FDA Warning on Unpastuerized, Raw Milk, March 26 2010
"Raw milk is dangerous," John Sheehan, the director of the F.D.A.'s Division of Plant and Food Safety, said in a telephone interview. "Avoid it all costs. Do not give it to your children."|
FDA says: ".....harmful bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems......Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being delivered for introduction into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases, such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. FDA's pasteurization requirement also applies to other milk products, with the exception of a few aged cheeses......Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria."
FDA NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: March 26, 2010
Media Inquiries: Siobhan DeLancey, 301-796-4668, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Kwisnek, 301-436-1856, email@example.com
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
Public Health Agencies Warn of Outbreaks Related to Drinking Raw Milk
Latest outbreak of campylobacteriosis in Midwest is linked to unpasteurized product
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with several state agencies, is alerting consumers to an outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with drinking raw milk. At least 12 confirmed illnesses have been recently reported in Michigan. Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.
The FDA is collaborating with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health and the Indiana State Health Department, to investigate the outbreak. MDCH reports that, as of March 24, 2010, it received reports of 12 confirmed cases of illness from Campylobacter infections in consumers who drank raw milk. The raw milk originated from Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind.
Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep, or goats. Raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful bacteria Ð including Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Campylobacter and Brucella -- that may cause illness and possibly death. Public health authorities, including FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have expressed concerns about the hazards of drinking raw milk for decades.
Symptoms of illness caused by various bacteria commonly found in raw milk may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache. Most healthy individuals recover quickly from illness caused by raw milk. However, some people may have more severe illness, and the harmful bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly, infants, young children and people with weakened immune systems.
If consumers of raw milk are experiencing one or more of these symptoms after consuming raw milk or food products made from raw milk, they should contact their health care provider immediately.
Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being delivered for introduction into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases, such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. FDA's pasteurization requirement also applies to other milk products, with the exception of a few aged cheeses.
From 1998 to 2008, 85 outbreaks of human infections resulting from consumption of raw milk were reported to CDC. These outbreaks included a total of 1,614 reported illnesses, 187 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. Because not all cases of foodborne illness are recognized and reported, the actual number of illnesses associated with raw milk likely is greater.
Proponents of drinking raw milk often claim that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk and that raw milk is inherently antimicrobial, thus making pasteurization unnecessary. There is no meaningful nutritional difference between pasteurized and raw milk, and raw milk does not contain compounds that will kill harmful bacteria.
FDA Says: "Protect Your Family with Wise Food Choices
Most milk and milk products sold commercially in the United States contain pasteurized milk or cream, or the products have been produced in a manner that kills any dangerous bacteria that may be present. But unpasteurized milk and products made from unpasteurized milk are sold and may be harmful to your health. To avoid getting sick from the dangerous bacteria found in raw milk, you should choose your milk and milk products carefully. Consider these guidelines:"
"Unsafe to Eat
* Unpasteurized milk or cream
* Soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, and Mexican-style soft cheeses such as Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco made from unpasteurized milk
* Yogurt made from unpasteurized milk
* Pudding made from unpasteurized milk
* Ice cream or frozen yogurt made from unpasteurized milk"
"Okay to Eat
* Pasteurized milk or cream
* Hard cheeses such as cheddar, and extra hard grating cheeses such as Parmesan
* Soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses,Queso Fresco cheese and Mexican-style soft cheeses such as Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco made from pasteurized milk
* Processed cheeses
* Cream, cottage, and Ricotta cheese made from pasteurized milk
* Yogurt made from pasteurized milk
* Pudding made from pasteurized milk
* Ice cream or frozen yogurt made from pasteurized milk"
For more information:
The Dangers of Raw Milk
Questions & Answers: Raw Milk
Consumer Information About Milk Safety
The Michigan Department of Community Health
The Illinois Department of Community Health
Raw Milk Becomes Contentious
Letter from America
By RICHARD BERNSTEIN
NY Times Published: March 24, 2010
NEW YORK - My neighborhood weekly newspaper, The Brooklyn Paper, ran a front-page story this week about a local mother who belongs to a group so secretive that, as the article put it, "she can't even reveal its name."
The accompanying picture showed the woman, Hannah Springer, holding a toddler in one arm and a glass of milk in the other. She doesn't look like a drug dealer or a counterfeit DVD merchant, and indeed she isn't. Still, the secret organization of which she is an enthusiastic member buys and distributes a product banned for retail sale in New York - raw milk, unprocessed and unpasteurized.
