May 24, 2024

Organic Pastures Outbreak Is Fifth Raw Milk Outbreak This Year

The Campylobacter raw milk outbreak linked to Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno County, California is the fifth foodborne illness outbreak this year caused by raw milk.

Milking a CowOn May 10, the California Department of Food and Agriculture issued a quarantine and recall of all Organic Pastures raw milk, raw skim milk, raw cream and raw butter after samples of raw cream tested positive for Campylobacter.

At least 10 people have been diagnosed with confirmed Campylobacter infections after consuming raw milk products produced by the farm. Those sickened range in age from nine months to 38 years old, six of them are children.

In 2011, a total of nine foodborne illness outbreaks linked to raw milk products sickened 123 people, according to information from state health and agriculture departments. So far this year, five raw milk outbreaks have sickened 142 people. They are:

  1. January – A Campylobacter outbreak linked to an unnamed farm in central Kansas that sickened 18 people.
  2.  January – A Campylobacter outbreak linked to The Family Cow Farm in Chambersburg, Penn. that sickened more than 80 people. This outbreak was one of the five largest raw milk outbreaks in the nation since 1998.
  3.  March – An E.coli raw milk outbreak linked to Stroupe Farm in Missouri that sickened 13 people at least two of whom were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
  4. April – An E. coli outbreak linked to Foundation Farm in Oregon that sickened 19 people, four of whom were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
  5. May – The current outbreak of Campylobacter linked to Organic Pastures in California that has sickened at least 10 people.

Although Campylobacter was found in raw milk produced at Claravale Farm in California, no specific illnesses have been scientifically tied to that finding so we have not included this incident in the total. However, there was a cluster of Campylobacter infections in the area at the time, but the investigation by state officials is not complete.


  1. I tasted raw milk when I was young at a friends farm house & it didn’t make me sick. I think the reason why some people are getting sick in California is because maybe it’s coming from sick cows or the people who are selling it are not washing their hands or using plastic gloves when milking the cows. At least I knew my parents friends who lived on the farm & they were clean people, never milked from sick cows & washed their hands & used plastic gloves so they wouldn’t spread any kind of diseases. It’s just about who you can trust. I would never buy raw milk now if I didn’t know the person or where it was coming from. You don’t know where their hands were at before they milked the cows. Sorry but it’s the truth!

    • Linda Larsen says

      Sorry, that’s not the truth. Bacteria live on farm environments and are on and in cows. Bacteria are endemic in the intestinal systems of ruminant animals. It doesn’t matter how the cows are treated, how trustworthy the farmer is or how “clean” the farm. Bacteria are everywhere. And since it takes just 10 E. coli bacteria to make someone sick, it is absolutely impossible to guarantee that any raw milk product is going to be completely free of pathogenic bacteria. Every time you drink raw milk you are taking a risk with your health. Just because you drank it once doesn’t prove it’s safe; that’s the logical fallacy of “small sample size”.

  2. I really like and appreciate your blog post.Thanks Again.

  3. I’ve been giving my 3 year old daughter goat’s milk (pasteurized) since she started drinking anyone’s milk but mine. I LOVE the IDEA of raw milk, because i am a chef, a foodie and a total dairy aficionado. I used to drink Claravale Farms unpasteurized milk years ago and I do think it tasted great. But not that much greater than organic grass-fed un-homoginized pasteurized milk. I like the IDEA of the freshest most natural product. It appeals to my sense of artisanal food products. SO! i decided today that i would buy a bottle of Unpasteurized milk and drink it a few times before seeing how my daughter reacts. I was in the parking lot of my natural foods store and googled “raw milk out break CA” and this page turned up. When i saw the header i at first decided, “OK no Organic Pastures! Claravale Farms it is!” But then i read the rest of your page. And the comments section. And i pulled out and went to trader Joe’s to buy two bottles of PASTEURIZED goat’s milk. I understand that those who support the right to buy and drink what they want will view Linda as biased, and i cannot say that she has none. BUT her arguments are so clear, smart and unhysterical. Maybe unpasteurized milk is healthier when it is 100% clean. But when it is not, (which it is sometimes!) it is criminally dangerous to young children. I’ll drink it again. Just like I’ll eat raw oysters, and raw cheese, and runny egg yolks and rare hamburgers. But my 3 year old is healthy! She’s fine. She doesn’t need a boost that might put her in the hospital. SO thanks for your awesome page. i am so glad i read it. (plus its hella entertaining!)

  4. It is simply amazing how many people refuse to do proper research on something and instead rely on the claims of superstitious faith based farmers over SCIENTIFIC FACT. WE CAN’T USE THE ENZYMES IN RAW MILK, THEY BREAK DOWN IN THE STOMACH !!!!! and the overall loss of nutrients is 10 percent in the most extreme cases. generally between 1 and 10 and almost always closer to 1 than 10. The truth on the matter is that these farmers promoting raw milk are simply looking to decrease their overhead per cow and sell the milk for MUCH more than its worth and at a FAR greater risk to the consumer than with pasteurized milk. The real argument should be for pasture raising with minimal amounts of grain feed. Antibiotics are GOOD for the cows that need them , and thus a good farmer will only give them to the ones that show a need for it, The same with dewormers and medicines, They can give them only to the cows that require it and seclude them from the milking process for a week or two.

  5. I noticed that the link on Wiki shows that many countries allow raw milk. Do they have huge amounts of people getting sick or dying from it or is it just coming from the States and Canada who have banned it?

    • Linda Larsen says

      Reporting on foodborne illness outbreaks is not as rigorous in those countries. It’s an established fact that raw milk causes far more foodborne illnesses than pasteurized milk, because pathogenic bacteria are destroyed during the heating process. Raw milk outbreaks happen everywhere in the world.

  6. My grandparents were born in the early 20th century. They had plenty of stories about losing family members to unpasteurized milk products. The reason for the regulations we have now are rooted in scientific fact and concern for public health. My daughter, like Austin, has problems with milk from cows. (Yes, it is pasteurized). She changed to goat and sheep cheeses and yogurts, replaced liquid milk with vegetable based alternatives and feels much healthier. Everyone is welcome to their opinion, however ill informed, but when their actions threaten public health, science and law have a duty to protect the citizenry from their misguided actions. Linda, I didn’t know that person to person transmission is part of the story, glad to have that information. Interesting exchange going on here. Thanks!

  7. Stuart Mitchell says

    Linda, you rock! Keep speaking facts to assertion.

  8. Linda, I have read all 90 responses and the only conclusion I can come to is that you are a passionate about harm reduction and helpful expert in food and food safety. Although you seem to be biased against anecdotal info (which is totally understandable), I will share my raw milk experience. The only raw milk I drink is organic pastures. I drink it every morning before taking my mitragyna herb for energy and pain. I drink it with my lunch, as a snack before dinner, at dinner, before bed, and waking up in the middle of the night. I have done this for 5 months now, and my energy levels, joint pain (raw milk one of most powerful food opioids), chronic nausea, and hunger problems are gone. My entire family of 6, and 4 of my friends families drink raw milk. Of the 4, 2 have been drinking it forever. None of us have ever gotten ill representing bacterial poisoning while drinking raw milk.

    Most importantly I have not been sick since beginning this (used to be sick 1-2x a month) regimen. Something good has to be going on from the raw milk, pastuerized milk always gives me acne, bloats me up, and diarrhea like a faucet (tmi sorry). I am only one person, but this one person and everyone to my knowledge that remove the stock of raw milk from the SoCal farmers market shelves bi weekly have never reported a problem related to the milk. Although I am not educated on this matter other than personal research and not believing statistics that were funded by those who would loose the most if the results weren’t in their favor, I do believe this is an issue of which statistics to believe. Unfortunately the FDA and CDC are at the bottom of my totum pole on credibility (so is anecdotal Internet info IMO), as they continue to allow not tested gmos into market, and continue to accept money from drug companies to speed up process of marketing a drug. Basically I don’t believe they have our interest at heart. They have corporate interests at heart. The dairy industry has been responsible for suppressing info about autism links to pasteurized milk, high amounts of puss caused my bgh, and reportedly in the past added bleach to their milk because it became bloody. I do not trust them.

