Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Recall and Raw Milk is Illegal Because...

If you go to this page of the FDA site, you will see all sorts of products that have been recalled after a huge salmonella outbreak in peanut butter. The products range from actual peanut butter to cookies and pet food that contain some sort of peanut ingredient to health food bars...kind of a broad spread of outbreak. Elderly people have died from salmonella poisoning involved in this recent contamination. It's very sad.

This is all highly processed food, even the healthy claiming protein bars, and are produced in factories where contamination is possible. In this case, the peanut butter ingredients are tainted and have affected these other products.

So, in thinking about food safety and health, my question is, why is raw milk still illegal in so many places? When's the last time you've heard of raw milk deaths or even massive outbreaks of disease caused by raw milk or raw milk products? (Of course it has happened--food becomes contaminated sometimes...but, of all the food borne disease outbreaks that I remember recently, they've been spinach and jalapeƱo peppers and pasteurized milk and peanut butter, but not raw milk.) Many more people have gotten sick from supposedly safe foods than from raw milk.

Here's an excerpt from an interesting article from the raw milk advocate group The Weston A. Price Foundation:

The chart below was drawn up for a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vote on permitting raw milk in the County. (The vote was favorable, by the way, and raw milk is once again available in Los Angeles.) Except for a brief hiatus in 1990, raw milk has always been for sale commercially in California, usually in health food stores, although I can remember a period when it was even sold in grocery stores. Millions of people consumed commercial raw milk during that period and although the health department kept an eagle eye open for any possible evidence of harm, not a single incidence was reported. During the same period, there were many instances of contamination in pasteurized milk, some of which resulted in death. There have also been many instances of contamination of other foods, including baby formula. In fact, if we withdrew from the market every food type responsible for a case of food poisoning, there would be virtually nothing left to eat. But only raw milk has been singled out for general removal from the food supply.

Both raw and pasteurized milk harbor bacteria but the bacteria in raw milk is the healthy bacteria of lactic-acid fermentation while the bacteria in pasteurized milk is the bacteria of spoilage. And the overall bacteria count of milk produced under clean conditions is much lower than that of pasteurized milk. Both raw and pasteurized milk contain E. coli, normally a benign microorganism. The most likely source of the new strains of virulent E. coli is genetically engineered soy, fed to cows in large commercial dairies. If there is any type of milk likely to harbor these virulent breeds, it is commercial pasteurized milk.

Back in the days when scientists at our universities did real research, they compared the health of children fed raw or pasteurized milk. Children fed raw milk have more resistance to TB, scurvy, flu, diphtheria, pneumonia, asthma, allergic skin problems and tooth decay. In addition, their growth and calcium absorption was superior. (

Of course, as with all foods, raw milk must come from healthy cows and be carefully handled and stored. The same technology that we use to pasteurize our milk also allows us to keep raw milk fresh and clean. If you are buying directly from a farmer, be sure that the cows are mostly on pasture and that the barn is kept clean. The milk should go directly from the milking machine into a stainless steel tank or clean containers and be kept chilled. It should be used within a period of one week, after which it will begin to go sour (although it is not dangerous when it does so). With these precautions, raw milk is not only healthy but a safe food for all members of the family, even babies.

To find raw milk in your area, visit or contact your local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California.

1997, 28 persons ill from Salmonella in California, ALL FROM PASTEURIZED MILK.

Massachusetts, June 1996, 38 persons ill and possibly contributing to one death from food contaminated with Salmonella served in a Wendy's restaurant.
1996, 46 persons ill from Campylobacter and Salmonella in California. Idaho, September 1995, 11 people ill due to E. coli 0157:H7 traced to food eaten in a Chili's restaurant in Boise.
No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California. 1994, 105 persons ill from E. coli and Listeria in California Florida, August 1995, 850 people ill from Salmonella newport bacteria in chicken served at Margarita y Amigos restaurant in West Palm Beach.
March of 1985 19,660 confirmed cases of Salmonella typhimurium illness FROM CONSUMING PROPERLY PASTEURIZED MILK. Over 200,000 people ill from Salmonella typhimurium in PASTEURIZED MILK Utah, January 1995, 96 people ill from hepatitis A traced to an employee of a Taco Bell restaurant in Salt Lake City
No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California. 1985, 142 cases and 47 deaths traced to PASTEURIZED Mexican-style cheese contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes SURVIVES PASTEURIZATION! Washington, DC, August 1994, 56 people ill and 20 hospitalized from Salmonella in Hollandaise sauce.
1985, 1500 persons ill from Salmonella infection Georgia, October 1993, one dead, 7 others ill from botulism in canned cheese sauce.
No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California. August of 1984 approximately 200 persons became ill with a Salmonella typhimurium from CONSUMING PASTEURIZED MILK Illinois, June 1993, 41 people ill, 25 hospitalized from Salmonella in food served at a Mexican restaurant.
November of 1984, another outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium illness from CONSUMING PASTEURIZED MILK Oregon, March 1993, 48 people ill from E. coli 0157:H7 in mayonnaise served at Sizzler restaurant.
No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California. 1983, over 49 persons with Listeria illness have been associated with the consumption of PASTEURIZED MILK in Massachusetts. An additional 50 cases of illness caused by E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria in food served in Sizzler's restaurants in Oregon and Washington were reported to CDC in 1993.
1993, 28 persons ill from Salmonella infection The western US, December 1992 to January 1993, 700 people ill from E. coli 0157:H7 in hamburgers served at Jack-in-the-Box restaurants in Washington, Idaho, Nevada and California. Nearly 100 of the victims developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication resulting from E. coli 0157:H7 infection, and four children died.
No outbreaks of human illness from consumption of raw milk in California 1982, 172 persons ill (100 hospitalized) from a three Southern state area from PASTEURIZED MILK.
1982, over 17,000 persons became ill with Yersinia enterocolitica from PASTEURIZED MILK bottled in Memphis, Tennessee.


faeriefeig said...

its disgusting that raw milk bears that label. it is such fear mongering.... i know better, and still every time i pour my raw milk into my glass, i have to read it.

we have gone to pouring the raw milk into glass jars... i do not want their icky intent all over my milk ;)

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

My milk now has a label on the top that reads, for cats or dogs...we happen to like it and will continue to drink it even though it's clearly for pets, but that's not the fault of the farmers is it?


If people read The Untold Story of Milk By Dr. Ron Schmid, ( they will get an understanding of how and why pasteurization started in the first place and how it's good intentions have actually injured people's health. People have safely consumed clean raw milk for millennia, and will continue to do so for the positive health benefits.

Ask the Masai who traditionally have been exclusively sustained by milk, blood and meat from their cows. They're not falling over from salmonella, heart disease, breast cancer, etc. and there's no refrigeration...

Sheldon said...

There are food that are banned in the market because of the salmonella outbreak. Food can be safe if we will test and check it first. ELISA test kits could be a great way in checking our food.

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