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F.ood & H.ealth : & P.olitics Last Updated: Dec 6th, 2006 - 11:01:33

Give consumers choice in milk
By Food Safety Network
Dec 6, 2006, 11:00

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Sarnia Observer (ON)

If consumers want raw milk so badly, then government should, according to this editorial, relax the rules and make it available.

It's a mystery to us why so many people are willing to risk their health on a product that officials say is no better for you than pasteurized, but which may contain disease-causing bacteria linked to tuberculosis, salmonella and E. coli poisoning.

In Sarnia-Lambton, we can remember when school children became seriously ill after drinking unpasteurized milk on a farm visit.

Nevertheless, as many as 250,000 Canadians tap into an illegal black market in raw milk that continues to expand, according to one government document.

As it stands, farmers who sell or give away unpasteurized milk face heavy fines and up to three years in jail. But the demand for whole, untampered products is so strong that people are finding ways around the law.

Supporters claim raw milk makes them more resistant to disease, and that pasteurization, the process that sterilizes milk, kills Vitamins A and D that producers must add later.

We'll take pasteurized any day, thank you, but giving the big dairies a virtual monopoly and prosecuting anyone who challenges it seems needlessly heavy-handed.

In the U.S. consumers in many states can buy and farmers can sell raw milk under a producer certification system.

The Canadian inspection system could be extended to monitor farms producing raw milk safely, and give consumers the right to choose whether they want raw milk or not.

The numbers suggest there's room in the marketplace for both an established industry supplying the mass market and a regulated alternative producing raw milk for a specialty market.

Republished from

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