    • Linda Larsen says

      I appreciate your story and I’m glad you haven’t gotten sick. And you’re right – I don’t trust anecdotal evidence, simply because it means nothing in scientific terms. The only way to truly verify a claim is to test it, using double blind random tests and subject the results to statistical analysis. And that will never be done with raw milk, because it would be unethical to give people that product. According to the principles of medical ethics (I wrote a book on this topic), the first precept of scientific research is to do no harm. And raw milk does contain deadly bacteria. So a study comparing raw milk to pasteurized milk is impossible because of the risks involved.

      While I agree with you on the GMO issue, I do trust the FDA and the CDC, because I know some of the scientists who work there. They truly want to prevent illness and death. Industry does have quite a grip on government, which is another thing I really hate; and it does explain the GMO issue. But after you’ve seen someone suffer after drinking contaminated raw milk, there is no way you would want to go near it. Too many children have lost kidney function, had strokes, and suffered tremendous pain after consuming raw milk. It’s just too much of a risk without provable benefit.

      There’s also another issue that doesn’t come up very often: anyone who is sickened by bacteria in raw milk can pass that bacteria on to others. In many food outbreaks, person-to-person transmission occurs. That makes this a public health issue. More than 128,000 Americans are hospitalized every year in foodborne illness outbreaks, costing this country hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. That is why raw milk is restricted and so heavily regulated.

  9. David Harreld says

    It’s sad that experience doesn’t carry more weight. Just look at the statistics. How many families drink milk, and how many individuals get ill from an infection that may or may not be honestly traceable to the dairy? And if it was, perhaps the root cause could have been an immune system compromised by the inappropriate administration of antibiotics. Raw milk is SO much safer than a visit to a physician.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Sorry, personal experience, also called anecdotal, just doesn’t carry weight because of the small sample size, as I stated. And personal experience has no controls; there are many explanations for things that happen to people.

      The statistics prove raw milk is dangerous. And raw milk is so much more dangerous than a visit to a physician. The illnesses we report on are absolutely traceable to the dairies, by matching the DNA of the bacteria in the patient to the DNA in the raw milk product or at the dairy.

      Yes, antibiotics are administered inappropriately. But the use of antibiotics and the science of public health have doubled the average lifespan of Americans in the last 100 years. In 1900, more than 30% of all deaths were in children under the age of 5; by 1997, only 1.4% of children that age died. In 1900, the three leading causes of death were pneumonia, TB (from raw milk), diarrhea, enteritis, and diphtheria (from raw milk). Vaccinations (from doctors) have almost eliminated polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and tetanus.

      • Mike Myslinski says

        Don’t let up, Linda. Thank you for the work you are doing. Emotion needs to be taken out of this, and there is a tremendous amount of venom being spewed by people on here. It’s sad when people cannot disagree without getting personal or belittling other’s professions / livelihood. I apologize (to anyone) if I crossed the line on here in my comments in retaliation of others attacks or emotional positions (two wrongs don’t make a right).

        • Linda Larsen says

          Thanks, Mike.

          • It’s important to note that the outbreaks and illnesses associated with dairy products are generally mild compared to other foods. According to the CSPI report, approximately 5,000 people are killed every year by food borne illness. From 2009 to 2011, three high profile outbreaks involving peanuts, eggs and cantaloupe alone accounted for 2,729 illnesses and 39 deaths. Yet there have only been a handful of deaths from pasteurized dairy products in the last decade, and there hasn’t been a single death attributed to raw fluid milk since the mid-1980s, in spite of the fact that over 10 million people are now consuming it regularly.
            The takeaway is that thousands of people are killed each year by food borne illness, but they’re dying from eating fruits, nuts, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish – not from drinking pasteurised milk.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Even if no one has died from drinking raw milk, people have been seriously injured, as I have said many, many, many times before. Consumers have been paralyzed from Guillan-Barre syndrome, had their kidneys destroyed and needed kidney transplants, suffered reactive arthritis (even 4 year old children), have had strokes and colon necrosis, and because of food poisoning caused by raw milk, they have a higher risk of kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Plus they can expect a shortened lifespan.

            And you’re right – people are not being killed by drinking PASTEURIZED milk. Their lives are being destroyed by drinking UNPASTEURIZED milk. And yes, outbreaks linked to most dairy products are “relatively” mild (although someone stricken with Guillan-Barre syndrome or HUS would not call their illness mild). Thanks to pasteurization.

  10. I grew up drinking ‘raw milk’ along with my entire family and any guests we had visit, as well. We had a couple of milk cows, a guernsey and a jersey. We sold milk that we couldn’t use to our neighbors at 60 cents a gallon. It’s too bad that nobody had ’cause’ to file a lawsuit against us back then for all of the POTENTIAL ILLNESSES you and your modern science claims SHOULD HAVE been the result of drinking same. We NEVER got sick from ingesting raw milk or making our own butter or ice cream. Those are the FACTS; despite the huge disappointment to you, the FDA and Louis Pasteur!

    • Linda Larsen says

      Your anecdotal experience is irrelevant. One family’s experience means nothing. That’s a common logical reasoning flaw of the statistical small sample size. The relevant facts are the thousands of people who HAVE gotten sick from raw milk. The illnesses caused by raw milk are not potential at all; they are VERY REAL. At this moment in this country there are six children suffering kidney failure that was directly caused by raw milk.

      And for the 3,000th time, not everyone gets sick from raw milk because people have different immune systems, and because bacteria are not evenly distributed in the product. In fact, someone most likely did get sick from your milk, since foodborne illnesses are very underreported; most people think it’s the “24 hour flu”. You just didn’t hear about it because they recovered.

      And to claim that I would be disappointed because no one got sick is very insulting. What I am trying to do is prevent more tragedies, like those children who currently have kidney failure because of raw milk, from happening again.

    • Wow, that’s rude.

    • Janice Hartman says

      Your childhood sounds nice and I’m glad you, your family and houseguests never got sick from drinking raw milk and I hope they never do. I guess it needs pointing out, strangely, that only monster would delight in another’s illness, so I’m sure Linda, the FDA and the ghost of Louis Pasteur all agree with me on that. But back to the point, I’m glad none of you got sick after drinking raw milk, lots of people don’t. Just like lots of people smoke cigarettes their whole lives and never get cancer or lots of people drive home drunk without killing someone. That doesn’t mean smoking cigarettes and drunk driving are perfectly safe, risk-free things to do. It means those people took a dangerous risk and were lucky.


  11. David Harreld says

    It is difficult to find real science in the public forum anymore, though you can achieve it in your own home by exercising due diligence in your research, consulting with experienced individuals, and paying close and honest attention to your own experiences. The media, journals, and universities are little help these days, as fear, corporate greed, and duplicity have all but destroyed the credibility of most “experts.” Those who are willing to go out on a limb and question the agendas of the large pharmaceutical companies and FDA/Monsanto will quickly find themselves jobless and broke if they are not self-funded, and experience vehement personal attack and bullying if they are. “Science” has become a travesty and a tragedy for those who have been successfully conditioned to pay heed only to the determination of the “experts.”

    Linda, you owe it to yourself and your family and community to educate yourself on this matter. Yes, it is true that raw milk is loaded with bacteria, as is our digestive system if we are operating according to design. Raw milk contains hordes of beneficial flora and enzymes that assist our digestion and assimilation of essential vitamins. We have become, at the advice of the “experts,” accustomed to seeking to kill all microorganisms before (or after) they enter our body. There is precious little wisdom in this. Facts be known, those beneficial bacteria–and the lactic acid they produce as they feed on the sugars in raw milk–will kill off the bad bugs that try to gain entrance. As someone already mentioned in this forum, leave raw milk sitting at room temperature (or better yet inoculate it with a kefir or piima culture), and you will have a preserved product that you can very safely and healthfully ingest and use to preserve your fruits and vegetables. Man has been doing this for thousands of years. How do you think we stored and used milk and produce before developing the technology to sell refrigerators? Try the same experiment with pasteurized milk and it will become the host to any number of opportunistic pathogens that happen by.

    My advice to you, Linda, is to be your own scientist. Conduct some real research, and try some experiments at on your own. An excellent place to start would be to pick up a book called “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook the Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats” by Sally Fallon. If you want to eat delicious foods safely, improve your health, gain energy, control your weight, boost your immune system and reduce your dependence on supplements and pharmaceutical drugs, then you owe it to yourself to look into what the REAL experts have discovered. You’ll be so glad you did!

    • Linda Larsen says

      I already am well educated, thank you. And the cases I have seen, of real people horribly sickened by raw milk, is evidence enough, and for those who understand science, that raw milk is inherently dangerous. I have that book by Sally Fallon, and I do NOT agree with her stance. She denies science and modern medicine.

