Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Opposing Viewpoints: Raw Milk a Bad Idea

The following is a reply to the letter from Dr. Steven Smith, MD, on the subject of a Texas Medicine Magazine article on raw milk.

In Reply:

The letter from Dr. Smith expresses his view that the Texas Medical Association (TMA) should not oppose efforts to expand the sale of raw milk in Texas. To support his view, he impeaches the established practice of pasteurization by calling the data that supports it "dated".

While it is true that one may not find large controlled clinical studies that are published in recent issues of scholarly journals supporting the continued pasteurization of milk to protect the public, neither will one find similar studies supporting the established practice of water filtration in public water systems. That is no reason to abandon something that we know prevents morbidity and mortality. Moreover, one should not be persuaded to expand raw milk sales based upon the anecdote that Dr. Smith and hundreds of his acquaintances were raised on it with no reports of ill effects.

Pasteurization of milk is a practice our society adopted to prevent serious and sometimes fatal food-borne infections. It suffers the same effects of all good preventive practices -- it becomes a victim of its own success. We forget about the known risks of infection that include salmonellosis and listeriosis. Instead, we would place individual liberty ahead of public health? No. TMA should continue to oppose efforts to erode practice that enhance risk to the public and the patients we are entrusted to care for. That is the only position that TMA can take!

Jason V. Terk, MD
Keller physician

1 comment :

Timothy Craig Allen, M.D.,J.D. said...

Pasteurization: It's not just the law. It's a good idea.

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