Minnesota Natural Health Legal Reform Project

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What Questions Would YOU Ask if You Were On The Ag Committee?

It has been a week or more since the Raw Milk Access Bill Informational Hearing in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The intermittent urge to be a member of the Minnesota Legislature rears its head again after sitting through a hearing such as this. 

Why wasn't the opposition asked more difficult questions?  We have educated the members of the committee.  But there is always something that comes up that is unexpected or for which we can't plan.

Let me set up the situation for you before I tell you what MY question would be.

Representative Sarah Anderson, the author of the bill in the House, requested that her constituent testify.  Carol Frisk, a mom of three, testified how her young daughter was suffering from failure to thrive.  She could not gain weight.  Doctors had exhausted their options.  One day, a friend suggested she try giving her daughter raw milk.  Why not?  What did she have to lose?  Miraculously (although it was just an everyday miracle for raw milk drinkers), her daughter began to gain weight.  She was thriving after the doctors had given up on her. The problem with the current law in MN, which requires that the raw milk purchase be made at the farm, becomes evident in the Frisk Family situation.  Carol Frisk has a disability which makes it nearly impossible for her to drive.  Metro Mobility, the bus system and light rail don't go to the farm.  How is she supposed to keep her daughter healthy if she has to go to the farm to get her raw milk? 

After the presentation of the bill and testimony by supporters, including Carol Frisk, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, showed a corny, dreadful video which contained less than complete information on the supposed serious illness which an 11 year old boy from California contracted, allegedly from drinking raw milk.  He suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, since the medical world is so fond of acronyms.  There are many sources of HUS, with raw meat being the most common, but Dr. Ehlinger chose to angrily (at least in my opinion) claim that raw milk was the source of this boy's troubles. 

Lets suppose that everything he says is the whole and complete truth.  (We know it is not, but play along with me here.) 

Here is my question to Dr. Ehlinger: 

Who gets to decide who is the sacrificial lamb?  Is the child from California any more important than the child from Minnesota?  Isn't the health of both children equally important?  Isn't it also important to REALLY get to the bottom of the situation in California? 

There are so many others, related to the dangers of drugs and the numbers of people who die and why is that okay, when the CDC has no evidence of anyone dying from raw milk consumption?

Please comment and put your questions on line.  What would you ask if you were on the Ag Committee?

Kathryn Z. Berg 

7 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Tammy Houle | May 19, 2011 at 08:17 PM EDT

Good question Kathryn.

My question would be: \"Why are the advocates for processed milk so afraid that an incident of raw milk causing illness would be of harm to their business? Wouldn't it be just the opposite? Wouldn't the general pubic be MORE inclined to stick with their processed milk if there were a report of food born illness from raw milk? At the hearing the ag officials and producers insinuated that they'd be so hurt by such a report. Sounds like smoke and mirrors to me. They are so disingenuous. It's really about their profit margin and raw milk getting some of what they think should be all theirs.

2. Carol Frisk | May 19, 2011 at 10:11 PM EDT

I would like to know if the health department's top priority is health and keeping the public safe from food borne illness, why is it not illegal to deliver a burger to someone's home? After all, hamburger is the most common cause of HUS.

I would also like to know why spinach is not illegal since that also causes far more illnesses than raw milk. For that matter, should any of us be permitted to be outside in a thunder storm? Getting struck by lightening is also more common than food poisoning by raw milk.

If they allow these things to remain legal and raw milk illegal, I would like an explanation for the hypocrasy.

I would also like to know why they do not move to communist China if they want to control people? My husband works with a gal from Communist Poland who is dumb founded by how \"controlling\" the US government is when it comes to food. I would like to see Dr E try that on for size.

3. Nancy Hone | May 19, 2011 at 11:57 PM EDT

I would ask, to start with,if there was supposedly one case of HUS and that farmer sells 40 million gallons of raw milk per year, can the meat industry claim such a good record?

twice this year, some guy in a truck came to my door at night and wanted to sell me meat--out of the back of his truck!! Can that be legal??? But I cannot get a prearranged delivery of my whole food from my farmer that I know? I would ask that if over 90% of HUS is from raw contaminated meat, can they show FOR SURE 100% for sure it was the milk? What did the kid eat on the way to or from the farm or in preceding days? I would ask what antibiotics were used to almost shut down his kidneys. I would ask for the exact medical report -totally detailed -- as well as 100% evidence to link the child's illness to the disease. And mostly, I would ask what is the difference if the consumer gets their milk from the farm or if it is delivered? It is the same milk, reminding them that the founders of our state in their wisdom made it legal for a farmer to sell what he or she produces on the farm.

If I were a legislator I would ask questions about CAFO farms and the difference in the milks. As the legislator I would point out that the Food Freedom Project had provided great document on statistics and research of the nutrition and the safety of milk--all documented in a fine packet they provided to us and i could not say the same for the suits.

Finally I would ask what is it you are afraid of? your pocketbooks?

4. Kathryn Berg | May 20, 2011 at 12:22 PM EDT

I thought of another question/comment. Kemps had a scientist there who was of Indian origin. He proudly said that everyone boils their milk in India. Everyone also boils their water in India. It is necessary. I would boil milk there too. It was irrelevant because it is necessary there and it is also a cultural thing which doesn't translate into the American culture.

5. Kim Samrock | May 20, 2011 at 12:42 PM EDT

The comment regarding India struck me as well. I wrote a letter to the Kemps CEO with one of my points being the India comments were insulting to Kemps farmers because it implied the standards at Kemps' farms are not any better than standards in India. I also commented in my letter that the amount of fear in his remarks took me by surprise, the fear of what could happen to Kemps. I asked if he thought of the potential opportunity of raw milk and why consumers are turning to alternative milk beverages such as soy and rice milks. This was the first raw milk hearing/activity I have been involved in and am now aware how scary this is to the suits. Thanks to all who are fighting for our right to have access to this perfect food!

6. Mary Radtke | May 22, 2011 at 01:42 PM EDT

My question for the Commissioner of Health would be, \"What procedures and standards does the Minnesota Department of Health have in place to determine if an illness reported by a drinker of raw milk is caused by contaminated milk or is caused by another contaminated food source the ill drinker of raw milk has consumed or is caused by an environmental exposure other than food?\" It seems to me that if someone who drinks raw milk gets sick, the milk is the first and only cause the authorities look at.

I would also ask the commissioner why he hasn't looked at the PARSAVAL study or the Randleigh Farm study just to name two that indicate benefits of raw milk over pasteurized milk.

7. Researcher | May 23, 2011 at 11:29 PM EDT

Foremost, We The People do not have a Constitutionally Lawful government !!

NO Constitutionally ELECTED or APPOINTED member of OUR \"state\" \"government\" has the Oath of Office on file as required by the Constitution for the united States, Article VI, Sec's 2 & 3

PLUS, more than several of OUR state legislators are unlawfully holding office in 2 branches of government!!

This has happened because 90% of the People, including OUR legislators who are supposed to Swear an Oath of Office to UPHOLD and DEFEND them, know LITTLE OR NOTHING about OUR Constitutions !!

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