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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Relative Risk between Raw or Pasteurized Milk – a large glass of reality

I get a lot of emails on raw milk – most are from raw milk promoters, producers or consumers who liken me to the devil or at least a pawn of big business. So, when I got a more subtle and interested question, I was pleased to respond. The question in essence was about the relative risk between drinking raw or pasteurized milk. Here is the response:

Your question was referred to me as one of the contributors on Real Raw Milk Facts.  Here’s some links specific to your question about the statistics. It is hard to get good numbers, but we used several sources and feel that the 70% is about right (it includes queso fresco cheeses, which the raw milk proponents sometime object to; if you exclude the "bathtub cheese," raw milk is still causing over 50% of the outbreaks while only 1-3% drink it according to surveys with higher end estimates of the number of raw milk drinkers).

1. This document shows the FTCLDF FOIA analysis that is quoted in an earlier Marler Blog piece. It starts at about page 10.

2. These links will bring you to tables showing line listings of outbreaks, both pasteurized and raw milk.

3. CSPI’s 2008 report also cites the 70% statistic. There is a spotlight on raw dairy on page 8:

4. CDC powerpoint with breakdown on reported raw and pasteurized dairy outbreaks (note that they are revising this to include a large pasteurized milk outbreak that occurred in the prison system in California – 1,644 cases that are not shown in the analysis).

And, there is always my recent update on raw milk outbreaks of 2010.

  • john

    Thanks.