Respectful Insolence

Since its very inception five years ago, The Huffington Post has been, to steal a phrase from Star Wars, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, at least when it comes to anything resembling medicine. Of course, that’s the problem. Very little, if anything, published in HuffPo resembles actual science-based medicine. The vast majority of medicine published there consists either of anti-vaccine screeds that are beyond stupid, quantum woo courtesy of Deepak Chopra, or pure, dangerous quackery, such as advocating homeopathy for H1N1 and acid-base woo for cancer. It’s so bad that on more than one occasion HuffPo has been described as waging a “war on science” and I myself have scoffed at the concept of a science section for Arianna’s home for wandering quacks and anti-vaccine loons.

Still, as long as I’ve been paying attention to HuffPo’s promotion of quackery (and it’s been five years now), there’s one step I hadn’t realized that HuffPo had taken. What could that be? After all, HuffPo has David Kirby, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Deepak Chopra, Patricia Fitzgerald, “detox” maven Kim Evans, and even believer in “distant healing” Srinivasan Pillay. Who, you might reasonably ask, could be so bad that it would even surprise me? Take a guess. Seriously, take a guess.

Dr. Joe Mercola. I kid you not.

Mercola, as you may recall, is the guy who runs one of the largest repositories of medical pseudoscience and quackery on the web, Mercola.com, a site that vies with that other major anchor of quackery on the web, Mike Adams’ NaturalNews.com. Now he has a blogging gig on HuffPo. Apparently it started four months ago, and for some reason I never noticed. Maybe it’s because I don’t pay as much attention to HuffPo as I used to. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know, but I do know that it will provide me with a more “target-rich” blogging environment. Unfortunately, it will also promote more quackery to the masses. This time around, Mercola is giving advice that could be truly dangerous, in a post he called Why You Shouldn’t Drink Pasteurized Milk. It begins with primitive, vitalistic nonsense that has no place in science:

First of all, please understand that I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind — ever. Because once milk has been pasteurized it’s more or less “dead,” and offers little in terms of real nutritional value to anyone, whether you show signs of intolerance to the milk or not.

Dead? You mean “dead” the way cooking vegetables allegedly kills them? What is it with these “raw food” and “raw milk” fanatics, anyway? Why do they insist that the food they eat must still be “alive”? Do they insist that their chicken clucks when they eat it? Do they insist on ripping muscle off of live cows to eat it? Do they grab a fish they just caught and eat it raw before the fish dies? Then what’s the big deal about “live” milk or “live vegetables”? There could be an argument to be made in some cases that cooking may destroy specific nutrients, but the argument that it somehow destroys all the nutritional value of various foods or that pasteurization utterly destroys the nutritional value of milk.

Of coures, Adams can’t handle the nuance of science-based medicine. For him, it’s either all or nothing. To quote a Star Wars movie again, albeit one of the lesser prequels, only a Sith deals in absolutes. Raw foodists and raw milk boosters are very Sith-like in their absolute, black and white thinking. Come to think of it, Sith-like thinking predominates a lot of “alternative” medicine. If chemotherapy can’t cure cancer 100% of the time, it’s worthless and doesn’t work at all. Ditto modern pharmaceuticals and whatever disease they are treating. By living “right,” you can always prevent cancer, heart disease, and other diseases that are influenced by lifestyle. “Western” medicine is always soulless, reductionistic, and of little or no utility.

And pasteurized milk is bad, bad, bad, bad–at least to Mercola:

The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available.

Raw milk is generally not associated with the health problems linked to pasteurized milk, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.

However, some people may still experience problems, such as upper respiratory congestion, when drinking raw milk, and the difference between the breeds of cows the milk comes from appears to hold the answer.

“Beneficial enzymes”? Enzymes are proteins. They are denatured in stomach acid and rapidly reduced to their constituent amino acids by the proximal small intestine, with the help of enzymes secreted by the pancreas. Leaving these “beneficial” enzymes intact by not pasteurizing them is not going to allow them magically to bypass the digestive system and be absorbed into the bloodstream. All the rest of these claims are sheer nonsense. If there’s enough lactobacillus in raw milk to make a difference, there could well be enough really nasty pathogens (like Campylobacter or E. coli) to make you really, really sick. Even worse, Mercola is claiming that someone with a milk allergy can safely consume raw milk. That’s extremely dangerous and potentially even deadly advice if someone with a serious milk allergy were foolish enough to listen to it.

Indeed, the WHO reports that there are no known proven reliable methods to reduce Campylobacter levels around dairy farms, which means that there is no known effective intervention farmers can use to decrease the risk of Campylobacter contamination of cow’s milk as it’s harvested. As a consequence, the WHO quite reasonably strongly discourages the consumption of raw milk. The evidence of the link between raw milk and serious infections is incontrovertible, as Dr. Joe Albietz points out after describing a patient he took care of who was sickened by raw milk. As blog bud PalMD points out, there have been 45 outbreaks of infections due to raw milk-borne Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli. Given the lack of evidence for truly compelling health benefits of consuming raw milk compared to consuming pasteurized milk, the risk just isn’t worth it. Even if the benefits were that compelling, other methods would need to be found to eliminate the risk of infection, because, even if the raw milk faddists’ most extreme fantasies were true, I’m still not sure the risk-benefit ratio would favor raw milk. Given that the fantasies of raw milk faddists for raw milk apparently to prevent and cure all that ails you are not based in science, there’s no doubt that the risk of infection far outweighs any possible benefit that raw milk can provide.

Mercola then goes on to make a rather remarkable additional claim, namely that we are “raising the wrong cows” that make a mutated form of a protein in milk known as casein. To boil it down, about 5,000 years ago a strain of cows developed a mutation in casein known as A1. A1 casein is allegedly bad; A2 casein is allegedly good, and–of course!–in the U.S. most cows make A1 casein:

Beta casein is a chain of 229 amino acids. A2 cows produce this protein with a proline at number 67, whereas A1 cows have a mutated proline amino acid, which converts it to histidine.

The proline in A2 milk has a strong bond to another small protein called BCM 7, which helps keep it from being released.

Histidine (the mutated protein), on the other hand, only weakly holds on to BCM 7, so it is liberated in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk. Now, BCM7 is a powerful opiate that can have a very detrimental impact on your body.

As discussed in these two articles from the NY Times and the Medical Hypotheses, it is likely the cause of increased phlegm production in your digestive- and respiratory tract, which can worsen upper respiratory problems.

Here’s a hint: Medical Hypotheses (MH) is a speculative journal that is not peer reviewed. As I’ve discussed many times before, MH is a welcoming home to all sorts of crackpot ideas that can be presented without evidence. The NYT article actually references the MH article; it relatively credulously discusses it, concluding, “THE BOTTOM LINE: There may be a link between milk and phlegm in some people, but for now it is only hypothetical.”

Now that’s some pretty lame evidence.

Mercola also references a website betacasein.net, which, according to Mercola, “offers a comprehensive list of published scientific studies of the differences between A1 and A2 milk and their health ramifications.” I did find several articles there, and I’ll quote some of them.

  • “We found no evidence that dairy products containing beta-casein A1 or A2 exerted differential effects (P > 0.05) on plasma cholesterol concentrations in humans.” (Venn et al, 2006)
  • “Plasma insulin, homocysteine, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, protein C and S and von Willebrand factor levels were not different between the two casein supplements. Endothelium function, measured as a vascular response using venous occlusion plethysmography to intra-arterial infusions of the endothelium-dependent agonist acetylcholine, were not different between the two casein interventions. Similarly, neither blood pressure nor measures of large artery stiffness were affected by differing the casein variant. We therefore conclude that there is no evidence from the present study that supplementation with casein A1 has any cardiovascular health disadvantage over consumption of casein A2.” (Chin-Dusting et al, 2006)
  • “The animal experiments with diabetes-prone rodents that supported the hypothesis about diabetes were not confirmed by larger, better standardised multicentre experiments. The single animal experiment supporting an A1 beta-casein and CHD link was small, short, in an unsuitable animal model and had other design weaknesses. The A1/A2 milk hypothesis was ingenious. If the scientific evidence had worked out it would have required huge adjustments in the world’s dairy industries. This review concludes, however, that there is no convincing or even probable evidence that the A1 beta-casein of cow milk has any adverse effect in humans. This review has been independent of examination of evidence related to A1 and A2 milk by the Australian and New Zealand food standard and food safety authorities, which have not published the evidence they have examined and the analysis of it. They stated in 2003 that no relationship has been established between A1 or A2 milk and diabetes, CHD or other diseases.” (A review by A.S. Truswell, 2005)

From my perusal of the literature, the best I could find was that the evidence that the A1 variant of casein has any adverse effects on health relative to the A2 variant is weak, conflicting, and not at all convincing. In fact, the only sources to which Mercola refers that are actually peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies are not particularly supportive of his idea. The sources he cites that are enthusiastically supportive of all the claims Mercola makes for raw milk are not peer reviewed. One is a book disguised as a “study. Of xourse, when I see “publication by book” or publication by press release, I always wonder why, if what the author allegedly found is so revolutionary, the author didn’t–oh, you know=–publish the research in a peer-reviewed journal rather than as a book. Other sources cited by Mercola include commentaries and an MH article.

The claims made by raw milk faddists seem way too good to be true, and, not surprisingly, they are. They make incredible claims for how raw milk will supposedly eliminate allergies, provide calcium, prevent diabetes and heart disease, and all manner of other diseases. No reliable or convincing science supports any of these claims.

The raw milk cult is simply another example of the worship of “ancient” wisdom. It’s a manifestation of the yearning for the pastoral life on the farm that seems to permeate so much of “alternative” medicine. In moderation, to at least some extent, life on a farm would be healthier than how most people live now, with lots of exercise and food fresh from the fields. Raw milk probably won’t hurt people if it’s drunk right after the cow is milked, but distributing raw milk, where it has to be stored and transported, provides ample opportunity for the bacteria contaminating it to grow to dangerous levels that can cause disease when the milk is consumed. Pasteurization was developed because of an obvious and serious problem with milk contamination. It is actually a triumph of food safety that allowed milk to be distributed far from the farm where it was produced and stored until sold and consumed. These days, ultrapasteurization allows milk to be stored for ever-longer periods of time safely without any convincing evidence of a huge decrease in the nutritional value.

Modern life, complete with its processed foods and preservatives, for example, may be rife with detrimental effects on health, but pasteurization is not one of them–quite the contrary. Let’s not forget that the “good old days” weren’t always so good, and that the idealized vision being promoted by raw foodists of life out on the farm drinking raw milk was not so ideal.

Comments

  1. #1 Alexis
    June 4, 2010

    Ah, the Weston A Price Foundation nuts (they’re the raw milk promoters). That’s a good source of woo. I like the claim that raw milk contains lactase, and pasteurization destroys it.

    I live in a state where raw milk is legal for retail sale (you can buy it in health food stores). That makes me nervous.

    Ultrapasteurization may not reduce the nutrition level, but it makes milk (and especially cream) taste like crap.

  2. #2 Kristen
    June 4, 2010

    The glaring problem I see, which is far more dangerous then the other stupidity in this article is he is telling people with milk allergies that it’s safe to drink raw milk. This could be deadly, and at very best is extremely irresponsible.

  3. #3 Canadian Curmudgeon
    June 4, 2010
  4. #4 Mojo
    June 4, 2010

    “THE BOTTOM LINE: There may be a link between milk and phlegm in some people, but for now it is only hypothetical.”

    Perhaps they think the milk is deficient in black bile, yellow bile, and blood.

  5. #5 Jim
    June 4, 2010

    My wife’s grandfather went on a rant a while back about how in “his day” they used to drink raw milk all the time and it “never hurt anyone.”

    His wife absolutely lit up, listing off a childhoood friend who died of milk-borne disease, three or four other who were made very sick by it and a fifth who tried to raise an infant on raw milk and nearly killed the child.

    It was glorious.

  6. #6 Becky
    June 4, 2010

    The raw milk advocates are getting a big, though unintended, boost from breastfeeding advocates, who go on and on about breastmilk being a living substance and how that makes it better than formula, aids digestion, improves immune function, blah blah blah. So the enzymes in breastmilk, like lactase, don’t make a difference? I know a lot of breastfeeding advocacy tends toward woo, I don’t know what’s real and what’s not.

    I drink living milk — I use milk with added acidophilus bacteria. Which is kind of weird if you think about it. It helps me avoid the gas and indigestion that dairy products usually cause me, though, and I don’t have to worry about bad bacteria and it is available at my local supermarket.

