Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Dangerous? | Chris Kresser
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Raw Milk Reality: Is Raw Milk Dangerous?

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Full Bottle of fresh milk and two glass is wooden table on a blue background

Back in February, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a study targeting raw milk as dangerous and unsafe for human consumption. The media jumped on it in typical fashion. You may have seen headlines like this:

“Raw Milk Causes Most Illnesses From Dairy, Study Finds.”
– USA Today

“CDC: Raw Milk Much More Likely to Cause Illness.”
– Food Safety News

“Raw Milk is a Raw Deal, CDC Says.”
– LiveScience

While two of these headlines are technically accurate – raw milk is responsible for more illnesses than pasteurized milk when the number of people who consume each is taken into account – the concern they convey about the risk of drinking unpasteurized milk is dramatically overstated.

I’m going to break this series into three parts. In this first article, we’re going to examine what the research really says about raw milk safety, and compare the risks associated with drinking unpasteurized milk with other foods and activities. In the second article, we’ll explore the benefits of drinking raw milk from several different perspectives: nutritional, health-related, social, environmental and ethical. Finally, in the third article I’ll make recommendations and provide guidance on finding a safe and responsible raw dairy producer in your area.

This series is called “Raw Milk Reality” because, as is the case with other hot button issues like vaccination and homebirth, propaganda and hype have overshadowed facts and common sense.  If you only saw the headlines from the CDC and FDA reports, you’d be left with the impression that raw milk is a dangerous food and anyone that consumes it or gives it to their children is reckless and irresponsible.

The purpose of this series is to present the other side of the argument, and give you the bare facts without bias or hyperbole so you can make an informed decision about whether unpasteurized milk is a good choice for you and your family.

I’m not here to convince anyone that they should drink raw milk.  That’s a decision each individual has to make on their own by weighing the potential risks against the potential benefits.  But to do that, you need an accurate understanding of the risks (which we’ll cover in this article) and the benefits (which we’ll cover in the next.)

Just how “dangerous” is raw milk? A little perspective…

Before we do that, however, let’s put the current discussion of unpasteurized milk safety into a wider context. Foodborne illness is a concern for many types of food. According to the most recent review of foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. in 2008 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), seafood, produce and poultry were associated with the most outbreaks. Produce is responsible for the greatest number of illnesses each year (2,062), with nearly twice as many illnesses as poultry (1,112). Dairy products are at the bottom of the list. They cause the fewest outbreaks and illnesses of all the major food categories – beef, eggs, poultry, produce and seafood.

According to the CDC, during the period from 1990 − 2006, there were 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year on average. Of those, 315 per year are from dairy products. This means dairy products account for about 1.3% of foodborne illnesses each year. That’s not exactly an alarming number, considering that more than 75% of the population consumes dairy products regularly.

It’s also important to note that the outbreaks and illnesses associated with dairy products are generally mild compared to other foods.
According to the CSPI report above, approximately 5,000 people are killed every year by foodborne illness. From 2009 − 2011, three high profile outbreaks involving peanuts, eggs and cantaloupe alone accounted for 2,729 illnesses and 39 deaths. (1) Yet there have only been a handful of deaths from pasteurized dairy products in the last decade, and there hasn’t been a single death attributed to raw fluid milk since the mid-1980s, in spite of the fact that almost 10 million people are now consuming it regularly.

The takeaway is that thousands of people are killed each year by foodborne illness, but they’re dying from eating fruits, nuts, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish – not from drinking unpasteurized milk.

Why the CDC report can’t be taken at face value

The CDC report claimed that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products.

According to senior author of the CDC study, Barbara Mahon:

When you consider that no more than 1% of the milk consumed in the United States is raw, it’s pretty startling to see that more of the outbreaks were caused by raw milk than pasteurized.

But can these claims be taken at face value? No.

There are several problems with the CDC report:

  • First and foremost, the CDC doesn’t include the dataset they used, so we can’t analyze how they reached their conclusions. Fortunately, the CDC data for foodborne illness, as well as data from other institutions and peer-reviewed studies, are readily available online.
  • There are about 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year. Yet by the CDC’s own admission, this represents only a tiny fraction of the true number of foodborne illnesses that occur. In 1999, CDC scientists used an estimate of the overall prevalence of diarrhea and vomiting to calculate the “true” incidence of foodborne illness as 76 million cases per year! Put another way, 99.97% of foodborne illnesses go unreported.
  • A food vehicle was identified in only 43% of the reported outbreaks and only half of these were linked to a single food ingredient. What this means is that the true prevalence of foodborne illness that can be attributed to a particular food is much higher than what is reported. It also means that the data linking specific outbreaks with specific foods is such a tiny sample of the total that even small errors or biases in the reporting of outbreaks would seriously skew the results.
  • To calculate the number of people that drink unpasteurized milk, the CDC used an older, lower estimate (1%) of the number of people that drink raw milk. This is curious because a FoodNet survey done by the CDC itself in 2007 found that 3% of the U.S. population – about 9.4 million people  – regularly consumes raw milk. That number is likely even higher today with the growing popularity of raw milk. (In 2010 alone, raw milk sales increased by 25% in California.) Why did they do this? If you’re a cynic, you might conclude that they used the lower estimate to exaggerate the risk of drinking raw milk.
  • They combined data from outbreaks and illnesses associated with “bathtub cheese” (i.e. Mexican-style Queso Fresco made illegally at home) made from raw milk, and raw fluid milk. Queso Fresco is inherently more dangerous than raw milk, and is associated with more serious outbreaks and illnesses. Again, this distorts the data and makes raw milk seem more dangerous than it really is. (Note: commercial, properly aged raw milk cheese has never been implicated in a disease outbreak.)

(For a more detailed analysis and critique of the CDC report, see this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation.)

In light of these weaknesses, I decided to conduct my own analysis using a more comprehensive data set including the CDC foodborne disease outbreak surveillance tables, an online outbreak database published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), public health reports such as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly (MMWR), a CDC line list produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to CDC by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), and peer-reviewed studies in the scientific literature (2,3,4).

I purposely excluded outbreaks associated with Queso Fresco cheeses, because we are concerned here with the safety of raw milk and not raw cheese made in a bathtub, which I would never eat and would never advise anyone else to eat. I chose to focus on the most recent data available, from 2000 – 2007, since unpasteurized milk consumption increased significantly over the last decade.

I also included two notable outbreaks in California that were missing from both the CDC and CSPI databases: a large outbreak of campylobacteriosis in 2006, involving over 1,644 illnesses among prison inmates that was linked to pasteurized milk produced by an on-site prison dairy and another campylobacteriosis outbreak in 2007, that caused 8 illnesses following consumption of commercial raw milk and/or raw colostrum. (5,6)

What does this more reliable, peer-reviewed dataset tell us about the safety of raw milk?

The chart below lists all outbreaks and illnesses associated with unpasteurized milk from 2000 − 2007. Click the link to display the chart.

Raw milk data

There were 37 outbreaks and 800 illnesses from unpasteurized milk during from 2000 − 2007, with an average of 100 illnesses per year. The estimated U.S. population as of today is approximately 313,500,000. Using the CDC’s own 2007 FoodNet Survey data indicating that 3% of the population consumes raw milk, we can estimate that approximately 9.4 million people drink unpasteurized milk (as I said above, the number is likely higher because of the explosive growth in the popularity of raw milk over the past 5 years, but 2007 is the latest reliable estimate we have).

This means you had a roughly 1 in 94,000 chance of becoming ill from drinking unpasteurized milk during that period.

Now let’s compare this to pasteurized milk, as the CDC did in their study. The chart below lists all outbreaks and illnesses associated with pasteurized milk from 2000 − 2007. Click the link to display the chart.

Pasteurized milk data

There were 8 outbreaks with 2,214 illnesses, with an average of 277 illnesses per year. According to the CDC FoodNet survey, 78.5% (246,097,500) of the U.S. population consumes pasteurized milk.

This means you had a roughly 1 in 888,000 chance of becoming ill from drinking pasteurized milk.

According to these data, it’s true that you have a higher chance of getting sick from drinking raw milk than pasteurized milk. But the risk is 9.4 times higher, not 150 times higher as the CDC claimed.

Perhaps this is a good time to review the difference between absolute and relative risk. When you hear that you have a roughly 9 times greater (relative) risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk than pasteurized milk, that might sound scary. And indeed it would be, if we were talking about the absolute risk moving from 5% to 45%.

But when the absolute risk is extremely small, as it is here, a relative 9-fold increase is rather insignificant. If you have a 0.00011 percent chance of getting sick from drinking pasteurized milk, and a 9.4 times greater risk of getting sick from drinking unpasteurized milk, we’re still talking about a miniscule risk of 0.00106% (one one-thousandth of a percent).

But to truly gauge the risk, we should ask how serious these illnesses are.

An “illness” in these data can mean everything from an upset stomach to mild diarrhea to hospitalization for serious disease.  One of the reasons most foodborne illnesses go unreported is that they are only a passing nuisance.

When is the last time you had a bout of diarrhea that you suspect was caused by something you ate?  Did you report it to your doctor or the county public health department?  Probably not.

The statistic we should be more concerned with is hospitalizations for serious illnesses such as kidney failure and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by unpasteurized milk.  This does happen, and children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable and more likely to experience a serious illness.  That said, hospitalizations from raw milk are extremely rare.  During the 2000 − 2007 period, there were 12 hospitalizations for illnesses associated with raw fluid milk. That’s an average of 1.5 per year. With approximately 9.4 million people drinking raw milk, that means you have about a 1 in 6 million chance of being hospitalized from drinking raw milk.

To put this in perspective, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, you have a roughly 1 in 8,000 chance of dying in a motor vehicle accident if you live in the U.S..  Therefore, you have a 750 times greater chance of dying in a car crash than becoming hospitalized from drinking raw milk.

The risk of dying in a plane crash (1 in 2,000,000) is orders of magnitude lower than dying in a car accident (1 in 8,000) – and yet most people who are afraid of flying don’t hesitate to get in their car. But as unlikely as dying in a plane crash is, it’s about 3 times more likely than becoming hospitalized (not dying) from drinking unpasteurized milk.

As I said earlier in the article, there has not been a single death attributed to drinking unpasteurized milk since the mid-1980s. There were 5 stillbirths attributed to an outbreak linked to bathtub-style Queso Fresco in 2000 in North Carolina. These were the only deaths during the 2000 − 2007 period I analyzed.

