Upmarket store Selfridges has been accused of potentially putting customers at risk and breaking the law by selling ‘raw’ milk.
By SEAN POULTER
PUBLISHED: 01:20, 21 March 2012 | UPDATED: 01:20, 21 March 2012
Comment:Upmarket store Selfridges has been accused of potentially putting customers at risk and breaking the law by selling ‘raw’ milk. It is selling the milk, produced on an organic farm in Sussex, from a vending machine and insists it is hugely popular and regularly sells out.
Many traditionalists enjoy raw milk, believing it tastes nicer and may even be better for them.
First, we must distinguish between two types of "raw milk". The first is what is called in the industry as "raw milk destined for pasteurisation" - this is extremely dangerous and should not be drunk under any circumstances. This is the milk that is collected from large-scale commercial dairy farms and eventually ends up in superstores after pasteurization. Because it is destined for pasteurization, then the standards for production of this milk are much lower. The second milk that is referred to as "raw milk" the fresh, natural milk from cows fed on their natural diets, just as it was intended in the creation. This is the milk that has been drunk for thousands of years and can be found today in all parts of the world. However, it is from precaution that a person makes sure this milk is sourced from certified farms, because ultimately, with any type of food, hygiene standards should be maintained and this can impact any type of food. When we speak of "raw milk" we are really speaking of natural, fresh milk as it has always been in Allaah's creation! The term "raw milk" should really be avoided, it is really fresh, natural, pure milk and Allaah refers to it as "labanan khaalisan" in the Qur'an.The term "raw milk" is very misleading, but since it is used, we will employ the term for ease of use.
Second, it has been proven by study after study that organic raw unpasteurized, un-homogenized milk that comes from organically certified and regulated farms is better for one's health than heat treated pasteurized homogenized milk that comes from factory farmed cows that are pumped full of steroids, antibiotics and fed with unnatural feed!
Here's just one of many studies:
Waser, M., K. B. Michels, et al. (2007). "Inverse association of farm milk consumption with asthma and allergy in rural and suburban populations across Europe. Clin Exp allergy 37(5): 661-670.
"Farm milk consumption ever in life showed a statistically significant inverse association with asthma ... Our results indicate that consumption of farm milk may offer protection against asthma and allergy. A deepened understanding of the relevant protective components of farm milk and a better insight into the biological mechanisms underlying this association are warranted as a basis for the development of a safe product for prevention."
So it seems to offer protection from asthma and allergies above and beyond pasteurized homogenized milk.
From Abdullaah bin-Mas'ood who narrates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Indeed Allaah the Most High, did not send down a disease except that He sent down for it a cure, except death. So upon you is cow's milk, for indeed it ruminates upon every herbage". Reported by al-Haakim and declared Saheeh by Imaam al-Albaanee in Saheeh al-Jaami' as-Sagheer (no. 1810)
One thing we do know FOR SURE: The milk the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) and his Companions (radhiyallaahu anhum) drank was NOT pasteurized nor homogenized as these processes are inventions of the last 150 years! In fact it was as "organic" and "free-range" as it can be! Had it contained any inherent harm, or overwhelming suspicion of being affected by harm, he (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) would have informed us regarding that. If humans corrupt a natural product by adding harmful things to it or not taking care in its production or storage, then that does not render the original product in its pure and original form harmful. So if one returns to producing and obtaining milk in a pure, protected, caring and hygienic manner, then that milk is full of goodness, without any doubt or question. And this is what is being done all over the country now. So now where is the harm?
Al-Manaawee, in his "Faid ul-Qadeer", an explanation of as-Suyootee's "Jaami' us-Sagheer", which Imaam al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) did a checking of, comments upon these ahaadeeth, so we will take some quotations from him in this regard , and these are found under the letter "'ayn":
".. meaning, that it gathers "from all of the herbage", meaning from that which is hot, dry and moist (in its nature) and thus its milk approaches balance (in its composition), and when it eats from all (of the types of herbage) then it has gathered together all benefit in its eating. And this eating is for Allaah, not for itself, for if it chose that which is liked over that which is disliked, its eating would have been for itself ..."
He also said:
"... meaning that it does not leave any tree, shrub, herbage except that it attaches to it (eating therefrom), thus its milk is composed of the strength-giving (nutritive elements) of the various shrubs and diverse plants and thus it is as if it is a drink [whose elements] have been brought together and cooked [in the stomach of the cow] and it (i.e. the milk) is a cure for every disease."
Does this description come close to factory-farmed cows stuffed full with animal-based carnivorous feed, pumped full with antibiotics and steroids, deprived sunlight and denied "tree, shrub, and herbage"? The description of this milk described by the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wassallam) resembles the organically-certified milk that comes from "free-range" cows that are not pumped full of drugs and animal feed! There was NO pasteurization in the time of the Prophet (salallaahu 'alaihi wassallam).
Furthermore, good scientific research agrees with this Prophetic tradition:
Perkin MR, Strachan DP. Which aspects of the farming lifestyle explain the inverse association with childhood allergy? J allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jun;117(6):1374-81.