      There is no way I would EVER drink raw milk or give it to anyone else. In fact, that’s why there are no studies on the “benefits” of raw milk – because medical ethics would not allow it. There is no credible physician or researcher who would ever give raw milk to subjects to study it, because it contains lethal pathogens and researchers are bound to do no harm.

      Leave raw milk out at room temperature and you get a product that is packed full of pathogenic bacteria. There is nothing in raw milk that kills bacteria. Nothing.

      And how did we store and use milk before technology developed refrigerators? We didn’t. People died very young of infectious diseases. Many in the general public take their health completely for granted because they don’t understand what technology and modern medicine has done for them. The life span in this country has increased dramatically in the last 100 years due to two things. Modern medicine and public health.

      • David Harreld says

        Fair enough. We will do what we can to help you but you would need to open you to this first. No amount of intellectual debate can overcome such an emotional resistance. Just put it on the shelf for now and come back to it when you are ready.

        I appreciate your honesty regarding your biases regarding this subject. I do not doubt that there have been illnesses associated with unadulterated milk products. But given our experience with corporate greed and deception, one would wisely question the true source of these incidences. Would a gung-ho executive at Monsanto or Baxter initiate a health crisis if it promised to increase his corporation’s long-term profitability–as well as the value of his stock? I’ll let you cipher that one for yourself, Linda, but I have no great assurances that these outbreaks of campylobacter weren’t the result of sabotage. I wouldn’t suspect the larger pasteurized milk producers taking such a vile action as this, but what about someone from the FDA/BigPharma/BigAg? It is really redundant to list all three groups separately since they have truly become one. The FDA has completely lost its integrity to the mission that ‘we the people’ have charged it with. Do not for one minute deceive yourself into denying that corporate stockholders demand continual growth, nor that health services is itself a growth industry. What would be the long-term financial benefit to this industry if people became healthier from using real milk? It would not be “good for business” if medical science was relegated to simply treating injuries rather than the intensely profitable diseases that they are enjoying today.

        • Linda Larsen says

          Why do I need help? I have microbiology, epidemiology, medical science, physiology, food science, and the germ theory of disease on my side. Raw milk advocates have conspiracy theories.

          • David Harreld says

            I am not so trusting in those who claim to be my protectors as I once was.

            You seem to be a good kid, Linda. You are doing a valuable service bringing so much good information to light. We appreciate you for that.

          • David Harreld says

            I don’t know about conspiracy theories, Linda, but I can speak to experience.

          • Linda Larsen says

            So can I.

    • Janice Hartman says

      Phew! Thank goodness there’s a real expert here because I have a question: When you say “man” has been drinking and storing milk for thousands of years, which man are you talking about exactly?

      I am not familiar with any social history that documents milk drinking by the native people of this continent, South America, sub-Sahraran Africa and most of Asia.
      If you are talking about some, mostly northern, Europeans, or descendants thereof, maybe you ought to say so. And even in that case, not all of them. I don’t recall reading about how Erik the Red carried around a pail of raw mik.

      And storing it? Thousands of years ago? Unless you mean, by inventing cheese, I’m dubious. I am not an expert, but it seems to me that people back then were probably focussed on their basic needs so much that it’s likely they didn’t add the worry of raw milk storage to their priority lists.


  12. a 2007 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) FoodNet survey, found that 3.04 percent of the population consumes raw milk, or about 9.4 million people, based on the 2010 census. This number may in fact be larger in 2011 as raw milk is growing in popularity. For example, sales of raw milk increased 25 percent in California in 2010, while sales of pasteurized milk declined 3 percent.
    In addition, Dr. Beals has compiled published reports of illness attributed to raw milk from 1999 to 2010. During the eleven-year period, illnesses attributed to raw milk averaged 42 per year.
    “Using government figures for foodborne illness for the entire population, Dr. Beals has shown that you are about thirty-five thousand times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk,” says Fallon Morell.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Yes, this is the third time you posted this. Posting it more often does not make it true.

      If there is one person I do not trust, it is Sally Fallon Morrell. Her “evidence” that raw milk is good for you are some obscure studies from the 1930s, back when doctors said smoking was good for you. She completely denies the science of pulsed field gel electrophoresis and denies that illnesses caused by raw milk are caused by raw milk.

      I trust the CDC far more than “Dr. Beals”. First of all, there are not only 42 illnesses attributed to raw milk every year. From 1998 to 2009, there have been 2,147 total illnesses and 2 deaths from raw milk products in 199 outbreaks. That averages out to 195 illnesses per year. And since food poisoning illnesses are incredibly underreported, the CDC uses a multiplier of 25.6 in any outbreak to estimate the likely number of illnesses. That means there were at least 54,963 people sickened by raw milk in that time period. So Fallon Morell’s numbers are completely inaccurate.

      In addition, as I said before, not every person who drinks raw milk gets sick from it every single time, which would have to be true for “Dr. Beals'” numbers to be accurate. Not every gallon of raw milk contains bacteria, and those bacteria are not evenly dispersed in the product.

      But when people get sick from raw milk, and that has happened to 142 people so far in 2012, they get very, very, very sick. Those children who have suffered kidney failure in Oregon and Missouri are going to have complications for the rest of their most probably shortened lives. From a completely preventable act: drinking raw milk.

  13. Linda,
    When you are no longer on this earth is your head stone going to state all your education information or is it going to say loving wife, mother, sister etc.? When is all comes down to it all your education will mean nothing in the end….

    • Linda Larsen says

      That’s quite the non sequitur. My education means that I worked and studied hard to learn all I could in my field. It also means that I can educate people about the truth. And please notice that I’m not attacking you personally.

    • Janice Hartman says

      Wow. Really, Nena?
      That’s what you feel comfortable saying to someone who has treated you with nothing but respect during this conversation?
      You’re way out off line and as I just said to Dani, if you’re trying to represent your “cause” in a positive light you are not. Any self-respecting food freedom fighter would cringe at what’s gone on here.

  14. Hi there, it seems that the pro raw milkers just don’t want to hear anything negative about it! I eat organic and believe in the natural goodness of food, and there are definitely vested interests with influence on government agencies allowing far too many chemicals into our food, BUT the dangers of some foods even in their natural state are very, very real. I prefer raw milk because of the taste but I don’t drink it and would never feed it to my child, I would rather not give them milk altogether. Linda – are the same bacteria present in raw goat’s milk? I would drink this if it is healthier, and I love the taste.

  15. Mike Myslinski says

    Thanks again!

    • Mike Myslinski says

      I feel the same way. Of course, I am part of the evil pharmaceutical industry. Never mind the fact that we’ve been producing the antiobiotics saving people’s lives as well as other life-saving medications for cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc. Of course, The Cult would try to have you believe that all you need is a Flinestone Vitamin (and their exact diet)…

      • If you believe that holistic healing is about Flintstones vitamins then you have no idea what the movement is. My father in law has amyloidosis, which is a rare cancer that attacks all the lymph nodes in the body and usually chemo is the only answer. He was never into holistic ways, but now he has a holistic dietician and in the past year he has completely changed his diet, which included taking raw vitamin from garden of life. He goes for his cat scans regularly and the doctors “John Hopkins” cant explain why the disease has decreased in his lymph nodes. Nearly all the lymph nodes either decreased in size or stayed the same. This in less than a year in treating his disease by completely changing his way of eating. Before you criticize the “cult of organic” you better have some knowledge of what it is all about. You are of course going to defend your Big Pharma they pay your paycheck so you can buy all those non organic foods that put all those toxic poisons in you….

        • Linda Larsen says

          I’m glad that your father-in-law is doing well! But cancers will sometimes revert on their own with no reason or explanation. Holistic treatments and organic foods are not a cure for cancer. My husband had cancer when he was 25 years old, and I watched chemotherapy shrink his abdominal tumor from 10″ across to nothing in just three treatments. Twenty-eight years later, he’s doing great.

          People should, of course, try to avoid toxins as much as possible. But organic foods are expensive, and many people just can’t afford to buy them. Organic foods, while having less toxins, can still be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And doctors just don’t know what causes cancer. I took a college course in Cancer Biology 30 years ago, and the professor said there will probably never be a complete cure for the disease because it is so incredibly complex. I remember reading about a pediatric oncologist who said when he dies, the first thing he’s going to do is ask God why infants get cancer.