How does the risk of drinking raw milk compare to other foods?

Now let’s put some of these abstract numbers into perspective.

According to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly (MMWR), from 2006 − 2008 there were an average of 13 outbreaks and 291 illnesses per year associated with shellfish and mollusks. According to the CDC FoodNet Survey, about 5.7% of the population (17,869,500) consumes shellfish. This means you had a roughly 1 in 61,000 chance of becoming ill from eating shellfish. That’s about 1.5 times the risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk (1 in 94,000).

The risk is even greater – and more serious – if you eat raw oysters. 7.4% of people who eat oysters consume them raw (1,322,343). There are 15 deaths a year on average attributed to raw oyster consumption. This means you have about a 1 in 88,000 chance of dying from raw oysters. In other words, you have a greater chance of dying from eating raw oysters than you do of getting sick from drinking unpasteurized milk.

What about other more commonly eaten foods?  Check out the chart below, from the 2008 CSPI report. It shows the relative incidence of foodborne illness from 1999 – 2006, adjusted for consumption.

As you can see:

  • Seafood caused 29 times more illnesses than dairy
  • Poultry caused 15 times more illnesses than dairy
  • Eggs caused 13 times more illnesses than dairy
  • Beef caused 11 times more illnesses than dairy
  • Pork caused 8 times more illnesses than dairy
  • Produce caused 4 times more more illnesses than dairy
What this chart clearly shows is that when it comes to foodborne illness, dairy should be the least of your concerns.

I hope this helps you understand the true risk of drinking unpasteurized milk within the context of other risks most of us take on a daily basis without a second thought.  Of course, the next question that naturally arises is why someone might be willing to take any additional risk with raw milk – however miniscule it is on an absolute basis – when pasteurized milk is readily available.

In Raw Milk Reality: Benefits of Raw Milk, I’ll address that question by exploring the benefits of raw milk from a variety of perspectives.

597 Comments

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  1. I grew up on raw milk. I did not like it. I much rather drink the town milk (pasteurized) which I received at school lunches. I did not know what the difference was at the time. Also, I did not like the butter we made. We made a lot of Icecream in the summer. That was good. And our pigs got a lot of slop with the extra milk. I never remember getting sick. I would say no matter what you are getting, the source is most important. With our busy lives today many of us choose to relie on the government to ensure the safety of the foods we buy. I believe for the most part they do a good job. It is unfortunate that raw milk and organic foods are so expensive. It excludes many people from making that healthier choice.

  2. I think that your article has been something new ideas.After reading this article I learn more information.There are very important post that you make….

  3. I have been drinking raw cow or goat milk from 1970. All of my children were raised on it and half of my grand children are now being raised on it. Pasteurized milk is the most processed food on the planet and is not only worthless, but actually dangerous from a health aspect. If pasteurized milk were the only milk available, I would no longer drink milk. That is the short of it!

    • Absolutely. I’m totally amazed people are so blind to the pasteurisation scam. The PROCESS is designed to control the milk process for profits. The PROCESSED milk is garbage: cows usually have the growth hormone – puss in the milk – requiring antibiotics. It gets homogenised, totally de-natures the fat to sludge. Its kills the enzymes and good bacteria, the bacterias guts are exposed inside out and your body doesn’t recognise it. Cows usually Fed on GMOs – raw milk farmers are more responsible and grass feed. Cows are packed into tight spaces and get sick – antibiotics again. Its just goes on and on. LET PEOPLE HAVE THE CHOICE. You pasteurised drinkers, go ahead and drink your pre cancerous sludge in ignorance.

      • This is not true at all, I have Ph.D. in dairy science. Raw milk is the most dangerous kind milk you can drink. Farmers claim it has health benefits, but all I see in trials is horrible bacteria.

  4. Both my kids had problems with pastuerized/homogenized milk. One was lactose intolerant from a very young age, the other got bad diarrhea. Since we switched to raw milk, they have no problem. Also I used to get diarrhea with the other milk but raw milk is better and tastier.

  5. Chris, can you comment on whether or not the CDC’s reported number of outbreaks of illness attributed to raw milk consumption was skewed by including outbreaks in individuals who consumed raw milk from sources other than organic, raw milk dairies? Sources from which the milk should not be consumed raw (because of the way the cows were raised, fed etc, the milk now NEEDS to be pasteurized in order to be consumed safely)? In other words, are their results unfairly inflated by including ALL forms of raw milk outbreaks?

  6. If I may, while your data is a much better representation of the risks in drinking raw milk, it’s still more raw, linear data than real life information in a very significant way. You say we HAVE a 1 in 888,000 chance of becoming ill from it, but hold on a minute. There is no guarantee that those numbers will hold up going forward. Especially as numbers fluctuate with what people do. If we as a population drink more raw milk, producers will have to commercialize more or major companies will join in, most likely increasing our chances of illness once the practice becomes more about supply and demand. If the data does hold up, then how shall the prescribed number of illness be disseminated? What I’m saying is that if I’m drinking raw milk from the same farm, same cow as the person next to me and the owner isn’t that diligent about sanitation or a certain pathogen is more prevalent in that area, then my chances of becoming ill could be more than 50%. In reality I won’t get ill and someone clear on the other side of the country also draws the short straw, while the person next to me is fine. Were these few cases because of a bad batch? Bacterial disease is not really random.

    Data can only be taken with a grain of salt because it’s so linear. I’m of the opinion that for people who get their raw milk from a superior source have closer to a 1 in 1,000,000,000 chance of becoming sick due to pathogens.

    As I see it, it’s not the milk. The milk is great. If you’re blaming the milk, you’ve fingered the wrong culprit. It’s even only partly the pathogen. It didn’t get there by itself even as it’s not totally avoidable. But, it’s mostly what We do. The cleaner and more knowledgeable the source, the better the odds.

    • your logic is slightly flawed. risk is calculated as a %. If the number of ppl who consume raw milk increases, the instance of illness as a whole will increase but the % or chance of illness stays the same.

    • The bigger issue is that he threw in a single event for pasteurized milk that accounted for 67% of all pasteurized milk sicknesses. And they never actually found the bacteria in any of the samples of that milk.

      (this is in reference to the 2006 prison campylobacter issue)

  7. I grew up on raw milk – we never thought of it as “raw” as there was no alternative – straight from the cow is far more healthy as we all know – it was considered so vital that the Government supplied every child at school up to 12 years of age until the 1960’s , Every day, with 1/2 a pint of milk – fresh and cold and with an inch head of cream on top that tasted better than anything else. The antibodies and health benefits have carried us through life now in our 60’s and 70’s in good health. Keep in mind, your immune system takes 18 years to mature, raw milk protected us through those vital years.

  8. Years ago they said eggs were bad. Then shrimps were bad. Then they said butter was bad and margarine good. Later they said they were wrong. All these after doing these scientific studies. And the medical profession followed blindly. They have no credibility.

    The common sense still stands. Any natural food that has nutrition is good. Foreign chemicals that the liver does not know how to metabolize are bad. When they pasteurize milk, and homogenize it (for shelf life and more profits), it is bad. Period.

    • Raw milk here has been implicated in food poisoning issues. Although the bottler stated the milk was not suitable for human consumption the ill informed parents gave it to their children because it was “more natural”. As the milk was not produced for drinking the standard under which it was prepared was different to produce was different to that of milk for human consumption.
      As a generalised sweeping statement I would say unpastuerized milk is not suitable for human consumption.

      • Totally disagree – God made natural milk – the humans messed up like they did with sugar, margarine and gmo. Raw milk is delicious and perfectly fine. Those who work for dairy conglomerates want to increase profits by increasing shelf life – they are driven by greed

      • Some states require that labeling no matter how the raw milk is handled. The laws on rawilk is 10 times stricter than pasteurized. All of the illnesses I know of was actually due to improperly handled milk by the consumers.

      • so what do they expect people to do with a bottle of milk if they’re not going to drink it?
        I see the same rubbish on hemp oil – of course I drink it – the label says not for human consumption to appease the drug companies and out of date laws – heaven help us all if we start protecting ourselves from their drug alternatives.

  9. Why are you basing your entire article on whether raw causes more tummy upsets than non raw. What is really relevant is which of the following raw milk V non raw milk V no milk, live the longest and have less chronic diseases such as heart disease.

    • Isn’t this artificial more of a rebuttal? If you have any data on raw milk, longevity, and chronic diseases, other than asthma we’d all love to see it. We have plenty of credible testimonials on raw milk and chronic diseases but they are of no use in court or even in an argument.

      • we don’t need proof that raw is better – we can refer to everyone worldwide through thousands of years, before they killed the milk – that no one suffered, everyone benefited.
        Big Pharma has loaded the bases when it comes to information.
        if you click on a website ending in .org or .gov or cancer institute – do not expect truth.

  10. I didn’t read all 500 comments, but Mr. Kresser, you need to revise your article. Just on cursory inspection, your findings are quite misleading. The article is supposed to compare the danger of raw milk to other things. Instead you are comparing dangers of DAIRY IN GENERAL to other foods. Nobody was asking how dangerous it is to consume dairy. We wanted to know how dangerous raw milk is. If you are right that raw milk is about 9x more dangerous than pasteurized milk, then it is almost as dangerous as eating egg and meat products, and twice as likely to cause illness as raw produce. Still, that isn’t too bad, but when you make such a flagrant error like this I start to wonder about your other stats in here.

    • I’m confused by your comment. That chart shows that even taking _all_ the incidents of foodborne illness related to dairy, it’s a fraction of the illnesses from other types of food. And raw-milk-related incidents are a subset of all dairy-related incidents, so raw-milk-related incidents are an even smaller fraction of all foodborne illnesses.

      Above, he discussed that there are a greater total number of pasteurized-milk incidents per year, but a greater number of people drink it – so the likelihood of illness is lower. With raw milk, the likelihood _is_ higher … but it’s still only a 1 in 94,000 chance. And your chance of serious illness from it is seriously miniscule.

      (By the way: I have no skin in the game and am actually new to the issue. I’ve never actually had raw milk in my life. Just felt the need to chime in because your comment didn’t make sense to me. 🙂 )

      • Rachel, this is bad logic.

