Debate is heating up after the Indiana Senate called for a plan to legalize and regulate the sale of raw milk. One establishment Health Department official claims pathogens found in raw milk can lead to bloody stool, miscarriage, and even death.
Indianapolis local news WANE.com reports,
Indiana is one of only 20 states that has outlawed the sale of unpasteurized milk. Thirty other states have myriad of laws governing the approval and sale of raw milk. The issue has public health officials squirming.
“There are no additional benefits to drinking raw milk that you’re not going to get out of the pasteurized product,” says Public Health Veterinarian for the Indiana State Department of Health, Jennifer House. “Well, over 100 years ago, over 25 percent of all outbreaks were actually caused by milk and the pathogens in milk. So, states began to start requiring pasteurization for the sale of milk and that actually cleared up a lot of outbreaks that were occurring at that time.”
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk, usually below the boiling point, until it destroys pathogens. In the United States, milk pasteurization became widespread in the 1920s and was considered one of the major breakthroughs in public health.
There are multiple pathogens that could easily end up in milk. Some of the most common are Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli. When a human ingests one of those bacteria, it causes gastroenteritis which can lead to bloody diarrhea, extreme abdominal cramping, miscarriage in pregnant women and even death. Those pathogens are killed in the pasteurization process.
Also speaking in opposition to legalization of raw milk is the National Milk Producers Federation—a lobbying group representing establishment milk producers for whom sales of raw milk would present a possible loss in market share and revenue.