Raw Milk “Inherently Unsafe” Says Unbending FDA in Slamming CA Legislation
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says raw milk is “inherently unsafe”, it means inherently unsafe. As in nothing to discuss about California’s so-called Home Dairy Bill (AB2505), which is intended to formalize private sale arrangements for the state’s smallest dairies.
The FDA has weighed in on the bill via written testimony for a hearing on the bill being held tomorrow (Wednesday) before the California State Assembly Committee on Agriculture. Not only does the FDA see absolutely nothing positive in the proposed legislation but, typical of the agency’s reclusive dairy director, John Sheehan, no one from the agency will be in attendance, presumably for fear of having to answer questions about the testimony.
The 21-page Sheehan testimony is mostly a repeat of studies and opinions used at other state legislative hearings, going back a half dozen years now. Every year or two, Sheehan updates the thing here and there, so that by now it is nearly incoherent. But here are a couple of items that appear to be new, including:
-A warning from the FDA that Home Dairy Bill (AB2505) will "distance" the state from the big boys in Washington: “Assembly Bill 2505 significantly relaxes the current regulation by allowing the exchange, sharing, and direct sale of raw milk at ‘home dairy farms’. Allowing any type of raw milk sales directly to consumers does increase the probability of serious harm occurring to California consumers, especially children, the aged, infirm and immunocompromised, and this bill would actually increase the probability of a state- wide outbreak occurring within California. Assembly Bill 2505 also would significantly distance California’s regulation of raw milk from the advice being given by the CDC, FDA, and many notable others.”
-Sheehan repeats his criticism of one of the European studies on raw milk, the PARSIFAL study, for supposedly not specifically examining raw milk vs pasteurized milk, but he conveniently ignores the more recent, and more tightly controlled, GABRIELA study of more than 8,000 European children. That study specifically concluded that raw milk provides “protection” from asthma and allergies.
-There is no mention of the three Massachusetts deaths in 2007 from pasteurized milk, nor of deaths from pasteurized cheese last year and this year.
-While Sheehan somehow missed the GABRIELA study and the pasteurized milk and cheese deaths, he does manage to include two recent studies sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)—the one that argues raw milk is 150 times more dangerous than pasteurized milk and the other out of Minnesota that says there were actually more than 20,000 illnesses from raw milk 2001-2010 instead of the 21 reported.
-He ignores the two-year-old Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI), except to criticize it by implication. “The notion that compliance with quality standards means that raw milk is safe is not a new notion. “ He alleges that “certified milk” from last century had frequent problems with pathogens.
-Several times he points derisively to an unnamed “raw milk advocate” claiming that raw milk counteracts lactose intolerance, helps build immunity, and other benefits. You get the feeling he is genuinely pissed at this individual, or the many many individuals this might be.
-He ignores the reality that millions of people are regularly consuming raw milk without any kind of illness. This is something he might have been questioned about….if he would have bothered to show up. But, of course, that would have been more seriously high-risk than any raw milk he worries about.
Here is information on the California Home Dairy Farm Raw Milk Safety Act (AB2505) and whom to contact to express your support. Supporters are encouraging people from outside California to call and write in, given that the Washington in the form of the FDA has intruded itself.