What Went Wrong with Stanford Study? Seems There's Lactose Intolerance, and Maybe Something Else; What Cheesemaker Shutdowns Tell Us About Food Safety
That pioneering, scientifically rigorous study of raw milk's impact on lactose intolerance I described last April has been completed. I have to admit, I was surprised by the results.
I've spoken with so many raw milk drinkers who say their lactose intolerance disappears when they drink raw milk, I figured the study was a slam dunk to demonstrate that reality for the rest of the world.
But the study showed nothing of the sort. In fact, it concluded that raw milk and pasteurized milk are equally troublesome for individuals who are lactose intolerance.
What went wrong? It seems as if there may be two categories of individuals suffering from lactose intolerance. There are those who are clinically diagnosed, and then there are those who suffer the same symptoms as the clinically diagnosed, but aren't clinically diagnosed. The latter group may well be larger than the clinically diagnosed group, and it seems this group is the one that benefits from drinking raw milk.
But it's the former group that qualified to be in the study, while the latter group was sent home. More details in an article I did for Grist. And a summary of the study concludes: "Claims that raw milk is well-tolerated by lactose intolerant individuals, as examined in this study, are unsupported and misleading for individuals with true lactose malabsorption. However, there are many potential health benefits associated with raw milk that remain to be tested in a similar objective, controlled study environment."
In another Grist article, I've followed up on the intense discussion here concerning the crackdown on two small cheese producers--Morningland Dairy and Estrella Family Creamery. My argument is that these heavy-handed shutdowns point up two important facts. First, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes down much harder on tiny food producers like these, which haven't caused any illnesses, than it does on the giant Iowa egg producers that actually made people sick. Second, this FDA tendency is ever more reason not to give the agency dictatorial powers via the pending food safety legislation, S 510. It's clear FDA has all the power it needs...and then some.