The article explained that when she was expecting her now 18-month-old boy, Ms. Springer learned that she had a chronic thyroid disorder, and when she started drinking raw milk, purchased in Pennsylvania, smuggled across the border and sold at clandestine points in Brooklyn, she was cured.
"I no longer have to take thyroid meds, which every doctor said I would be on for the rest of my life," she told The Brooklyn Paper. She said that her son drinks two cups of raw milk a day and is healthier as a result.
"Basically, we spend a little more money on food," she said, because raw milk is more expensive than pasteurized supermarket milk, "so we don't have to pay the doctor."
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are," the French culinary philosopher Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said, and today, what you eat seems as much a person's more general state of mind as ever. The food movements picking up steam in America - organic, buy local, vegan, vegetarian, and the like - signal something a good deal bigger than just dietary preference.
And certainly that seems to be the case with raw milk, which is banned in about half the American states and whose purchase and consumption therefore involve a minor - though in fact not exceedingly risky - degree of civil disobedience.
But the element of rebellion against authority is more conspicuous when it comes to raw milk, because if, like Ms. Springer, you feed it to your toddler, you are flouting the conviction of most of the national institutions that monitor food safety and public health in the United States, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. All of these agencies and organizations strongly advise against drinking raw milk on the grounds that it could harbor harmful pathogens - which is why milk is pasteurized in the first place.
"Raw milk is dangerous," John Sheehan, the director of the F.D.A.'s Division of Plant and Food Safety, said in a telephone interview. "Avoid it all costs. Do not give it to your children."
Responding to the many claims made for raw milk by what have come to be called the raw milkies - among them, that it cures thyroid deficiency, asthma, allergies, even cancer - Mr. Sheehan said: "That's complete nonsense. We've reviewed just about everything that the raw milk advocates say, and we've found no support for it whatsoever. There are no signs that it is curative of any disease."
And yet, the signs are that the raw milk movement is becoming something of a cult, growing nationwide, with several organizations and foundations lobbying for it and proclaiming its near miraculous merits. Next month the second annual International Raw Milk Symposium will be held in Madison, Wisconsin. Assuming that the urban guerrilla warfare taking place around raw milk in Brooklyn is not unique, more and more people must be drinking it, even in the states where it's banned.
So what's going on?
For one thing, a very American battle seems to be taking place, pitting disgruntled or suspicious citizens against what they see as an unreasonable, greedy, distant or simply clueless establishment. The raw milkies are a bit like the Tea Party movement in this sense - though they're likely to be on opposite ends of the spectrum in most regards. They represent a sort of gastronomic populism that wants to inform you of what agribusiness and the retail supermarket chains allegedly don't want you to know.
"You've probably been told all your life that pasteurization makes raw milk 'safe,"' reads one typical online comment, this one on a Web site called the Douglas Report. "But here's the real truth - pasteurized milk is more dangerous than raw milk ever will be."
Perhaps the leading organization on the raw milk front is the Weston A. Price Foundation, which, according to its statement of purpose, seeks to "restore nutrient-dense foods to the human diet" (the group is pro-organic and in favor of buying local, but fiercely anti-vegetarian) and it provides a seemingly very scientific PowerPoint presentation on the advantages of raw milk.
Raw milk, the presentation contends, contains powerful anti-pathogens that are destroyed in pasteurization, along with a lot of the milk's nutritional value.
That's exactly the kind of statement that raises the hackles of people like Mr. Sheehan, who say there is no science to justify it - neither the claim about these natural anti-pathogenic properties, nor the alleged harm of pasteurization. Still, there's another argument on the product's behalf being made from the standpoint of legal rights - namely that government has no business telling people what they can and cannot drink.
"All it is is unprocessed milk," said David E. Gumpert, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and author of a new book, "The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights," which has made him something of a regular on the raw milkie circuit.
"I respect people's rights to have access to that food, and I have trouble with the public health people who want to deny it," he continued in a telephone interview.
Mr. Gumpert allows that raw milk is probably more hazardous than pasteurized milk, but, he says, there haven't been any reported deaths from it in the past quarter century (there have been a few deaths from pasteurized milk, but it's consumed in vastly greater quantities), which makes it seem something less than an imminent health threat.
"Is this a public health crisis?" he asks rhetorically. "My feeling is that, no, it isn't, so the medical community gets hysterical about it, and part of the reason they're hysterical is that there's a growing demand for raw milk."
A Raw Deal
Farms selling milk straight from the cow vex food regulators, but the demand isn't diminishing.
