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Food Safety News

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  • dangermaus

    While I agree with the direction of his argument, which I see as sort of “when you look at these numbers, do you really still want raw milk?” It’s pretty sneaky how he starts out with the question on an individual level – “How important is it to you?” and then switches to the question of what policy should be which could preclude an individual’s ability to choose between the two based on how important it is to them. Couldn’t this same argument be used to argue that all downhill skiing should be banned because of the hightened risks of concussions and knee injuries?
    For me, “liberty” tips the scale on his diagram, even though I think drinking raw milk is a bad decision. Let’s take it a step further… Why does the government bother to protect people’s ability to practice Christianity? There’s no way to prove the existance of this invisible man, “God” that Christinas claim lives somewhere “above” and that only interacts with people in an unambiguous way after they’re dead. An unindoctrinated pragmatist’s interpretation of the central claims of Christianity could well be that Christianity is nothing more than a predatory financial scam…. That it’s nothing more than shyster evangalists tricking people with the argument, “Hey you! Your mortal life is NOTHING compared to what comes in the (completely unverifiable) afterlife! This invisible man in the sky can give you EVERYTHING… Now give me 10% of your annual income so you can have a chance at this eternal paradise after you’re dead!” I couldn’t come up with a better scam than that if I TRIED! But, because we value individual liberty in this country, we protect this.
    An aside, and granted you can ask these kinds of questions forever but, I wonder if anyone has looked at experimental bias in those disease statistics… Since people have a strong suspicion of raw milk causing illness, are they more likely to report their illness? Are doctors more likely to diagnose it? I’d be surprised if it completely closed the safety gap he demonstrates, but with all the claims about how only a small fraction of food-borne illnesses are ever reported, who knows? Is there hard data that overall food-born illnesses went down as mandetory pasteurization was implemented state-by-state? Can those statistics be separated from factors like the increasing availability of refrigerators and decline of low-pressure home pickling that happened at the same time?

  • Doc Mudd

    “Since people have a strong suspicion of raw milk causing illness, are they more likely to report their illness?”
    I would expect raw milk drinkers’ bias to run strongly in the opposite direction, dangermaus. If anything, they hesitate to acknowledge illness or even any risk of illness. Probably any mention of unpleasant side effects gets them summarily booted (with ‘extreme prejudice’) out of the Weston A Price cult.
    Or, maybe they just enjoy hunkering on the can, who knows? Anyway, their giddy testimonials are not to be trusted if you value the safety of your little kids and elderly kin.

  • I have been drinking raw milk all my life. I have know many people who also drank raw milk. I ask you have you ever met someone that got sick from raw milk. What about someone who knew someone who got sick from raw milk. Well? I haven’t. I keep asking around our community & so far no one has. I can tell you I met someone who’s grandfather got deathly sick from a win fall (raw)apple, but that’s not even close to raw milk. Should we make raw apples illegal for our safety. Next we’ll only be able to buy cooked eggs. Cause you know about raw eggs.

  • mrothschild

    Cynthia: Yes, sadly, we know far too many people, including very young children, who have become seriously ill after drinking raw milk. You can read their stories at http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com. The CDC, at http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html, features some of the same people who, in hindsight, wish they had known that, for them, the risks outweighed the unfounded benefits. The number of people who become ill from drinking raw milk may seem insignificant to someone like you, fortunate as you’ve been to so far have escaped the ordeal of foodborne infection, but it seems needlessly high to the families of those who have had to endure it. Drinking raw milk is a matter of personal choice. One can only hope that decision is an informed choice and that producers who choose not to kill pathogens to protect their customers take precautions, as I’m sure you do, so their milk isn’t contaminated in the first place. You mention apples. We also know too many people who have become ill after drinking unpasteurized cider made from windfall or otherwise contaminated apples. And, yes, eggs should not be contaminated either, but the difference is that eggs are not meant to be consumed uncooked, while milk and cider are. The individual decision to sell or consume unpasteurized products has public consequences in the outbreaks of communicable disease that cost us all in terms of expensive medical care, recalls, public health investigations and increased insurance costs.

  • Mary Rothschild

    Cynthia: Yes, sadly, we know far too many people, including very young children, who have become seriously ill after drinking raw milk. You can read their stories at http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com. The CDC, at http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html, features some of the same people who, in hindsight, wish they had known that, for them, the risks outweighed the unfounded benefits. The number of people who become ill from drinking raw milk may seem insignificant to someone like you, fortunate as you’ve been to so far have escaped the ordeal of foodborne infection, but it seems needlessly high to the families of those who have had to endure it. Drinking raw milk is a matter of personal choice. One can only hope that decision is an informed choice and that producers who choose not to kill pathogens to protect their customers take precautions, as I’m sure you do, so their milk isn’t contaminated in the first place. You mention apples. We also know too many people who have become ill after drinking unpasteurized cider made from windfall or otherwise contaminated apples. And, yes, eggs should not be contaminated either, but the difference is that eggs are not meant to be consumed uncooked, while milk and cider are. The individual decision to sell or consume unpasteurized products has public consequences in the outbreaks of communicable disease that cost us all in terms of expensive medical care, recalls, public health investigations and increased insurance costs.