June 14, 2013

MODERN FARMER: The Inside Story of a “Juror Revolt” in Amish Raw Milk Trial. Note that Judge Reynolds is no relation here. Interestingly, the lawyer was named Glenn Reynolds, and is no relation to the judge, or me. At least, no close relation: I was once told that all Reynoldses were basically kicked out of England in the early 18th Century and came over together in three chartered ships. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but it’s consistent — pretty much every one in my line of ancestry was kicked out of Europe at some point.

UPDATE: A reader emails: “I’ve served on 2 juries in my life–one acquittal, one guilty–but not for several years. With all I’ve seen in the last few years, I have reconsidered listening to a judge’s instructions. I’ve lost a lot of respect for the court system with the plea bargaining and prosecution antics I’ve read about. Not saying I’m for jury nullification, but I no longer naively look at a court proceeding as an impartial search for the facts. I guess I never should have.” Probably not.

And Mac Overton writes that we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of pasteurization, sending this:

The final proof of the benefits of pasteurized milk came when Straus began providing milk to an orphanage that had seen death rates as high as 42% from tuberculosis and other milk-borne diseases. The orphanage was located on Randall’s Island in the East River. All the milk it used was provided by a single herd of cows kept on the island, so it was easy to control the milk the orphans drank.

Straus started pasteurizing the orphanage’s milk in 1898. Within a year, the mortality rate dropped to 28%, and continued downward in the years that followed.. . .

In 1913, a typhoid fever epidemic struck New York, claiming thousands of victims. By now there was proof that typhoid fever was carried by milk, and that it could be killed through pasteurization. New York City finally stopped dragging its feet. By the end of 1914, 95% of the city’s milk supply was pasteurized. By 1917, nearly all of the 50 largest cities in the nation required pasteurization; the rest of the country would follow over the next several years.

The impact of pasteurized milk on public health was nothing short of astounding. In 1885 the infant mortality rate in New York City was 273 per 1,000 live births -more than 27%. By 1915 the infant mortality rate was 94 per 1,000, a drop of two-thirds.

Hey, I’m not knocking pasteurization.