Raw Milk in the News
Food Safety News
News Desk | February 19, 2014
Kylee Young was 23 months old when she contracted an E. coli O157:H7 infection from drinking raw milk. The illness hospitalized her for months, caused her to have a stroke and eventually required her to receive a kidney transplanted from her mother.
Kylee’s parents, Jill Brown and Jason Young, are now speaking out to urge other parents not to feed raw milk to their children, as children are especially vulnerable to foodborne pathogens potentially present in unpasteurized milk.
“There might be some benefits of raw milk, but there are huge risks,” said Brown, Kylee’s mother. “There needs to be more public awareness that this is a high-risk food. If I had known what I know now, I would never have fed it to my daughter.”
February 17, 2014
Raw milk advertising regulations have been eased in Oregon after the state Department of Agriculture settled a First Amendment lawsuit pertaining to unpasteurized dairy promotions. The free speech lawsuit was brought by a Libertarian public interest firm, The Institute for Justice, on behalf of Christine Anderson, a McMinnville dairy farmer.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture agreed to ask the state legislature to repeal the raw milk advertising ban and not to enforce such regulations during the review process. “Christine is part of a nationwide movement of small-scale food producers and consumers are tired of the government dictating what foods they can grow, sell, and eat,” attorney Michael Bindas said after the free speech lawsuit settlement.
Continue reading, “Raw Milk Advertising Restrictions Eased After Free Speech Lawsuit Win” at The Inquisitor.
The Des Moines Register
By Tony Leys | February 10, 2014
A California mother who almost lost her son to a bacterial infection urged Iowa lawmakers Monday not to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk.
Mary McGonigle-Martin recounted how E. coli bacteria infected her son, Christopher, after she gave him unpasteurized milk, also known as raw milk. “The damage done by this bacteria is incomprehensible,” she said at a Statehouse hearing.
McGonigle-Martin said she had believed natural-food enthusiasts’ claims that raw milk was healthier than unpasteurized milk. But the bacteria caused severe damage to her son’s kidneys and pushed him into heart failure, she said.
Continue reading, “Mother warns Iowa against raw milk” at the Des Moines Register.
Kylee Young was a healthy two-year-old when she contracted an E. coli infection from drinking raw milk, an illness that caused a stroke and culminated in a kidney transplanted from her mom.
Food Safety News
By Cookson Beecher | February 18, 2014
Two years ago, when Oregon parents Jill Brown and Jason Young met Brad and Tricia Salyers, the families had no idea that they would eventually be sharing in a tragedy that sickened four of the Salyers’ children and left Brown and Young’s youngest child, Kylee – 23 months old at the time – with such severe medical complications that she would need a kidney transplant from her mother.
All of that and more happened beginning in April 2012 when the children were among 19 people – 15 of them under the age of 19 — who fell ill with E. coli O157:H7, a potentially fatal foodborne pathogen. Soon after, Oregon health officials determined that the outbreak was caused by raw milk from Foundation Farm near Wilsonville in Western Oregon — the Salyers’ family farm. Four of the sickened children were hospitalized with kidney failure.
Foundation Farm had been providing 48 families with raw milk. Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful and sometimes deadly foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
While many raw milk advocates say it has inherent nutritional advantages and even helps cure or ease the symptoms of ailments such as asthma and various allergies, most food-safety experts discount those claims as anecdotal, saying they’re not based on science. They also warn of the serious risks to human health associated with drinking milk that hasn’t been pasteurized.
The symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection typically include bloody diarrhea and other digestive-tract problems. In some people, this type of E. coli may also cause severe anemia or hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication in which toxins destroy red blood cells, which are typically smooth and round. The misshapen or deformed blood cells can clog the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, causing them to fail.
Continue reading, “A Mom and a Dairyman Plead: Don’t Feed Children Raw Milk” at Food Safety News.
By Lynne Terry | February 13, 2014
Raw milk proponents scored a victory in Oregon on Thursday, with the state agreeing not to enforce a ban on advertising the sale of unpasteurized milk.
