Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Harvard Food Law Society raw milk debate: Sally Fallon Morell (President, Weston A. Price Foundation) and David Gumpert (Author, The Raw Milk Revolution) representing the "pro-raw milk" side, vs. Fred Pritzker (Pritzker & Olson Law Firm) and Dr. Heidi Kassenborg
(Director, Dairy & Food Inspection Division, Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture) on the "anti-raw milk" team.
How safe is raw milk, compared to other foods like cantaloupe, spinach, ground beef, etc.? Should we have the right to choose what we eat based on what we believe?
The pace of the debate may be a little slow for folks new to the issues, but it is an interesting point of contact between the two sides, to be sure.
We can buy tobacco without having to drive to a farm, we can buy alcohol without driving to a distillery, and we can buy both without having to sign waivers. Surely these are more dangerous than raw milk--and yet raw milk is more difficult to buy in most of the US, and not available nearly as widely as cigarettes and alcohol.
How many deaths can truly be ascribed to raw milk, vs. alcohol and tobacco? Is it possible that raw milk regulations, and prohibitions in general, are motivated by something other than concern for public safety?
Fred Pritzker even said it--the regulatory status of raw milk is ultimately a matter of politics, not of science. The more we demand access to raw milk, the more we tell our politicians and regulators that it's important to us, and the more willing we are to defy ridiculous ordinances, the better our prospects for reasonable food laws.