Raw Milk at the Crossroads, Again

Analysis by Sally Fallon Morell

lies against raw milk

Story at-a-glance

  • The campaign against raw milk began with a fabricated 1945 article in Coronet magazine claiming a deadly brucellosis outbreak in a nonexistent town, leading to restrictive laws against raw milk starting in Michigan in 1948
  • A 2007 PowerPoint presentation by an FDA official falsely maligned raw milk using flawed reports; none of these reports proved pasteurization would have prevented alleged outbreaks
  • The 2024 USDA announcement attributed symptoms in dairy cows to avian flu without confirmed viral presence in milk, relying on questionable PCR testing methods
  • Despite claims, there is no peer-reviewed evidence supporting transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza from raw milk to humans
  • While pasteurization is promoted as making milk safe, the actual diversion or destruction of milk from infected animals suggests that pasteurization may not guarantee safety

Few of us were born when the forces for milk pasteurization launched the first major attack on Nature's perfect food. In 1945, a magazine called "Coronet" published an article, "Raw Milk Can Kill You," blaming raw milk for an outbreak of brucellosis in a town called Crossroads, U.S.A., killing one-third of the inhabitants. The "Reader's Digest" picked up the story and ran it a year later.

raw milk can kill you article
coronet magazine

Just one problem with this piece of "reporting." There was no town called Crossroads and no outbreak of brucellosis. The whole story was a fabrication — otherwise known as a lie. And lies about raw milk have continued ever since.

Unfortunately, the fictitious Crossroads story paved the way for laws against selling raw milk, starting with Michigan in 1948.

Here's another example of lies against raw milk (which I referenced in an earlier post,1 but it is worth repeating). In 2007, John F. Sheehan, BSc (Dy), JD, US Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (USFDA/CFSAN), Division of Dairy and Egg Safety, prepared a Powerpoint maligning raw milk; it was presented to the 2005 National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) by Cindy Leonard, MS.2

As shown in the table below, all of the fifteen reports associating outbreaks of foodborne illness with raw milk that Sheehan cites are seriously flawed. For example, in two of the fifteen, the study authors presented no evidence that anyone consumed raw milk products and in one of them, the outbreak did not even exist. Not one of the studies showed that pasteurization would have prevented the outbreak.

No valid positive milk sample

12/15 (80%)

No valid statistical association with raw milk

10/15 (67%)

Findings misrepresented by FDA

7/15 (47%)

Alternative explanations discovered but not pursued

5/15 (33%)

No evidence anyone consumed raw milk products

2/15 (13%)

Outbreak did not even exist

1/15 (7%)

Did not show that pasteurization would have prevented outbreak

15/15 (100%)

Fast forward to the present and the ruckus about bird flu in dairy cows — more lies, very clever lies, but lies nevertheless.

In a press release dated March 25, 2024,3 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state veterinary and public health officials, announced investigation of "an illness among primarily older dairy cows in Texas, Kansas, and New Mexico that is causing decreased lactation, low appetite, and other symptoms."

The agencies claim that samples of unpasteurized milk from sick cattle in Kansas and Texas have tested positive for "highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)." Officials blame the outbreak on contact with "wild migratory birds" and possibly from transmission between cattle. The press release specifically warns against consumption of raw milk, a warning repeated in numerous publications and Internet postings.

According to the press release, national laboratories have confirmed the presence of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) through testing, but it does not reveal the type of test used to detect this so-called viral illness.

Lie No. 1: Researchers Have Found HPAI Virus in the Milk of Sick Cows

Officials have NOT found any viruses in the milk or any other secretions of the sick cows. The CDC has yet to reply to repeated requests for proof of finding the isolated HPAI virus in any fluid of any sick chicken or other animal.4 Nor have health and agriculture agencies in Canada,5 Japan,6 the UK7 and Europe8 provided any proof of an isolated avian influenza virus.

As for all the studies you can find in a PubMed search claiming "isolation" of a virus, not one of them shows the true isolation of a virus, any virus, from the fluids (phlegm, blood, urine, lung fluids, etc) of any animal, bird or human.9

The truth is that "viruses" serve as the whipping boy for environmental toxins, and in the confinement animal system, there are lots of them — hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia from excrement, for example.10 Then there are toxins in the feed, such as arsenic added to chicken feed, and mycotoxins, tropane and β-carboline alkaloids in soybean meal.11

By blaming nonexistent viruses, agriculture officials can avoid stepping on any big industry toes nor add to the increasing public disgust with the confinement animal system.

