Thank you MrChris. It's incredibly refreshing for somebody to admit having been in error. Most people won't.
He went on to talk about the risks involved with using raw milk for cheese making.
Risks? Of course there are risks. There are risks getting out of bed in the morning.
The question, always, is how significant the risk is, and the sort of reaction to that risk.
You know that most household accidents happen in the bath? I forget the exact figure, but its relatively high; 25-30 percent, something like that.
If we apply federal regulatory thinking to that problem, the solution is simple. We should all stop taking showers. That would eliminate a quarter of the accidents that happen at home. And if we refuse to comply with that recommendation, well, we'll just have Congress make it a law.
Sounds ludicrous, when put that way. But no more ridiculous than an arbritrary cut-off for how long it takes for raw-milk cheese to become "safe." Meanwhile, if we are to believe the regulators and some food scientists, they must be dropping like flies all over Europe after eating all that raw-milk cheese.
To really see how it works, just look at canning & preserving recommendations and regulations. Many of them are nonsense, and are based not on testing and evaluating, but on the idea that something might be dangerous, despite zero or low levels of evidence that it is.
USDA, for just one example, recommends against the "unsafe" practice of sealing sugar preserves with wax. We are the only country in the world that takes that approach.
When you examine it, turns out that there's nothing dangerous at all about using wax seals correctly. But our paternalistic gubmint just assumes you and I are too stupid to take reasonable precautions, and are going to do it wrong, and kill or sicken ourselves in the process.
What's really ironic is that the spoilage mechanism with sugar preserves is mold. So, even if you do do it wrong, the problem is self-evident. In short, it is, in practical terms, risk free.
An even better example: Take a look at the reasons why USDA recommends the addition of lemon juice or ascorbic acid to canned tomato products. I mean look at the entire rationale, and what was or was not tested. Then ask yourself if you can have any confidence in any conclusions reached by that agency.
Think about all the food recalls of the past few years. And then tell yourself that USDA, FDA, and its Canadian analogs are the ones who are protecting us from the dangers of unsafe food.
Something else to consider is that many regulations and protocols are established not based on actual threats, but on the fact that our ability to measure nothing gets better every day.
I used to edit Package Engineering magazine. As you can imagine, food packaging, and its relationship to food, was a big part of what we covered.
When I started witht the magazine, parts per million were the accepted small measurement. When I left, parts per billion were coming on strong. Now we blithly toss out measurements in parts per trillion.
Often, far too often, protocols are established not on the experimentally proved level of risk, but on the fact that because we can measure that small we will. And if we contend that higher levels are unsafe, people have to recourse but to obey us. Cuz, after all, we're from the gubmint, and we know what's good for people.