          • Linda,
            How funny how you seek to debunk anything that isn’t in your realm of thinking. You state that organic food can have pathogenic bacteria does that cause cancer? I would take the pathogenic bacteria over the cancer causing affects of pesticides any day.
            Cancer is what cancer is, but to say it is so complex that diet has nothing to do with it is ridiculous. It was not just coincidence that his cancer diminished especially when the doctors stated that it was a death sentence and have been dumbfounded by his recovery. That is why man is faulty because doctors are not God and are wrong in many instances.
            Science is not perfect and just because you have a paper that says you took classes in your science does not mean you are the expert. You can give your opinion, but that is your opinion not the last word.

            My hopes when I die is that God will have mercy on the Godless people in this world who mock God and his infinite wisdom.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Actually, I am an expert in food science. And I debunk falsehoods. I did not say that organic foods have pathogenic bacteria that cause cancer; organic foods can carry pathogenic bacteria.

            If you saw a child suffering strokes, kidney failure, and blindness because of the effects of pathogenic bacteria, I doubt you would choose it over cancer. At any rate, food safety is not a choice between pathogenic bacteria and cancer.

            I also did not say that diet has nothing to do with cancer development. It is not the only factor. People recover from diseases all the time and doctors don’t understand why. Diet alone cannot save anyone; that is scientifically impossible.

            And to say that I mock God and his infinite wisdom is really quite an insult.

        • Mike Myslinski says

          Actually I do know what part of the movement is about (“their way or the highway approach”). I am all for healthier foods, but I am wary of anyone who is overzealous about it to the point where it looks like a religion (that’s why I use the word “cult” – it becomes idolatry, but I’ll same the theological response for another day). I’m not saying that is you, Nena, and I’m glad your father-in-law is doing well. I have seen, however, the havoc which has occurred when people go to the extreme and want to eliminate Rx medicines (which God gave man the means and the ability to make). I’ve watched those with a “cult” mindset tell someone who was bi-polar to stop their meds and 100% handle it holistically – which led to an immediate spiral and suicide attempt. I know of numerous situations like this as well as those who went off of meds for cardiovascular disease much to their detriment (on the positive side, I’ve seen how medicine prolonged my dad’s life for 20 years…along with basic lifestyle changes). Some in the holistic, organic, chiropractic crowd cannot see the forest for the trees, and it ends up hurting their cause and credibility. They just attack “big pharma” when there is much “big business” in organic products (hence the “big prices”). Anyway, I pray that, in the immortal words of Rodney King…”can’t we all just get along here!”

  16. Mike Myslinski says

    Linda –
    Thank you for what you are doing! You must realize that you are up against the “Cult of the Organic” out there. It’s a religion to these people. Probably all Dr. Mercola Cult-Followers who throw out both real science and overall common sense.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Thanks Mike. I feel so passionately about this topic it’s hard to keep a cool head, but I did my best.

  17. AlisaMarie says

    I am sorry, I have to point out that everyone responding to your comments seem to be pro raw milk 🙂 Honestly, you should open your mind and not let the CDC and FDA and all the Big AG corporations brainwash you with their bull shit. Do some research on other cultures around the world. The United States is amazing, yes, but honestly we are the ones dying the fastest too and this is due to the “food” we eat and the “medications” we take. Put those pieces of the puzzle together and things will start to make more sense. You stated that you already buy organic, free-range, grass-fed etc foods which is excellent! And yet you can’t seem to wrap your head around the amazing benefits of raw milk and see that the dangers are really found in the pasteurized milk. It is all about $$$. Go back to our roots where cows were pastured and life was good, good enough to have clean, delicious, healthy RAW milk a.k.a. “Nature’s most perfect Food.”

    • Linda Larsen says

      I have degrees in science. I do not need to “open my mind” and I have not been brainwashed. I have been well educated on this topic and I know that raw milk, with E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, Salmonella, viruses, and parasites, is not a safe product.

      And yes, all of the replies are from raw milk advocates. That’s because they believe passionately in that product. People who aren’t invested in food safety aren’t going to be commenting. Just because the majority of responders believe something does not make it true.

      Yes, it probably is all about the money. Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli infections that are caused by raw milk is very expensive to treat. If a person develops HUS and survives, the average cost of treatment is $47,245. If they have HUS and end stage renal disease and survive, the cost per case is $6,221,040. Plus reduced life expectancy.

      And you really think we should go “back to our roots”? You mean when the average lifespan was 35 years and people died in huge numbers from infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and mastitis? No thank you.

    • Stuart Mitchell says

      It seems that most of the posters in favor of raw milk are unaware that the ability to digest cows milk (lactose specifically) is a recently acquired trait in our evolutionary history. The ability to digest cows milk is found in areas of the world where dairy culture was developed such as Scandinavia and parts of Africa. Lactose intolerance is the normal condition for most of humanity and vast areas of our planet are populated with people who can not eat dairy products. They live perfectly normal and healthy lives. Raw milk is dangerous. Pasteurized milk is safer. Cows milk is not necessary in any way for human health.

  18. Rich Nichols says

    This is unbelievable!!!!! The CFDA simply does not want people drinking raw milk. There is no other explanation. Look at the simple statistics:

    Population of California – 37.6 million
    1% who drink raw milk – 370,000

    Per CDC % of population who get sick from Campylobacter per year 0.8%

    So 3,015 RAW MILK DRINKERS SHOULD BE GETTING SICK from Campylobacter per year as a bear minimum. If raw milk was a delivery method of the bacteria, than that number should be exponentially higher.

    The fact that they have only have 11 cases in 3-4 months is actually proof that drinking raw milk would help prevent such a Campylobacter outbreak. That is if they were indeed tracking all such outbreaks and monitoring correctly who was and wasn’t drinking raw milk.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Well, no. Not everyone gets sick from drinking raw milk, which would have to be the case for your numbers to make sense. Read through our article How Bacteria in Raw Milk Sickens Some But Not All Exposed for answers on why this is true. But when people do get sick from raw milk, they get very sick. And most of those people are children under the age of five.

      And again, pulsed field gel electrophoresis, which provides DNA of bacteria, matches the bacteria found in raw milk and on the farms that produce it and the bacteria in the stool samples of the people who get sick. That is biological, epidemiological, and legal proof that the raw milk caused the illness.

      And there have been 142 lab-confirmed cases of illness caused by raw milk in the last four months, not eleven. The CDC uses a multiplier for foodborne illnesses outbreaks, since the individual cases are so underreported. For Salmonella, that multiplier is 30.3. Overall, for all bacteria, it’s 25.6. So statistically, there have most likely been 3,635 cases of illness caused by raw milk in the last four months.

  19. I would like to re-address Scott’s question from above: how many people died from drinking raw milk? Please please do not say “only 1% of the public drinking raw milk, and raw milk accounting for 60% of the foodborne illness caused by dairy”. I get it. But how many of these illnesses led to death and how many were a result of raw dairy?

    In response to your quote about scientists not having an agenda, I don’t believe they do either but the big industrialized dairy companies certainly do. And they’re the ones who would have a vested interest in seeing raw milk producers go out of business so why not fund studies to show how dangerous raw milk is?

    I also had one final question: you say there have been no studies which show raw milk to have more nutrients and vitamins intact when compared to pasteurized milk, but my question is has there even been a large, credible study like this done before to validate or invalidate that statement? I mean if it were the case that raw milk has 0 benefits over pasteurized milk, I feel like the product would have gone extinct by now…

    • Linda Larsen says

      People don’t have to die from drinking raw milk for it to be a health hazard. They can be paralyzed, completely lose kidney function and need a transplant, develop reactive arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, seizures, central nervous system damage, stroke, blindness, respiratory failure, colon necrosis, anemia, jaundice, and movement disorders. These are all complications of foodborne illness caused by raw milk.

      Before pasteurization, dairy products accounted for 50% of the TOTAL foodborne illnesses in the population. And thousands died. After pasteurization, before the raw milk movement gained ground, dairy products accounted for 1% of the total foodborne illnesses. There are fewer deaths from raw milk these days because of modern medicine, not because of better farm hygiene.

      Why shouldn’t I respond that “only 1% of the public drinking raw milk and raw milk accounting for 60% of the foodborne illness caused by dairy? That’s a fact. The reported and lab-confirmed illnesses as a result of raw dairy consumption, according to a study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases total 2,647 people with 200 of those patients hospitalized with serious illnesses from 1993 to 2006.

