Quality Progress - July 2013 - (Page 12)

kEEPingcurrE FOOD SAFETY All the Right Moo-ves? A States grapple with raw milk controversy as more consumers seek unpasteurized dairy A Wisconsin farmer’s acquittal last month on charges related to selling unpasteurized milk and cheese has stirred up debate on the production and distribution of raw milk throughout the united States and how some states are trying to handle the growing consumer demand for the dairy product. Most mainstream dairies, food safety advocates and public health officials have long contended raw milk is unsafe and will make people sick because it can contain harmful bacteria. raw milk advocates, on the other hand, say the pasteurization process wipes out many beneficial nutrients raw milk carries. Some raw milk advocates simply prefer its taste over that of pasteurized milk. • Minnesota officials announced in May that 25 people were sickened in an outbreak of salmonella from unpasteurized cheese. Minnesota law permits raw milk sales on the farm where the milk was produced. • Pennsylvania officials confirmed in early June six cases of campylobacter infection in people who had consumed milk from a facility that produces raw milk. The same facility was cited as the source of a campylobacter outbreak in early 2012 that sickened 78 people in four states. “nonpasteurized products caused a disproportionate number of outbreaks and outbreak-associated illnesses,” the report said. “States that restricted sale of nonpasteurized products had fewer outbreaks and illnesses.” Raw milk demand Of the outbreaks related to tainted dairy product from 1993-2006, 75% occurred in 21 states that permitted the sale of nonpasteurized products, a recent centers for Disease control and Prevention report discovered. More recent examples of tainted dairy outbreaks include: 12 QP • www.qualityprogress.com About 30 states already allow raw milk sales for human consumption, according to the u.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because the FDA does not regulate raw milk, it can be sold only in the state where it was produced, not across state lines or internationally. clearly, more u.S. consumers are demanding the product be on store shelves. no government agency or group tracks raw milk sales nationwide, but five years ago it was reported in Washington state that the number of dairies selling raw milk to the public grew from six to 22 in two years. in Massachusetts, the number of dairies selling raw milk more than doubled to 24 in five years, even as the overall number of dairies declined. in recent months, more state lawmakers throughout the united States have been trying to find ways to accommodate the consumer demand for raw milk: • in Delaware, lawmakers introduced a bill last month to end the state’s ban on the sale of raw milk. • in Maine, the state senate approved a bill last month that would allow farms to sell small quantities of raw milk directly to consumers without getting a license, as long as the milk is clearly labeled. • in north Dakota, the state’s legislature earlier this year made it legal for people to drink raw milk if they have a registered purchase of a share in a dairy cow. • in Massachusetts, lawmakers began considering legislation last month to expand the access of raw milk beyond the farm to buying clubs and the farmers’ off-premise locations, such as farm stands and stores. “i’d love to be able to sell raw milk,” said Albert “chip” Hager, a Massachussetts dairy farmer. “i have no doubt that it would be popular. People are looking for more and more all-natural, unprocessed products, and raw milk is unprocessed. There are a lot of people who are making yogurt and cheese, and they need raw milk to make it.” Finding compromise? Back in Wisconsin, lawmakers and experts say both sides of the controversy must work together to help make raw milk legal in the state. “A plan is needed to get that done,” said Peter carstensen, a law professor at the university of Wisconsin (uW)-Madison and an expert on agricultural market regulation. “And the plan you have to start with is answering the question of how do you protect the general public from the dangers of raw milk while allowing reasonable access to those who really understand the risks but want the perceived benefits.” There’s talk of a state bill designed to http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - July 2013

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Feeling Connected
Take Charge
Full View
Reinventing Excellence
Innovation Imperative
Measure for Measure
Quality in the First Person
Standards Outlook
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
ASQ's Continuing Education and Professional Development Directory
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea

Quality Progress - July 2013

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