  7. #7 Jim
    June 4, 2010

    @ Becky

    My issues with formula is that it’s frequently promoted as better than breast milk, for which there is very little evidence. As with most things, it’s seems that the moderate position is the correct one – breast milk has certain considerable advantages over formula (for a lot of mothers, it’s quite a bit cheaper and easy to deliver to the infant, and is nutritionally complete by its nature) but isn’t a super food. Mostly because that word, “super food,” has no meaning.

  8. #8 Rene Najera
    June 4, 2010

    This reminds me of a story of a goat with rabies and the hilarity that ensued when raw goat’s milk had to be tracked down… Darwin had a theory that would surely apply to people who choose not to sanitize what they eat. Sadly, it also applies to their children, who don’t know better.

    “Living” milk with Campylobacter or Listeria is no joke.

  9. #9 Becky
    June 4, 2010

    @Jim — oh I do agree that the benefits of breastfeeding are more moderate than often portrayed. I was just wondering about the specific claims about the benefits related to the fact that it is a “living substance” and contains important enzymes, etc. In other words, those claims that are just about identical to the raw milk claims.

  10. #10 Bill in NC
    June 4, 2010

    Most states don’t let one sell raw milk for human consumption – so it is advertised as ‘pet food’ (wink, wink)

    In those states it can go for up to $20/gallon, so there is a powerful incentive for the dairyman to sell as much raw milk as possible, regardless of whether or not he suspects contamination.

    He’s almost certainly dumping it all into one bulk tank (so even if you purchase a ‘milk share’, it’s mixed with milk from all the other cows)

    If you choose to consume raw milk, you have no legal recourse if you do become sick.

    Ask raw milk advocates if they’d be content to drink stagnant water from a ditch – if they won’t treat milk, with its known bacteriological issues, why treat water?

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    June 4, 2010

    This is one issue where woo-proselytizers do not have a homogenized opinion but separate into two factions:those who believe that *only* raw milk is acceptable(e.g. Adams,Mercola)and those who believe that *all* milk is unacceptable and advocate an entirely vegan diet(Null).Of course,Mercola relies on *Deja Woo*,the Eden myth of the purity and bliss of ages past before the dawn of factory farming/dairies and governmental agencies: this is nothing new.I can condense a few articles from “Prevention Magazine”,circa 1960(J.I.Rodale,Editor): modern milk is produced “unnaturally” and makes you sick or “too tall”(seriously, he says that!)and is *not* for adults.(BTW, Adams has a new report on the Health Freedom Movement’s latest “victory” over the FDA and Sec. Sebelius;NaturalNews,6/4/10;and many articles about raw milk and health freedom)

  12. #12 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 4, 2010

    The enzymes in breast milk, AFIK, are not denatured as readily in an infant’s stomach, because the gastric acids and proteases are not present to the extent they are in an adult’s stomach. So the claims of the breast feeding advocates have some basis in reality. I don’t know what the benefits of the enzymes are, apart from easier digestion.

    I’m just commenting off the top of my head here, so I may be getting this a bit wrong. If so, my apologies.

  13. #13 gpmtrixie
    June 4, 2010

    I love reading about crazy people…thanks, Orac. So I google raw milk in PA (where I live) and it can be sold here, but is highly regulated. There are annual certifications and constant testing for those nasty germs. So I keep reading and apparently one of those nasty germs, Campylobacter is one of the leading antecedent infections of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Hmmm, where have I heard about that before???

  14. #14 MikeMa
    June 4, 2010

    The ex-wife went with raw milk supplied legally (I think) through our local coop. Always made me nervous. We moved to a state that did not allow raw milk sales and swithched to soy milk. Whew.

    I had stopped drinking milk almost completely at that point. I rarely use it now, 15 years later, regardless of it’s source. I make pancakes and such with water.

  15. #15 DLC
    June 4, 2010

    Sigh… the homogenization process has saved countless people from illness. this should be even more proof that Mercola is a bloody idiot.

  16. #16 A. Nuran
    June 4, 2010

    @Becky, Human milk really is better for infants than cows’ milk or formula. There’s decades of research on that score. It doesn’t have anything to do with human boob-juice being “living” or “healthful enzymes”.

    There is one area where raw milk is undeniably better than pasteurized. That’s in the creation of cheeses. I’ve been making cheese for a fair while. Taste and texture really are different in ways people can tell in a blind taste test. I don’t know why, although I know there are industry researchers studying the issue.

  17. #17 Calli Arcale
    June 4, 2010

    We just had an outbreak of E. coli from a raw milk producer in Minnesota. It’s also been found in cheese that they made on site. (You cannot legally sell raw milk outside of a dairy farm here. But you can sell it on the farm, and this one is obviously set up exclusively for raw dairy production.) There’s a two-year-old still hospitalized.

    In the comment thread for the article, I decided to bring up the rabies issue, which managed to pass unnoticed by other commenters. According to one study I found, there are, on average, 150 cases of rabies in domestic cattle reported to the CDC annually in the US. Some of those are dairy cattle. If their milk is sold raw, the CDC then has to track down those who drank it and give them post-exposure prophylaxis against rabies, at an average cost of about $2300 per person (plus a lot of pain, and hopefully the person isn’t allergic to rabies shots, and hopefully the CDC manages to find all of them in time to start the prophylaxis). No deaths yet, but rabies transmission via contaminated milk happens occasionally in parts of the world where milk is not commonly pasteurized.

    Some will say that raw milk is fine as long as it is swiftly refrigerated. This will indeed delay the growth of E. coli or Campylopacter, but it does nothing at all to the rabies virus.

  18. #18 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    My issues with formula is that it’s frequently promoted as better than breast milk, for which there is very little evidence.

    Jim – “frequently”? OK, there might still be a few old pediatricians who are sticking with their views from the 70s, but having a young child (18 mo) of my own, and one on the way, I rarely encounter anyone who thinks formula is BETTER than breastmilk, and even then, it is generally second-hand (usually someone’s mom who was told it was back in the 70s; of course, she doesn’t think car seats are necessary, either).

    There are the breastfeeding whackos who disdain everything non-breast, but most people absolutely have the “centrist” opinion – breastfeeding is the best approach, for lots of reasons, but formula is an acceptable substitute if there are circumstances that prevent breastfeeding or breastmilk. The “formula is better” crowd is mostly the old folks who no new parents would ever listen to.

  19. #19 Rene Najera
    June 4, 2010

    @Calli
    Thanks. I was wondering when someone would catch what I wrote.

  20. #20 squirrelelite
    June 4, 2010

    @Jim-6,

    I agree that in almost any grocery store when you see something labeled as a super food, it is nothing more than another gee whiz buzz word used to make you think it is better.

    However, there is one context in which I think the term super food helps make a useful distinction. Our bodies cannot digest all complex biochemicals equally well. For instance, we can’t digest cellulose. So, it’s easier to let pigs and cows eat the cellulose and digest it and then eat the pigs and cows.

    And some foods that we can digest like corn and soybeans can be digested better or more easily if they are chemically processed a little. That lets the body extract more nutrients from the same amount of food. For instance, when corn is processed into hominy or posole, this happens. Also, when soybeans are converted into tofu, you get a similar result. It’s been a while since I read about it (it may have been in one of the Scientific American book series I bought), so I don’t remember the specifics.

    Calling these converted foods super foods makes a useful distinction, but since the term is effectively uncontrolled, its main value in the grocery store is likely to be to help you spot products to avoid buying because they are probably overpriced.

  21. #21 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    Bill in NC points out an important point that I like to make: raw milk is a MAJOR coup for the dairy farmers. $20 a gallon? Yeah, no wonder a dairy farmer is going to go for that, considering that the local dairy will pay maybe $1 a gallon right now. But that’s the price of prohibition.

    Of course, the same people will complain about Big Pharma and conflicts of interest, but ignore the major scam that “raw milk” farmers are pulling off.

    I’ve mentioned before, when I was growing up, we in fact drank “raw milk.” Not for any loopy reasons, but because we had a deal with a local dairy farmer where he sold us some milk at cheaper than store prices, and we paid him better than dairy prices. Nowadays, it would be like paying him $1.50/gal. I remember very clearly riding in the car to go to barn and filling a 3 gallon milk pail of milk from the bulk tank. That was our version of “going out to buy milk.”

    My B-i-L is a dairy farmer. They would NEVER drink milk straight from the bulk tank. Being dairy farmers, they know better.

  22. #22 Jojo
    June 4, 2010

    I loved it when someone on my mommy board noticed that their Horizon Organic milk was ultrapasteurized. Her head almost exploded. Her beloved organic milk was now forever tainted by the unholy process of ultrapasteurization. Oh Noes!!1!!!1!
    If I were a nicer person I would not have also pointed out that there was suspicion that some of the organic milk providers they use in PA also run puppy mills, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    In regards to breast milk. There is one clear advantage I noticed between breast milk and formula, and that is the smell it produces on it’s way out of the baby. I swear, formula diapers are toxic!

  23. #23 Robin
    June 4, 2010

    I’ve tried raw milk, because I was told that it tasted better. (I’m more foodie than woo-ie) However, getting fresh local milk that has been pasteurized tastes just as good as raw milk, without having to worry. I do wonder whether those local producers are able to slow pasteurize, rather than the high heat fast method, which might account for some of the difference. Or maybe it’s just fresher.

  24. #24 Robin
    June 4, 2010

    Yeah, breast milk smells better than formula coming out either end.

  25. #25 Phoenix Woman
    June 4, 2010

    Calli @ 16: You beat me to it! (I’m a Minnesotan, so my local news has of course been following this story.)

    The tainted milk that has sickened at least five people all came from one farm, Hartmann Dairy Farm in Gibbon, MN. (It’s legal in the state to sell raw milk, but only if it’s sold from the farm to the consumer.) Here are some links on the subject:

    http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/minnesota-raw-milk-recall-e-coli-outbreak-10589/

    http://www.startribune.com/local/95529164.html (“Officials said they are looking into several additional illnesses that may be connected to the farm’s products.”)

  26. #26 Matthew Cline
    June 4, 2010

    Leaving these “beneficial” enzymes intact by not pasteurizing them is not going to allow them magically to bypass the digestive system and be absorbed into the bloodstream.

    Even if the foreign enzymes weren’t denatured and broken down to peptides, wouldn’t they be too large to pass through the intestinal lining?

    Even worse, Mercola is claiming that someone with a milk allergy can safely consume raw milk.

    Holy crap.

  27. #27 Elemenohpea
    June 4, 2010

    I was reading a comment thread on raw milk on another board and several people said that they boiled it before drinking it… basically self-pasteurizing it. Makes me wonder what they think pasteurization is…

  28. #28 PM
    June 4, 2010

    In the area of the upper Midwest where I did my pediatrics residency, we kept on running into people who would give their children raw goat milk after weaning them from breastmilk (usually well before the first year, even). So when these infants came in near-skeletal and developmentally delayed, presumably from rampant bacterial infections and nutritional problems and what have you, the parents would give us the usual line about how THEY drank raw goat milk when they were kids, and they turned out just fine! This was more healthy and natural!

    Be that as it may (you can’t argue with insanity sometimes), how can they look at their pathetic little failure-to-thrive children and think that their CHILDREN were doing just fine on raw goat milk?

    Of course, these would also be the unvaccinated children as well.

    The sea of ignorance and pastoral-fetishism is depressing sometimes. My great-grandmother lived in the good old (pre-industrial) days and lost 13 of her 15 children before the age of 5 – is that what we’re seriously gunning for nowadays?

  29. #29 Seb30
    June 4, 2010

    Orac, at the start of your 7th paragraph, you went from talking about Mercola to Adams (Mike the Health Ranger for his pals).
    “Of coures, Adams can’t handle the nuance ”
    Did I miss the transition from one quack to the next, or is it an interesting lapsus scripta?

    Not that it changes anything of the accuracy of the paragraph, mind you. Spot on on both of them – both are adept of the fallacy of Nirvana.

  30. #30 A. Nuran
    June 4, 2010

    @Pablo, formula was aggressively pushed for decades by the manufacturers. They spent hundreds of millions advertising it as more healthy, more “scientifically balaned”.

    It was only in the last fifty years that women in the West began to breastfeed again. And it was a battle. My in-laws got all kinds of nastiness from the women in their families just like Dr. Spock told them they would. There were murmurings of taking their son away because they were “starving” him by nursing.