        If dairy in general is 4x less likely to make you ill than produce, but raw milk is 9x more dangerous than pasteurized milk, then raw milk is something like twice as dangerous as produce. In fact Mr. Kresser even states in the article that raw milk is close to being as dangerous as shellfish in terms of producing illness. So, assuming that raw milk is really only 9x more dangerous than pasteurized (not 150x as claimed by CDC), it is still not the safest food to eat. If it is somewhere between Kresser’s 9x and CDC’s 150x, then it could possibly be one of the most dangerous foods to eat, not taking into account the preparation of foods (i.e. whether you buy food and prep it yourself or you get it at a restaurant known for having health violations.)

        However, the risk is still pretty small relative to driving in a car, as Mr. Kresser rightly emphasizes. And the benefits of raw milk do seem to be profound enough from the studies I’ve seen and my own experience, that the small risk is worth it.

        I was just miffed at the way that Mr. Kresser misused statistics so blatantly. Just like you, most people would read that portion of the article and thing, wow, raw milk is super duper safe compared to other foods! That’s what I thought when I read it at first.

      • Just found more confusion also. At the top he says that produce caused more illness than poultry, but then in the chart produce is near the bottom in risk category. He doesn’t even address that but clearly it shows that all of his data sources are far from agreement with each other, which is more reason to be skeptical of his numbers–specifically his bald statement that raw milk is 9x more dangerous than pasteurized rather than 150x more dangerous as CDC claims.

        Also he claims there have been zero deaths from raw milk since 1980 but according to CDC there have been at least 2 deaths since 1996 from raw milk, and 1 from pasteurized…

        • The 2 deaths were associated with cheese not milk. Pasteurized milk has been associated with over 1000 deaths.

          • Ah ok, yeah that is probably the reason why the numbers are not matching up. CDC is very sly with numbers and probably even less trustworthy than the stats from Mr. Kresser, from what I’ve seen so far.

      • Also keep in mind that most cases of so called foodborne illness are never associated with any food and the ones that are can not be proven to be food related let alone proven to be caused by the food they are associated with. It’s no coincidence that most if not all official documents use the phrase “associated with” rather than “caused by”.

        • Yes, exactly my point. I saw an article by a Dr. on the Weston A Price foundation site regarding how safe raw milk is, and he was comparing associations between food and foodborne illness in general to actual lab-verified cases of raw milk related illness. Sorry I’m not linking to a source but if you wish I can dig it up.

          • A lab can verify the presents of a bacteria in a stool sample but that doesn’t indicate the cause of the illness or the source of the bacteria. These bacteria are everywhere, including our own gut. They usually don’t cause illness and food is the least likely source.

            • When they say confirmed cases linked to raw milk, I can only hope they are doing better than this stupid CDC Minnesota report.

              If you get 10 kids in the ER all with the same symptoms, and you find the main thing they have in common is that they are all getting raw milk from the same farm, and then you go test the milk at the farm and find it contaminated with the bacteria that is making these kids ill, that is pretty hard evidence that the raw milk is the culprit.

              Unfortunately, I don’t know if anyone has a database detailed enough to verify how good the evidence for causality is.

              NOW, here’s the *exciting* part. I finally figured out the reason that the CDC says raw milk (actually they say raw DAIRY, and Mr. Kresser seems to continually confuse milk and dairy, which is easy to do, but still shows lack of copy-editing & fact-checking) is 15x more dangerous than Mr. Kresser says it is.

              As Mr. Kresser notes, CDC is using a figure of 1% raw dairy consumption (measured by *pounds* of milk). Mr. Kresser uses the figure of 3% which is a newer figure but also is specific to raw MILK rather than raw DAIRY, and not measured by pounds but people. (There are actually a number of factors that suggest the percentage of pounds of raw milk to pasteurized milk consumed is far higher than 3%: A) probably a great deal more pasteurized milk is thrown in the trash than raw milk–I went to public school and I saw ALL the free-lunch pasteurized milk in the trash–perhaps lots of lactose intolerance–but basically pasteurized milk is cheap and ubiquitous and given out with abandon. B) A large portion of pasteurized milk is made into non-fluid dairy products, but I rarely ever see raw dairy sold even where they sell raw fluid milk around here. C) Pasteurized milk products are exported and given as aid to third world countries, etc. )

              But anyway, so let’s say 3% vs 1%. Now we have to explain another 5 fold difference in risk, because 5×3=~15 fold increase in risk. So where is the CDC getting this 5 fold increased risk? They are comparing OUTBREAKS, whereas Mr. Kresser is comparing ILLNESSES.

              Obviously, CAFO milk is far wider in distribution than small farm raw milk, so one outbreak of CAFO milk will cause an average of 200 illnesses, whereas 1 outbreak of raw small farm milk causes an average of 20 illnesses. That’s 10x less illnesses per outbreak for the small farm milk, as we might expect.

              Interestingly, according to the same table given by CDC, you will note that raw fluid milk illness is something like 8x more likely to cause hospitalization than pasteurized fluid milk illness.

              So now the question is, what do we want to know, really, when considering our risks? What is important to the individual consumer? If I am in the grocery store, am I wondering a) how likely I am to be part of an outbreak due to drinking this milk, or b) how likely I am to get sick from drinking this milk, or c) how likely I am to be hospitalized from drinking this milk?

              Personally, I’d wonder C. I get diarrhea frequently from god-knows-what sources, and it doesn’t bother me much (it’s usually mild, maybe not even really classifiably diarrhea), but anyway it certainly is nothing compared to being hospitalized (which I’ve never been from food)!

              But if I had to choose between wondering a and b, I’d wonder b–because getting ill is more important than “being part of an outbreak” in terms of personal significance.

              So Mr. Kresser is more correct than CDC on this point also. But CDC could have been more right than Mr. Kresser and even made raw milk look more dangerous had they gone with option C rather than option A (i.e. hospitalizations rather than outbreaks). I’m sure if anyone at CDC is reading this, they are banging their heads right now.

              But ultimately, even if I am, say, ~110x more likely to be hospitalized from drinking raw fluid milk than pasteurized fluid milk (adjusting for consumption numbers, assuming 3% raw milk consumption, so multiply the 71 hospitalizations over the studied period by 33, then divide by the 20 hospitalizations from pasteurized milk over that period), the absolute risk is still like 2 in 3 million that in any given year I’d be hospitalized from raw milk. (71 hospitalizations X 33 to normalize consumption, then divide by 13 years studied, then divide by total US population)

              What would be extremely interesting is to compare that risk, to the risk of being hospitalized due to *not* drinking raw milk and thus having a weaker immune system, not to mention the long-term implications of over-exposure to low levels of antibiotics in CAFO milk, which are almost astronomical/incalculable. And not to mention the deplorable conditions for the cows on CAFO farms. I’ll take this small absolute risk of hospitalization from raw milk any day when weighed against the benefits to me, the cows, the Earth, future generations, etc.

              And personally I must say that I am one of those folks who loves the taste of cow milk, but it really messes me up when I drink pasteurized milk. I get gas so bad all day long, nobody wants to be near me, and acid reflux as well.

              There is simply no liquid that quite satisfies me and quenches all desires at once like raw milk. I like to take small sips of it to savor the experience.

              I would love to work on a farm that produces raw milk in an ethical fashion, treating all the goats/cows & kids/calves humanely, if I could find such a place nearby to Philadelphia that wanted to hire someone like me with no experience and a toddler and so forth 😛

              • Here’s a little something I posted a while back: Recently the CDC blamed 2 Mexican producers of cucumbers for causing an outbreak of foodborne illness. When you go to their website you find out that they were really only talking about 73 cases of diarrhea over a 3 month period over the entire united states. Did you know there are nearly 300 million cases of diarrhea in this country over that length of time. Also notice 39 of the 73 people didn’t even eat their cucumbers. Can we really believe anything these people have to say regarding food safety? They didn’t test the cucumbers, 15 of the ill didn’t eat cucumbers, and 28 were never even interviewed. That’s epidemiology for you. http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/saintpaul-04-13/index.html

              • No, you don’t “get 10 kids in the ER all with the same symptoms”. You get 2, then you call all the farms customers and find 8 who had diarrhea in the last week and hang up. “then you go test the” floor “at the farm and find it contaminated with the bacteria that” was found in one of the children’s stool samples. There is no “hard evidence that” the diarrhea was even caused be the bacteria let alone food and certainty no evidence that fresh milk was “the culprit.”

                This is the sort of thing you can find if you do an internet search for press releases on fresh milk outbreaks.

              • The CDC continually confuse milk and dairy when talking to the public about raw milk safety. They even confuse raw milk with improperly pasteurized milk. This is certainly no accident. Just like confusing outbreaks and individual cases. Or saying 17% per 10 years rather than 1.7 per year. Oh, and the raw data is there. They do give the actual number of cases. I think they may even mention the multiplier they use.

                • It seems to me that you are the one who is confused about that 1.7% per year thing. You can’t compare apples with oranges…

                  And the raw data is not there. Only the table summarizing the raw data is there. Raw data would look like what exactly took place–who was this person here who supposedly got sick? What was the date and time of their presentation, etc.? Without such raw data we have to take CDC on their word about the summary figures. That’s why Mr. Kresser made up his own database from publicly available sources. And it seems he thought that by doing so he might get a clearer picture of reality. But I am pointing out that his dataset doesn’t seem to be saying much that is different from CDC’s dataset. It is his counting illnesses rather than outbreaks (or hospitalizations) which is shifting things in favor of raw milk (from 150x to 9x as dangerous).

          • I don’t know exactly what you mean but I noticed you used the phrase: “cases of raw milk related illness.” rather than “cases of illness caused by raw milk.” “Related” and “Associated” only mean the sick person may have consumed some raw milk within the ten days leading up to their diarrhea. The CDC would have never used these ambiguous words in their official written statements if they didn’t have to.

      • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Minnesota raw milk study shows that only 1.7% per year or 1 in 59 raw milk consumers acquire illnesses caused by enteric pathogens. While 15% per year or 1 in 6 Americans(97% of whom, don’t drink raw milk.) get sick from foodborne diseases. In other words: People who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do.

        • Hi Mike, thanks for your input.

          I looked at the CDC report you are speaking of and there is no mention of the figure 1.7% anywhere, so I’m guessing you calculated that yourself based on some other stats.

          If you can be more explicit about your sources and exactly how you are calculating things, maybe I could take a look.

          And I just want to mention, not sure if I did before, but I am fairly certain the benefits of raw milk do far outweigh the risks. I just don’t like it when people misuse statistics.

