CDC Letter to States

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continued the federal government’s ongoing campaign to prohibit raw milk sales and consumption in a July 18 letter to state epidemiologists and public health veterinarians entitled, “The Ongoing Public Health Hazard of Consuming Raw Milk.” The letter, written by Dr. Robert Tauxe, states that its purpose “is to provide state and territorial public health officials with information and resources on the risks of consuming raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.” After trotting out the usual statistics and arguments about the dangers of raw milk, the letter concludes by stating that “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.”

The fact that CDC was moved to send the letter to state officials can be interpreted as an indication that the federal government realizes that its fight to further restrict or prohibit raw milk sales has not gone well. Demand for raw milk continues to increase and there has been little or no call for further restrictions on raw milk sales or distribution even in states where there have recently been foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to raw milk consumption. The law more likely to fall now isn’t any state law allowing the sale of raw milk but rather the federal law prohibiting it from crossing state lines.


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