Raw Milk Institute Position Statement
“December 2013 Minnesota Raw Milk Illness Study”
The Board of Directors of the Raw Milk Institute Board (RAWMI) strongly disagrees with the broad sweeping assumptions and methodologies used by the authors of the recent Minnesota Raw Milk Study (PDF) that was used to assess relative risk of consumption of raw milk.
The study states that ”illness among raw milk consumers could not be definitely linked to their raw milk consumption.” Nonetheless, the authors proceed to make very strong statements regarding the number of cases of illness that could possibly be linked to raw milk. In addition, the study uses standard multipliers for pathogen specific source attribution that may be over-estimated for a very particular commodity such as raw milk consumed by a small percentage of the population.
Furthermore, there are no relative risk estimates given for other potential sources of contamination such as raw eggs, produce, ground meat etc. This makes it very hard for the reader to compare the risk estimates given for raw milk to the risk of consuming other raw or pasteurized foods. It should also be noted that people seeking out raw milk products may also consume other raw foods, and to attribute every case of food-borne disease to raw milk is therefore misleading. The validity of the study estimates and conclusions is therefore highly questionable.
Standards for raw milk for human consumption vary widely from state to state and country to country. In some states, there are no standards and raw milk is illegal for retail sale. Minnesota is one of those states. In other states, raw milk is legal and there are very strict standards for inspection and testing. Standards directly affect the safety of the resulting raw milk products.
RAWMI was founded to assure that throughout North America consumers would know what they were consuming when they accessed raw milk. RAWMI has established standards for raw milk, produced by our LISTED farmers, that is intended for direct human consumption. These RAWMI standards clearly differentiate milk that is intended to be pasteurized from raw milk that is intended to be consumed raw and unprocessed.
For examples of RAWMI producers, their audited foods safety plans and standards please see www.rawmilkinstitute.org.
For additional information or for comment or interviews please contact RAWMI at (559) 846-9732.