If any good can come out of this month’s outbreak of raw milk-related illnesses, it is the hope that the general public will begin understanding the value of consuming only pasteurized cow’s milk, says Ron McKay, administrator of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division.
Earlier this month, according to the Medford News, more than a dozen people, including three from Oregon, became ill after consuming unpasteurized milk traced to a raw milk dairy in southwest Washington. Most of the victims were children, including a 20-month old infant.
According to John Sheehan, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Dairy and Egg Safety, there is no significant difference in the nutritional value of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, despite raw food advocates touting the benefits of drinking raw milk.
Unpasteurized milk sold commercially for human consumption is illegal in all or part of 42 states. In the states where it is legal, strict guidelines and licensing is required of the dairies that provide the product.