FS HN 308 Lecture 11: Raw Milk Debate

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Iowa State University
Food Science and Human Nutrition
FS HN 308
Stephanie Clark

Facts and Belief Related to Raw Milk Safety Jim Roth DVM, PhD Director, Center for Food Security and Public Health College of Veterinary Medicine Iowa State University Raw Milk Debate • Fact Vs Beliefs: o The science is clear: There are no health benefits to raw milk and it can make people sick and perhaps very sick o Children, elderly, immunocompromised and pregnant people are at greatest risk o Some people believe there are health benefits and almost no risks o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ▪ Raw Milk Questions and Answers ▪ http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-questions-and- answers.html#risks • Raw Milk Facts (CDC) o Federal law prohibits dairies from distributing raw milk across state lines in final package form o In about half of states raw milk may be sold directly to consumers o States that allow the legal sale of raw milk for human consumption have more raw milk- related outbreaks of illness o From 1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC ▪ These resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. ▪ Most of these illnesses were caused by Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Listeria. It is important to note that a substantial proportion of the raw milk-associated disease burden falls on children (CDC) o Pasteurized milk products have occasionally caused illnesses and outbreaks. This has happened because of germs introduced after the pasteurization process o Considering the amount of pasteurized milk consumed in the United States, illness from it is exceedingly rare o The rate for disease outbreaks caused by raw dairy products was 150 times higher than for pasteurized dairy products o Reported outbreaks represent the tip of the iceberg. Most illnesses are not part of recognized outbreaks o Immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk ▪ Infants and young children ▪ Elderly ▪ People with weakened immune systems • Cancer, organ transplants, HIV/AIDS, etc. ▪ Pregnant women • Listeria, Q fever, and toxoplasmosis may cause fetal death o Cows can shed pathogens directly into milk o Germs such as Escherichia coli O157, Campylobacter, and Salmonella can contaminate milk during the process of milking o Animals that carry these germs are usually healthy o Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination o Negative laboratory tests do not guarantee that raw milk is safe to drink o Outbreaks of illness related to raw milk have been traced back to both grass-fed and
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