Everyone’s talking about raw milk and, for some reason, you were searching around and found this site.
I am a raw milk consumer in California with a Ph.D. in political science and a refugee from academia. A circuitous path led me to develop this particular website and on this site I sell a “white paper” for seven bucks.
I am pretty sure you don’t want to buy this paper.
There are few people besides my mother who did not get ticked off by this white paper.
It appears that in the raw milk world, if you do not don shiny FDA black or the polished white of raw milk advocacy groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation, you really don’t have much of a place. Why I would dedicate a website to not fitting in is probably absolutely irrational, but I had really hoped that in the beginning it wouldn’t end up this way.
The short version is this: Back in the summer of 2009, I presented a paper on free consumer choice of raw milk. It’s up my alley as a political scientist. It was a great meeting but, wouldn’t you know it, I got heckled by the other side. There were guys there who would not make eye contact with me I assume because of the free choice position I was representing.
I wrote a somewhat controversial post about the whole thing at the Ethicurean (raw milk) focusing not on the heckling, but a key point in my presentation: free choice of raw milk requires consumers to have access to accurate information with which to make their decision. I challenged advocacy groups to improve the quality of information the provide consumers and gave the specific example of competitive exclusion (the notion that raw milk has components that kills pathogens). Advocates miss the mark on that research when they essentially guarantee raw milk cannot be contaminated because of those protective properties.
Like a whole lot of other foods, raw milk can be contaminated. The temperature of the milk and the type of pathogen both matter to the discussion. The research is really not as simple as advocacy groups would suggest.
And then there is the FDA. The had a FAQ with the question “Does raw milk kill pathogens?” Their answer: “No.”
Life and research should be as simple as these two sides suggest.
I got heckled by one side at a symposium. Then my little white paper was just weeks old when a surprising review of it appeared in the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation written by Ted Beals, M.D. [PDF]. I actually had a lot of respect for Beals’ testimony here in California a couple of years ago and recommended him as a speaker for the aforementioned symposium, so I was surprised first to read his review. I wrote a detailed response to his review at the Rebuild blog.
I have continued to be surprised that he has not backed up his review with citations from the scientific literature. I write this update about one year since I first asked for citations. In the concluding paragraph of his review of my white paper, he essentially accuses me of cherry picking and argues that “raw milk does kill off pathogens in realistic real-life situations. That fresh raw milk has the properties to kill off pathogens is no urban legend, it is proven science.”
If you see Ted Beals at a raw milk conference, you might ask him for the citations that support his conclusion because I have had no luck. The “proven science” remains locked in the WAPF chambers in Virginia.
I really could go on, but the detailed response is exceedingly long as it is. This story, too, has many details, but the punchline is this: the regulator types heckled me and then Beals did the pen-and-paper equivalent of heckling.
The regulators and the folks holding down the Weston A. Price party line would absolutely say you should not buy this paper. They would argue that you have enough information already:
- FDA: You’re crazy. Don’t drink it.
- WAPF: It is a miracle drink that kills pathogens all by itself all the time. Why are you worried?
They are the primary opinion leaders on raw milk and they don’t think you need this paper at all.
As it turns out, it is a bit of an exaggeration to say that no one liked the paper. There were a couple of raw milk celebs who had positive comments:
“I have reviewed your white paper and found it to be refreshingly well stated and accurate (according to my experience).” — Mark McAfee, owner of California’s Organic Pastures Dairy
“[The paper] does a nice job of reviewing the key research, and concludes that raw milk isn’t a great medium for growing pathogens, but then it’s not impossible for pathogens to survive.” — David Gumpert, author of The Raw Milk Revolution.
Consumers found it useful as well:
“Thanks for putting the facts out there and letting people decide for themselves. As a small farmer who consumes her own fresh (raw) milk, I find this data and Amanda Rose’s analysis of it very enlightening.” — Diane Coe
“I found the paper well put together and very easy to read. The graphs were excellent in detailing the results of the tests.” — Tracy N., South Carolina
And then there was my mother, also a raw milk consumer:
“Amanda has always been a trouble-maker.”
Apparently four people had nice things to say about the paper. It is too bad that the WAPF had to take such a harsh stance and alienate anyone wanting to explore the actual scientific evidence on the issue, but heck, we do have a right to our own opinions.
If you have found this site looking for information to reinforce the WAPF party line, you have not found it and you absolutely should not buy this paper.
If you are an FDA agent trying to figure out where I get my milk, you won’t find that either.
If you happen to be interested in the research on raw milk’s ability to kill pathogens, you can join the small band of people interested in embracing openness and critical thinking. May God assist us in multiplying.
The White Paper
The white paper is 24 pages in length with ten graphs, written by a consumer (me, Amanda Rose) and expert edited for content.
It reviews the literature on raw milk’s ability to kill pathogens. For raw milk consumers interested in making an informed decision about their food consumption, we need a more thorough analysis of the literature. This paper is one baby step in that direction.
The raw milk white paper available to you here takes complex information about raw milk and its ability to kill pathogens and it presents it to you in a series of visual displays — graphs that tell you a story about raw milk. My tagline here at the white papers website is “I don’t just tell you, I show you.” You will see the literature in data visualizations.
I provide a lot of free information on the Internet because I enjoy it. You may have already benefited from my website on nutrient deficiencies and depression. Writing a systematic paper is another matter and to do so requires some sort of funding. Because of the controversial nature of raw milk, the best sponsor for this paper is you, the raw milk consumer. You are sponsoring quality information about raw milk by purchasing this paper.
Buy the paper now. Support information on raw milk. Read the paper within minutes.