Way back in 2006, researchers Crowe and Englebrecht published an article entitled, "Avian flu virus H5N1: No proof for existence, pathogenicity, or pandemic potential; non-'H5N1'z causation omitted."12 Nothing has changed since then.

Here's your homework assignment: Contact USDA at [email protected] and ask them to provide proof of the isolation of the HPAI virus or any virus in the milk of the sick cattle.

Lie No. 2: National Laboratories Have Confirmed the Presence of HPAI Through Testing

They don't say anything about the kind of test they used, but it almost certainly the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. The PCR test detects genetic material from a pathogen or abnormal cell sample and allows researchers to make many copies of a small section of DNA or RNA. The test was not designed to determine or diagnose disease, it was designed to amplify or increase a certain piece of genetic material.

Each "amplification" is a doubling of the material. If you amplify thirty times you will get a negative; amplify 36 times or more, and you will get a positive. At 60 amplifications, everyone will "test positive" for whatever bit of genetic material you believe can cause disease.13 If you want to show that you have a pandemic brewing, just amplify, amplify, amplify. Folks, this is not a valid test, not good science by any stretch of the imagination — especially as there was no virus to begin with.

How many times did our health officials amplify the samples they obtained from the milk of the sick cows? Be sure to ask them when you email [email protected] for proof of the virus.

Lie No. 3: The 'Virus' Is Highly Pathogenic

According to the "Wall Street Journal," one — just one — person working in the dairies got sick and tested positive for avian influenza after exposure to dairy cattle presumed to be infected with the H5N1 bird flu.14

The person reported eye redness, or conjunctivitis, as his only symptom — a symptom that can be explained by exposure to any of the many airborne toxins in confinement dairies. (How are they treating the illness? With vitamin A and herbal eyedrops? No, the poor sod is getting treatment with a toxic antiviral drug.)

According to the CDC, the disease in humans ranges from mild infections, which include upper-respiratory and eye-related symptoms, to severe pneumonia. If the "virus" is so highly pathogenic, we'd expect a lot of workers working around these sick cows to end up in the hospital ... but we've heard of none so far.

Lie No. 4: You Can Get Avian Flu From Drinking Raw Milk, but Pasteurized Milk Is Safe

According to medical biologist Peg Coleman,15 "Recent risk communications from CDC, FDA, and USDA regarding transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus or HPAI (subtype H5N1) to humans via raw milk include no supporting evidence of viral transmission from raw milk to humans in the peer-reviewed literature.

An extensive body of scientific evidence from the peer-reviewed literature ... does not support the assumption by these US government agencies that [nonexistent] HPAI transmits to humans via milkborne or foodborne routes and causes disease. Nor does the scientific evidence support the recommendation that consumers should avoid raw milk and raw milk products [emphasis in the original]."16

Coleman notes the suite of bioactive components in raw milk, including bovine milk, that destroy pathogens and strengthen the gut wall. "Many of these bioactive components of raw milk are ... sensitive to heat and may be absent, inactive, or present in lower concentrations in pasteurized milks.

Cross-disciplinary evidence demonstrates that raw milk from healthy cows is not inherently dangerous, consistent with the CDC evidence of trends for 2005-2020 and evidence of benefits and risks. There is no scientific evidence that HPAI in raw milk causes human disease."

And while USDA, FDA and CDC assure the public that pasteurization will make milk safe, they note that "Milk from infected animals is being diverted or destroyed," implying that pasteurization alone does not guarantee safety. In any event, sales of industrial pasteurized milk continue their relentless decline.

Fortunately, raw milk drinkers are already skeptical of government pronouncements and are skilled at seeing through lies. Both large and small raw milk dairy farms report that sales are booming. The current bird flu fracas is just another Crossroads, U.S.A., a bunch of lies fostered by a dishonest dairy industry taking aim at the competition.

About the Author

Sally Fallon Morell is author of the best-selling cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" and many other books on diet and health. She is the founding president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (westonaprice.org) and a founder of A Campaign for Real Milk (realmilk.com). Visit her blog at nourishingtraditions.com.

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