Food safety questions: can readers help

A reader who prefers not to be identified is asking The Bovine community whether anyone can answer the following questions regarding food safety:

  1. If pathogens exist in a particular batch of raw milk (for instance, salmonella, campylobacter or e-coli O157:H7), and those pathogens are then killed by pasteurization , what effect (if any) do the dead bacteria have on consumers who later drink that milk?
  2. In particular, if e-coli O157:H7 is liable to release “shiga-like toxins” is there some possibility that killing the e-coli via pasteurization might precipitate the release of such toxins into the pasteurized milk?
  3. Does anyone have information on the use of activated charcoal or bentonite clay as a remedy (and in particular, a handy home remedy) for any of the pathogens that might be found in raw milk?


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22 responses to “Food safety questions: can readers help

  1. Gordon S Watson

    in the book “Don’t drink your milk”, Robert Cohen and also in the book “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon, make much of the proposition that the remains of bacteria killed when the milk is cooked, cause allergic reactions in people who drink such Pasteur-ized milk over a long period of time
    After 10 years’ studying the subject, I conclude that it is more likely than not, the remains of such bacteria are what bring about the condition known as “lactose intolerance’.
    Over that time, I have heard testimonies from many people who were diagnosed as ‘lactose intolerant’, who now happily drink REAL MILK with no problem

    the work of Wilhelm Reich explains why. Reich was one of the first victims of the US FDA … he was put in prison and his books burned by Order of the Court … yes, in America.
    As explained brilliantly by one of Reich’s students, in a comment on the Bovine about a year ago, the controversy about raw milk is only a battlefront on the big contest on this planet : Life against Death
    or, as Bob Dylan put is “He not busy being born is surely dying” …

    Bacteria are one-celled animals. REAL MILK gives to the human body its life-giving substances, particularly, live bacteria which enhance the metabolism of those who consume it. Contrast that scientific fact with the thin, whitish, de-natured, de-vitalized fluid, adulterated with milk protein concentrate, found in supermarkets, labelled “homo milk”. Those sterile packages misleading consumers with cartoons of contented cows in sunny pastures, are white-washed sepulchers full of the putrifying remains of these bacteria.
    Our God says “I have set before you this day, Life and Death. Choose you therefore whom you shall serve”

    • nedlud

      Elementary my dear Watson~

      I have to agree with Gordon on much of this. Wilhelm Reich was an amazing individual, very radical, brilliant and outspoken and our government did him in.

      Conventional science produces far more disaster and ill effects than success and government has covered this up and eliminated opponents of conventional science for decades. Wilhelm Reich was unfortunately, one of them.

    • Wow I am going to get those books. I have not thought of the chance of the “sterilized” pathogens left over in processed milk. As for lactose intolerance, it is my understanding that real milk has the enzyme lactase which aids in the break down of the sugar lactose. These enzymes are very heat sensitive and after milk is heated past 108 degrees Fahrenheit all the enzymes are destroyed (pasteurization is around 161 degrees Fahrenheit) . Leaving the lactose for our bodies to have to break down. This puts a strain on us and some of us don’t produce enough enzyme to do it on our own causing lactose intolerance. I talk more about this in a blog post at We are new to blogging and are trying to build an audience so if you have time please check us out.

  2. thebovine

    Hella D has some info on her blog about Bentonite clay and it’s use in counteracting radiation exposure, if that’s any help.

  3. Karen Selick

    Re: lactose intolerance–I thought the reason people can’t digest lactose in pasteurized milk is that the heat-treating destroys lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. Since the lactase is intact in raw milk, they can digest raw milk.

    But the question Anonymous asked is about much more than allergic reactions. It’s whether killed e-coli O157:H7 is still dangerous, i.e. deadly. If so, pasteurization would not be the remedy that the authorities say it is.

    • jenny

      You’re partially right Karen – lactose intolerance is caused lack of lactase, but the cause is debatable. Some say it’s a natural process – most mammals (humans included) develop a marked decrease in lacatase activity as they approach adulthood. This is probably because milk, for the most part, is supposed to be a food for newborn mammals. Others will say , as you have, that pasteurization of cow’s milk is the cause. I expect the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
      I’m no microbiologist, but I don’t think killed e coli O157 H7 would be dangerous. Raw hamburger has this same problem, but as long as it’s cooked well there is no problem.

