Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Raw Vs. Pasteurized

Christine Chessen cooks with vegetables from her own San Francisco garden, she buys organic meat and unpasteurized eggs, and she makes her own kefir for smoothies.

She and her kids also drink raw milk - against the advice of many doctors and public health officials, who say unpasteurized milk can carry a variety of bacteria dangerous to humans.

Last week, state officials recalled products from Organic Pastures of Fresno after five children, including two in Contra Costa County, were sickened by E. coli bacteria believed to have come from milk from the dairy. But Chessen was unfazed.
"We had some (of the recalled milk) in the fridge, and we drank it right up, no problem," Chessen said. "I'm far more concerned about commercial agriculture, like cantaloupe, spinach, conventional eggs and what's going on at those large-scale farms. I'm not concerned about raw milk at all."

Raw milk, say its proponents, has been unfairly maligned in recent years. They suggest it's a natural product that is as safe and delicious as a farm-fresh tomato when properly produced, as any agricultural product should be. They note that dozens of other food products are recalled every year - just last Thursday, pre-packaged lettuce was recalled after E. coli was found during random testing - and no one's being told to stop eating fresh vegetables.

Some raw milk advocates go so far as to say that the process of pasteurizing milk kills off healthy bacteria that keep the gut in top shape, although there are no rigorous scientific studies to support that.

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