    The formula makers still provide “samples” to new mothers. The “samples” last just long enough for mother’s milk to dry up and force her to rely on the product. In the developing world it was even worse. Hundreds of millions were spent by the companies, particularly Nestle – which is why I won’t buy their products to this day – to convince women to abandon breastfeeding and use formula, often diluted and with sketchy local water supplies. Thousands of deaths due to infant diarrhea can be directly attributed to this.

    It took laws and international treaties to put a stop to that bullshit. Laws which couldn’t be enforced today.

  31. #31 Kristen
    June 4, 2010

    Matthew, Mercola said;

    and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.

    This is more then irresponsible. Having seen a true anaphylactic emergency I wouldn’t want anyone with an allergy to even touch milk (raw or otherwise). I truly, truly hope no one with such an allergy will read this article and try it.

  32. #32 ababa
    June 4, 2010

    Jim said: “My issues with formula is that it’s frequently promoted as better than breast milk, for which there is very little evidence.”

    From my experience, this is false. Breastfeeding was heavily encouraged by our OB, the hospital and pediatrician. In a post birth follow-up from the hospital, they even gave it emphasis and complimented on our decision to do so. It’s just an anecdote, but practically every other mother I know had similar experiences.

    On top of that, the local mommy forum “natural” area even had someone that posted a study funded by formula companies that found that breastfeeding had advantages and recommended it. Of course they missed the irony of it all, given they are so gung-ho to claim “conflict of interest” against vaccine/formula/etc studies and this proved that funding did not equate to a study being biased.

    The same people are also pretty big on the whole raw milk thing. They are afraid of vaccines, fluoridated water and dental fillings and had a long thread about practically needing a hazmat team to clean up a broken CFL lightbulb, but raw milk – no worries there! The claim is raw milk farms are somehow “cleaner” by necessity, it is quite laughable that they think that bacteria can somehow be avoided on a real farm.

  33. #33 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    formula was aggressively pushed for decades by the manufacturers.

    Yeah, I know, that’s why I talked about how the attitude still persists among old pediatricians and old moms.

    But it isn’t happening now, and Jim’s comment was that it “it’s frequently promoted as being better.” I disagree. It is very rare nowadays to find anyone legitimate (old mothers don’t count) who think that formula is actually better. It USED to be promoted as better, but then again, kids USED to be advised to sleep on their stomachs. You don’t hear that anymore, either, except from old mothers who no one listens to.

  34. #34 Calli Arcale
    June 4, 2010

    Coworker of mine has a kid with a violent casein allergy. Makes buying snacks nearly impossible, because it’s such a common ingredient. Even fake cheese usually has bovine casein. I agree — Mercola is seriously over the line with that claim. That’s downright negligent.

    Elemenohpea @ 25:

    I was reading a comment thread on raw milk on another board and several people said that they boiled it before drinking it… basically self-pasteurizing it. Makes me wonder what they think pasteurization is…

    Well, ya know, it’s the *industrial* scale that’s the problem. Artisanal home pasteurization is fine because . . . well, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    Actually, what they’re doing is (by their standards) worse than pasteurization. Pasteurization does not boil the milk; it will heat it to anywhere from 160 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, deliberately below the boiling point, as milk definitely changes when it boils.

    The raw-milk faddist who compare it to breastmilk are just plain silly. Breastmilk is superior to formula mainly because it comes out of the source in a form suitable for infant consumption, while cow’s milk (or goat or soy or whatever) requires extensive modification to make it suitable for infant consumption. Ergo, if there really are any differences between pasteurized and unpasteurized cow’s milk, they’re eclipsed by the fact that it’s *cow’s milk*, not human milk, so of course it won’t be so perfect for us.

    (Note: I don’t mean this to imply cow’s milk is bad. It’s not. It’s *awesome*, especially when made into cheese, which is possibly the greatest invention of all mankind. But it’s not a perfect all-in-one food like breastmilk is, and for reasons which really should not be surprising to anyone.)

  35. #35 highnumber
    June 4, 2010

    I realize this is a tangent, but the greatest benefit of breastfeeding as far as I can tell is that I got to sleep through the night when we had newborns.

  36. #36 Enkidu
    June 4, 2010

    Speaking of breastmilk, I’m seeing a trend on mommy boards of “swapping” breastmilk… say, if one mother can’t produce enough, someone else will pump and provide for the infant (heaven forbid formula should ever be used if needed, it’s poison you know!). This always makes my skin crawl, because who knows what is being passed through that milk in terms of disease, drugs, etc. And I way off-base in my thinking here?

  37. #37 clayton
    June 4, 2010

    2 things
    http://www.startribune.com/local/95529164.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU
    about the farm and the people sickened by e.coli (feces) in their raw milk.

    And i think mercola is a whore, oh and he is one of the many people who confuses intolerance with allergy. I am lactose intolerant. I used to have noxious gas, and headaches everyday until my senior year in high school when I had to spend a week with a lady who didn’t drink milk. I knew my grandmother, sister, cousin etc were lactose intolerant, so I tried the soymilk. I felt better almost immediately. I can eat small amount of cheese, just can’t consume that milk. Why anybody thinks you should keep breastfeeding from another animal after you have been weened of your mother is beyond me. I know it is rich in nutrients, hence the Dutch being the tallest people in the world, but man milk is pretty gross, except for on my machiato.

  38. #38 Robin
    June 4, 2010

    @Ababa

    The formula thing is true. I am a new mom and wasn’t faced with it nearly so much, but I hear tales from older women and I think that there are regional or cultural differences as well. A friend of mine (nearer Boston) did receive free samples. Family and friends from NJ also seem a lot less gung ho about the whole breast milk thing. One Grandma told her DiL that “women in our family don’t breastfeed.”

    According to the CDC, about 26 percent of babies in this country are never breastfed at all, but in some areas that number is much higher.

  39. #39 Tiny-Lion
    June 4, 2010

    (I know this is a bit on the ad hom, but…)

    Why is it that whenever I read the name ‘Mercola’, all I can read is Mercaptan?

  40. #40 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    I realize this is a tangent, but the greatest benefit of breastfeeding as far as I can tell is that I got to sleep through the night when we had newborns.

    I am the bain of all fathers in that I got up for EVERY feeding of the Offspring to change his diaper.

    I am generally warned by the other dads to NEVER mention that in the presence of their wives.

  41. #41 highnumber
    June 4, 2010

    Shaddup, Pablo!

  42. #42 Jim
    June 4, 2010

    @ 17 – Sorry, could’ve been clearer there. Most first-world doctors promote brestfeeding, but I was referring to the push by the formula industry. As soon as we registered our impending birth(s) (we have two boys) we started getting the usual coupons and advertisements. Some were from formula companies. One that I wanted to keep was a twenty-page document styled after a medical journal that supposedly “debunked” the notion that formula is harder to digest than breat milk, sent to us by the good people at Carnation Milk. Ironically, that pamphlet was destroyed by our first-born.

    That’s the most blatant example, but the formula industry is still pushing hard in the first world, and pushing harder in developing countries.

    And as the chief diaper changer and baby calmer, I can attest that breast milk is much, much better on a baby’s digestive tract. We used formula a few times when my wife was too sick to nurse, and for a brief time after our son began to refuse breast milk but before we could switch to whole milk.

  43. #43 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 4, 2010

    OMG! Cookies and milk, the classic childhood snack … infecting entire classes of school children on field trips to farms. it was raw milk with the cookies.

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000104.htm

  44. #44 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    Robin – all you have said is true, but completely aside from the point. As I noted, Jim’s original comment, to which ababa and I responded, was that formula IS promoted as being better than breastmilk. That says now. What was being done 50 years ago is irrelevant.

    Ababa is 100% right: basically nobody _today_ promotes formula as better than breastfeeding except for old people who are stuck in their old ways. As I said, these are the same people who don’t think carseats are necessary, and that babies should be sleeping on their stomachs.

    Yes, there is a large fraction of babies who never have breastmilk, but that’s usually not because people think formula is better for them. It’s usually because they know that breastfeeding is not going to be something they are going to be able to do, for one reason or another, and so choose the either path of starting the child on formula. They are absolutely being taught by the pediatricians that breastfeeding is the best approach. However, they are also told that formula is an acceptable alternative.

  45. #45 Ian
    June 4, 2010

    This is quite off-topic, and I apologize, but since Chopra and his foolishness came up at the beginning of the article, I wanted to mention that the Vancouver branch of CFI is going to be present at Deepak Chopra’s traveling show tonight. If any of you are in the Vancouver area and want to help innoculate some people against Chopra-woo, we’d love to have you.

  46. #46 clayton
    June 4, 2010

    @enkindu
    Lookup wet-nursing. Prior to the advent of formula, this made sense, and I would assume that the mothers would speak to each other about stuff like drugs prior to swapping.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_nurse

    One aspect of the raw foodist culture is that they believe fire is a relatively new invention, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 years old. Idiots
    http://goneraw.com/forum/catching-fire-how-cooking-made-us-human

  47. #47 Calli Arcale
    June 4, 2010

    Pablo — hubby and I had a system for midnight feedings. He got up and changed the baby’s diaper while I went to the bathroom and got myself a tall glass of water. Then we’d trade off, he’d go back to bed, and I’d nurse the baby back to sleep.

  48. #48 Enkidu
    June 4, 2010

    @Pablo 42

    I had to go down the road of formula because I produced zero milk. Let me tell you, I was absolutely drowning in tears because EVERYTHING I saw and read and told me how much better breastmilk is, and that formula is no comparison. I had a lactation consultant work with me at the hospital, and you know it’s bad when even she said I should give up. The neonatologist had to take me under his wing and assure me that my baby was not going to grow up sick and stupid from being fed formula.

  49. #49 Moopheus
    June 4, 2010

    Actually, Jojo, my head tends to pop, too when I see ultrapasteurization. In regular pasteurization, milk is heated to about 180F and held for 20 or 30 minutes (I am going off the top of my head here). The UP process heats milk to 230F or so for less than a minute. It’s cheaper for the processor, and tends to last longer in the fridge, but it results in a dairy product with less dairy taste and a bit of an off, burnt taste. It’s difficult these days to get cream that’s not UP (or without added emulsifiers, for that matter), which means special trips when it’s time for the ice cream machine to come out.

  50. #50 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    Calli – our routine was more of, we’d both get up, and she’d start nursing. I went with her, but we had a futon in the nursery, and I could lie down and snooze. I changed the diaper in-between boobs, as a way to wake him back up.

    Then, we took turns putting him back to bed when he was done eating. For a while, he wasn’t always ready to go back to sleep after nursing, so it took some rocking. If it wasn’t my turn, I could go back to bed after I changed the diaper, and on my turn, my wife could go right to bed after finishing nursing.

    It was a difference of 10 – 15 minutes here and there, but it helped.

  51. #51 Swampy
    June 4, 2010

    @Enkidu

    Weirder yet is people drinking breast milk in hopes it will help with cancer — though I think there is a company running clinical trials w/ synthetic talactoferrin for lung cancer, so maybe they’re on to something.

    It does seem like the pendulum on breast milk has swung the other way; like if you don’t breast feed, you’re a really bad mom.

    Back to the raw milk people, I just don’t get why some people would take the chance on killing their kids in order to prevent colds and allergies. The rewards just don’t seem to outweigh the risks.

  52. #52 Marie T
    June 4, 2010

    One other benefit of breastfeeding infants – relative to breast milk, formula tastes like crap. My milk dried up when my daughter was 9 months old and we couldn’t get her to drink the formula for anything. I tasted it and could see why. I felt so sorry for her.

  53. #53 Roger Rains
    June 4, 2010

    “The raw milk cult is simply another example of the worship of “ancient” wisdom. It’s a manifestation of the yearning for the pastoral life on the farm that seems to permeate so much of “alternative” medicine.”

    This is one of those things I can’t understand. These people are saying we should all go back to living a lifestyle that produced an average life expectancy of around 35 years. Ancient wisdom indeed.

    Conversely, if “how most people live now” is so bloody toxic and horrible, why are so many of my patients living (and living well)into their 80′s and 90′s? People who moan about how our modern life is killing us are idiots. You don’t need super science to figure this out, just frickin’ look around. Average life expectancy in the US is nearly 80 and the number of people over 100 is increasing by about 7% a year!

  54. #54 Michael
    June 4, 2010

    Orac brought up a point which continues to confuse me.

    Which aspects of food, beyond their macro-nutritional content, determine their role in good human health? I believe it’s true that eating green or brightly-colored fresh vegetables confers greater health than just rice and potatoes, for example. What, then, is getting through and into the blood stream? Vitamins? Enzymes? A more complete mix of amino acids? Fiber?

