April 9, 2019

Where is the Truth About Milk?

Nat Farbman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images


Guest Blog

Readers of Wilhelm Reich’s book, The Cancer Biopathy, (pages 63-64) may recall that Reich examined many fluids fluorophotometrically as an indicator of their “orgonotic potency,” i.e., their energetic chargeOn a scale of 1 to 100, distilled water was set at 1. When comparing milks on this scale, pasteurized had a value of 55 and milk that was not pasteurized had a value of 100+. Among all fluids, milk that was not pasteurized measured well above all others. Except for reporting of this data in a table, Reich did not discuss the specific findings as related to milk. But it is not unreasonable to assume that, concerned as he was with natural energy, he valued highly charged foods. As an interesting side note, Reich’s son Peter wrote a book entitled A Brief History of Milk (published at Smashwords) in which he recalls drinking Certified Milk — unpasteurized milk produced under supervision of a Medical Milk Commission.

In 2006 in response to increasing public interest, I began organizing educational programs that dealt with local, natural, and organic foods. These presentations evolved into a series of seminars focused on raw milk and the need for informed consumer choice. I had also wanted to address the concerns of New Jersey dairy farmers who wanted to be able to legally market fresh unprocessed milk. In New Jersey it is illegal to distribute raw milk, which is not the case in most other states as well as most countries in Europe. 

Once this raw milk educational program was announced, I soon found myself at the center of a huge controversy. To deepen my understanding of the subject matter in question, I conducted an extensive literature search to uncover the scientific, legal, political, and historical facts concerning fresh unprocessed milk. I wanted to be able to thoroughly address the opposition to my outreach program and do so with documentation. My literature search turned up a number of essential facts that must be understood regarding raw milk.  

First, there are two kinds of raw milk: raw commodity milk intended for processing and fresh unprocessed raw drinking milk for human consumption. Commodity milk is mass-produced — with the understanding that it will be pasteurized. Raw drinking milk is produced for those who want their milk fresh—not processed. Unpasteurized drinking milk requires a much higher standard of production. In some respects “raw milk” is an unsatisfactory term but it is a commonly used term. Although rather long and wordy, we sometimes instead refer to it as Whole Fresh Unprocessed Milk.  

With freedom comes responsibility. The careful production of fresh milk is carried out chiefly by dedicated dairy farmers who are proud of their product. However, unscrupulous producers can provide unsanitary milk to the public, putting both the customer and the fresh unprocessed dairy business at risk. To remedy this situation, several non-government organizations have, in a self-regulated way, stepped forward to provide education and training on how to provide careful production practices. Rather than banning access to fresh, unprocessed milk — too often the first impulse of government officials — this type of coordinated oversight is incumbent upon the producers. However, in its absence, there may be a legitimate role for government to inspect and regulate its production.
Secondly, it is widely assumed that no illnesses or deaths are ever linked to pasteurized milk. This is not surprising since the proponents of mandatory pasteurization imply that this treatment of milk guarantees its safety. However, the food safety record for pasteurized milk clearly shows otherwise. Here are just a couple of notable examples documented in JAMA: In 1985 a massive outbreak of salmonellosis traced to pasteurized milk resulted in over 168,000 illnesses and in 2007, Listeria from pasteurized milk was linked to three deaths.

Thirdly, roughly 12 million people in the US population drink unpasteurized milk regularly and on average less than 150 illnesses per year are associated with its consumption. A recent study of the frequency of outbreaks associated with unpasteurized milk has declined significantly since 2010.  This seems remarkable since during that same period legal distribution and the number of consumers have both been steadily increasing. This particular study concluded that, “Controlling for growth in population and consumption, the outbreak rate has effectively decreased by 74% since 2005.” The study suggests that the improving food safety record is the result of expanding safety training for raw milk dairy producers.

Fourth, dietary health benefits can only come from foods that people choose to eat. Among the many reasons people give for choosing to drink fresh unprocessed milk, taste ranks highest. This fact may partly account for the steady decline in market demand for highly processed pasteurized milk over the last 40 years.

Fifth, in my search and review of the scientific literature (1917 to present) comparing the health benefits of unpasteurized versus pasteurized milk, I found over twenty studies providing evidence for health benefits uniquely associated with unpasteurized milk.  Some of the evidence comes from studies with unpasteurized human breast milk. In instances where the mother cannot breast feed, hospitals nearly always recommend pasteurization of the donor milk even though the research shows that babies have better health outcomes from being fed unpasteurized breast milk. Recent studies with bovine milk, mostly from research conducted in Europe, finds increasing evidence that drinking unpasteurized milk provides protection from allergies, asthma, and respiratory infections.

For context, it is useful to know that leafy greens — and not raw milk — are at the top of the list of most risky foods. Education and training programs are now being offered to vegetable producers to address this concern. When the Food Safety Modernization Act became law, it was assumed that this new FDA authority would lessen the number of outbreaks, yet numerous illness and deaths continue to be linked to eating leafy greens.  In a November 2018 FDA press announcement Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released this statement: “Earlier this year, we experienced the largest E. coli O157:H7 outbreak the country has seen in the last decade, leaving hundreds sick and claiming the lives of five people who consumed contaminated romaine lettuce.” Outbreaks like this raise an interesting question: why despite having the highest safety risk of any food, has no one called for a prohibition against eating raw leafy greens or any other food for that matter? 

No other fresh food has been singled out and is so disparaged as fluid raw milk. The irrational behavior of regulatory agencies towards raw milk dairy farmers is recorded in several excellent documentary films: Farmagedon, Organic Hero or Bioterrorist, and Milk War.  

