People were up in arms when federal agents raided Venice's Rawsome grocer last year, seizing wads of cash and destroying thousands of gallons of raw milk product. The controversy even attracted the attention of The New Yorker's Dana Goodyear, who asserted these verboten products were being treated as the new marijuana. Well, there seems to be mounting evidence that the stuff is a bit more dangerous than your average doobie. According to today's story in Food Safety News, at least ten people in California were infected with Campylobacter — whose symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever — after drinking Fresno County–based Organic Pastures' raw milk. The products are now under quarantine.
L.A. Weekly says that six of the ten people sickened were under the age of 18. "The youngest is 9 months and the oldest is 38 years old. They were infected from January through April 30. The cases reside in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties."
This all comes on the heels of last month's temporary production halt of raw milk and cheese at Norman Z. and Edith B. Sauder Farms in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, following a round of regular screenings that tested positive for Salmonella. Back in February, another Pennsylvania raw-milk purveyor sickened as many as 80 people.
Much as we support personal liberty, small farms, and less processed and commodity-raised goods, this raw-milk business seems downright dangerous. Wouldn't states like New Jersey, who are currently aiming to legalize the sale of raw milk, be better off fighting elements of the food system that are plaguing the nation? Yeah, we mean you, Big Ag.