The Raw Milk Revolution
Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights
by David E. Gumpert
Foreword by Joel Salatin
"David Gumpert has become the official chronicler of the ‘raw milk movement’ in the United States. The Raw Milk Revolution is a highly readable expose that successfully captures how the controversy over raw milk is at the center of a larger battle between the industrial food system and the local food movement. Gumpert explains how raw milk, more than any other food, threatens proponents of the ‘germ theory,’ centralized food production, and the ‘nanny state.’ The Raw Milk Revolution is an extremely important book because it sounds a clear warning that upholding the right to produce and consume raw milk is critical in preserving our food freedoms in general."
—Peter Kennedy, President, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Beginning in 2006, the agriculture departments of several large states—with backing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—launched a major crackdown on small dairies producing raw milk. Replete with undercover agents, sting operations, surprise raids, questionable test-lab results, mysterious illnesses, propaganda blitzes, and grand jury investigations, the crackdown was designed to disrupt the supply of unpasteurized milk to growing legions of consumers demanding healthier and more flavorful food.
The Raw Milk Revolution takes readers behind the scenes of the government’s tough and occasionally brutal intimidation tactics, as seen through the eyes of milk producers, government regulators, scientists, prosecutors, and consumers. It is a disturbing story involving marginally legal police tactics and investigation techniques, with young children used as political pawns in a highly charged atmosphere of fear and retribution.
Are regulators’ claims that raw milk poses a public health threat legitimate? That turns out to be a matter of considerable debate. In assessing the threat, The Raw Milk Revolution reveals that the government’s campaign, ostensibly designed to protect consumers from pathogens like salmonella, E. coli 0157:H7, and listeria, was based in a number of cases on suspect laboratory findings and illnesses attributed to raw milk that could well have had other causes, including, in some cases, pasteurized milk.
David Gumpert dares to ask whether regulators have the public’s interest in mind or the economic interests of dairy conglomerates. He assesses how the government’s anti–raw-milk campaign fits into a troublesome pattern of expanding government efforts to sanitize the food supply—even in the face of ever-increasing rates of chronic disease like asthma, diabetes, and allergies. The Raw Milk Revolution provides an unsettling view of the future, in which nutritionally dense foods may be available largely through underground channels.