Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a press release on a Listeria outbreak investigation linking raw milk produced by Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, as the likely source of this outbreak that sickened two and killed one in 2014.

Millers Farm Milk Cow  Image/Gary Lake
Millers Farm Milk Cow
Image/Gary Lake

However, at least one organization disputes the CDC claims saying the agency’s purpose is to defame raw milk.

The Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education non-profit based in Washington, DC and proponent of raw milk said in a release yesterday that the story on the deceased woman from Florida is “false and misleading”.

“My family member was diagnosed with and died of cancer after a week of chemo,” says Peggy Stevenson, family member and caregiver of the deceased prior to her death. “I am outraged that the CDC is using our tragic situation to damage and try to destroy a farm we love and support.”

Prior to the false claim from the CDC, there have been no reported illnesses associated with Miller’s Organic Farm in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, they write.

“This recent release from the CDC is a deliberate attempt to tarnish raw milk and present false and defamatory information, says Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

“This is a witch-hunt against raw milk. This is clearly not a case of illness associated with raw milk, but rather an agency with an agenda.”

“This is a weak attempt to shut down people’s choices,” says Pete Kennedy, president of the Farm-to-consumer Legal Defense Fund. “It shows this bureaucracy is getting more desperate in trying to stop the growing demand for raw milk.”

The CDC says raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you to include Brucella, Campylobacter, Listeria,Mycobacterium bovis (a cause of tuberculosis),Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli [e.g., E. coli O157], Shigella, Yersinia), parasites (e.g.,Giardia), and viruses (e.g., norovirus).. While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all.

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins, raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself, pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value, pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time, particularly after it has been opened, pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria and pasteurization DOES save lives.