The agreement is part of a settlement between Oregon Department of Agriculture and Christine Anderson, owner of Cast Iron Farm in McMinnville. Anderson filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Portland in November, saying the ban infringed on her free speech rights. On-farm sales of raw milk are allowed in Oregon; advertising, including website postings, fliers and emails, is not.
Anderson is dismissing her suit and in return, Katy Coba, director of the Department of Agriculture, will ask the state Legislature to repeal the ban. Coba was named in the complaint as the sole defendant.
Continue reading, “Raw milk dairy farmer in Oregon wins fight against advertising ban” at The Oregonian.
Source: National Milk Producers Federation, International Dairy Foods Association
February 6, 2014 | News Release
Due to the significant public health risks associated with the consumption of raw milk, the two organizations representing the nation’s dairy farmers and dairy companies jointly urged state lawmakers in South Dakota to reject efforts easing regulations surrounding raw milk sales directly to consumers.
In a letter sent Wednesday to South Dakota state senators, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation said that the risks inherent in raw dairy products are not worth any purported benefits to either consumers or producers of unpasteurized milk products. The two associations urged lawmakers to reject Senate Bill No. 126, legislation designed to further ease the sale of unpasteurized milk in South Dakota. The measure is the subject of a hearing in Pierre, S.D. on Friday.
“Consumption of raw milk is a demonstrated public health risk. The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well-documented in the scientific literature, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella,” the organizations wrote.
Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion to regulate raw milk sales within their borders. Several states in recent years have considered legislation expanding the sales of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast. At a school event in Wisconsin in 2011, 16 individuals, including fourth-grade students and adults, drank raw milk donated by a parent and later suffered from diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting from Campylobacter infections.
The two dairy groups mentioned in the letter that “the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that nearly 75 percent of raw milk-associated outbreaks have occurred in states where sale of raw milk was legal. Legalizing the state-wide sale of raw milk in South Dakota increases the risk to public health, opening up the state’s consumers to the inevitable consequence of falling victim to a foodborne illness. No matter how carefully it is produced, raw milk is inherently dangerous. Americans have become ill after consuming raw milk obtained from farms of varying sizes, from cow-share programs, and from licensed, permitted, or certified raw milk producers.”
“Nationally, our dairy industry benefits from a very high degree of consumer confidence – confidence built in large part due to the excellent food safety record of milk and dairy products. Current statistics estimate only 1-2 percent of reported foodborne outbreaks are attributed to dairy products. However, of those, over 70 percent have been attributed to raw milk and inappropriately-aged raw milk cheeses. In a 2007 report, the CDC concluded that “State milk regulations and methods for their enforcement should be reviewed and strengthened to minimize the hazards of raw milk”. Loosening the regulations surrounding raw milk through SB 126 would be a step in the wrong direction.”
“While choice is an important value, it should not pre-empt consumers’ well-being. To further ease the regulations surrounding the state-wide sale of raw milk is an unnecessary risk to consumer safety. Therefore, we strongly urge you to oppose Senate Bill 126,” the letter said.
The Newnan Times-Herald
January 29, 2014 | by Sarah Fay Campbell
Raw milk — milk that is unpasteurized and non-homogenized — is prized for the antibodies, probiotics and enzymes it contains, and for its delicious taste.
Raw cow and goat milk have become popular as health foods for those seeking a natural diet, and small farmers across Georgia produce and sell raw milk to eager customers.
But the state of Georgia doesn’t allow the sale of raw milk for human consumption. To get around that, raw milk producers must label their milk for “pet use only.”
A new bill introduced in the Georgia legislature aims to change that.
Continue reading, “Bill Would Legalize Sale Of Raw Milk For Humans” at The Newnan Times Herald Website.
The Washington Post
By Whitney Pipkin | January 21, 2014
It’s difficult to find any middle ground between what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says about raw milk (that it’s “an inherently dangerous food”) and what proponents like Sally Fallon Morell have to say (“The mantra they keep giving us is garbage”).