      I simply don’t understand the reasoning behind “raw milk hasn’t killed anyone in X years so it’s safe.” It’s not safe.

      No one is funding studies to show how dangerous raw milk is. Scientists are simply looking at the evidence and crunching the numbers. The statistics are the proof. And we don’t need studies to show the nutrients in milk. All we need is what we have: nutrition information on labels. That information is conducted by labs that run the food product through machines that analyze the nutrients in the product. The nutrients people get when they consume milk are protein, calcium, and some vitamin D. Milk is not a good source of other vitamins. And Harvard recently did a study that found milk is not the best source of calcium.

      • Linda,
        Thanks for your reply. I would like to follow up on some points you brought up:

        “They can be paralyzed, completely lose kidney function and need a transplant, develop reactive arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, seizures, central nervous system damage, stroke, blindness, respiratory failure, colon necrosis, anemia, jaundice, and movement disorders. These are all complications of foodborne illness caused by raw milk.”

        – That is quite a list of possible health concerns. I’m wondering how many of each of these has happened recently? From what Mark McAffee of Organic Pastures has said, many illnesses from raw milk happened a long time ago when sanitary conditions on farms were very poor and there was little to no regulation. I’m interested because all the testimonials I’ve seen from raw milk are of praise and it’d be nice to see the other side of the coin.

        “I simply don’t understand the reasoning behind “raw milk hasn’t killed anyone in X years so it’s safe.””
        – To me this reasoning does make sense. For instance, I’ve heard of an infant dying from eating a hamburger from Jack in the Box. I have not heard of someone dying from raw milk. Moreover, when I drink pasteurized milk, it would send me running to the bathroom. When I drink raw milk, I get no cramps or gas or needs to go to the bathroom. I also notice an improvement in my digestion, and for all the time I have been drinking raw milk, I have been sick more times eating out than I have been from the milk.

        Also, what is the main difference between raw milk in the states vs. Europe if any? I’m wondering because according to Wikipedia, raw milk is considered legal in Europe and safe for human consumption. And it also says France considers raw milk products to be of the highest standard. Thanks.

        • Linda Larsen says

          Those serious complications are happening right now. There are four children in Oregon who got sick from raw milk linked to Foundation Farm who have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). We don’t know the conditions of most of the patients because that information is confidential under HIPAA. However, the mother of one of those patients, a two-year old, said her child has had strokes, has kidney failure and will probably need a transplant, and has colon necrosis and has undergone surgery to remove part of the colon. In Missouri, right now, there are two people with HUS they developed after drinking raw milk from Stroupe Farm. Right now, a man in Pennsylvania is paralyzed from the neck down from Campylobacter, which he contracted after drinking raw milk.

          For more on the victims of raw milk, you can visit the CDC site, where they have videos from raw milk victims and their families. All cases are recent.

          I’m very glad you don’t get sick from raw milk. But you might, especially as you get older or if you contract a chronic disease. You’ve been lucky, and you probably have a strong immune system. Children’s immune systems are still developing, which is why they make up such a high percentage of raw milk food poisoning victims – and food poisoning victims in general. Pregnant women can suffer miscarriages if they drink raw milk contaminated with Listeria. The elderly and chronically ill are also at high risk for complications.

          And yes, I know that people die all the time from other products. But that fact does not make raw milk safe. I don’t want anyone to get sick or die from any food! When I wrote the book Medical Ethics for Dummies, one of the points we discussed was something called QALY, or quality of life years. A score of 1.0 means a year of life in perfect health. But there are some conditions and illneses that actually drop the QALY score below zero. That means some think that living with a severe illness is worse than death.

          It doesn’t matter how clean a cow is or how clean the barn is or how clean equipment is. Bacteria are everywhere, and they are rampant on farms. That’s just a fact of life. Would you invite a cow to live in your kitchen? They poop all the time, they step in the poop, and they lie in it. As wonderful as cows are, and they are beautiful animals, they just aren’t sanitary.

          In the United States, it is illegal to transport raw milk and raw milk products across state lines. Different states have different laws. In some states, raw milk is only available when sold directly from the farm. In others, raw milk products can be sold at farmer’s markets or through co-ops or even in stores. In other states, the sale of raw milk completely illegal. In Europe, the sale of raw milk is generally legal. However, the product is heavily regulated with food safety controls and regular testing. And all raw milk products must have labels. In Italy, raw milk is available in vending machines. There was a problem with those machines in 2009; the temperature of the milk was too high, bacteria grew, and there was an outbreak. Sixty children developed HUS. The government in Italy does not aggressively pursue outbreak investigations, so no one knows how many people were sickened in that outbreak.

          • i guess we can pick our poison raw milk or eating chicken meat that contains arsenic which causes cancer…

          • Linda Larsen says

            I don’t want anyone to eat chicken with arsenic either. No food you innocently put into your body to nourish it should make you sick, short term or long term. That’s not an acceptable choice for me. We’ve reported on the arsenic in food issue too: Baby Formulas Contain Arsenic, as well as feces on supermarket chickens and the dangers in blade tenderized and glued-together steaks.

            People who feel passionately about their food, like you and I, should be banding together to get the government to listen to consumers and safety experts and not let industry have so much say in food safety policy. For instance, the USDA wants to test beef for six more types of STEC bacteria. That program was delayed because of objections by the beef industry.

          • Thanks again for your responses. I agree that there seems to be a great inherent risk with raw milk, despite some nutrtional benefits. Part of the reason I am interested in the subject is because I am debating whether or not to give up cow’s milk altogether. I drank it a ton growing up, but am now rather sensitive to any pasteurized milk. Raw milk helps me, but I don’t want any unnecessary risk to my health. I suppose that’s why I was interested in Europe’s policies on it. Are their raw milk producers more strictly regulated than here in America? Do they have as many outbreaks from raw milk as the U.S.?

          • Linda Larsen says

            I’m not familiar with Europe’s policies, other than they regulate raw milk more strictly than the U.S. does. Only certain bacterial counts are allowed in the milk; if more is found, producers are given three months to identify the problem. I don’t know how carefully they follow through on outbreaks, or if their methods are as rigorous as the USDA and FDA. Last June, UK authorities found a resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus in cow’s milk.

            In many developing countries, mothers boil raw milk before giving it to infants and young children because they know the product contains pathogens.

            If you’re sensitive to pasteurized milk, have you tried almond or rice milk?

          • I have not yet tried almond or rice milk though I have heard good things about almond milk. I suppose the only reason I even drink Milk is for the calcium, and the only reason i’m hesitant to switch is for the taste. If the nutritional benefits in almond milk are comparable to cow’s milk, I would give it more thought for sure.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Both of those milks are very good, and seem sweeter to me than regular cow’s milk. Here are some sources for nutritional comparison. One cup of almond milk provides 25% of the RDA for calcium, compared to 29% of the RDA for calcium in cow’s milk.


  20. Raw milk consumption is safe only within couple of minutes of milk getting out of teats. There is no doubt that nothing to match the power of raw milk in its right state. At our farm in India my mother used to send us with silver glass with some sugar(mishri) in it . So far i have not tasted better milk in my life(since 1952) & it used to get digested straight away.My suggestion is that avoid aluminum utensils, use only silver lining utensils for Raw milk storage.It is said in India that a gold utensil is needed to stabilize Lioness milk. There is a complete chapter on metals & its effect on our body in Ayurveda. I strongly recommend the usage of silver or gold lining utensils to have the desired effect on milk.

    • Linda Larsen says

      You make an interesting point. It’s definitely true that bacteria easily grow in raw milk, and time can only increase those numbers. But there isn’t any scientific evidence that silver or gold will sterilize milk. Only pasteurization does that.

      It takes only 10 E. coli bacteria to make someone sick. And that amount could easily be in milk taken from the cow the second it leaves the teat.

      • Pasteurization affects key amino acids and important Co- factors in the milk. Your gut contains and requires good bacteria which are found in raw milk and help you digest the large lactose carbs. You are more likely to get food poisoning from other FDA approved foods than from raw milk from a reputable farm. What amazes me is the irrational fear associated with raw milk, its not the milk that is dangerous it is milk that is contaminated that is dangerous. Have a relationship with your food suppliers is an important point missed.

