As many of you know, the Shank family is once again facing accusations by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) of contammination with campylobacter bacteria in their raw milk. I just wanted to send out a note of support and encouragement so that all of you would know just a little bit about what goes on, and what is likely to continue.
Edwin, his family, and partnering farms do a fantastic job of providing super-clean raw milk to thirsty families across the state. They test every single batch of milk produced in their own on-site lab, as well as sending out samples regularly to an independent lab for verification.
The state has now, for the third time, accused them of contaminated milk. But is this the honest truth? I can't say for sure what is, but I know that Edwin's testing once again shows exceptionally clean milk. The independent lab confirms it. So why the positive test from the state?
I won't make my own accusations, but I will say two things. One, the state of Pennsylvania, like other states across the nation, does not like raw milk. The dairy industry does not like raw milk. The industry has a great deal of influence within the FDA, USDA, and state departments of agriculture and health. Is there some fishy business going on? I don't know, but there is plenty that makes me wonder…
Last time around milk from Your Family Farmer (Your Family Cow) tested very clean indeed by the 3rd party lab and the farm's own testing. It took a couple of weeks for the state to come up with a positive sample. Now consider this: any of you who passed high school biology know that bacteria, even minute amounts of it, *will* grow in a petri dish in a warm, dark environment. Bacteria are everywhere, both "good" and "bad", and nothing that we touch is truly sterile. Could there be the tiniest amount of campy in a pipe, or a hose, on a persons hand, or…? If so, the lacto-ferrons in raw milk successfully destroy pathogens within hours; it's one of the beauties of unprocessed milk! But put it in a petri dish containing growth culture and an "enhancer" (as the PDA has admitted in the past to using), and after a couple of weeks basking in the warmth of an incubator then voila! You have bacterial growth!
It is up to all of us to support our local farmers even when they are under fire from the state. And so I urge all of you to keep your eyes, ears, and minds open to what goes on. Your Family Farmer was the "poster child" of raw milk in Pa. But in an unfriendly environment this successful business supplying thousands of people with nutritious, healing raw milk may just be re-made into the poster child of anti-raw milk regulators and industry.
Folks, I am not saying this is so, but don't you just wonder? I support the Shank family and all they and their partner farmers do. They work hard. They produce food of excellent quality. And they take a lot of heat in an effort to provide all of us with the foods that we need, in particular milk in its natural, most wholesome state. Let's stand behind them by educating others about the safety of unprocessed milk, question the authorities as to the validity of their test results, and show our support for the farmers by frequenting their business and buying their product!
And of course, don't believe everything you read: there just may be a bias which hides some truth...