    I find this basic lack of understanding undermines my ability to evaluate various nutritional claims. (For example, is wheat grass juice better or different than just having a serving of spinach?)

    If anybody can shed light or provide a link, that would be great! Thanks.

    As an aside, the rich and intelligent threads in Orac’s comment section is another indicator of the difference between his SMB and Adams / Mercola. Those sites essentially make impossible any intelligent back and forth either by awful formatting or censorship or requiring being spammed (in the case of Mercola) before participating. I learn so much in these comments.

  55. #55 Sheikh Mahandi
    June 4, 2010

    Never mind the other diseases, has this woo woo never heard of Brucellosis? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brucellosis
    Nice move, drink raw milk until you inherit a lifetime of sweating, joint, and muscle pain.

  56. #56 Dave
    June 4, 2010

    Given the comments about breast milk, I thought Id share the following with yall: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/nurse_made_JQlMRBr5ZgO6iD07AX83MJ

  57. #57 Alexis
    June 4, 2010

    DLC, #14: Homogenization hasn’t saved anyone from anything other than shaking the milk bottle.

    Nutrition is such a fertile field of woo. I made the mistake of reading a bit of Nina Planck’s book while I was in Wegmans today. All the seed based oils are bad for you, and this is proven by the fact that Native Americans didn’t use them, or something. What are her qualifications again, aside from running farmers markets? Does anyone need to be qualified in anything before they write these nutrition books?

  58. #58 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 4, 2010

    @5 Becky –
    I was just wondering about the specific claims about the benefits related to the fact that it is a “living substance” and contains important enzymes,

    The benefits of breast milk to a NEWBORN are that the antibodies in it are absorbed through the intestinal wall, and the enzymes in it are NOT denatured. Infants have almost no HCL production, and their digestive system is designed to passively absorb some antibodies (as are most mammals). Most of the benefits are in the first few days, with the colustrum.

    That does not hold true for older humans (starting in the early months of life if I recall correctly). Their stomachs denature the enzyme and antibody proteins and the pancreatic enzymes break it down. So raw milk has no advantage … it’s KILLED DEAD by the digestive system as soon as it hits the stomach.

  59. #59 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    Enkidu -

    Let me tell you, I was absolutely drowning in tears because EVERYTHING I saw and read and told me how much better breastmilk is, and that formula is no comparison.

    I think this is actually more of a problem now than most people realize. I know a lot of moms like you who go to massive, massive efforts to do any little bit of breastfeeding that they can, because the modern push actually makes them feel guilty and ashamed if they aren’t able to breastfeed. Look at the efforts they go through just to simulate breastfeeding (there is a feeding-tube contraption that mom wears so it appears she is nursing).

    My impression is that this is pushed mostly by the hospitals themselves, via the nurses and in baby-classes, but not so much by the doctors. Our hospital has a very active program with weekly meetings run by a lactation consultant, and so they push hard, but the pediatricians don’t make all that big of a deal over it. They’ll say, “Good for you!” if you say that you are breastfeeding, but if you choose formula, they’ll say, “That’s fine, too” and then give you some advice about what they want parents to do.

  60. #60 Jojo
    June 4, 2010

    Moopheus – No doubt, UP doesn’t taste all that good. I only ever buy it when I need milk that doesn’t need refrigeration for my son. It’s just interesting that many of the altie moms I’ve encountered will go on and on about how great organic food is, and how much they have researched the topic, and yet it never crosses their minds that Horizon milk might be UP even though you can buy it warm in the juice aisle.

    On the breast feeding topic, I’m still getting coupons for formula in the mail and my son is 4. I walked out of the hospital with at least a month’s worth of formula, which I donated to the local food bank. Some of the nurses did suggest that I supplement, but the most shocking thing I was told was by the elderly pediatrician who saw my son in the hospital. My son was 10 pounds, or the size of a 3 month old. The pediatrician flat out told me that I wouldn’t have enough milk and that I would have to supplement with formula. Umm…last I checked most women are able to supply a 3 month old with ample breast milk, so why shouldn’t I be able to? Not surprisingly, it was no problem at all.

  61. #61 Lynxreign
    June 4, 2010

    “Pastoral-fetishism”, to use a term I grabbed from PM’s post back at #26 is part of the same deluded thinking that “things were better in the old days.” Conservatives have the same thing with their desire for a return to a 1950s (society) that didn’t exist or 1890s (business environment) that didn’t exist.

    Sadly, this pastoral-fetishism can be found even in places that should know better, like here on Science Blogs.

  62. #62 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    I walked out of the hospital with at least a month’s worth of formula, which I donated to the local food bank.

    We did end up supplementing with formula for a few months, and then went totally formula by 9 mos, when vetmommy basically dried up.

    I think we ended up buying two or three cans of powdered formula (with pretty good coupons), and the rest was all free samples.

  63. #63 kittywhumpus
    June 4, 2010

    Thanks, Orac, for posting this. As Calli mentioned, we are in the midst of a raw milk plus e.coli debacle, and the food-woosters are coming out of the woodwork. I was sitting here with the article from our local paper, trying to figure out what to write about it. It starts “‘Conradine Sanborn of St. Paul refers to supermarket milk as “dead milk.’”

    Star Tribune-Raw Milk: Health Food or Hazard?

  64. #64 skeptyk
    June 4, 2010

    @enkidu 34:
    When my newborn spent months in the NICU, I FROZE my breastmilk for him to use when he was extubated and alive and all. If he had not survived (yep, teh evil medical complex kept him from dying a nice natural death*) the milk would have been given to other babies, IIRC. Think those nice mommies are freezing their swap milk? (Why pump and swap anyway, why not wetnurses?)

    *My son survived, and now has a handful of medical conditions, (a couple iatrogenic even…you know, side effects of the meds that saved him…better half deaf than all dead, we say) an imperfect, medicated, , transplanted, dialyzed, happy, smart ADULT. Imagine that.

    @Calli Arcale#32: “Artisanal home pasteurization”
    Heehee, I am so going to use this.

  65. #65 RRMF
    June 4, 2010

    For balanced information on raw milk benefits and risks, visit this new website:

    http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com

  66. #66 PREDJAMA
    June 4, 2010

    From a wonderful book, Otto Bettmann’s THE GOOD OLD DAYS – THEY WERE TERRIBLE (1974)
    ” It was common knowledge to New Yorkers that their milk was diluted. And the dealers were neither subtle nor timid about it; alI they required was a water pump to boost two quarts of milk to a gallon. Nor was that the end of the mischief: to improve the color of milk from diseased cattle they frequently added molasses, chalk or plaster of Paris.
    No wonder, that in 1889 New York’s public health commissioner reported seeing in certain districts a ‘decidedly suspicious looking fluid bearing the name of milk.’ Bacteria-infected milk held lethal possibilities of which people were unaware. The root of this problem was in the dairy farms, invariably dirty, where the milch cows were improperly fed and housed. It was not unusual for a city administration to sell its garbage to a farmer, who promptly fed it to his cows. Or for a distillery to keep cows and feed them distillery wastes, producing what was called ‘swill milk.’ This particular liquid, which purportedly made babies tipsy, caused a scandal in the New York of 1870 when it was revealed that some of the cows cooped up for years in filthy stables were so enfeebled from tuberculosis that they had to be raised on cranes to remain ‘milkable’ until they died.
    When in 1902 the city’s Health Commission tested 3970 milk samples it was found that over 50% were adulterated.”

  67. #67 moto_lib
    June 4, 2010

    Enkidu – I can relate to your experience. I was unable to produce milk because of a PP hemmorhage that landed me in the OR immediately after birth. I tried for 2 1/2 long weeks to nurse, pumping every 2 hours and getting less than 1/2 an ounce. Whenever someone asks me if I’m nursing, I still feel defensive, like I have to justify my mothering skills to a complete stranger. And while I agree that breastfeeding offers some benefits, the research that I have read suggests that many of the claims made by lactivists are either overblown or simply not true.

    And to the topic at hand, well, drinking raw milk is just idiotic. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and he stopped drinking raw milk as soon as their farm installed a tank for pasteurization. And I guarantee that he wouldn’t have sold raw milk. He knew the risks all too well.

  68. #68 Calli Arcale
    June 4, 2010

    skeptyk — glad you like!

    kittywhumpus — There are some real winners in the comment section of that article. I encourage folks here to go visit; Strib does require you to register before you can comment, alas, but I don’t believe I’ve been spammed by them. (Or maybe I’ve just forgotten which e-mail account I used to register.)

  69. #69 ScienceCat
    June 4, 2010

    @53 Brucellosis *and* Listeria (apologies if someone mentioned Listeria already – didn’t see it if so). Good luck getting rid of all the Listeria spp. around a farmyard or in the fields. I have friends who bought into the woo, swear by raw milk and have “shares” in a cow’s production (to get around the ban on raw milk sales). They feed it to their toddler :( They also served me some as hot chocolate without telling me first but I was not very old, very young, pregnant or immunocompromised at the time, so I’m still speaking to them. I’ve eaten some of the raw milk cheeses from reliable fromageries but not the milk and I would not feed the cheeses to anyone else without telling them the risks (and never to someone in a high-risk group). I also eat medium-rare steak and don’t heat up pastrami before eating it. Woudn’t feed those to a high risk person either.

    Raw milk cheese activism (activist gourmets!)is another aspect of all this but at least there the emphasis seems to be on flavour instead of magical healing properties and from what I read there’s a greatly reduced risk for a number of the pathogens in well-made cheese because the pathogens are outcompeted by the ripening bacteria. Not sure if this applies to Brucellosis, though, ugh.

  70. #70 Chris
    June 4, 2010

    My step-mother spent several weeks when she was fifteen with brucellosis, which she called “undulant fever.” It was an experience she never wished to go through again, nor see anyone else go through.

    My oldest spent a week in the Neonatal Intermediate Care Unit (after a night in the NICU, where the “I” was for Intensive). I used the hospital’s breast pump, and rented one for home just so I did not explode.

    I used formula only to give him his phenobarbital. I would make the minimum amount possible, two ounces. Then put one ounce each in small bottles, with a dose of the meds. Keep in fridge until needed. He was weaned of of phenobarbital and breast milk when he was a year old (his weaning from breast was because he liked to walk around, so he transitioned to milk/juice/water in a sippy cup).

    I like breast feeding not only because I did not have to wash the bottles and rubber nipples, but because I did not have to hold a bottle. I could work on the computer cradling suckling babe with one hand, and using the mouse while working on a CAD (computer aided design) program.

    (don’t tell little Augie that not all engineers are male… it might make his little head explode)

  71. #71 tonylurker
    June 4, 2010

    Tsu Dho Nimh:

    he benefits of breast milk to a NEWBORN are that the antibodies in it are absorbed through the intestinal wall

    Are you sure about that? While there are antibodies that protect against a variety of intestinal ailments, I was under the impression that primates (humans included) were unable to absorb the antibodies (or at least large subsets of the antibodies in breast milk) through the intestinal wall into the blood stream. So although the milk contains those antibodies, they don’t make it to the blood stream. (fortunately, in humans, antibodies are passed from mother to fetus)

  72. #72 Vicki
    June 4, 2010

    Alexis–

    I wonder if that woomeister has heard that sunflower is raised for oil seeds. Sunflower is one of the ancient American crops; people have been growing it here for thousands of years.

    Also, pre-Columbian farming in the Americas was not magically healthier or more productive than farming in Eurasia or Africa. Maize and potatoes and peppers and sunflowers and squash are good, yes. So are lots of things in my kitchen that were domesticated elsewhere in the world. None of it is magic: it’s all the result of a lot of patient work by a lot of people over a very long time.

  73. #73 Art
    June 4, 2010

    Maybe they could pasteurize and then use an Amega Wand on it so the damaged good stuff ‘remembers’ what it’s supposed to look like and magically restructures itself using ‘zero-point’ energy.

    It is supposed to heal virtually everything. An entire hospital and health clinic in the form of a cheap and easy to use wand.

    Get your wand now. Quantities are limited, until we cobble more together, and this offer will not be repeated. Unless we think we can show a profit by repeating it. LOL.

    http://www.amegawandenergy.com/

  74. #74 kittywhumpus
    June 4, 2010

    @Calli #67

    I don’t know how you can handle the comments section in the Strib. Whenever I see daddywhumpus reading comments, especially on a political article, I figure he is purposefully trying to raise his blood pressure.