        • Linda Larsen says

          No, that isn’t true. Raw milk is far more likely to cause foodborne illness per capita than any other food. And here’s a big difference: there are no groups defending beef or chicken when those products cause foodborne illness outbreaks. Probiotics can be found in many other products, including pill form, yogurt, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut.

          In fact, in one of the books I wrote, my co-author, who has an M.D. degree from the University of Michigan, says that human beings really shouldn’t be drinking milk at all. He says that “cow’s milk is for baby cows”. People can be perfectly healthy without consuming any dairy products at all.

          • I’m having some problems getting your numbers to jive. The CDC say roughly 1 in 6 Americans get sick per year, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die each year from foodborne illnesses. How many deaths were caused by raw milk last year? Or in the past ten years. And no groups defending beef or chicken? Look at the lobbying groups in Washington? There are inherent risks with any food, which is why it is important to know your sources have a relationship with your suppliers. I feel much safer being on a first name basis with the people tasked with providing my food then with a corporation that can pay so called experts to forward their agenda.

          • Linda Larsen says

            The point is that raw milk is inherently unsafe. It doesn’t matter how well a farmer takes care of his cow, or how well you know that farmer. Milk has bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that are always going to be present. Pasteurization kills those pathogens. And no, there are no groups saying that beef contaminated with E. coli or Salmonella is inherently safe. There are lobbying organizations for those industries, of course, but when an outbreak occurs, no one says that raw meat is safe to eat as-is or undercooked.

            And of course there are risks inherent with any food. But with only 1% of the public drinking raw milk, and raw milk accounting for 60% of the foodborne illness caused by dairy, that makes that product unsafe. Pointing out that other products also cause foodborne illness doesn’t make raw milk any safer.

            I also don’t understand the conspiracy theories. Scientists, doctors, and food safety experts don’t care if people drink milk or not. They just don’t like seeing children suffer strokes and kidney failure, people who have been paralyzed with Guillan-Barre syndrome, and teenagers with reactive arthritis: all completely preventable if they hadn’t consumed raw milk.

            No one could pay me any amount of money to say that raw milk, raw meat, or any food that is routinely contaminated with bacteria, is safe to eat without cooking or pasteurization. In fact, I had a contract to write a book this last year. My co-author wanted to put pro-raw milk information in that book; I refused. The contract fell apart and I lost thousands of dollars.

          • If Raw milk is inherently unsafe then how do baby calves survive? In fact they cannot survive if fed only pasturized milk. By your logic wouldn’t you also be propmoting pasturizing breast milk?

          • Linda Larsen says

            Well, no. Animals do not get foodborne illnesses the way people do. Perfectly healthy cows can be carriers of Salmonella and other bacteria. And breast milk from human beings does not contain these pathogens, because human breasts are not located right near the anus, like cow’s udders are.

            And this article from New Mexico State University states that unless calves are drinking directly from their mother’s teats, they do better on pasteurized milk.

            “University of California at Davis researchers (Jamaluddin et al., 1996) reported that calves fed pasteurized milk had fewer days with diarrhea and pneumonia than calves fed nonpasteurized milk. Also, calves fed pasteurized milk had greater average weight gain than calves fed nonpasteurized milk. Calves fed pasteurized milk grossed an extra $8.13 per head, attributed to reduced health complications and treatment costs, when compared with calves fed nonpasteurized milk.”

            Human breast milk also contains immunoglobulins such as IgA, macrophages, and antimicrobial compounds in the colostrum that the human body can use. That is why new mothers are encouraged to breast-feed their babies.

            If a woman has mastitis, she can transmit Staphylococcus bacteria to the infant. But antibiotics can take care of that, and symptoms of mastitis are impossible to ignore.

  21. icetrout says

    & how bout pasteurized milk,no food poisoning @ all right?

    • Linda Larsen says

      No one is claiming that pasteurized milk is 100% safe. But it is far safer than raw milk. For instance, there have been no outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk this year. Any food can be contaminated during handling, storage, and shipping. But raw milk products naturally contain bacteria, parasites, and viruses that pasteurization destroys.

      • That is the problem pasteurization kills all that is good in milk, which really doesn’t leave any nutritional benefit like raw milk does. Unfortunately this happened but i believe a lot of this has to do with the big milk lobby that are trying to shut down small shops like organic pastures.

        • Pasteurization doesn’t destroy protein or calcium, which are the main nutrients in milk. And there is no “conspiracy” to shut down small shops. Those farms charge outrageous prices for raw milk. Paying someone three times the market value for a dangerous product is foolish.

          • Pasteurization destroys the most important properties of raw milk, its beneficial bacterial and enzymes. You can have plenty of protein and vitamins but if you dont have the microflora you will not be able to digest and absorb it all.

          • Linda Larsen says

            No, it doesn’t. Cow’s milk has cow’s enzymes that human beings cannot use. And you can get probiotics from yogurt made from pasteurized milk.

      • You can get poisoning from anything. The benefits of raw mild out weigh the risks. You should do some research on raw milk and you would understand that this is true.

        • Linda Larsen says

          I have a degree in Food Science and another degree in Biology and I have thoroughly researched this topic. There is no credible scientific evidence that raw milk is healthier than pasteurized. Raw milk proponents point to studies that were conducted in the 1930s and 1940s, well before advances in science that made technologies such as pulsed field gel electrophoresis available to medical researchers. In fact, in that time period doctors recommended smoking as being healthy. There is, however, lots of credible scientific evidence that raw milk is more dangerous than pasteurized milk.

          And pasteurization does not “destroy all that is good in milk”. Milk is considered a good source of calcium and protein; those compounds are completely unaffected by pasteurization. The enzymes in raw milk are deactivated by the strong acids in your stomach.

          • Here is the latest “scientific” study on raw milk


          • Linda Larsen says

            Yes, I’ve seen that. Unfortunately, that study doesn’t control for all the other factors that can affect allergy rates, such as living on a farm in the first place and not being exposed to the chemicals that children living in cities and suburbs are. And any benefit from having fewer allergies, if true, is far outweighed by the risks associated with raw milk. There’s a 2-year-old child in Oregon right now fighting for its life after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome from an E. coli infection directly linked to raw milk. That child has suffered strokes and had part of its (I use “its” because we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl) colon removed.

          • Please try leaving pasteurized milk on your counter for a week, as well as raw milk. The bacteria in the raw milk turns it into healthful curds and whey, the pasteurized milk simply goes bad. I understand there are over 2 million cases of campo infection in the US each year – maybe you can focus on those cases. There have been very few reported serious illnesses from raw milk compared with other food products. Perhaps you can also focus your efforts on the response of the raw milk producers, comparing the health of their cows with those in commercial dairies. As far as it has been reported, the raw milk producers have responded immediately to these problems – by making sure their operations are clean – not by sterilizing everything. I do not want sterilized fresh food – please.

          • Linda Larsen says

            We focus on all food safety issues and all contaminated food. Look through this site: we report on every single food poisoning outbreak in this country, and in Canada. Raw milk is only one of the many issues we cover.

            I would never leave any dairy product on the counter for a week; bacteria will grow in all of it, pasteurized and raw. The bacteria in raw milk does not turn into “healthful curds and whey”; the bacteria just multiply and make the product even more dangerous.

            And yet again, raw milk causes 60% of the dairy-related food poisoning outbreaks, while only 1% of the population drinks it. That makes it far, far more dangerous than pasteurized milk. And raw milk causes far more serious illnesses than pasteurized milk. The rate of hospitalizations for raw milk illnesses is 13 times higher than hospitalizations associated with pasteurized milk outbreaks.

            And while I am certainly concerned about the health of all farm animals, the product they produce is what we focus on. And when that product makes people sick: 142 so far just in the last 4-1/2 months sickened from raw milk, that is what we report.

            If raw milk producers are “responding immediately to these problems”, why have there been so many outbreaks just this year? Why are three children, including a two-year old, in Oregon suffering from kidney failure from raw milk consumption?

          • Linda, all food has the potential to make people sick. You nor any other bureaucrat gets to decide which form I choose to put in my body. This idea that the state can criminalize MILK that people CHOOSE to drink is ludicrous, fascist, and the antithesis of the freedom for which our founders fought… WHO DRANK RAW MILK!!

            GET OUT OF MY LIFE AND OUT OF MY BODY! I don’t give a damn how many degrees you have. I do not consent to you saving me from myself or contributing to the propaganda that hinders my ability to choose the FOOD that I FEEL IS BEST FOR ME AND MY FAMILY.

