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There Ought to Be a Milk Law

To protect kids from their parents

Opinion

America is seeing more and more outbreaks and illnesses from people drinking raw, unpasteurized milk. This phenomena has been on the rise over the last 15 years or so. This documented increase is most likely because of PulseNet, the relatively new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tool, introduced in 1996, that now allows us to link what used to be seemingly isolated illnesses into outbreaks, and with outbreaks and numbers, the epidemiologists are more likely to find a common source.

milkbottleglass-internal.jpg

Before pasteurization of milk (heating to a certain temperature designed to kill any organisms present) became more or less the norm in the 1930s in the U.S., milk in this country was linked to over 25 percent of food and water borne illness outbreaks and many infant deaths. Now milk is responsible for less than 1 percent of foodborne outbreaks. But it could and should be less than 0.1 percent because nearly all milk-related outbreaks are from raw milk and cheese made from raw milk.

The leading milk related human illnesses before pasteurization were brucellosis, diphtheria and bovine tuberculosis, three diseases now well-controlled or virtually eliminated in modern dairy herds in the U.S., but still present in some other countries. Because of the control of these organisms, some feel that pasteurization is no longer necessary to get good, wholesome, safe milk. But they are wrong. And their children are paying a price.

As I stated, the number of outbreaks linked to raw milk has been climbing recently. Between 1998 and 2008, the CDC identified 85 outbreaks from drinking raw milk. In 2010 alone, the number was over a dozen outbreaks. The great majority of raw milk victims are children under the age of 18.

Of course the illnesses today are not tuberculosis or diphtheria, but are caused by Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter, bacteria found in the intestines of many feed animals. No matter how hard the dairy farmer may try, cows and goats live in an environment loaded with manure and sterilization of the milking environment is one tough, impossible task.

There may be more than two reasons for this increase in outbreaks, but here are two that immediately come to my mind.

First, we have better attribution due to better epidemiology and the creation of PulseNet that can help link seemingly unrelated illnesses.

Secondly, we are seeing a push for buying locally and “knowing your local farmer” as a result of media stories about the dangers inherent in certain mass-produced foods, whether true or not. But whether buying locally is safer and healthier or not is a debate for another day.

My guess is that the 30 or more people poisoned in the 11th raw milk related outbreak in 2010, who “bought” goats’ milk from the Billy Goat Dairy in nearby Longmont, CO, and then became ill with Campylobacter and/or E. coli 0157:H7, including the two with hemolytic uremic syndrome, are probably questioning if “knowing your farmer” and buying “locally” is really safer or not.  The kids who were sickened might be questioning their parents’ intelligence.

In Colorado, it is illegal to sell raw, unpasteurized goats’ or cows’ milk, but the people who fell ill and the farmer got around this by what is called the Goat Share Program. You buy a share of a goat (or cow) for a set price and get a set amount of milk in return. And you pay a “boarding fee” on top of that to cover the farmers’ costs and labor. So it is technically your goat, I guess, and therefore you are not violating the law by “buying milk.”

Laws are written for a reason, usually to help keep us safe. Parents who find ways to circumvent the laws should be held responsible when their children suffer because of their actions.

That said, I do believe people should have the right to purchase what they want, as long as it is legal. But I also know that the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and nearly every other public health organization do not endorse consuming raw milk.

But to buy this product and feed it to your children? Might as well lock them in your car on a 100 degree day while you stop by the casino to try and win the jackpot.

So why did I write this story about a person’s right to eat or drink what s/he wants? Two reasons.

First, the kids who fall ill — and they seem to be the ones always hit the hardest and hospitalized — did not really make an informed choice. Their parents made that choice for them.

Because parents and other adults do not always make the right choice for their kids, we have laws that protect children by requiring childhood immunizations, requiring child restraints in cars, requiring smoke-free public buildings and restaurants, and banning the purchase of liquor for consumption by children.

It should also be against the law to purchase unpasteurized milk for consumption by children.  Period.

Second, I want the same choice when I buy beef. I want to choose between pasteurized and unpasteurized. But I don’t have that choice because of the opposition by consumer groups to whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef.

For those who rely on the Internet, accurate nor not, for their informed sources, I suggest a milk related web site that is based on science and facts: www.realrawmilkfacts.com

There are those who say they might be just as likely to be stricken with a foodborne illness by eating spinach or ground beef. That may be true, but those products do not have a proven kill step yet, and milk does. To not use this technology to our advantage to protect our children from unnecessary suffering or death should be considered criminal.

Pasteurization of milk has saved thousands of infant lives, and despite the historical difficulty in getting pasteurization to be routine it is now accepted and demanded by over 97 percent of Americans. The increasing number of outbreaks linked to raw milk is a painful reminder of how successful pasteurization has been in preventing unnecessary foodborne illnesses.

Pasteurization of beef carcasses would also save thousands of lives and we should be demanding we have that choice. Some day our grandchildren will look back and wonder how we could have been so ignorant to drink unpasteurized milk and eat unpasteurized beef.

———————-

Dr. Richard Raymond is the former Undersecretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (2005-2008) who works as a food safety and public health consultant.

© Food Safety News
  • Doc Mudd

    Very nicely stated. Bravo!!
    Pasteurization of milk improved our standard of living in the U.S. and helped increase life expectancy. There is every reason to expect pasteurization of meats and veggies will eventually do the same.
    Historians will, indeed, wonder how so many of our generation so gravely misunderstood and frivolously denied established scientific fact. They will puzzle over why some strived so mightily to sabotage and stall our modern food system, even to plunge it back into the dark ages, doggedly pursuing silly popular misconceptions without regard for societal progress, even to the detriment of their own children! Future anthropologists will study this queer behavior strangely triggered by the stress of unearned, unappreciated affluence.
    On the bright side, perhaps embattled food science and technology can look forward to a renaissance after this period of Neo-Luddism. We should be training competent practitioners of math and science, just in case!

  • Jeremyah

    Fake. Obviously a paid hack for BigAg, BigMilk.

  • I thank FSN for calling this what it is, “Opinion.”
    The poor quality of Dr. Raymond’s logic (and, not incidentally, of his science) is epitomized by his nonchalant abuse of one of the tenets of all scientific inquiry—the consistent use of accurate definitions.
    At the top of his op-ed, Dr. Raymond defines pasteurization inaccurately (“heating to a certain temperature designed to kill any organisms present”) and toward the end equates pasteurization with “whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef” (more commonly called irradiation). Irradiation meets neither of the criteria in Dr. Raymond’s definition. It does not involve heat in any way nor does it “kill any organism present.”
    In fact, Dr. Raymond’s definition of “pasteurization” is actually the definition of “sterilization.” Sadly, like most opponents of raw milk, he misled us, his readers by overstating how safe what he supports actually is.
    The process developed by Louis Pasteur to increase the shelf life of beer was named after him to DISTINGUISH his process from sterilization. Dictionary.com defines “pasteurize” clearly – “to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation of food, without radically altering taste or quality.”
    (Of course, raw milk supporters argue that pasteurization does “radically alter” the “quality” of the milk but that is not germane to this discussion.)
    Supporters of “whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef” realized that they had a problem with its original name, “irradiation,” so they renamed it using a word with very positive connotations for the vast majority of Americans – “pasteurization.” Simply put irradiation supporters dissembled – they hid the truth under a false appearance.
    Finally, as Dr. Raymond well knows, his statement that irradiated beef is not available “because of the opposition by consumer groups” is absolute hogwash on 2 counts.
    First, there is no limitation of processors irradiating beef. If it isn’t available, it’s because no processor chooses to irradiate beef.
    As the Wall St. Journal wrote in its editorial favoring irradiation, “The U.S. allows irradiation of meat, eggs, poultry and some fruits and vegetables, but its labeling requirements effectively discourage widespread use of the technology” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432304576369142982006926.html).
    The limitation is on whether processors can irradiate beef and then hide that fact from consumers. As Dr. Raymond’s former subordinate at the FSIS, Dr. Dan Engeljohn, wrote in his response to the American Meat Institute (AMI):
    “This letter is in response to your July 8, 2005 submission, Citizens Petition to Recognize the Use of E-beam on Carcasses as a Processing Aid. In your petition you requested that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) officially recognize low dose, low penetration electron beam (e-beam) irradiation applied to the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid AND, THUS, SUCH BEEF WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM LABELING.”
    Furthermore, Dr. Engeljohn specifically reminded the AMI that irradiation is permitted when he wrote, “…establishments can use the irradiation treatment on chilled beef carcasses as long as the product meets the requirements of 9 CFR 424.21 for total absorbed dose and 9 CFR 424.22 (c)(4) for labeling.”
    Second, as Dr. Raymond well knows, numerous food safety experts argue that irradiating whole carcasses doesn’t work because of the irregular contour of whole carcasses. This point was specifically included in Dr. Engeljohn’s response when he wrote:
    “After reviewing the available information associated with this request (refer to attachment 1), FSIS believes that beef carcass geometry may lead to an uneven absorbed dose and is pertinent to the low dose aspect of the AMI petition, even though the petition did not provide a definition or criteria to use to define low dose or low penetration. In addition, because absorbed dose is accumulated upon each exposure of treated beef, such treated beef would need to be controlled in a manner to ensure that the total absorbed dose does not exceed the maximum approved absorbed dose. The petition did not address the control of potential multiple application of treatment. Consequently, FSIS has determined that the petition lacks sufficient detail to warrant investment in development of a rulemaking at this time.”
    All quotes are from Drover’s Cattlework Network’s 7/21/11 article, “So the FSIS finally handed down a decision on beef carcass irradiation” (http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/latest/So-the-FSIS-finally-handed-down-a-decision-on-beef-carcass-irradiation-125955058.html). The article includes additional opinions of Dr. Raymond.
    This only meant to be a narrow critique of part of what Dr. Raymond wrote. I could make several other important criticisms of it.
    As always, I will happily discuss this with anyone who writes to me at healthyfoodcoalition@gmail.com but I seldom respond to “Doc Mudd” because what s/he writes does usually merit a response.

