Food Engineering

CDC, IDFA take a stand against raw milk

Both the CDC and IDFA urge public officials to support pasteurization

May 15, 2014

CDC, IDFA take a stand against raw milkWith a number of consumers flocking to farmers markets and reaching for natural products at the grocery store, the CDC is urging public officials and consumers to consider the dangers of consuming raw milk or unpasteurized dairy products.

CDC sent a letter to state and territorial public health officials last week outlining the risks.

In the letter, Robery Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, defends the role pasteurization plays in killing disease-causing bacteria, concluding it’s the only way to ensure fluid milk products are safe.

Despite a federal interstate sale ban on raw milk, the product is still available in many states and outbreaks of illness are occurring.

“Eighty-one percent of outbreaks were reported from states where the sale of raw milk was legal in some form; only 19 percent occurred in states where the sale of raw milk was illegal,” Tauxe said. “The reported outbreaks represent only the tip of the iceberg. For every outbreak and illness that is reported, many others occur that are not reported.”

 The CDC recently updated its website with information including publications and scientific resources regarding the illnesses associated with raw milk consumption.

“To protect the health of the public, state regulators should continue to support pasteurization and consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale and distribution of raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products in their states,” Tauxe said.

On Wednesday, the International Daily Foods Association announced it has joined with the National Milk Producers Federation to oppose a number of efforts that would allow for the increased sale of raw milk.

These efforts include opposing a bill introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kent., which aims to repeal the federal ban on sales of raw milk across state lines. The IDFA and NMPF also opposed efforts in California, Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota.