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Health/Medical
See other Health/Medical Articles

Title: Raw milk is trending for some reason—so are nasty, drug-resistant infections
Source: ArsTechnica
URL Source: https://arstechnica.com/science/201 ... sty-drug-resistant-infections/
Published: Feb 11, 2018
Author: Beth Mole
Post Date: 2018-02-11 17:27:52 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 94
Comments: 10

There’s been something of a renaissance of raw milk in recent years. And, not surprisingly, the dicey drink of bygone eras is also reviving disease outbreaks.

In recent years, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted that more states have made it legal to get raw (unpasteurized) milk and yearly outbreak numbers linked to unpasteurized dairy have quadrupled nationwide. Today, experts released an analysis of a 2016 multi-drug resistant infection outbreak in Colorado that highlights the growing problem of raw milk consumption—and the challenges that lie ahead. Specifically, the milk in the outbreak was consumed legally while health authorities were powerless to halt distribution even as they watched the outbreak play out over weeks.

The authors of the report, led by the CDC’s Alexis Burakoff, suggest authorities need to do more. They call for more guidelines and state-level assistance in dealing with the raw milk and the outbreaks it sparks. “As more states legalize the sale or other distribution of unpasteurized milk, the number of associated outbreaks will likely increase,” they warn. Dr. Burakoff and her colleagues reported their analysis in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the Colorado outbreak, health experts confirmed 12 cases and documented another five suspected cases of Campylobacter jejuni infections from raw milk. The infections cause fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. The outbreak strain of C. jejuni could withstand three antibiotics: tetracycline, nalidixic acid, and ciprofloxacin. The latter has been a first-line defense against C. jejuni in the past, when antibiotics were warranted. Drug-resistant strains can cause more severe disease and take longer to clear up.

The Coloradoans drinking the milk were doing so legally. Though selling raw milk in the state is illegal, selling a share of a herd of cows or goats (herdshares) for access to raw milk is not. The herdshare at the center of the outbreak had 171 shareholder households, involving 207 people.

The outbreak began in early August but spanned into September, despite several warnings from local health authorities. Throughout the outbreak, the dairy continued to distribute milk to shareholders, and some shareholders shared the milk with others. Only 91 of the 171 households responded to health authorities during their outbreak investigation and response.

Raw numbers

Though the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment seemed to consider shutting down the dairy, doing so would require it to create standards or conditions to safely reopen the dairy. But no standards or conditions short of requiring pasteurization of the herdshare milk could ensure its safety—which the department couldn’t do. Its hands were essentially tied, even as milk samples were testing positive for C. jejuni.

Colorado isn’t the only state with this sort of gray area of raw milk access—and the situation has only gotten worse recently. Since 1987, the US Food and Drug Administration has banned the distribution of unpasteurized milk across state lines, noting the obvious health benefits of ridding the popular dairy product of pathogens. But states can make their own call on how milk is distributed within their borders. And some believe that drinking raw milk has health benefits, despite there being no solid evidence to support those claims.

In 2004, five states allowed herdsharing. By 2008, that number had grown to 10. Likewise, the number of states in which it was legal to sell raw milk increased from 22 in 2004 to 30 in 2011.

CDC researchers reported a spike in outbreaks from raw milk in 2015. Between 2007 and 2012, raw milk outbreaks of C. jejuni doubled, for instance. And comparing average annual outbreaks linked to raw milk in the periods of 1993 to 2006 and 2007 to 2012, researchers noted a four-fold jump.

To highlight the dangers of raw milk, CDC researchers calculated the relative risk of outbreaks of raw milk versus pasteurized milk in 2015. Based on production data and consumer surveys, the researchers estimated that Americans consumed about 2.7 trillion pounds of milk between 1993 and 2006. Of that, Americans drank about one percent, or 27 billion pounds, raw. During that time frame, the 27 billion raw pounds were linked to 73 outbreaks while the remaining 2,673 billion pounds of pasteurized milk were linked to only 48 outbreaks. That works out to a 150-fold increased relative risk of outbreaks from raw milk over pasteurized milk.


Poster Comment:

I think people should have the option to purchase and consume raw milk. However, there should be a recall system in place if there is a dangerous outbreak.

I've yet to see any numbers on how many of the raw milk people are anti-vaxxers (and very liberal) but I would expect a high coincidence between those groups.

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#1. To: Tooconservative (#0)

However, there should be a recall system in place if there is a dangerous outbreak.

