CTV quotes Mark McAfee as raw milk expert vs B.C. health department claims

Here are some excerpts from a recent CTV.ca story by Darcy Wintonyk:

Alice Jongerden, from Home on the Range. Photo from CTV.ca

“Raw dairy enthusiasts are challenging lab results by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), saying samples of unpasteurized milk deemed dangerous by the agency does not prove the product is unfit for consumption.

Earlier this week, the B.C. CDC warned consumers against drinking unpasteurized milk from the Home on the Range Farm in the Fraser Valley, citing fecal contamination found in five of 15 samples….”

“….But Mark McAfee, the CEO of California’s largest and oldest raw milk operation, said coliform counts aren’t indicative of whether raw dairy is unsafe to drink.

“It doesn’t tell you much about the milk but more about how it’s managed,” he said from the Fresno-area farm.

“Coliforms say how much exposure to air there is after milking, how clean the lines are and the like — how many valves it’s gone through.”

McAfee, who created the first international safety standards for raw milk, said normally occurring bacteria in raw dairy doubles every 22 minutes — and that’s not a bad thing.

“This is what creates yogurt, and this is great, but it doesn’t give you representative numbers for lab testing if you do don’t do the sampling right away, or if the temperature changes.

Yesterday, B.C.’s provincial health officer reiterated the danger of drinking raw milk, saying anyone with the product should dump it out or risk getting sick.

“That can be anything from a relatively mild nausea, to diarrhea, to severe bloody diarrhea, kidney shut-down and even death if you get a high-dose of E. coli,” Dr. Perry Kendall said.

Not deterred

Recent lab tests and danger warnings aren’t enough to deter raw milk enthusiasts, who say positive benefits of drinking raw milk – like increased immune response – outweigh any potential hazards.

“This hasn’t changed anything,” Home on the Range owner Alice Jongerden said.

“We’re quite satisfied about how things are, the cleanliness, and the way the system works from the milk to the jar.”

Barbara Schellenberg, the owner of the North Vancouver restaurant used as a raw milk depot before the Dec. shut down, said high bacteria counts in milk doesn’t concern her, adding that she feeds the milk to her one-year-old daughter.

“To me it’s something that’s natural. It’s a part of life and we think humans are designed to eat sterile food and I don’t think that’s the right approach,” she said….”


Filed under News

2 responses to “CTV quotes Mark McAfee as raw milk expert vs B.C. health department claims

  1. Given that there are a number of benefits to whole milk and many consumers of the product, the government should take the effort to identify what aspects of bacterial content in raw milk constitute safe and unsafe levels. It is far too simplistic to deem all such products bad when raw milk has been consumed safely for many generations. Only a handful of cases of contamination have resulted in public health scares so understand the problems in those cases.

  2. thebovine

    Check out this latest story on “fecal” bacteria in soft drink machines:


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