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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid