June 25, 2018

Health Warnings Accompany Raw Milk Sales In Arkansas

Raw milk sales began in Arkansas on Friday. But health and agriculture officials in that state want consumers to know about the risks associated with drinking milk that has not been pasteurized.

Milking a CowUnder a new law, consumers can buy raw milk on the site where it was produced if they are willing to assume all risk and with the understanding that neither the farm nor the cows producing the milk will be subject to investigation by state health officials.

Raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria that can cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness such as E. coli, Listeria and Campylobacter. “Raw milk is probably riskier to drink than probably any other raw food, primarily because with any others you can wash lettuce, apples and cantaloupe, with milk you have to accept it where it is,” Dr. Glen Baker, of the Arkansas Department of Health  told KARK 4 News this week.

The producers must label the milk as raw and post signage on the farms that reads: “This product, sold for personal use and not for resale, is fresh whole milk that has NOT been pasteurized. Neither this farm nor the milk sold by this farm has been inspected by the State of Arkansas. The consumer assumes all liability for health issues that may result from the consumption of this product.”

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension service has prepared a four-page analysis of raw milk risks. It covers the new law, risks, foodborne illnesses associated with raw milk and liability issues.

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