NOTE: My statements are not necessarily my opinions. I often post point-counterpoint essays in which I strongly take one side of an issue and later counter that with antithetical views. This intellectual exercise helps me see the merit in opposing opinions and augments my creativity.

FDA raids Rawesome Foods again

Rawesome Foods, which sells raw milk, raw cheese, and other natural products, was raided (again!) by agents from the FDA, CDC, Department of Agriculture, and the LA County Sheriff's Office. The government feels justified in conducting these armed raids because they say that raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheese is not safe to consume even though researchers have identified health benefits of raw cheese (for example, see Feta Cheese Made From Raw Milk Has Natural Anti-Food-Poisoning Properties).

The FDA doesn't round up a posse of armed agents to raid grocery stores that sell pasteurized milk and cheese, which the government deems safe.

Try telling that to my bowels. For the past few days, they've been working overtime expelling remnants of Shurfresh mozzarella cheese. Although it is made from pasteurized milk, it had enough germs in it to change my plans, giving me an opportunity to test if Charmin® toilet paper is indeed softer.

When I opened the bag of cheese, I immediately detected an odor that, with the benefit of hindsight, I now realize indicated this Shurfresh mozzarella cheese surely wasn't fresh even though I consumed it well before its expiration date. All mozzarella cheese has a slight odor, but this was much stronger. I've previously detected brand-to-brand variation in cheese odor, with some good cheese positively rank, so I wasn't too alarmed. It was nearing midnight, I was tired and hungry, and there wasn't much else to eat except the zucchini-pumpkin bars I'd been munching on the past few days. They were amazingly delicious, but I was hungry for something with more protein—hence the hankering for cheese.

I awoke five hours later with abdominal cramps that caused me to make a beeline for the bathroom, where I spent much of the next several hours and considerably too much time over the next week, evacuating enough fluid that I felt weak, lightheaded, and raw, in spite of the soft Charmin®. Accompanying chills caused me to don a sweater even on warm, sunny summer days.

I consumed unpasteurized food thousands of times and never become ill from it, but I acquired foodborne illness several times from products given the seal of approval from the Department of Agriculture, FDA, and CDC. Some of this stuff, especially the restaurant food, is so highly processed that it barely resembles food, yet even that junk can transmit germs and their toxins that make people temporarily miserable or even send them to an early grave.

Kentucky Fried Chicken was ordered to pay $8.3 million to a girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralyzed after eating chicken contaminated with Salmonella “because of the failure of one or more employees of KFC” to follow proper preparation rules, which Justice Stephen Rothman described as “negligent.”

Restaurant-acquired Salmonella put one of my friends in the hospital for 11 days during Christmastime, producing stool so foul-smelling the hospital personnel refused to empty her bedpan. A Salmonella carrier state, coupled with doctors who didn't know how to treat it, caused her to miss that year of nursing school.

One could fill many thick books describing all food poisoning cases in the U.S. every year. If so much misery were inflicted by raw or otherwise natural foods from small companies without political clout, the FDA would feel justified in using bazookas to safeguard consumers. However, when the germs come from companies that are politically better connected, the FDA and other federal and state bureaucracies give them a slap on the wrist if they don't do what they usually do: ignore it.

As a doctor and as someone who has better things to do than spend time in my bathroom, I am concerned about food safety. I am not suggesting that raw milk and cheese are always safe (they are not), but even food given the thumb's up from our government isn't necessarily safe, either.

This issue is more complex than you might think; it is not simply a matter of considering a food to be healthy if it contains no more than acceptable levels of germs and their toxins. For example, a food isn't necessarily safe if it doesn't produce cramps and diarrhea soon after eating it; it may help clog your arteries and hence lop decades off your life. That's safe?

