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Help Save New Zealand Raw Milk

Help Save New Zealand Raw Milk

Support Litigation Fund for Dairy Farmers

In one of the more draconian enforcement actions ever taken against raw milk producers, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) brought criminal charges against the farmers of nine different raw milk dairies for violations of that country’s Raw Milk for Sale to Consumers Regulations 2015 (the “2015 regulations”). Some of the defendants have also been charged with violations of the Animal Products Act (APA). The raw milk charges assert that by engaging in the supply of raw cow milk “a direct or indirect risk to human or animal health would be created.”

The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) is aware of specific charges against three of the farms (two of the three are operated by pensioners). Cedric Backhouse and his wife (WAPF chapter leader Susan Gales) of Alt Energy Farm are each being charged with 26 violations of the 2015 regulations and the APA related to the distribution of raw milk and meat through a herdshare agreement; the potential penalties for each defendant are up to 19 years in jail and $1.8 million (over $1.25 million in U.S. dollars) in fines.

Phillippa (Pip) Martin and John Martin of Manna Milk are each facing seven charges with penalties of up to 12 years in jail and $545,000 in fines (over $380,000 US) for alleged violations of the 2015 regulations and the APA related to the distribution of raw milk through a limited partnership agreement.

Paul and Christine Ashton of Lindsay Farms are each facing five charges with penalties up to eight years in jail and $320,000 in fines (over $225,000 US) for alleged violations of the 2015 regulations related to the distribution of raw milk through a limited partnership agreement.

A majority of the farmers charged were operating under a herdshare or a limited partnership business model as a matter of survival after MPI issued the 2015 regulations affecting raw milk production and sales (the regulations went into effect in March 2016). The ministry promulgated the regulations as a result of a 2014 foodborne illness outbreak associated (or blamed on) raw milk consumption where seven people became ill.

The number of dairies selling or distributing raw milk is a fraction of what it was before MPI imposed the new regulations. It is considerably more difficult for the remaining dairies to make a living than it was five years ago. MPI’s enforcement action against the farmers–in addition to putting the charged farms out of business–is designed to create a chilling effect on the remaining farms and on farmers thinking of starting up a raw milk business.

ACTION TO TAKE

WAPF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is accepting donations to help pay legal expenses for the charged farmers. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. To donate, please use the link here (westonaprice.org/donate) and indicate the fund for ‘New Zealand raw milk’. (For those wanting to send a check, please specify that it is for “New Zealand raw milk”.)

MORE BACKGROUND

Before the 2015 regulations went into effect, it was estimated that as many as 200 farms were selling or distributing raw milk in New Zealand; today there could be less than 20% of that number still left.

A. Compliance Barriers

The cost to raw milk farms to comply with the 2015 regulations was in the range of $10,000-$20,000 per year for each farm regardless of what the farm’s production volume was—an expenditure that many farms could not afford. Beyond that, there were several ways that the new requirements significantly hurt the farmers’ ability to make a living.

1. Depot Permits and Burdens

Before 2016, farmers were able to deliver raw milk to a central distribution point (also known as a “depot”), a necessity given the distance between most farms and their customers plus the substantial amount of extra time it takes to deliver door-to-door. The new regulations required a permit for each depot the farmers were delivering to; otherwise, sales were limited to on-farm and to customer premises. Given the estimated cost of permitting each depot, out of the 26 raw milk farms that have registered with MPI (registration was also a requirement in the 2015 regulations), only one has obtained depot permits. Any customer wanting to pick up milk at the depot had to be registered with MPI as a transport operator. There are numerous recordkeeping requirements for a transport operator even when that individual is picking up milk for his or her own family.

2. Sell-by and Use-by Constraints

The most damaging provisions for farmers in the new regulations were sell-by and used-by requirements for raw milk. The regulation for a sell-by time states the following:

“The sell-by time for a lot of milk is the time that is the 30 hours after the commencement of milking for the oldest milk in that lot. (For example, if milking commenced at 7am on Monday 4 June, the sell-by time is 1pm on Tuesday 5 June, even if milk from a subsequent milking is added to that lot.).”