"BACKGROUND: Farmers' children have a reduced prevalence of allergic disorders. The specific protective environmental factors responsible are not yet identified. OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine whether farmers' children in the rural county of Shropshire, England, have a reduced risk of atopy and, if so, to identify the factors responsible. CONCLUSION: Unpasteurized milk consumption was the exposure mediating the protective effect on skin prick test positivity. The effect was independent of farming status and present with consumption of infrequent amounts of unpasteurized milk. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Unpasteurized milk might be a modifiable influence on allergic sensitization in children."
So let us get this into perspective: Booze, all manner of alcoholic drinks, certain drugs, cigarettes and harmful anti-depressants (etc. etc. etc) are all freely available and used by millions without being banned and "criminalized" - BUT the "Government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and its experts" believe that the "public health threat" lies in organically-certified and monitored Raw Milk?! Dear reader! Start thinking for yourselves based upon proofs and realities instead of allowing others to think for you.However the Government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and its experts insist that raw milk, which is not heat-treated or pasteurised to kill off harmful bugs, is a public health threat.
Its health and legal experts have put the store and the farmer involved on notice that they are at risk of prosecution.
The reasons as to why milk became associated with these diseases are known and clearly understood. When industrialization of cities took place on a large scale in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the dairies moved from rural areas into the cities. In the cities, where people lived together in very cramped and unhygienic conditions, diseases spread easily through watever medium, be that water, milk or anything else. The actual farming practices within these dairy farms in cities did not have any hygiene or production protocols, and thus there were people with diseases (tuberculosis etc.) handling milk. This allowed disease to spread through these mediums. There were two ways to handle this: a) to tidy up farming practices - and this was supported by a large number of physicians and doctors, from them Dr. Henry Coit (in the US) and others in this country. They recognized the vital importance of a good, fresh, clean milk supply on the health of children, and they put up a huge battle against pasteurization, and set up their own certification bodies to ensure farms followed good hygiene practices and b) to pasteurize the milk to kill all harmful elements (and in the process destroy the milks vitality). Unfortunately, it is the second that managed to win because it was the easiest and also proved economically better because it led to (inferior) milk that would last longer, and this is why commercial dairies have been waging a battle against local dairy farms, because of economic considerations.Historically, consumption of raw milk was associated with the spread of TB in humans, plus food poisoning bugs such as salmonella, campylobacter and E.coli O157.
As a result, raw milk has been banned outright in Scotland as a health threat since 1983.
These historical facts that can be readily verified are concealed in discussions of fresh, natural milk today. Even in Europe where fresh natural milk is readily available in numerous countries, the large commercial dairies are trying their best with propaganda against fresh milk, because it is a direct threat to their business. If people go to local farms (which are certified by government bodies), the middle men are cut out, the farmers get the bulk of the profits and the huge corporations loose the monopoly.
In any case, this "Public Health" body wants to decide what we should eat and drink. Why not ban the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes in Scotland? Which has killed more people over the last hundred years?! So Organically-certified and monitored raw milk is a such a health risk that it has been banned since 1983? But cigarette and alcohol addiction and the deaths caused through that are not such a great risk..no need to ban that? Makes one wonder: Is this genuine concern for public health or a concern for personal interest or just down-right shallow scientific research!?
Alhamdulillaah! That many of the countries of Europe and many States in the USA have still not made it a "criminal offense" to buy and drink raw milk!There are various exemptions in the rest of the country which allow sales direct by farmers to the public at the gate, at farmers’ markets and via the internet.
At the same time retailers are freely allowed to sell cheese made from unpasteurised milk.
The future of controls on the sale of raw milk were discussed by the FSA board yesterday, where members were divided on the need for action.
Hold on! Between 1912 and 1937!?An expert paper submitted to the board warned: ‘The potential risks associated with the consumption of raw drinking milk have long been recognised.
‘Between 1912 and 1937, about 65,000 deaths from bovine tuberculosis were reported in England and Wales. In addition, raw milk was associated with many cases of brucellosis, food poisoning and other diseases.’
Poor farming practices and bad regulation a century ago cannot and must not be used to ban certified organic production, sale and consumption of Raw unpasteurized milk.
However, these same experts accepted that there have been no reported cases of illness associated with the milk for the past ten years.
Right! Now we're getting to the crux. No reported cases of any illness whatsoever in ten years. What does that tell you? It tells us that it is poor farming practices, poor nutrition, lack of hygiene in food products that sometimes results in illnesses. That was the case with E-Coli, Foot-and-Mouth, "Mad Cows" Disease, TB and countless others. Tighten the regulations, stop feeding animals things that a cockroach would run from, monitor organic farms, let the animals roam upon the land instead of being imprisoned in factory barns for their entire lives, and see the difference.
Wow! An "outright ban" based on a "maybe" and "might". Not a single reported illness in ten years! Report and research after research showing the benefits of raw milk. Think for yourselves based upon the evidence.Board members said the lack of known cases of illness in recent years might be due to the low numbers drinking the milk. Others suggested the absence of evidence that people are falling ill means the FSA need not spend time and money investigating the issue.
Member for Northern Ireland, Dr Henrietta Campbell, said the time has come for an outright ban across the entire country.