  4. thebovine

    Someone could do a study to see whether so called lactose intolerant individuals still reacted negatively to raw-standard milk that was subsequently pasteurized.

  5. Raoul Bedi

    1. “What effect do dead bacteria have on the consumer ? ”
    Although it is not inspiring to ingest inorganic toxins such as from dead ,harmful bacteria, In the short term little harm will be done . It is the job of the liver do deal with inorganic toxins constantly and every day.
    There was a rather cynical study in France where some laboratory had fish that was contaminated with Salmonella and worse. They irradiated the fish thoroughly and then gave it to people and animals to eat and nobody got sick ! In their world view the problem was solved ! In our world view there is something not very inspiring about eating food that is diseased in the first place ! It is one thing to eat to be minimally sustained and another to eat and be nourished on all levels of body , emotions , mind and spirit .
    So eating food that was once diseased and contaminated may not kill you but it will have a low nutrient content and value.
    2. I don’t know about the mechanisms of shiga toxin release from E. Coli . I would be more concerned with the overall nutrient deficiencies of meat and dairy from CAFO’s . The 2 issues go hand in hand. Or as Ms. Selick wisely pointed out destroying life-giving enzymes in the pasteurization process will create problems for some people with lactose intolerance.
    Question 3 :Re : Bentonite Clay and Charcoal
    Bentonite Clay and Charcoal are not antiseptics. They are great for scrubbing the intestines in both humans and animals and pulling out toxins i.e like heavy metal or radiation.
    Indirectly it could still be beneficial because if the cow has fewer toxins in its system then by association it will have more resources to fight pathogens.
    But in the case of a full-blown infection you can NOT rely on Bentonite Clay or Charcoal alone .
    I submitted an article 3 months ago( see the Bovine Archives for June 12) on great results a Hawaiian Dairy has achieved with reducing radiation contamination in dairy products after the Fukushima Tragedy .
    It would take too long to write about it here but I would use Sodium Chlorite (MMS strength) for short term concerns with infection. But MMS, Bentonite and Clay and Charcoal are not foods that you eat 365 days per year .

    • Joseph Heckman

      Shiga toxin Stx2 is heat-stable and not inactivated by pasteurization
      Reuven Rasooly ⁎, Paula M. Do
      Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Albany, California 94710, United States
      a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t
      Article history:
      Received 4 April 2009
      Received in revised form 29 September 2009
      Accepted 5 October 2009
      Shiga toxins
      Escherichia coli O157:H7
      Vero cell
      Protein inhibition
      Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli have been associated with food-borne illnesses. Pasteurization is used
      to inhibit microbial growth in milk, and an open question is whether milk pasteurization inactivates Shiga
      toxins. To answer this question we measured Shiga toxin’s inhibition effect on Vero cell dehydrogenase
      activity and protein synthesis. Our data demonstrate that Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) is heat-stable and that
      pasteurization of milk, at the various suggested temperatures and times by the U.S. Food and Drug
      Administration, (63 °C for 30 min, or 72 °C for 15 s or 89 °C for 1 s), did not reduce the biological activity of
      Stx2. However, treatment at 100 °C for 5 min inactivated the toxin. These data demonstrate that Stx2 is not
      inactivated by conventional pasteurization.
      Published by Elsevier B.V.

    • Hey Raoul, I was just trying to search for that article you mention about the Hawaiian Dairy reducing radiation contamination in dairy products after the Fukushima Tragedy and I couldn’t find it, could you post the link? I am rather concerned about our raw milk these days and would like to see if our cowshare will follow such a protocol. I already soak most of my fresh food in bentonite before eating. I need to do whatever I can to detox as my liver kind of sucks from getting hepatitis A when I was about 10.

      PS very interesting to see this info on Wilhelm Reich. I have been thinking a lot about him lately as well.

    • tal


      Sodium chlorite is a strong oxidant and can therefore be expected to cause clinical symptoms similar to the well known sodium chlorate: methemoglobinemia, hemolysis, renal failure.[8] A dose of 10-15 grams of sodium chlorate can be lethal.[9] Methemoglobemia had been demonstrated in rats and cats [10] and recent studies by the EMEA have confirmed that the clinical symptomatology is very similar to the one caused by sodium chlorate in the rat, mouse, rabbit, and the green monkey. [11]

      There is only one human case in the medical literature of chlorite poisoning.[12] It seems to confirm that the toxicity is equal to sodium chlorate. From the analogy with sodium chlorate, even small amounts of about 1 gram can be expected to cause nausea, vomiting and even life-threatening hemolysis in Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficient persons.