          • Did you see where the CDC report said 17% for the 10 year study? Isn’t that 1.7% per year?

            • Ah ok, yes, I do see where it says 17% of raw milk drinkers became ill over the course of the 10 year period.

              That does not translate to 1.7% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill per year, however. If that is what they meant to say, then they butchered it badly in a way that doesn’t serve their objective at all. If it were 1.7% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill per year over 10 years, they would not specify the number of Minnesotans who became ill. Instead it would be the number of illnesses. But even then it would be crude to assume that each raw milk drinker became ill one time per year, thus allowing you to divide 17% by 10 years to get 1.7% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill.

              In any case this is all based on a CDC “estimate,” which is probably more like a guesstimate.

              I am more interested in the hard data than estimates, since they vary so wildly.

              As you mentioned, this CDC report is complete trash, because of their method of assuming that someone must have gotten ill from raw milk if they had recently drank raw milk. It is hard to believe the researchers were truly that stupid to believe that they were making a scientific report here as opposed to pure propaganda that only ignorant journalists would buy. Unfortunately, most people do not understand science, especially journalists… with the exception of some specialty science journalists maybe.

              • You have written pages but didn’t comment on my point, which is much simpler and based on the same sort of CDC data as you are using. It shows that raw milk has a negative risk factor. “People who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do.” This is actually very close to my own real life experience. Before I switched to raw milk I was 15x more likely to get diarrhea. And I wasn’t lactose intolerant. Please tell me what you think of these links:

                What is epidemiology
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCK2mflwESM

                Statistical Follies and Epidemiology. William Matthew (“Matt”) Briggs, Ph.D.

                • Hi Mike,

                  I did respond to your point. You were miscalculating based on the assumption that 17% of raw milk drinkers getting ill over 10 years is the same as 1.7% of raw milk drinkers getting ill each year–the SAME folks getting ill each year and nobody else (which is not likely). Did you not read the top of my reply?

                  Anecdotally I can also report much better health after I switched to raw milk. And I don’t think it’s placebo because I didn’t even know what improved my health until I thought about what change I had made in diet in last few weeks. But anyway this concept of raw milk IMPROVING health is not even mentioned by people talking about the risks… which is hilarious, because in medicine it is always supposedly weighing risks vs benefits…

                  Anyway thanks for the vids, I watched both of them and they were both great, although I’m not sure I learned anything new, but at least it helped me to refresh my memory and pull things together holistically in my mind a bit regarding statistics. Another thing that wasn’t mentioned in that video is that over 1/3 of researchers report deliberate deception in order to get published (not just what Dr. Briggs said about confirmation bias)…

                  http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0005738

              • When I said raw data I meant the number of people with lab confirmed enteric infections. Epidemiologists and the public don’t have access to personal medical records. I agree the public should know the limitations of epidemiology. In reality epidemiology should be a tool for clinicians not salesman selling the latest snake oil to the unsuspecting public.

                17 per 10 is 17 over 10 is seventeen tenths or 1.7 isn’t it? Like 60 mph is 60miles over 1hour or 60 miles over 60minutes is one mile per minute. I agree comparing 17% per 10 years for raw milk consumers to 15% per year for the average American would be apples to oranges? That’s why I put the fraction in simplest terms. It’s just grade school math. If you still think I’m confused, could you be more specific.

                “The SAME folks getting ill each year and nobody else.”? !7% of the participants got sick during the 10 year study. Why can’t you convert that to a yearly average just like any other study.

                Hey, what happened to your reply button?

              • Besides when you are talk only about diarrhea yes, that’s 4x per yr but foodborne illness is only once every 6 yrs for the average American. And yes some Americans almost never get diarrhea. It’s an average.

                This is how I was able to come up with the relative risk. “People who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do.”

                Absolute versus relative risk – making sense of media stories
                http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2013/03/15/absolute-versus-relative-risk-making-sense-of-media-stories/

                • Hi Mike,

                  You are missing the units. In grade school math you learn that if you don’t use the units, you don’t know what you are saying.

                  We aren’t working with scalars. These are not just pure numbers without units. If they were, then sure, you could average it and such without any problem.

                  But look at the units and you will start to see that averaging over 10 years is creating a number of assumptions out of thin air (which I have already mentioned prior). And in addition you are comparing incomparable units. Minnesota raw milk drinkers is one unit (17% of which over 10 years got enteric pathogen illness according to the CDC guesstimate). Americans in general is another unit. So even if your math could work, you are still comparing incomparable units. And even if you are comparing what seems like comparable units, you don’t have access to the raw data, so you can’t control for all kinds of risk/benefit factors. For example, it is possible that most of these raw milk drinkers in Minnesota are ALSO getting local organic produce instead of stuff filled with pesticides that also lacks any of the local pathogens. Small amounts of the same type of pathogen (not to mention local probiotics which compete with those pathogens) can conceivably have a vaccine-like effect, and the lack of pesticides would conceivable boost immunity. And what about how frequently the raw milk drinkers eat out vs other people? Eating out is usually more dangerous than eating in, especially at lower-class restaurants. I would also want to know the level of education of the raw milk drinkers vs other folks. People with more education tend to have more understanding of risk avoidance.

                  And even if you had comparable units and the ability to control for various risk factors, you may still have conflicting study methodologies to look for. How was the 17% figure arrived at vs the 15% figure?

                  And even if you had all these things nailed down and comparable, you’d still be doing what you were warning me about in that video from Dr. Briggs, which is making predictions out of data that has already been gathered. When you have such pre-gathered data, there is always a way to find what you are looking for. The only way to do real science is to make a hypothesis and test it by taking samples longitudinally (as time goes on). And even then, you’d need multiple studies to validate a hypothesis to a high degree of certainty. Usually with different people doing the studies.

                  So if you want to criticize CDC for doing stats wrong, you can’t just go around using the same kind of bad methodology as them.

              • Hi Joel, Why is it, in all your many paragraphs referencing CDC data, do you not use the term “CDC guesstimate”. As soon as I try to use CDC data against itself the data becomes “CDC guesstimates”? Why do I need access to the raw data and you don’t? The CDC data we are both using is suppose to already be controlled for all kinds of risk/benefit factors. For example, Under reporting.

                • CDC data was not controlled for all kinds of risk-benefit factors from what I can see. Where did you see that? They did exclude people who travelled internationally, as well as people who were already listed as part of outbreaks (which btw makes this study fairly useless for discussing the risks of raw milk in general even in Minnesota, even if it weren’t based on horrible logic, because this study is really not about trying to say how risky raw milk is, if you read it. It’s about trying to dredge up more factors to include in later estimates of risk.)

                  A multiplier factor has nothing to do with risk-benefit controls, in fact the opposite. Risk-benefit controls help us to be more careful about our conclusions. Multipliers help us be more aggressive about our conclusions.

                  In my analysis (which you label as my “many paragraphs” I think), I was merely trying to understand how CDC and Mr. Kresser can differ so widely on the estimate of how dangerous raw milk is compared to pasteurized milk. And I was not looking at this Minnesota study for that analysis.

                  What you are doing is, first of all, using this trashy Minnesota study to base your stats off of, then comparing Minnesota trash stats with national stats, which are hopefully not based on such loose associations, and then using these comparisons to make new claims about the health benefits of raw milk which the data clearly do not support. That’s why I’m saying you are comparing apples and oranges. And in addition you are making other logical errors as I’ve already described in terms of the averaging thing.

              • You said, “But look at the units and you will start to see that averaging over 10 years is creating a number of assumptions out of thin air (which I have already mentioned prior).” “But even then it would be crude to assume that each raw milk drinker became ill one time per year” Who’s assuming that? My previous response was, first of all, “when you are talking only about diarrhea yes, that’s 4x per yr but foodborne illness is only once every 6 yrs for the average American.” And how am I not keeping up with the units? The units are illnesses and people. X amount of illness among Y amount of people.

                You said, “If it were 1.7% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill per year over 10 years, they would not specify the number of Minnesotans who became ill. Instead it would be the number of illnesses.” It is the number of illnesses. The number of illnesses among raw milk drinkers multiplied by an under reporting multiplier over the total population of Minnesota x 0.01.

                “the SAME folks getting ill each year and nobody else” Where is this coming from? Why would you make that assumption? The only possible incorrect assumption would be that the same number of people got sick each year. But since it is only an average we know that is not the case. What good are these studies if they can’t be compared?

                • >>“But even then it would be crude to assume that each raw milk drinker became ill one time per year”
                  >Who’s assuming that?

                  You are assuming that by saying that 1.7% of raw milk drinkers became ill each year. CDC is saying 17% of raw milk drinkers in Minnesota became ill over 10 years. That is not the same as saying that each year, 1.7% of raw milk drinkers became ill. Because what if each year, 17% of all raw milk drinkers became ill? That would still translate to 17% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill over a period of 10 years. So that’s the opposite end of the spectrum of assumption when trying to translate their stat to something that is (you hope) more meaningful for your own use.
                  ——

                  >”And how am I not keeping up with the units? The units are illnesses and people. X amount of illness among Y amount of people.”

                  No, the units are not X illnesses among Y people, not from what I can see in this Minnesota report. The units are case-patients… which is a bit vague. The report doesn’t specify whether a case-patient is for sure not the same person as another case-patient, but it does seem to imply that. If it merely said illnesses, then there would be no implication of actual unique persons being counted. This is why raw data is useful to have.

                  —–

                  To do some more meaningful comparison, you would have to compare the number of food-borne illnesses that raw milk drinkers in Minnesota get (which you can’t based on this study because it excludes outbreaks and illnesses not related to bacteria found in milk) to the number of food-borne illnesses among non-raw-milk-drinkers of Minnesota.

                  So let’s just drop all effort to make conclusions based on this silly Minnesota report. If you want to say that raw milk drinkers are 9x less likely to get a food-borne illness, then look at national data. I don’t know that any exists, though, specifically regarding raw milk drinkers, which is probably why you were excited to use this study to support your astounding stat.

                  You might be absolutely right that raw milk drinkers are something like 9x less likely to get food-borne illnesses, but you aren’t giving any hard evidence.

                • Oops, I meant to be more clear about this:

                  “Because what if each year, 17% of all raw milk drinkers became ill? That would still translate to 17% of raw milk drinkers becoming ill over a period of 10 years.”

                  I should have specified that it would still translate to 17% over 10 years if it was the same 17% becoming ill each year.

