Ontario Government appeals ruling that allows sale of delicious milk

The Ontario government has announced that they are appealing the ruling allowing farmer Michael Schmidt to sell raw milk.  The government seems to think that unpasteurized milk is a hazard to our health, and thus it should be banned for sale.  The reason this particular case was originally ruled to be legal is that all of Schmidt’s ‘customers’ are actually part owners of the cows.  It’s perfectly legal to consume raw milk, but it’s illegal to sell it.  So it’s not like any of the people buying it were unaware that it was unpasteurized either: they bought shares in the cows specifically so that they could get raw milk.

The government’s arguments stem from the belief that raw milk can contain dangerous levels of harmful bacteria.  But that argument seems a little silly since Canada is the only G8 country to ban the sale of raw milk.  Now, I will admit that I don’t really follow international news that closely, but I am unaware of epidemics of milk-borne disease afflicting people from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK or the United States.  I haven’t heard of any surges of people collapsing on the streets of Paris because they drank some fresh milk.

Some people claim that pasteurization reduces the amount of nutrients available for consumption, and that it kills the good bacteria along with the bad.  While I don’t claim to be an expert on the health effects of milk, I do know that raw milk is delicious.  It absolutely tastes better than any milk that I have bought from the store.

I’m not sure what purpose the government thinks it is serving by fighting this case.  It is spending taxpayer money fighting something that is currently hurting nobody.  The people that are buying the raw milk have made a decision for themselves that they will accept any potential risk from consuming raw milk.  Nobody has been deceived at any point during the sale.  None of the customers have gotten sick when consuming the milk.  So who is the government defending?  Is it protecting people from making decisions for themselves?  How is it that we live in a society where we can buy cigarettes, which are known to cause cancer, but we are prevented from buying milk that might possibly have the potential to make someone sick?  I can go to a restaurant and order steak tartar, but I can’t buy milk fresh from the cow.

It’s not like the ruling banned the practice of pasteurizing milk.  The milk that’s available in stores is still pasteurized and the ruling only stated that ‘cow-share’ programs are legal.  If the ruling is upheld on appeal, then I would still need to purchase a portion of a cow in order to get my raw milk.  There won’t be raw milk in the grocery store where the ignorant masses will confuse it with their regular 1% and sue the government if they get sick.

So I say it’s time for the government to drop its case and just let people live their lives in a way that doesn’t harm others.  If people want to risk getting sick in order do drink a delicious beverage, why should we care?

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