– OPINION –

By Sara Bratager


Food Traceability and Food Security Scientist at the Institute of Food Technologists 

In step with a 2017 undercover agent in Emerging Infectious Ailments, unpasteurized dairy products cause 840 cases more sicknesses and 45 cases more hospitalizations than pasteurized products, making raw milk a foul food. And yet laws legalizing raw milk is rising in diversified states. 

Bills to introduce or elevate the sale of raw milk possess cropped up in Iowa, Missouri, and Georgia within the final 365 days by myself. And they seem like pushed largely by particular person demand. The public feedback on SSB 3126 — Iowa’s invoice proposing to legalize on-farm sales of raw milk — are dominated by customers’ must increase native farmers, assist money in native economies, and reap the perceived health advantages. 

Some perceived raw milk health advantages — claims of superior nutrient advise over pasteurized milk, let’s notify — proved fictitious. Diversified advantages love probiotics, despite the truth that potentially real, point out food safety concerns. Bifidobacterium are desirable probiotic organisms that enact no longer occur naturally in milk. They are, nonetheless, repeatedly show camouflage in cows’ gastrointestinal tracts (i.e., fecal topic) and could well per chance perhaps be launched into raw milk throughout the milking task. 

The truth is, a 2018 undercover agent in Traits in Food Science & Technology found raw milk to be to blame for with regards to three cases more hospitalizations than any diversified foodborne sickness. With health implications in thoughts, it’s main for customers and policymakers, alike, to trace the need for pasteurization.  

Raw milk can moreover host a vary of human pathogens love Salmonella, E. Coli, Campylobacter, and Listeria. Sources of bacterial contamination include the ambiance, milking equipment and cows’ udders. Pasteurization is the finest effective formula of killing these immoral bacteria, but there are myths that lead customers to think that raw milk is safe comparable to:  

The Myth: Raw milk naturally contains antimicrobial compounds that invent it safe. 

The Info: While raw milk does actually grasp some antimicrobial compounds, they’ll not be relied upon to invent certain safe products. Lactoferrin occurs in concentrations too low to possess a bactericidal or bacteriostatic enact. And Lactoperoxidase is finest effective when activated by the addition of thiocyanate and hydrogen peroxide. An abundance of nisin, an antimicrobial peptide produced by Lactococcus organisms, will not be any longer finest indicative of chilly-chain concerns (Lactococcus develop at warm temps) but it if truth be told’s moreover ineffective against gram detrimental bacteria love salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter.  

The Myth: Raw milk produced under a Hazard Evaluation and Serious Regulate Level (HACCP) thought or diversified food safety thought is safe to drink.

The Info: Raw milk produced under a food safety thought is probably safer than raw milk produced without a food safety protocols in quandary; nonetheless, it is never basically safe. Raw milk HACCP plans can adequately regulate for physical and chemical hazards at the farm level, but no longer organic hazards. Enough regulate of organic hazards (pathogens) requires a execute step (pasteurization). “Test and Preserve” applications assist name and stay the spread of raw milk inaccurate with pathogens. Nonetheless, it’s no longer continually that that you just need to think to detect low levels of pathogens that could well per chance perhaps also develop and multiply by the product’s shelf lifestyles. 

The Bottom Line: Raw milk carries real possibility. 

Financial possibility exists for every actor within the raw milk offer chain while customers moreover possibility sickness — and severity can vary from gentle diarrhea and vomiting to miscarriage, hospitalization, and death. The very younger, very gentle, pregnant, and otherwise immunocompromised possess an elevated likelihood of developing excessive sickness. 

Food safety advocates continually reference two CDC stories that documented 127 outbreaks between 1993 and 2012. Both outbreaks and records assortment possess persevered into the sizzling, and records within the market on the CDC’s NORS database reveals 47 outbreaks linked to raw milk from 2016 to 2020. As part of those 47 outbreaks, 435 sicknesses, 69 hospitalizations and two deaths had been reported with these outbreaks; nonetheless, the finest quantity of impacted customers used to be probably powerful better as a result of under-reporting of gentle cases. 

Though the consumption and sale of raw milk is inadvisable at finest, raw milk laws will proceed if demand prevails. This could well per chance perhaps be very main that proposed laws include food safety measures to make sure that raw milk is produced as safely as that that you just need to think. Pattern of elephantine offer chain traceability applications is main to mitigate capacity spread of immoral product as even raw milk produced with the utmost caution is at excessive possibility for pathogen contamination. User safety depends on it. 

Creator: Sara Bratager, Food Traceability & Food Security Scientist at the Institute of Food Technologists

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