  75. #75 Elizabeth
    June 4, 2010

    I find it interesting that the raw milk the school children drank on their field trip (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000104.htm) was blamed for the illness despite there being no Campylobacter found in the milk (“Cultures of the raw milk from the farm did not yield Campylobacter.”). I understand that it’s the same for the case in Minnesota as well, unless there have been new developments since I last read about it.

    Speaking facetiously – lets make every food that makes people sick due to bacteria etc illegal. That means no more water, or meat, or lettuce, or tomatoes, or sprouts…

    Seems to me that people on both sides of the fence get a great deal of exercise jumping to conclusions.

  76. #76 kittywhumpus
    June 4, 2010

    The e.coli bacteria in the Minnesota case was found to have the same DNA fingerprint.

    “Samples collected from multiple animals and from multiple environmental sites on the Hartmann farm are indistinguishable from samples collected from the humans that were ill,” said Neeser. “It’s very important to note that this is a rare strain of E. coli, and it hasn’t been seen in Minnesota before.”

    From MPR

  77. #77 MikeMa
    June 4, 2010

    @Elizabeth
    I’ll jump to another conclusion:
    I bet that while approving of the risks associated with raw milk, you haven’t vaccinated your kids as that risk is too high. How did I do with that jump?

  78. #78 Serdar
    June 4, 2010

    @PREDJAMA – you get major kudos for mentioning “Good Old Days / Terrible”. I ran across that book in my junior high school library, of all places, and it played a big part in making me skeptical of all claims that “things used to be better”. The idea that people would even think of switching axle grease for butter made me gag on my breakfast toast. Such horrors were how the Pure Food and Drug Act and the FDA in general came to be, which are scarcely perfect but the idea of rolling them back and replacing them with — what, an honor system? (as some “health freedom” folks advocate) — is horrific.

  79. #79 madder
    June 4, 2010

    Back to Mercola: In what state is he licensed? These demonstrably dangerous bits of advice (consume raw milk; even if you’re milk-allergic) should be brought to the board’s attention.

  80. #80 Chris
    June 4, 2010

    Mercola is in Illinois.

  81. #81 Sid Offit
    June 4, 2010

    Heard this on teh interwebs and was interested in the group’s opinion.
    ——————————
    http://nutritionguidetohealth.com/milk-to%20drink%20or%20not%20to%20drink.html

    when milk is homogenized, the tiny fat particles in it encapsulate xanthine oxidase and easily pass through the intestinal wall into the blood stream intact, thus helping xanthine oxidase escape the digestion.

    In the blood these tiny fat particles are slowly used as an energy source and in the process expose xanthine oxidase, which now freely travels in the bloodstream and causes damage to the inner linings of the heart and blood vessels, including the coronary arteries that lead to the heart.

    For those interested see also
    http://www.keepwell.com/homogenization.htm

    PS
    As we all know the only legit superfood is immunity boosting Rice Krispies

  82. #82 Chris
    June 4, 2010

    One opinion we have, Sid… is that you don’t know the difference between homogenize and pasteurize.

  83. #83 Sid Offit
    June 4, 2010

    Did I say pasteurized milk causes the sequence of events described??? No.

  84. #84 Becky
    June 4, 2010

    @58 Tsu — Thank you for explaining that! So many of the claims I’ve seen lactivists make are so outrageous and unsupported by evidence that I now tend to doubt anything they say.

    And before I get jumped on, I’ve breastfed all of my four children, am still nursing my youngest, and have at least 6 years of breastfeeding under my belt(bra?).

  85. #85 Calli Arcale
    June 4, 2010

    kittywhumpus:

    The e.coli bacteria in the Minnesota case was found to have the same DNA fingerprint.

    They’ve also now found it in cheese seized from the farm, not just in animals and on equipment. It’s not just circumstantial evidence; this farm does have a problem on its hands.

    About the Strib comments sections, I find it a refreshing breath of clean air after reading the Yahoo! News comment sections. *yaggedayaggedayaggeda*

  86. #86 Scott
    June 4, 2010

    Heard this on teh interwebs and was interested in the group’s opinion.

    No proper citation, so entitled to no weight. “xanthine oxidase milk homogenized” on PubMed produces 8 hits. One’s from Med Hypotheses. One was an editorial, three were reviews, and three were original research. One of the latter was unrelated to this subject. The editorial and all three reviews conclude that the claim is unsubstantiated, and the two other studies found that low pH (as in the stomach) would inactivate the XO.

    To summarize: your links are BS.

  87. #87 Chris
    June 4, 2010

    Sid, who cares what you said. This is about raw milk. Not how the fat is mixed up in milk.

  88. #88 katydid13
    June 4, 2010

    I think HuffPo may actually be responsible for a group of parents who arrange for illegal raw milk to be brought into DC from PA by some Amish farmer. Capitol Hill toddlers with yuppie parents are drinking raw milk these days. At least one couple that does is are good friends of mine.

    HuffPo has pretty good politics coverage so it has a built in audience here. It seems to be picking up an audience for other stuff too, which is not so good.

    The breast feeding mafia can be pretty strong among the thirty something, educated, policy wonk mommies (a friend who adopted gets crap for not breast feeding from strangers when she gives her son a bottle). On the other hand when I get on the bus, I see babies drinking stuff that looks like kool-aid or soda out of baby bottles.

  89. #89 Alexis
    June 4, 2010

    Vicki: In fact, she singled out sunflower and safflower. I have a feeling she subscribes to that school of WAPF-thought that’s heavily into saturated fats, as well as the myth that if something was eaten “traditionally” it must be good for you.

    Like I said, fertile field for woo. I see quite a bit of WAPF-based woo around. Personally, I choose not to take my nutrition advice from a dentist who believed that root canals were the source of our modern ills.

  90. #90 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 4, 2010

    @87 – “a friend who adopted gets crap for not breast feeding from strangers…”

    Usually people who try breast feeding from strangers get hauled to jail by the police….

  91. #91 Dr. P
    June 4, 2010

    Roger Rains @ #53

    Conversely, if “how most people live now” is so bloody toxic and horrible, why are so many of my patients living (and living well)into their 80′s and 90′s? People who moan about how our modern life is killing us are idiots. You don’t need super science to figure this out, just frickin’ look around. Average life expectancy in the US is nearly 80 and the number of people over 100 is increasing by about 7% a year!

    I had a secondhand discussion with a particularly interesting “professional” through my daughter who insisted that based on her “extensive studies” of the bible, koran, torah, and baghadghavita, she had ascertained that people USED to live to the ripe old age of 800 years and we are now the victims of our lifestyle and have decreased our life expectancy over the last 2000 years;my head hurt for a week.

  92. #92 Scott
    June 4, 2010

    @ Dr. P:

    Reminds me of a conversation I had with another “interesting” person once.

    “Moses lived to be 5000 years old! See what God’s touch can do?”
    “Didn’t you just say the world was created in 4004 BC?”
    “Of course, everyone knows that.”
    “Didn’t Moses die well BC?”
    “Well, duh.”
    “You don’t see the problem here?”
    “What problem?”
    *sound of head hitting wood*

  93. #93 Enkidu
    June 4, 2010

    @ skeptyk 64

    My daughter was given donor milk in the NICU, but I was under the impression that it was screened first (am I wrong?). The ladies that are swapping milk have only spoken assurances that the other moms are not taking any drugs or infected with any transmittable diseases.

  94. #94 Enkidu
    June 4, 2010

    Oh, and skeptyk, as a fellow mommy of a NICU graduate, so happy to hear of another baby saved by modern medicine. :)

  95. #95 James Fox
    June 4, 2010

    Come to the wonderful state of Washington where you can legally get your raw cow’s milk, raw goat milk and any other raw milk you can think of. You can also join the sick by raw milk club. I would estimate there is a news article monthly in western Washington about infected raw milk or someone getting sick from it. Fools fools and the fools they fool around with.
    This from my local news paper last week. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/05/28/1452660/state-warns-of-e-coli-after-two.html

  96. #96 timgueguen
    June 4, 2010

    Like supposed Biblical literalists the nature fetishisers don’t truly practice what they preach. After all if they truly believed natural is best they’d live naked and dwellingless just like their ancient anscestors did. Taking sheets of material and wrapping around your body isn’t natural, nor is living in a box made of metal snd wood, or using a bathroom and on and on.

  97. #97 Rukmini Pillai
    June 4, 2010

    Very interesting post. Drinking raw milk from content and grazing cows can sound very inviting. Besides raw milk tastes great when one drinks it immediately after it is milked from a healthy cow, goat or a buffalo. Dangerous to drink when the animal has an infectious disease like tuberculosis which is difficult to make out when the animal is in the initial stage of the disease. There is a high incidence of tuberculosis in children in cities like Bangalore, India due to prevalent myths regarding pasteurised milk.

  98. #98 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 4, 2010

    @70 – Colostrum and to a lesser extent breast milk contains an antibody (IgA) only available to the baby by feeding. It’s too big to pass the placenta.

    Various studies have found antibodies to polio, cholera and e coli in breast milk – they would have a protective effect.

  99. #99 PlaydoPlato
    June 4, 2010

    I’m a foodie who can’t drink pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized milk without becoming violently ill. As others have noted, ultra-pasteurized milk is really nasty and is useless for making cheese.

    The only milk I can drink without getting sick is raw milk. Having worked on a small dairy farm and knowing the farmer who produces the milk, as well as knowing the milk is regularly tested, I’m not afraid to drink it. The raw cheese and cream are great as well.

    I’ve been consuming these foods for years. I buy most of my food directly from farmers, as I’ve found the quality to generally be superior to what I can find, even in the best grocery stores.

    As for the cost of the milk, I’ve never paid $20.00 for a gallon and don’t know anyone who has, but I happily pay more (sometimes) for my food because family farming is a tough business and farmers need our support. Also, I’ve found that cheap food is, well, cheap.

    Funny though, people will pay an exorbitant ransom to eat at an exclusive restaurant, then brag about the cost of the food — but bitch about the cost of that same food when purchased directly from the farmer, at a lower price.

  100. #100 Lettuce
    June 4, 2010

    As someone from a place that makes more milk than any other (Wisconsin), I’d just like to say I have huge praise for Gov. Doyle for rufusing to sign the “Raw Milk” bill into law.

    A very hard decision for him to make, especially having previosly saying he WOULD sign the Act.

    And as for the “foodie” who gets “violently” ill… Yeah. Right on! Whatever.

  101. AFAIK, raw milk cheeses are safe *if* they are reasonably well aged. But fresh soft cheeses like cottage cheese, queso fresco, fromage frais, quark etc can still carry dangerous bacteria.

  102. #102 G
    June 4, 2010

    So, I was thinking about getting a small dairy cow–and a home pasteurizer; I’m not crazy. I drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of cheese, see.

    So I got onto a mailing list for a small dairy farm near-ish me with the breed of cows I was considering. I thought it would be, you know, discussing the farm, the cows, management, that sort of thing. Turn out they sold their raw milk through their private mailing list (not legal to sell for human consumption in my state). On that list, they also had some rabid discussions of …um, health. Something resembling health, anyway. That list was my first exposure to anti-vaxxers, too.

    Here’s what the small dairy claimed about their milk: obviously, milk from the COW is just fine. It’s handling that contaminates it! Obviously! It’s clean when it comes out of the cow! So raw milk is JUST FINE as long as you use the right handling!! Clearly, every commercial dairy ever is Doing It Wrong: diiiiirty people and tools, sloppy handling, irredeemable contamination as soon as it leaves the ever-pristine cow.

    And any time there’s a problem with raw milk, they can say, “well, they Do It Wrong, but we do it right, so you don’t have to be worried about OUR raw milk.” It is yet another instance of “if you get sick anyway, you just weren’t trying hard enough/didn’t believe strongly enough,” I think.

  103. #103 FlameEverlasting
    June 4, 2010

    Someone pulled $20 a gallon out their ass. And $1 a gallon for regular dairy farmers? Are you kidding? More like 12 cents a gallon. The 3+ dollars you pay are for transportation and pasteurization.

    And pasteurization isn’t bad because it “kills” the milk, pasteurization is bad because it lets dairy farmers get sloppy.

    As someone who grew up on a dairy farm, and watched it go from a 40 cow dairy where we all drank the milk straight from the bulk tank, to a 450 cow dairy where my parents won’t even feed the milk to the calves, I can attest. Chronic mastitis, high somatic cell count, extremely high disease and mortality rate,- pasteurization made this possible, and greed actualized it.