Pasteurization, which heats the milk to kill bacteria such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli that could be present, has been the law for milk that crosses state lines since 1987. But raw-milk advocates say the heating process also kills healthful bacteria and nutrients, unnecessarily altering a naturally delicious product.
Today, 20 states also prohibit intrastate raw milk sales in some form while 30 allow them, according to the FDA.
Continue reading, “On raw milk, FDA and proponents engage in a battle of statistics” at The Washington Post.
Food Safety News
By News Desk | December 17, 2013
The health claims related to drinking raw milk have not been verified by scientific evidence, and therefore do not outweigh the potential health risks that raw milk poses to pregnant women and children, according to a policy statement issued Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the nation’s leading pediatrics organization.
The organization went even further than advising against drinking raw milk by also endorsing a nationwide ban on the sale of raw dairy products.
That recommendation, the organization stated, was based on the plentiful data regarding the burden of illness associated with raw dairy, especially among pregnant women and children, along with the “strong scientific evidence” that pasteurized milk promises the same nutritional value.
While anyone can fall ill from drinking raw milk contaminated with bacterial pathogens, it is especially risky to pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals, the statement said.
Continue reading, “American Academy of Pediatrics Advises Ban on Raw Milk” at Food Safety News.
American Academy of Pediatrics
For Release: December 16, 2013
Raw milk and milk products from cows, goats, and sheep can transmit life-threatening bacterial infections, yet sales are still legal in at least 30 states. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises pregnant women, infants and children to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products, and supports a ban on the sale of raw milk in the U.S.
The policy statement, “Consumption of Raw or UnpasteurizedMilk and Milk Products by Pregnant Women and Children,” published in the January 2014 Pediatrics (released online Dec. 16), reviews evidence of the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk and milk products in the U.S., especially among pregnant women, infants, and children.
“Given the progress we have made in prevention, there is no reason to risk consuming raw milk in this day and age,” said Jatinder Bhatia, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Consumption of raw milk products is especially risky for pregnant women, infants, immunocompromised individuals, and the elderly, and the evidence overwhelmingly establishes the benefits of pasteurization on food safety.”
Efforts to limit the sale of raw milk products have been opposed by people who claim there are health benefits from natural factors in milk that are inactivated by pasteurization. However, the benefits of these natural elements have not been clearly demonstrated in scientific research. Numerous data show pasteurized milk provides the same nutritional benefits as raw milk, without the risk of deadly infections including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Brucella and E. coli.
“Consumption of raw milk or milk products can result in severe and life-threatening illnesses such as miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and meningitis and blood-borne infections in both young infants and pregnant women,” said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, the lead author of the policy statement. “Before pasteurization of milk began in the United States in the 1920s, consumption of raw dairy products accounted for a significant proportion of foodborne illnesses among Americans, and resulted in hundreds of outbreaks of tuberculosis and other serious infections.”
Today, an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of all dairy products consumed in the U.S. are not pasteurized. From 1998 to 2009, consumption of raw milk products in the U.S. resulted in 1,837 illnesses, 195 hospitalizations, 93 illness outbreaks, and two deaths. The risks involved with infections due to consuming raw milk are particularly high for pregnant women and their fetuses, as well as for young children.
“Raw milk poses a significant health risk, since the process of obtaining fresh milk from cows and goats can be fraught with risks of contamination both while milking the animals and during storage,” said Mary Glodé, MD, FAAP, a co-author of the policy statement. “Pasteurized milk and milk products are extraordinarily healthy, nutritious and safe for children. We are fortunate to have pasteurized products easily available for our entire population.”
The AAP supports the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other national and international associations in endorsing the consumption of only pasteurized milk and milk products for pregnant women, infants, and children. The AAP also endorses a ban on the sale of raw or unpasteurized milk or milk products in the U.S., including certain raw milk cheeses. Pediatricians are encouraged to advocate for more restrictive laws regarding the sale and distribution of raw milk and raw dairy products.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit http://www.aap.org.
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Several families offered to share their stories on video to help raise awareness about the potential risks and negative effects on health from drinking contaminated raw milk.