No Crying Over Raw Milk: Analysis of the United States’ Raw Dairy Controversy

Written by Jessi VanStaalduinen

Raw Milk from natural.news

In my Ethical Eating and Food Movements class, I was to explore a food movement and determine my own opinion on the subject. I went into this assignment with pure curiosity and little bias. My research alarmed me and I have been unable to drink pasteurized milk since. I buy raw milk from a local farm in Fremont, NH.

The population of the United States consumes government regulated, pasteurized dairy products sold at almost every grocery store, the rise of interest in its counterpart, raw dairy, has sparked controversy; this paper will illuminate evidence, contradictory to publicized claims, that raw dairy is safe and citizens should have the right to choose what they consume.

Introduction:

The phrase ‘raw milk’ is not familiar to the average American. Despite what many believe, the milk on supermarket shelves is not considered raw due to the mostly mandatory processing and pasteurization it endures. So, what exactly is raw milk? “Milk that comes from pastured cows, that contains all the fat and has not been processed in any way,” is a definition from one of the largest raw milk supporting foundations in the US (A campaign for Real Milk, 2016). Millions of Americans are unaware of the status of their milk, and those that do know have been led to believe pasteurizing milk is necessary for safe consumption. Government organizations and the dairy industry mislead and lie to consumers about the safety of raw dairy and have made significant efforts to make the distribution and production difficult for dairies and consumption difficult for consumers. These false claims are scare tactics to ensure monopolized market share and to protect factory farms.

I argue, that despite what anyone says, consumers in a free nation have the right to choose what kind of milk they want to buy. Both pasteurized and raw milk, and cheeses, have their pros and cons. Consumers should have readily-available, accurate information on which to base their decisions so that a trip to the grocery store does not require extensive research in order for the health and safety of their families.

This paper will explore the raw dairy industry, the benefits of consuming raw milk, the constraints placed on these dairies, and the truth about pasteurization. Thorough explanations of the arguments for and against raw milk will be presented, although I am sure my bias is obvious. I framed my research through the theoretical framework perspective and I hope it will enhance my point of view.

Theoretical Framework:

Food studies is an up and coming field. Not many institutions have programs that focus solely on it. Thus, the raw dairy industry has been at the mercy of government organizations, lack of public knowledge, and monopolizing agriculture corporations. The discussions about raw dairy are limited and mostly one-sided. Scare tactics are used by both industry and government to convince the public that pasteurization is the only way to safely drink milk, while the small percentage of the population (a difficult statistic to form) that produces and consumes raw milk is a victim of slander and not able to equally defend themselves.

My research included scientific studies of pathogenic bacteria found in raw and pasteurized milk, small dairy testimonials, extensive books on raw food by homeopathic doctors and journalists, and government websites. I believe that all of these sources are applicable to this kind of research because industry cannot be summarized by one model alone. Consumers and producers have valuable opinions, laboratories have extensive studies, and doctors have years of hands on experience; these all help the understanding of the issues surrounding the raw dairy movement.

My paper is an analysis of many sources that uncovers the truth after understanding both sides of the argument. The contribution to the field this paper makes is different because when I began my research I thought of both raw and pasteurized milk equally. After comparing conflicting resources, it became clear to me that this was not the case. My paper is unique and important to the field because I was unbiased prior to my research, strongly considered both sides, and by shedding further light can help people understand raw milk.

To read more, check out Jessi’s blog at https://gastroshield.wordpress.com/.

 

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Giselle Kennedy Lord Named James Beard Foundation National Scholar

Gastronomy at BU is proud to announce that student Giselle Kennedy Lord was recently selected as the James Beard Foundation National Scholar Northwest.

The JBF National Scholars Program “provides ten high-impact scholarships of $20,000 each to food-focused candidates of exceptional talent.” Winners are chosen based on academic standing, personal recommendations, and professional recommendations.

A recent dinner hosted by Giselle Kennedy Lord.

“My application for the scholarship was centered around my focus in the BU gastronomy program, which is how people express home and identity through food and cooking. My thesis research, which I will do in the Spring of 2018, will be a deep dive into that theme as it relates to the Lebanese diaspora in Argentina and the Americas,” says Lord.

Giselle lives in the Columbia Gorge area of Oregon, where she launched her small business, Quincho, in 2015. In the years before launching Quincho and becoming a Gastronomy student at BU, she worked as a freelance video producer specializing in food and agriculture in the Pacific Northwest.

Giselle now hosts pop-up, food-culture-focused events with Quincho and she is currently working on launching an online shop of cookware and kitchenware connected to distinct food cultures and artistic traditions. According to Lord, “Quincho is about culture, community, and cookery. It’s a celebration of foodways and culinary tradition the world round. It’s a call to gather with like-minded people to learn something new, be inspired to explore, and empowered to create.”

Giselle will travel to Argentina in January to conduct ethnographic research for her thesis. In between interviews and kitchen sessions, she will be on the lookout for unique cookware and working to forge connections with local artisans. She also plans to eat a lot of empanadas, peruse every street fair, and hunt for vintage cookbooks.

You can follow her journey on the Quincho blog: http://quincho.co/blog/

Announcing the Fall 2017 Pépin Lecture Series in Food Studies and Gastronomy

Boston University’s Programs in Food and Wine and MLA in Gastronomy Program are pleased to announce the following lectures scheduled for the Fall 2017 semester. Lectures in the Pépin Series are free and open to the public, but registration with Boston University’s Programs in Food and Wine is required.