One of the registered farms estimated that this mandate cost them 30% of their business since the farm was unable to meet the time constraints in getting the milk to its more distant customers.

The requirement for the use-by date for raw milk “is 4 days after the commencement of milking for the oldest milk in the lot.”

3. Testing

Another onerous mandate for the farmers is on testing. Dairies are required to test for five different pathogens, coliforms, plate count, somatic cell counts, and “inhibitory substances” every 10 days. Estimates for the cost of testing are around $750 per month.

4. Records

Lastly, the regulations require that farmers not only keep customer names on file for MPI inspection but also every transaction with each customer as well.

B. Alternate Business Models

Many dairies, knowing they couldn’t afford the cost of compliance with the new regulations, went out of business before the new law took effect. Others–believing their only way to stay afloat was to not have to comply with the 2015 regulations–set up business models such as herdshare programs and limited partnership agreements, proceeding in good faith that giving their customers an ownership interest in their dairy livestock would exempt them from the new requirements.

C. MPI Raids

When fewer raw milk producers registered than MPI had anticipated, in 2019 the ministry launched “Operation Caravan”, an investigation of dairies that MPI suspected were not complying with the new regulations. The investigation included the extensive use of MPI undercover operatives. In December 2019 MPI obtained search warrants and raided eight raw milk farms and farmers’ homes around the country, seizing everything from customer lists to computer hard drives. Some of the raided farms shut down; others kept on going. After a year-long investigation, MPI filed criminal charges in December 2020. The Ashtons had registered Lindsay Farm with MPI months earlier, having been told by the ministry that any potential charges would go away if the farm was registered.

Backhouse and Galea are each charged with 17 counts of selling or offering to sell illegally home-killed meat; each count lists the amount allegedly sold as under $100 and one was for only $15.40. The potential fine for each of the 17 charges is up to $75,000. MPI has never accused Backhouse and Galea of making anyone sick with the milk or meat they produced.

An attorney representing one of the charged farmers has been unable to find evidence that any of the charged farmers made anyone ill with the milk they produced. Under the law, MPI can only prosecute those whose products pose a public health risk.

Arraignment for defendants is scheduled to take place in March.The accused farmers and the 250,000 New Zealand residents who consume raw milk need your support.

Please contribute to this effort to protect freedom of choice, strong local food systems, and the right of small farmers to make a living producing nutrient-dense food.

To donate, please use the link here (westonaprice.org/donate) and indicate the fund for ‘New Zealand raw milk’. (For those wanting to send a check, please specify that it is for “New Zealand raw milk”.)

Thanks for your generosity and your help in spreading the word.

READ MORE

LINK: https://www.westonaprice.org/help-save-new-zealand-raw-milk/

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

The NZ authorities that are fine with you drinking glyphosate, 1080 & chlorine have recently conducted raids on raw milk suppliers throughout the country

A number of raw milk suppliers NZ wide have just been raided by MPI. As a consumer of raw milk myself I’ve watched this with interest over more than a decade. The regulatory conditions have gradually tightened up over the years, so that suppliers I’ve spoken with have said it’s become more and more expensive to keep up, costing thousands of dollars, jumping through impossible hoops to remain registered with all boxes ticked. These raids will all of course have the effect of frightening people off supplying altogether, or simply price them out of business as has already happened with many.
(Note in the very apt meme below raw milk is not as yet banned in NZ but as I say, I’ve been watching the signs and it certainly looks to be headed that way).