                  And I think I was also not making sense when I said what you were assuming. By saying 1.7% are becoming ill each year, you are assuming that it is a *different* 1.7% becoming ill each year. Because remember we are talking about raw milk drinkers as the unit.

                  I think I am becoming more mentally dyslexic and confused as I get older. I blame everything on Lyme disease… and pasteurized milk that I drank for so long. 🙂

                  Too bad you can’t edit your comments on here.

              • “So if you want to criticize CDC for doing stats wrong, you can’t just go around using the same kind of bad methodology as them.” If you want to champion the CDC for doing stats right and go around using the same kind of methodology as them then you can’t criticize others for doing the same. I am not using this data to justify raw milk consumption to you. You and I already know raw milk’s safety and benefit. It is for people still trying to make sense out of CDC press releases.

                The Minnesota study is just as reliable as any other CDC data. As long as you know what 17% per 10 years means. 17/100/10 = 17/10/1 = 17/10 = 1.7 This has nothing to do with the units. It is simply putting the answer in simplest terms. Remember “simplest terms”?

                When I compare the Minnesota data to US data the only assumption I am making is that Minnesota raw milk consumers are the same as other raw milk consumers. Do you really think any possible difference would explain a 9 fold negative absolute risk factor.

              • There is another way to simplify the raw milk question. If you do a search for how often the average American gets diarrhea, it will say the average American gets diarrhea 4 times a year, which is close to my pre-raw milk experience. If you’ve made the rounds of the popular anti-raw milk sites you will know that the CDC says: We should not drink raw milk because it could theoretically contain bacteria that could theoretically cause diarrhea in some people some of the time. So just try it. As a matter of fact try the raw milk diet. That’s a cup of raw milk every so many hours. Try it for 3 months. If you don’t get diarrhea, you know the CDC is wrong. If you see health benefits you know the raw milk consumers were right.

                Why don’t your recent posts have a reply button?

                • You said: “CDC says: We should not drink raw milk because it could theoretically contain bacteria that could theoretically cause diarrhea in some people some of the time. ”

                  Actually, what CDC is saying is that raw milk is much more dangerous than pasteurized milk in terms of, especially, hospitalizations. That’s what I was talking about in my “many paragraphs” where I figured out the discrepancy between CDC and Kresser in the 9x vs 150x more dangerous stat. In fact CDC was not stressing the hospitalization thing so much, altho they did mention it, but as I mentioned they were being stupid and talking about outbreaks rather than illnesses.

                  You said: “If you want to champion the CDC for doing stats right and go around using the same kind of methodology as them then you can’t criticize others for doing the same.”

                  Who’s championing CDC for doing stats right? When did I do that? Unlike you, I’m not making any statements that are outside of what the CDC is saying. I am simply trying to help people understand what it is that CDC *is* saying and why it seems to be so different (150x vs 9x as dangerous) from Mr. Kresser. I agree it seems they are pretty incompetent and/or malicious, so not to be trusted, at least on the raw milk issue and probably on more than that. So I wouldn’t use their stats to make a claim that raw milk prevents illness by 9x, even if their data did say that, which it doesn’t. If it did say that, then I would say, “CDC data states that raw milk actually makes you 9x less likely to become ill from food! How can they not have seen this?!” And in such fashion I am alerting people to where I am getting my stats and the fact that I am making an unorthodox interpretation so that they may look for themselves to determine if I’m right. If you would phrase yourself that way, it would strike me as more honest, even if you are wrong about your interpretation.

                  You said: “You and I already know raw milk’s safety and benefit. ”

                  Actually, I don’t know anything. I have my own experience to judge from, but I don’t know if the farm I get it from is extremely representative of farms across the country. It takes epidemiology to figure that kind of thing out. So, I can honestly say that I feel a lot healthier on raw milk and I don’t think it has yet proven dangerous for me (or my toddler son) in any way. That’s all I can say. I don’t know if it will be safe for the average person compared to pasteurized milk, and I don’t even think it is something that is a simple calculation based on any available data, since it is a risk/benefit weighing game. From what I’ve seen of the CDC epidemiology (which again is suspect), raw milk is a lot more likely to be dangerous (relative risk), but on the other hand it’s also a lot more health-promoting if it’s not dangerous (looking at absolute risk). Like riding a bike vs driving a car. Yes, riding a bike is far more dangerous per mile than driving a car. But the health benefits are profound, so you have to weigh the risks to the benefits. If your sense of balance isn’t as good as the average person, you may be better off driving a car. Epidemiology can’t tell us everything.

                  You said: “The Minnesota study is just as reliable as any other CDC data. ”

                  No, because the Minnesota study is not based on reported outbreaks. It is in fact, excluding those, and estimating what is left after excluding them using some highly questionable techniques (as you said, assuming that raw milk is the cause of the illness just because someone drank it recently and the bacteria could be present in milk).

                  You said: “As long as you know what 17% per 10 years means. 17/100/10 = 17/10/1 = 17/10 = 1.7 This has nothing to do with the units. It is simply putting the answer in simplest terms. Remember “simplest terms”?”

                  No, it has everything to do with the units, but I’m done arguing that point.

                  You said: “When I compare the Minnesota data to US data the only assumption I am making is that Minnesota raw milk consumers are the same as other raw milk consumers. Do you really think any possible difference would explain a 9 fold negative absolute risk factor.”

                  That’s not the only assumption you are making. You are also making the assumption that the non-raw-milk-drinkers of Minnesota are just as likely to get ill from food as non-raw-milk-drinkers in the whole U.S. Might these be valid assumptions? Perhaps. I don’t know. Many times we imagine things are obvious and then they aren’t. Like the sense of self as a causal agent, for example, when in fact everything simply happens due to conditions when you think about it.

                  Now here’s a very obvious assumption that I almost feel stupid to imagine you are making… you are saying that the average American gets diarrhea 4x per year. Is it the diarrhea itself that you are suggesting we are less likely to get (by 9x) if we drink raw milk? If so, where do you find the rate of diarrhea among raw milk drinkers? That wasn’t in this study at all, and I imagine it might not be in any study.

                  If you meant more serious illness, then 1/6 Americans per year getting a serious food-borne illness is not a stat the CDC puts out. If you look at their definition of illness for the 1/6 Americans stat, says: “an episode of acute gastroenteritis was defined as diarrhea (≥3 loose stools in 24 hours) or vomiting in the past month with both lasting >1 day or resulting in restricted daily activities. Persons with a chronic condition in which diarrhea or vomiting was a major symptom and persons with concurrent symptoms of cough or sore throat were excluded.”

                  So if it is even meaningful to compare Minnesotans with Americans in general (without telling people we are doing that), we have to compare the Minnesotans in this study who, remember, were actually hospitalized (1.7% per year according to your scalar math which I’ll go with for now), to the Americans who are actually hospitalized due to food-borne illness per year. CDC’s estimated number of hospitalizations for all Americans is 127,839 per year for food-borne illness . Divide by 300,000,000 and you get a rate of hospitalization of 40x less for the average american than for the Minnesota raw milk drinker (not including those involved in outbreaks even).

                  I don’t know what multiplier was used for the national estimate. They used a 10x multiplier in the 1999 national survey, and in the 2011 survey looks like a 20x multiplier . In the Minnesota survey they used a 40x multiplier.

                  Ok but there is an obvious problem with this approach, because the rate of hospitalization for the average Minnesotan based on the Minnesota study is itself 20-40x less than the national average. So there has to be something very different between the two methodologies.

                  Here’s another potentially much more sound way of talking about risk of hospitalization, though, which doesn’t cross various studies. Just based on the Minnesota study, we find that 3.7% of all the reported hospitalizations were from raw milk drinkers. 2.3% of Minnesotans reported drinking raw milk. So even if ALL illness is from raw milk if you are a raw milk drinker (haha!) then right there we see clearly that raw milk doesn’t make you much more likely to end up in the hospital, at least in Minnesota. Isn’t it amazing how vastly this contradicts other methods of analysis?

                  And to think that raw milk is this safe when, according to the Minnesota report: “Results of previous studies have shown that 30%–50% of dairy producers surveyed were unaware that their raw bulk tank milk could contain disease-causing microorganisms (24,25).” Wow, so even with basically no safety measures, raw milk is this safe?

                  Please check my methods, because I have now come to 2 separate and totally opposite conclusions–the latter of which seems to be based on much simpler math with less room for error.

                  P.S. I have no idea why my posts are missing the reply button!

              • My god Joel, not that stuff again. What does that have to do with anything? This study is really not about trying to say how risky raw milk is, which makes it perfect for comparing it to the national data which is also not tided to a particular food. Yes these were raw milk drinkers but the illness were not associated with raw milk. Case-patients were simply persons with laboratory-confirmed Enteritidis infection. It is highly unlikely that the same person would came into the hospital for diarrhea twice in their lifetime but if they did they’d be 2 Case-patients. Why would you think otherwise?

                My other 2 posts have not shown up yet so maybe I’ll recap.

                I am not using this data to justify raw milk consumption to you. You and I already know raw milk’s safety and benefit. It is for people still trying to make sense out of CDC press releases. Or maybe to just poke fun at the CDC. I’m not sure.

                The Minnesota study is just as reliable as any other CDC data. As long as you know what 17% per 10 years means. 17/100/10 = 17/10/1 = 17/10 = 1.7 This has nothing to do with the units. It is simply putting the answer in simplest terms.

                When I compare the Minnesota data to US data the only assumption I am making is that Minnesota raw milk consumers are the same as other raw milk consumers. Do you really think any possible difference would explain a 9 fold negative absolute risk factor. Didn’t you say you have less diarrhea now that you’ve switching to raw milk? That’s prevention. That’s a negative risk factor.

                Oh, by the way you were doing a good job with that 150x thing. I did one of those a while back, myself. I was able to get it down to 0.7x. In the Minnesota study they couldn’t use “people who were already listed as part of outbreaks” do to “conflicting study methodologies”. The illnesses they included were never associated with raw milk. Most of the illnesses excluded were never tested for interact infection. And what difference does it make if it is the same person or not?

                If you do a search for how often the average American gets diarrhea, it will say the average American gets diarrhea 4 times a year, which is close to my pre-raw milk experience. If you’ve made the rounds of the popular anti-raw milk sites you will know that the CDC says: We should not drink raw milk because it could theoretically contain bacteria that could theoretically cause diarrhea in some people some of the time. So just try it. As a matter of fact try the raw milk diet. That’s a cup of raw milk every so many hours. Try it for 3 months. If you don’t get diarrhea, you know the CDC is wrong. If you see health benefits you know the raw milk consumers were right.

