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Rough Times For Raw Milk

Raw milk is the likely culprit for E. coli outbreaks in Missouri and Oregon.

A ladle full of raw milk, held over top of a jar full of raw milk.

Photo: Chiot's Run (Flickr)

The two sides of the debate disagree about whether the health and flavor benefits of drinking raw milk outweigh the disease risks.

E. Coli outbreaks have sickened over two dozen people in Missouri and Oregon.

Missouri’s Boone County Health Department and the Oregon State Department of Health have announced that both outbreaks are linked to the consumption of raw (unpasteurized) milk.

The Raw Milk Saga

Raw milk has become a hot topic in the last couple of years.

While supporters have rallied for the right to drink it, citing its superior taste and ostensible health benefits, opponents like the USDA have insisted raw milk can contain dangerous food-borne pathogens.

Laws regulating the sale of raw milk vary widely state-by-state.

Eighteen In Oregon, Fourteen In Missouri

In Oregon, five patients have lab-confirmed cases of e. coli. Others have been hospitalized with severe symptoms.

The hospitalized patients include four children, aged 1 to 14. All suffer from hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure that sometimes comes from e. coli infection. All patients recently drank raw milk traced to Foundation Farm in Wilsonville, Oregon.

The source of the outbreak in Missouri remains uncertain. Seven patients had consumed raw milk from a farm in Howard County, which is currently under investigation by Missouri state health officials.

The other seven patients did not report having consumed raw milk from that farm.

E. Coli symptoms can take anywhere from one to ten days to appear and may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. Healthy adults can usually recover in about a week, but for children, the elderly or others with suppressed immune systems, the illness can be fatal.

Read More:

  • Oregon Teen In Critical Condition From E. Coli Linked To Raw Milk (Food Safety News)
  • E. Coli Case Count In Missouri Rises To 14; Raw Milk Implicated (Food Safety News)
  • Raw Milk From Howard County Farm Possible Source Of E. Coli Oubreak (Saint Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Another E. Coli Infection Traced To Raw Milk From Wilsonville-Area Farm (The Oregonian)
Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

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  • http://www.jimrehs.net/ Jim Schmidt

    It isn’t just the feds that think raw milk is unsafe it’s the majority of public health officials at all levels of government. And you know what, it isn’t “thinking” it is not as safe it is actually knowing that raw milk has a higher incidence of disease, fact.

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