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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Organic Pastures – “Where There is Smoke, There is Fire.”

I was paging through the pages of the Ethicurean when I stumbled over this post:

Amanda kicks over the raw-milk bucket

Whoa! Our Ethicurean team member Amanda Rose (and Organic Gardening milk feature writer) neglected to tell us she would be dropping a bombshell on the California raw-milk community. On her other blog, she confirms rumors that one possible reason that state investigators’ tests never could link Organic Pastures Dairy conclusively to the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak of 2006 was because it wasn’t OP’s milk…even if it was under its label. Organic Pastures’ Mark McAfee has admitted he was “outsourcing” — selling colostrum from the notorious Vander Eyk dairy, which had its organic certification pulled because it did not give its cows access to pasture. Sums up Amanda, at the end of an obsessively detailed factual argument that ends with the roar of an outraged mama bear: “This story is a food processor integrity story. If I buy a product from a processor and that processor tells me that the product comes from a cow on grass, I expect that the product comes from a cow on grass … I want to thank Mark for bottling a product self-described as laden with ‘filth, feces, contaminants, and pathogens.’ Thank you for marketing that same product to my young son as a health food.”

For a slightly different perspective on Ms. Roses’ post see the Complete Patient.

It is very unlikely that that source of the E. coli-contamination in 2006 was milk sourced from another supplier, but even if it was, Organic Pastures, as the manufacturer of the milk and milk product that all of the children consumed, would still be on the hook for the injuries to those children.  It was not spinach as Organic Pastures has tried to spin it.  Also, Organic Pastures has spun the State’s payment to it of money to compensate for the 2006 recall as an admission that the outbreak did not occur – not so – see attached.

As I read the Ethicurean post and Ms. Roses’ too, I was struck by the thought:  “where there is smoke, there is fire.”  Organic Pastures has been linked to an E. coli Outbreak, Campylobacter Outbreak, Listeria Recall (each are links to reports) and is subject of an ongoing criminal investigation.  Now, it also appears that Organic Pastures may have been serving up raw milk to its consumers that was out-sourced.  Perhaps Organic Pastures has just become another corporate giant (certainly in the milk field) concerned with one thing – making a buck.  (See video of OP owner talking about sales as the driving force) I’m just glad I am not Organic Pastures’ lawyer – I would have a very big headache.  See also, "Top litigator fires a shot across the bow of raw milk industry."

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  • Dee

    It seems to me that the anti-Raw Milk fears are irrational and overstated. Its this mentality that has lead to the FDA approving the irradiation of some produce. Aren’t you concerned about eating food that has been exposed to radiation? I am MUCH more concerned about that and also the effect on nutrients in the produce that has been treated.
    As a culture, we have become germaphobes. The truth is most germs (Probiotics) are very good for us and necessary in order to prevent pathogenic diseases. Probiotics are microbes that protect their host, and in some cases they can prevent disease. Since they compete with Pathogens for the food source, the growth of Probiotics can actually prevent illness in the host.

  • I’m always into discussions on anything organic, so this read made me feel at home.
    I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  • Laurie

    Isn’t it interesting that the Dairy Industry’s claims to fame – milk’s history of being a valuable, life-sustaining food is based on hundreds of years of humans drinking pasture-fed raw milk!
    I would rather “risk” my health on Mark McAfee’s integrity than on Anold Schwarzenneger’s ANY DAY.
    To be Very Clear… I have true empathy for anyone who has experienced health challenges as the apparent result of food which they have eaten – however – it does not justify an all-out vendetta against raw milk.
    The presumption that milk is necessarily dangerous because it is raw and the propaganda to associate raw milk with the notion of danger is unfounded and irrational. People have gotten sick as a result of drinking water or of eating beef or tomatoes etc – however these foods are not declared unfit for consumption therefore.
    The absence of discernment at arriving at certainty as to the cause of illness where raw milk has been implicated indicates an agenda to eliminate any competition on the part of the proponents of heated, chemicalized, and irradiated milk.
    Again – the centuries and centuries during which people drank raw milk, raw fermented milk, and ate raw milk products IS THE FOUNDATION of milk’s reputation as a health food.
    Therefore it is simply not credible that raw milk could be an inherently dangerous food. No, Only raw milk that had been tampered with – would be potentially dangerous – but that would be true of ANY food – regardless of its initial purity.

  • Kristen

    “Organic Pastures Dairy Company (OPDC) raw milk products are back on the shelves following a recall in September. The recall occurred during the midst of the spinach contamination scare and seemed to be aimed at deflecting attention from the huge problems of E.coli O157:H7 contamination in produce. The state claimed that five raw milk-drinking children became ill, two of whom were hospitalized, given antibiotics and almost died. (The other three received no antibiotics and recovered quickly.) The mother of one child denied the illness had anything to do with raw milk and the other child had consumed spinach two days before the illness. A team dressed in protective gear tested and retested the cows, the milk and the manure on the farm and found zero pathogens. On September 29th, more than 200 people from around the state showed up at OPDC to show their support for Organic Pastures products, and defend their right to choose what they eat. At the rally/press conference, Mark McAfee signed and victoriously displayed no less than nine CDFA documents releasing the company from quarantine and retracting the recent product recall. Lawsuits against several officials in the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CFDA) are in the works. All the publicity has lead to an increase in sales of about 12 percent.”
    –from realmilk.com

  • Hank

    Raw milk is much better for you.
    I’d much rather support the production and consumption of real food, real milk, etc… than the crap that the FDA sanctions as food in the grocery stores.
    I’d much rather support small farmers that care about their health, their animals health and the public’s health at large than with the hormone, antibiotic, steroid-laden milk coming from sickly cows that produce milk-flavored poison that BigDairy passes off as food.
    Have you heard the latest? 4/2010
    The FDA claims that Doritos is “heart healthy”, yet they claim that Walnut producers cannot make any claims that Omega-3 found in walnuts are healthy for you.
    Huh?!?
    There is a food revolution going on. You do have choices…either become sick, stay sick or join the revolution and get healthy.
    Say no to BigAgribusiness and BigPharma.
    Hank

  • Hank, way to go! You said it well.