  • aed939

    You are equating parents making the “right” choice with the corporations’ preferred choice, coerced through government laws. You are implying that any parent who does not choose processed milk for their children is not making the “right” choice.
    And, of course, there are government institutional settings where parents are not making food choices for their children, such as school, where they serve UHT milk in BPA bottles. Quite a contrast from European countries with their raw milk vending machines (see link, below). How did the US get to such a sad situation?
    http://www.healthbanquet.com/raw-milk-vending-machine.html

  • c. w. scamman

    This is a pile of bovine manure.
    Dr. Raymond sends us to a web page (Realrawmilkfacts.com) which obfuscates the issue by drawing comparisons between the US and third world countries, by comparing raw milk with non-dairy product issues and by using warped time lines to justify it’s position. Charts provided testify that the CDC has not done required testing to justify positions put forth by Dr. Raymond, to wit, trying to minimalize raw milk by insinuating that “testimonies/anecdotal stories” are not to be believed. This same web site seems to have a problem with math, as in one paragraph it cites “about 70%” of outbreaks of dairy products illnesses are due to raw milk, while the pie chart shown for milkborn illnesses cites “56%”. The “quoso fresco” or raw cheese again is an obfuscation, since the catigories for each of the others is “raw milk/cheese” and “pasturized milk/cheese”. and thus should be a ‘subset’ of the first figure, not presented as ‘additional’. Unless of course we’ve added in one figure from Mexico to skey the chart.?.
    “I also know that the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and nearly every other public health organization do not endorse consuming raw milk.” This statement is true, however, the reasons behind this are not necessarily founded in science. Continued reference to diseases of the 40’s and 50’s or even earlier skew public perception AND the heads of these organizations can not be said to qualify as “impartial” since each has historic ties to agri-business/petro-chemical corporations, and when their tenure with the government is completed, I suspect they’ll be back in the payroll of these corporate giants. (the last part is indeed speculation on my behalf).
    I do agree with Dr. Raymond that pasturization has saved thousands (most likly tens of thousands) of lives. That said, the statistics for 2008 indicate NO “raw milk cheese” illnesses, but 45 such cases from pasturized cheese. If this one year was used as the base line, would Dr. Raymond be so vehiment about shutting down the pasturized cheese market?
    Even though this article is posted as “opinion”, the “facts” presented are questionable. I’ve used raw milk for over 60 years and know that it is not only safe, but healthy. My stance, irrespective of the numbers game, is that people should be able to determe what they wish to put into their own bodies. “Because parents and other adults do not always make the right choice”….the government does not “own” the citizens, but vice versa. This concept may be foreign to Dr. Raymond, given his position on Codex Alimentarius, a Nepoleonic Code system in direct conflict with the concepts of individual feedom.

  • PJ

    I am another one glad that this is listed as opinion, but the part that angers me the most starts with the subtitle “To protect kids from their parents”
    This statement is assuming that the government is better at deciding what is good for a child than the parent is. Based solely on that comment alone, I would like to present the following statements and questions.
    When parents fed the government approved ground turkey from Cargill, and the children sickened, and some people died, is this an example of the government doing the best for people?
    Where exactly did the good doctor get his facts about raw milk from? Possibly the FDA or the USDA who have been guilty of armed attacks on small farms who produce and sell raw milk. I would like to see some unbiased numbers from the doctor, not the CDC or any other government or agricultural mega industry.
    If the government knows better than parents about what is good for their children, why is it allowing genetically modified food to be fed to them, when the only studies done on said food has been by the makers of that food? Not exactly unbiased opinion or facts. Maybe the doctor is unaware of the spontaneous abortions in feed animals after ingesting GMO feed. Maybe he is unaware of the toxins found in pregnant women’s blood gotten from pesticides and herbicides sprayed on the GMO crops.
    Maybe the doctor us unaware of the pro-biotic health advantages of raw milk. The same pro-biotics that are cooked out of milk along with other nutrients when it is pasteurized.
    I’m sorry, but the doctor writes as if he works for the FDA and its new super powers. As another writer posted, most people in charge of government departments are actually from companies that the government is supposed to regulate. I don’t think that quoting statistics from any biased group like that qualifies as decent research.

  • “Each year, 76 million people in the U.S. get sick from contaminated food. ” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foodborneillness.html
    This is from food that is pasteurized, processed and packaged according to FDA standards. I’ll take my chances with the 12. It amazes me that you based an entire call for a law change on something that supposedly affected 12 people.
    How about a law that revamps how the FDA does things, so that they don’t pass through drugs that have dangerous side effects? Far more people are affected by those, and actually die from bad drugs that have to be pulled off of the market.
    And ditto to what others said. This article is propaganda by the government. The government is for the people and by the people, not the other way around. The more laws and power the government has, the more our rights as free citizens are taken away.

  • Rob

    “Some day our grandchildren will look back and wonder how we could have been so ignorant to drink unpasteurized milk and eat unpasteurized beef.”
    The first half of that statement is accurate. Let me alter the last in order to fit in with how I see how future people see us: Some day our grandchildren will look back and wonder how we could have been so ignorant to listen to government/industry hacks tell us, based upon poor science, what is healthy and what we should put into our body.
    And let me further predict that they will question why anybody continues to listen to the “experts” after viewing a graph that shows the obesity/diabetes epidemic spiking AFTER the government got involved in recommending to us what to eat.
    Get the hell out of my farmers market and get the hell out of my kitchen. Your kind has failed in your quest to make America a better and healthier place.

  • greg

    The raw milk advocates are indeed a very vocal and misguided minority when it comes to food safety issues. No amount of science or discussion will convince them that their raw product is a potentially lethal food if contaminated by E. coli O157:H7 or Listeria monocytogenes.

  • Doc Mudd

    “The Dark Ages” [Dr. C. George Boeree]
    “…Sometime after the fall of Rome, we come to the Dark Ages…Life was reduced to the ‘laws of nature’…There was no sense of history or progress…Superstition and fatalism prevailed…”
    Heh, sound familiar? Spooky, ain’t it?
    History repeats itself, or maybe it’s just human nature for smart people to believe dumb things.
    http://www.michaelshermer.com/weird-things/excerpt/
    .
    Raw milk; just in case you don’t already have enough stupid risky ideas.
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com

  • I thank FSN for calling this what it is, “Opinion.”
    The poor quality of Dr. Raymond’s logic (and, not incidentally, of his science) is epitomized by his nonchalant abuse of one of the tenets of all scientific inquiry—the consistent use of accurate definitions.
    At the top of his op-ed, Dr. Raymond defines pasteurization inaccurately (“heating to a certain temperature designed to kill any organisms present”) and toward the end equates pasteurization with “whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef” (more commonly called irradiation). Irradiation meets neither of the criteria in Dr. Raymond’s definition. It does not involve heat in any way nor does it “kill any organism present.”
    In fact, Dr. Raymond’s definition of “pasteurization” is actually the definition of “sterilization.” Sadly, like most opponents of raw milk, he misled us, his readers by overstating how safe what he supports actually is.
    The process developed by Louis Pasteur to increase the shelf life of beer was named after him to DISTINGUISH his process from sterilization. Dictionary.com defines “pasteurize” clearly – “to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation of food, without radically altering taste or quality.”
    (Of course, raw milk supporters argue that pasteurization does “radically alter” the “quality” of the milk but that is not germane to this discussion.)
    Supporters of “whole carcass, low dose, irradiation of beef” realized that they had a problem with its original name, “irradiation,” so they renamed it using a word with very positive connotations for the vast majority of Americans – “pasteurization.” Simply put irradiation supporters dissembled – they hid the truth under a false appearance.
    Finally, as Dr. Raymond well knows, his statement that irradiated beef is not available “because of the opposition by consumer groups” is absolute hogwash on 2 counts.
    First, there is no limitation of processors irradiating beef. If it isn’t available, it’s because no processor chooses to irradiate beef.
    As the Wall St. Journal wrote in its editorial favoring irradiation, “The U.S. allows irradiation of meat, eggs, poultry and some fruits and vegetables, but its labeling requirements effectively discourage widespread use of the technology” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432304576369142982006926.html).
    The limitation is on whether processors can irradiate beef and then hide that fact from consumers. As Dr. Raymond’s former subordinate at the FSIS, Dr. Dan Engeljohn, wrote in his response to the American Meat Institute (AMI):
    “This letter is in response to your July 8, 2005 submission, Citizens Petition to Recognize the Use of E-beam on Carcasses as a Processing Aid. In your petition you requested that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) officially recognize low dose, low penetration electron beam (e-beam) irradiation applied to the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid AND, THUS, SUCH BEEF WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM LABELING.”
    Furthermore, Dr. Engeljohn specifically reminded the AMI that irradiation is permitted when he wrote, “…establishments can use the irradiation treatment on chilled beef carcasses as long as the product meets the requirements of 9 CFR 424.21 for total absorbed dose and 9 CFR 424.22 (c)(4) for labeling.”
    Second, as Dr. Raymond well knows, numerous food safety experts argue that irradiating whole carcasses doesn’t work because of the irregular contour of whole carcasses. This point was specifically included in Dr. Engeljohn’s response when he wrote:
    “After reviewing the available information associated with this request (refer to attachment 1), FSIS believes that beef carcass geometry may lead to an uneven absorbed dose and is pertinent to the low dose aspect of the AMI petition, even though the petition did not provide a definition or criteria to use to define low dose or low penetration. In addition, because absorbed dose is accumulated upon each exposure of treated beef, such treated beef would need to be controlled in a manner to ensure that the total absorbed dose does not exceed the maximum approved absorbed dose. The petition did not address the control of potential multiple application of treatment. Consequently, FSIS has determined that the petition lacks sufficient detail to warrant investment in development of a rulemaking at this time.”
    All quotes are from Drover’s Cattlework Network’s 7/21/11 article, “So the FSIS finally handed down a decision on beef carcass irradiation” (http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/latest/So-the-FSIS-finally-handed-down-a-decision-on-beef-carcass-irradiation-125955058.html). The article includes additional opinions of Dr. Raymond.
    This only meant to be a narrow critique of part of what Dr. Raymond wrote. I could make several other important criticisms of it.
    As always, I will happily discuss this with anyone who writes to me at healthyfoodcoalition@gmail.com but I seldom respond to “Doc Mudd” because what s/he writes does usually merit a response.

  • Doc Raymond

    For the record:
    I practiced and taught medicine in Nebraska for 27 years, and took care of too many children suffering from food borne illnesses, and declared too many adults dead from the same.
    I then went into public health and public service by serving as Nebraska’s Chief Medical Officer for 6 1/2 years, followed by 3 1/2 years at the USDA as its Undersecretary for Food Safety. I then retired to help take care of Grandkids and enjoy time with my wife. I blog on occasion, write OpEds on occasion, get paid little or nothing for most of those activities. USDA did not have milk, FDA did. I did not go to work for anyone making milk or producing food animals. I am not a big Ag, big Business hack. In fact, I get hate mail from some Big Ag individuals and when I tell it like it is in my opinion. My opinion here is that parents are responsible for making their kids suffer unnecessarily. Can anyone tell me when the last mild recall for E coli was in pasteurized milk? 85 recalls in 10 years is a lot. The sad thing is not one of them had to happen. We have the process in place to almost guarantee that the milk we drink is sterile. We don’t have that for beef because the industry must apply the Radura symbol, something very similar to the bioterrorism symbol. Harry, I never said it would sterilize the carcass, just like acid rinses etc will not sterilize beef. But it is a processing aid that would markedly reduce the contamination and risk of illness.
    Happy to stir the pot, as this subject always provokes many responses. I was not asked to write it, though, as insinuated,I voluntarily submitted it because I felt it needed to be said—again and again.

  • jmiesel

    I know of a 9 year old who has been drinking “store milk”–from wall-mart and other such institutions.His problem: for years he has been struggling with constipation. The one day someone suggested he drink Raw milk (even unpasteurized!) and guess what?
    He finally has normal bowel movements! These are the Facts!

  • Brad H.

