April 25, 2018

Wisconsin Safe Milk Association Opposes Raw Milk Bill

A coalition called the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition has written a letter to lawmakers, asking them to oppose a bill that would legalize the sale of raw milk in that state. The groups include Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, American Academy of Pediatrics, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, the Wisconsin Public Health Association, and the Wisconsin Medical Society. State Senator Grothman (R-West Bend) is planning to introduce a bill to the legislature sometime this year that would legalize the sales of raw milk, with “appropriate safeguards”.

Grothman sponsored a failed bill to legalize unpasteurized milk sales in 2010. An article on his web page about this issue contains statements such as “I love raw beef. I’m sure someone got sick once.” and “while occasionally people get sick from all kinds of food, milk – especially raw milk – is healthier than ever.”

The Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition letter states, “studies and public health outbreaks make clear that raw milk can cause people to become ill. Doctors, public health leaders, and microbiology professionals recognize the substantial risk for serious infectious diseases to occur with the consumption of unpasteurized milk. Moreover, there is no published scientific evidence of any benefit from raw milk consumption and no evidence that pasteurization reduces the nutritional value of milk.” They go on to state that “it is impossible to make unpasteurized (raw) milk safe.”

The costs of treating people sickened by raw milk can be astronomical. A single case of hemolytic uremic syndrome resulting in kidney failure can bring medical bills up to $6 million. A study conducted on an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak in Connecticut in 2008, which sickened seven, found the cost to taxpayers was $413,402.00. Raw milk was the source of that outbreak, “despite no violation of current raw milk regulatory standards,” according to investigators. Last year there were six raw milk outbreaks in the United States, sickening a reported 130 people.

 

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