March 2, 2010
The word "raw" sounds like something exciting and maybe a little dangerous. It makes you think of bloody steaks and wrestlers and untanned hides. "Milk," on the other hand, evokes just the opposite: motherhood, kids with sippy cups, and Oscar-winning movies. Maybe it's the uncomfortable juxtaposition of the two ideas that makes certain people so nervous about raw milk. As demand increases, state legislators, regulators and courts are all reexamining the issue of raw milk. But as some jurisdictions legalize while others crack down, farmers and milk drinkers are stuck in limbo.
Raw milk is simply ordinary milk that hasn't been pasteurized.
Pasteurization-the quick heating and cooling of fresh milk -- kills bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses. When Americans first began pasteurizing milk at the turn of the last century, testing was rudimentary and farms were far less hygienic. Milk quality varied tremendously, transit was slow and the milk that made it into cities often veered into unsafe territory.
Pasteurization-which eradicated Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria-saved lives.
Today, the situation is different. Testing for the presence of such pathogens is much more precise, and farms are far cleaner. While processing milk remains a good choice for milk shipped to the population as a whole, there are a group of food rebels who would rather drink their milk straight from the cow. Some say they prefer the taste, calling it richer and more robust. Others say that pasteurization kills beneficial enzymes and helpful bacteria along with the baddies. Whatever their reasons for drinking the raw stuff, the proliferation of raw milk devotees willing to take a small risk for better dairy makes regulators unhappy, and they are looking for ways to crack down on milk speakeasies.
What About Cheese?
Piloting Citarella's Cheese Wheel
By Isabel Carmichael
(03/25/2010) "I love working with cheese. It's my passion," said Larry Tebrow, who runs the cheese department at the East Hampton Citarella.
"They're a wonderful company owned by an Italian family that started it as a fish store in New York, and then the owners branched out into a gourmet store, selling prime meats, prepared foods, and produce," he said. "They give people opportunities, plus, I like the customers."
With a view to becoming a chef, Mr. Tebrow had attended the Food and Maritime Trades High School in Lower Manhattan. He went on to San Diego State University, where he learned about the restaurant business, then went to work for his father, who had a shop selling smoked fish and other specialty foods.
Mr. Tebrow did not want to take over the business when his father retired. Instead, he moved to Seattle, where he worked for a company that catered concerts by such musicians as Eric Clapton and Genesis. He wanted to open a restaurant, but common sense stopped him.
Returning to the East Coast, Mr. Tebrow took on a job in the deli at Fairway, where he seemed to find his way. "I got stuck on Sundays opening up and setting up the cheese department," he said.
It agreed with him. He stayed on for three years, traveling to England, France, and Italy for the first time when he was 24. "Being in Europe blew my mind," he said. "I didn't want to get back on the plane."
Moving on to Todaro Brothers, a specialty food store in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, he learned still more about the huge variety of cheeses. He became the manager of that cheese department. Then it was on to Balducci's in the Village.
When Mr. Tebrow ordered cheeses from Europe, he said, they would be delivered by sea. "It's cheaper to have it shipped that way," he said. In the 1980s some unpasteurized cheeses were being imported to this country, he said, but the F.D.A. stopped that. "You can bring in anything aged more than 60 days that isn't pasteurized," which usually means hard cheeses like Gruyere and Tomme de Savoie.
After a long stint at Grace's Market Place on Third Avenue, and then a several-year break from retail, Mr. Tebrow took a job on the Upper West Side with Citarella, once again running the cheese department. Two years later he asked for a transfer and moved to Sag Harbor, working first at the Water Mill Citarella and then landing in the East Hampton branch.
One of the best sellers at Citarella is the Tomme, he said, which has a good earthy flavor. Then there's Beaufort, a popular summer cheese, which he described as "a little earthy and nutty but with a nice rich flavor - the cows eat grass and wildflowers. That's an unpasteurized one."
Camemberts are also popular, as is Mecox cheddar, the Coach Farm low-fat goat cheese log, and Humboldt Fog from Northern California, a goat cheese with a layer of vegetable ash in the middle. "We order cheeses from Italy, France, and England," Mr. Tebrow said, including Fourme D'Ambert, a not-too-salty blue cheese and one of France's oldest ones, and Morbier, a raw milk cheese made with cows' morning milk, vegetable ash, and then the evening milk added on top.
"One of my favorite cheeses from Italy is a sheep's milk parmigiano, Gran Sardo," Mr. Tebrow said. "Another one is the Sovrano Bufala, a 'buffalo' parmigiano. In New York we make our own mozzarella. Then there's Burrata, a cow's milk cheese made with mozzarella curds and fresh cream. The outside shell is like mozzarella but inside it's creamy. In summer you eat it with fresh tomatoes and basil."