April 23, 2018

Raw Milk: 1 Percent of Consumers, 70 Percent of Milk Outbreaks

Although only about 1 percent of Americans drink it, raw milk accounted for 70 percent of milk-related food poisoning outbreaks between 2002 and 2011, according to a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The enormous risk of illness reflected by those numbers shows why raw milk is an urgent public health risk, according to the consumer group which compiled the report by examining the most recent 10 years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Milk splashesRaw milk can be contaminated with many pathogens. In recent years, there have been outbreaks associated with E.coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Infection from these pathogens can have long-term health effects such as heart problems, eye problems, digestive issues, reactive arthritis and paralysis.

What’s more, raw milk outbreaks disproportionately affect children and young people. About 80 percent of those sickened in raw milk outbreaks are under the age of 20, according to the CDC.

“Pasteurization of milk is one of the most important public health advances of the last 100 years, sparing countless people from infections and deaths caused by Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria,” said CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein. “Consumers should avoid raw milk, and lawmakers should not expand its availability.”

 

 

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