Renewed Health Warnings No Deterrent for Raw Milk Advocates

Renewed Health Warnings No Deterrent for Raw Milk Advocates

The Arkansas Department of Health issued warnings Monday against the consumption of unpasteurized milk for pregnant women, children and the elderly.
Little Rock -- (KARK) The Arkansas Department of Health issued warnings Monday against the consumption of unpasteurized milk for pregnant women, children and the elderly.

Arkansas legalized the sale of raw milk from cows during the legislative session earlier this year.

The sale of raw milk products can only take place at a farm.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement Monday advocating the ban of raw milk sales nationwide.

Arkansas is one of 30+ states that allow some form of unpasteurized milk sales.

Advocates like Julie Majors say raw milk tastes better and provides health benefits not found in milk heated by pasteurization.

Majors operates the "Real Food in Little Rock" blog and consumes raw milk daily.

"For thousands of years people have been drinking milk straight from the cow," Majors says. "I think as long as you know where your milk comes from, it's safe to drink."

Dr. Gary Wheeler with the Infectious Disease Division at the Arkansas Department of Health says the risks of raw milk consumption are numerous and real.

"Just a few bacteria in raw milk can lead to significant disease, hospitalization and death," Wheeler says. "We just want the buyers to beware. We want them to understand what the risks are."

The AAP policy statement says raw milk from cows, sheep and goats is a source of pathogens such as listeria, E- coli and salmonella.

"Be aware that there is very little benefit to raw milk that can be proven and use your common sense and avoid it if possible," Wheeler says.

Majors says she is comfortable serving unpasteurized milk to her three children, all under the age of ten, and using it to make items like yogurt.

"I think the health department is trying to protect their backside," Majors says. "They don't want someone to come back and say 'you never warned us'. If you know where the milk is coming from you don't have to be afraid."
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