Douglas Powell of the International Food Safety Network wrote a letter to the editor of the Charleston City Paper regarding raw milk consumption. In the letter, which was published today, he argues that raw milk advocates should look at the incidence of positive tests for E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, and Campylobacter in raw milk before claiming that unpasteurized milk is more nutritious or healthful than pasteurized milk. He also argues that while people have a choice in whether to drink raw milk or pasteurized milk, that choice should always be an informed decision:
Choice is good. But as the 19th-century English utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill noted, absolute choice has limits, stating, "If it (in this case the consumption of raw unpasteurized milk) only directly affects the person undertaking the action, then society has no right to intervene, even if it feels the actor is harming himself." Excused from Mill’s libertarian principle are those people who are incapable of self-government — children.
Science can be used to enhance what nature provided. Further, society has a responsibility to the many — philosopher Mill also articulated how the needs of the many outweighed the needs of the one — to use knowledge to minimize harm. Adults, do whatever you think works to ensure a natural and healthy lifestyle, but please don’t impose your dietary regimes on those incapable of protecting themselves: your kids.