The raw milk controversy continues to generate press- both in print and in the "blogosphere." Last Thursday on my layover in Minneapolis, this article was on the front page of the Star Tribune. On June 4, the New York Times ran an Op-Ed from Michael Feldman discussing the Wisconsin Governor’s veto of a bill that would have allowed retail sales of raw milk. Finally, Marion Nestle weighed in as well.
The Star-Tribune article was following up on an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 linked to raw milk at Hartmann’s dairy. Last week, Minnesota health officials announced that the strain of E. coli O157:H7 associated with the illnesses was found at "multiple sites" on the farm.
In the NY Times, Feldman painted a picture of the passion of raw milk advocates, while expressing some skepticism at their claims, "Standard pasteurization, they claim, kills a dubious-sounding 99.999 percent of milk’s good, bad and indifferent microorganisms…"
Nestle explained her personal choice not to consume raw milk. She suggested that readers visit www.realrawmilkfacts.com, and stated "Putting a child at risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome from toxic E. coli just doesn’t make sense to me."
As usual, the comment sections of raw milk stories on line are active. Before I go, I want to address a personal favorite of mine. Over and over again, I see raw milk advocates explaining that the safety of raw milk is simply about "knowing your farmer." I just don’t see how this really changes the equation. Does your farmer have the ability to spot microscopic bacteria? Bacteria that are NOT pathogenic to cows, and present in the intestinal tracts of healthy animals? We have represented the families of sick children who knew their farmer. It did not remove the E. coli O157:H7 from the milk.