Here is my response to the latest fear mongering from the Center for Disease control and The Oregonian regarding THIS article.
Dear Center for Disease Control,
Ironic name, don’t you think? You may want to think about changing it. I suggest something along the lines of, Center for Disease Perpetuation, or Center for Diabolical Centrists, or Center for Misinformation and Corporate Control. Anyway, I digress.
One of your propagandists, Dr. Robert Tauxe, recently sent out a letter regarding raw milk “outbreaks” containing the shocking statement, “They’ve been increasing in recent years.” Assuming your (often wrong, and deliberately skewed statistics) are correct, you stated that between the years of 2007 and 2012, 81 “outbreaks” have occurred. One of your cronies, Dr. Katrina Hedberg, Oregon’s state epidemiologist, says , “Pasteurization is one of the great health advances of the 20th century…But now we’re in the 21st century, and we’re still talking about it.”
Let me ask you this, Dr. Hedberg: Why are you not outraged by unpasteurized and raw cantaloupe? Raw beef? Raw spinach? Raw onions? Apple juice? Peanuts? Hot dogs? And what about all of the contamination from pasteurized milk?
Because all of these foods have caused more deaths than raw milk EVER has. Take a look.
“Thirty people died after eating cantaloupe melons infected with listeria from September to October 2011, making this the deadliest outbreak of the modern era. Cantaloupe grown in Colorado infected 146 people across 28 states, killing 30.”
“A listeria outbreak in Ball Park hot dogs manufactured by Bil Mar Foods in Chicago, Ill., killed 15 adults, caused six miscarriages or stillbirths, and sickened more than 100 people across 22 states”
“In the largest salmonella outbreak in milk to date, more than 16,000 people across the upper Midwest fell ill from consuming milk produced at the Hillfarm Dairy in Melrose Park, Ill. Nine people died. It is believed that the reduced-fat milk that carried the bacteria was atypically contaminated after the pasteurization process by salmonella in the pipes used to mix skim and whole milks, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
“In 2008, eight people died and at least 690 fell ill after eating peanut products, including peanut butter, contaminated with salmonella.”
“Turkey deli meat caused 46 confirmed illnesses and seven deaths across eight states in 2002, the CDC reports. The illnesses led to the voluntary recall of 27.4 million pounds of fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products produced in Pennsylvania by Pilgrim’s Pride Foods.”
“Undercooked hamburgers at Jack in the Box restaurants in Washington state killed four people, including three children, and sickened about 400 others who had eaten the burgers or come in contact with people who were infected, the CDC reports. To date, this is the deadliest E. coli outbreak in American history.”
“Green onions infected with hepatitis A served at a restaurant in Pennsylvania infected more than 600 people and killed three in 2003, the CDC reports. Because the illness incubates for two to six weeks after infection, many diners passed the disease on to family members and sexual partners without realizing it, the CDC explains.”
“Three people died and at least 276 fell ill across 26 states due to E. coli-contaminated spinach in 2006, though the CDC estimates the total number was much higher. The outbreak was traced to bagged fresh spinach produced in San Benito County, Calif.”
“Unpasteurized apple juice from the manufacturer Odwalla killed one infant and sickened at least 66 people, the CDC reports. According to testimony from a company inspector after the outbreak, E. coli appeared because Odwalla made a batch of bottled apple juice with blemished, decaying fruit.”
Often times, your comrades will cite an incident from 1922 in which 22 people died from raw milk consumption in the Portland area. Yes, and if you knew or understood anything about history you would not be comparing apples to oranges. Like, do you realize that the 1920′s for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than on farms? Do you know that alcohol was illegal in 1922? If we fancy outdated laws and policies, like banning raw milk, maybe we should think about re-instating the ban on alcohol too! Lord knows alcohol consumption kills people. But then again, so does cigarettes, pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, etc. But you’re not worried about those pesky details.
Back to the deadly raw milk. The economy was booming and things were changing at a drastic rate. There is a lot to learn during eras of massive change like the roaring twenties. Such as the concept of sanitation. Do you realize that the concept of sanitation and germs was practically untouched at this point? Refrigeration was uncommon, too. All while cows were brought into the city for easier access to milk. And do you know how much manure cows produce? A lot. All of this without proper sanitation knowledge. So, yes, naturally, unrefrigerated and unclean milk would become a breeding ground for disease. Yes, and when you heat unclean milk it becomes less germ-ridden. After the Portland raw milk deaths in 1922, action for mandated pasteurization legislation was spurred. You can see why.
I don’t know about you guys over at the CDC, but I use a refrigerator. So does my farmer. My farmer also understands the concept of sanitation. She is very clean. And so are her cows. This is because we have progressed in scientific knowledge since the 1920s. Which means my raw milk does not need to be pasteurized. I know this is a hard concept to understand, but please try.
I will give you this, though: Common milk, centralized milk sold in grocery stores from large dairy farms is dirty. The cows are sick because they are fed grain and other foods that they do not digest well with. They do not live on pasture, they are crammed in stalls with a massive amount of other cows. These farms are breeding grounds for disease, and hence the milk is as well. So, yes, most milk needs to be pasteurized. Why anyone would ever want to drink this milk is another question, but you seem to think it’s okay.
The milk that I drink is raw. It is clean. It is from healthy cows. It is refrigerated. It is not from a massive, factory farm. It is from a small, local, clean, farm with refrigerators. It does not need to be pasteurized.
Please stop demonizing Americans who make good choices. Americans who are smart enough to bypass your terrible statistics and Americans who know history and understand why pasteurization used to be important but is unnecessary now (unless you drink factory farmed milk, of course.)
One more thing. If you could stop blaming raw milk for food borne illnesses that come from other foods, that would be great. Reporter and blogger, David E. Gumpert, author of Raw Milk Revolution, has uncovered several events in which families who drink raw milk have been contaminated by other foods, but when your cronies at the state department find out they drink raw milk, they automatically tally one up for raw milk outbreak out of pure assumption. The culprit usually ends up being spinach or pasteurized milk. And you know this.
I know your organization, the Center for Disease Control, has tight, corporate ties. We know you are perpetuating these faulty statistics and fear tactics toward local, raw milk in order to ensure your corporate buddies stay in business and to keep your Big Ag lobbyists happy. We know that when small farms get raided at gun point that it’s a complete farse in the name of “public health”. We know how you operate. You aren’t fooling anyone.
For more reporting on how the CDC cherry picks data to make a case against raw milk read, read this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
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