                It is silly for us to use epidemiology when we can use empirical science. I will concede that theoretically epidemiology could serve a useful function but I truly believe that from it’s very inception it was intended to be a tool of disinformation.

                You don’t think it’s hilarious that they’re convicted by their own data? The CDC is not in the health food business. They will never do the kind of research you are talking about. Besides they already know the truth about raw milk. That is why they are so good at avoiding it.

                • Hmm, my last (long) reply was not posted yet, but anyway right to the point… The Minnesota study shows that in a state with 2.3% identifying as raw milk drinkers, 3.7% of those hospitalized in the study were raw milk drinkers. Of those 3.7%, 50% had close contact with farm animals, which is a likely vector for contamination with bacteria that can later be put in the mouth if hands are not thoroughly washed.

                  So it doesn’t appear likely that raw milk is so awfully dangerous compared to other risk factors for enteric pathogens. Nor does it appear to offer a great deal of protection from food poisoning in general. Just judging from that study.

              • Why is it so hard for you to accept that the CDC has been convicted by it’s own data?

                It is highly unlikely that the same person would come into the hospital for diarrhea twice in their lifetime but if they did they’d be 2 Case-patients. Why would you think otherwise? Yes they’d be the same patient but it would be their second case. 2 x 1 x 1 = 2 Two trips to the hospital, times one case of diarrhea each, times one patient, equals 2 Case-patients.

                Haven’t you ever heard of heating degree days? It works the same way. “To calculate HDD, take the average of a day’s high and low temperatures and subtract from 65. For example, if the day’s average temperature is 50o F, its HDD is 15. If every day in a 30-day month had an average temperature of 50o F, the month’s HDD value would be (15 x 30) or 450. The nominal settlement value for this month’s weather derivative contract would therefore be (450 x $20) or $9,000.”

                Didn’t you say you have less diarrhea now that you’ve switching to raw milk? That’s prevention. In other words, a negative absolute risk factor. The data you are using suggests a positive risk factor because it is based on the assumption of the attending physician, that raw milk is the most likely cause.

                The Minnesota study shows the Enteritidis risk of not drinking raw milk. It doesn’t matter what caused the Enteritidis as long as you know fresh milk consumers have it less often.

                Epidemiology is only as good as it’s input data and is useless without empirical science. Just as correlation is meaningless without a mechanism.

                • Holy wow, we just posted at the exact same moment? Or yours was queued until mine or something.

                  Well in my long reply to you that wasn’t posted (you can email me if you want it, since I don’t know if I should try posting it again), I decided to avoid this unit question since I thought we had discussed it enough, and it is probably the most trivial and technical/pedantic part of my criticism of your idea that raw milk makes people 9x less likely to get enteritis.

                  If this were a class in statistics or probability, the teacher might call you out on this type of thing. But I’m willing to let you make the assumption that 17% of raw milk drinkers getting ill over 10 years is equal to 1.7% of raw milk drinkers getting ill on average each year, even tho it is not necessarily true (people do often get the same illness repeatedly if they are prone to it due to genetics or lifestyle). In math terms, you are assuming “probability without replacement”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKTjh-6PFjo

              • I thought I knew why they excluded the patients linked to a recognized outbreak but on second look, I have to say, I have no idea why. This reminds me of what the did with the raw milk lactose intolerance study. Well OK if you add them back in you get 5.6% per year. So, people who don’t drink raw milk are only 3 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do.

                Raw Milk Consumption among Patients with Non–Outbreak-related Enteric Infections, Minnesota, USA, 2001–2010 by Trisha J. Robinson, Joni M. Scheftel, and Kirk E. Smith
                http://www.foodsafetynews.com/files/2013/12/MDH-rawmilk-final.pdf

                • They excluded them because the point of this paper was to figure out how many people are getting illnesses from raw milk (they assume) that are not currently being counted due to not being part of outbreaks.

                  Can you describe your reasoning for saying that the stats in this paper show non-raw-milk-drinkers are 3x more likely to get enteritis? I don’t understand.

              • Most people that drink raw milk don’t drink enough. But 5.6% per year is still only once every 18 years. Try converting “1.7% per year” to “per 10 years”. What do you get? Case-patients are the same as degree days. Cases x Patients.

                • I still don’t see any math for how you are calculating that raw milk drinkers are 3x less likely to get enteritis. Can you give a run-down of how I can do your calculation and get your result? From the study it seemed the opposite–raw milk drinkers a bit more likely to get enteritis.

              • I agree the Minnesota study is: “about trying to dredge up more factors to include in later estimates of risk.)” Or create dozens of meaningless sound bites.

                You were right. I was comparing apples and oranges. As in “A case-patient was defined as a Minnesota resident who had a domestically acquired, laboratory-confirmed Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, STEC O157, non-O157 STEC, or Salmonella” vs US “foodborne illnesses”.

                You were on the right track. There are only two important pieces of data.

                “AFTER EXCLUSIONS, a total of 14,339 cases remained. Among the 14,339 patients, 530 (3.7%) reported consumption of (FLUID?) raw milk during their exposure period” But you should use:

                BEFORE EXCLUSIONS, there were 20,034 cases. Among the 20,034 patients, 551 (2.75%) reported consumption of fluid raw milk during their exposure period. “Minnesotans who reported consuming raw milk (2.3%)”

                And: “Of the 530 case-patients who consumed raw milk, … almost half either obtained it from their own dairy farm (91 consumers, 24%) or from a relative’s dairy farm (90 consumers, 24%).” “Among 464 case-patients with known information, 232 (50%) also reported contact with cattle or their environment during the exposure period; 68% of these exposures occurred in persons living or working on a farm or visiting a family member’s farm.”

                These bacteria are probably part of their normal gut flora and probably had nothing to do with their diarrhea. Don’t they say farmers are probably immune to raw milk bacteria?

                “The point of this paper was to figure out how many people are getting illnesses from raw milk (they assume) that are not currently being counted due to not being part of outbreaks.” No. That is not their stated purpose or stated result. It is what the title states. But why would you then put your results in % per 10yrs?

                I used the 1244 to get my 3x even though I probably should have used the 21.

                “Among these cases, 6,695 were excluded for the following reasons; … the patient was linked to a recognized outbreak (1,244 cases)(Associated with what?)…. Of the excluded outbreak cases, (only) 21 occurred during 5 recognized outbreaks associated with raw milk” “Among the 14,339 patients, 530 (3.7%) reported consumption of fluid raw milk during their exposure period” 9/(1,244 + 530)/530

                Notice they don’t say all the 1,244 outbreak cases were related to raw milk, only 21 of them.

                • You say: “I used the 1244 to get my 3x even though I probably should have used the 21.”

                  Ok let’s use 21 yeah that makes more sense.

                  You quote: “Among these cases, 6,695 were excluded for the following reasons; … the patient was linked to a recognized outbreak (1,244 cases)(Associated with what?)…. Of the excluded outbreak cases, (only) 21 occurred during 5 recognized outbreaks associated with raw milk” “Among the 14,339 patients, 530 (3.7%) reported consumption of fluid raw milk during their exposure period”

                  Your math: “9/(1,244 + 530)/530
                  Notice they don’t say all the 1,244 outbreak cases were related to raw milk, only 21 of them.”


                  Ok so I don’t see where you are getting the 9 from (9 years? if so then that would be divided the other way if at all), or why you are dividing it all over 530. The result of your math gives: 9.57e-6… which is a very tiny number. Not sure what that is representing tho.

                  I’d say it would be (21 excluded raw milk outbreak illnesses + 530 counted raw milk illnesses) / (1244 excluded outbreak illnesses + 14339 included illnesses) = 3.5% raw milk drinkers without excluding any outbreak cases. Vs. the 2.3% of total Minnesotans drinking raw milk.

                  So in any case it looks like there is no evidence that raw milk is protecting people from enteritis, nor is it obviously causing much enteritis (given the greater risk factor of direct farm animal contact), which is incredibly amazing considering how half the farmers don’t seem to understand about cleaning their tanks.

                  Are we in agreement now?

                  But even if raw milk is 110x the risk of pasteurized milk (based on CDC national stats of hospitalization), we would only expect to see about double the rate of hospitalization in absolute numbers, for raw milk drinkers, since pasteurized milk is so low-risk in comparison to other food. With these small absolute increases in hospitalization rate, it is very difficult, as mentioned, to have a good idea of the cause.

                  But what interests me is not necessarily whether raw milk protects from enteritis, but what about protection from GERD? I had a ton of GERD before I quit pasteurized milk. And when you have GERD it can become self-reinforcing and chronic, requiring acid blockers which have really nasty long-term side effects due to preventing proper food digestion and vitamin uptake. And what about protection from allergies & asthma? That is well-documented already with raw milk.

              • I don’t have time tonight to answer all your questions but I felt I must share a light bulb moment. I just figured out why they picked these particular bacteria for this study. These bacteria are most often associated with raw milk only because they are the bacteria most often associated with farmers and farmers make up the majority of raw milk consumers. These bacteria are just as often found in the stool of healthy people. Norovirus is the most common pathogen associated with so called foodborne illness but norovirus is most often associated with city slicers. Bacteria – Definition – ubiquitous one-celled organisms, spherical, spiral, or rod-shaped. Ubiquitous – Definition – present, appearing, or found everywhere. Are you familiar with the human microbiome? Farmers simply have different normal flora. This is the scenario we should be researching. Got to check on my kids right now. I’ll be right back.

                • Hmm, interesting point.

                  Of course, the case-patients weren’t in the hospital for no reason, but nor can we be sure they were in the hospital due to infection with the specific bacteria found in their stool.

                  I’d like to see if there are any stats more generally about hospital visits per year for raw milk drinkers vs non-raw-milk-drinkers. But then again, you’d have to somehow exclude all the folks drinking raw milk in order to try to overcome some kind of pre-existing chronic ill health.

              • I haven’t yet found the website I was quoting but these quotes can start you in the right direction.