            Remember when raw milk was accused of being the culprit in several illness cases, then it was later found that industrial produced food was the real perpetrator?

            If you don’t like it, don’t drink it, but stay the hell out of my FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. You people are so zombified by special interests and statist indoctrination that you all lost any credibility a long time ago.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Yes, all food does have the potential to make you sick. If it is mishandled and cross-contaminated. Raw milk has the potential to make you sick because it contains dangerous bacteria in it naturally, because a cow’s udders are right next to her anus.

            I am not restricting any of your rights. Congress and state legislators make the laws. Raw milk is legal to drink in 22 states; the same states, by eerie coincidence, that have the majority of the raw milk food poisoning outbreaks.

            The laws and Constitution state that the government can certainly tell you what to put in your body: that’s called the Commerce Clause that gives power to Congress to make laws and regulations. Your freedom to choose impinges upon public health when you get sick. It’s that simple. And I am not the zombie here. You raw milk advocates ignore science, chemistry, biology, epidemiology, and the law, and you encourage people to break the law with your anarchist arguments. In fact, facts make you cling more tightly to your erroneous beliefs. Obey the law of the land or pay the price. That is how society works.

            And if you want to drink raw milk and get sick, go right ahead. I’m not stopping you. What makes me angry is when children, who have no choice in the matter, are given that dangerous product by their parents. They are far more likely to get seriously ill from the pathogens inherent in raw milk and far more likely to suffer life-threatening complications.

            And by the way, the “founding fathers” lived to an average age of 35. Because modern medicine hadn’t developed antibiotics because the germ theory of disease had not been developed: you know, the basis of medicine? If you take antibiotics when you get sick, or see a real doctor, you endorse medicine and modern scientific knowledge.

          • Janice Hartman says

            Did I miss something? How is that you are telling Linda to get out of your life when you came to her website and read a story, (or not, it’s hard to say) and then proceeded to rant away in all caps and emoticons? Isn’t it really the other way around?
            I think everyone who reads your comments gets it, you like raw milk.
            But what your “cause” really needs are rational voices, and that’s not you.


          • Linda, You have a degree in telling lies because you work for a law firm which litigates for clients who’ve been poisoned so that makes your opinion biased and untrustworthy.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Wrong. I was against raw milk LONG before I took this job. I have a degree in biology and another in food science. I also have a lot of common sense and I understand pathogens. In fact, I did not take a book writing contract, for tens of thousands of dollars, because my co-author was pro-raw milk.

            We also do not publish opinions that are incorrect and will harm people. I will not let junk science, incorrect interpretations of science, and incorrect statements about food and medicine stand here unanswered because people may get sick if they believe them and act on them.

            I also find it quite interesting that when people start losing an argument, they begin personal attacks. And I saw your comment on the raw milk proponents Facebook page. You have not been civil and you have been very insulting; do you think that calling me a liar is “civil”?

      • I promise not to make you drink raw milk if you promise not to make me drink pasteurized milk. Please, let people make their own decisions.

        • Linda Larsen says

          When “people make their own decisions” children, who have no choice in the matter, get sick. And the government launches investigations to solve the outbreak that costs thousands of taxpayer dollars. And someone who gets sick from drinking raw milk can pass that bacteria on to others. This is a public health issue, not a personal freedom issue.

          • This is indeed a personal freedom issue!! What kind of a statement is that about “people making their own decisions”??? It sounds like we are in the making of a police state in this country with comments like that.
            And for your info, in the course of 5 days i drank about 5 gallons of the supposedly “bad milk” from the recent quarentine and guess what? I felt better than ever!!! I just could not bear to throw it away!!!

          • Linda Larsen says

            Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. In a society, there are laws and rules, otherwise there is anarchy. You cannot do whatever you want, eat whatever you want, or act however you want. And you drank raw milk and didn’t get sick. So what? All that means is there were no bacteria in those gallons, or not enough to make you personally sick. Four children have kidney failure because of that milk. What would you say to them about the “benefits of raw milk?

            We have said over and over and over and over and over again that not every single container of milk will contain bacteria. Please read this and learn something.

          • letranger says

            To you it is not a personal freedom issue. It is a rather specious argument to say that the government spends thousands of dollars; therefore it is a public health issue. I could argue that anything is a public health issue based on that logic.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Actually, according to the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and Congress this isn’t a personal freedom issue. The Supreme Court has ruled that the government has the right to regulate products according to the Commerce clause in the Constitution, and Congress makes the laws.

            Many things are public health issues if the government has to spend money to fix them. That’s the basis of public health. And the argument isn’t that the government spends money on something, therefore it’s a public health issue. It’s that sick people SPREAD BACTERIA through cross-contamination. That makes it a public health issue.

            What strengthens my point is that the taxpayers in this country have to pay money for an investigation every time there is a raw milk outbreak, and there have been HUNDREDS in the past few years, because it is the government’s moral, LEGAL, and ethical duty to stop contagious diseases.

            And the commerce clause in the Constitution of the United States lets government regulate products. How many times do I have to say this?

    • lou gaioto says

      pasteurized milk won’t give you “infection”, just cancer 🙁

      • Linda Larsen says

        Cancer is an extremely complex disease with many causes. Doctors do not understand exactly what causes cancer. There are genetic, environmental, and behavior factors that combine to create cancer cell growth. It cannot be blamed on any one source.

        • I have read much research on Glutathione “the mother of all antioxidants” which protects us from cancer and many other diseases including dementia etc. and from what i have read the purest form of it is through undenatured whey and that is not delivered purely through regular milk, but only through raw milk as that contains all the nutrients to deliver it to our bodies efficiently. Pasturizing kills all that is good in milk as you well know.
          You had mentioned in your response from your associate that co authored your book that we should drink milk at all? Is that his/her opinion because i dont believe that is fact?

          • Linda Larsen says

            Pasteurizing does not “kill all that is good in milk”. Milk is a good source of calcium and protein; neither of those substances are altered or eliminated in the pasteurizing process. Glutathione is not a proven protector against cancer; cancer is a complicated disease and there is no one cause and certainly no one preventative factor. Just look up “glutathione” on for a complete listing of bogus claims.

            And my co-author says that cow’s milk is not good for human beings because he sees many cases of allergies, including lactose intolerance, which is a sugar found in all cow’s milk, in his practice. The enzymes in cow’s milk are not beneficial to humans because they are COW’S enzymes; our bodies do not use them.

          • danielle says

            Ms. Larsen,
            I have been reading your replies to peoples posts on the Raw Milk issue. May i ask what your diet consists of? Do you eat organic non soy poultry or regular chicken from farms? Do you believe there is a difference in organic grass fed beef vs the regular beef/chicken? The lack of nutrients in our diet these days i truly believe is what is causing much of the diseases. Have you seen the statistics on obesity that just came out? People are not obese from eating healthy foods. Anything that is natural is much healthier than when it is altered. For instance when you boil vegetables to the point of killing all the vitamins that they contained when they were raw.

          • Linda Larsen says

            I try to feed my family clean food. That means I buy low on the food chain; we eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, whole grain pasta, and dairy. I buy organically-raised beef, chicken, and dairy and buy organic produce that is on the “dirty dozen” list most of the time; but I can afford to. Many people can’t. We have a co-op in my small town that is a great source of locally raised produce, beef, chicken, milk, eggs, and cheese. And I avoid HFCS and never consume aspartame or other artificial sugars or fats. I do use some convenience products, such as canned beans, tomatoes, frozen vegetables (like peas and edamame), and frozen pastas.

            I do not consume raw milk products, and I wouldn’t give any to my family. A lawyer I know put it well: drinking raw milk is like not wearing a seat belt. You may never consume raw milk with bacteria in it, or get into an accident, but when you do the consequences can be catastrophic. I’m a real nuisance when we eat out; I make sure no one orders rare hamburgers or runny eggs, and I ask about blade-tenderized steaks.

            I also think that too many people don’t know how to cook or just don’t have the time or energy anymore, so they rely on fast food, convenience foods, and junk foods. Many schools have stopped teaching home economics. And there are too many food deserts in this country, where finding fresh produce is next to impossible.

            I agree that our diets play a big part in disease development. For one thing, our soils have become depleted of many nutrients and that means the produce we eat doesn’t have the same level of nutrients that our grandparents enjoyed. Fast food is horrible for you, but I still go to McDonald’s every once in a while. We don’t eat a lot of sweets; I bake for my husband’s high school classes so they can enjoy a treat.

