Sunday, February 06, 2011

Milk Fascists in Australia too

Why can't the do-gooders let people take their own risks if they want to? I drank raw milk for a time in my childhood with no visible ill-effects. It did taste better. Most of us kids got TB from it but hardly noticed. We were all healthy country kids so it was just another childhood illness akin to flu which came and quickly went -- leaving us immunized against TB for the rest of our lives. The milk was a very pleasant vaccine.

Dairy inspection standards are now however much stricter than the negligible ones of my far-off childhood so any infection these days is a tiny risk -- and we all take risks

The thirst for raw milk straight from the cow's udder has created a clandestine market among consumers who say it is healthier and tastes better. However, food authorities are determined to stamp out what they say is a highly dangerous and illegal practice.

Peter Melov, of Bondi, was recently fined $53,000 for selling raw milk and raw-milk products through a now-defunct organisation, Global Sov. The products were sold online and at an organic food market in Bondi Junction. "Everyone was coming in asking us for raw milk, and a few shops in Bondi had it, so I thought 'I'll just sell it'," Mr Melov said.

Selling unpasteurised milk and cheese for human consumption is illegal, but it is available to buy under names like "bath milk" in certain health-food shops and markets. The Sun-Herald understands some raw-milk aficionados have exploited this apparent loophole, buying "bath milk" for drinking. Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said companies selling raw-milk products were putting lives at risk. "There is sound scientific evidence pointing to the risks associated with consuming raw milk," he said.

Mr Melov, who was found guilty in Downing Centre Local Court of 43 breaches of the Food Act, said he had received no complaints from customers, and the NSW Food Authority had not warned him that he was doing anything wrong. He would not risk selling raw milk again, he said. "It was like we had been dealing drugs. "If we had just got a phone call, we would have complied completely with the Food Authority."

Medical microbiologist Dr Vitali Sintchenko, of Westmead Hospital, said there were sound reasons why selling raw milk was banned. "There are potential pathogens and toxins present in raw milk that can be life-threatening," he said.

Cheesemaker Will Studd has advocated changes to the legislation banning raw milk. "If we have such a healthy dairy industry, what is everybody so concerned about?" he asked. "Why aren't consumers allowed to enjoy milk in its natural state?" With the right regulation, there would not be any alarm about consuming raw milk and its products, he argued.

Fellow cheesemaker Franck Beaurain does not think it is necessary to relax existing regulations. "I really believe you can do a good job with pasteurised milk. I can't say it [raw milk] tastes better than pasteurised."


Low energy lightbulbs 'could harm 40,000'

Low energy light bulbs could exacerbate the health conditions of up to 40,000 people across Britain, a minister has said. Anne Milton, the public health minister, made the admission after Labour MP Mark Tami asked if the Department of Health had made an assessment of their effects on people with sensitive eye conditions.

Mrs Milton referred to a report by the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), which found up to 250,000 people across the EU with certain eye, photosensitive and neurological conditions could be at risk. She said: "Firm figures for the United Kingdom are not available, but the SCENIHR statistics would equate to around 30,000 to 40,000 people that might be affected in the UK."

A 2008 review by the Health Protection Agency warned of the ultra-violet rays emitted by compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and the flickering nature of the light they gave off. The former can trigger rashes in a small number of people as well as lupus, an autoimmune disease whose symptoms include fatigue and joint pain. The latter can induce eye pain and could even increase the incidence of repetitive behaviour in autistic people.

Mrs Milton added: "The Department is continuing to work with the HPA, patient groups, clinicians and the lighting industry to keep the health issues under review." [Good of them!]



Anonymous said...

"Why can't the do-gooders let people take their own risks if they want to?"

I agree with your outlook more than you yourself do, given that you recently cheered about the prohibition of old herbal remedies:

"Herbal drug crackdown: Europe to ban hundreds of natural remedies in UK next year

About time. If orthodox drugs can be prescribed only after rigorous scrutiny of their safety and efficacy, why should herbal remedies escape the same scrutiny? "Natural" molecules can be highly toxic in some cases -- e.g. ricin"

Thankfully you are not so baldly partisan very often. Raw milk is in the exact same same crosshairs.


jonjayray said...

I suppose the difference is that I see herbal remedies as involving large amounts of fraud or danger -- not true of milk

A balance is always needed