    I would like to ask the good Dr. one question. If raw milk is so dangerous, how is he here to say this? Until Louis Pastuer all milk was raw, therefore in the generations past his grandparents and all their ancestors drank raw milk. He ignores all good scientific method and all the evidence of 6000 years of human history in favor of a political view. None of us would be here if raw milk was the scourge of humanity.

  • Jan Haybert

    Whatever the food – Milk, beef, eggs, spinach etc. – how that food is handled is the real issue. We are lucky enough to milk our own cows, raise our own pork, gather our own eggs and trade with neighbors for what we don’t grow ourselves. We don’t have to worry about sick cows being dragged into slaughterhouses, high somatic cell counts in our raw milk or becoming sick from our fresh eggs.
    For those of you that have to rely on grocery store food – the quality of your food is declining as your food sources are narrowing. The factory farms value quantity over quality – spray beef with ammonia to kill germs, wash eggs in clorox, heat milk to kill everything bad and good in it and then add back synthetic vitamins and calcium.
    Fresh whole foods are what all of us deserve to have available to eat and we all need to understand that politics and lobbyists are the drivers used to control our food system. The bottom line for Monsanto, Swift, Tyson and the Dairy Co-Ops is the almighty $$$ and nothing else matters. Stepping down off my soapbox now…..

  • mmconiglemartin

    Doc Raymond,
    I understand your anger regarding children and the suffering they endure when becoming ill from a foodborne illness, especially when it is related to raw milk consumption. I can tell you from firsthand experience that I will be punished the rest of my life for making the decision to give my son raw milk which almost killed him. I have to look in the mirror every day and live with the fact that my son now has a damaged body because of my poor choice. No one could be harder on me than I have been on myself.
    I intellectually knew there was some sort of risk but I naïvely thought the risk was diarrhea and vomiting for a day or two. Like many others who have never lived in a time when it was common place for children to die from eating contaminated food, I really didn’t know what the risk really was. I learned the hard way the E.coli 0157:H7 is not a bacterium that you want to be exposed to.
    The real question is: what is propelling people to give their children raw milk? What organization is encouraging its use? Why are people under the impression that raw milk is safe to drink? The parents are victims also. They believed information that was false, all in the name of health.
    Please go easy on us parents that almost killed our children with raw milk. Our hearts are quite fragile.
    Mary

  • George Wilson

    Dear Dr. Raymond,
    I commend you on writing this article on raw milk and to bring out the facts related to health risks children face due to the lack of knowledge, their parents have, on infectious disease. Even if their children become ill that can be directly related to giving their child raw milk I’m sure they will attribute this to another cause.
    There are circumstances, where the government at county, state, and federal level need to make fact based decisions on the health and welfare of children. This is the case with raw milk with well documented cases of foodborne illness in children there needs to be legislation passed that holds accountability to those who provide raw milk to children. Legislation written and passed without loopholes to protect children who are too young to make an informed decision.
    For adults, 18 years or older should you want to consume raw milk go ahead, assume the health risk, and consequences! Insurance providers may consider that healthcare coverage for documented cases for hospitalization and treatment be denied.
    Thank you for your contributions addressing food safety.
    Best regards,

  • doc raymond

    Brad, the answer to your question is in the Opinion piece. Prior to pasteurization, raw milk was responsible for 25% of food and water borne illnesses. It is now at 1%, and 95% of those are from raw milk. Yes, we are here and we drank milk that was “raw”. But many of our MOthers, recognizing the dangers of raw milk, boiled it before they fed it to us. People died from drinking raw milk. Some survived and raised families. my point is simply this—NO ONE needs to die from drinking milk in this era. NO ONE. But kids still do because of their parents’ choices. Let the parents drink raw milk, but outlaw the purchase of raw milk for kids. At least then justice can be served, same as leaving a kid in a locked car, not buckling a kid up, etc.

  • Dr. Raymond,
    There are two raw milks in America – clean raw milk and dirty raw milk. Sure there is a risk – as there is with any food – but this risk can easily be an acceptable risk if you are an educated consumer.
    We have a questionnaire called “Finding a Good Dairy” that we offer for free to anyone who asks for it. “Know your farmer” is our motto. Education is key in finding food sources that are produced by farmers that “get it” – by consumers that “get it”.
    Dr. Raymond you are a tower of knowledge in mass-produced, mass-distributed food, and USDA marketing goals. You are right that food produced in a CAFO system is dangerous. Raw milk produced for human consumption is a totally different product than raw milk produced for pasteurization. Well – it SHOULD be – we still have work to do. (Again, know your source.)
    Dr. Raymond, in Colorado there are about 127 commercial dairies that produce milk for pasteurization. There are now about 95 small family raw dairies that produce raw milk for human consumption. We have created full-time and part-time jobs, and all the money stays in the local economy. We do this at NO government expense. (I’ll bet you have some idea what the commercial dairies cost US?)
    The herdshare bill passed in 2005. At that time, there was one legal raw dairy in Colorado. Now, 95! The “host theory of disease” vs the “germ theory of disease” (a strong immune system protects you from most germs) just makes sense. Our grandmothers knew this, but the FDA would have us think otherwise.
    Google it. Careful – not what the FDA wants you to think….
    It’s time you for you to re-think where the agriculture market REALLY is – 1960’s Earl Butz (“Get Big or Get Out) is unsustainable. It costs a gallon of gas to produce a pound of hamburger. Cows on grain produce e. coli 0157:H7.
    The Global Meat market and USDA have their place, but not in my home. Some of us want local,sustainable, nourishing food. And we will gladly pay for it, and fiercely fight for it.
    USDA, FDA, and all those powers that be don’t realize that we will fight for our right to eat the foods of our choice and we have no respect for their one-size-fits-all platform.
    The current food production paradigms aren’t keeping America healthy – you know this. Somewhere along the way, money became more important than nutrition. Your views on raw milk need a re-set.
    I’m in Westminster. Can we talk? I would be honored to drive up and take you to lunch! (There’s a few farmers we could visit too!) (Until meatingplace charged a fee, I always followed your posts. I relate to Coloradoans!
    Born and raised here, founded in 4H and love my farmers, and I need you on our side!
    Thank you,
    Blair McMorran
    720-985-5842
    info@rawmilkcolorado.org

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Doc Raymond,
    I understand your anger regarding children and the suffering they endure when becoming ill from a foodborne illness, especially when it is related to raw milk consumption. I can tell you from firsthand experience that I will be punished the rest of my life for making the decision to give my son raw milk which almost killed him. I have to look in the mirror every day and live with the fact that my son now has a damaged body because of my poor choice. No one could be harder on me than I have been on myself.
    I intellectually knew there was some sort of risk but I naïvely thought the risk was diarrhea and vomiting for a day or two. Like many others who have never lived in a time when it was common place for children to die from eating contaminated food, I really didn’t know what the risk really was. I learned the hard way the E.coli 0157:H7 is not a bacterium that you want to be exposed to.
    The real question is: what is propelling people to give their children raw milk? What organization is encouraging its use? Why are people under the impression that raw milk is safe to drink? The parents are victims also. They believed information that was false, all in the name of health.
    Please go easy on us parents that almost killed our children with raw milk. Our hearts are quite fragile.
    Mary

  • Doc Mudd

    Well, there ARE “two raw milks in America”, as it turns out…
    1) The kind of raw milk that has made some people sick, and…
    2) The kind of raw milk that is going to make some people sick.
    Don’t let those sick people be your own kids or grandkids!
    .
    Any product that relies upon testimonials and negative advertising, spuriously trashing its ‘competition’ (as raw milk sellers bash good, wholesome pasteurized milk and dairy products) is snakeoil, pure and simple.
    People selling raw milk are carnival hustlers, pure and simple.
    People purchasing raw milk when pure, safe, affordable pasteurized milk is available love being flimflammed, pure and simple.
    A fool and her money are easily parted, always have been, always will be.
    Back to the fiefdom! Kumbaya, campers, kumbaya!!

  • Do you honestly believe that you can make the world safe through sterility. Please take the time to talk to Blair-there is much for you to learn.

  • Jackie Schmidts

    Doc Raymond is right, the rest of you that are trying to make a fast buck at the expense of the consumer are wrong. If you want to sell milk, buy a pasteurizer. If you want to consume raw milk, go buy a cow or goat and do it yourself.
    Raw milk is dangerous, it should not be allowed to be sold to the general public.

  • Thank you for writing this article. I sometimes wonder why parents just don’t let their children play with a revolver with one bullet in it instead of making them drink raw milk, it would be quicker if it struck.
    For those that say, “Little Jimmy had allergies then drank a cup of raw milk and was cured” I have this to say, Correlation does not equal causation. In other words if I was lactose intolerant all my life and then started smoking and became lactose tolerant that does not mean cigarettes are a cure for lactose intolerance.

  • mmconiglemartin

    Blair, since 2005 when herdshares were allowed in Colorado, there have been three raw milk outbreaks. http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=raw+milk&organism=&month=&year=&state=10&country=&x=79&y=7
    I’m really not sure what your point is about “two types of raw milk” when the type you are advocating people to drink is causing illnesses. If it causes an illness, it is dirty, contaminated raw milk. And how on earth does doing research about raw milk make it any less risky to drink? I think what you mean to say is that all the information WAPF states about the safety of raw milk makes people BELIEVE there is not a risk, especially if you know your farmer. In reality, this is a fantasy.

  • Josephine

    I totally agree with Greg. “raw milk advocates are indeed a very vocal and misguided minority when it comes to food safety issues. No amount of science or discussion will convince them.” That is clear from the comments about people having “clean” farms and there are two types of raw milk. Because microorganisms just skip over some farms? It is simple biology and not a risk I would take with my child’s health. I commend Mary for sharing her very personal experience with this.
    For the record, I like to buy local food and visit farms, however does that mean I don’t wash my spinach or berries from these farms? NO! Does that mean I eat my meat raw from these farms? NO! Why would I do that with milk? And as for the argument about probiotics, I’m not buying that makes it worth the risk. And if you want to go off the deep end and continue down the road that it is “better for you,” you may come to the conclusion that maybe we shouldn’t be drinking milk at all, raw or otherwise.

  • Les

    Perhaps the forces of “Natural Selection” will eventually create unanimity.

  • Waagoshquay

    Why is it that just because a person has the letters of “DR” behind their name they speak or write as if they are thee all and only intelligent beings on the planet Earth? How many people die each year due to the decisions or at the hands of someone with those mighty letters “DR” behind their name?
    Just an estimated total number of iatrogenic deaths alone per year in the US is over 700,000, to me it is far more evident that the American medical system is itself the leading cause of death and injury in the US, than the consumption of unpasteurized diary products or irradiated foods.
    I have about as much faith in the FDA, and the “DR’s” running and dictating what is good for you as I have in a leaky bucket holding water.
    Dr Raymond, please stay in your little tiny space of the world!
    As for me, I will continue to drink and consume Raw milk from the little ole’ dairy of 34 very content, healthy very well taken care of pastured cows, at 2.50 a gallon.

  • doc raymond

    Mary, thanks for your comments. I hope they will change some people’s minds as no on e else should have to go thru what you have and are going through. Brad, I will definitely call you and take you up on your offer.

