Raw milk: save the family farm while making kids barf?

The N.Y. Times has a story running in tomorrow’s edition flaunting the value of raw milk as a way to save the family farm because a small percentage of people pay a hefty premium for the raw stuff.

The story lacks any mention of adverse health effects from raw milk , other than quoting an FDA type as saying, “raw milk should not be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason.”

Such proclamations are not particularly persuasive.

The story, like many others, notes that people want to know where their food comes from; but that doesn’t make food safer. Knowing how to control and minimize the spread of dangerous microorganisms makes food safer, whether it’s from around the corner or around the globe.

The Times story does however make mention of the Quebec listeria outbreak of 2008 that was traced to cheese made from unpasteurized milk, stating that “one person died; more than 30 became ill,” and proclaiming that the government went crazy recalling nearly 60,000 pounds, of cheese from hundreds of producers.

The Times story appears to be something about government out-of-control, although it’s a mish-mash.  And it fails to mention that the 2008 Quebec outbreak, led to 38 hospitalizations, of which 13 were pregnant and gave birth prematurely. Two adults died and there were 13 perinatal deaths. Recent research has demonstrated listeria can cause illness in fetuses and infants at much lower doses than previously thought.

An updated table of unpastuerized milk and cheese outbreaks is below.