A report in Health on the Net reminds us that, according to the CDC, from 1998 to May 2005, raw milk or raw milk products were implicated in 45 food-borne illness outbreaks that resulted in more than 1,000 cases of illness in the United States.
The Associated Press in a recent story, Raw Milk Spoils Farmer-FDA Relations, summarizes the current conflict.
On one side are the public health officials, who are concerned about the spread of food-borne illnesses. Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies are stepping up efforts to keep unpasteurized milk out of reach, even as demand for the niche product grows.
On the other side are consumers concerned about the chemicals and hormones used in traditional dairy farming, and who have a growing interest in unprocessed, organic foods.
Devotees of raw milk ascribe to it almost mythical healing powers. They feed it to babies, believing it strengthens the immune system and staves off digestive troubles.
The FDA insists pasteurization destroys harmful bacteria without significantly changing milk’s nutritional value. The process also extends its shelf life.
Those claiming the benefits of raw milk have very little data to support their beliefs. And, children have been killed and harmed by ingesting raw milk.
At this point, I recommend against consuming raw milk. Period.