfa sprouts, and water.” Clark also states person-to-person transmission is also documented.
– Listeria causes death in 200 out of 1,000 cases in the U.S. annually along with 2,500 reported cases. It is found in cattle, sheep, and fowl, as well as dairy products [pasteurized or unpasteurized?], fruits, and vegetables.
– Salmonella there are 1.4 million cases every year in the U.S., of which 95% are related to food. . “About 500 to 1,000 deaths – 31 percent of all food-related deaths – are caused by Salmonella infections each year. Salmonella”. Salmonella is found in raw/undercooked egg products, raw milk products, contaminated water, meat products, poultry, and improper standards of hygiene.
In a 2010 study entitled Health-Related Costs from Foodborne Illness in the United States, declared 19.7million of the reported illnesses due to food borne diseases were due to “fresh, canned and processed foods. Basically, there is a problem with food standards in general in the U.S., but of that how many people are consumers of raw milk, and raw milk products, and how much of the problem is due to the modern/fast food means of food production? There are already strong signs that it is the modern food industry itself that needs regulating. Either way, the alarm bell that the FDA should be ringing pertains to food in general, and not raw milk specifically.
The FDA defend pasteurized milk as follows:
“Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis”.
Pasteurized milk is achieved by subjecting raw milk to temperatures of 145 150 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour, then reducing the temperature to -55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, not only is anything harmful destroyed, but also anything beneficial. Why else would one “fortify” milk? The lactic acid is destroyed, which not only makes milk any empty food no better than T.V. dinners, but it also has led to many people becoming lactose intolerant. Milk has been emptied of:
– Vitamin C
– Phosphorus causing problems with bone formation, and causing bone fraility
– Iodine – 20% is lost which can cause constipation
– Makes the calcium content insoluable, therefore not digestible, therefore increasing the risk of incurring rickets, bad teeth, and nervous complications.
– Turns the sugar in milk, lactose into beta-lactose which is quicker to digest, and does not fill a child’s stomache. It is the lactose that helps to digest the milk, and to process it enough to eliminate what is not needed by the body.
“While pasteurization has helped provide safe, nutrient-rich milk and cheese for over 120 years.”
Pasteurized milk was only standardized from the 1930s!
Then to end the campaign, FDA end with the slogan:
“Keep food safe from bacteria”
One of the features of the 20th/21st century are immune system disorders, because bacteria is view as the enemy of man! Just like politicians, there are harmless bacteria and harmful bacteria. In fact our bodies are covered with bacteria. We need bacteria to help us digest our food, produce vitamins. Some of our favorite foods are a result of bacteria like, yoghurt, cheese, sausages, cocoa, and coffee beans.
Despite the FDA poor campaign against raw milk, raw milk has been used for medicinal purposes.
• When cows ate grass back in the 1920s, before pasteurization became the standard, the Mayo Foundation used raw milk as a diet to treat heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease and obesity.
• In Germany today, raw milk is used as therapy in hospitals
If Milk is a Must
Allah (SWT) gave us diversity in everything, and that diversity includes food. Alternatives lie in other food sources, including goat’s milk.
It has already been stated here what happens to pasteurized milk. Also because of the concern of a global shortage in milk (probably another trade obsession), the price of milk will increase. To increase the supply of milk, another factor is being added to our supply of milk. Fat supplement “Energy Booster H” will allow for dairy farmers to improve their production of milk. For countries pushing to improve their export in milk and milk products, what counts is the money! How this will pass onto the consumer in terms of health, we will just have to wait and tell. But if that is not an issue, then there is no problem.
For women, high consumption presents a problem because milk is a product of the animals reproductive system, which interferes with a woman’s reproductive system; and is linked to disorders of the reproductive system including cysts, tumors, menstrual cramp, infections, and fertility itself!
Global Shortage Of Milk Supply, The Average Prices Doubled
Clark, M. LLP Food Bourne Illnesses. http://www.foodborneillness.com/
Colbie, Annmarie. “Food & Healing.” US: Ballantine Books. 1996.
Dairy Webmall. Milk production increase for dairy producers 22 Apr 2010
FDA “The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk”
Harrington, R. Foodborne Illnesses Cost United States $152bn a Year-Report
Henderson, P. Raw Dairy Farmer Visits Schmidt
International Cocoa Organization. “The Cocoa Industry” http://www.icco.org/about/chocolate.aspx
UNCTAD “Market” http://www.unctad.org/infocomm/anglais/cocoa/market.htm#cot
U.S. Dairy Export Council “Export Trade Data” http://www.usdec.org/Why/content.cfm?ItemNumber=82452
Wassenaar, T. Bacteria: More Than Pathogens. http://www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/wassenaar.html
Workman, D. US Trade with Top Milk Countries. http://internationaltradecommodities.suite101.com/article.cfm/us_trade_with_top_milk_countries