Some weeks, fate makes funny things fall across your plate at the same time. As I was reading about a recent listeria outbreak from pasteurized ice cream, someone sent me a food safety blog post, which mentions the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, concerning the dangers of raw milk. The below quotes are from the blog post/the Today Health post.
You would think, given that raw milk hasn’t caused a single death in thirty years while pasteurized milk claimed at least three lives this week, we would be treated to a more balanced and fair-handed approach of the complex issues relating to food safety in general and raw milk in particular.
I guess I set my hopes too high.
“Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics, at New York University, tells Today Health, ‘Adults drive, cliff dive and smoke, but they have to be informed about risks. The ethical considerations become much more difficult when kids are involved.’”
Too bad riding in a car is riskier than drinking raw milk, statistically speaking, especially for kids, who last I checked, don’t have much choice when it comes to their driver or their dinner, whether it be raw milk or refined pseudo foods that sicken thousands each year and do far more damage with degenerative diseases and deformed body structures from lack of adequate nutrition.
But, anyway, it’s all for the kids. You know, the vending machines in public schools full of processed, highly adulterated, FDA-approved diabetes- and other disease-causing junk food. The school lunches that would barely sustain an amoeba’s nutritional needs, let alone those of growing children (who are rebelling against the school lunches en mass as we speak). The endless fast food feasts and poison pizzas kids shovel down across our nation, made artificially cheap by the USDA-approved billions in tax dollars doled out each year in subsidies. Yep, this is all for the kids. Like those highly processed, hardly cheese containing Kraft cheese singles that bear the “Kids Eat Right” seal that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics claims isn’t really a seal of approval.
“The dairy industry worries that illnesses from raw milk sales could damage public confidence in the safety of dairy products.”
This line of reasoning always cracks me up. You would think it was a line from a Jim Gaffigan stand-up routine, it is such a good shtick. Do people buying real Rolexes harm the sales of the cheap imitation Rolexes hocked at world monuments (and vice versa)?
If anything, the damage done by pasteurized dairy and the bad rap modern real, raw milk gets from its industrial processed knock-off counterpart (see Andy Rooney’s entertaining segment) does far more harm to raw milk farmers than any raw milk outbreak has ever done to industrial milk. But the anti-raw milk propaganda machine has never had a knack for clear and accurate thinking or data on these issues, which would get in the way of agendas, control of the dairy industry, and the steady stream of fear-mongering those agencies foist upon the unsuspecting populace.
“In California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, among other states, you can buy raw milk straight from a retail shelf or farmer’s market.”
You would think that these states would have daily sufferings and horrific deaths from this seemingly dangerous policy. But, amazingly, even given the dead food fearmongers, they do not.
“‘I grew up on a dairy farm and anytime you start milking a cow I will tell you they start defecating, and it can get everywhere,’ says Dr. Faith Critzer, a food microbiologist with the University of Tennessee and a food safety extension specialist for the state of Tennessee. ‘There are just too many points of contamination and pasteurization will get rid of contamination. It will save your life.'”
Food safety is a complex issue. All food producers, raw milk and otherwise, should be striving to ensure safe food for their patrons. But all food systems, just like all of life, have risks, and while we can work to minimize those risks, even the best efforts of our alphabet soup government agencies and the most advanced technologies can’t eliminate them. Indeed, sometimes they actually increase them. As much as the food police think pasteurization is some magical cure all, it isn’t.
Just ask those affected by the Blue Bell Creameries listeria outbreak. Unfortunately, it didn’t save the lives of those consuming pasteurized dairy this past week, nor did it in dozens of other outbreaks over the past three decades.
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