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article imageRaw milk safety decision expected in July

By Tim Sandle     Jul 8, 2015 in Health
London - Raw milk has its detractors and advocates. Some argue it tastes better, others that it contains pathogenic bacteria and poses a health risk. In July, the U.K. government will make a decision.
The view on raw milk will come from the Food Standards Agency when it meets on July 15. The view is likely to be that the benefits outweigh the risks, provided certain safety measures are enforced.
A pre-discussion paper gives an indication of the likely outcome, and here it states:
The risk associated with raw drinking milk consumption, except for vulnerable groups, is acceptable when appropriate hygiene controls are applied.
The current restriction on sales of raw milk should remain in place as there is uncertainty that consumer protection can be maintained if the market for raw milk is expanded.
Risk communication could be improved, particularly for vulnerable groups, and changes to the labelling requirements are proposed to reflect this.
Raw milk is a term for milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized. Regulations and attitudes vary around the world. In the U.S. for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns: “This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses. These harmful bacteria can seriously affect the health of anyone who drinks raw milk, or eats foods made from raw milk.”
Although there is no outright ban, the U.S. federal position is to recommend that consumers do not consume raw milk products. The U.K. position is likely to be softer. This might be due to lobbying from the raw milk lobby. One advocate of unpasteurized milk is the heir to throne of the U.K. — Prince Charles. Those in favour of raw milk are of the view that health benefits that are destroyed in the pasteurization process, where heat affects the enzymes, fats, carbohydrates and fragile proteins.
The debate between the two camps is likely to run for many more years. The outcome of the U.K. debate will be interesting, even if the outcomes is a “raw milk is OK, but…”
More about Raw milk, Milk, Unpasteurized
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