An editorial appearing on sheboyganpress.com fails to get at the heart of important issues surrounding the commercial sale of raw milk in the U.S. The article does take notice of some the risks associated with consuming raw milk:
It has been linked to outbreaks of E-coli and salmonella-based illnesses, including at least 35 people in southern Wisconsin who became ill after drinking raw or unpasteurized milk in August…The FDA says the milk is inherently dangerous, and it has been linked to 45 E-coli and salmonella outbreaks from 1998 to 2005.
The editorial then notes the ongoing debate between supporters and detractors of commercial raw milk sales, particularly in Wisconsin:
The two sides are coming head to head over whether raw milk should be sold to the public. Raw milk supporters recently hired a lobbyist to try to change state law that prohibits raw milk sales. Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection wants to crack down on farmers who disregard the law and sell it anyway.
The author’s proposed solution – stick a warning on it and let consumers decide- leaves too many issues unresolved. First of all, many of those consuming raw-milk are children. Not only are these children not making their own individual informed decision, they are more susceptible to the tragic outcomes associated with foodborne pathogens that may be present in raw milk. The bulk of clients represented by Marler Clark in a number of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to raw milk have been kids. At least four of these have suffered from the life-threatening condition, HUS.
In addition, a warning label may not be sufficient where raw milk supporters do their best disavow those same warning labels. Take a peak around the web at sites espousing the consumption of raw milk. Are they admitting significant risks, and asking the consumer to make a truly informed decision? Or are they attempting to discredit the public health agencies that have repeatedly found a link between raw milk and illness outbreaks?