Sunday, March 4, 2007

More on unpasteurized milk

The arguments about the desirability or otherwise of drinking unpasteurized milk continue. It seems that its proponents will hear nothing said against the practice; many scientists and doctors provide comment, often supported by case studies, that suggest that there are significant and serious risks associated with drinking unpasteurized milk.

The following report was posted recently on the Food Safety Network mailing list on behalf of Doug Powell of Kansas State University:
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http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?S=6170552&nav=S6aK
WDBJ7 News
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Health Department is, according to this story, warning consumers not to drink raw milk from a York County dairy farm after confirming that two people who drank it last month were sickened by salmonella.Health Secretary Calvin Johnson was cited as saying the state Agriculture Department has also obtained three samples from Stump Acres Dairy in New Salem that tested positive for salmonella.
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Of course, the facts that two consumers of the product contracted salmonellosis and that samples taken from the dairy tested positive do not prove that the unpasteurized milk was the source, though detection of the same serotype in patients and the milk would be very strong evidence. However, the correlation between raw milk consumption and illness is hard to ignore.

There are sometimes suggestions that the pasteurization process is too severe. The process was originally designed to eliminate Salmonella, but was later modified to be slightly more rigorous to ensure that Coxiella burnetti (a rickettsia-like organism which is the cause of Q-fever - a febrile disease of man and which sometimes has serious sequellae), was eliminated. There is currently some investigation of the time/temperature relationships in milk pasteurization to see if there is a possibility of making the process less severe.

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