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CDC CHERRY PICKS DATA TO MAKE CASE AGAINST RAW MILK

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      Dear Members,
      Yesterday the CDC issued a press release claiming a rate of 150 times
      more outbreaks from raw milk than pasteurized. We have prepared the
      press release below, with a critique of their data.
      Please send this press release to your local newspapers and post on your
      various email lists and websites. You can also use the information below
      to write to local newspapers and your elected officials.
      Thank you for joining us in raw milk activism!
      Sincerely,
      Sally Fallon Morell, President
      Kathy Kramer, Executive Director
      CDC CHERRY PICKS DATA TO MAKE CASE AGAINST RAW MILK
      Agency ignores data that shows dangers of pasteurized milk
      WASHINGTON, DC, February 21, 2012. In a press release issued today,
      authors affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control claim that the
      rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from it
      was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.” The
      authors based this conclusion on an analysis of reports submitted to the
      CDC from 1993 to 2006.
      According the Weston A. Price Foundation, the CDC has manipulated and
      cherry picked this data to make raw milk look dangerous and to dismiss
      the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk.
      “What consumers need to realize, first of all,” said Sally Fallon
      Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, “is that the
      incidence of foodborne illnesses from dairy products, whether
      pasteurized or not, is extremely low. For the 14-year period that the
      authors examined, there was an average of 315 illnesses a year from all
      dairy products for which the pasteurization status was known. Of those,
      there was an average of 112 illnesses each year attributed to all raw
      dairy products and 203 associated with pasteurized dairy products.
      “In comparison, there are almost 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported
      each year on average. Whether pasteurized or not, dairy products are
      simply not a high risk product.”
      Because the incidence of illness from dairy products is so low, the
      authors’ choice of the time period for the study affected the results
      significantly, yet their decision to stop the analysis with the year
      2006 was not explained. The CDC’s data shows that there were significant
      outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to pasteurized dairy products the
      very next year, in 2007: 135 people became ill from pasteurized cheese
      contad with e. coli, and three people died from pasteurized milk
      contaminated with listeria (wwwn.cdc.gov/foodborneoutbreaks/Default.aspx).
      Outbreaks from pasteurized dairy were also a significant problem in the
      1980s. In 1985, there were over 16,000 confirmed cases of Salmonella
      infection that were traced back to pasteurized milk from a single dairy.
      Surveys estimated that the actual number of people who became ill in
      that outbreak were over 168,000, “making this the largest outbreak of
      salmonellosis ever identified in the United States” at that time,
      according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
      According to Fallon Morell “In the context of the very low numbers of
      illnesses attributed to dairy in general, the authors’ decision to cut
      the time frame short, as compared to the available CDC data, is
      troubling and adds to questions about the bias in this publication.”

      According to Fallon Morell, the CDC’s authors continue to obscure their
      study by failing to document the actual information they are using. They
      rely on reports, many of which are preliminary. Of the references
      related to dairy outbreaks, five are from outbreaks in other countries,
      several did not involve any illness, seven are about cheese-related
      incidents, and of the forty-six outbreaks they count, only five describe
      any investigations.
      Perhaps most troubling is the authors’ decision to focus on outbreaks
      rather than illnesses. An “outbreak” of foodborne illness can consist of
      two people with minor stomachaches to thousands of people with bloody
      diarrhea. In addressing the risk posed for individuals who consume a
      food, the logical data to examine is the number of illnesses, not the
      number of outbreaks.
      “The authors acknowledge that the number of foodborne illnesses from raw
      dairy products (as opposed to outbreaks) were not significantly
      different in states where raw milk is legal to sell compared with states
      where it is illegal to sell,” notes Judith McGeary of the Farm and Ranch
      Freedom Alliance. “In other words, had the authors looked at actual risk
      of illness, instead of the artificially defined “outbreaks,” there would
      have been no significant results to report.”
      This does not end the list of flaws with the study, however. The link
      between the outbreaks and the legal status of raw dairy mixed an entire
      category of diverse products. Illnesses from suitcase style raw cheese
      or queso fresco were lumped together with illnesses attributed to fluid
      raw milk, a much less risky product. In the majority of states where the
      sale of raw fluid milk is allowed, the sale of queso fresco is still
      illegal. The authors had all of the data on which products were legal
      and which products allegedly caused the illnesses, yet chose not to use
      that data.
      Similarly, to create the claimed numbers for how much riskier raw dairy
      products are, the authors relied on old data on raw milk consumption
      rates, rather than using the CDC’s own food survey from 2006-2007. The
      newer data showed that about 3 percent of the population consumes raw
      milk—over nine million people--yet the authors chose instead to make
      conclusions based on the assumption that only 1 percent of the dairy
      products in the country are consumed raw.
      The authors also ignored relevant data on the populations of each state.
      For example, the three most populous states in the country (California,
      Texas, and New York) all allow for legal sales of raw milk; the larger
      number of people in these states would logically lead to larger numbers
      of illnesses than in low-population states such as Montana and Wyoming
      and has nothing to do with the fact that raw milk is illegal in those
      states.
      “It would hardly be surprising to see some sort of increase in foodborne
      illnesses related to a food where that food is legal,” said McGeary. “If
      we banned ground beef, we’d see fewer illnesses related to ground beef
      products. Yet this new study fails to prove even that common-sense
      proposition, even as it claims to prove a great deal more. What the data
      really shows is that raw dairy products cause very few illnesses each
      year, even though the CDC data indicates that over 9 million people
      consume it.”
      Contact: Kimberly Hartke, Publicist, The Weston A. Price Foundation
      press@... <mailto:press@...>
      703-860-2711, 703-675-5557
      The Weston A. Price Foundation is a 501C3 nutrition education foundation
      with the mission of disseminating accurate, science-based information on
      diet and health. Named after nutrition pioneer Weston A. Price, DDS,
      author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, the Washington, DC-based
      Foundation publishes a quarterly journal for its 13,000 members,
      supports 500 local chapters worldwide and hosts a yearly conference. The
      Foundation headquarters phone number is (202) 363-4394,
      www.westonaprice.org
      <http://e2ma.net/go/7466461801/208839691/232133938/1407690/goto:http://www.westonaprice.org/>,
      info@... <mailto:info@...>.


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