Asthma vs. Foodborne Illness

By Roger Windsor

While working on the raw milk issue here in NC, I discovered that the US asthma death risk is greater than the foodborne pathogen death risk. The estimated death rate for asthma in the US is approximately 6,000 per year. The total deaths from common foodborne pathogens from all sources (including raw milk) are an estimated 1,250 per year. Thus, the risk of dying from asthma is over four times that of dying from foodborne pathogens.

With the new studies out showing that raw milk consumption in childhood helps prevent asthma, legislators actually increase the likelihood of death for their constituents when they vote against raw milk. By contrasting these two risks, it makes a very forceful argument—one that would be hard for the anti-raw-milk lawmakers to stand against.

I am using this argument to urge North Carolina legislators to vote for S948, the Small Dairy Sustainability bill, which would make clean raw milk from grass-fed cows an option for parents by allowing cow shares.

Roger Windsor
Durham, North Carolina

Letter to the Editor of Wise Traditions, published in the Fall 2007 issue

Editor’s Response: The new studies showing that raw milk consumption reduces the risk of asthma can be found at Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology 2006 Jun;117(6):1374-81 and Clinical & Experimental Allergy 2007 May 37(5,):627-630.

Update, 2012: See our list of Studies Showing Raw (Farm) Milk Protective Against Asthma and Allergies

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