By David Gumpert
From thecompletepatient.com, June 1, 2014.
Reprinted with permission.
In official reports, you’d never know it was pasteurized dairy making people sick. It seems that almost any outbreak of illnesses potentially involving raw milk products prompts handwringing by the media, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not to mention state and local public health agencies. I have yet to see a mainstream media article about raw dairy that doesn’t include warnings from federal or local public health officials about its dangers.
Yet when people get sick from pasteurized dairy products, it’s a whole different ball game. We saw that in the article discussed following my previous post, about illnesses from bad milk among children at a Henrico County school in Virginia (see below). There wasn’t even a mention that the milk was pasteurized. And can you imagine any media reporting on illnesses from raw milk, that the victims “exhibited ‘mild gastrointestinal symptoms’ that passed quickly”? Certainly if I said it, I’d be excoriated by raw milk opponents as totally insensitive and biased, especially since it was children who were sickened.
This minor example of the reporting double standard turns up repeatedly. I just examined official government reports (one from CDC and the other from FDA) on two of the most recent pasteurized-dairy outbreaks, involving cheese, one from a Wisconsin producer and the other from a Delaware producer. Here are a few things I noticed:
One other thing: there’s no mention at all that illnesses from listeria in raw milk cheese are quite rare. And there hasn’t been a listeria illness from fluid raw milk in at least a decade.
And can you imagine if there had been two deaths from raw dairy products within the last year? Why, you’d never hear the end of it.
Now, Real Raw Milk Facts, the anti-raw-milk website, to its credit, breaks out illnesses and deaths from pasteurized dairy products. The Crave Brothers and Roos Foods outbreaks have pushed pasteurized cheese illnesses since 1998 to over 600, and total pasteurized dairy deaths to ten. Not exactly the safety guarantee we have been led to expect.
All goes to show that you have to read the media and government reports on raw and pasteurized dairy much differently. I think it’s called a double standard.
“Milk sold to Henrico schools spoiled early” is the headline describing an outbreak of illness in a Virginia school district. The article (Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 30, 2014) dances around critical information. It assures readers that the students exhibited “mild gastro-intestinal symptoms,” which passed quickly. How many children got sick—the article doesn’t say. Anyone hospitalized? No information on that. In which school did the outbreak occur? That information is withheld.
And here’s the kicker: Anyone affected by the tainted milk is instructed to phone the dairy! Not the FDA, not the CDC. Only the dairy seems to be keeping records of this one.
And why did the kids get sick? “Simply put, the milk spoiled before we expected it to,” said a company spokesman. State and local health inspectors were at the plant, not to shut it down, but to “investigate the issue.”
This article was reprinted with permission in the Summer 2014 issue of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation.