Friday, September 26, 2008

The State Steps In, Continued

It has been a couple of weeks since a concerned citizen called the King County Department of Public Health and let them know that raw milk was being served in three coffee shops on Vashon Island. The County reinterpreted the State law that allowed raw milk to be served in food service establishments with proper signage.

The results:

The Vashon Island Beachcomber wrote a lengthy and thorough article on the action. The link to that article is:

Check it out. I was happy with it, although the picture seemed a bit large for my tastes on the hard copy of the paper. It must have been a slow news week on the Island that week.

A lot of my regular customers are angry. Very angry. They see it simply as a choice issue. For the State of Washington and King County to say that an adult person is simply too stupid to comprehend the concept and potential hazards of raw milk is insulting. Evidently the State feels that people are adequately intelligent to read the warning label on the jug of milk in the grocery store but are simply too stupid to read the warning label on the counter of the coffee shop. I simply do not understand the logic here.

The cafes created small take away notices of what the State did and how to contact them to voice an opinion. I am confident that the lovely bureaucrats in Olympia got a lot of angry personal emails from lots of great people on Vashon. I like that.

The result of this issue for me is that I lost three great accounts and lots of great customers. I keep cows and sell milk because I like the milk and I like the people that buy my milk. Luckily it is winter and the volume of milk is slowing down, but the State certainly cost this dairy at its bottom line. When I am feeling angry it is hard not to think that that is the goal: to push me out of business so that they don't have to worry about raw milk any longer. When I am in my right mind, I realize that they are not creative enough to plan such strategies.

What is most annoying is that the smug person who felt it was their responsibility to call in to the State concerning raw milk in cafes on Vashon is feeling even smugger. They got their way. The State has told them that they did a great job, they have saved the good people of Vashon Island and by extension all of Washington from their gross inability to read a milk warning label. The bumbling populace can now go about in their illiterate lives; drinking pasteurized swill from the large five thousand cow manure-laden dairies. The nutrient-poor white water will continue to flow, keeping the huge corporate bottlers in business. Thank you Mrs. Smug, you are saving us.


  1. Hi, great blog. Interesting story. Shows that legalization is not the total answer. I'm wondering what is. Hope you don't mind that we excerpted a couple of your articles in a recent post on our blog at

  2. Kurt, Your blog is amazing. You are so thoughtful about the process, your animals, the people you deal with. I wonder if the old farmers were able to take the time or even thought to take the time to think about how beautiful the world of a farm is. They must have thought about how hard the work is, which I am sure you know, and I think they loved their animals. Do you suppose those farmers on small farms a hundred years ago enjoyed being farmers? I told a Dutch friend once that I thought cows were stupid, he told me to talk to a dairy farmer and I would find it to be otherwise.
    I'm hooked now... keep blogging. Leslie


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