Bacteria-contaminated milk kills 3 people
I don't like to use a tragedy to make my point, but something awful happened in New England recently that I have to point out. Apparently, bacteria-contaminated milk caused one miscarriage and the deaths of three elderly men. The killer milk came from the widely respected Whittier Farms Dairy, which has a herd of hormone-free cows, and uses glass bottles for their milk.
It would fit the FDA's story line perfectly if these awful events were caused by the consumption of raw milk. But no - the bacteria-contaminated milk had been pasteurized. This means that pasteurized milk is responsible for more deaths last year than raw milk, yet it's raw milk that's been widely vilified and is on the verge of being legislated out of existence.
The bacteria that's to blame for the deaths is listeria. Anti-raw milk folks are quick to point out that listeria only shows up in pasteurized milk on incredibly rare occasions. What they won't tell you is that listeria is just about as rare in raw milk. What's more, milk isn't the only place you'll find the bacterium - this nasty little bacteria can pop up in almost any uncooked meat or produce. In fact, it can even be found in cold cuts and some cheeses.
The fact is, this is the THIRD listeria outbreak that's been connected to pasteurized milk. Pasteurization is supposed to make foods listeria-free. Obviously, that's not always the case.
How badly do you think Big Dairy would like to sweep this story under the rug? It's incredibly ironic that this has happened to a pasteurizing dairy rather than a raw-milk dairy. This sort of thing is only supposed to happen with raw milk! I'm not sure who this story upsets more - the FDA, the anti-raw-milk lobbyists of Big Dairy, or the poor, organic dairies who are prevented from marketing their raw milk products - which have RARELY been found to have potentially deadly pathogens such as listeria, E. coli, or salmonella.
As you probably already know, I'm a huge raw milk advocate. It's chock-full of calcium, vitamin D, lactoferrins (natural antibiotics, and other good stuff). I've written on more than one occasion of the struggles of both the consumers and producers of raw-milk, and how overzealous FDA regulation of the product is driving raw-milk fans underground.
It's my hope that raw-milk dairies and lobbies can use this incident to point out that their product is just as safe (if not safer) than pasteurized milk and get the FDA and state regulators to ease up on the incredibly restrictive raw-milk laws.
I know I won't hold my breath.
Nonfat milk linked to prostate cancer
A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found that there may be a link between the consumption of non-fat or low-fat milk and an increased risk of prostate cancer. This report runs counter to the idea that it was the vitamin D and calcium in milk that led to an increase in prostate malignancies.
In the study's overall analysis of food groups, the consumption of dairy products and milk were not associated with prostate cancer risk. Further analysis, however, suggested that low-fat or nonfat milk did increase the risk of localized tumors or non-aggressive tumors, while whole milk decreased this risk.
As always, there's an essential irony here: The study found that whole milk - the kind with all the fat that everyone's always telling you to stay away from? - actually DECREASED the risk of prostate cancer. Like I always say: If you hang around medicine long enough, nearly every old belief eventually gets turned on its head.