  • Josephine said:
    “I totally agree with Greg. “raw milk advocates are indeed a very vocal and misguided minority when it comes to food safety issues. No amount of science or discussion will convince them.”
    Judgmental? Raw milk advocates are highly concerned about food safety and far more accurate than the press would have you believe. When anti-real milk reactionaries start using real science and discussion instead of corporate-funded “studies” and authoritarian edicts, perhaps there will be a conversation. Until then, we’ll allow our experience to dictate our actions.
    Mary, what happened to your child is sad and tragic. I feel bad that you have to live with it. Still, I don’t think it warrants a law denying everyone else the ability to make own decisions. Do you want a law against everything? A law against putting kids in cars, allowing kids peanuts, allowing kids in a boat, allowing kids to go swimming? Living is dangerous. We all do the best we can with the available information. I think it’s good that you provide more information for people to consider but I draw the line at giving you the power to decide for all of us.
    There are some real scary people posting here. What will you sanitize next? What will you outlaw next? May we breathe without masks? Should exfoliating be illegal?

  • Tami

    Wow. Whose pocket is this guy in??

  • Yvonne

    Let me just say that I’ve been drinking raw milk for about 2-3 years now from a local dairy. I really can’t stand store milk anymore. But on the topic of safety…in my area there are 2 types of raw milk dairies, those that don’t pasteurize at all and those that pasteurize but NOT homogenize. These cows are very healthy and fed natural food. If you never tasted raw milk, please find a dairy and do so. Find out for yourself how delicious this milk is.

  • Elisabeth

    Well, apparently Doctor Raymond believes that I my intelligence should be questioned, and maybe the right to care for my family deterred because I refuse to purchase and provide pasteurized milk. In fact, I go out of my way to find unprocessed milk, as well as, other unprocessed foods. The milk and products that I could purchase from the store are not only tasteless and watery, but are usually full of all kinds of stuff that don’t belong in them (carrageenen, preservatives, guar gum). The doctor seems to believe that this is preferable to the wholesome product coming straight from the animal. We’ve been drinking raw milk for many years without incident. My friends and family members have done the same, without incident…of any kind. I understand that food-borne illnesses are a problem, but the doctor isn’t recommending that we quit eating spinach, breakfast cereal, or pasteurized milk, all of which have been implicated in sickness.

  • Alix

    I would be interested to know what the milk pasteurization proponents think of the disgusting conditions most commercial dairy cows are kept in… is that ok, because the milk is going to be ‘made safe?’ Is confining thousands of cattle on a filthy, disease-promoting feedlot all right because we can just irradiate the carcasses? I agree with the above comment that much more attention needs to be paid to the way we *handle* how our food is raised… I see the outrage over raw milk, but where is the outrage over the inhumane conditions that contribute to these diseases in the first place? Our industrial food system is a disgrace, both in the way it treats it’s workers and the way it treats it’s animals.

  • Zed

    Obviously an apologist for big corporate factory farming.
    It’s been proven, time and again, by scientists and in court cases, that raw milk is much safer than pasteurized.
    – Raw milk has defenses, still alive and active, against pathogens. The good bacteria kill the bad.
    -Pasteurized milk is defenseless.. if a pathogen gets into it after pasteurizing it thrives
    – and in the first place, raw milk comes from happy, healthy cows who spend their day in a green pasture…. pasteurized milk is (or what I’ll call milk but is really a mixture of milk, puss, blood and feces) comes from cows that are chained indoors and ged GM grain and pumped with hormones and antibiotics so they produce unnaturally large amounts of milk year-round (and also kills the cow in about half of it’s usual lifespan, but it’s probably a blessing in disguise to be saved from that kind of life.) So yes, factory farmed milk NEEDS to be pasteurized… no one should drink raw milk from these pasteurizing farms, it would probably kill you.
    – You can even inject a small amount of pathogen in raw milk and it won’t live very long. If somehow a LARGE amount of pathogen gets into raw milk (as unlikely as that is) to overcome the good bacteria it would have to be such a large amount the the milk would look and smell very contaminated, and you’d never drink it. So, it’s almost impossible to get sick from raw milk.. you’d have to drink it very soon after it got contaminated, so unless you’re drinking it from a milking bucket that was dirty, nothing is gonna make you sick.
    I’d like to see where this ‘doctor’ is getting his stats, cus it’s been proven may times that there are far fewer illnesses (as a % of) from raw milk than pasteurized milk, and far, FAR fewer illnesses from raw milk than from other processed foods such as cold cuts.
    Yes, all foods have risk of being contaminated, even raw milk… but the fact is raw milk is much safer than 99% of the processed foods that are out there.
    – and even aside from the fact raw milk is cleaner and safer, which it is, but it’s also much more nutritious. The good bacteria and enzymes are dead in pasteurized milk, leading to lactose intolerance, diabetes and higher cancer rates. Furthermore, the homogenization destroys the good fats your body needs to absorb the calcium in milk, leading to the ironic result that pasteurized/homogenized milk actually contributes to osteoporosis. In fact, there’s almost nothing good about factory farmed milk from grain fed (or worse, mammal fed) cows, but there is a lot bad. I’d never feed my kids milk from America’s factory farming system… it’s practically poison, and is probably the biggest reason why so many kids are obese these days. It’s very bad for you.
    Clean, raw milk from happy healthy cows, thought, is probably the closest thing we have to the perfect food, and it’s very very safe.

  • Doc Mudd

    Good common sense is in short supply with some folks.
    Last time I checked we are required to “put kids in cars” that have passed safety inspection for brakes, etc. and in secure car seats; we put “kids in boats” only with properly fitted life jackets; we allow “kids to go swimming” supervised in pools of water that usually are treated, monitored and deemed safe…and only after teaching the kids to swim enough to preserve life and limb.
    Sensible precautions are advocated for just about every kid activity…except imbibing unpasteurized milk to fulfill a parent’s silly misguided health food fetish.
    Feel free, of course, to “breathe without masks”.
    Please do exercise some judgement, however on whether or not you go out in public without a mask, depending on how that last exfoliation worked out and what facial features you had to work with in the first place — don’t want to needlessly frighten little kids, now do we, Sophie?

  • Marco Hoffman

    Sophie: If we dismissed science like you do, we would still be living with polio and small pox. Dismissing peer-reviewed science as “corporate-funded” and thus invalid is a smokescreen, and just one of the many false talking points you people fall back on rather than engaging in real debate.
    The “real science” you rely on is not only junk science, but pure hokum – there are no valid studies that show raw milk has any probiotic, immune-building or lactose-tolerance qualities. It’s just milk, and it can be easily contaminated with bacteria from cow poop. If you think it is what keeps you healthy, bully for you. The placebo effect does incredible things. I drink pasteurized milk and I just ran a marathon. I don’t confuse cause and effect, however.
    Hyperbole is another one of the raw-milk propaganda techniques. No one wants a law against everything, but we do have laws that require child restraints in cars, laws that ban under-age drinking, laws against child abuse, child labor laws – many laws that try to protect children from their parents’ bad judgment.
    Drink raw milk if you want, no one and no law is stopping you. (Claims of persecution are another page from the propaganda playbook.) Just don’t try to sell it based on junk studies. Your false and misleading claims make you no better than any other huckster or corporate shill trying to make a fast buck by fleecing the ignorant and the gullible.

  • Michael

    The trouble with this topic is that there are so many facets, and not all of them can be addressed at one time. It is my belief that the question of food sterilization is a too little, too late solution. Milk that originates from factory farms is a highly questionable product, and frankly, one that I would not touch without pasteurization. Due to the feed sources, herd densities, containment facilities, and milking environment there is virtually no way to deliver a safe product. Typical pathogens found in the factory farm environment are extraordinarily rare, or non-existent in traditional style farms where dairy cows pastured, and are fed “GRASS,” herd densities are managed for disease avoidance, and milking facilities are managed by humans rather than automated.
    In short it is the “process” of producing the product that should be vilified, and regulated, NOT the product. If you want to set forth guidelines for what a farm that produces Raw Milk for retail sale must follow…. Great! The solution is NEVER, NEVER, NOT EVER… prohibition. It has never done anything but further endanger the public. As always, this boils down to what the government feels it should do to protect the citizenry. The answer is, allow the products sale, tax the hell out of it in a retail environment, and use that revenue to fund any negative results. This is what is done with alcohol, and tobacco. This is the only control that is acceptable in a free society. We are described as free in this country, but only with certain caveats…. well that, my friends, is not freedom.
    “If people let government decide what foods they eat, and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”
    ~ Thomas Jefferson

  • Doc Mudd: Your rebuttal is just silly. Common sense, indeed. Clearly, you’re not the one who gets to decide who has it and who doesn’t.
    Marco Hoffman: I don’t know how you arrived at, “If we dismissed science like you do..” I also don’t know where I posted any claims, false or otherwise. Did you actually read what I wrote?
    I do not dismiss science; I honor it. Real science performed by real scientists, that is. I do not honor science that is funded by the very people who stand to gain by a specific output. I honor science performed by independent researchers with no stake in the outcome. In the absence of reliable research, I look to 6000+ years of human experience. Somehow people managed to live consuming raw milk all those years. How long did it take for margarine to fall flat on its face? Remember when (industry funded) science said that margarine was better for you than butter?
    Please read what I wrote and make sure you understand it before condemning me for something I didn’t write.

  • Anne O’Keefe

    Thank you for trying to get this important message across to those who refuse to hear it.
    To those who keep promoting raw milk: If raw milk has such special “defenses” that protect against pathogenic bacteria, then why hasn’t “BigPharma” packaged it and made a fortune from it?

  • Doc Mudd

    “I do not dismiss science; I honor it. Real science performed by real scientists, that is.”
    Real scientists like Louis Pasteur, you mean Sophie?
    >>> cue pro-raw milk back-peddling and double-talk…

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Blair, since 2005 when herdshares were allowed in Colorado, there have been three raw milk outbreaks. http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=raw+milk&organism=&month=&year=&state=10&country=&x=79&y=7
    I’m really not sure what your point is about “two types of raw milk” when the type you are advocating people to drink is causing illnesses. If it causes an illness, it is dirty, contaminated raw milk. And how on earth does doing research about raw milk make it any less risky to drink? I think what you mean to say is that all the information WAPF states about the safety of raw milk makes people BELIEVE there is not a risk, especially if you know your farmer. In reality, this is a fantasy.

  • Tina Malone

    How much did Big Dairy pay you to write this?
    You are so wrong on so many levels, I don’t have the space to even go into it. I have drank “illegal” raw milk for years and never so much had a stomach ache. I am healthier, have a better immune system, and stronger bones due to the fact that my body is better nourished.
    But the main reason you are wrong has nothing to do with milk. This is America and we are free citizens. If I want to take the “risk” of drinking raw milk, who are you to tell me I can’t or legislate that I can’t? Stay out of my life, my refrigerator, my bedroom and everything else. I am a free citizen and, frankly, could care less what you or others think of clean, raw milk.

  • Michael Bulger

    Sophie, would you mind citing studies you consider authentic and explaining how they might provide evidence that would encourage the consumption of raw milk?