I met a family who ate nothing but simple, basic foods, most of which came from their farm or other local farms, not a processed food company that adds unpronounceable chemicals to their products because they care more about their profits than your health and happiness. When I met that family, I was pleasantly stunned by their appearance. No makeup, no fancy clothes, and no jewelry, but skin, hair, teeth, eyes, and bodies that screamed NATURALLY HEALTHY. If the oldest son were on TV or a magazine cover, he would surely be the all-time-greatest teenage heartthrob in history. The most elite supermodels in the world would envy the beauty of the oldest daughter, and to look fabulous she did not need makeup artists, hair stylists, fashion designers, and photographers skilled in erasing flaws with Photoshop.

After meeting tens of thousands of people in my professional and personal life, I've noticed that people who eat more natural foods are more likely to look healthier, preserve their appearance, and live longer with fewer health and emotional problems. Thus, while I applaud government agencies that sincerely care about food safety, I think they are taking a rather myopic view of it. Furthermore, Americans are constitutionally guaranteed freedoms that give them the freedom to determine what they want to do: good or bad, as long as it doesn't hurt others.

If you have the right to eat Twinkies® at every meal (and you do), why shouldn't you have the freedom to consume raw milk and cheese? If you try to live off Twinkies®, you won't live long. The health risk of trying to live off them is much greater than the health risk of consuming raw milk and cheese. Therefore, the government doesn't have a constitutional leg to stand on if it tried to justify its war on raw milk and cheese by pointing to their health risks.

I've had patients whose diets consisted of nothing but junk food that contributed to or caused their ill health. While they are extreme examples, almost every American consumes a suboptimal diet that degrades his or her health, mood, brainpower, and energy. The cumulative effect of our poor diets is inflicting a heavy price directly (as via increased healthcare costs) and indirectly, such as via reduced productivity that contributes to our economic problems.

If “because it's bad for you” gives the government the right to wage war on food suppliers, they should turn their attention to the huge corporations that fill our bodies with junk. Predictably, they won't. Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are routinely revoked or limited to those who cannot or will not pay for favorable connections to politicians. One of my relatives, Chester Arthur, who did more than any other U.S. President to curb corruption, would turn over in his grave if he knew how our constitutional freedoms are being revoked by politicians who want us to buy them.

Liberty means having the freedom to do what you want to do, not what some bureaucrat with a badge and a gun wants you to do.

The Preamble of the U.S. Constitution presents why it was written:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [British variant of defense], promote the general Welfare*, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

* The “general Welfare” has nothing to do with modern-day welfare, which is compulsory income redistribution. General Welfare refers to the good fortune, prosperity, health, happiness, and well-being of all U.S. citizens, not just the ones who are disabled, or the ones who pursue prosperity by getting up at the crack of noon.

Note to the liberal hit men paid 6-figure salaries to attack me by twisting my words:

  1. I am not opposed to all welfare—just the “make it a way of life” welfare system that discourages people from contributing their fair share of work.
  2. I am not wholly conservative. Far from it, in fact.

Had our Founding Fathers known of how the U.S. government would morph into a bloated and authoritarian monster, they and the colonists would have emphatically rejected it, preferring the considerably less onerous taxation and control imposed by the King of Great Britain.

The United States was formed to foster liberty and freedom, NOT reduce it by taxing and regulating almost everything. The United States is supposed to be the land of the free.

Free (adjective): Not controlled, restrained, regulated, restricted, or obligated; not subject to any burden, fee, charge, obstruction, impediment, or limitation; exempt from external direction, rules, or requirements.

Fetter (noun): Something that restricts or imposes a restraint.

Fettered (transitive verb): To restrict the freedom of; shackle.

No one with a straight face and common sense could say that Americans are more free than fettered. Almost everything we do, and everything we own, is regulated, taxed, or otherwise controlled—that is, NOT free. Liberty is but a quaint memory in the United States.

Related topics

FDA raid on raw milk: Rawesome food club

Notes:

  1. Amish farm kids remarkably immune to allergies: study (drinking raw cow's milk seems to be one reason)
  2. Political Connections Linked to Corporate Corruption
  3. Spoilt Food Soon a Thing of the Past?: using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to identify food contaminants.
  4. If the FDA is more concerned about health than money, why did it approve recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)?
The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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