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State Health Professionals Pen Anti-Raw Milk Editorial
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/29/2013

Members of Wisconsin's various health systems have issued a joint editorial on Thursday talking about why they oppose any efforts to legalize the sale of raw milk to the public. The memo--which was drafted by physicians, veterinarians and others in the public health community--expressed their concerns of how unpasteurized dairy products threaten children and other consumers who may not understand the risks of eating such products.

"We are gravely concerned that widespread raw milk consumption would harm the health of young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems," the letter stated. "These groups face the greatest risk of acquiring life-threatening illnesses from unpasteurized milk."

The letter cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, which noted that through March 2012, 60-percent of the food borne illnesses reported to the agency were a result of non-pasteurized products--resulting in over 1,500 cases, 200 hospitalizations and two deaths.

"The vast majority of these outbreaks occurred in the 21 states which permit the sale of non-pasteurized products," the editorial noted. "Any death from raw milk is preventable, and even one child who requires kidney dialysis due to a raw milk infection is one child too many."

The Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, which is made up of state farm and health groups who oppose legalizing raw milk sales, say there is no scientific or health benefits to consuming milk in its natural form as opposed to pasteurizing it first.

Authors of the editorial include Robert Phillips, MD, Marshfield Clinic; Tim Bartholow, MC, Wisconsin Medical Society; Ken Schellhase, MD, Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians; Muriel Nagle, RN, Wisconsin Public Health Association; Linda Conlon, RN, Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards; Mike Gutzeit, MD, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; and James Meyer, MD, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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