  • greg

    Ignorance is bliss Zed.
    – “Raw milk has defenses, still alive and active, against pathogens. The good bacteria kill the bad”.
    Please inform us non-believers of the genus and species of these good bacteria and how they kill the bad. How does a good bacteria distinguish between a harmless E. coli and pathogenic E. coli O157:H7? Also, please inform us of the specific enzymes and their mode of action which protect the human raw milk drinking population.
    -“You can even inject a small amount of pathogen in raw milk and it won’t live very long. If somehow a LARGE amount of pathogen gets into raw milk (as unlikely as that is) to overcome the good bacteria it would have to be such a large amount the the milk would look and smell very contaminated, and you’d never drink it.”
    Consuming as few as ten O157:H7 cells can cause a very serious illness or death. If you can smell 10 bacterial cells you have an untapped talent.
    -“Clean, raw milk from happy healthy cows, thought, is probably the closest thing we have to the perfect food, and it’s very very safe.”
    Unfortunately, a very fragile perfect food as 15-30 seconds of 161F heat destroys all of its magical benefits as you would have us believe.
    -(pasteurized milk)”it’s practically poison, and is probably the biggest reason why so many kids are obese these days. It’s very bad for you.”
    And now childhood obesity is being blamed on pasteurized milk?
    The testimonials and “science” presented for and by the raw milk advocates border on the farcical.

  • Katherine

    If raw milk is so dangerous, why aren’t the 9 million people who drink it legally every day, according to the CDC’s own data, dropping dead? 9 million, every day, day after day, year after year drinking raw milk and living happy healthy lives.
    So, since swimming pools, cars, and fathers are the three top killers of children, shall we make those illegal as well?
    People, educate yourselves: http://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-pathogens.html#author

  • ruth perry

    Its funny…I know several Dr.s, lawyers, college professors, dentists, RN’s, and other highly educated people putting their children at risk…….drinking raw milk, and eating farm grown meat and eggs.
    Basicly the difference is the problem that government is currently suffering from…
    The abillity to know the difference….the backbone to stand their ground. The USDA, Dept. Of Ag ect are filled to the rafters with “Yes” men, who have. Their pockets full of dirty money and hide behind the large corporations because they are too coward to LIVE without being told what to do nd when to do it. Without it, these BIG men/women suffer from little man syndrome because they know nothing, and cannot think on their own anymore.
    Much has changed since the onset of pasturization….
    The farmers tools, testing that is available, and new and improved sterlization procedures. The problem lies with the fact that some raw farms don’t follow thru with testing. Those that do are on the top of their game. To say we are being taken advantage of because we are to stupid to know the difference is just another of the governments scare tactics. What is really funny is the more they push, the more set in their ways the raw people will be. If they are so smart they would realize that if they just left it be, it wouldn’t be a battle anymore and. It would burn its self out. Instead, they take the “because I’m the adult and I told you too” stand. It doesn’t work with children and it WON’T work with this…

  • Doc Mudd said, “Real scientists like Louis Pasteur, you mean Sophie?”
    Louis Pasteur did some great work, oh back in the mid to late 1800s. Is that where your interest in science ends? (Note to Mudd: we’re moving beyond germ theory lately.) Anyway, Pasteur began his work by trying to keep wine from spoiling. The wine industry ended up rejecting pasteurization because of the affect on the taste. (Feign surprise.) Pasteur’s process was adopted for milk because it prevented it from souring. I don’t believe he intended it to be used as a cover-up for poor milk processing and mistreating cows, yet that’s how we use it.
    By the way, thank you for help making my argument earlier. What you’re saying is that we are free to introduce our children to risks as long as there are precautions in place. Indeed, I count taking soil samples, monitoring the health of the cows, raising only as many cows as the land will support, feeding them a diet of foods they actually eat, not giving them prophylactic antibiotics, and milking cows under the cleanest of conditions to be an adequate set of precautions. (Maybe you don’t. But maybe you don’t think a special car seat and a seat belt are adequate precautions against another car hitting you either.)
    Oh, I don’t sell raw milk (or anything) to anyone (gullible or not), so you don’t need to attack me for “fleecing the ignorant.”
    Michael Bulger: If you want current studies, you’re going to have to fund them. A bunch of cows in a pasture aren’t going to have the resources. We don’t expect Dean to do so either.

  • Katherine

    ‎”To assume that Coca Cola, Twinkies, and Fruit Loops are safe while raw milk is dangerous assaults both a reasonable conscience and the science of biology.” ~Joel Salatin

  • ed soja

    I grew up on raw milk. Our whole family drank it, never got sick, once. Didn’t know anyone who did. Drink it all the time. Never get sick. I think we’re creating a society full of people with no immune system.

  • Rodneylee

    I bet if you did a side by side Raw Milk to Pasteurized, you find more Illness and death from Pasteurized Milk, you also find NO health benefits from Pasteurized Milk…
    we need more RAW, REAL FOODS

  • doc raymond

    Catherine, the numbers of illnesses in the 9 million consumers of raw milk compared to the numbers of illnesses in the 291 million consumers of pasteurized milk answer your question. Not all get sick and/or die, but certainly the percentage is not in your favor. And your kids are not old enough to understand that risk yet.
    Tina, I have tried to clarify in the reblogs, but perhaps you missed my entry. I am retired. I get zero, zip, nada from big dairy or any meat animal industry company involved in the direct production and sale of meat or dairy products to consumers. I wrote this opinion piece unsolicited and unpaid because I care about the kids of this country who suffer because of parental decisions.
    Anne O’Keefe, good to hear from you again, and Doc Mudd, thanks for the support and humerous banter. But be cool, Man.

  • Katherine

    But Dr. Raymond, I know the percentage. We have the number. I gave you the number in my link by way of citation and thanks to the good work of the CDC. Its approximately .05% What number would you consider reasonable? Zero? Given that zero risk is an impossibility in life, an impossibility for anyone who wants to eat.

  • Epidemiologist

    Katherine, you should be cautious in your acceptance of the analysis of foodborne disease statistics in your link. The author provides sketchy details on his methods (see reference 2), and does not appear to have training in epidemiology, or experience working in public health disease surveillance and statistics. More importantly, he did not have access to the appropriate records to conduct such an analysis and make his sweeping conclusions. It appears that he made personal judgments to take outbreaks and illnesses out of the CDC reports. This is inappropriate since he had no access to the original case reports. Similarly, his estimate of 9 million raw milk consumers is based on a 2007 FoodNet publication (ref 5), which was a population-based survey in 10 states – individuals were asked if they drank raw milk in the last 7 days. The survey could have included farmerworkers on dairies that routinely drink from the bulk tank. The author should clarify these demographics before using the numbers to promote the safety of commercial raw milk.

  • Michael Bulger

    Sophie: Thanks for the response. Seeing as you don’t have any research you feel is reliable, can you point to a study on raw milk that you find unreliable? Can you present a study that is not done by a “real scientist” and document its unscrupulous funding?
    As it is, your passionate contributions are coming across as nothing more than personal conjecture and lack substantiation.

  • Katherine

    Mr. Epidemiologist, the doctor who was researching raw milk in my previous link was searching all possible data and drawing his own conclusion. Which is all any responsible person can do. Which is more than almost anyone else, even folks writing here, have done to establish a reason for their opinion.
    There are profound reasons for strong opinions and feelings about raw milk. And most of them are psychological. Most of them are based on what happened at the turn of the last century on swill milk dairies in cities. 1000s of babies died. That is a monumental event which is likely to live in our social conscious for many generations to come. Take Dr. Raymond here. Undoubtedly his parents or grandparents have direct memories of those 1000s of dead babies. We all want all the babies to live. So, 1000s of dead babies are going to be a powerful talking point. (Go look up “swill milk” if you doubt me. Do your own research, folks.)
    But its kind of like German Nazis. I could say Nazis are evil and kill babies. Most of us would be inclined to agree, we remember. I could then extrapolate that Germans are evil and cause babies to die. I could even tell you that many of Hitler’s youth are still alive, grandparenting children today and suggest we eliminate all Germans today because German Nazis were evil in history and still alive now. Such an argument sounds silly. But something very similar happens with raw milk because of swill milk dairies in the early 1900s.
    I am willing to assume that Dr. Raymond and you and every pro dead-milk person here genuinely and dearly wishes only to protect babies. I am a professional nanny, preschool teacher, and mother of two. I want all the babies to live just as badly as y’all. My original motivation for keeping a cow had nothing to do with raw milk. My original intention was to secure a steady and price dependable source of milk for my family. (Note: price dependable, I soon learned, is a bad joke. There is no such thing.) I had never even met a cow when I started looking for a cow to buy.
    I wish we could have this conversation in person so you could see me. I am an upper middle class woman, raised by a doctor and a stay at home mother. I am pretty. I am well educated. I am fairly normal by every standard. Could you see me, you would see my feelings and intention are sane and warm and calm.
    So I’d never met a cow. But I bought one and milked her out. What a chore that was in those early days! Wow, hand milking is a rare and vanishing skill. Yes, skill! So I worked really hard to get this milk for my family. Only then did it occur to me I had something people call raw milk in my bucket. Was I going to boil it before I fed it to my children? I thought about it. But I was too lazy. And it seemed absurd. The cow is healthy. I just, personally, put the milk in the bucket with my own two hands. I knew exactly how clean it was likely to be. So we started drinking it.
    Know what happened? We changed nothing else about our middle class typical suburban life. We just eliminated dead-milk and added raw milk. And my asthma went away. And my daughter’s allergies went away. And my husband and I noticed our joints were less stiff. And our teeth all started looking whiter. Placebo affect? Wow, if all that was a placebo affect when I had no original attachment to raw milk per se….well, I’ll take it.
    More importantly, my kids can’t get enough of our fresh raw milk. They crave it. We all crave it. One day, a year after we’d been drinking our own milk, we were having lunch out. I bought my son some chocolate milk. I’m not dogmatic. He wanted milk. They were selling it in the store. I gave it to him. Guess what? He drew one sip of that dead milk, dead milk laced with sugar and chocolate, and he pulled a huge disgusted face. I looked up at him and said, ‘Oh honey, its okay. Is it not fresh? (It was not out of date.) Pour it out if you don’t like it.” He poured it out and none of us have had a sip of dead milk since. Until you’ve personally tasted raw milk, until you’ve experience the change in nourishment, you really don’t know what you are missing.
    And this, above all else, is that motivates the dairy conglomerate to fight the legality of raw milk. Y’all may think you are fighting for dead babies. If you believe that you are, albeit well intended, tools. The dairy conglomerate is terrified not that my babies will die. No, they are terrified my babies will grow up to raise babies who chose raw milk because its more delicious and makes them feel better. And the industrial dairy conglomerate lobbies congress, places governmental stooges, and invokes 1000s of dead babies just to desperately try to recapture the loss of the 9 million folks who are drinking raw milk daily.
    There are five (I think its currently five) states where raw milk is legal. And many more where its quasi legal. Do you think their senates arrived at the decision to keep raw milk legal just for fun? Or to watch babies die? Last month the British government reviewed raw milk safety data at the request of their own industrial commercial dairy conglomerate. They found “no reason to limit the choice of raw milk.” Based on what data, do you think, Mr. Epidemiologist? Just because they like seeing babies die? Or because its obvious that raw milk, when well produced, is safe. If you think they don’t know how much raw milk is being consumed daily, they certainly do know EXACTLY how much raw milk is legally sold. A lot of it, my friends.
    If you all are truly worried about dead babies you should be pushing for national legality and oversight of raw milk. And you should also be spending your time fighting hot dogs, peanut butter, all fast food, swimming pools, and fathers — all of which are much more lethal to children. Why the emphasis on raw milk instead? Because the industrial commercial dairy complex aches over their loss of consumers. They ache. It must feel like 1000s of dead babies (oops, I meant to say dollars) to them.