Since there is no way to guarantee the safety of any food, one is compelled to ask, why are government agencies like the CDC and FDA so strongly opposed to the consumption of raw milk? Why does it elicit such strong emotional reactions? The reasons remain obscure, but could it be that “natural, unprocessed milk” brings with it sexual connotations, particularly as it relates to human breast milk? Or possibly the reason lies in raw milk being a highly charged “alive” food?

Ten years ago, after attending one of a series of lectures I hosted at Rutgers University, Richard Schwartzman, D.O. wrote a blog post entitled Government vs. Raw Milk. In that post he suggested that irrational opposition and legal challenges that producers and customers of fresh unprocessed milk are met with may be explained by what Wilhelm Reich called the Emotional Plague. To have an understanding and appreciation for the nature of the emotional plague, the reader should read not only Dr. Schwartzman’s post which summarizes it, but should also become familiar with Reich’s original writings on the subject. They can be found in the following five books: The Emotional Plague of Mankind Vol 1 (The Murder of Christ) and Vol 2 (People in Trouble); The Function of the Orgasm; Character Analysis; and Listen Little Man

Taken together, these facts suggest the opposition to the sale of raw milk and the public’s freedom to choose what they wish to consume is in reality driven by the emotional plague. As Dr. Schwartzman said in his blog post, the emotional plague is “a force that drives authorities to exert control over the lives of others for their own good.… Those suffering with the plague cannot tolerate actions that don’t conform to their rigid ways of thinking.” 

Beneath the stated motive that these individuals act purely for the benefit of others there is always an unconscious intolerance of natural functioning. Reich believed that fighting back against the emotional plague was central to establishing greater health and wellbeing among people. To be effective in this battle one must stand up for the truth and have the courage to expose the falsehoods used by the emotional plague.   

My academic research and teaching about raw milk has since evolved into a scholarly article based on this experience. Published as an open access journal article, I reference and briefly discuss Dr. Schwartzman’s blog post titled Government vs. Raw Milk. My article, available on the web, is published in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Cambridge University Press: Securing Fresh Food from Fertile Soil, Challenges to the Organic and Raw Milk Movements.

Joseph Heckman, Ph.D. Professor of Soil Science, Rutgers University, teaches courses in Soil Fertility, Organic Crop Production, and Graduate Student Seminar. He conducts research and extension programs on optimizing nutrition and soil quality in support of plant, animal, and human health. Dr. Heckman has authored numerous publications on soil fertility and organic farming. He was the lead author of a chapter on Soil Fertility in Organic Farming published by the American Society Agronomy. He is co-author of the books Fresh Milk Production, The Cow Edition and Fresh Milk Production, The Goat Edition.  Most recently he published a review and analysis of the raw milk movement: Securing Fresh Food from Fertile Soil, Challenges to the Organic and Raw Milk Movements

Related works:


Anonymous said...

Yet another example of government control over are personal lives.

Joseph Heckman said...

To learn more about milk attend this event: Pet Food Justice Conference, April 20 from 11am-4pm at RVCC, Bridgewater, NJ regarding raw dairy for pets in New Jersey. Attached below is the linked to the website with further information.

Psychiatric Orgone Therapy

One of Wilhelm Reich’s most important and lasting contributions is a unique treatment for emotional disorders called psychiatric orgone therapy. Reich began as a psychoanalyst and was a member of Freud’s inner circle, but moved away from Freud’s method of free association when he developed a more effective verbal approach he called character analysis. Later he came to recognize the existence of a specific biologic energy in living organisms that he called “orgone,” which was coined from the word “organism.” With this discovery Reich was able to combine his verbal method with a technique that could normalize a person’s energy. The result was an entirely new approach to treating emotional disorders that he named orgone therapy.

Reich’s work with patients convinced him the disturbance in an individual’s energy state is caused by contractions in the body, especially in the musculature. He called these contractions “armor,” and established that they begin to develop in infancy as a way to block out emotionally painful events.

Past traumatic experiences are locked in the body--and they remain throughout life. How this happens is not fully understood, but there is no question that anxiety, anger and sadness, as well as the other upsetting feelings and emotions from childhood are not forgotten. Armor not only holds the disturbing past, causing it to remain alive but out of consciousness awareness, but it also affects how one feels and functions. Because living a natural healthy life depends upon whether a person’s energy flows freely or is blocked, the aim of psychiatric orgone therapy is to free up energy by breaking down armor. As these areas of holding dissolve, patients release their long buried feelings and emotions in the safety of the therapist’s office. They most usually surface spontaneously with the specific method Reich innovated, without the need of urging or any intervention on the part of the treating psychiatrist. However, occasionally, pressure needs to be applied to spastic muscles, or other techniques used to normalize the body. Because this treatment combines a verbal approach with a physical technique, it addresses both the mind and the body to bring about profound changes in how one thinks, feels and functions.

Today almost all people seeking treatment from a psychiatrist are given medications to reduce their symptoms. However, with psychiatric orgone therapy it is usual that patients, over time, find themselves able to wean themselves off medication and function without pharmacologic treatment. Reich’s therapy is unique in that it not only relieves distressing symptoms, but also does much more. It enables individuals to expand and feel pleasure, and better enjoy the many satisfactions life has to offer.

There are people who claim to practice some form of “Reichian” or “orgone” therapy, even though they have had no formal training in medicine or psychology. Often the techniques used by these self-proclaimed therapists have little or nothing to do with the very specific methods Reich developed and taught. The value of such therapies is questionable and may even harm those who get involved in them.

Qualified psychiatric orgone therapists have extensive training. They are physicians who have gone on to specialize in psychiatry and then in the very unique subspecialty of orgone therapy. They practice in much the same way as Reich did more than a half century ago. Ph.D. Psychologists who have had proper training can practice a form of orgone therapy safely and effectively. However, it is crucial they have supervision by a qualified psychiatric orgone therapist.