The Cooking Gene, with Michael Twitty

Tuesday, October 24 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

Renowned culinary historian, Michael W. Twitty, offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, using the popular but complicated lens of Southern cuisine and food culture. To do so he traced his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom. Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touch points in our ongoing struggles over race.  His mission, to re-create the culinary genius of Black colonial and antebellum chefs sits side by side with revealing truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.

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“The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South” by Michael W. Twitty. HarperCollins

Food on the Page, with Megan Elias

Wednesday, November 8 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences Building, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

What’s in a cookbook? More than repositories of recipes, cookbooks play a role in the creation of taste on both a personal and national level. From Fannie Farmer to the Chez Panisse Cookbook to food blogs, American cookbooks have commented on national cuisine while also establishing distinct taste cultures. In Food on the Page, Megan Elias explores what it means to take cookbooks seriously as a genre of writing that is as aspirational as it is prescriptive.

Food on the Page Elias
“Food on the Page: Cookbooks and American Culture” by Megan Elias, University of Pennsylvania Press

Remembering German-Jewish Culture through its Culinary Traditions, with Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman

Wednesday, November 29 at 6pm
College of Arts and Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Ave, Room 224

What happens to a food tradition when its culture starts to vanish? The advent of the Nazi era brought about the demise of 1000 years of Jewish life in Germany and its cuisine, which differs greatly from the Eastern European one that is generally the accepted definition of Jewish food. This food tradition lives on in the kitchens of some German Jews and in the memories of many others around the world. This talk, by a mother-daughter author team with a German-Jewish background, will address issues of food and memory, food as cultural identity, and preserving and documenting traditional recipes.

German Jewish Cookbook
“The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and a History of a Cuisine” by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman, Brandies University Press

 

 

A Fresh Crop of Gastronomy Students for fall 2017

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 “What We Get to Eat in The Country” (Puck magazine, 1906). Library of Congress image.

It is just about back-to-school season, when the Gastronomy Program will welcome a new group of students.. Here a fresh batch of their bios and photos. Enjoy getting to know them!

Ariana Gunderson grew up in the Boston area and looks forward to returning for her Ariana GundersonGastronomy MLA at BU. After graduating with a BA in Egyptology from Brown University, Ariana biked to brunch as often as possible while working in DC as a strategy consultant. She then completed a yearlong State Department fellowship in Germany, studying anthropology and excavating a medieval castle. Most recently, Ariana lived in Mexico City, where she continued her consulting work and ate many a tamal. While at BU, Ariana hopes to study refugee and migrant foodways.

 


Justine MartinOriginally from a small bilingual mill town in Northern Maine on the border of French-speaking Canada, Justine Martin inherited her deep love of food and bringing people together from her grandmother. Over seemingly endless buffets of food at countless holidays, family gatherings, and town celebrations, she saw how her grandmother’s French Acadian cooking brought people from all walks of life together.

It was this upbringing and her relationship with her grandmother that first sparked her interest in the powerful role food plays in our lives and in our interactions with others—next door and around the globe. Now, Justine spends nearly all of her spare time cooking, eating, researching, and talking about food and is excited to join the Gastronomy program this fall to connect with others who share her passion. In bringing together her love of food, writing, and culture, she seeks to contribute to the world of food writing and journalism in a unique and meaningful way.

Justine earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and spent two years as a 2nd grade and health teacher in Southern Maine. She then moved to the Boston area, where she works as a university development writer and lives with her husband and two fur balls: Ambrose, the moody yet secretly affectionate cat, and Mabel, the crazy-pants clown of a Boston Terrier.


Meghan Russell grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to Penn State University,Meaghan Russell graduating with a degree in History. Since then she has lived in Washington D.C. and Boston working in consulting and technology.

Meghan always enjoyed helping in the kitchen and going to the grocery store and famers market with her mom growing up, but her passion for food really took off after graduating college. After years of cooking for friends and family, she started her own blog (vegetableway.com) a few years ago as a way and is excited to get back to posting on it more regularly.

As a way to get more involved in food advocacy issues, she started volunteering at the Daily Table, a grocery store in Dorchester, MA. At BU Meghan plans to focus on policy and business, looking for ways to address food access issues and promote local, sustainable food choices through awareness and education.

 

Anthropology of Food: Food Maps

When you go out to dinner with friends and family do you imagine the connections that are being made between the people, space, and the food?  Well, students of the Fall ’16 Anthropology of Food course have mapped it out for you!

Below you will find student interpretations of the relationships that are created when groups and communities share food.


“My project began out of a curiosity for how the Mexican tamale became a favored delicacy in the American South, particularly amongst African Americans. The original plan was to identify regional tamale distinctions, tracing the food out of the Mississippi Delta. Instead the tamale tells of a greater story of diaspora and asks for us to rethink cultural exchange in the Americas by using the Gulf region as the epicenter.” -Dani Willcutt

-Giselle Kennedy Lord

“What I found so fascinating about this project is that each one of us in class followed the same guidelines and came up with entirely different interpretations. I began with the location I wanted to focus on—Tatte in Brookline—and then the rest just came as I conducted my observations. I wanted to look into why it was that I so often left Tatte feeling unsatisfied in some way. I decided to map the space and in doing so I realized that on a spacial and emotional level the cafe was clogged and uncomfortable leading to negative emotions in the space. The cafe’s layout is largely responsible for this along with other factors that I mention in my paper.”  -Rachel DeSimone

food-map-641

Halloween Food Map

These maps reflect the food shopping patterns of a 4-person household over a one month period of time. The maps were developed using actual food expenses in association with the physical address of purchase. The final results delineate location, category, cost and frequency of food buying behavior.” -Andrew Philips