  • Katherine

    Also, Mr. or Ms. Epidemiologist, you might be surprised to know almost no commercial dairy farmers drink their own milk out of their bulk tanks. I know that sounds outrageous. I was shocked when I found out. But that milk intended for Pasteurization is filthy. It truly is unhealthy to drink. When you hear folks talk about “two different kinds of milk” this what they mean. There is healthy milk carefully and intentionally produced to be consumed raw from clean pastured cows. And there is filthy CAFO diary bulk fluid meant to be Pasteurized. Drinking that “malk” raw would be foolish and dangerous. Oh, sorry, that’s what you feed your babies, isn’t it? Well, I guess folks will make their own choices. But for the record, I think there should be a law against that.

  • Epidemiologist

    Katherine, I think it is fine to search all possible data on a topic like this (I’ve done it myself), but the problem with the paper you linked to relates to the lack of discussion about potential limitations of his methods, and the conclusions are overstated relative to what he had to work with. The paper reads more like propaganda than a scientific analysis.
    Regarding your second comment, surveys on both sides of the country suggest otherwise. Farm families and their workers even at CAFOs commonly drink from the bulk tank. Below are two examples from the literature:
    1. A survey of foodborne pathogens in bulk tank milk and raw milk consumption among farm families in pennsylvania
    Overall, 105 (42.3%) of the 248 dairy producers consumed raw milk and 170 (68.5%) of the 248 dairy producers were aware of foodborne pathogens in raw milk. Dairy producers who were not aware of foodborne pathogens in raw milk were 2-fold more likely to consume raw milk compared with dairy producers who were aware of foodborne pathogens. The majority of dairy producers who consumed raw milk indicated that taste (72%) and convenience (60%) were the primary factors for consuming raw milk. Dairy producers who resided on the dairy farm were nearly 3-fold more likely to consume raw milk compared with those who lived elsewhere.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16772561
    2. Investigation of human contacts: a Mycobacterium bovis outbreak among cattle at a California dairy
    Consuming raw milk from this dairy was common among the dairy staff and family. Forty-one (62%) persons with access to raw milk at the dairy reported drinking it.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=winthrop%20AND%20jay%20mt

  • Katherine

    In the first study you cite, they don’t say if they were studying CAFO dairies or small pastured family dairies. And they don’t mention anyone getting sick. Which is interesting.
    In the second study, you fail to mention that all the workers who tested positive for TB were from Mexico. And none of the American born workers, who were exposed, tested positive for TB. So one huge problem with that study, which must be oh so obvious to an epidemiologist, is that the Mexicans might have arrived with TB. It would also be irresponsible to fail to mention here that bovine TB is nearly eradicated in the US. It is closely monitored and rare.
    I ask you again, how do you think several United State senates and the British government, not to mention most of Europe, decided to keep raw milk legal? Do you think they were flippant? Do you think they might have looked into some data somewhere? Or did they just decide they don’t care if babies die?

  • Jen

    Glad this is correctly labeled as an opinion piece. Someone answer me this. If we are to hold parents who feed their children raw milk liable for sickness, who shall we hold liable for the people who were made sick these last few months (ground turkey recall and beef recall August 2011)? These were legal FDA approved and USDA inspected foods that were fed to children as well. Should we sue the packaging plants and slaughter houses? How about the government? I guess that’s okay that these folks were made sick since the government ok’d the sale of the products. Also, just for a fair comparison, what are the statistics for those who have been made sick by pasturized milk between 1998 and 2008? In case you are unaware, is is MUCH higher than 85 people.

  • Epidemiologist

    Katherine, that is exactly my point. The epi data is complicated and should not be manipulated to present a certain side of the argument.

  • greg

    Katherine, you imply that all dairy farmers that supply milk for pasteurization are CAFO and that no one would drink that type of “dirty” raw milk. Speaking from personal experience I worked on my college roommate’s small family dairy farm in Pennsylvania for two summers and over the Fall and Spring breaks. They had 50-60 pastured cows which were supplemented with hay, sileage and brewers grain (which we picked up at the old Shaeffers brewery in Allentown). I helped to feed the cows once they were in their stanchions. The grain seemed to be their treat as they usually went for it first. These were “happy, contented” cows and the neighbors and family friends would show up with containers for this “dirty pasteurization bound” free milk taken from the bulk tanks. There were those who also craved the colostrum and I remember their absurd testimonials as to it curing anything and everything. My roommate and his family were normal people and did not possess super human strength or immunity despite the fact that they drank the raw milk daily. It did not cure Brad’s asthma nor whiten his teeth. I can’t recall anyone ever getting sick but this was the late 70s and early 80s just before O157:H7 reared its ugly head. But today, in PA , especially Lancaster County is full of small to medium sized dairy farms with several hundred head and all the so-called “dirty” milk is destined to be pasteurized and consumed by those who do not live on or near a farm. These dairymen are passionate about farming and their herds and it’s an insult to say they bow to Big Ag, Big Dairy (who is that anyway?). They are usually not in it for the money. They do not produce swill or milk loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones that the raw milk group likes to promote. This milk is tested for antibiotics on the individual farms before it is commingled. Then, as we in the scientific community are well aware, the subsequent pasteurization process destroys any chance that O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Staph aureus, or Salmonella will harm its consumers. Simple as that. A “happy, contented” grass fed cow can harbor these pathogens, no matter how clean you imagine it or your bucket to be. And it’s off-the-chart offensive that you would equate unsanitary milk production with the Nazi Germany killing machine. …”But something very similar happens with raw milk because of swill milk dairies in the early 1900s”. Are you kidding me? And you teach children?

  • mmconiglemartin

    Katherine,
    I think you need to watch a few of these videos. It is of people who thought they were making a good choice for their families by choosing raw milk. It didn’t turn out so good for them.
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/real-life-stories/
    http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Katherine,
    I think you need to watch a few of these videos. It is of people who thought they were making a good choice for their families by choosing raw milk. It didn’t turn out so good for them.
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/real-life-stories/
    http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-videos.html

  • Katherine

    Greg, I am not equating filthy milk with Nazis. I am saying that many folks fear raw milk today because of swill milk in the early 1900s and that phenomenon could been seen as analogous (albeit silly, as I said) to folks fearing the very real and living Grandparents today who were, in fact, Hitler’s Youth of yore. Though, I’m sorry I made that analogy. Later I thought it unnecessary and not very well said. Nevertheless, most people fear raw milk because of an emotional response to 1000s of dead babies from a hundred years ago.
    Which brings me to Mary. Dear, I know folks get sick from eating food. Its very sad that humans are fragile and occasionally have compromised immune system. I think you have every right to avoid raw milk if it scares you. Do you allow your children to ride around in cars, swim in pools, jump on trampolines, and eat other food such as hotdogs? All of those behaviors are quite dangerous. Do you understand what the top three killers of children are? That’s an interesting thing to research and would be a smart choice if you plan to crusade for the safety of children.
    I reiterate, based partially on data from the CDC (Food Net. is under the auspices of the CDC, check the citation), raw milk causes illness at a rate of approximately .o5%. http://www.realmilk.com/real-milk-pathogens.html#author
    Epidemiologist, what do you suppose data is for, if not to try and apprehend the truth? You must have read the data supporting raw milk, data used by the United States senates who legalize raw milk, since you’ve done your own fair and balanced research on this topic.

  • Katherine

    Most folks don’t understand the economy of a family milk cow. Shall I elucidate? One decent Jersey might cost you about $1500. The cost of feeding her will vary but might hover around $500 a year depending on the quality of your pasture and other variables. For those approximate dollars what do you get? You get about 4 to 6 gallons of milk every day. All the milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, and cream you care to eat. You have enough raw milk left over to raise a couple of pigs which would pay for you pork for the year with plenty of pork left over to sell. You could also raise a flock of laying hens or meat birds or both. And you could still have enough raw milk left over to sell some to your neighbor, which, at the perfectly reasonable and common price of $5 a gallon, can nearly cover the price of the cow’s feed. Or help offset it, at least. That same year you get a calf. Either your beef for next year or another dairy cow who you can raise and sell the following year for the price you paid for the mother. And you’ll get all that again the next year and the next. For hopefully, about 15 productive years. I’ve heard of them being productive on family farms for as long as 18 years.
    A cow on a CAFO dairy tends to have about 5 productive years. What are they doing to burn those cows out so fast? Research that for yourself, if you care to. I will only say I definitely prefer not to give milk from unhealthy animals to my family.
    A good dairy goat has milk nearly as delicious as a cow – if she’s a good dairy goat the taste should be comparable. She will give you a gallon a day for a pittance in cost. A goat is less smelly, less dangerous, and less noisy than your average Golden Retriever. A gallon of milk a day is plenty to feed your family and raise your laying hens. You could probably even still sell a gallon or two a week. Folks in the know pay premium for goat milk. I’ve seen it go for 10-15 a gallon.
    This is the truth about milk the American Dairy Association and Monsanto pray you never hear. They want you to keep fearing milk, keep giving them your money, and keep raising your children to do the same. (Becoming the livestock rather than owing the livestock, I call it.) I know not everyone can keep animals. But many if not most of us, if we think creatively and understand the benefits, can. I do. And I’m a middle class suburban housewife who never met a cow until I bought one.
    Milking a cow is way more fun than driving to the grocery store. Cheaper. Better for the environment. And safer. Cows are precious.

