Drinking Pasteurized Milk is Dangerous

by Ann Marie Michaels on January 9, 2008

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The Associated Press reports:

Dairy Linked to 3 Deaths, Miscarriage

By DENISE LAVOIE – 1 day ago

BOSTON (AP) — At Whittier Farms dairy, the fifth-generation owners brag of the quality of their Holstein cows and still deliver milk right to your door, in glass bottles. Customers like the products because they are a hormone-free taste of old New England.

But health officials now say three elderly men have died and at least one pregnant woman has miscarried since last June after drinking bacteria-contaminated milk from the dairy’s plant in Shrewsbury, about 35 miles west of Boston.

All were infected with listeria, which is extremely rare in pasteurized milk. It is more often found in raw foods, such as uncooked meat and vegetables, and processed foods such as soft cheeses and cold cuts.

The outbreak is believed to be only the third time listeria has ever been linked to pasteurized milk in the United States, said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, state director of communicable disease control.

“We know something is going on; we just don’t know what it is,” DeMaria said. “We just need to find out how the bacteria is getting into the milk.”

Listeria bacteria are often present in manure and are commonly found in soil and water. Pasteurization is supposed to kill listeria.

Sally Fallon compiled a list of U.S. government documented outbreaks of food-borne illness from pasteurized milk for Ted Elkins, Deputy Director for Maryland’s Office of Food Protection and Consumer Health Services.

Here is that list:

1945—1,492 cases for the year in the US
1945—1 outbreak, 300 cases in Phoenix, Arizona.
1945—Several outbreaks, 468 cases of gastroenteritis, 9 deaths, in Great Bend, Kansas
1976—Outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica in 36 children, 16 of whom had appendectomies, due to pasteurized chocolate milk
1978—1 outbreak, 68 cases in Arizona
1982—over 17,000 cases of Yersinia enterocolitica in Memphis, TN
1982—172 cases, with over 100 hospitalized from a three-Southern-state area.
1983—1 outbreak, 49 cases of Listeriosis in Massachusetts
1984—August, 1 outbreak S. typhimurium, approximately 200 cases, at one plant in Melrose Park, IL
1984—November, 1 outbreak S. typhimurium, at same plant in Melrose Park, IL
1985—March, 1 outbreak, 16,284 confirmed cases, at same plant in Melrose Park, IL
1985—197,000 cases of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella infections from one dairy in California
1985—1,500+ cases, Salmonella culture confirmed, in Northern Illinois
1987—Massive outbreak of over 16,000 culture-confirmed cases of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella typhimurium traced to pasteurized milk in Georgia
1993—2 outbreaks statewide, 28 cases Salmonella infection
1994—3 outbreaks, 105 cases, E. Coli & Listeria in California
1993-1994—outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis in over 200 due to pasteurized ice cream in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
1995—1 outbreak, 3 cases in California
1995—outbreak of Yersinia enterocolitica in 10 children, 3 hospitalized due to post-pasteurization contamination
1996—2 outbreaks Campylobactor and Salmonella, 48 cases in California
1997—2 outbreaks, 28 cases Salmonella in California

That’s a whole lot of outbreaks from supposedly safe pasteurized milk!

Could it have anything to do with the fact that these animals are kept in confinement and fed a diet of grain that makes them sick?

Studies show that factory-farmed cattle have 300 times more pathogenic bacteria in their digestive tracts than cattle that are allowed to openly graze in pastures.

Peck, John E. “Spinach Crisis Reflects Need For Smaller Farms,” — The Capital Times, A8, October 2, 2006

Now let’s talk about raw milk.

According to the Weston Price Foundation:

Pathogens Can Multiply in Pasteurized Milk and Other Foods but Not in Raw Milk

Campylobacter in chilled raw milk (4o C):
Day 0 = 13,000,000/ml
Day 9 = less than 10/ml (1)

Campylobacter in body temperature raw milk (37o C):

Bovine strains decreased by 100 cells/ml in 48 hrs
Poultry strains decreased by 10,000 cells/ml in 48 hrs (2)

Note that the protective components work more quickly to reduce levels of pathogens in warm milk than in chilled milk.

1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 1982;44(5):1154-58
2. Mikrobiyolji Bul,1987:21(3):200-5

And yet…

Raw milk is often blamed for causing infection with Listeria Monocytogenes, a deadly food pathogen that can cause severe illness and fetal death, premature birth or neonatal illness and death.

Let’s look at the facts:

In a 2003 USDA/FDA report:

Deli meats caused 515 times more illness from listeria than raw milk
Pasteurized milk caused 29 times more illness from listeria than raw milk

On a PER-SERVING BASIS, deli meats were TEN times more likely to cause illness than raw milk.

FDA: “Raw milk is inherently dangerous and should not be consumed”

Where are the FDA’s charges that deli meats are “inherently dangerous and should not be consumed? Where is the FDA’s exhortation to “everyone charged with protecting the publish health” to “prevent the sale of deli meats to consumers”?

In a response to a Freedom of Information request, the Centers for Disease Control provided data on raw milk outbreaks 1993-2005—a 23-year period.

In this report, CDC listed NO cases of foodborne illness from raw milk caused by listeria during the period.

Let me repeat that:

The CDC listed NO cases of foodborne illness from raw milk caused by listeria for the past 23 years.

Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has suspended sales of several dairies and issued inflammatory press releases, claiming listeria monocytogenes in the milk.

Independent tests have shown NO listeria in the milk and in all cases sales were resumed. There were no illnesses.

Is the PDA trying to falsely build a case that listeria is a problem in raw milk?

Raw Milk Safety in California

Since 1999:

40 million servings of Organic Pastures raw milk, not one reported illness
; in 1,300 tests, no human pathogens ever found in the milk, or even in the manure on the farm.

19 recalls of pasteurized milk products during the same period.

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