Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Unfree Country Chronicles, Vol II: Unpasteurized Milk Edition

State gets tough on drinking...milk
Fans of unpasteurized product create 'white market' to get raw goods

Sunday, March 05, 2006
John Horton
Plain Dealer Reporter

Pssst . . . got raw milk?

Christina Trecaso does; the unpasteurized product -- which is illegal to sell in Ohio -- is chilling in the refrigerator at her Copley Township home. Just don't ask Trecaso where she acquired the fresh-from-the-farm liquid. The underground doesn't share its secrets.

The Summit County mother of two oversees Northeast Ohio's "white market," a network that supplies raw milk to more than 120 local families. Drop-off points exist in Akron, Broadview Heights, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley Township, Gates Mills and Lakewood.

Similar cooperatives -- which involve participants pooling money to buy "herd shares" at dairy farms and circumvent the ban on raw milk sales -- exist around Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

In essence, the setup works a legal loophole. A group buys the cows on the farm, not the milk, and pays the farmer a monthly boarding and management fee. State law does not prohibit individuals from drinking raw milk taken from their own cows.

"We know what we want," said Trecaso, 36. "And there are ways to get it."

Opening that barn door is drawing notice, however. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is investigating the legality of the herd-share arrangement, said LeeAnne Mizer, a spokeswoman for the agency. She said there are public health concerns about the growing number of people consuming raw milk products.

Ohio outlawed raw milk sales to consumers in 1997. In 2003, the last dairy farm grandfathered into selling unpasteurized milk to individuals relinquished its license following a salmonella outbreak.

Raw milk can carry disease-causing organisms that cause a host of foodborne illnesses, according to health officials.

"Is raw milk worth the risk?" asked Mizer. "This state doesn't think so."

Pardon the horrendous pun, but holy fucking cow!

It's incredibly naive to think this issue is about "public health concerns" and "salmonella outbreaks." For another perspective, read the whole story and some of the discussion about it here. And leave aside the debate about the alleged benefits and risks of drinking fresh vs. pasteurized milk; it's really beside the point. What's most interesting is the state's cavalier attitude (ding! Horrendous pun #2! Get it? Cleveland Cavaliers? OK, I'm a moron) toward Ohioans' right to self-ownership.

Listen to the arrogance oozing from LeeAnne fucking Mizer; what a typically snotty, officious bureaucrat: "Is raw milk worth the risk? This state doesn't think so." With those eleven little words, Mizer sums up tyranny and the nanny state's attitude toward its subjects, doesn't she? When the state's "judgment" supercedes that of its so-called free people, that is not freedom. When "free" people are not permitted to make informed choices and live with the risks and consequences thereof, that is tyranny.

And we're not talking about the "choice" of initiating violence or force against others so don't even bother trying that pathetic strawman with me. This is about what individuals choose to put in their bodies. If you are legally barred from making so fundamental choice on your own, then you are not free, you belong to whomever is legally empowered to make that decision for you. You are a ward of the state.

Self-ownership is the most basic property right imaginable. When are we going to stand up and tell the LeeAnne Mizers of the world to just shut the fuck up?

(h/t to Fark.com)

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