The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a letter to state health officials Wednesday outlining the dangers of raw milk consumption, and urged state lawmakers to consider further regulating raw milk sales. The letter stresses the fact that unpasteurized milk is likely to harbor foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella, which are shed in animal feces and can contaminate milk during milking. Raw milk and cheese were responsible for 82 percent of  dairy-related outbreaks between 1973 and 2009, it points out. Between 1998 and 2009, CDC recorded 93 outbreaks linked to raw milk or products made from raw milk. Together these outbreaks caused 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. “Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria,” says the letter, penned by penned by Dr. Robert Tauxe, Deputy Director of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. While the federal government outlawed interstate sales of unpasteurized milk in 1987, rules governing in-state sales  widely from state to state. Right now, 18 states prohibit raw milk sales entirely, while 17 allow only direct sales from farms to consumers. The remaining 16 states permit off-farm sales, some only at farmers markets and some at retail stores. A study released by CDC in February showed that three quarters of dairy-related outbreaks between 1993 and 2006 occurred in states where raw milk sales were legal at the time. “To protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states,” advises the letter. Rules regarding raw milk are often hotly debated. Legislative bodies in 11 states are currently sitting on proposals to amend raw milk regulations, either to make them stricter or more liberal. Earlier this year, Indiana passed a law requiring unpasteurized milk to be labeled as “not fit for human consumption.” Bills pushing to relax raw milk restrictions have been introduced in Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The letter encourages recipients to pass its contents on to colleagues and others concerned with issues surrounding raw milk safety. For more information on raw milk legislation, see the Raw Milk Legislation Packet on, supported by Food Safety News publisher Bill Marler.

  • *brings popcorn, waits…*

  • FoodSci

    Shelley: Did you bring enough to share?

  • You bet. Loaded with butter made from pasteurized milk 😉

  • Jen

    LOL @ Shelley.

  • D Peterson

    It is just amazing how the same rhetoric keeps being brought up “raw milk caused 2 deaths” yet when you go to find any documentation, any evidence, any information about these so called 2 deaths, there is nothing to find!! I, too, had posted quite some time ago, that there had to have been a condition already existing within a child that ended up in the hospital allegedly due to consumption of raw milk! I, too, raised the point that why were not more children and/or others not affected if this raw milk was supposedly contaminated!! There was definitely something going on within the stomach & intestines of those that became sick, but it was not due to raw milk. Of course, this will never be proven because no one is going to go to the expense & time of researching & testing, but I sure hope so that some day someone (or group) will belly up to the ‘bar’ & do so. In contrast, “The nation’s largest recorded outbreak of Salmonella was due to PASTEURIZED milk contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella typhimurium. The outbreak, which occurred between June 1984 and April 1985 sickened over 200,000 and caused 18 deaths.”, yet ‘they’ don’t talk about that, do ‘they’?! As far as, HUS…well, again that is due to improper medical treatment, as well as, the medical establishment not even knowing what to really do when presented with the symptoms of vomiting & diarrhea. Their response is to give questionable medications that have known & unknown side affects, thereby putting the patients into greater risk of more serious medical problems that were never present to begin with, not to mention, causing future medical problems that could be long term. I’ve seen this for far too many years.Oh, and I forgot to mention…recently & I forget where I read this, but someone had the gaul to make the most ridiculous statement that pasteurization was invented solely for milk!!! Wow!! Shows how uneducated & how ignorant that statement was. No, the REAL reason pasteurization came about was to help the wine producers. Pasteur provided a way to help the wine producers to extend the ‘shelf life’ of the wine being transported great distances. He had no intention, no designs, no interest in using it for milk. His pasteurization technique wasn’t used until after large scale herds of dairy cows were brought into the city proper (inner city), bunched together in a dirt/feces confinement next to a distillery, fed spent grains from the distillery process (which is not their natural diet), which then caused a very dangerous, poisonous milk to be produced, then to top it all off, the workers/milkers carried TB, Hepatitis, etc, which also contaminated the milk which also was passed off to the consumers. This was cheap, this was supposedly a way to provide mass feedings to the poor, but unfortunately it sickened & killed many, including children & infants. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the sick milk being produced was blue in appearance & what was the solution to make it white so that the poor would consume it??? Put chalk into it, sure that made it white, but also that chalk was very poisonous which compounded more deaths!! No, people of today have no clue of how & why pasteurization came about, they have no clue of what truly happened nor the original intentions for pasteurization.