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Is Raw Milk Safe for Babies? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sally Fallon Morell   
Monday, 31 December 2001 05:00

 

The biggest concern parents have about making homemade formula is that it is based on raw milk which, according to medical orthodoxy, is a source of contamination and disease. The only possible way to protect our children, they say, is to be sure the milk is pasteurized.

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, there is not a single proven case of raw milk causing illness. 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. (www.realmilk.com/abstractsmilk.)

Of course, as with all foods, raw milk should be whole milk (because the butterfat contains important antimicrobial factors0, it must come from healthy cows, and it should 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 www.realmilk.com or contact your local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

 

REPORTED OUTBREAKS OF FOOD BORNE ILLNESS

RAW MILK:
WARNING LABEL



PASTEURIZED MILK:
NO WARNING LABEL



OTHER FOODS:
NO WARNING LABEL



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.

Update:
REPORTED OUTBREAKS OF FOOD BORNE ILLNESS
RAW MILK:
WARNING LABEL
PASTEURIZED MILK:
NO WARNING LABEL
OTHER FOODS:
NO WARNING LABEL
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.

Update:

A recent blog posting has challenged our statement that there have been no outbreaks attributable to raw milk in california during the period 1982 - 1996. See:http://www.ethicurean.com/2009/07/20/raw-milk-2/.

The blog provides the following as an example of alleged "outbreaks" from raw milk: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=3140275. Below is analysis of this report showing that this article does not show conclusive evidence linking illness to raw milk, and in fact is typical of the highly biased attitudes in published reports alleging problems with raw milk.

As far as I know, we have analyzed every published report linking illness to raw milk in our Response to William Marler, posted here: http://realmilk.com/documents/ResponsetoMarlerListofStudies.pdf. If there are any reports that we have missed, please let us know and we will take a close look at them and post the analysis.

ANALYSIS OF Assessment of the excess risk of Salmonella dublin infection associated with the use of certified raw milk. Public Health Rep. 1988 Sep–Oct; 103(5): 489–493.

This report made the absurd assumption that the causal relationship between raw milk and illness could be determined using statistics. After ascertaining all cases of S. dublin diagnosed between 1980 and 1983 and then asking them over the course of 1984 to 1985 whether they had consumed certified raw milk (the only source of which was Alta Dena), the authors calculated the incidence of S. dublin among certified raw milk users and the incidence in the general population, and then calculated the "excess" occurring in raw milk users and concluded that this fraction was "acquired from the milk."

In addition to recall bias, the authors noted that people who reported drinking raw milk at the time of illness may have been more likely to have been tested for S. dublin [thus creating a false association of raw milk with illness].

Most importantly, the authors offered no evidence that the milk drunk by these cases was contaminated with S. dublin or whether the strain matched that of the infecting organism. Correlation does not prove causation.

VERDICT: This report does not contain conclusive evidence linking illness to raw milk.
Edited: 04/19/2010


About the Author

[authorbio:fallon-morell-sally]

Comments (6)Add Comment
Reply to Kelsey
written by tjboyd, Jan 10 2013
This article should answer a lot of questions - http://www.westonaprice.org/ch...owing-baby
When can I start my baby on Raw Milk
written by Kelsey Thomson, Jan 05 2013
I am 5 weeks pregnant and my first child is 11 months old. She was born 6 weeks premature and my original plan was to nurse her until she was 13 months (or so). Now that I am pregnant, I am sensing that she is not getting enough milk and when I pump after not having fed her for 3-4 hour, I only produce about 2 ounces. I have read the recipes for raw milk formula and I can definitely go that route, but I'd like to know what the consensus is with regard to just giving a baby straight raw milk? Is 11 months too young?

Thanks!!
Straight Raw Milk
written by Emily Van Horn, Mar 27 2012
Dear Sally,

At what age can children drink raw milk straight. Meaning, without the "formula" ingredients such as the oils, lactose, additional water, etc.

Thank you,
Emily
...
written by Fehmina, Dec 26 2011
Hi Chef Jem,

After reading some of the recommended books fromWise traditions I came to realize the benefit of raw cows milk.

I live in Bahrain, in the Middle East, and have finally hunted down a farm (if i can call it that) here. I got my hands on raw cows milk, but now am concerned. I have been told to heat the milk before consumption and even though did not want to at first due to defeating the purpose of it being raw, I am now wondering if I should.

The cow that they milk, is kept contained in decent size area but is not roaming around freely. The chickens, however, are running around the cow constantly. Also from what I have seen it is fed both greens and dried pita breads. The pita bread is plenty and always kept In a bin in front of the cow and some have greenish stuff on it too (my guess mold). They do feed it grass and other plants but I don't think it is their predominant feed.

So should I even bother to get this kind of raw milk? Or should I get it but heat it at home? I'm so confused and really concerned about drinking it, let alone having my 3 year old drink it.
Allergic to diary????
written by Monica, Oct 24 2011
My 15 month old daughter had a very painful experience 2 nights ago. She pooped and while doing it cried as if someone would skin her alive...The stool seemed normal, not too hard, not too soft and the color was also ok. Last night the story repeated and this time, after she had her stool, she started crying and she passed a very small amount of stool with some pinkish tinged mucus inside of it. She also cried in pain and was covered in cold sweat. This morning she had a runny stool and I noticed the pinkish tinge n it wrapped around some mucous. I am not normally running to the doctor for anything, but I have called up our GP who is a family friend and of course, she scared the life out of me, saying that if it is not intussusception, than it might be protein intolerance from the cow milk. She knows that my daughter is on the raw milk formula and that she is not vaccinated, so at this point I am certain that she will find either one a culprit also. Can someone please contact me and tell me if they have any idea what this could be???? She has no fever, no vomiting, but she has the painful crying bouts out of the blue. Today is October 24'th, 2011. I am impatiently waiting for a reply as soon as possible. Thank you!
http://www.naturalchild.org/gu...almer.html
written by Niki, Apr 20 2011
I recently came across this article and would like your opinion about it, because it defies WAPF dietary guidelines. This site, by the way, is a good one (in my opinion, so I was rather shocked when I came across an article featuring such medical nonsense.
It's called The Dangers of Cow's Milk by Linda Folden Palmer, D.C.and you can find it here: http://www.naturalchild.org/gu...almer.html

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Last Updated on Thursday, 07 April 2011 20:14