                Check out these tables. “CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.” “Table 1. Estimated annual number of domestically acquired, foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to 31 pathogens and unspecified agents transmitted through food, United States” and “Table 2. Top five pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses ” and “Table 3. Top five pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses resulting in hospitalization” http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html

                Remember what I said about norovirus? “Unspecified agents 38.4 million or 80%” and “Norovirus 5,461,731 or 58%”

                Identifying personal microbiomes using metagenomic codes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25964341

                “Normal individuals are quite resistant to Salmonella, and a large oral inoculum is required to initiate infection. If the intestinal flora is suppressed by antibiotics, however, the individual becomes much more susceptible and can be infected by a relatively small inoculum.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7670/

                “Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Typically, people with salmonella infection have no symptoms.” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/basics/definition/con-20029017

              • This never posted so I’m re-posting without the links. I haven’t yet found the website I was quoting but these quotes can start you in the right direction.

                Check out these tables. “CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.” “Table 1. Estimated annual number of domestically acquired, foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to 31 pathogens and unspecified agents transmitted through food, United States” and “Table 2. Top five pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses ” and “Table 3. Top five pathogens contributing to domestically acquired foodborne illnesses resulting in hospitalization” Remember what I said about norovirus? “Unspecified agents 38.4 million Americans or 80%” and “Norovirus 5,461,731 Americans or 58%” Why unspecified? Do most doctors chose not to test unless the hear the words “raw milk”? Search “CDC Estimates of Foodborne Illness in the United States”

                Abstract – Community composition within the human microbiome varies across individuals, but it remains unknown if this variation is sufficient to uniquely identify individuals within large populations or stable enough to identify them over time. Our approach defined body site-specific metagenomic codes: sets of microbial taxa or genes prioritized to uniquely and stably identify individuals. Codes capturing strain variation in clade-specific marker genes were able to distinguish among 100s of individuals at an initial sampling time point. Codes based on the gut microbiome were exceptionally stable and pinpointed >80% of individuals. The failure of a code to match its owner at a later time point was largely explained by the loss of specific microbial strains (at current limits of detection) and was only weakly associated with the length of the sampling interval. This work demonstrates the feasibility of microbiome-based identifiability-a result with important ethical implications for microbiome study design. The datasets and code used in this work are available for download from huttenhower sph harvard edu/idability. Search “Identifying personal microbiomes using metagenomic codes.”

                “Normal individuals are quite resistant to Salmonella, and a large oral inoculum is required to initiate infection. If the intestinal flora is suppressed by antibiotics, however, the individual becomes much more susceptible and can be infected by a relatively small inoculum.”

                “Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through feces. Typically, people with salmonella infection have no symptoms.”

              • The reason my calculations were off is that these 4 bacteria only account for less than 20% of all foodborne illness. This is one of the reasons your 2.3% vs 3.7% and hospitalization numbers are meaningless. Also how many fresh milk consumers are there really? I wouldn’t tell the government I consume raw milk if they handed me a questionnaire and if most fresh milk consumers are farmers and farmers are only 2% of the population, their cross-sectional study would miss most fresh milk consumers. Wouldn’t it? Oh, and did you know, in 1985, there were over 16,000 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection that were traced back to pasteurized milk from a single dairy. Major outbreaks can completely obliterate these kind of numbers. You never said whether you ever figured out the definition of “case-patent”.

                • All good points, Mike. Still not sure exactly what a case-patient is–seems to have not been completely defined in the study.

              • Then why wouldn’t you assume that they were just that? “Case-Patents” You know, like “seat-miles” or “heating degree days”. They said they found only one patent with 2 cases. “STEC O157 at 1 year of age and Salmonella 1 year later” One patent times times two cases equals 2 Case-Patents. These are your units. I know. You said you didn’t want to talk about that any more but I’m just sayn. Sometimes I think you like to through in a little balderdash just to though a person off.

                • If I had went back and looked at my previous post, I’m sure I would have made this one. Sorry Joel.

                • Correction: If I had went back and looked at my previous post, I’m sure I would not have made this one. Sorry Joel. Aaaaah!

  11. I have A2/A2 Jersey cows. Before I drink any milk from my cow I send a sample off to the ANIMART lab for testing for 17 pathogens. When my milk test results come back clean for all these bacterial possibilities, I drink it. It also is mandatory to sterilize all your equipment after each use, sanitize the user well and use a test dip for avoidance of possible mastitis. With EVERY pregnancy from same cow…it is important to test the milk. I also gave up attempting hand milking so I can milk faster and get the milk into cooler faster at 35 degrees. I never air expose my milk, but let it go into tube into stainless container immediately so no dust, soil or air dust affect milk. In fact, I just drank a fresh glass of chilled raw milk 10 minutes ago. A2A2 milk is very healthy for you.

    • Linda, I have a 5 yr old son that has autism, and I have been looking everywhere for raw organic a2a2 milk that has sanitary standards like yours. It means so much to me to make a switch for my son but so far I can’t find a single farm in tn where I can get a2a2 milk. Are you anywhere near us or do you have any advice on where I can go? I’ve even considered and tried to buy a cow so my son could have this milk, however nobody I’ve contacted seems to want to part with any a2a2 cows,because they are building their herds.

  12. I really want to include raw milk in my diet.

    However, I believe I got a parasite from incorporating raw Parmesan cheese in my diet. I do blood smears every 3 months due to picking up a few Lyme-like infections a few years back and I keep a journal of every change I make in my diet and lifestyle habits. The two things I did differently that got me from parasite-free to parasite-infested were adding raw cheese and pork. I took both of them out and the infection went away (after taking antimicrobials for a short period).

    That said, I am still interested in raw milk. But I would want to know where it’s coming from. Would be cool to have your own happy cows.

    • You’re aware pork can have much more parasites than any dairy, right? I’m not even sure how common is it for parasites to get into cheese, as I never heard of it when researching parasites.

  13. I’m getting sick and tired of hearing all the misinformation about raw milk that keeps showing up here. Having drunk raw milk for better than 10 years, and having read the literature, I know better than to believe all the imagined dangers. The dangers began years ago when cows were brought in to the city and poorly cared for, and now I wouldn’t touch CAFO milk with a 10 ft pole. But properly cared for pastured cows are an entirely different matter!

    • I like to point out to fellow raw milk aficionados that most milk in the US still comes from small farms and that there is no reason to believe that even the worst swill milk is or ever was as bad as the pasteurized milk we now see in our supermarkets. Certainly raw grass fed A2 milk is healthier but there is no reason to think that raw CAFO milk is not still a super-food. If you look at the history of pasteurization you will find that it was first done by the industry in secret because they knew consumers wouldn’t go for it. The health problems associated with pasteurization showed up almost immediately in the form of rickets, osteoporosis and the like. Pasteurization was then and still is today pushed by the medical industry. This industry knew then and most likely still knows today that pasteurization destroys raw milk as a health-food. The $4 trillion a year pharmaceutical industries is by far raw milk’s most powerful competitor. At $4 trillion a year doesn’t that make it the single most powerful industry(aside from the Federal Reserve) in the US and probably the world.

    • As an RN in the Pediatric ICU,  my experience with raw milk is significantly different than the average person.  In my 18 years and in two states we have had a number of raw milk related illnesses. All of these children were infected with E.coli and several went on to develop hemolytic uremic syndrome.  Of those I’ve seen kidney failure,  cerebral edema and devastating stroke.

      The sources of illness in all cases were definitively traced to family dairies that sold raw milk. In each case the farmers were GOOD PEOPLE with the absolute best intentions.  They faithfully utilized best practices and cared for their herds in pristine fashion.  The problem is that these organisms are endemic in this environment. It cannot be helped or prevented. They are not the same pathogens that existed when our parents and grandparents farmed.

      Food borne illness can be prevented. We don’t question temperature recommendations for beef. So why not for dairy….the source of which is the same. Recommending raw milk for infants and children is akin to suggesting undercooked chicken holds a small chance of illness. It’s easy to detached from the realities when not watching these kids literally fight for their lives.

      • i don’t like to use modern statistical arguments but you know sir that you have seen only the sick ones in your life and in order to have an idea you have to have the whole picture? if you’re working with sick people all you see are sick people and if you’re working with healthy people all you see are healthy people? you know that there the same illness can be caused by different causes? you know of course that pasteurised and omogenized milk most surely is responsible for a lot of illnesses that will at some point reach your hospital and in your mind you will not associate that with many many other people fighting for their lives you will just say that’s bad luck because you had bad genetics? no of course no. “”you only see what your eyes want to see”” faimous madonna quote. i am subjective the same as everyone else but my subjectivity is far more realistic than yours.

      • “The sources of illness in all cases were definitively traced to family dairies that sold raw milk.” No way!!! Not possible and you know it!!!

      • Most cases of so called foodborne illness are never associated with any food and the ones that are can not be proven to be food related let alone proven to be caused by the food they are associated with. It’s no coincidence that most if not all official documents use the phrase “associated with” rather than “caused by”.

        • I take it you’ve never taken a science class… Your responses are emotionally backed, not science backed. Your understanding of food borne illnesses is far from the truth and I hope that one day you are able to clear out your contact lenses and understand the facts of the matter.

        • Caveat Emptor [ Let the buyer beware.] A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are subject to all defects.

  14. Our whole family in Malaysia drink raw milk from the time we were young. The milkman would come to our house everyday and deliver it and it taste wonderful. As we grew older, we switched to pasteurized milk as we heard a lot of health concerns and sanitary issues concerning the raw milk. Now I am an adult and earning my own money, i found the milkman and have got him to send to my house every two days. We boil our milk and dont drink straight from it though. And the taste is just wonderful.

    • Katherine, you have been tricked by the pharmaceutical industry. In the US people that know the value of raw milk are willing to pay 10 times as much for it. Boiling your milk is a crime. If you were raised on raw milk you know there is no danger. The malnutritionists claim only that raw milk can cause diarrhea in so people some of the time when the truth is in the US, children, the elderly, and pregnant women who drink pasteurized milk get diarrhea 4 times a year and 60% of the adults get diarrhea every time they consume pasteurized dairy products of any kind. Americans who drink raw milk hardly ever get diarrhea.

    • Gerry, it’s interesting you used the word “why”. I assume you meant to say “how”. No one is being accused of murder. This is all your article says:

      “Dr Lester said raw milk COULD contain dangerous bacteria and parasites…” Not DID.

      “She said each batch had passed quality audits, and that ongoing testing by authorities had so far cleared it for e-coli, salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter.”

      “The death is being investigated by the coroner.”

      No how.