That should be the responsibility of the people distributing the raw milk (herdshare). As the article points out, the state's hands are tied.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-02-11   17:39:03 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: misterwhite (#1)

That should be the responsibility of the people distributing the raw milk (herdshare). As the article points out, the state's hands are tied.

The legislature should pass new laws requiring a functional recall plan for raw milk, whether herdshares or any other source.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-02-11   17:40:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Tooconservative (#2) (Edited)

The legislature should pass new laws requiring a functional re recall plan for raw milk

Why is that the responsibility of the state? And what is the state allowed to do to correct the problem that caused the recall?

I thought the people wanted the state to butt out when it came to raw milk, and I thought you supported that. Now, at the first sign of trouble, you start pleading for the state to come to your aid. F**k that s**t.

You also want the government to butt out of drugs. How long will it be before you come crying to the government to fix the problems you've created with that stupid idea?

misterwhite  posted on  2018-02-11   18:08:21 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Tooconservative (#0)

I think people should have the option to purchase and consume raw milk. However, there should be a recall system in place if there is a dangerous outbreak.

I would agree with that. It's the case with any food or drink.

In raw milk's defense, however, assuming the raw milk was the source of the outbreak I would point out that any *drug resistant* bacteria is not the fault of raw milk. All this anti-bacterial soap and cleaners sold in the stores is the cause of that. Anti bacterial soaps and such are needlessly sold to consumers with no legitimate need of it, and I see it as begging for disaster. I refuse to buy any antibacterial products unless there is a specific medical need.

People who buy those things naively consider all bacteria to be evil and have no idea that they are a natural part of our environment and that we need in our bodies to be healthy.

Pinguinite  posted on  2018-02-11   18:33:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: misterwhite (#3)

Just because people should be able to choose pasteurized or raw milk products doesn't mean you should not regulate both to make the producers responsible for recalls of their product. You can have recalls on pasteurized dairy products as well.

The regular dairy industry can do recalls. Why should the raw milk providers get away without doing the same. Make it a level playing field for the two competing industries.

Letting people choose their milk does not alleviate any milk producers from their responsibility to provide product tracking to aid in alerting the public if a recall is needed due to an outbreak.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-02-11   18:35:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Pinguinite (#4)

In raw milk's defense, however, assuming the raw milk was the source of the outbreak I would point out that...

I don't disagree but that is a separate issue.

If they're going to allow raw milk producers to sell their products, they should have the same requirements to provide safety warnings and a recall system, just like any other dairy producer or any producers of food/beverages in general.

It's been a while since a major dairy product recall. I was trying to remember any and I do recall that 20 years back, a major vendor (Schwans) had to recall all of their ice cream products. Schwans was a big frozen foods supplier that sold exclusively from their own reefer trucks; it was their ice cream that customers loved the most, made with real heavy cream, very distinct rich dairy flavor. It turns out that it was a single instance of one truck that got contaminated by unpasteurized eggs that caused the outbreak that made 60+ people sick with salmonella in southern MN, the company's home state.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-02-11   18:52:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: misterwhite (#3)

Why is that the responsibility of the state? And what is the state allowed to do to correct the problem that caused the recall?

I thought the people wanted the state to butt out when it came to raw milk, and I thought you supported that. Now, at the first sign of trouble, you start pleading for the state to come to your aid. F**k that s**t.

You also want the government to butt out of drugs. How long will it be before you come crying to the government to fix the problems you've created with that stupid idea?

For my part, I wanted the state to butt out, and I want it to stay butted out.

Yes, drinking raw milk IS riskier than drinking pasteurized milk. You're exposed to more bugs, and sometimes the bugs are going to give you the shits, or make you sicker. But over time exposure to bacteria, and having various illnesses, makes your immune system stronger.

Drink raw milk, ride out the illnesses, and you have a stronger immune system. Well worth it, from my perspective. You're better off to get chicken pox young than to avoid it and never develop any immunity to it.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-02-11   22:03:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Vicomte13 (#7)

Drink raw milk, ride out the illnesses, and you have a stronger immune system.

There you go -- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-02-12   9:18:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Tooconservative (#5)

Why should the raw milk providers get away without doing the same.

Then their consumers should push them to change. Leave the rest of us out of it -- which I thought was the general idea.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-02-12   9:22:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: misterwhite (#8)

There you go -- what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

It does.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-02-12   10:44:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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