Setting the Record Straight on Raw Milk Illnesses

As published in a recent Austin American-Statesman article, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is now claiming that there were two small outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to raw milk in the spring of 2015. But this is the first time in the year and a half since the outbreaks happened that the agency has said anything about them. The article raises far more questions than it answers.

Here’s what typically happens when two or more people get sick from a foodborne illness:

The investigating authority first asks each person to list everything they ate or drank in the days before they got sick. As you can imagine, people’s recollection is often incomplete, especially when they’re sick. So the lists may or may not include the food product that had the bacteria. If the health department is able to identify a common food consumed by each of the affected persons, they then attempt to trace the food product to the farm or food manufacturer where it was produced.…

Read more »

Raw Milk Is Not a High-Risk Food

Industry and medical groups have claimed that raw milk is dangerous, but the data contradicts their claims.

Any food can be the source of foodborne illness under the wrong conditions. The issue isn’t whether some people have become sick from raw milk on occasion – the issue is whether raw milk poses such an unusually high level of risk that it justifies the government forcing people to drive several hours to the farm to obtain it.

All of the data discussed below is from the CDC for the 13-year period from 1998 to 2010.

Read more »