    • Save your breath Gerry. Rawmike’s image says volumes, but his arguments are the clincher. Why not include more from the article, like this:

      “The three-year-old child who died developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome, a rare bacterial illness that leads to kidney failure. The death is being investigated by the coroner.

      The other four children aged between one and five became seriously ill in recent weeks following infections linked to the milk, but have since recovered. Three of the children had haemolytic uraemic syndrome and two others had cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic infection that commonly presents as gastroenteritis with watery diarrhoea.

      Dr Lester said raw milk could contain dangerous bacteria and parasites and posed a heightened risk for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying health problems.”

      So it’s deluded rawmike versus an Australian physician and the country’s health authorities. Young mothers you know which one to believe…

      • Charles, Dr Lester never said the death was caused by raw milk. I quoted your very same quotes to make my point. So where’s the “versus”? This child certainly didn’t live and die in a bubble consuming only raw milk.

      • I see what you mean about saving my breath. It’s really sad the way this guy leads people astray. A dangerous man.

        • So you’re speechless Gary? I see what you mean about saving my breath. It’s really sad the way you guys lead people astray. Dangerous men.

        • Gary, Regardless of what ever caused the child’s diarrhea in the first place. It was the child’s care at home that made it persist and the hospitalization that caused it’s death. No child today in America should die from diarrhea.

        • The world is full of stupid and persistent RawMikes Gerry. When you offer them the facts they demand, they completely ignore them and then makes things up from the same evidence. Look at what he says about the child and diarrhea–blames the hospital and the parents yet doesn’t have a clue of what really happened. Just like those clowns who go on and on about events like Ferguson, MO while only the grand jury had the facts. Did you see anything in the story about child or hospital neglect Gerry? I didn’t.

          To do something so flagrantly dangerous to children because he thinks he sounds clever reminds me of the people of Westboro Baptist Church. I long ago quit on him. But don’t let guys like this stand in the way of what’s right Gerry. To try and help parents get the facts about the dangers of raw milk to their children is a noble and good effort, so hang tough. By now there are tons of useful links within this discussion–a tribute to the author of the piece. I have complete trust that unlike people such as rawmike, the vast majority of them love their children enough they will go the extra step to break from philosophical idealism to learn what’s safe to put in their children’s bodies.

        • The world is full of evil trolls Gerry. When you offer them the facts they demand, they completely ignore them and change the subject. Using their own data against them is unique to rawmilkmike. Did you see anything in the story about child or hospital Gerry? I didn’t. So how do you know what caused the child’s death? You don’t have a clue of what really happened. Just like those reporter clowns in the press going on and on about events like Ferguson, MO without any facts. Like white people in masks breaking windows and outside provocateurs throwing bricks and smoke bombs at police without being arrested. The only people arrested in Ferguson were journalists and a handful of out of state looter.

          To deny children healthy food because he thinks he sounds clever reminds me of the people of Westboro Baptist Church. I long ago quit on him. But don’t let guys like this stand in the way of what’s right Gerry. To try and help parents get the facts about the dangers of feeding pasteurized milk to their children is a noble and good effort, so take another look at the data or lack there of. By now there are tons of useful links within this discussion–a tribute to the author of the piece. I have complete trust that unlike people such as Charles Hooper, some of them love their children enough they will go the extra step to break from philosophical idealism to learn what’s safe to put in their children’s bodies.

          • Thought I’d chime in with a slice of reality.

            My opinion: Drinking raw milk exposes you to a completely unnecessary danger.

            My opinion: It is a personal choice to drink raw milk, however, given the increased risk to die for a slight increase in vitamins: the risk/benefit doesn’t weigh up.

            My opinion is based on some simple facts.

            Pasteurized milk is heated for a short time, hot enough to kill potentially deadly bacteria. Google it as I did: this is a simple fact.

            Pasteurization only slightly decreases some minerals found in milk. Note it does this slightly. I found this reference on this very site that validates this information:

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0308814694900507

            Quick summary of facts (not my opinion):

            Drinking unpasteurized milk significantly increases your chances of becoming very ill for a slight increase in already minimal mineral quantities.

            A human diet does not rely on milk to get the affected minerals into your diet. Raw milk doesn’t contain enough of them to start with.

            You may find that unpasteurized milk tastes better.

            You are 13 times more likely to be hospitalized by raw milk.

            • CommonSenseBen, it sometimes takes more than just common sense. The reality is there are millions of Americans who have switched to raw milk and they KNOW raw milk’s safety and benefit from their own personal experience. They don’t have to rely on speculation from organizations with a clear conflict of interest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Minnesota raw milk study shows that only 1.7% per year or 1 in 59 raw milk consumers acquire illnesses caused by enteric pathogens. While 15% per year or 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne diseases. In other words: People who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do. Kids who drink raw milk have less asthma, allergies | Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/us-kids-raw-milk-idUSTRE78C75O20110913
              If raw milk were sold in supermarkets it would be a personal choice to drink it, however it is not sold in supermarkets, so it is not a personal choice for most Americans. Pasteurization only slightly decreases some nutrients found on the label of a carton of milk. The CDC has never documented a death from raw drinking milk. Ben, you are quoting statements not facts. Pasteurized milk is heated for a short time, hot enough to destroy enzymes that oxidized milk fat after homogenization. Pasteurization is not sterilization. Your so called foodborne pathogens are everywhere. They are in us on us and on everything we touch. Raw milk is the least likely place to look for them. These bacteria are said to cause diarrhea in some people some of the time. Google that. Raw milk can be a complete human diet. Unpasteurized milk is seasonal and only occasionally tastes better. Sometimes it tastes worse. Your hospitalizations are associated with raw milk. They are not caused by raw milk. Don’t try and read in things that aren’t there. Milk is not just minerals. http://agroindustriindonesia.blogspot.com/2010/09/milk-food-source-for-humans-1.html

              • Your statistical analysis is hilarious! You compare two statistics assuming they’re mutually exclusive: your assumption is wrong.

                After all your pandering and misdirection; the fact remains that you are 13 times more likely to be hospitalized by raw milk.

                Even without knowing the facts, nobody is going to live on milk, not if they want to live healthily. Milk is a small part of anybody’s diet, and isn’t worth the risk to drink it with all the potentially harmful microorganisms that go with it.

                It is madness to condone drinking raw milk.

                That said, if you believe the twin towers was a government conspiracy; if you believe that cansema works, I recommend to you the drinking of raw milk.

                • CommonSenseBen, These statistics are not mutually exclusive. This is the CDC’s only study of raw milk and it is meaningless without the other statistic as a comparison. It’s interesting you should use the terms “pandering and misdirection”. Where do you think that your “13 times more likely” comes from? And you do realize the actual quote is “People sickened in raw dairy product outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 were 13 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who became ill from consumption of pasteurized milk.” Which has a completely different meaning then your paraphrase.
                  “After all YOUR pandering and misdirection; the fact remains that you are” 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness if you don’t drink raw milk.
                  In America a government agency like the CDC works for the people and the people are make up of various producers and consumers. These entities will always be at odds.
                  There are recorded cases or people with throat injuries that lived healthy lives on raw milk but of course that isn’t the norm.
                  When you say “Even without knowing the facts” that kind of says it all. Doesn’t it? At least your honest.

              • “Minnesota raw milk study shows that only 1.7% per year or 1 in 59 raw milk consumers acquire illnesses caused by enteric pathogens. While 15% per year or 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne diseases. In other words: People who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to contract a so called foodborne illness than people that do.”-Raw ilkMike

                So, are you trying to say that people who drink raw milk don’t eat any food? Because people who drink raw milk would have the same percentage of contracting other food borne illnesses as the rest of the population in ADDITION to illness from drinking raw milk. Therefore raw milk drinkers have an even higher likelihood of contracting food borne illnesses. (Unless they don’t eat any other foods) I don’t understand your logic/conclusions, or lack there of.

                • Judy, we are all exposed to so called foodborne pathogens many times every day and we usually don’t get sick. Many of these so called pathogens are part of our bodies normal flora. The Government statistics I quoted show that raw milk prevents illness. It doesn’t cause it.

    • Jeff, all it says in your link is “3yo child dies after”. It doesn’t say the cause of death. I’m sure this child did may things and ate many things before it died. But were any of them the cause of it’s death and if so which one?

  15. It’s not a good analogy to compare the risks from drinking raw ilk to that of driving a car or flying. For the most part driving and flying is a necessity and you would be severely inconvenienced by not doing so. On the other hand there is no similar inconvenience if you don’t drink raw milk. In life it’s about reducing risk while not being severely inconvenienced and if you make the choices to reduce risk you have a pretty goo chance of staying alive and healthy.

    • John, no one lives for ever. Being young or old poses many risks. Having a baby poses risk of complication. Entering a hospital for any reason poses risk of infection or medical mistake.

      If you look closely at the CDC’s data you will find that raw milk actually has a negative risk factor. In other words, it prevents illness, it doesn’t cause it.

      For the most part driving and flying are not necessary but eating is.

      Since when is life about reducing risk and inconvenience ? Isn’t it about having fun? Some of our most dangerous and inconvenient activities involve having fun.

      • So then, is life about increasing risk? How does fun come into play? Drinking raw milk as opposed to Pasteurized milk is more fun?

        • Did you read John’s post? “It’s not a good analogy to compare the risks from drinking raw ilk to that of driving a car or flying. For the most part driving and flying is NOT a necessity and you would be severely inconvenienced by not eating. On the other hand there is no similar inconvenience if you don’t DRIVE OR FLY. In life it’s NOT ALL about reducing risk while not being severely inconvenienced and if you make the choices to reduce risk you have a pretty goo chance of NOT HAVING ANY FUN.” Over 9 million Americans drink raw milk for their health. According to CDC data people who don’t drink raw milk are 9 times more likely to suffer a food borne illness than people that do.

    • Listen John, you will get nowhere with Mike. A foolish person, he bashes the CDC and its data in one post and then relies on their data to support another. Go back and read his responses to other people and you’ll see that a discussion with him is like having one with your cat. Just a milk-covered mouth and a meow is all you get–everything else is nonsense.

      • Hi Charly. It’s kind of foolish to bash someone for using there own data and then turn around and bash them for using yours. Sounds like you have a problem with data. If John goes back and reads your posts I’m sure he’ll get quit a laugh.

  16. The website isn’t picking up symbols. Corrections to both posts below.

    “So to clayify. If I was young…below 10 or old above 75 years, I could have quite easily died…”