A Raw Deal from Consuming Raw Milk? You Decide.

Want some bacteria with your morning cereal? Some Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella or E-coli? If you like raw milk, that’s just what you might be getting, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC conducted a 13-year review of dairy-associated disease outbreaks that occurred between 1993 and 2006. The agency found that 60 percent of the outbreaks were caused by dairy products that did not go through the pasteurization process. Of those outbreaks, 75 percent happened in states that permitted the sale of nonpasteurized products.

The report’s conclusion: States that restricted the sale of products made from raw milk had fewer outbreaks and illnesses, and that stronger restrictions and enforcement should be considered.

Why does the AVMA care about the potential dangers associated with consuming raw milk products? Because veterinarians play a central role in food safety, and that includes the health of dairy cows and the safety of the food products they produce. We have a huge interest in food safety overall, and we take a pretty strong stance on raw milk products because of the dangers associated with consuming them.

We’re not here to lecture, but we take our role as food-safety advocates and communicators seriously. That’s why we recommend that people get educated about the potential dangers associated with raw milk products. They can make up their own minds after that, but at least they’ll be making an informed decision.

5 thoughts on “A Raw Deal from Consuming Raw Milk? You Decide.

  1. Pingback: Raw milk linked to 7 cases of E. coli in Missouri | Aardvarks2Zebras

  2. Raw milk producers are required to wash the udders. That is equivalent to washing your hands after accidentally touching your poop while wiping. Those same hands go into your mouth without thinking.

    That being said, I would take my chance any day with a farmer who has proven to be responsible than big milk producing companies that give me a little bit of rGBH along with God knows what.

    Nobody can convince me that big companies care about sterility when they know milk will be pasteurized. Raw milk producers do make mistakes but are more honest.

  3. Half a century ago, people used to die of diseases that are easily treatable now. Do we really want to “humbly re-commune” with polio, typhoid, or brucellosis? The previous commenter seems blissfully unaware that cows’ udders are not clean…there are many types of bacteria on them, including fecal bacteria. If she wants that mixed into her milk, that’s fine — I’m all for a person’s right to choose what they do with their own body — just don’t give the germ-laden stuff to children, anyone with a compromised immune system, and (most importantly) anyone who isn’t warned first.

  4. Dear David,
    Most milk and milk products sold commercially in the United States contain pasteurized milk or cream, or the products have been produced in a manner that kills any dangerous bacteria that may be present. But unpasteurized milk and products made from unpasteurized milk are sold and may be harmful to your health. To avoid getting sick from the dangerous bacteria found in raw milk, you should choose your milk and milk products carefully.
    Thanking you

  5. Greetings David,

    I completely understand and agree with AVMA’s food-safety aspect when it comes to consuming raw milk but there are facts and reports involving raw milk and diary products that had real positive effects on some people.
    More specifically, raw milk contains live enzymes necessary for digesting food and enjoying good health. It also contains compounds that combat arthritis, cholesterol, and arterial stiffening.

    Especially in the community of arthritis sufferers, many testimonials reported sensitive improvement on their joint stiffness and immune boosting.

    So as you said it is important for the people to understand the risk of consuming raw milk and let them decide but at the same time it might be wise to look back at how people used to feed themselves half a century ago and maybe go back to the natural and healthy farming products, from grass fed cows and rediscover the outdoors in a humble re-communion with nature.

    All the best,