Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 that would allow for the direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products across state lines. The proposed amendment has triggered praise from advocates who promote raw milk’s health benefits and outrage from dairy industry associations over food-borne illness from unpasteurized milk.
Paul’s amendment (submitted on June 6, 2012), titled “Interstate Traffic of Unpasteurized Milk and Milk Products,” would amend section 1240.61 of the Code of Federal Regulations to eliminate the “mandatory pasteurization for all milk and milk products in final package form intended for direct human consumption.” Proponents of raw milk consumption say that pasteurization eliminates some of milk’s essential vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bacteria.
The Weston A. Price Foundation wrote in a Sep. 2011 statement that raw milk contains “components that can reduce or eliminate populations of pathogenic bacteria, ensure assimilation of nutrients, and stimulate the immune system.” Twenty-nine states allow the sale of raw milk in varying legal degrees, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. A Mar. 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 1993 and 2006, unpasteurized dairy products caused 1,571 cases of food-borne illness, 202 hospitalizations, and two deaths. The CDC also concluded that unpasteurized milk was 150 times more likely to cause food-borne illness outbreaks than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products.