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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

More on the Raw Milk Issue

In what seems like a near daily article on raw milk, I gave Georgina Gustin of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (my dad was a paper boy for them during the depression) a few choice words:

Bill Marler, an attorney who specializes in food-borne illness cases, recently represented two Missouri residents who were sickened by raw milk. One was a 1-year-old boy; the other, a 9-year-old girl. Both suffered acute kidney failure related to E. coli, and both drank raw goat’s milk that was traced back to the same farm and bought from a store in Barry County that was selling the milk illegally. The cases were settled out of court.

Marler is currently representing two people from Connecticut, where retail raw milk sales are legal, who claim they were sickened by raw milk purchased at [a grocery store chain]. [The grocery store] has since decided to pull raw milk from its stores in states where it could sell it legally.

"I have not seen any scientific literature that supports a lot of the claims raw milk supporters cite," Marler said. "It’s very anecdotal."

… But for others, the regulators are just performing their public health duties, trying to prevent illness. To some, new legislative efforts to relax raw milk laws could encourage more producers in the struggling dairy industry to get into the raw milk game and could result in health risks.

"There are raw milk producers who do a good job and don’t poison themselves or their customers," Marler said. "But I guarantee you that as legislation expands … you’ll have more low-end operators and more sick people."

This issue is not going away anytime soon.

  • Harry Hamil

    I agree, Bill. It won’t.
    And S 510 will make it the situation even worse.
    Sec. 103 Hazard Analysis & Risk-based Preventive Controls (HARPC plans) of S 510 requires HARPC plans of all food facilities registered under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act. This includes wholesale dairies and bakeries. Appendix K of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) will be mandated rather than optional.
    This means that all currently legal raw milk producers in states like CT and SC will have to have a HARPC plan approved by the FDA for raw milk production to be able to continue. And you and I know that an ice cube stands a better chance of surviving in the Mojave Desert in August than these legal raw milk producers stand of getting a raw milk HARPC plan approved by the FDA.
    But no one in favor of S 510 is talking about that impact of S 510, are they, Bill?
    I would appreciate your addressing that in a blog sometime in the next week, Bill. Would you do that? Or even better, would you address this in your next “Publisher’s Platform� in Food Safety News?