A rally has been set for tomorrow in front of the magistrate’s office in Mt. Holly, Pa., in support of a Mennonite farmer who has brought the wrath of the government on himself for selling raw milk and other products – an act government prosecutors say violates a number of regulations.
That’s when the next court hearing is scheduled for Mark Nolt, a Pennsylvania farmer who turned in his state permit to sell raw milk because it didn’t allow for the sale of the other products he offered.
“They swooped in … like a bunch of Vikings, handcuffed me and stole $30,000 worth of my milk, cheese and butter,” he told the New York Daily News.
His case is just an example of what the government is trying to do to those who believe – based on medical results – that raw milk is better for them than the processed milk available in most grocery stores, according to Nolt’s supporters.
Processed milk, many believe, leads to clogged arteries, strokes and heart attacks.
According to reports published by the Weston A. Price Foundation, results of a study by the Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom revealed only one percent of the subjects in an ongoing lifestyle study of 5,000 men suffered heart attacks – if they drank full-fat milk and ate butter rather than margarine.
“We learned … that [the] study collected data on 5,000 British men between the ages of 45 and 59 for a period of 10 years. Of those that drank at least a pint of whole milk a day, only one percent suffered heart attacks!” the foundation report said. “Some researchers are already claiming the difference is due to a healthier lifestyle on the part of the milk and butter consumers. Others, however, think that milk and butter may have some yet undiscovered benefits.”
Another article in the British medical journal Lancet also noted that children who consumed “farm milk,” that is, raw, whole, unprocessed milk, had lower levels of asthma and hay fever.
“Researchers examined the history of allergy, asthma and ‘atopic sensitization’ or skin problems in 812 children, 319 of whom had grown up with a ‘regular exposure to a farming environment’ including the consumption of ‘farm milk,’ that is, raw, whole, unprocessed milk. The remaining group of 493 non-farming children acted as a control. Frequency of asthma was reduced from 11 percent found in the control group to one percent among the farming-exposed children. Similarly, hay fever occurred in only three percent of the farming-exposed children, compared with 13 percent of the controls, and atopic sensitization occurred in 12 percent of the farming group and in 29 percent of the controls,” the foundation reported.
According to a blog report on the Cumberland County case in Pennsylvania, Nolt had been under threat of arrest for months, and authorities came for him on April 25.
Jonas Stoltzfus, a fellow farmer and member of the Church of the Brethren, was asked to be a spokesman for Nolt, and confirmed, “Six state troopers and Bill Chirdon of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture trespassed onto his property, and stole $20,000-$30,000 of his product and equipment.”
Stoltzfus reported Nolt turned in his state permit to sell raw milk “because it did not cover all the products he was selling. he felt he was being dishonest selling stuff that was not covered by the permit.”
Stoltzfus said authorities told Nolt people had gotten sick from eating his food, “but no one ever came forward and no proof was ever offered.”
“This is a Gestapo raid,” Stoltzfus told the blog report, “complete with state troopers, raiding a hard-working farmer selling milk to friends and customers.”
The Daily News reported the farmer’s customers were enraged.
“My heart is pounding. I can’t believe what a G– d— police state this is,” one Brooklyn customer told the newspaper. “I gave him $100 last week for a huge delivery of stuff, including raw cream that I planned on using to make cream puffs.”
Nolt told the newspaper he didn’t feel bound by the government’s limits on selling milk.
“The government doesn’t have the right to dictate what I eat, and never will,” he told the paper.
Stoltzfus compared Nolt to “that little black lady in Alabama who wouldn’t go to the back of the bus.”
“Mark believes it is his right to sell, according to the constitution, just like it was Rosa Park’s right to sit wherever she wanted on the bus,” he said.
A blogger who operates under the name The Complete Patient reported the government, in the form of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, had descended on Nolt’s 100-acre farm already in 2007.
“Nolt contends that the regulations have not been approved by the legislature and shouldn’t apply to him because he is selling directly to consumers, via private contracts that are outside the purview of the state, making a privilege out of a right he believes he has – the right to private contracts,” the blogger wrote.
Taaron Meikle, president of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, said Nolt’s case has the highest profile right now because of his arrest and pending court case.
“We have a lot of consumers who are drinking raw milk, because of the health benefits,” she told WND. “What is happening is truly upsetting.
“Basically, what’s happening is farmers are saying they don’t want this raw milk permit because it only applies to milk and hard cheeses, not selling butter or yogurt,” she said.
“[The government] says it is trying to protect the consumer, but the reality is that consumers are very well informed. They are not making a decision based on ignorance,” she said.
She said what consumers need to do is get organized and write letters, becoming activists on the issue if they want to avoid processed milk from cows that are genetically altered or fed genetically altered grains.
A case with some similarities also is going on in California, where federal agents have interrogated employees of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. about its sales of raw milk for pet food.
“FDA has gone on the record as ‘hating raw milk’ in any form,” Mark McAfee, president of Organic Pastures, said. “If Organic Pastures is doing something illegal, all FDA needs to do is come and tell us and we will make the necessary changes to our labels and procedures.”
Jody N. told WND that Nolt’s customers “are in outrage, because they have private contracts with this farmer and their food was stolen.”
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