New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk A Low-Risk Food

argylesock says… Here’s an article about interesting science concerning milk safety. This review considered four dangerous bacteria – Campylobacter spp., Shiga-toxin inducing Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. Those are important pathogens under certain circumstances. But that list doesn’t include the zoonotic bacterium which can make raw milk a risk for tuberculosis (TB) – M. bovis. I believe that the risk of TB from drinking raw milk was the main reason why milk started to be heat-treated (pasteurised or even sterilised) before sale in rich countries.

[Edit] More about this story in comments to Dr B A Usman’s blog here.

Paper to Use

(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Three quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs) recently published in the Journal of Food Protection have demonstrated that unpasteurized milk is a low-risk food, contrary to previous, inappropriately-evidenced claims suggesting a high-risk profile. These scholarly papers, along with dozens of others, were reviewed on May 16, 2013 at the Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver, BC (Canada), during a special scientific Grand Rounds presentation entitled “Unpasteurized milk: myths and evidence.”
The reviewer, Nadine Ijaz, MSc, demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has long been mistakenly used to affirm the “myth” that raw milk is a high-risk food, as it was in the 1930s. Today, green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of food-borne illness in the United States. British Columbia CDC’s Medical Director of Environmental Health Services, Dr. Tom Kosatsky, who is also Scientific Director of Canada’s National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health,welcomed Ms. Ijaz’s invited presentation as “up-to-date”…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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5 Responses to New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk A Low-Risk Food

  1. Purnimodo says:

    I had raw milk three days before. My parents grew up on a farm and from time time still drive miles to get some raw milk. There is really nothing better than the taste of nice fatty raw milk! 🙂

    Perhaps the commercial aspect or pasteurizing milk/industrialization might be at play here too. In the early days ‘milking ways” (no idea what you call it in English) were not entirely clean and had the milk exposed to air (or the milker) but now (I think) it’s much less of a risk to drink raw milk. But still a risk.

    • argylesock says:

      Yes. Now you mention it, I don’t remember drinking raw cows’ milk. As a child in 1970s England I used to ask for ‘top of the milk’ (cream) on my pudding. Now nearly all kinds of milk sold at retail here have been homogenised.

      I’ve enjoyed raw goats’ milk which I often milked by hand. There, I did see unclean practice – my goat loved to put her foot in the bucket just when I’d filled it with her fresh milk. I didn’t keep that milk but I’m sure some amateur goatkeepers would use it, even sell it, after filtering out the turds.

  2. Moth says:

    Are you at all surprised that the review selectively ignored the most damning evidence against the position they are championing? It’s always the way with New Age mentality, to ignore medical science and basic biology to suppose that somehow our hunter-gatherer forebears had it all worked out with raw foods and traditional medicine and that we are the poor saps deluded by newfangled thinking…

    This comic on the subject cracks me up;

    • argylesock says:

      Snork! And as that comic reminds us, all cavemen wore decent shorts and had neat haircuts. Sadly the artist forgot to include a cavewoman, her ample breasts displayed in her deerskin bikini, inviting the cavemen to enjoy a barbecued mammoth. Because of course, our ancestors knew that patriarchy is the natural order of things.

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