Raw Milk Not 100% Safe...Duh.

Ethicurean blogger, Amanda Rose, recently had the opportunity to speak at a raw milk symposium in Seattle, WA last Sunday. This was a huge deal because this was one of the first of these symposiums to include raw milk advocates. Of course, quite a few food safety people, such as Bill Marler, were on the panel speaking against raw milk, but at least it was more even this time.

I’ve written about Bill Marler before, and I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Marler on the phone about both of our takes on food safety, where we tend to differ most greatly on the issue of raw milk. One thing we can agree on, is that a product like raw milk will never be 100% safe. Where we differ, is on the fact that Mr. Marler argues in favor of heavy restriction, if not outright ban on the sale of raw milk, while I argue that the product should be available, even though I would advocate investigating your dairy before purchasing from them, but then I believe we should be doing the same with the majority of sources of our food.

So, what the problem? Well, some groups, like the Weston A. Price Foundation, a group I generally agree with and who runs the Campaign for Real Milk, seriously downplay the potential risks in unpasteurized milk. To the point of actually misrepresenting research, as is demonstrated in Ms. Rose’s post linked to above. It this sort of misrepresentation of facts that led a California-mother to serve raw milk to her 7-year old son. The boy contracted E. coli O157:H7, and it is believed it was due to the raw milk. The instance resulted in a lawsuit, the outcome of which I’m not clear about.

The mother claims now that had she known about the science that suggests that E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens could thrive in raw milk, she never would have served it to her son (the boy did survive). And ultimately, as a parent she should have the right to make that decision, but she should also be able to have all the information.

Should the Weston A. Price Foundation be liable for misrepresenting the risk? Maybe.

On the other hand, the other side misrepresents the health benefits, and generally grossly overstates the risk of infection. Are they not any more blameful for that?

Personally, I’m wary about buying raw milk from a dairy I’ve never seen. Further, I’d need to know it was close, and that the milk was fresh. RigEthicurean blogger, Amanda Rose, recently had the opportunity to speak at a raw milk symposium in Seattle, WA last Sunday. This was a huge deal because this was one of the first of these symposiums to include raw milk advocates. Of course, quite a few food safety people, such as Bill Marler, were on the panel speaking against raw milk, but at least it was more even this time.

I’ve written about Bill Marler before, and I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Marler on the phone about both of our takes on food safety, where we tend to differ most greatly on the issue of raw milk. One thing we can agree on, is that a product like raw milk will never be 100% safe. Where we differ, is on the fact that Mr. Marler argues in favor of heavy restriction, if not outright ban on the sale of raw milk, while I argue that the product should be available, even though I would advocate investigating your dairy before purchasing from them, but then I believe we should be doing the same with the majority of sources of our food.

So, what the problem? Well, some groups, like the Weston A. Price Foundation, a group I generally agree with and who runs the Campaign for Real Milk, seriously downplay the potential risks in unpasteruized milk. To the point of actually misrepresenting research, as is demonstrated in Ms. Rose’s post linked to above. It this sort of misrepresentation of facts that led a California-mother to serve raw milk to her 7-year old son. The boy contracted E. coli O157:H7, and it is believed it was due to the raw milk. The instance resulted in a lawsuit, the outcome of which I’m not clear about.

The mother claims now that had she known about the science that suggests that E. coli O157:H7 and other pathogens could thrive in raw milk, she never would have served it to her son (the boy did survive). And ultimately, as a parent she should have the right to make that decision, but she should also be able to have all the information.

Should the Weston A. Price Foundation be liable for misrepresenting the risk? Maybe.

On the other hand, the other side misrepresents the health benefits, and generally grossly overstates the risk of infection. Are they not any more blameful for that?

Personally, I’m wary about buying raw milk from a dairy I’ve never seen. Further, I’d need to know it was close, and that the milk was fresh. Right now we go through a gallon of milk roughly weekly. If it was raw milk (which I’d love to be able to get), I’d want a fresh half gallon every three or four days. But I do believe that raw milk is healthier, despite the risks.

If I can find a nearby dairy to supply me with raw milk (and whom I trust), I may well get sick from it someday, but I acknowledge that risk, and I should be allowed to choose to take that risk. But, it’s also important that we get complete information on the issues out to everyone, so that they can make the most educated decisions possible.ht now we go through a gallon of milk roughly weekly. If it was raw milk (which I’d love to be able to get), I’d want a fresh half gallon every three or four days. But I do believe that raw milk is healthier, despite the risks.

If I can find a nearby dairy to supply me with raw milk (and whom I trust), I may well get sick from it someday, but I acknowledge that risk, and I should be allowed to choose to take that risk. But, it’s also important that we get complete information on the issues out to everyone, so that they can make the most educated decisions possible.