James Greiff at Bloomberg View wants you to know:
A refresher course in the work of Louis Pasteur should be mandatory for advocates of so-called raw milk.
Gee, thanks, teacher. The disdainful, supercilious opinion of every anti-raw-milk crusader is that we unscientific 19th-century throwback Luddites must have simply ignored the “science” telling us that pasteurized milk is “safer” than its raw variant. If only we had paid attention in biology class, then people like James Greiff wouldn’t have to worry about us drinking something he doesn’t want us to drink.
[A]n alliance has formed to advance legislation requiring state and federal regulators to end many of the restrictions on unpasteurized milk sales. It’s an unlikely marriage at that, combining the more ardent foes of industrialized farming with the anti-government wing of the political right.
Those promoting raw milk claim — in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary — that pasteurizing milk destroys proteins, enzymes and vitamins that prevent allergies, asthma, even cancer. Of course, there is no proof of this, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw and pasteurized milk are nutritionally indistinguishable.
I’ve long ago stopped trying to debate the scientific merits of raw milk with opponents of the stuff; there’s far more stock in telling the nation’s food busybodies to just butt out of our business. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of empirical proof—or scientific evidence, if you’d prefer—that proves raw milk’s superior nutritional content and enzymatic profile as compared to its ridiculous pasteurized cousin; advocates like Ron Schmid and the kooky-but-earnest William Campbell Douglass have been showing this for years. In any event, it’s not “science” that anti-raw-milk people are interested in, but a sneering, preening technological supremacy: “Well, we always get our milk pasteurized—we read our Pasteur, after all.”
There’s no point in debating the merits of legalizing a ten-thousand-year-old food when your debater can only muster the intellectual wherewithal to view the crusade as a “marriage” between “foes of industrialized farming [and] the anti-government wing of the political right,” and whose primary appeal to authority appears to be “foodsafety.gov,” also known as “Your Gateway to Federal Food Safety Information.” As the FDA points out, between 1987 and 2010 there were “at least 133 outbreaks due to the consumption of raw milk and raw milk products. These outbreaks caused 2,659 cases of illnesses, 269 hospitalizations, 3 deaths, 6 stillbirths and 2 miscarriages.” That’s right: the FDA has determined that raw milk caused .10 deaths per year over a twenty-three-year period, and a grand total of roughly 115 illnesses per year during that period as well. At this rate, it would take around 275 years for the number of deaths associated with raw milk to equal the number of dog attacks in 2012 alone. Who needs a “refresher course” in this case—the people who want to take their chances with raw milk based on its good odds, or the guy who’s so scared of it that he simply can’t bear the thought of anyone else consuming it, and wants to make it illegal for them to do so?