This week the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), who together represent about 85 percent of the dairy industry, called on the Senate to include raw milk regulation in the pending food safety reform bill. 

raw-milk-sign-featured.jpgIDFA and NMPF want S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which the Senate is currently considering, to explicitly require that all facilities producing raw or unpasteurized milk products for direct human consumption register with the FDA and adhere to the same food safety requirements followed by other dairy facilities.

Raw, unpasteurized, milk is a growing trend that some in the dairy community view as threatening to the entire industry.  The Weston A. Price Foundation, a proponent of raw milk, estimates that as many as a million people in the U.S. regularly consume unpasteurized milk, though only eight states in the U.S. allow the sale of unpasteurized dairy products in grocery stores.

“Before pasteurization became widely utilized in the 1920s, human consumption of raw milk was one of the major sources of food borne illnesses and one of the primary causes of infant mortality,” said IDFA CEO Connie Tipton and NMPF CEP Jerry Kozac in a letter to senators. 

“It is important to the health of the American public, and for the continued confidence in the dairy industry, that the new food safety legislation bolsters the success of the [Pasteurized Milk Ordinance] and applies any new FDA requirements to raw milk and raw dairy products.”

The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) is a hazard-based plan for monitoring the farm-to-plant delivery of finished milk products to retail stores. In coordination with the FDA, PMO requirements are updated every two years, which results in what the industry deems “very low numbers of food safety problems for pasteurized dairy products.”

The FDA has unequivocally declared the consumption of raw milk unsafe. According to the agency’s website, “Raw milk is inherently dangerous and it should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any purpose.” The agency cites a long list of potentially deadly pathogens that could contaminate raw milk–from E. coli to Listeria monocytogenes–as reason for consumers to stick to pasteurized dairy products.

  • p. hall

    Raw milk kills E. coli & Listeria when it is produced from cattle grazing on pasture and living in healthy conditions as opposed to those grain fed and living in inhumane stocks. If animal control laws for inhumane treatment were applied to the dairy industry most milk producers would go to jail. It is the inhumane treatment and filthy conditions that allow pathogens to exist. Just common sense. Otherwise how could mankind have subsisted for all eternity on raw milk? And we have. Get a life.

  • bksanders

    I drank raw milk only as a child. My mother milked our cow, strained the milk, and my brother and I drank it. Loved the cream. Never got sick. As p. hall says, “get a life”. Where did individual freedom go in this country?

  • John

    To PHall, mankind has done many things through it existence it doesn’t mean that it extended our lifespan. For millions of years, we ate raw meat and got sick from it, for thousands of years we didn’t know how to preserve food properly. Modern Medicine has only been around for less than 100, would you like to go back to your barber for bleeding which was done for hundreds of years.
    While you are getting a life, get educated on history and science as well.
    Also go visit grade A dairies and you will not find the inhumane conditions that you describe, if you can’t do that look at the episode of dirty jobs with Mike Rowe where he was at a modern dairy. Inhumane stress the cow and reduce milk yield, and when I was going through college in 70’s, humane handling and proper sanitation was stress. It was backyard dairies that we had the most issues with where people were not educated and did not have the handling equipment to humanely handle the animals, and it was often a make do situation to treat and restrain the animals.

  • John

    To John. Do you work for a PR firm for industry? Because you have to be joking that small dairies provide stress, while saying that the giant CAFOs are fine. This is so bogus as to be laughable. And then bring up that old canard, “do you want to go back to …” Being bled by a barber? Yale University has shown that the friendly bacteria in raw milk, for instance, is protective against type 1 diabetes. Pasteurized milk is dead white stuff. Whoever is paying you to show up on blogs to make references to the scary past, is overpaying you because no one is buying this garbage. It’s very clear the dairy industry is trying to get rid of raw milk dairy farmers because they are non-coporate and doing well and the industry can’t make money off them. Do something more moral with your time than lie.

  • John

    to John(2) ( i take it you can’t come up with a real name) but I am not paid by the dairy industry and read you refence and there is no reference to raw milk.
    Apparently ” my garbage” concerns you enough to cause you to write, which means you are concerned that some one might read and check your facts and find out that we are living longer now. Also they may find out that dairy industry at the turn of the centry fought pasteurization with all the same arguements you site now. I guess it true that history repeats itself. Please note there is a new raw milk outbreak in Washington state. If want additional articles and documents of outbreaks you can use google scholar ( but you will think all the articles were paid for and written by the Big Scary Dairy industry and the folks with the black helicopters
    An Outbreak of a Newly Recognized Chronic Diarrhea Syndrome Associated With Raw Milk Consumption
    Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
    The epidemiology of raw milk-associated foodborne disease outbreaks reported in the United States, 1973 through 1992.
    John, I do something very moral with my life which is to protect the citizens of the United States. I wonder about you if you have ever seen or known a family affected by the lose of a child or one who has lost a kidney to E. coli O157:H7? The pain suffering and agony that causes them and the questions they ask themselves about what they could have done to prevent it especially when it is linked back to raw milk when they were told by people like you that it was “safe” and could kill pathogens like e. coli so why don’t be more honest and moral with your time and life

  • Scott

    Everyone should watch ABC’s Nightline program 1/25/2010. The facts that were released by an undercover investigator – are beyond disgusting. The inhumane treatment of the cows, alongside the degrading environmet, says enough. The goverment has been forced to step in. Changes must be made!