The Real Reason Why RAW Milk Is Illegal
Have you ever wondered why RAW milk is illegal? While the main argument by the FDA is that it has a higher chance of having Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria bacteria, the same can be said for many types of sushi and unpasteurized cider, believe it or not.
Yet those are legal (with exception of New York’s Cider Pasteurization Law and other isolated local laws). Why can’t raw milk, the type of milk that has sustained millions of people for generations, just come with a warning label?
Are we not trusted enough to make our own decisions about our health?
RAW milk was legal until 1986 & today the ban is based on mainly ONE study
The FDA banned unpasteurized dairy sales after a 1986 Public Citizen lawsuit, after the Health Research Group of Public Citizen Group heavily petitioned FDA to do so.
Recently, both FDA and CDC are seen quoting the same one study to back their former decision. The study looked at the years between 1993 and 2006 and found 121 foodborne illness outbreaks associated with milk products: 1,571 cases, 202 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. That is about 9 outbreaks per year. According to CDC, 75% are linked to unpasteurized milk products – about 6-7 outbreaks per year.
How high is the risk, actually?
The CDC states, “While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all.” But is it so?
According to the CDC, 48 million people (1 in 6 in the U.S.) get sick by contaminated food annually. In just one year, 2009-2010, there have been 1,527 outbreaks, 29,444 illnesses, 1,184 hospitalizations and 23 deaths. And the food that caused it varies from shellfish and eggs, to sprouts and vine-stalk vegetables.
This year there were Salmonella outbreaks linked to cucumbers, pork, frozen chicken and frozen tuna; last year E. coli outbreaks linked to clover sprouts and ground beef; and Listeria outbreaks linked to ice cream, caramel apples, and cheese between 2014-2015.
Most of these cases have one thing in common: the contaminated produce was from a large farm or company, often sourced from a different state or even country.
That seems high risk. But we get a little warning sign on the package and are allowed to make our own choices. And what about milk?
While there is no nationwide statistic about how many people drink raw milk (perhaps because most hide the said fact), Time reported that in just California, 100,000 consumers drink raw milk on a weekly basis.
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