    Sure it’s safe, but if you saw where it came from, would you really want to drink it?

  104. #104 Pablo
    June 4, 2010

    Someone pulled $20 a gallon out their ass. And $1 a gallon for regular dairy farmers? Are you kidding? More like 12 cents a gallon.

    From http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/usda-temporarily-increases-dairy-support-prices/12755.html

    “USDA is forecasting the all-milk price to average $11.60 per hundredweight in the third quarter and $13.10 per hundredweight in the fourth quarter”

    Given that there are about 8 lbs per gallon, that makes about 12 gallons per hundredweight. At $11.60 per hundredweight, that is about $1 per gallon.

    The $20/gallon is the black market price for raw milk.

  105. #105 Chance Gearheart
    June 4, 2010

    Something strikes me as odd:

    The language that the power nymed Elizabeth uses is strangely similar to the language and prose that our little Augustine uses.

  106. #106 Mark P
    June 4, 2010

    pasteurization is bad because it lets dairy farmers get sloppy.

    That the US allows such poor animal husbandry is an issue entirely separate from milk safety.

    Other countries do not permit poor animal husbandry, even while making non-pasterised milk almost impossible to sell. New Zealand, for example.

  107. #107 Militant Agnostic
    June 4, 2010

    Mojo @3

    Perhaps they think the milk is deficient in black bile, yellow bile, and blood.

    Maybe that is why the Masai in Kenya add cows blood to their (raw) milk :)

    The belief that drinking milk increases mucous production is very common among alties. Is there any basis for this? I had always taken this as being true, but now I am wondering if it is typical altie BS.

  108. Milk causes mucus: while technically false, the theory is extremely common among singers, and it’s backed up heavily by experience. Really, it thickens saliva for a while. It’s a distinction without a difference, if you’re a singer or for some other reason care about the way your mouth feels at a particular moment. And it’s bullshit otherwise.

  109. #109 epador
    June 5, 2010

    Not much of ANYTHING at HuffPo is rational or safe for intellectual consumption, so their “science” problem is no surprise to me. Why should it be so to anyone else?

  110. #110 Sid Offit
    June 5, 2010

    @Cath

    Really? What a coincidence studies contending the mucus connection is false are produced by milk producers

    Milk Consumption Does Not Lead to Mucus Production or Occurrence of Asthma

    Brunello Wüthrich, MD, Alexandra Schmid, Barbara Walther, PhD and Robert Sieber, PhD
    Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital (B.W.), Zurich
    Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Swiss Federal Research Station for Animal Production and Dairy Products

    ————-
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14522407
    The Federal Dairy Research Station (FAM) was established at the beginning of the last century. Its mission is to improve the competitive position of the Swiss milk producers and dairy industry.

  111. Try this totally not Swiss one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2154152

  112. #112 Gil
    June 5, 2010

    Thanks for the info Orac. The story of what woo practictioners get up to is scary.

  113. #113 David N. Brown
    June 5, 2010

    “What is it with these “raw food” and “raw milk” fanatics, anyway? Why do they insist that the food they eat must still be “alive”? Do they insist that their chicken clucks when they eat it? Do they insist on ripping muscle off of live cows to eat it? ”
    I have joked about this before. It would certainly be interesting…
    I don’t understand the rationale for resistance to pasteurization. This isn’t using genetic engineering or injected hormones to affect a cow’s milk production (things I think could be intelligently challenged even without questioning the safety of the product). This isn’t adding chemicals to the milk. It is (to my understanding) simply heating the milk. In those terms, the result should be the same as if someone heated milk on a wood-burning stove. Or are “altmed” folks saying electric heating is toxic while heating with all-natural combustion is beneficial?

  114. #114 Jane
    June 5, 2010

    Am I the only one here who enjoys ultrapasteurized milk? I’m not a big milk drinker, but the UP kind has a sweet taste that I really like.

  115. #115 Zoe
    June 5, 2010

    Feel free to correct me, but

    My understanding is that IgA and other components of breastmilk bind to antigens on the mucosal surfaces in the intestines and respiratory tract and prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) infections and bacteria from entering that way. E.g. e.coli, rotavirus, polio, salmonella. (This explains why polio and rotavirus can be oral vaccines). Possibly, rsv and pneumococcus. However, it is only effective against antigens entering the body through the mucous membranes. Of course, babies love to put everything in their mouths. Usually, enzymes are denatured by stomach acid, but human breast milk antibodies contain a “secretory component” and specialized j-chain that prevents this. In addition, in the first few days, the infant’s gut is still “open,” thus allowing, for example, memory t cells through. That’s why colostrum is so important.

    And that’s why it’s passive immunity, and not active. Side note, breastfeeding has also been shown to raise active antibody responses to vaccines.

    http://journals.lww.com/pedresearch/Fulltext/1999/01000/Secretory_Immunoglobulin_A_Is_a_Component_of_the.14.aspx

    Breast milk (and it’s true, donor milk has been pasteurized and is not quite as beneficial as milk straight from mom) is totally different from cow’s milk in that the antibodies produced by mom are specifically tailored to the baby. In addition, because of the mechanism of feeding, there is no possibility of bacteria contamination. In the case of pumping moms, there are very strict guidelines for how to do so safely. Just not even remotely the same issue.

    So that’s why raw breast milk is totally different from raw cow’s milk. Now, if someone would only explain to my crunchy friends how “organic vaccines” are NOT THE SAME darn issue as organic food!!!

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-48KNS52-C&_user=10&_coverDate=07%2F28%2F2003&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1359534285&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2796337de3d99fd2a3abc7f160d99451

    Human Breast Milk: Current Concepts of Immunology
    and Infectious Diseases
    http://www.sepeap.org/archivos/pdf/10488.pdf

    Would love to know if this is true, it was all over the news in April:

    Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419132403.htm

    I have no opinion of raw milk except that consenting adults should be able to consume whatever they want. Mercola is a nut though.

  116. #116 David N. Brown
    June 5, 2010

    “Back to Mercola: In what state is he licensed? ”
    According to HuffPo, he’s an osteopath, which is pretty much “sort of, maybe a doctor”.
    On the issue of “pastoral fetishism”, this is something that those on the left and the right seem prone to. I like a passage from PJ O’Rourke that offers a pragmatic appraisal of premodern life: “(T)here was no health care reform… There was also no health care. And not much health. Illness was ever present and the most trivial infections might prove fatal… Men customarily married multiple wives, not by way of philandering but because of death in childbirth… A walk through an old graveyard shows our ancestors often had more dead children than we have live ones.”
    One last thing: Back in the ’40s and ’50s, SF writers discussed an idea I call “techno-agrarianism”: That with new technologies for farming could allow a move back to the countryside. The most noteable treatment was Cliff Simak’s “City”, still one of my all-time favorite novels.

  117. #117 colmcq
    June 5, 2010

    @Sid Offit |

    it’s all a massive conspiracy by Big Farmer.

    lolz

  118. #118 Orac
    June 5, 2010

    According to HuffPo, he’s an osteopath, which is pretty much “sort of, maybe a doctor”.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. A D.O. is a physician, just as much as an MD is. True, in the past the D.O. was associated with a lot of woo, and osteopathic schools still teach a bit of it. However, the vast majority of DO’s no longer subscribe to the spinal manipulation part of osteopathy, and in practice, at least everywhere I’ve ever worked, DOs are indistinguishable from MDs.

  119. #119 Alexis
    June 5, 2010

    Orac: I have noticed that DOs are disproportionately represented amongst woo-friendly physicians (that is, if you ask around for a doctor who’s alt-med friendly, he’s more likely to be a DO than one picked at random). I couldn’t say that it’s the fault of osteopathic medical schools, though. Family practitioners have a reputation for being more likely to be alt-med friendly than pediatricians and internists, but family practice itself isn’t the problem. Maybe osteopathic medical schools and family practice are just more attractive to the woo-inclined.

    But this can’t be reversed–you can’t take any individual DO and make assumptions about his or her leanings. My daughter’s pediatrician is a DO, and is completely indistinguishable from the MDs in the practice.

    By the way, raw milk is $6/gallon here for cow’s, $8 for goat, and that’s at the health food store. Maybe $20 is what crazy people buying stuff smuggled into NYC Greenmarket pay, but it’d be cheaper for them to drive here (Pennsylvania).

  120. #120 Zoe
    June 5, 2010

    Feel free to correct me, but

    My understanding is that IgA and other components of breastmilk bind to antigens on the mucosal surfaces in the intestines and respiratory tract and prevent (or reduce the likelihood of) infections and bacteria from entering that way. E.g. e.coli, rotavirus, polio, salmonella. (This explains why polio and rotavirus can be oral vaccines). Possibly, rsv and pneumococcus. However, it is only effective against antigens entering the body through the mucous membranes. Of course, babies love to put everything in their mouths. Usually, enzymes are denatured by stomach acid, but human breast milk antibodies contain a “secretory component” and specialized j-chain that prevents this. In addition, in the first few days, the infant’s gut is still “open,” thus allowing, for example, memory t cells through. That’s why colostrum is so important.

    And that’s why it’s passive immunity, and not active. Side note, breastfeeding has also been shown to raise active antibody responses to vaccines.

    Breast milk (and it’s true, donor milk has been pasteurized and is not quite as beneficial as milk straight from mom) is totally different from cow’s milk in that the antibodies produced by mom are specifically tailored to the baby. In addition, because of the mechanism of feeding, there is no possibility of bacteria contamination. In the case of pumping moms, there are very strict guidelines for how to do so safely. Just not even remotely the same issue.

    So that’s why raw breast milk is totally different from raw cow’s milk. Now, if someone would only explain to my crunchy friends how “organic vaccines” are NOT THE SAME darn issue as organic food!!!

    Would love to know if this is true, it was all over the news in April:

    Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests

    I have no opinion of raw milk except that consenting adults should be able to consume whatever they want. Mercola is a nut though.

  121. #121 Zoe
    June 5, 2010

    Btw, the article from sbm about raw milk is John Snyder, not Joe Albietz.

  122. #122 Pablo
    June 5, 2010

    I have no opinion of raw milk except that consenting adults should be able to consume whatever they want.

    I’m generally all in favor of freedom like that, provided that it doesn’t put others in harms way, but there is more to it: true freedom of choice can only come with true and complete information. Misinformed people are not able to make a correct choice. That is what this is about. It’s not about people who choose to drink raw milk. It’s about people who have bad, factually incorrect reasons for choosing raw milk, and, moreover, passing them on to others (as in Mercola’s article).

    Notice that there hasn’t been much discussion about people who claim it tastes better. That’s a matter of personal opinion, and so there isn’t much to say. Whether it is healthier or not, however, is NOT a matter of opinion, so that is the focus of the discussion.

  123. #123 Xayide
    June 5, 2010

    David @112:

    I work in a store that caters to alties (and am actively looking for work elsewhere), and it seems to really come down to if the word sounds “sciencey”, they recoil in horror. I’ve often had to look up ingredients for people if they’re called by their chemical name rather than common name. If pasteurization was called something like “pureness-enhancing warming” they wouldn’t have a problem with it at all.

  124. #124 a-non
    June 5, 2010

    True, in the past the D.O. was associated with a lot of woo, and osteopathic schools still teach a bit of it. However, the vast majority of DO’s no longer subscribe to the spinal manipulation part of osteopathy, and in practice, at least everywhere I’ve ever worked, DOs are indistinguishable from MDs.

    Depends on where they went to school. At places like A.T. Still, the woo still runs high and there’s all sorts of blather about spinal health being the key to good health. Other osteopathic schools aren’t nearly as bad.

  125. #125 zoe
    June 5, 2010

    I’m generally all in favor of freedom like that, provided that it doesn’t put others in harms way, but there is more to it: true freedom of choice can only come with true and complete information. Misinformed people are not able to make a correct choice. That is what this is about. It’s not about people who choose to drink raw milk. It’s about people who have bad, factually incorrect reasons for choosing raw milk, and, moreover, passing them on to others (as in Mercola’s article).

    I agree with that. However, in many states, it’s illegal to buy/sell raw milk, and several comments have been along those lines. If one can buy/sell cigarettes, then it should be legal to buy/sell raw milk (perhaps with big bad skull warnings and extra taxes).

  126. #126 kittykate
    June 5, 2010

    @93 Milk bank milk is pasteurized and donors have to go through an extensive screening process (HIV & drug testing etc…).

