I received this email today in response to an interview I gave recently about raw milk to “Food Manufacturing” online:

Farm fresh? All the rage? natural food craze? certified organic is a buzzword? You make the lifestyle of eating pure, unpesticide treated, unindustrialized, unprocessed food seem like a generational fad like acid washed denim or cabbage patch dolls. Those use words like you in your ridiculous article are afraid of the truth and just don’t want to know about it. So keep eating your corn feed beef, your pesticide-salads and your oreo cookies, you industrial eaters because you seem to not care about your bodies or your kids health or the future of the earth.

Actually, I get more than a few emails like this. Most do a bit better at spelling and punctuation, but nearly all are from raw milk proponents, producers or consumers (although there are a few from the anti-S 510 cabal). Some, but not all, have a level of passion that borders on violence. Perhaps not directed at me, but generally in the “do not tread on me” – “tea party” shouting that we have been subjected to over the last year.

Frankly, I was perplexed at the “yell fest” that passed for discussion of whether we should expand health care to the 40,000,000 of our fellow citizens without health insurance. I am shocked at how we scream at each other via email or blog comments about raw milk or honest differences about how food safety legislation should be modeled. It is like screaming at and belittling each other at the dinner table – albeit, a very large table.

What is with all this anger over food? I mean honestly, it seems like there are bigger fish to fry. What about the wars? Global warming? Energy policy?

But, folks are angry about their view of food – especially the proponents of raw milk (affectionately, “raw milkies”) and the anti-S 510 folks (affectionately, “organic tea baggers”). Both groups view themselves as victims of big government and big business bent on reducing them to servitude or extinction. They cannot see that perhaps, just perhaps, people who see the dangers of raw milk or the value of S 510, might simply have an honest disagreement with those that see raw milk as the nectar of the gods or S 510 as more than a method of lining the pockets of Monsanto. But, hey, that is just me.

So, does the yelling, threats and belittling of the anti raw milk/pro S 510 crowd actually work? Are some convinced that those that yell the loudest have the best arguments? Or, do some simply shy away from their positions after being the target of a nasty blog post or scathing email or comment? I think some do. I know I have been tempted to simply focus on other pressing issues surrounding food safety – there are many – and let folks guzzle raw milk to their heart’s content and let S 510 die a lingering death.

But, that is not my style. Even as a child when told to do A I usually did B. When the raw milk party calls me a tool of big dairy or an ambulance chaser, I come back with reasoned pros and cons of raw milk consumption, videos of raw milk consumers sickened and a website – Real Raw Milk Facts – dedicated to having a reasoned discussion about raw milk. I am also beginning to work of a raw milk retail sampling project to test its safety.

As for S 510, the nastier the emails from small producers who want little or no food safety regulation, the more money I donate to political campaigns, the more trips I take to DC, and the more often I fund victim visits to their favorite Senator.

And, to do the above, I hardly raise my voice. Well, once in awhile I do.