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The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights Paperback – November 6, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This thorough, thought-provoking account of the illicit raw milk trade comes from a veteran health and business journalist who has followed the story on his blog (thecompletepatient.com) since 2006. Elaborating his online posts, Gumpert looks at the industry in Michigan, California, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, offering detailed accounts of dairy farmers persecuted and prosecuted for dealing in non-pasteurized milk-thought a cure-all by some, a health hazard by others (including the FDA). Dramatic anecdotes and digressions, including federal agents confiscating milk cartons, the rise of commercial feedlots and the story of pasteurization give context and weight to the book's first third. When Gumpert turns his attention to the minutiae of food contamination, however, readers' eyes may glaze over. Testimonials to raw milk's healing properties (for autism, cancer, asthma, allergies, "virility" and more) are reported but aren't vetted; stories of foodborne illness, meanwhile, are truly harrowing, despite Gumpert's assurance that they've never originated in raw milk. Those close to the debate will likely find this a helpful snapshot, but anyone with passing interest should simply check out the highlights on Gumpert's blog.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"David Gumpert has chronicled the Raw Milk War with insight and humor. He provides an important record of systematic government bias against Nature's perfect food. Must reading for raw milk fans and government officials alike."--Sally Fallon Morell, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation
"David Gumpert has become the official chronicler of the 'raw milk movement' in the United States. The Raw Milk Revolution is a highly readable expose that successfully captures how the controversy over raw milk is at the center of a larger battle between the industrial food system and the local food movement. Gumpert explains how raw milk, more than any other food, threatens proponents of the 'germ theory,' centralized food production, and the 'nanny state.' The Raw Milk Revolution is an extremely important book because it sounds a clear warning that upholding the right to produce and consume raw milk is critical in preserving our food freedoms in general."--Peter Kennedy, President, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
"David Gumpert employs his expertise as a professional business writer to dig deep and wide into the exploding raw milk controversy. His compelling analysis of the science, economics, politics and history of 'nature's most perfect food' opens the door to a greater understanding of the major challenges facing our food and agriculture systems today. Anyone concerned with the health of our people, our environment and our democracy should heed his words."--Dean Florez, Majority Leader, California State Senate
"If you want to understand the vocal opposition to food safety laws, you should read Gumpert's book. That's not the only reason to read it though. Even if you have little interest in raw milk, I think this book is a key piece in the puzzle to understanding the backwards priorities in America's food safety system."--Jill Richardson, La Vida Locavore review
"In this fascinating book on raw milk, journalist David Gumpert delves into the messy politics of food safety, which pits government technocrats and prosecutors against farmers, consumers and their advocates. It's a compelling account, one that should be read by any raw milk devotee--and more importantly, by anyone concerned about the broken and arbitrary way the government regulates the food we eat."--Samuel Fromartz, author of Organic Inc: Natural Foods and How They Grew
"The raw milk underground is one of the most contentious battlefields in the revolution to reclaim our food from industrialization, over-processing, and corporate control. In this book, David Gumpert investigates in great detail the health claims of both raw milk advocates and public health officials, as well the legal tactics being employed by government agencies to stop the growing movement to obtain and supply raw milk. His comprehensive analysis effectively deconstructs and illuminates the many complex issues of health, safety, and freedom that are raised by this debate."--Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods and The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements
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Top Customer Reviews
I love a good, documented, research-based book that shows the truth, and the truth is often (usually) the opposite of what we have been brainwashed to believe by the media, government and corporations. David Gumpert takes us on a journey of truth as an unbiased reporter. He shows both sides: the parents who lost their children (or their children lost use of their kidneys) allegedly due to contaminated raw milk. But we are also shown that raw milk was never conclusively shown to be the culprit. (However, it probably was in at least a few cases--in which case I would say don't feed kids raw milk unless their immunity is very strong from a nearly 100% raw organic diet. Kids' immune systems are not as strong as those of adults.) We are also shown the side of the raw milk advocates, and testimonials of people finally being able to drink milk without digestive issues. People's immune systems also improve from the friendly probiotics, the good bacteria found in raw dairy. In some cases, raw milk took away people's heartburn, asthma and allergies.
This book is filled with shocking info, such as the fact that sushi is 30 times more likely to make a person sick than raw milk, and even deli meat is 10 times more likely to be a contaminated food. The statistics on raw dairy making people sick show that it is not a big issue--in fact pasteurized milk is about as likely to make someone sick! So why is the government only going after the raw dairies, and not the producers of bologna? We are led to the inevitable conclusion that it is corporate profits. Pasteurizing dairy extends the shelf life by many weeks, thus enabling them to make more money in a day and age in which food is transported and kept on grocery shelves so much.
As for the issue of raw milk being a viable option, the bottom line is sanitary conditions: raw milk from factory farms in which cows are living in poor conditions is probably going to be much worse than where the cows are pasture fed. Another point made is that the milk doesn't get infected from inside the cow--rather, something with bacteria touches the milk that has been taken out of the cow!
This book covers just about everything, including the history of why milk became pasteurized in the first place. In the 1800s some of the earliest factory farming took place as cows were fed leftover fermented grains from the production of vodka and whiskey. The cows became diseased, and lived in an unsanitary environment, so quite naturally milk became a breeding ground for tuberculosis and other bacteria. The book covers the debate between Pasteur (whose theory led to a war on germs) and Bechamp (who believed the immunity or internal environment was what we need to focus on for health). It covers the battle in California to keep raw dairy legal, the health benefits of raw milk, and the importance of getting it from a good source.
By the way, don't buy queso fresco (unless from a good source). The author explains that this is raw Mexican cheese in which the milk to make it is typically purchased from factory farms under the table, and made in unsanitary conditions (hence called "bathtub cheese"). This is one of the culprits in the raw dairy problems--showing that it is the unsanitary conditions that are at fault, and not the raw milk itself.
I appreciate being able to consume about 5% of my calories from raw dairy, such as raw kiefer. It has boosted my immune system with friendly bacteria. We need to keep raw food legal. The battle to keep raw dairy available is just a foreshadowing of Codex Alimentarius (which is supposed to happen Dec 31, 2009!) in which ALL food will be irradiated, and no raw food available unless you forage for it in the wild or have the tiniest of gardens (anything of substance will need a permit). At some point we have to take responsibility for our health and just say no to the government. Freedom is very important, especially if you want to be healthy!
Susan Schenck, author of The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
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