Raw Milk Debate Continues, CDC Illness Statistics Questioned

Raw milk benefits and risks are once again being debated by US Food and Drug Administration – FDA. The agency’s official stance is that unpasteurized milk is an “inherently dangerous food.” Natural milk supporter Sally Fallon Morell feels the federal government’s mantra on the subject is nothing more than “garbage.”

West Virginia raw milk advocates are pushing for unpasteurized dairy regulation changes in the state. A concerned mother and a host of farmers are behind the growing raw dairy movement in the state. Lori Lee is concerned about her daughter’s health; the child is allergic to pasteurized milk and so the mom wants to purchase raw milk instead, but doing so remains a crime in the Mountain State.

Rylee Lee, 11, is allergic to Beta Casein A1, a protein typically found in cow milk. To maintain her daughter’s health, Lori wants the legal option to buy raw goat milk for the little girl. Under current West Virginia law, both mother and the seller could face hundreds of dollars in fines and misdemeanor charges if they are caught exchanging cash for raw milk. Rylee is not shy about sharing her feelings about the mountain of regulations mandating her dairy choices, she said, “It is milk. It’s not like it is a big war or nuclear bomb, it is milk.”

The West Virginia raw milk activist had this to say about current dairy laws in the state:

“The bottom line is she hurts when she gets milk from the store. That is all the government is willing to give us. So what they give us hurts my child. You know other parents have access to this. That is not right. We should have the same rights and freedoms in West Virginia that our neighbors do. The government needs to trust us as parents to read the studies and extract our own opinions and beliefs. But the proof is in the pudding and I see the difference in Rylee.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 48 million people, or one in six Americans, get sick annually from food-borne illness. The massive statistic has been disputed by many raw milk advocates due to the fact that roughly only 15,000 actual food-borne illnesses are reported by state health agencies to the CDC each. The disease control agency reportedly arrives at the higher statistics by estimating based upon “under diagnosis multipliers and various other mathematical modeling.”

Do you think raw milk should be legal to purchase in grocery stores and sold on dairy farms?