            I think there is definitely a difference between grass fed beef, free range chickens, and factory farmed animals. Grass fed beef has a better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and is leaner. Free range chickens simply taste better. I also appreciate that I’m not feeding my family antibiotic or hormone residue.

            But many people don’t have a choice in what they eat. They buy factory farmed meats and dairy because they are the cheapest choice. I want factory farms to treat their animals well, to not abuse them, to stop feeding them antibiotics as a sub-therapy, and to let them eat the foods they evolved to eat. Feeding animals recycled animal parts is a really bad idea. I think that is possible to do without raising the price of food so it’s prohibitive.

            I think there’s more to the obesity story than simply calories in/calories out. There’s something in our food or in the environment that is causing this epidemic. If someone can figure it out, they should get the Nobel prize. And I trust science, the scientific method, and much of modern medicine (it saved my husband’s life when he had cancer at the age of 25).

            I hope our country can become healthier. Food safety is one of my passions; I really hate the fact that most, if not all, food poisoning cases are preventable. Others have said it before, and I agree: you shouldn’t get sick just because you ate a hamburger or a slice of cantaloupe.

          • Angie Max says

            People also claim that prayer cures cancer. That doesn’t make it so. Unless and until something is reported in a peer-reviewed, scientific publication and not just on a food cult web site, it is not taken seriously by intelligent people. Only magical thinkers with a lack of critical thinking skills and a desperate need to believe in such foolishness buy into the religion that is food cultism.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Yes, glutathione is an important antioxidant. But it’s not a cancer cure and it’s not the answer to all diseases. And milk is not one of the prime sources of the compound. The article you cite says that sulfur-rich foods, such as cruciferous vegetables (which are important for many other reasons), garlic, and onions, are the best sources. The risks inherent in raw milk are simply too great for the sake of more glutathione. I also am highly suspect of any medical doctor who prescribes raw milk. And that suspicion is correct: Quackwatch.

          • Not saying its a cure for cancer. In this article Dr Hyman recommends bioactive whey protein which comes from non-denatured protein to help produce glutathinoe which will help prevent chronic illnesses. He does not recommend raw milk just whey made from non-pasturized milk like lmmunocal. Maybe you can speak to this difference of bioactive whey?

          • Linda Larsen says

            Whey is the part of milk left over when milk is curdled to make cheese, and it’s made from unpasteurized milk, so it would still contain dangerous bacteria. In the article he recommended drinking raw milk: “Choose non-pasteurized and non-industrially produced milk that contains no pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.” While I agree with drinking milk without pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics (I buy organic milk myself), drinking non-pasteurized milk or products made from it (with the qualified exception of aged raw milk cheeses) is dangerous. And I’m still not convinced that glutathione will prevent chronic illnesses.

            I found this on WebMD: “Specifically, silymarin [from milk thistle] has been shown to stimulate the glutathione S-transferase pathway and alter the intracellular concentration of glutathione (a potent antioxidant). Silymarin has also been shown to neutralize a wide range of free radicals. No human clinical trials on milk thistle or silymarin as a cancer treatment or as an adjunctive therapy in individuals with cancer have been published. Most clinical trials have investigated silymarin’s effectiveness in the treatment of patients with hepatitis, cirrhosis, or biliary disorders. These studies have employed a wide range of doses (120-560 mg/day) and have yielded conflicting results.”

            It’s also not effective when taken by mouth; studies that have looked at the compound have been on patients who have had it injected intravenously.

            In my book Eating Clean for Dummies, my co-author Dr. Jonathan Wright recommends milk thistle because it helps increase the liver’s production of glutathione. In the end, eating a healthy, varied diet is the best way to make sure you get good amounts of antioxidants.

            And this is getting completely off topic anyway. Raw milk is a bad choice because it routinely contains dangerous pathogens. Period.

        • RAW MILK: Incidence of food-borne illness from raw milk – 1.9 cases per 100,000 people, 1973-1992. (American Journal Public Health Aug 1998, Vol 88., No 8)
          PASTEURIZED MILK: Based on CDC website, incidence of food-borne illness from all foods including pasteurized milk – 4.7 cases per 100,000 people, 1993-1997. (US Census Bureau 1997 population estimate 267,783,607)
          OTHER FOODS: Based on CDC website, incidence of reported food-borne illness from other foods – 6.4 cases per 100,000 people, per year from 1993-1997.
          THEREFORE, the incidence of food-borne illness from consuming raw milk is 2.5 times lower than the incidence of food-borne illness from consuming pasteurized milk; and 3.5 times lower than the incidence of food-borne illness from consuming other foods.

          • Linda Larsen says

            The number of people who consume raw milk products are about 1% of the population. But raw milk causes 60% of foodborne illnesses linked to dairy. Therefore, raw milk causes 150 times the outbreaks of foodborne illness than pasteurized milk. That study looked at outbreaks from 1993 to 2006, the latest year for which data are available. During that time period, there were 121 dairy-related disease outbreaks that sickened 4,413 people.

            You’re comparing apples to oranges when you compare raw milk to other products in the studies you cite. The relevant numbers are the number of people who actually consume raw milk as related to the number of people who get sick. Since so few people drink raw milk, using the general “10 per 100,000 population” isn’t accurate. The numbers need to be weighted.

            Raw milk naturally contains bacteria, just like raw beef, raw chicken, and raw seafood. When other ready-to-eat products such as fruits and vegetables cause illness, that happens from contamination during processing, handling, and shipping. Those products are not inherently dangerous.

            Which is why food safety experts recommend that milk be pasteurized and that meats, poultry, and seafood be thoroughly cooked to kill bacteria and other pathogens.

    • Linda, like the rest of mainstream medical science, wants you to treat symptoms and not the foundational problem. Raw milk and unpasteuried products have the bacteria and enzymes you need to live. It is only because you die SLOWLY from an increasing unbalance of bad microflora in your gut that doctors cannot pinpoint the cause. Gut flora is one of the most understudied areas of medical science and I believe is the most important as it centers on how you are able to absorb nutrients and fight competitive bacteria,etc. If Doctors would put away this notion that raw milk is unsafe and rather put their effort into preventing ANY campo/e coli outbreaks by educating local farms on prevention there would be no outbreaks. NO ONE HAS DIED from raw milk in a long time and even if they did they didn’t get from a clean farm. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to know the quality of the food you get, especially things like raw milk and local produce. Would you eat vegetables from a farmer that had nasty conditions? But you will eat Tyson chicken that comes from the filthiest henhouses in America.

      • Linda Larsen says

        Wrong again. Raw milk is the foundational problem. No one needs to drink it. It does contain harmful bacteria. No one needs to drink raw milk to live. Human beings cannot use cow’s enzymes. There is no way anyone can tell if a product contains bacteria. It doesn’t matter how clean the farm is or how healthy the cows; bacteria is going to be in raw milk. It isn’t a “notion” that raw milk is unsafe; that is scientific evidence, as proven by the thousands of people who have been sickened and killed by raw milk over the years. And no one has died from raw milk in a long time: would you say it’s acceptable that children have had their kidneys destroyed, had strokes, and had their colons be destroyed? That has happened many times just this year because of raw milk outbreaks. And for the 10,000th time, comparing raw milk to other foods that cause outbreaks is simply ridiculous. No one is defending other products that cause foodborne illness.

        • Linda, your only point seems to be that raw milk is not necessary but that is no reason to make it illegal and that is what we are arguing about here.

          • Linda Larsen says

            Completely wrong. My point is that no one needs cow’s milk to live or be healthy. And raw milk is hazardous to your health because it contains pathogenic bacteria that pasteurization destroys. The cost to society of illnesses caused by raw milk is astronomical. The cost of ONE person losing kidney function can be SIX MILLION DOLLARS in medical bills alone. And that person’s life is changed forever. Every time there is a raw milk outbreak the taxpayers pay thousands of dollars for testing, traceback, and public health work. Milk is not necessary for life. And raw milk is unsafe.

            I am through arguing about raw milk. I have proven that it is unsafe, and every single credible scientist agrees. There isn’t a single credible peer reviewed scientific study that shows that raw milk is superior than pasteurized milk for any reason or any purpose.

      • Considering that only 1/3 of the entire human population is able to even consume milk into adulthood, clearly whatever is in raw milk isn’t exactly essential to be had from the milk.

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