A roundup of breaking natural health news.
Victory for Michigan’s Family-owned Pork Farms!
As you may recall from our previous articles on the subject, in 2010, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued an Invasive Species Order (ISO), ostensibly to “help stop the spread of feral swine and the disease risk they pose to humans, domestic pigs, and wildlife as well as their potential for extensive agricultural and ecosystem damage.”
Sounds reasonable, right? It would be, if DNR’s definition of “feral” were dependent on whether a feral pig is actually running hog wild, instead of whether a pig’s tail is curly. Wild swine are an incredible pest for farmers because they completely destroy fields. Heritage swine, however, are being unreasonably lumped together with wild swine because the guidelines do not address ferality but use the shape of the pigs’ tails as the sole determinant. (Michigan residents, try not to think about how many of your tax dollars were spent on the creation of these highly technical but ultimately useless guidelines.)
The ISO shamelessly targets the heritage breeds favored by small and family farms, while protecting those favored by CAFOs. Under the ISO, possession of “undesirable” pigs carries up to a two-year jail sentence and a $10,000 fine for each pig. Moreover, the ISO allows the DNR to seize and destroy heritage breed of pigs raised by Michigan farmers on the spot—and without compensation.
After the ISO was issued, many small farmers—fearing felony charges—destroyed their own herds. However, Bakers’ Green Acres family farm resisted, suing the DNR for loss of livelihood. In a blatant attempt at intimidation, the DNR retaliated by asking the judge to fine the Bakers $700,000. But the Bakers, undaunted, continued to press their case. In early February, a court date to explore the constitutionality of the ISO was set.
Just days later, the DNR completely reversed its stance, with the attorney general’s representative claiming that, on further consideration, the Bakers’ pigs were actually completely legal, and now complied with the ISO. Given this, the judge was forced to dismiss the case without giving the Bakers their day in court.
What caused the DNR to retreat? Because the case was dismissed, the DNR won’t have to defend the legality of its ISO under oath, clarify its definition of a “feral pig,” or compensate the Bakers and other families who suffered from a loss of livelihood. The Bakers are currently exploring other options to remedy the damage done.
This isn’t just a win for the Bakers, but like Christine Anderson’s victory in our next story, a triumph for all small, family businesses, and individuals who stand up to the crony capitalists who would trample their constitutional rights.
Big Free Speech Win for Oregon’s Raw Dairy Farmers
What’s Oregon’s first rule if you are selling raw milk? Do not talk about it.
Christine Anderson is a small dairy farmer in McMinnville, Oregon. Under Oregon state law, she is permitted to sell raw milk on her farm. As we’ve reported previously, heat pasteurization destroys delicate proteins, enzymes, immune factors, vitamins, and inhibits mineral availability. Additionally, raw milk is easier to digest, and can help children overcome asthma and allergies.
For years, however, Anderson was legally forbidden from advertising her milk—she couldn’t post flyers in local stores, advertise via email or on her own website, or even display a roadside sign reading, “Raw Milk for Sale!” If she did, she’d be subject to $6,250 in fines, up to $10,000 in civil penalties, and even a year in jail.
How could advertising a perfectly legal product be illegal, and why didn’t the state government want Oregonians drinking raw milk? Could it have something to do with the Dairy Farmers of Oregon, an anti-raw milk industry group whose explicit mission is to “build demand” for conventional dairy? Or is it the Dairy PAC, which donates thousands of dollars to state representatives? Then again, it could be that Oregon was just another gullible victim in the CDC’s pro-CAFO campaign against raw milk and cheese.
Happily, Anderson didn’t meekly submit to this egregious (and nonsensical) violation of free speech. With the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit organization that conducts pro bono legal work to protect private property, economic liberty, and free speech, she sued Oregon’s Department of Agriculture for First Amendment violations. Just three months later, the department backed down, agreeing to cease enforcement of the advertising ban and to ask the state legislature formally to repeal it.
High Pressure Pasteurization: Does it Live Up to the Hype?
Natural health consumers know the benefits of raw milk over heat-pasteurized milk. But raw milk is still illegal at retail in most states, and even if legal may be impossible to get. Is high-pressure pasteurized milk (HPP) a viable alternative?
Yes and no. Although HPP was first utilized in 1895, it wasn’t commercialized until the early 1990s. Although an increasing number of raw juice and milk producers are utilizing HPP, and it seems to be an improvement over heat pasteurization, questions remain.
Traditional pasteurization raises the temperature of products to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, this heat also adversely affects taste and nutritional value, while increasing shelf life. HPP puts food products through high pressure treatments, while only slightly raising its temperature.
HPP does appear to destroy all bacteria in milk—harmful or helpful—by disrupting cell function. Some non-dairy producers who utilize HPP claim that not all good bacteria are eliminated by HPP, because in raw foods, “good” bacteria appear in higher concentrations than “bad” bacteria. This remains to be verified.
Small macromolecules are believed to be safe from HPP, so vitamins, minerals, amino acids, simple sugars, and flavor are generally unaffected. In comparison to traditional pasteurization, HPP milk better maintains its original texture and color, requires fewer chemical additives, and may have a longer shelf life.
Whether HPP inactivates healthful enzymes depends on the level of pressurization applied and the product being treated. For example, milk enzymes generally become inactive after 300 MPa (megapascals, a unit of pressure) to 400 MPa of pressure are applied, though alkaline phosphatase is resistant up to 800 MPa. Since milk must be treated at levels over 400 MPa to kill harmful bacteria, HPP would seem to inactivate most enzymes in commercialized milk. If juices are treated at levels that protect their unique enzymes, active enzymes may survive. Additional independent research on the impact of HPP on enzyme activity in milk and juice is needed.
The jury is still out, and the research is mixed, but it seems likely that HPP is not a replacement for raw milk or juice. The “hierarchy” based on current research is organic/raw, then HPP-treated, then heat-treated.
We’ll keep you updated as more information on HPP becomes available.
Want Big Pharma to Save Your Life? Just Pay the Price!
Chronic hepatitis C affects 3 million Americans, is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants, and kills 15,000 a year.
Unfortunately, the traditional “cure” for chronic hep C—interferon drugs—is almost as brutal as the disease. Interferon injections commonly cause flulike symptoms, anxiety, depression (in 31% of patients), nausea (43% of patients), diarrhea (22% of patients), and insomnia (40%).
But according to Big Pharma firm Gilead Sciences, they now have a breakthrough hep C treatment—Sovalidi—that will increase cure rates and slash the amount of time patients need to be on interferon. This drug, they say, will “have a major impact on public health” and mark “a new era” in hepatitis C treatment.
That may be true—for the few who can afford it.
Sovalidi costs $1,000 a day—that is, $1,000 per pill—which is between $84,000 and $189,000 per treatment course. With this pricing, Sovaldi is expected to earn its producer $2 billion in 2015 and $9 billion by 2017, making it the biggest-selling drug of all time.
There are countless reasons why America boasts the world’s highest drug prices, including reverse payments (legal bribes that prevent generics from entering the market) and the government-protected pharmaceutical monopoly over natural solutions.