Canada Embarasses Itself With Reversal on Food Freedoms
I’m sure most of you have already heard this news: Ontario appeal court rules against raw milk dairy farmer Michael Schmidt in case anyone missed it I have reposted below. Not only has Canada now taken the lead in food fascism, but by reversing an earlier court’s decision nearly 100%, they have undermined their own legal system in the mind’s of their citizens.
Michael Schmidt has said he is willing to go to jail to protect and defend our right to put in our mouths what we choose to. I hope it never comes to that. If he was in jail, he would have to eat food made from genetically modified soy-beans and corn and would never get a drop of raw milk to provide him with enzymes and probiotics so he could actually digest such a meal. A stint in jail could damage your intestines so badly that it could take years of drinking raw milk and colostrum to recover. I for one find that prospect rather terrifying. We moved to Canada originally as we thought it was a progressive and forward-thinking country. It is rather shocking to find that it is actually doing it’s best to take the lead in shutting down the most basic human right — the ability to choose what you put in your own mouth. I am not impressed in the slightest. I still can’t believe that Vancouver really thinks it’s gonna be the world’s Greenest City in 2020 with such closed-minded, hard-liners running the show.
As Canada is rallying it’s forces to once and for all wipe out the ability of city dwellers like me to access raw milk, the US is in the early stages of their worst foodborne disease outbreak in over a decade. Officials have said that the outbreak is likely to claim more victims.
Thirteen people have died and 72 have fallen ill after eating cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, in the first-ever outbreak of the pathogen in whole melons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Source
How can we trust an industrial food system that keeps making more and more delicious foods dangerous? Will we now be banned from eating fresh melons? Were we banned from eating hamburgers after the Jack-in-the-box fiasco? Have people stopped eating cold-cuts? (commonly known to be most dangerous food item out there). Are spinach growers being harassed into oblivion after the outbreak a few years ago? Why are Western countries so determined to make supporting small local family farms, and community buying clubs impossible?
Ontario Court Rules Against Raw Milk Farmer
by Jessica Leeder — GLOBAL FOOD REPORTER
Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.
It is unclear what the decision means for the future of Mr. Schmidt’s farm, a cow-share operation in which raw milk and related products are provided to about 150 shareholders. Raw milk from the farm is not sold commercially.
Mr. Schmidt has continued his business throughout his legal battle with health authorities, which began in earnest in 2006. Still, his rural property has seen several raids. For now, the German-born agriculturalist said he plans to appeal the decision – and keep milking.
“It’s a call to arms,” he said of the guilty verdict. “Now we know, there’s a lot ahead of us to fight.”
Indeed, Mr. Schmidt’s legal battle now spans two provinces. Earlier this week, he was served with contempt of court charges that threaten a $55,000 fine. They stem from his involvement in Our Cows Inc., a Chilliwack, B.C. cow share that authorities attempted to shut down last year. Operator Alice Jongerden was charged with contempt for distributing raw milk, considered a hazardous substance under provincial health laws; Mr. Schmidt stepped in and figured out how to keep milk flowing to members by relabelling products as cosmetics “not for human consumption.” READ MORE
For anyone who doesn’t know the history of our local Vancouver cowshare this article in The Globe and Mail written by Karen Selick explains the situation very well:
Queen Elizabeth drinks her milk raw. She reportedly thinks so highly of unpasteurized milk that, when her grandsons Princes William and Harry were students at Eton, she instructed herdsman Adrian Tomlinson to bottle up raw milk from her Windsor herd and deliver it to them at school.
A group of some 450 B.C. city-dwellers thought they had a solution. They organized Home on the Range Dairy, and jointly acquired a herd of 25 cows. They hired farmer Alice Jongerden to look after their cows – feed them, milk them, bottle the milk and make it available to its owners.
This type of livestock boarding contract has long been known to English law. In fact, there’s even a special name for it: agistment, the taking in of livestock to graze on your land in exchange for payment. Ms. Jongerden is called an agister.
But the Fraser Health Authority disapproved of the arrangement and took Ms. Jongerden to court. The real question, which no B.C. court has yet tackled, is whether she can be considered to be “selling” or “supplying” raw milk in contravention of the Milk Industry Act, when the individuals who receive it are already its owners.
Nevertheless, the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction this past March prohibiting Ms. Jongerden and others from “packaging and/or distributing raw milk and/or raw milk products for human consumption.” But the cows took no notice of the Supreme Court and continued to fill their udders twice a day. They had to be milked or they would soon be bellowing in pain, risking udder infections and possibly dying.
Ms. Jongerden continued milking, placing the milk in bottles clearly marked “Not for Human Consumption” and “Not for Sale.” The owners could have pasteurized it themselves if they had considered it hazardous. They could have bathed in it, used it as plant fertilizer, or fed it to their pets. Only they know what they actually did with it. Ms. Jongerden, however, was charged with contempt of court. On Sept. 14, a temporary order was made, prohibiting her from engaging in the “further production or distribution of raw milk.” She goes back to court in mid-October.
This leaves the herd owners with three unsatisfactory alternatives:
- Don’t have the cows milked at all, in which case they will suffer cruelly;
- Find a new agister who is not subject to the temporary September order, but who is willing to face his own eventual contempt charges for violating the sweeping March injunction;
- Milk the cows and dump the milk on the ground.
The situation is ridiculous. The milk is there. People have bent over backward to get it. They’re all aware the health authority thinks it’s dangerous. They still want it. But instead, it will probably be destroyed – wasted – purportedly to protect people from taking a risk they are willing to take.
Canada is out of step with the rest of the world. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and many U.S. states have programs that allow public-health authorities to certify a dairy’s output as safe for raw consumption. In France and Italy, there are vending machines dispensing raw milk to eager consumers. B.C. residents can cross the border to Washington State and buy it legally.
We don’t ban balloons even though some eight or nine children die annually in North America from choking on them. We don’t prohibit skiing, hockey or even parachute jumping, despite the risks of injury or death. We don’t ban seafood, ground beef, poultry or cold cuts, even though they are far more common sources of food poisoning than raw milk.
One can’t help suspecting that the fanaticism of Canadian authorities toward raw milk has more to do with protecting the supply management cartels than protecting public health.
Karen Selick is the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which is defending Ontario raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on similar charges.