  6. Joseph Heckman

    The True Story of a Court-Ordered Book Burning in America
    • Adult Programs
    Event Date:
    September 24, 2011 – 1:00pm
    Presented by Kevin Hinchey, Asst. Director, Wilhelm Reich Museum
    In 1956, six tons of books and research journals by Wilhelm Reich, M.D., a prominent Austrian physician and scientist who had emigrated to America four days before the outbreak of WWII, were burned by order of a Federal Court injunction.
    This lecture will trace the dramatic events that culminated in what was one of the most heinous examples of censorship in America.
    Free tickets at the Welcome Desk.
    Meeting Room

  7. Joseph Heckman

    Givernment vs. Raw Milk

    the similarity between the current situation facing these milk producers and Wilhelm Reich’s ordeal. I spoke about Reich’s fate at the hands of the FDA. Here was a brilliant scientist who died in prison because his natural health products and information were transported across state lines. I also said that what happened to Reich and what these dairy farmers are now up against can be understood in the context of what Reich discovered and termed the “emotional plague,” a force that drives authorities to exert control over the lives of others for their own good.”

  8. Karen Selick

    I’ve read that activated charcoal can be taken orally for many different types of toxins, including food poisoning. Isn’t that what they give kids in hospital emergency rooms when they have ingested something poisonous?

    Here’s a scientific article about activated charcoal and e-coli O157:H7:

    Abstract: The adsorption property of activated charcoal on verotoxin(VT)-producing Escherichia coli(VTEC) was examined using E. coli O157:H7. In the present study, E. coli O157H7 strains were effectively adsorbed by activated charcoal. Adsorption was dosedependent, and the maximum adsorption occurred within 5 min. At 10mg of activated charcoal, bacteria tested were completely adsorbed. Activated charcoal also had the capacity to adsorb toxin(verotoxin 2) acttivity from the bacterial extract. Furthermore, the adsorption efficiency of activated charcoal for the normal bacterial flora in the intestine was assessed using Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Activated charcoal showed lower binding capacity to the normal bacterial flora tested than that to E. coli O157:H7 straqins. These results suggest that activated charcoal could be a good adsorbent system for the removal of VTEC and verotoxin. (author abst.)

    While people should of course have the freedom to consume raw milk simply as a matter of right, perhaps the government might be persuaded that it’s a lot cheaper and more effective to stop all their costly enforcement activities and simply make sure that anyone who drinks raw milk has a supply of food-grade activated charcoal on hand. It’s available on-line.

  9. Raoul

    Dear Karen ;
    I agree that charcoal is great for absorbing toxins for any kind of event where the liver is overloaded and can not deal with it all.
    And harmful pathogens produce harmful toxins.
    So charcoal , in this case I think, would be used for the “cleanup ” operation so to speak after you have dealt with the primary infection source.
    But charcoal is not an antibiotic .

  10. Karen Selick

    Thanks, Raoul. I never said, suggested or believed that charcoal was an antibiotic. Rather, it ADSORBS (not absorbs) toxins, by attracting them to itself and escorting them out of the body. It does this whether or not the liver is overloaded. Once the charcoal is in your stomach, that’s what it does. That’s why you shouldn’t take vitamin supplements with charcoal, because the charcoal can bind them, too, and you’ll lose the benefit of the vitamins.

    In fact, charcoal might actually be a BETTER remedy than an antibiotic in some cases. The info posted by Joseph Heckman indicates that pasteurization kills the e-coli O157:H7 but does not inactivate the shiga toxins. Presumably, an antibiotic might likewise kill the bacteria but not inactivate the toxins. (In fact, I seem to remember reading about some child who got sick drinking raw milk and who was made much worse in hospital by receiving antibiotics.) So you need something like charcoal (or maybe clay) to mop up the toxins and escort them out of the body.

    Incidentally, the article referred to by Dr. Heckman is here:

    Click to access IND44305252.pdf

    Another valuable article by the same researcher is here:

    Click to access IND44430537.pdf

    • Joseph Heckman


      Thank you for the additional valuable article that concludes “The results are clinically relevant for food safety because we also found that heat treatments (pasteurization) that destroy bacteria did not inactivate the heat-resistant toxin produced and secreted by the bacteria.”

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