Raw milk: Consumer lives are at risk

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Raw milk: Consumer lives are at risk

Date: 
Fri, 04/02/2010

It ought to be an old saying by now: Consumers have the right to make choices, but expect some of them to be dangerous or stupid. In the case of raw milk, they're getting both.

Federal law requires all milk sold in final package form for human consumption to be pasteurized for one simple reason: Raw milk poses a health risk, especially for people who are sick or very young or very old or who are immune-compromised. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, between 1998 and 2008 consumption of raw milk in the U.S. was documented to be responsible for 1,614 cases of illness, 187 hospitalizations, and two fatalities.

Yes, in rare cases people can die from drinking raw milk.

Despite repeated warnings to consumers to not drink it – FDA even has a question and answer page on its website – raw milk has somehow become the latest sexy government coverup in the minds of nutrition conspiracy theorists who demand to have access to it.

Inexplicably, lawmakers in some states seem inclined to say OK. On March 26, a bill to allow the sale of raw milk was sent to the Wisconsin State Assembly for consideration. That same day, FDA and several state agencies issued yet another warning against drinking raw milk which was prompted by word from Michigan health officials that at least 12 cases of raw-milk-related illness had been confirmed as of March 24.

How many more people have to die – and how many dairy producers will be sued for providing it to them – before intelligence finally takes over?