  • comeback

    I’ve been reading FSN and Marler Blog for a while now and really appreciate the discussions about raw milk (and the lively comments!) I really appreciate the work Bill Marler takes on to help protect the consumer.
    I’ve posted some of the info below at FSN and Marler Blog recently, and would like to post here, because I know it represents the thoughts and feelings of MANY raw milk people.
    Living milk (RAW) heals, and promotes life and healing. It contains contains naturally ocurring PROBIOTICS (beneficial bacteria which destroy harmful bacteria). Dead (non-probiotic), diseased milk (PASTEURIZED) sickens, and promotes disease and physical degeneration. The important key is that to be safe, raw milk must come from properly pasture raised, grassfed (NOT GRAIN as this makes cows sick-with sick milk!)cows who are carefully taken care of. Naturaly, this costs a fair amount of money to produce. Greed must be kept out of the equation. This is usually a small farm whose main goals are safety, cleanliness and care of animal and milk and happy customers willing to pay what these things are and really worth (more money to fairly compensate the farmer for his time and energy). Big, greedy agricorporation CAFOs and mega-dairys cheat and skip on through safety, cleanliness, true care and even use controversial(disease causing) groth hormones (rBGH) in relentless pursuit of more,ill-gotten, easier dollars. This is GREED plain and simple, it is cheating by compromising quality for dollars. The only “milk” this system can produce is DISEASED, DEAD milk and it also creates the need to pasteurize this foul, diseased fluid which is the natural result of of this GREED. Like produces like.
    Many of us will not stand for this kind of wrong any longer. We are willing to educate people about truth. We are willing to stand up to the institutions who actively try to hide this truth and put dollars before health. Many of us are willing to fight the ignorance, deciet and greed. If you care about health, truth, helping people, animals and the environment, please join us!
    I don’t know or have any connection to the other commenters. I have no financial interest at stake (I don’t produce any dairy products). It’s just that I (and a LARGE group of area locals here) have to drink black market raw milk right now (because my State is confused about the truth- thank $big agra dollar$) and will fight for the RIGHT to legally access what I believe is the healthiest RAW MILK choice for my family without having to be made to feel like a criminal. And yes, I am slightly upset that our rights are being trampled by big dollar intere$ts, aren’t you? There are millions of us. *Industry insiders- please follow your conscience, do the right thing and stand with those trying to help.
    The simple truth is that properly handled (safe protocol) Raw, live milk is PROBIOTIC (contains LIVING beneficial bacteria which destroy harmful bacteria) Pastuerized milk is DEAD and unhealthy.
    Freedom to pay extra money for extra quality: Nobody is forcing us all to buy raw, organic, high quality, healthy milk. But plenty of powerful intere$ts are trying to force us to buy pasteurized, diseased milk while trying to demonize and outlaw living, raw milk. Who is being decietful? Who is greedy? Who is pushing in a warlike fasion? Is it the big agricorporations and those who allow them (and help them) to continue thier fraudulent, greedy practices, while poisoning the public. Is it the conscientious small organic farmer providing raw, healthy milk to the knowledgeble consumer? Is it the regulatory folks who are supposed to be protecting the public? Is it the knowledgeble and healthful consumer demanding a safe, traditional, raw, living food/drink?
    *Industry insiders- please follow your conscience, do the right thing and stand with those trying to help. Look around, there is a food revolution happening. I would urge you to do further research by going to http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org

  • comeback

    This video is simply stunning. This is America, I can’t believe this is happening here! Guns drawn, 5 governmental agencies, people terrorized! And it happenned again yesterday. I hope you please watch this and then offer comments on how you feel.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioN0ehlyyXI&feature=youtu.be
    http://reason.tv/video/show/rawesome-foods-raided-again

  • comeback

    Its unfortunate the amount of name-calling, characterizations, and accusitory language going on in these and the other forums. Ok, I too have participated but I am attempting to steer these discussions into useful learning for all.
    SUPRISE!- As a raw milk drinker, I agree on the need for oversight and safety standardization in the raw milk sector. I and just about every other raw milk drinker I know would welcome helpful government oversight! If it tested and ensured small raw dairies were practicing safe raw milk handling, proper raw milk proceedures and helped support those small dairies to offer clean, high quality raw milk to the market by advising, testing, research and giving other support. Now that would be a great relationship! I know that kind of governmental support would indeed be welcomed by the raw milk community. To paint “Raw Milkies” as whackos who dont believe in bacteria, cleanliness, proper protocol, and that raw milk is somhow mysteriously “magic” is just wrong. Yeah, there might be some weirdos who actually fit that description- but cleanliness and proper raw milk protocol are of the utmost importance to every raw milk drinker I know! Please don’t let an extremist represent our entire group! A position can be taken to an extreme on either side-but that shouldn’t represent any entire group. So please, lets have some rational discussion and we’ll see that we can each learn something important from the other.

  • Doc Mudd

    We all pretty much stopped reading back at the “Nazi” outburst. By the time they arrive at that part of their standard schtick (and they usually do, if you encourage them), well, by then you know just about everything you need to about raw milkies.

  • greg

    “The simple truth is that properly handled (safe protocol) Raw, live milk is PROBIOTIC (contains LIVING beneficial bacteria which destroy harmful bacteria) Pastuerized milk is DEAD and unhealthy”.
    Comeback, you want a rational discussion and I agree with you on that point.
    Please explain your quote from above. Feel free to provide the genus and species identification of these probiotics and which pathogens they destroy and by what method.

  • Epidemiologist

    Katherine, sorry but your link is a propaganda piece. It re-affirms what you and other raw milk supporters already believe, but doesn’t change the reality that raw milk is a high risk food, especially for children.
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010-to-2011-Dairy-Table-July-312.pdf

  • Katherine

    Epidemiologist, show me the valid data. It does exist. And of course, since you are so professional and scientific and balanced, you’ve read it. So share it.
    The data in the link you provide shows pasteurized milk as MORE dangerous than raw milk. You just tanked your own argument.
    People, we have to eat. Believe government shills if you like, and keep drinking your puss filled dead milk.

  • Katherine

    Oh, I see I read that link incorrectly. It does not say Pasteurized milk is more dangerous. It only points out that Pasteurized milk causes folks to get sick too.
    News flash! Food can make you sick. Don’t eat. Its too dangerous!

  • mmconiglemartin

    Katherine dear, did you watch the videos?

  • Katherine

    I did see those videos. And I already replied to you, Mary:
    “Which brings me to Mary. Dear, I know folks get sick from eating food. Its very sad that humans are fragile and occasionally have compromised immune systems. I think you have every right to avoid raw milk if it scares you. Do you allow your children to ride around in cars, swim in pools, jump on trampolines, and eat other food such as hotdogs? All of those behaviors are quite dangerous. Do you understand what the top three killers of children are? That’s an interesting thing to research and would be a smart choice if you plan to crusade for the safety of children.”
    I know your son got sick. I’m sorry your son got sick. Truly, I am terribly sorry. That still does not change the fact that we have to eat food. It still does not change the fact that you allow your son to ride in cars and probably swim and also, I would guess, eat. It does not change the fact that he could avoid raw milk for the rest of his life and get ecoli again somewhere else. I’m sorry. But those are the facts.

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Katherine dear, did you watch the videos?

  • Ken

    How many more MarlerClark related sites can be mentioned in one page, directly and indirectly?
    “Marler Clark lawyers are legal experts on foodborne illness involving E. coli bacteria, Salmonella, Hepatitis A virus, Campylobacter, Listeria, Shigella and …”
    MarlerClark. Pro Big Agra.
    Dr. Raymond is a paid shill for MarlerClark, no matter how pious he sounds. And a professional tax-feeder in his later adult life, just check his bio.
    MarlerClark sites:
    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/real-life-stories/
    http://www.outbreakdatabase.com
    http://www.ecoliblog.com/
    http://www.about-salmonella.com/
    http://www.about-hus.com/
    http://www.marlerblog.com/
    DeCoster nails him very well here, including tweets to Marler!:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/93508.html

  • Katherine

    “From 1998 through 2008, the CDC reported 86 outbreaks with 1,676 illnesses due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products. During that period, no deaths were attributed to drinking raw milk, according to the agency. Two deaths occurred due to consumption of queso fresco, cheese made with unpasteurized milk.
    During the same time period, pasteurized milk products – which are consumed by the vast majority of Americans – caused 27 outbreaks with 2,494 illnesses and 4 deaths.”
    http://www.wistv.com/story/15214614/raw-milk-regulations-tighten-as-demand-increases

  • Epidemiology

    Katherine, what concerns me is the continued outbreaks and illnesses related to raw dairy products concomitant to the increased advertising and promotion of the products. It is shocking that the raw milk industry hasn’t done anything to acknowledge and reduce these incidents. I’m in favor of choice, but consumers should look honestly at the statistics from both sides (do not blindly trust one or the other) before making a choice for their families. Pressure should be put on raw milk farmers who choose to sell these products because they are making the most people sick from dairy. That is a fact. The bad apples should be removed instead of defended and held up as heroes.
    Just since January 2010-present there have been 18 raw dairy outbreaks from bacterial infections with 202 illnesses and at least 24 hospitalizations. Using the consumption stats from your link, only 3% of the population consumes raw milk. This is striking compared with the 78+% that consumes pasteurized milk, yet only 2 pasteurized dairy outbreaks with 28 illnesses and at least 2 hospitalizations.
    Do the math. The most important thing is to look at what is going on today – who cares about swill dairies from the past. Today, it is a very negative picture for raw milk safety. The moms feeding their children clearly still need to heat treat the milk before feeding it.
    The raw milk industry keeps making people sick, and the worst thing…they have E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Campylobacter problems. Diseases carried by healthy cows and goats, and cannot be seen or tasted by the consumer. Rare, but devastating for the farmer and the consumer.
    Something needs to be done about this risk. Propaganda from either side isn’t leading to preventive controls. Everyone should get their head out of the sand and do something to prevent the next HUS or GBS case from raw milk. Of course, everyone should be doing the same effort for other foods, but you seem to suggest that raw milk is somehow different and the farmers shouldn’t have to worry about it. Grave mistake.
    A couple cents.

  • Katherine

    Raw milk is gloriously different from dead milk. I say it plainly. I also plainly said anyone concerned about raw milk should work for legalization and regulation.
    I fear unscrupulous farmers out to make money off of unsuspecting citizens. That has happened in the past. It is happening currently. If you want to keep our food safe, help the environment, and stimulate our economy you should be fighting to legalize raw milk and bolster small farmers. Monsanto, Cargill, and industrial agriculture, they are the bad guys, greedy, toxic, valuing their profit over our safety.
    Something needs to be done about risk? I suppose we must criminalize driving, swimming, and eating. But wait, that won’t eliminate risk, will it? Hum….
    Quoting the late great Gambol Rodgers: “Let them that don’t want none have fond memories of not getting any.”

  • greg

    “Raw milk is gloriously different from dead milk. I say it plainly”. ~Katherine
    Ok, then please explain it plainly. Not in glorious generalizations (delicious, probiotic, comes from a happy cow,etc) but the true differences in composition, bacterial flora, enzymes, somatic cells, that 161F for 15-30 seconds destroys in pasteurized milk.

  • Katherine

    Every cow will have a different composition of milk. It will vary day to day and even over the course of the day. It will vary over the length of lactation. It will vary according to the cow’s diet, breed, season, location, general health, method of milk extraction, and what happens to the milk after it leaves the cow. It also varies over different species.
    So your question, Greg, is obviously unanswerable.
    But here is a basic overview. http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/raw_milk_health_benefits.html
    I can tell you that the absolute destruction of Alkaline Phosphatase found in raw milk is the definition of completely Pasteurized milk. Its a beneficial nutrient. http://www.pnas.org/content/105/9/3551

  • Doc Mudd

    “So your question, Greg, is obviously unanswerable.”
    Heh, heh, we all see what you did there, Katherine. Are you a homeopath, by any chance? Heh.
    No, really. Go ahead and answer Greg’s simple, direct question.
    Feel free to use as your example any one cow of any breed (a cow with a silly pet name will be fine) on any goofy diet of your choosing on any one day (any day of the week you prefer) at any one milking (again, you choose) and elucidate in detail the biochemical and medical microbiological nuances that are irreplaceably destroyed by modern pasteurization…those priceless nuances that make raw milk biologically equivalent to Jack’s magic beans…those vital nuances worth compromising the welfare of an innocent child.

