Law For Food: The law affects what you eat. What you buy to eat affects the law.


Raw Milk May Be Safer

Very interesting: this statement by Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures. The topic is raw milk and the minimal public health risks it poses to consumers. Money quote:

Dr. Caterina Berge, DVM and PhD candidate at UC Davis, tested our milk cows’ fresh manure and did not find any human pathogens. That’s right. . . no Salmonella. She was able to show that when antibiotics are not ever used on the herd (as stipulated in the organic standards) and when cows are not stressed (grass-fed and kept healthy) they simply do not slough off pathogens in their manure. The data collected at Organic Pastures was quite different from that found at other dairies. The typical conventional milk tank had either salmonella or E. coli O157:H7 detected about 30 percent of the time. In comparison, Organic Pastures has never had one pathogen—ever.

To study this issue further, Organic Pastures contracted with BSK labs in Fresno to perform multiple challenge and recovery tests on our raw milk and raw colostrum. When 7 logs (10 million counts) of pathogens were added to one-milliliter samples of organic raw milk they would not grow. In fact they died off. The salmonella was so badly out-competed that it could not be found less than 24 hours later. The listeria drop was less dramatic and was similiar to the E. Coli O157:H7 samples that were studied, but they also did not grow and declined substantially over time.

I am looking for these studies now. I haven’t really worked on raw milk on this website in a while as I am exploring the myriad of legal issues that surround the food industry. It seems that everywhere I look there another area of law or policy is involved in food production (e.g., labeling and consumer protection; product liability; labor and immigration; energy policy) and it’s difficult to narrow down my focus. I had thought that food law would be kind of a niche but I am surprised by its breadth.

(Link via the very informative comments following Meg’s post on eating while pregnant.)

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