A working group comprising public health experts, raw milk enthusiasts, food safety advocates, and others in the scientific community is announcing the launch of the newly improved website: Real Raw Milk Facts.
The website is devoted to addressing hot topics that surround raw milk, such as safety, homeopathic advantages, and the laws and regulations that govern the sale of raw milk. All content for the site is reviewed by scientists and health educators in universities, government, industry, and professional organizations.
Beyond presenting evidence-based scientific research and opinion, the website stays up to date on topics of interest in the food safety and raw milk communities, shares the stories of those who have developed foodborne illness as a result of consuming raw milk products, and provides information on current and past dairy (raw and pasteurized) outbreaks and recalls. The site also maintains an interactive map that gives state-specific raw milk rules and regulations.
Microbiologist and co-author of the website, Dr. Michele Jay-Russell, says the site is important as raw milk becomes a more prevalent issue. “There is a lot of information out there about raw milk that lacks scientific merit,” said Jay-Russell. “This website is designed to present straight forward, evidenced-based facts and studies so that consumers can make informed choices, especially when it comes to their children.”
Raw milk products have been at the center of controversy in recent years as its proponents have challenged laws governing its sale and production. Many raw milk enthusiasts have claimed that it not only tastes better than pasteurized milk but prevents against autism, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and asthma.
However, outbreaks such as the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that was linked to California-based raw milk producer Organic Pastures by the California Department of Food and Agriculture lead others to declare that the risks outweigh the benefits.
“At this point most of the purported advantages of raw milk are still anecdotal, but the risks are proven,” said William Marler, the site’s publisher. “As a parent, I think it’s important to have all the facts when considering giving a child raw milk.”
Mary McGonigle-Martin, whose son developed a life-threatening E. coli infection in 2006 after drinking contaminated raw milk bought at a health food store, welcomes the education material. “Parents need to know the risks involved if considering raw milk for their children,” said McGonigle-Martin. “If this site had been around in 2006, I would have never let my son drink raw milk.”