The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights


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The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights by David E. Gumpert

Beginning in 2006, the agriculture departments of several large states-with backing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-launched a major crackdown on small dairies producing raw milk. Replete with undercover agents, sting operations, surprise raids, questionable test-lab results, mysterious illnesses, propaganda blitzes, and grand jury investigations, the crackdown was designed to disrupt the supply of unpasteurized milk to growing legions of consumers demanding healthier and more flavorful food.

The Raw Milk Revolution takes readers behind the scenes of the government's tough and occasionally brutal intimidation tactics, as seen through the eyes of milk producers, government regulators, scientists, prosecutors, and consumers. It is a disturbing story involving marginally legal police tactics and investigation techniques, with young children used as political pawns in a highly charged atmosphere of fear and retribution.

Are regulators' claims that raw milk poses a public health threat legitimate? That turns out to be a matter of considerable debate. In assessing the threat, The Raw Milk Revolution reveals that the government's campaign, ostensibly designed to protect consumers from pathogens like salmonella, E. coli 0157:H7, and listeria, was based in a number of cases on suspect laboratory findings and illnesses attributed to raw milk that could well have had other causes, including, in some cases, pasteurized milk.

David Gumpert dares to ask whether regulators have the public's interest in mind or the economic interests of dairy conglomerates. He assesses how the government's anti-raw-milk campaign fits into a troublesome pattern of expanding government efforts to sanitize the food supply-even in the face of ever-increasing rates of chronic disease like asthma, diabetes, and allergies. The Raw Milk Revolution provides an unsettling view of the future, in which nutritionally dense foods may be available largely through underground channels.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603582193
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date: 11/06/2009
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,283,463
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

David E. Gumpert has become a nationally recognized writer and authority on the intersection of food, health, and business by virtue of his widely acclaimed book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, as well as his provocative and popular blog, The Complete Patient (, and his many articles about food rights on and The Huffington Post. He gained behind-the-scenes access to the key participants and vast government documentation necessary to write Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights. A former reporter with The Wall Street Journal and editor at Inc. and Harvard Business Review, Gumpert has brought his considerable investigative and journalistic experience and business expertise (author or coauthor of seven books about small business and entrepreneurship) to bear in articulating the corporate, legal, and political forces driving Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights.

Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm produces pastured beef, pork, chicken, eggs, turkeys, rabbits, lamb and ducks, servicing roughly 6,000 families and 50 restaurants in the farm’s bioregion. He has written 11 books to date and lectures around the world on land healing, local food systems.

Table of Contents

Preface : why the sudden concern about food rights?

Introduction : why raw milk so inflames the passions

1. Why is the government kicking around a bunch of small dairy farmers?

2. Raw milk and the upside-down world of food-borne illness

3. Why are we still debating pasteurization?

4. Picking up the pieces

5. Raw milk and the cases of the disappearing pathogens

6. What are we to make of so much anecdotal evidence?

7. Is raw milk really healthier?

8. How dangerous is raw milk, really?

9. E. coli O157:H7 and the education of Mary McGonigle-Martin

10. When it comes to food, how much freedom should we have to take risks?

11. Nine words ignite a raw milk battle, California-style

12. A test of belief systems

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The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
FoodWatcher More than 1 year ago
It is clear that tyberg didn't read beyond the first few pages of the book. Otherwise, he/she couldn't have proclaimed: " The book mentions then ignores evidence collected by DNA typing methods to determine or exclude strain variability between foodborne outbreaks and blames an outbreak on spinach (even though DNA analysis excludes the spinach and implicates the raw milk)." The book devotes considerable space to the spinach outbreak of 2006, including an interview with one of the government investigators on the scene, and an up-close look at one of the children sickened at that time from E.coli O157:H7.. Gumpert concludes that the pathogen that sickened hundreds from tainted spinach was likely NOT the same as the one that sickened half a dozen from raw milk. The book questions epidemiological evidence, which is really circumstantial evidence, in several cases in which the realities painted a different picture, or when testing was questionable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will have you looking for "Real" milk from a farner near you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is full of falsehoods and junk science. Raw milk is inherently unsafe and is tied to the vast majority of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to dairy. The raw milk movement's pitiful attempt to make that dangerous product seem safe by claiming other foods also cause illness is illogical and a strawman argument. Epidemiology is an exact science that uses biology, chemistry, microbiology, and statistics to prove links between raw milk and serious illnesd. To claim otherwise is to deny germ theory and the very basis of science.
tyberg More than 1 year ago
This book is a ridiculous attempt to sway consumers to consume raw milk and stay away from the scary pasteurized milk prevalent in today's society. The assertions in the book are in direct conflict with research and position statements from every credible health and food safety organization in the world (World Health Organization (WHO), American Medical Association (AMA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), Association of Food & Drug Officials (AFDO) , National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Health Canada, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV), among others. The U.S. Regulator network the FDA and the one of the most respected public health entities in the world, the CDC have unequivocally condemned the sale of unpasteurized milk due to the obvious health concerns. Furthermore, the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), consisting of almost all world renowned food microbiologists and experts unanimously condemn the practice of raw milk sale due to the public health concerns as seen by the number of recalls due to raw milk every year. This book is filled with false conclusion statements and terrible science. As a food microbiologist myself, i have performed the testing described in the book. For example, somatic cell counts (as mentioned in the book). High white blood cell counts are in no way an indication of cleanliness of the facility but rather the fitness of the animal producing the milk (book claims elevated somatic counts (white blood cells) are an indication of facility cleanliness - makes no sense), the book mocks the manual count method opposed to a automatic count method done by machine, the book fails to state that the manual count is the official method and considered the "gold standard" due to the discretionary ability to view partial, irregular or injured somatic cells that technological methods miss all together. The book goes on the place quotations around the statistically valid conclusions of "epidemiological evidence" as if it should not be taken seriously. The book mentions then ignores evidence collected by DNA typing methods to determine or exclude strain variability between foodborne outbreaks and blames an outbreak on spinach (even though DNA analysis excludes the spinach and implicates the raw milk). And this is all in the first 10 pages! This book is a joke. At least this author admits he is simply a journalist, because he is certainly not big on science or fact checking. You can make the case you don't want the government telling you what you can and can not consume, and on that basis, you can contend the current regulations are unfounded, but to claim that raw milk is nutritionally better for you (research shows it is not), or is safer (research shows it is in fact highly dangerous) is disingenuous at best. Do not waste your time reading fictional statements not supported by facts. I would go so far as to say this book is irresponsible and dangerous as it attempts to disseminate false information to the public that could endanger the lives of readers who follow it.