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CDC Looks at Diseases in State That Allows Raw Milk Sales
USAgNet - 02/27/2012

States that allow raw milk sales have more than twice as many dairy-related disease outbreaks as states with prohibitions on such unpasteurized products, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed.

According to Bloomberg News, the rate of incidents caused by raw milk, cheese and yogurt was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk, according to the Atlanta-based CDCs study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The 13-year review examined outbreaks from 1993 to 2006 in all 50 U.S. states.

Unpasteurized dairy has gained popularity by consumers who say raw milk strengthens the immune system and provides other health benefits. Twenty states ban raw milk sales in some form.

"Restricting the sale of raw milk products is likely to reduce the number of outbreaks and can help keep people healthier," Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, said in a statement.

Dairy caused 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations and three deaths, according to the study. In 60 percent of the outbreaks, state health officials determined raw milk products were the cause.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the interstate sale of raw milk in 1987 and has investigated farmers and co-op owners who provide raw milk products.

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