Massachusetts is another battleground between advocates of raw-milk and those who point out its association to outbreaks of pathogens like E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. Massachusetts officials have been making efforts to enforce a ban on the sale of raw milk outside of the producing farm:
The Boston Globe’s Alex Beam writes:
It is legal in Massachusetts to buy raw milk at a farm but not in a store. However, the federal Food and Drug Administration and the state’s Department of Public Health discourage raw milk consumption, because pasteurization removes potentially harmful bacteria, such as listeria and salmonella. A few years ago, a top FDA official likened drinking raw milk to “playing Russian roulette with your health.’’
Massachusetts health officials explain that a majority of dairy related illness outbreaks are from raw milk, even though it is only a fraction of the dairy consumption:
“We don’t want people to think this is a safe product to consume,’’ says Suzanne Condon, a DPH executive. “Sixty-eight percent of all dairy-related, food-borne outbreaks relate to raw milk consumption.’’ Earlier this year, one of her subordinates sent a letter to the state Department of Agricultural Resources alerting it to the existence of “buying clubs,’’ large groups of raw milkies who circumvented the buy-at-the-farm rule by arranging for deliveries to consumers who don’t live near farms. The MDAR promptly sent cease-and-desist letters to four clubs, stirring up a hornet’s nest.
As usual, raw milk advocates see conspiracy theories at work:
[advocates] detect the extended hoof of Big Moo: “The conventional dairy industry may be feeling some of the effects of the growing popularity of raw milk as part of the demand for locally produced, unprocessed foods,’’ says Needham’s David Gumpert, author of “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Struggle Over Food Rights.’’
Maybe instead public health officials are hoping to avoid more people having stories to tell like these victims?