Just say no to raw milk

Medical officer of health, Peterborough County-City Health Unit

Source of Article:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080808.LETTERS08-6/TPStory/Comment

Peterborough, Ont. -- Re The Right To Rawness (editorial, Aug. 4): The pasteurization of milk is a classic public health success story: The intervention is so good at preventing illness that some people forget why it's done. Opponents of pasteurization suffer from both a lack of memory and societal perspective. When E. coli from farm animals contaminated the drinking-water supply of Walkerton, Ont., it sickened thousands and killed seven people. As is often the case when appropriate public health practices are ignored, the town's children were among the most affected.

Before pasteurization, humans were commonly infected with other organisms from cows, such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, typhoid and listeriosis. But milk can also pick up organisms anywhere on its travels from cow to kitchen.

Raw milk continues to be associated with outbreaks each year. It has recently been linked to campylobacter, salmonella, yersinia, Q fever, toxoplasmosis and hemorrhagic colitis, to name a few. Why on Earth would we subject ourselves to such unnecessary risk when we've already found the solution?

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