  127. #127 David N. Brown
    June 5, 2010

    Orac @118,
    My general impression is that osteopathy is comparable to chiropractics: historically a “quack” movement, but in recent practice at least “semi-legit”. I think, from a long view, that any health movement that survives and expands will develop in such a direction: Training and procedures will become standardized, practitioners will start to self-regulate, egregious abuses will be cleaned up,and mainstream ideas will infiltrate (and vice versa for legitimate ideas in the movement). But, a steady stream of quackery is quite likely.

  128. #128 Elaine
    June 5, 2010

    Jane @114: I like the UP milk better too.

  129. #129 Nick
    June 5, 2010

    That forum is ridiculous in trying to present DO’s and MD’s as equals. They might be able to do the same residencies, but how many DO’s go into osteopathic medicine because they believe in it enough to practice? For some, it’s a way to get the MD residency without having the grades. Hell, look at how NYCOM’s BSDO program works. For years, they were assuring people with low 20 MCAT’s, and if you didn’t get it and cried to Dr. Hummel, they would still let you in, and then came the bloodbaths in NYCOM, when the BSDO’s were not on par with the other students.

    Simply put, people go to DO schools because the standards are lower and they may not meet the standards of an MD school.

  130. #130 mick.carroll
    June 5, 2010

    As someone who grew up with more than the occasional opportunity to milk a cow, and attended an “agricultural” school (we had a farm and all!) I find the raw milk fad quite perplexing. Yes, raw milk does (in my opinion) taste better, BUT there is a level of risk associated with it that makes it quite unpalatable as a regular beverage. Even with modern milking standards, udder washes and well cleaned machines, you only have to glance around for a second and not see the fleck of fecal flicked from follicles of tail hair or from stomping hoof land on the otherwise pristine udder – right before the cup is applied and sucks that shit right into the milk production line – along with the several million wonderfully natural bacteria just waiting to help you puke your way through the day.

    Or worse.

    Fortunately pasteurization means the bacteria die, filters remove the little fleck of solids and you never knew what was in your milk all along. . .

  131. #131 nostrum
    June 5, 2010

    I donated milk to a milk bank, and I had to go through a screening including a blood test and statements from me, my care provider, and my child’s ped. I had to verify that I wasn’t on any medication (other than prenatal vitamins), didn’t smoke, hadn’t hung out anywhere with mad cow disease outbreaks, and donating the milk wouldn’t have a negative impact on either me or my child’s health.

    My understanding is that they then took my milk and pooled it with other donors and pasteurized it (the horrors!)

  132. #132 Happy Camper
    June 5, 2010

    Straying just a bit from the subject. Now Mark Hyman and Larry Dossey are spreading their nonsense at Huff Po. Ariana Huffington must be out of her mind to allow these frauds, quacks and charlatans to post on her web site.

    Sorry, carry on.

  133. #133 David N. Brown
    June 6, 2010

    I spent a chunk of the afternoon doing a little muckraking. It looks to me like Mercola may have ended up in “osteopathy” after having ambitions in other directions frustrated. I also found that he is on the advisory boards of at least two groups with a stated interest in promoting raw milk. COI, anyone? I was also troubled to note that the site of NOHA (aka American Nutrition Association) lists him as “MD”.

    Something else struck me: Mercola’s “publicity” photos make him look like a cheerful corpse. And he’s not even 60!

  134. #134 A. Nuran
    June 6, 2010

    David Brown, what are the two raw milk advocacy boards he’s on?

  135. #135 Melissa
    June 6, 2010

    As per the foodie arguments here- raw milk cheese definitely is superior, as the native milk bacteria do make a significant flavor contribution. However, having had many types of milk, both raw and pasteurized, in several countries, I would say that pasteurization does not led to an inferior product. The best milk I’ve ever had was slow pasteurized unhomogenized milk from pastured cows in Sweden.

  136. #136 Mary P
    June 6, 2010

    I too like UP milk. And I grew up on a farm drinking raw milk. It tastes different but maybe I just like milk in all its varieties. I am not likely to buy raw milk however.

    On another forum I also saw people talking about growing up on raw milk but they just heated it and it was fine! I think we have a real problem with some people not understanding what pasteurization is.

    I have a friend who can drink raw milk or UP milk but not regular pasteurized milk. Can anyone give me a feasible (and reasonable) explanation of what causes this?

  137. #137 David N. Brown
    June 6, 2010

    @134:
    That’s the Weston A. Price and Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundations. These were openly listed at Mercola’s site. He also lists AAPS and Bio-Solar Proto, the latter of which appears to be an architectural firm.

    Some more dirt I dragged up an his background:
    1. The Chicago College of Osteopathic medicine where Mercola earned his DO has a GPA requirement of 2.75 (which, by comparison, wasn’t enough to put me in the running for a paleontology masters program). Currently, the avg age is reported as 24, but Mercola graduated age 38.

    2. The Chicago Osteopathic Hospital where Mercola was chief Resident from 1984-85 was Accused of causing infant’s death, falsely reporting stillbirth in late 1985. It is conceivable that this was a factor in Mercola’s departure.

  138. #138 rork
    June 6, 2010

    “I too like UP milk. And I grew up on a farm drinking raw milk.” and several other taste comments – I wonder if the fat or lactose levels might be responsible for the difference in reported tastiness. You can increase sweetness by art (milk solid) or by nature.
    I will offer that when I returned to the U.S. as a kid after a year of drinking the German relative’s raw milk, I found the milk here tasted burnt. UP tastes more burnt. Same as when you boil it hard in a pan – try it before adding the chocolate sometime. The farm milk also probably had higher fat content (which I now do not like).
    Disclaim: I have not made the taste test of raw recently, and perhaps pasteurization is not exactly the same as it was long ago. I am not advocating raw milk.

  139. #139 Candy
    June 6, 2010

    Since the only way I can drink milk at all is if it is skim, very, very cold, and I’m using it to wash down cookies, there is little possiblity that I would ever try raw milk, even if I didn’t think it was insane! My grandmother, who grew up on a farm in SE Iowa, used to always talk about what a wonderful thing pasteurization was. She knew what could happen.

    (She also had a baby die in utero when the only antibiotic was sulpha. No one had to sell her on the wonders of modern medicine. I was so lucky to be born into my secular, reality-based family.)

  140. #140 Andreas Johansson
    June 7, 2010

    Besides raw milk tastes great when one drinks it immediately after it is milked from a healthy cow, goat or a buffalo

    I tried milk warm from the cow once, and I thought it tasted vile.

    I also think skim milk tastes better than whole milk.

  141. #141 Samantha Vimes
    June 7, 2010

    The first time I ever saw an ad for raw milk, I almost thought it was a joke. “You mean people pay EXTRA for a chance at tuberculosis?!” Not apparently one of the major threats in the US, but that was the first risk to come to mind, and diseases do make comebacks.

  142. #142 Richard Smith
    June 7, 2010

    Raw milk-ism is yet another fad that needs to be put out to Pasteur.

  143. #143 A. Nuran
    June 7, 2010

    David, they say the training of a physician costs one needless death on average. The question is, was that Mercola’s only one?

  144. #144 David N. Brown
    June 7, 2010

    @143,
    I would expect to find complaints in any doctor’s history, but this one strikes me as uniquely serious. I doubt whether Mercola was directly involved in the incident, if he was even still at the hospital at the time (Nov 1985). I will also grant (barring additional evidence) “benefit of a doubt” whether the alleged misconduct occurred. But, it appears probable that there was, at the least, a lapse in supervision and record keeping. As someone in authority at or around the time, I would consider Mercola responsible for setting standards in these areas.

  145. #145 BlueMaxx
    June 7, 2010

    Speaking of WOOO pitching charlatans…

    I was channel surfing over the weekend.. and on the local cable channel that usually brings me my METS baseball fix, I found a scary yet compelling INFOMERCIAL starring a true master of the BullSHirt… Kevin Trudeau.

    I had forgotten this Quack.. but it seems, having listened to him the same way I couldn’t stop watching the TV coverage a few months ago when they feared a TSUNAMI would hit Hawaii…. he is alive and still buying Paid advertisement slots on cable channels…

    Did you know: Because of BigPharma… it is “illegal for a doctor to cure cancer without using chemo, radiation, or surgery”? “If a medical doctor cures cancer without using at least one, they go to jail!”
    All natural cures for everything… just buy his three pack of FREE BOOKS.. yes. really free, all you need to pay is a ‘small shipping fee’ because he really really wants to help everyone.

    WHAT A Snake Oil Pharmaceutical Representative!!!

  146. #146 Mr. Common Sense
    June 10, 2010

    Cow’s milk is for baby cows

    That statement is the one you should follow…back in the day women who could not boob feed hired someone to do it!

    Cow’s have 4 tummy’s humans have one tummy…think about just a little bit and use your head!!!!

    T-Bone

  147. #147 Vicki
    June 10, 2010

    Egotist @146:

    Yes, back in the day rich women hired poor women as wet nurses. And the poor women’s children often went hungry.

    Also, nobody is suggesting cow’s milk as a replacement for breast milk for infants: infant formula is not the same as milk. (Yes, when women wean children cow’s milk is often a significant part of the replacement, but that’s not inevitable.)

    (I have no idea what you think the difficulties of digesting grass have to do with this.)

  148. #148 Chris
    June 10, 2010

    Oh, Mr. Common Sense, try reading some real science. The ability to drink milk past a certain age gave some populations an advantage in latitudes further away from the equator. Also, the cows multiple stomachs can process the grass into a form that makes it possible for the humans to get more nutrients out of an acre. A population that can drink milk needs less land.

    Also, Mr. Common, cows are not naturally evolved animals. They were artificially selected by humans for certain characteristic. No modern dairy cow could survive as a wild animal.

  149. #149 Andy
    June 10, 2010

    Am I the only one who sees an ad for a petition to get Organic Valley to lift a ban on raw milk? Who says internet ad bots don’t have senses of humor?

  150. #150 Andy
    June 10, 2010

    Am I the only one who sees an ad for a petition to get Organic Valley to lift a ban on raw milk? Who says internet ad bots don’t have senses of humor?

  151. #151 Militant Agnostic
    June 10, 2010

    Am I the only one who sees an ad for a petition to get Organic Valley to lift a ban on raw milk? Who says internet ad bots don’t have senses of humor?

    I see it too and I am running Firefox with adblock.

  152. #152 tjcrebs
    June 11, 2010

    Oh pooh, modern hygenic methods, refrigeration, and stainless steel make raw milk as relatively safe as the pasteurized stuff, which is just as easily contaminated in transit. I find it funny that the country that gave us Pasteur, prefers fresh raw-milk soft cheese (i.e., awesome food considered contraband in the USA). I make my own cheese, yogurt, and kefir from raw milk, and do indeed pasteurize @ 185*F prmarily to denature the whey proteins for excellent textured Greek/strained yogurt. IMHO real traditional/artisan cheese from raw milk is superior to the industrialized/mass-marketed stuff sold in American grocery stores.

  153. #153 JayZee
    June 11, 2010

    36 “Speaking of breastmilk, I’m seeing a trend on mommy boards of “swapping” breastmilk… say, if one mother can’t produce enough, someone else will pump and provide for the infant (heaven forbid formula should ever be used if needed, it’s poison you know!). This always makes my skin crawl, because who knows what is being passed through that milk in terms of disease, drugs, etc. And I way off-base in my thinking here?”
    _______________________________________________
    ROFLMAO
    That right there is comedy GOLD!
    I’m in pain from pointing and laughing so hard but I love this place.

  154. #154 Shereen
    July 27, 2010

    Interesting thread. The raw milk movement is foolish. I’ve tasted raw milk from a dairy tank and I like the flavor, but I’m pretty sure that was probably due to the high fat content and not by magical living enzymes.

    I write about nutrition for a living and there are certain topics that always result in emails explaining to me that I don’t know what I’m saying, that I’m a danger to society and that I ‘need to do my research.’ Then I’m always directed to said research – usually on Westin Price’s site or Mercola’s or some other alternate med/nutrition site. Their BS is so easy to spot, but a lot of people fall for it.

  155. #155 Maci
    August 30, 2010

    I read Mercola. I don’t buy all of his statements. However, I’m lactose intolerant. Headaches galore. Drank raw milk. No headaches. All I want is a choice to buy it. (Can’t here in IA as someone else has decided for me.)

