Maryland House of Delegates urged to oppose bill legalizing raw milk sales
Testifying before the Maryland House’s Health and Government Operations Committee on Jan. 28, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) urged the state’s delegates to oppose a bill that would legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk in Maryland through the use of cow-share programs.
NMPF’s Beth Briczinski, Vice President of Dairy Foods and Nutrition, testified that unpasteurized milk, also known as raw milk, carries significant public health risks. Its consumption “is discouraged by every major health organization in the United States, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as federal health agencies like the Food and Drug Administration,” Briczinski said.
“We pasteurize milk for a reason,” Briczinski said. “The link between raw milk and foodborne illness has been well-documented, with evidence spanning nearly 100 years. Raw milk is a key vehicle in the transmission of human pathogens including E. coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Salmonella. The state should not create new opportunities for these bacteria to make people sick.”
While it may be one thing for adults to make the decision to consume raw milk, the product is particularly dangerous for children, who are unable to understand the risks presented to their health. Briczinski noted that “nearly two-thirds of all outbreaks associated with raw-milk or raw-milk products involve children.”
Briczinski also addressed the misinformation and supposed health benefits of raw milk that are often touted by advocates and the media.
“No claim related to the purported health benefits of raw milk has been substantiated in any of the medical literature,” she explained. “The only scientific consensus is that raw milk can cause serious illnesses and hospitalizations, and can result in life-long negative health complications and death.”
Currently, 30 states allow the legal distribution of unpasteurized milk, which is also where nearly 75% of the raw milk-associated outbreaks have occurred. Americans have become ill after consuming raw milk from numerous sources, including cow-share programs and raw milk producers who are licensed, permitted, or certified.
Source: National Milk Producers Federation
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