  • Michael Bulger

    Katherine,
    Intestinal Alkaline Phosphate (IAP) is produced naturally by the human intestine. Are you suggesting supplementation is necessary? Are you concerned with the ability of IAPs to block pathogenic bacteria in a percentage of the population?
    There are certainly ways to stimulate the production of IAPs and IAP presence in deficient humans. These ways are not as commonly associated with pathogenic bacteria, as raw milk has demonstrated itself to be in recent years.
    What percentage of Americans do you believe not to produce sufficient IAPs?
    How do you defend the theory you seem to put forth, that ingestion of IAPs via raw milk will reduce the likelihood of pathogenic bacteria causing illness, when raw milk has been demonstrated to be the vehicle for a relatively high number of foodborne illnesses in comparison to other singular foods?

  • mmconiglemartin

    Katherine dear,
    The main point about raw milk is that it is a HIGH RISK food. Here is a list of all the raw milk outbreaks that have occurred since 1983. Look at how many outbreaks start occurring when raw milk gains popularity, around 2005. This was six years into WAPF promoting raw milk.
    http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=raw+milk&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=45&y=31
    Do a search of some other foods. How many outbreaks do you find each year for a particular food? Keep in mind that a small minority of people drink raw milk compared to other foods, but for some reason this small minority are causing large number of outbreaks each year.
    For example, here is lettuce. http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=lettuce&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0 How many millions of people eat lettuce each day compared to raw milk? There were 3 lettuce outbreaks in 2010 and 11 raw milk outbreaks.
    Here’s cantaloupe which is considered a high risk food. Most people don’t know that you need to clean the rind before cutting into a cantaloupe. http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=cantaloupe&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0 There were 5 outbreaks in 2008. For raw milk that same year, there were 10 outbreaks. Again, how many people eat cantaloupe versus drinking raw milk?
    There are two foods that do compete with raw milk in the number of outbreaks—beef & chicken. Both are meant to be cooked and cross contamination and faulty cooking temps cause people to become ill (not that pathogens should be there to start with). Again, how much beef and chicken is consumed each day compared to raw milk, but the number of outbreaks is similar. http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=beef&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0
    http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=chicken&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0
    Play with this outbreak database for a while. This is where real comparisons can be made.

  • Mary McGonigle-Martin

    Katherine dear,
    The main point about raw milk is that it is a HIGH RISK food. Here is a list of all the raw milk outbreaks that have occurred since 1983. Look at how many outbreaks start occurring when raw milk gains popularity, around 2005. This was six years into WAPF promoting raw milk.
    http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=raw+milk&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=45&y=31
    Do a search of some other foods. How many outbreaks do you find each year for a particular food? Keep in mind that a small minority of people drink raw milk compared to other foods, but for some reason this small minority are causing large number of outbreaks each year.
    For example, here is lettuce. http://www.outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=lettuce&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0 How many millions of people eat lettuce each day compared to raw milk? There were 3 lettuce outbreaks in 2010 and 11 raw milk outbreaks.
    Here’s cantaloupe which is considered a high risk food. Most people don’t know that you need to clean the rind before cutting into a cantaloupe. http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=cantaloupe&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0 There were 5 outbreaks in 2008. For raw milk that same year, there were 10 outbreaks. Again, how many people eat cantaloupe versus drinking raw milk?
    There are two foods that do compete with raw milk in the number of outbreaks—beef & chicken. Both are meant to be cooked and cross contamination and faulty cooking temps cause people to become ill (not that pathogens should be there to start with). Again, how much beef and chicken is consumed each day compared to raw milk, but the number of outbreaks is similar. http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=beef&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0
    http://outbreakdatabase.com/site/search/?outbreak=&vehicle=chicken&organism=&month=&year=&state=0&country=&x=0&y=0
    Play with this outbreak database for a while. This is where real comparisons can be made.

  • Katherine

    “There were 3 lettuce outbreaks in 2010 and 11 raw milk outbreaks.”
    Sigh… Shall we make policy based on 11 stomach aches? I’m sorry. This whole argument is a bit specious. Do the research about how many children will die in car wrecks TODAY. And TODAY two children will accidentally drown. Today. Two of them will die. Tomorrow two more will die. Raise your hand if you allowed your children to go swimming this summer. http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html
    We can not eliminate risk. And we still have to eat.
    That said, the point about the pathogenic potential of milk is not lost on me. Which is why I’ve said here a couple of times, anyone concerned about milk safety should be pushing for the legalization and oversight of raw milk.
    However, as per Mudd’s questions, milk is actually quite complicated. I forgot to add milk will vary in each quarter, each time you milk. I’m not being a bit specious or duplicitous and I’m not a homeopath. I’m being quite literal. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a cow giving you six gallons a day, you will be milking three gallons every twelve hours. Its a limited run. So if there is contamination, it may be limited to those three gallons. Hardly a national concern.
    Have people died because of germs in raw milk. Yes. Just as people have died because of germs in dead milk. And other foods. Does raw milk carry a contamination risk? Yes. Was our society actually founded on raw milk? Of course it was. Do the Masai, to this day, still subsist basically on raw milk and raw blood? Of course. As they always have.
    Raw milk is a political issue. Would it be prudent to standardized raw milk because of pathogenic potential? Sure, though you would loose that benefit of unpooled, unbulk, limited batch milk. But safety has never been the real issue.
    The real issue is loss of income. The American Dairy Association hates loss of income. It hurts them, as I said, the way a million dead babies, er dollars, hurt. Those same millions of dollars, though, go a long way to sustaining small farms. Our economy, our environment, and our national food security are all improved by increasing the amount and viability of small farms. Which could be accomplished by legalizing raw milk.
    And consider this. Suppose you all convince the thirty states which allow some form of raw milk sales to suddenly criminalize milk. Will that end milk? Hardly. Cows will not suddenly dry up and drop dead if a law is passed. No, the safest plan, as I said, is to legalize raw milk.
    Thirty states allow the sale of raw milk. Why? Because they have looked at the issue and decided its safe enough. Also, because a lot of the senators who passed all those laws were raised on raw milk. And almost every single one of our grandparents, you you and even you, Mary, were raised on raw milk. All of our great grandparents were raised on raw milk.
    In fact, have you all noticed or considered that national health has plummeted since pasteurization was standardized? Though, in that time we have also decreased saturated fat consumption and increased grain consumption, as well as sugar. All of which have an impact.
    By all means, please keep drinking your dead milk from cows who will only live, on average, five productive years. Have at it. I wish you all good luck with that. Me and my family will continue on as we have for years, drinking milk less than 24 hours old, straight off the pasture, from a cow who is expected to live about 15 productive years in the sunshine eating grass and coming to me when I call her name.
    “Let them that don’t want none have fond memories of not getting any.” And God Bless America, land of the free. With life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

  • Doc Mudd

    Hmmph. Not a homeopath, must be a politician — all that insincere romantic patriotic blather and still no description of the specific ingredients that make raw milk magically curative.
    Tellin’ us it’s too “complicated”, and all — they must think we’re dumb, or sumpthin’ (heck, we’re just a little slow to catch on to a scam, is all). HEY, wait a minute. I’m beginning to suspect there ain’t no damned magic, thinkin’ maybe I’m just bein’ flim-flammed by these fast-talking raw milk peddlers. Dang, don’t that beat all, what some folks will tell ya’ just to separate ya’ from yer hard-earned money? Gosh darn it, there ought to be a law against raw milk hucksters lyin’ to us innocent folks like that!! Don’t that just make you want to taze ’em?

  • greg

    taze ’em bro. especially those that believe 11 outbreaks equal 11 stomach aches. scientifically ignorant and worldy naive.

  • Michael Bulger

    I’m disappointed that Katherine did not address my questions regarding IAPs. She did, after all, introduce the topic.
    I’m also curious as to why she seems unwilling to confront the fact that millions of children will ride in cars or go near water today, while only a very small fraction of children will be exposed to raw milk.
    Katherine is correct on one point. We cannot eliminate risk. We can, however, reduce risk.
    She might also take note that milk has not always held the role it does today in the diets of Americans. Many people of the world are truly lactose intolerant, and many of our grandparents did not drink milk or boiled what milk they consumed. It is not an essential food.
    Further, I can today buy pasteurized milk from a farmer-owned cooperative, where the cows are few, receive no antibiotics or hormones, live long, and graze on pasture. The farmer sees a respectable amount of my dollar, in comparison to other brands. All of this without the elevated risk that has demonstrated itself in raw milk.

  • Katherine I just wanted to say as an employee for local government who has NO CONNECTION to big ag, big business, or corporations. I take great offense at being labeled a shill and your insinuation that as a government employee I have or would take bribes. Talk about living in the 1900’s.
    I’ll tell you what if you have never been in a car accident then don’t put your child in a car safety seat. That’s the equivalent of saying “I’ve been drinking raw milk X years and never got sick”. Well congratulations on your roll of the dice, stop rolling the dice with your kids.
    Yes, all foods have risk. Part of my job is inspecting restaurants to decrease this risk. I also inspect child care facilities to make sure they are safe, not only the food aspect, but the playground, diaper change area etc. So throwing out what else in life can get you is a red herring especially when there is a viable, safer alternative to raw milk.
    How many comments did this go until Godwinds Law was invoked?

  • Ellie

    Joel Salatin: “Well our neighbors think we are bioterrorists. Because only a bioterrorist would run chickens out in the field where they can commiserate with red wing blackbirds and indigo buntings and take our diseases to the science-based types of chicken houses and threaten the planet’s food supply with disease. So not only are people not clamoring to do this but we are being demonized by the mainstream agriculture community and it’s pretty serious, including the food police who don’t like small scale backyard processing or kitchens or anything like that, they want everything to go through a multi-million dollar facility with chlorine and fumigants and a lot of toxic sanitizers to sterilize everything. There are major, major differences of opinion about what ‘proper food’ is. There is a big difference between sanitation and sterilization. You and I don’t have sterile insides: our insides have three trillion beings to take this food and make it flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone and we better be thinking about what that community wants. And that community is far from sterile. It’s a very active bacterial, biological community. And so, we live in strange days when Coca Cola, Twinkies and Coco Puffs are considered safe but raw milk, compost-grown tomatoes and Aunt Matilda’s pickles are considered hazardous substances.”
    http://www.chrismartenson.com/page/transcript-joel-salatin-how-prepare-future-increasingly-defined-localized-food-energy

  • Sandy Morris

    How about a law protecting children and adults from the drugs that the FDA gives the o.k. to! The drug companies should not be held responsible because the drugs can not be put on the market without the approval from the FDA.