A new report shows that, even under the most ideal circumstances, raw milk makes people sick. If only there were some sort of process we could subject milk to that would make it safe for consumption …
In all seriousness, the consumption of raw milk has lead to the biggest outbreak of campylobacter bacteria seen in recent years, leaving 148 people in four states sick, according to the report. To put it in perspective, most outbreaks of this kind only involve a handful of people and usually less than 12.
The source of the raw milk was a Pennsylvania dairy farm, which has a permit to sell unpasteurized milk. The raw milk had passed all inspections, and the farm was one of the largest dealers of unpasteurized milk in Pennsylvania.
We say all this to say that the dairy farm in question did its job above and beyond what was required, even testing the raw milk for E. coli and several other bacteria they’re not required to test for. The only thing they did wrong was selling raw milk in the first place. We figured this out over 100 years ago, America.
The report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state health departments, concluded that the bacterial outbreak illustrates “the ongoing hazards of unpasteurized dairy products.”
“Raw milk is riskier than most foods,” said Douglas Powell, who is a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. “Fecal matter just ends up in the milk — it’s not like you can see it,” he continued.
“No inspectors can see it — this isn’t CSI, where the bacteria just magically line up,” he joked.
He also said that while adults are free to choose what they consume, you shouldn’t give raw milk to your kids.
The researchers called for more regulation on raw milk products, but noted that even so, there’s no way to prevent bacteria from getting into raw milk … you have to pasteurize it.
“The only way to prevent unpasteurized milk–associated disease outbreaks is for consumers to refrain from consuming unpasteurized milk,” they plainly noted in the report.
Do you drink raw milk? If so, stop!
[Image via: Valentyn Volkov, Shutterstock.com]