Data from U.S. government websites and government-sanctioned reports show that the risk of illness from drinking raw milk is much less that the risk of illness from eating other foods. The research of Ted Beals, MD, who has compiled and analyzed the data, gives us the information that we need to feel safe when drinking raw milk. Government press releases (see my previous post “The FDA’s Press Release Against Raw Milk”) overstate the likelyhood of illness from raw milk and dwell on the horrifying worst-case outcomes of food-borne illness, without providing any assessment of the actual risk involved.
The reports Dr. Beals compiled show that during the eleven years from 1999 to 2010, “illnesses attributed to raw milk averaged 42 per year.” With the government data for food-borne illness for the entire population, Dr. Beals shows that we are much more likely–in fact, thirty-five thousand times more likely–to get sick from other foods than from raw milk. Dr. Beals says that “It is irresponsible for senior national government officials to oppose raw milk, claiming that it is inherently hazardous. There is no justification for opposing the sale of raw milk or warning against its inclusion in the diets of children and adults”
There has been a lot of publicity lately about the “dangers of raw milk” from occurrences in North Carolina to Alaska. Comments from U.S. government agencies about these incidents always emphasize the “dangers” of drinking raw milk, and the data provided to support the “dangers” are usually vague and incomplete and are always misleading. It’s good for us to have Dr. Beals’ research showing us the true safety of drinking raw milk, and he used available government data to show it. We know raw, unprocessed milk is good for our health, and now we have the data to show that it is also safe.
The proof that raw milk is safe to consume answers the question raised by a comment to my previous post about Harris County taxpayers’ money being used to modify Texas SB 81 to prevent certified raw milk dairies from selling their milk at farmers’ markets and other prearranged delivery sites and the killing of HB 2084, the local foods omnibus bill. It certainly is not safety or concern for the health of Harris county residents that motivates the campaign against raw milk.
More information about the safety and health benefits of raw milk:
The 15 Things that Pasteurization Kills by Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy
Many articles from Dr. Mercola on the benefits of raw milk and the misleading (and just plain incorrect) claims of those opposed to raw milk.
Updates, August 2011:
new article from Dr. Mercola, Why is this “Unsafe” Food Banned When It’s 35,000 Times SAFER Than Others?