  156. #156 wwwwwwwwww
    October 9, 2010

    Louis Pastuer (sp?) has written that he did not think heating the milk (pasturization as we know it today) was the best way to deal with the problems of keeping the milk free of bacteria, as he felt it was destroying the nutritrients in them milk. He even let the government officals know this, yet they were desperate for a solution. they cows were being housed next to the distilleries at the time, and were being fed the left over crap from the distilling process. They had no idea how to keep the enviroment sanitary or how to collect the milk in sterile conditions, and the cows were receiving such poor nutrition that they had mininal healthy bacteria in them to help keep theri milk healthy. The distillers were making huge money, and they did not want to change that. Pasturization was a quick fix, even though it was not recommended by the scienctist himself.

  157. #157 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 9, 2010

    Is there really a relationship between the spent grains from the distilling industry and milk-borne diseases? Based on my understanding of fermentation, there aren’t any pathogens involved.

  158. #158 Matthew Cline
    October 9, 2010

    and the cows were receiving such poor nutrition that they had mininal healthy bacteria in them to help keep theri milk healthy.

    While still inside of the udders the milk is sterile. It’s the bacteria on the surface of the udders or in the milking equipment that’s the problem.

  159. #159 Chris
    October 9, 2010

    Louis Pasteur died over a century ago, do you have anything more recent?

  160. #160 Composer99
    October 9, 2010

    That’s one of the more archaic ‘Big Business Shill’ (TM) gambits I’ve ever seen, in addition to a textbook case of thread necromancy.

  161. #161 Dr. Paul Blake, N.D.
    October 11, 2010

    I would like to nail this down real good here so there is no doubt about just how wrong the FDA is.

    Vonderplanitz and Campbell Douglass’s testimony on Raw Milk, this is probably the best reference for anyone who wants the truth about Raw vs Pasteurized Milk so they can make up their own minds using the facts. Below are just two interesting tidbits from this report that drives a stake right where it belongs between the eyes of the FDA.

    Throughout USA, for nearly 40 years, millions of people drank over 3 billion glasses of Alta Dena Dairy’s raw milk and there was not one epidemic, and not one proved case of foodborne illness because of it (Exhibit K, p. 58).

    Some Outbreaks Attributed to Bacterial Food-poisoning from PASTEURIZED MILK..16
    • 1945?1,492 cases for the year in the U.S.A.
    • 1945?1 outbreak, 300 cases in Phoenix, Arizona.
    • 1945?Several outbreaks, 468 cases of gastroenteritis, 9 deaths, in Great Bend, Kansas.
    • 1978?1 outbreak, 68 cases in Arizona.
    • 1982?over 17,000 cases of yersinia enterocolitica in Memphis, Tenn.
    • 1982?172 cases, with over 100 hospitalized from a three-Southern-state area.
    • 1983?1 outbreak, 49 cases of listeriosis in Massachusetts.
    • 1984?August, 1 outbreak S. typhimurium, approximately 200 cases, at one plant in Melrose
    Park, IL.
    • 1984?November, 1 outbreak S. typhimurium, at same plant in Melrose Park, IL.
    • 1985?March, 1 outbreak, 16,284 confirmed cases, at same plant in Melrose Park, IL.
    • 1985?197,000 cases of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella infections from one dairy in
    California.1718
    • 1985?1,500+ cases, Salmonella culture confirmed, in Northern Illinois.
    • 1993?2 outbreaks statewide, 28 cases Salmonella infection.
    • 1994?3 outbreaks, 105 cases, E. Coli & Listeria in California.
    • 1995?1 outbreak, 3 cases in California.
    • 1996?2 outbreaks Campylobactor and Salmonella, 48 cases in California.
    • 1997?2 outbreaks, 28 cases Salmonella in California.

    Dr. Paul Blake, N.D.

    “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” ~Thomas Jefferson

  162. #162 doctorgoo
    October 11, 2010

    I’m glad that you at the initials after your name, Mr. Blake. This way, regular people can know that you aren’t a real doctor.

  163. #163 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 11, 2010

    That’s your idea of a comparison, “Dr.” Blake? Comparing one raw-milk dairy with all pasteurized milk purveyors, that seems like a meaningful comparison to you? Free hint, Mr. Blake, that’s actually called “cherry-picking.”

    You are using the same tactics as the tobacco companies who said “ignore all these scientific studies showing that people who use our products have a much higher chance of developing cancer! Instead pay attention to this one single person we’ve cherry-picked who hasn’t developed cancer!” Is that the company you want to be in?

  164. #164 titmouse
    October 11, 2010

    Below are just two interesting tidbits from this report that drives a stake right where it belongs between the eyes of the FDA.

    Good Lord.

    This is what a cult does to human beings, people.

  165. #165 Calli Arcale
    October 11, 2010

    Mephistopheles O’Brien @ 157:

    Is there really a relationship between the spent grains from the distilling industry and milk-borne diseases? Based on my understanding of fermentation, there aren’t any pathogens involved.

    Well, there are if you count yeast. Actually, brewer’s yeast is a popular health food item, and it is claimed to improve gut health by providing beneficial bacteria (which in theory, would make the cow poop cleaner, and it’s cow poop that’s the main source of contamination in raw milk — and it’s very hard to avoid, considering the geometry of a cow’s backside). I’m skeptical that it does much good there, but I really can’t imagine it would hurt.

  166. #166 Calli Arcale
    October 11, 2010

    By the way, with respect to post-pasteurization contamination of milk, there is a solution. If you do not trust the milk to be transported or stored properly, buy it directly from a creamery. A fair number of creameries do allow consumers to buy it practically straight out of the pasteurizer, and then preventing cross-contamination from that point out becomes your problem.

  167. #167 Pablo
    October 11, 2010

    Actually, brewer’s yeast is a popular health food item, and it is claimed to improve gut health by providing beneficial bacteria

    Are they not aware that YEAST ARE NOT BACTERIA???!!!!!!

    This is the same scam of how you are supposed to pour yeast down your drain to help your septic tank. Um, what good does yeast do? It is bacteria in your septic tank that digests waste, not yeast. Just because yeast gets all foamy when you let it sit in warm water doesn’t mean it is going to eat your doodie.

  168. #168 Scientizzle
    October 11, 2010

    40 years, millions of people drank over 3 billion glasses of Alta Dena Dairy’s raw milk and there was not one epidemic, and not one proved case of foodborne illness because of it

    According to this source per capita milk consumption in the United States in 2006 was 83.9L/person/year. 1 liter = 33.8140227 US fluid ounces. If we say a “glass” of milk is 8 ounces, assume that milk consumption has been more or less steady, estimate the average population of the US from 1945-1997 to be 250,000,000 and round some numbers for simplicity…

    (250,000,000)*(83.9)*(97-45) = 1,090,700,000,000L of milk consumed over the course of the Alta Dena Dairy example.

    3 billion “glasses” = about 88,720,588L. This is approximately 0.00813% of all milk consumed in the USA over that time period by these imperfect estimates.

    Congratulations to the Alta Dena Dairy for their apparent (“not one proved case,” eh?) stellar safety record! However, given that their output appears to have made up 81.3 out of every 1,000,000 glasses of milk enjoyed by the public, it hardly seems a valid comparison…

    In fact, let’s take this example to an extreme, but logical conclusion…if we sum all the examples on the list of “Outbreaks Attributed to Bacterial Food-poisoning from PASTEURIZED MILK” (let’s say it somes to 250,000 cases) we would need only 20 cases of bacterial food-poisoning from a raw dairy of Alta Dena’s production levels to equal the per capita risk of the sum of those examples. That list wasn’t exhaustive, I’m sure, but I’m sure it would be a trivial task to find a single raw milk dairy example that was responsible for a higher per capita rate of food-bourne illness over the same time period.

    Hopefully the good “doctor” understand now how a foolish counter-example it was that he provided?

  169. #169 Scott
    October 11, 2010

    Hopefully the good “doctor” understand now how a foolish counter-example it was that he provided?

    Unlikely. He is an ND, after all, and therefore necessarily has no grasp of basic math or logic.

  170. #170 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 11, 2010

    Calli,

    As a home brewer, I routinely drink dilute solutions of brewer’s yeast and don’t consider it a pathogen. So how that could be associated with, say, milk-borne tuberculosis was beyond me.

    Assuming you take care of any residual alcohol (or you strain out the spent grains before you ferment), the grain left over from fermentation should be a high protein, high fiber, low sugar food and should be perfectly good in reasonable concentration for ruminants.

  171. #171 Calli Arcale
    October 11, 2010

    Pablo:

    Are they not aware that YEAST ARE NOT BACTERIA???!!!!!!

    Yeah, well, to a lot of folks, anything unicellular is a bacterium. ;-) Yeast is kind of a fuzzy situation; it’s a (mostly) unicellular eukaryote, so clearly not a bacterium, but I seem to recall there was some controversy over placing it in the kingdom Fungi, where it presently resides. It’s a very diverse group, too, so the word “yeast” is actually pretty vague.

    And there are pathogenic yeasts. The most famous are, of course, the many species of Candida. They live commensally with us for long periods of time, but overgrowth can cause problems.

    The genus of yeast typically used for baking and brewing is Saccharomyces, not a species associated with disease in humans. I found a wonderful article discussing briefly the use of yeast in brewing and baking; click on my name to read it.

  172. #172 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 11, 2010

    Mr. Blake, you seem to have left out some pertinent data:

    Between April, 1971 and March, 1974, S dublin was isolated from 79 persons in California, 37 of whom had medical conditions. Their ages ranged from 1 mo. to 88 yrs; 59 were hospitalized, 16 died, and 32 infections were traced to Alta Dena CRM [Certified Raw Milk]. Herd tests found that cattle can have localized infections that will not show up in fecal surveys [4]. Salmonella organisms have been recovered 45 times since 1977 from California produced raw milk — all from Alta Dena’s CRM [5]. In 1981, 46 cases of S dublin were reported in California; in 1982, 70 cases were reported. 24% of patients reported using CRM. In 1983, 123 cases were identified, 44% reported using CRM; at least 24 of the 1983 patients had cancer. 80% of patients were hospitalized, 26% died [6]. Alta Dena CRM was also implicated in the Jalisco cheese tragedy that killed 89 people [7]. Stueve refused to believe the data and claimed they were part of a conspiracy against CRM. The facts suggest that just the opposite was true. Alta Dena had strong political support. Governor Jerry Brown was a CRM user. State Senator William Campbell sponsored several bills exempting Alta Dena from control by the state; two such bills passed the legislature but were vetoed by Governor George Deukmejian. Alta Dena also intimidated its critics. It launched a $110 million personal lawsuit against the physician who testified on behalf of children for the American Academy of Pediatrics [8].

    Alta Dena’s advertising claimed that CRM was the “safest, purest, most wholesome milk you can buy” and distributed “educational” materials claiming that pasteurization markedly reduced the nutritional value of milk. Alta Dena refused to put warning labels on CRM. The Berkeley Co-op reported that the warning signs it voluntarily posted were repeatedly torn down by CRM buyers. The AIDS problem in San Francisco eventually caused its city council to require such a label. Political intervention in Sacramento continued to prevent the Department of Health Services from ordering Alta Dena to pasteurize. A public interest lawsuit brought by Consumer’s Union, the American Public Health Association and the California Grey Panthers (a senior citizen consumer group) resulted in a 1985 court order requiring a warning label on CRM. Stueve continued to deny that CRM was responsible for health problems. Alta Dena financed an independent study by the UCLA School of Public Health to determine if CRM was actually a problem. Epidemiologists at UCLA estimated that more than one-third of reported S. dublin infections in California from 1980-83 were attributable to raw milk consumption. It appeared that the incidence of infection was 8 to 35 per 100,000 [9]. It was determined that the relative risk of illness from S. dublin infection for CRM users in 1983 was 158.0 based upon an estimated one pint/day/user consuming some of the 12,000 gallons produced daily [10].

    References:
    [4] MMWR, 1974;23:175.
    [5] California Morbidity, 2/27/81.
    [6] MMWR 1984;33:196+.
    [7] Los Angeles Herald, 8/24/85.
    [8] Raw milk and raw nerves [legal harassment of critic] (Bolton) California Pediatrician, Fall, 1992 pp.42-4.
    [9] Richwald, et al. “Assessment of the excess risk of Salmonella dublin infection associated with the use of Certified Raw Milk” Public Health Reports, 1988;103:489-93.
    [10] MMWR, 1984;33:185-7.

    Note that even the study financed by Alta Dena showed a major risk of Salmonella poisoning by raw milk.

    According to the CDC, 75% of the food-poisoning outbreaks between 2000-2007 were caused by raw dairy products.

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