RAW MILK: a risk or a remedy?

January 31, 2018

If the Washington State Department of Agriculture Food Safety Program recognizes “Raw milk as a potentially hazardous product,” then why is it legal to sell at retail stores, in 15 states, including Washington? Even when the WSDA recognizes and agrees that U.S. citizens, especially those with weak immune systems, are subject to bacterial infections? This also leads to deaths every year by consumption of raw milk.

Illnesses and deaths associated with the consumption of raw milk occur every year,” says the WSDA in- The Truth about Raw Milk Sales.

Immune systems seem to be weakening by the thousands, here in the U.S.

Dr. Rafael Harpaz of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led a study linking the information found by the data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, showing that a growing 3% of adults in the U.S. have weakened immune systems. With more and more citizens taking to antibiotics, natural bacteria in stomachs is not being produced, eliminating the body’s natural defensive system against potentially harmful bacteria.

The truth is modern society cannot afford to drink unpasteurized milk.

What will this mean for the coming generations who decide to drink raw milk? Unfortunately, it may mean life or death, as it did for the 6 children in California- -some of whom were hospitalized after drinking unpasteurized raw milk from Organic Pastures Dairy Co.

On January 6, it was discovered that the alleged batch of raw milk, which was distributed and drank by these  6 children in California, tested negative for harmful germs including Listeria, E. Coli, Salmonella, and several other bacteria. This leads to the possible conclusions that either the tests were positive and overlooked, or as the CEO and founder, Mark McAfee, claims, they “returned as a false negative.”

Even if this is true, it means the tests are not reliable.

This implies that consumers cannot rest assured that the “regulated brucellosis, Q-fever, tuberculosis testing” will accurately fit the guidelines of nutritional safety. Or that the tests will always detect the (for some) life-threatening bacteria. Also worth mentioning, the required license for selling raw milk is free and virtually any dairy farm can meet the requirements.

So, with the rapid influx of consumers who are desperate for the “organic” and “healthy” foods, many farmers are switching their target market and products. This could be detrimental if the farms do not take certain precautions, or care for the livelihood of their consumers over profits. While it is impossible to be sure that these companies will be out for the people’s best interests, these licenses need to be harder to come by. Consumers need the farmers to be reliable.

Then, there is the other side of the argument. Those that believe it will help them grow stronger,  promote weight loss, reduce allergies, add calcium to the bones, and other seemingly too-good-to-be-true results.

One of these milk remedies sounded perfect to a mother, Mary Martin, who dealt on a daily basis with her son, Christopher, and his congestion issues. She saw that Organic Pasture Dairy Company was “advertising raw milk, suggesting relief from lactose intolerance, digestive disorders and asthma.” So, after hearing all the benefits raw milk had, she decided to go to her local health foods store and purchase a quart of raw milk.

Approximately 2 weeks later, Christopher was vomiting and coughing up blood. They rushed him to the hospital to later find out he developed a “severe case of E. coli 0157:H7 food poisoning that grew into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).” Christopher was one of the 6 kids reacting to Organic Pastures, (with dozens more suspected), whose bodies did not respond well to the bacteria in this milk.

Whether or not individuals agree with the retail selling and consumption of raw milk, it is a substance to always be mindful of. Especially if people are under the age of 12, elderly, or pregnant–all of which are more frequently tied to weak immune systems.

Though older generations may have the upper hand in this fight from growing up with raw milk, their bodies learned to fight off the germs at a very young age. Now with modern medicine and science evolving, human immune systems just cannot cope with certain substances the way they used to.

It really comes down to people knowing their bodies and steering clear of potentially hazardous products, especially to known allergies or deficiencies.

So long as you are made aware, know the possibilities and risks of bacterial contamination–enjoy that milk.

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