News / USA

Unpasteurized Milk Gains Support Despite Risks

A woman enjoys a cup of raw unpasteurized milk
A woman enjoys a cup of raw unpasteurized milk

Multimedia

Health authorities in Germany blame bean, alfalfa and other raw sprouts for the unprecedented outbreak of E. coli bacteria poisonings that are blamed for the deaths of 36 people and illness to 3,000 others. Sprouts can be difficult to grow safely, and raw sprouts have been linked to a number of disease outbreaks over the years. In the United States, another risky food is gaining in popularity - raw milk.

It is late afternoon at Hedgebrook Farm, about an hour and a half from Washington, and the cows are heading for the milking parlor.

Hedgebrook is one of the few places in the area where you can get raw, unpasteurized milk straight from the cow.

Customer Anna Elrod says at first, she bought it for her son’s health. “My son’s eczema cleared up completely, he never had another ear infection and the milk tastes so much better that I’ll never go back to store milk. Never,” she said.

Raw milk has a devoted following, a fact that baffles food safety advocate Sarah Klein at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “There are absolutely no scientifically proven benefits to drinking raw milk, and there are well-documented risks,” Klein said.

Such as E. coli, salmonella and other bacterial diseases that milk can carry. Pasteurized milk is heated to temperatures that reduce the number of germs, then cooled and bottled. Raw milk drinkers say it also kills the good things in milk. But Klein says it's not worth the risk.

“We went from 25 percent of our food and waterborne outbreaks being linked to dairy products to under 1 percent with the advent of pasteurization,” she said.

For that reason, it is illegal in many states to sell unpasteurized milk.

But a recent crackdown on a farmer carrying raw milk across state lines drew demonstrators to Washington this spring.

They even brought a cow and milked it on the spot. And drank the raw milk in protest.

Some have found a way around the ban on buying raw milk. They share a cow. Anna Elrod explains. “I’m not buying milk. I’m buying part of a cow. I own that cow,” Elrod said.

Hedgebrook Farm sells 25 shares of each cow, providing each part owner with about four liters of milk a week.  

Kitty Hockman-Nicholas and her family own Hedgebrook. She says the farm's raw milk is perfectly safe. “Pasteurization started out because there was a need, because of the uncleanliness that we had in the 1700s. But now, all that has changed,” she said.

Hockman-Nicholas says methods have improved since then. She says her dairy is inspected regularly and receives high marks.

But many health experts say bad things sometimes happen even at good dairies, and contamination from dirt, manure and insects can easily find its way into raw milk. Again, food safety advocate Sarah Klein.

“The United States has enjoyed safe milk for many decades now, and unfortunately many consumers are turning back to a time when milk wasn’t a safe product to drink. It’s ironic,” Klein said.

But raw milk’s backers say they will continue to fight for the right to drink milk straight from the cow.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid