October 23, 2021

Nevada Shouldn’t Gamble With Raw Milk, Say Dairy Groups

Raw milk is a public health gamble Nevada shouldn’t take, say two national dairy groups.  The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA)  sent a letter to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval urging him to veto legislation that would allow raw milk to be sold directly to consumers.

Milking a Cow OutsideBecause of potentially dangerous bacteria that are often present in raw milk,  Assembly Bill No. 209 would increase the risk of serious illness for some Nevadans, the groups maintain. MPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak likened drinking raw milk to playing  Russian roulette.

“Gambling with the health of your state’s residents – particularly its children – is a bad bet,” said Kozak in the letter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70 percent of those sickened in raw milk outbreaks are children. “While choice is an important value, it should not pre-empt consumers’ well-being.”  The dairy groups are joined in their opposition to legalizing the sale of raw milk by every major health organization in the country including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well‐documented in the scientific literature, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years.  Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella,” the letter states.  Currently, a raw milk outbreak in Pennsylvania has sickened five people with Campylobacter infections.

“Based on a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1993 and 2006, unpasteurized dairy products resulted in 73 known outbreaks – causing 1,571 cases of foodborne illness, 202 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.  The CDC also concluded that unpasteurized milk was 150 times more likely to cause food‐borne illness outbreaks than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products.”

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