What about an "outright ban" on cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, anti-depressants and other "drugs" that have led to hundreds and thousands of deaths over the last ten years? But we want to ban a natural food product that has not even caused a single reported illness in ten years!
So now those who drink organically certified and monitored raw milk are "foolish". So now those who research the issue from both a Prophetic and scientific perspective and decide that drinking organically certified and monitored raw milk are intellectually inferior. Thank you. So this highly qualified member of the FSA who admits that there are no reported illnesses in ten years (and before that) "thinks" that those who drink organic raw milk are "foolish". Based on what exactly then is it a danger to population as a whole? Based on what was happening a century ago due to poor hygiene and regulation?She said: ‘We have to make absolutely clear in our message to the young, the old and the immune-compromised that they should not drink raw milk. Anyone else who does it is foolish.
‘I would go further and look for a ban on the sale of raw milk.’
Colleague, Clive Grundy, said: ‘It only takes one incident for this to be a very serious issue. We would be discussing this in very different terms if that one were a fatality. That deeply concerns me.’
Seems like many they've already made up their mind. Maybe those who have already conducted peer-reviewed research, and are experts in the field are also "foolish" in their findings!The FSA board has given approval for a research and consultation project on whether new controls, including a ban, should be introduced.
But selling cigarettes and cheap alcoholic is not an offense even if "About 100,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking. Smoking-related deaths are mainly due to cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease." (see here).After the meeting, a spokesman said: ‘Both Selfridges and the farmer have been informed that the FSA believes sales of raw cows’ milk from retail premises are an offence under the food Hygiene regulations. Enquiries are on-going.’
Selfridges began selling the raw milk supplied by Hook & Son, from Longleys Farm in Hailsham, Sussex, in December.
"Each year 5,000 to 10,000 people die prematurely from alcohol abuse (in the UK). The more alcohol a population consumes the more alcohol-related damage will result, and consumption has been increasing steadily in England since the second world war." (See here).
"Prescription drugs taken as directed kill 100,000 Americans a year. That's one person every five minutes..The study estimating that 100,000 Americans die each year from their prescriptions looked only at deaths from known side effects. That is, those deaths didn’t happen because the doctor made a mistake and prescribed the wrong drug, or the pharmacist made a mistake in filling the prescription, or the patient accidentally took too much." (See here).
So what should we be looking to outlaw? Organic Raw Milk or cigarettes and booze?
And where do we actually need more stringent regulation?
There is much research to back this up. An article published in August 2006 in the Daily Mail covering research published in the "Journal Of Allergy, Asthma And Immunology" on raw milk:The farm insists it contains beneficial bacteria that are destroyed by pasteurisation and that consumption could reduce children’s risk of suffering allergy-related conditions such as eczema and hay fever.
"There has been a huge increase in the number of children suffering allergies in the past 30 years. One in three is now affected by eczema, hayfever or asthma - double the level 20 years ago.
And in the past ten years, the number of people needing emergency hospital treatment for severe allergic reactions has trebled to about 6,000 a year.
One of the biggest mysteries is why children raised on farms seem to suffer less than those in towns and cities, even though they are exposed to many more allergens.
When researchers at the University of London analysed the diet and health of 4,700 primary school children in Shropshire, they found that those who lived on farms had significantly fewer symptoms of asthma, hayfever and eczema.
The study looked at whether children were breast-fed and how often they were in contact with animals or played in barns. The greatest benefits were found to come from drinking raw milk."
Maybe that FSA member thinks that these researchers are also 'foolish'!
And that is the point. Why should a well-informed consumer be dictated to by a body that has amongst its ranks 'scientists' who think that whoever does not agree with them is foolish, yet cannot bring any evidence to support the claim that certified, organic monitored farms that produce fresh natural milk have caused harm!Selfridges said the FSA has failed to provide clear information on whether its sale of raw milk from a vending machine is illegal.
Selfridges food director, Ewan Venters, said: ‘We have always supported unique products like raw milk. We see ourselves, like many farmers markets, as a platform to launch a variety of choice for our customers to enjoy.
‘We have stringent checks in place to make sure that the products we sell meet the standards of governing bodies, we feel raw milk should be available to everyone.’
Of all the things to outlaw, look at what they wish to outlaw. It almost comical.Its senior technical manager, Melisa Clottey, said: ‘So far we have not received any indication this form of sale is illegal. If this position changes, we will of course ask Hook and Son to remove the vending machine and cease trading.’
The same article states (from researchers at the University of London):
"Untreated milk cuts children's allergies
Drinking "raw" milk could reduce children's risk of suffering allergy-related conditions such as eczema and hayfever, new research suggests.
British academics investigating why farmers' families suffer fewer allergies than others found that even occasional consumption of raw unpasteurised milk had a powerful effect.
Just a couple of glasses a week reduced a child's chances of developing eczema by almost 40 per cent and hayfever by 10 per cent
Blood tests revealed that drinking raw milk more than halves levels of histamine, a chemical pumped out by cells in response to an allergen.
It is thought the milk contains bacteria that help to prime the immune system."
And this is fully in line with the Prophetic ahaadeeth.