Tuesday, February 11, 2014

“Generational amnesia” about Raw Milk

Des Moines Register wrote about Mary McGonigle-Martin story, a mother who almost lost her son to an E. coli bacterial infection from raw milk. Mary McGonigle-Martin said, “The damage done by this bacteria is incomprehensible.”

McGonigle-Martin said she had believed natural-food enthusiasts’ claims that raw milk was healthier than unpasteurized milk. But the bacteria caused severe damage to her son’s kidneys and pushed him into heart failure. The boy, then 7, wound up on dialysis and needed surgeries. The ordeal, which began in 2006, led to more than $550,000 in medical bills.

“It is easy for people to be convinced that knowing your farmer and loving the cow will somehow magically prevent cow feces from getting into the milk,” she said. “We are all suffering from generational amnesia.”

Unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely than pasteurized milk to cause foodborne illness. According to Dr. Ann Garvey, Iowa’s deputy state epidemiologist, people infected from consuming raw milk can pass the germs on to other people, who did not choose to eat or drink the untreated dairy products. For example, she said, an ill child from a family that drinks raw milk could spread bacteria to other kids in a child-care center.

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