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NOTE: it’s not banned in NZ …. yet

Such are the vagaries of the NZ corporation (aka government) that is happy to see the known carcinogen glyphosate in your breast milk & water, chlorine in your water (another carcinogen),1080 in your food chain, a myriad of other chemicals, hormones & antibiotics in your food supply, yet treat suppliers of a highly nutritious natural product as criminals. (Note also, ‘probable carcinogen’ is about as close as they’ll admit with glyphosate but hey, the grossly tumoured rats and the current law suits going on in the US right now are surely enough to make you want to stop using it?)

Note raw milk is been described in the articles as ‘dangerous’ for heaven’s sake. And it’s reported people have been sick from drinking it? Really? No details of exactly who and where though. Enough to rark up some suspicion & bias among us by mainstream media doing its job well as always. Humans have consumed raw cows milk for hundreds of years and not died. Whilst I am all for health compliance, let’s face it, the authorities are simply making it all non viable with their hefty costs. Enjoy it while you still can people … they won’t rest until it’s completely gone as has happened in other countries already.

Please do read this article on how raw milk completely healed a little girl of very pervasive eczema that literally controlled her life:

Hello Dolly, Farewell Eczema

And this one on the benefits of raw milk:

The Health Benefits of Raw Milk

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EWR

See links below for just three of the related articles on the milk raids … do a search there are many more :

MPI investigating unregistered raw milk suppliers in Southland

Non-compliant raw milk suppliers ordered to stop selling by MPI

Unregistered raw milk sellers are being called out for their dangerous practice

 

DoC are dragging their feet over OIA requests about the secret storage of 1080 at Whitianga

Thanks to reader manukapath for this link. Have a read of the background info at fyi.org.nz, but do also scroll right down to the last entry on Feb 24th (still unanswered) by S.C. McKee,  a scathing commentary on what DoC should be doing and isn’t. Questions DoC is not answering adequately. For further background on the Whitianga story type Whitianga into the search box here, or go to 1080 under ‘categories’ (left of page). Finally, for those in the Horowhenua, there was a fire in a 1080 storage facility (Horizons) in Levin that the Council did not know about until a week later with word from at least one person of health effects following. Read the article here.

QUOTE:

“Question 1 ( under OIA)
Whom did you inform about the storage of the ecotoxic baits in the Liquor King building? ( from June 8th to October 17th )

Question 2 ( under OIA)
When you read the MSDS, why did you not prepare an emergency response plan knowing that in the worst case scenario of a warehouse fire, extremely toxic gas ( hydrogen fluoride) would be produced, requiring evacuation of anyone in its path?

Question 3 ( under OIA)
When you read the MSDS, you would have read that firemen attending a fire of the baits would have to be trained in the use of breathing apparatus. Why did you not check with the fire chief that they had that equipment and that his staff were trained in the use of breathing apparatus?

It is not responsible to simply dismiss my questions as fear-mongering .

Every organisation has to have health and safety and emergency plans for a worst-case scenario. School teachers when taking students on a walk or a school trip have to do a Risk-Assessment and plan for contingencies. Managing hazardous substances such as 23,700 kg of Class A1 ecotoxic baits carries with it a huge responsibility for health and safety. Especially it being stored in the middle of a town.

Under the Health and Safety at Work ( Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 from December 1st 2017, you are most certainly required have to have an emergency response plan.

The HSNO Controls for Sodium fluroroacetate cereal-based pellets state the following:

You need an emergency response plan.
Refer to the Emergency Preparation section of Your Practical Guide.
You need to refer to the safety data sheets for your substances to find out what personal protective equipment people using each substance need to wear. Also refer to the Keep Safe with Hazardous Substances section of Your Practical Guide.Under HSE, all substances require the use of protective clothing.
You need secondary containment.

Under the Official Information Act, I expect to receive a reply within 20 days, else I may complain to the Ombudsman.

Yours sincerely,

S C McKee

READ MORE OF THE BACKGROUND AT THE LINK BELOW:

https://fyi.org.nz/request/6832-hazardous-substance-inventory-for-1080-stored-in-whitianga-october-2017#followup