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Unpasteurized Milk: A Continued Public Health Threat

April 21st, 2009

Jeffrey T. LeJeune and Pa¨ ivi J. Rajala-Schultz

Food Animal Health Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, and Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbus, Ohio

Although milk and dairy products are important components of a healthy diet, if consumed unpasteurized, they also can present a health hazard due to possible contamination with pathogenic bacteria. These bacteria can originate even from clinically healthy animals from which milk is derived or from environmental contamination occurring during collection and storage of milk. The decreased frequency of bovine carriage of certain zoonotic pathogens and improved milking hygiene

have contributed considerably to decreased contamination of milk but have not, and cannot, fully eliminate the risk of milkborne disease. Pasteurization is the most effective method of enhancing the microbiological safety of milk. The consumption of milk that is not pasteurized increases the risk of contracting disease from a foodstuff that is otherwise very nutritious and healthy. Despite concerns to the contrary, pasteurization does not change the nutritional value of milk. Understanding the science behind this controversial and highly debated topic will provide public health care workers the information needed to discern fact from fiction and will provide a tool to enhance communication with clients in an effort to reduce the incidence of infections associated with the consumption of unpasteurized milk and dairy products.

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Comparative Milk Study, Appearing in JADA July 2008

April 21st, 2009

Perspectives in Practice

Survey of Retail Milk Composition as Affected by Label Claims Regarding Farm-Management



A trend in food labeling is to make claims related to
agricultural management, and this is occurring with
dairy labels. A survey study was conducted to compare
retail milk for quality (antibiotics and bacterial counts),
nutritional value (fat, protein, and solids-not-fat), and
hormonal composition (somatotropin, insulin-like growth
factor-1 [IGF-1], estradiol, and progesterone) as affected
by three label claims related to dairy-cow management:
conventional, recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST)—
free (processor-certified not from cows supplemented with
rbST), or organic (follows US Department of Agriculture
organic practices). Retail milk samples (n=334) from 48
states were collected. Based on a statistical analysis that
reflected the sampling schema and distributions appropriate
to the various response variables, minor differences
were observed for conventional, rbST-free, and organic
milk labels. Conventionally labeled milk had the
lowest (P<0.05) bacterial counts compared to either milk
labeled rbST-free or organic; however, these differences
were not biologically meaningful. In addition, conventionally
labeled milk had significantly less (P<0.05) estradiol
and progesterone than organic milk (4.97 vs 6.40 pg/mL

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Scientist Debunks Myth of Organic Nutritional Superiority

April 21st, 2009

“Organic proponents have…used misleading and inappropriately-evaluated data “

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008

Publication Date: July 21, 2008
New York, NY — July 21, 2008. The latest attempt by proponents of organic agriculture to prove that organically grown crops are nutritionally superior to conventional ones has failed, according to Joseph D. Rosen, Ph.D., emeritus professor of Food Toxicology at Rutgers University and a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).

Dr. Rosen analyzed a pro-organic report by Charles Benbrook and colleagues at the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Center and found the data had been selectively chosen and presented to “prove” the desired point. Dr. Rosen’s report, Claims of Organic Food’s Nutritional Superiority: A Critical Review, was published today by ACSH.

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Organic Milk is Healthier? Don’t Swallow it!

April 21st, 2009

Wednesday 6 September 2006

“The claim that organic milk is richer in omega-3s than conventional milk - and therefore better for us - is a lot of bull.”
Alex Avery

The popular press is going cow-wild over research that supposedly proves ‘organic’ milk is healthier than ‘conventional’ milk. Not quite. Just as two cents might be twice as much as a penny, neither amounts to wealth.

The issue is omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in oily fish (such as salmon, herring and cod), fish oil, walnut and flaxseed oil. Omega-3s have been thought to protect against cancer and heart disease, though the scientific evidence for these benefits has been thin and somewhat elusive.

Now a group of researchers – funded by the organic industry – is claiming that milk from 19 ‘conventional’ farms only contains 60 per cent as much omega-3s as milk from 17 ‘organic’ farms. They claim the finding is ‘significant’, and the press believed it. One newspaper headline in the UK declared: ‘Organic milk: it looks good, it tastes good and by golly they’ve proved it does you good.’

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The Facts about Organic Dairying

April 21st, 2009

Juan S. Velez, M.V., M.S., DACT
Aurora Organic Dairy

The Organic Industry Today

Organic farming has been one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture since 1990. The number of organic farmers in the United States has been increasing at a rate of more than 12% per year. Organic agriculture has grown from $78 million in 1980 to 13.8 Billion in 2005. See figure 1. This growth has caught the attention of some of the largest manufacturers and retailers in the country as can be seen in Figure 2.

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