- Quote of the Day
- Why GOP Turnout Is Way Up This Year
- Reid Praises Trump as Authentic
- Trump Way Ahead in South Carolina
- Clinton and Sanders In Dead Heat in Nevada
By Georgina Gustin, CQ Roll Call
Consumption of raw milk has led to more outbreaks of illness, especially in states where its sale is legal, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The numbers could fire up the debate over raw milk, which both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration warn against, but some consumers insist has curative properties.
In 2014, 23 states considered bills to legalize raw milk. In Congress last year, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., introduced two bills that would prevent the FDA from enforcing bans on interstate sales.
The CDC study, released Thursday, found that 26 states reported 81 outbreaks traced to raw milk, leading to 979 illnesses and 73 hospitalizations. Most of the outbreaks were linked to campylobacter bacteria.
The study noted a rise in outbreaks from 30 between 2007 and 2009, to 51 between 2010 and 2012. More than 80 percent of the outbreaks were in the 26 states where sales are legal. The number of outbreaks has gone up from an average of 3.3 per year from 1993 to 2006, to 13.5 per year from 2007 to 2012.
Proponents of raw milk consumption maintain that pasteurization kills nutritive enzymes that can cure everything from asthma to autism. Advocacy groups, many with a libertarian bent, have called the government’s position on raw milk “pasteurization without representation.”
But federal and state health agencies warn against consuming raw milk because, without pasteurization, the milk can easily become contaminated by feces, dirt, insects, cow illnesses and bacteria living on an animal’s skin. “Milk cannot be collected without introducing some bacteria – even under ideal conditions of cleanliness,” the CDC says.
A seemingly regular cycle of food contamination scares about various food processing facilities prompted Congress to require revisions to Food and Drug Administration food safety regulations. Today, the FDA offered an early look at proposed rules on produce safety and preventive controls in human food production, plus preventive controls in animal food production and on foreign supplier verification programs. A comment period on the rule proposals will begin after they are officially published in the Federal Register on Sept. 29.
CQ Roll Call’s Georgina Gustin reports that the new rules are designed to make the inspection process less burdensome, especially for small and organic food growers, as the agency is dropping a nine-month delay on developing risk analysis on manure and eases restrictions on the agricultural water quality standards.
The proposed rule for produce products also clarifies what constitutes a covered farm, saying that those with produce sales – not food sales – under $25,000 annually will not be subject to the rules.
Additionally, the revised regulations on preventive controls for animal food addresses concerns raised by brewers and livestock farmers, that unprocessed spent grains – a byproduct of the brewing process – would be not be subject to new regulations when sold as animal feed. The proposed rules on foreign supplier verification requires annual on site auditing of foreign suppliers, but companies with well-documented supply chains could opt out.