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CDC Says Raw Milk Related Illneses On the Rise

KNWA -- Last week, the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) sent a letter to state and county public health officials with updated numbers on the occurrence of infection due to drinking raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products.

Raw milk can carry potentially dangerous pathogens like E. coli O157, Campylobacter and Salmonella.

The CDC recommends only consuming pasteurized dairy. “Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination,” the May 9 letter states, “Pasteurization is the only way to ensure that fluid milk products do not contain harmful bacteria.”

According to the CDC National Outbreak Reporting System, between 2007 and 2012, there were 81 outbreaks of infections due to consumption of raw milk, resulting in 979 illnesses.

The CDC letter points to increased rates of this type of illness in states where the sale of raw milk is legal. “CDC data shows that the rate of raw milk-associated outbreaks is 2.2 times higher in states in which the sale of raw milk is legal compared with states where sale of raw milk is illegal,” reads Tauxe’s letter.

In 2013, Arkansas passed a law which allows the sale of raw milk. It cannot be sold in retail stores but can be bought directly from farms producing up to 500 gallons per month.  The milk is also given special labeling and undergoes state inspection.

Shortly after the 2013 legislation passed we spoke to one local farmer who sells raw milk.  He believes in the health benefits and told us there's a huge demand for this local product.  Read his story.

Read the full CDC letter HERE
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