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The hysteria continues (raw-milk EVIL, says FDA)


misstenacity
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First wild mushrooms aren't ok because they're not farmed, and now more threats to the tasty cheese arena:

New York Times Article on Raw Cheese

Here's the Google news link for the topic, with a dozen links already as of noon today:

Raw Milk Cheeses.... the news links.

Bleargh. I bet this will make it ever harder for gourmets to bring such items through customs.... :angry:

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

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I wouldn't characterize the FDA's warning to avoid raw milk products of uncertain provenance as hysteria. Transmission of bovine TB (that article's got some minor scientific inaccuracies) from cows to humans via milk was a huge public health problem in the past, and the reason that milk was pasteurized in the first place.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Here's the FDA statement from march 14. It doesn't seem too hysterical to me.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that some soft cheeses made with raw milk present a health risk, especially to high risk groups, such as pregnant women, newborns, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Such raw milk soft cheeses can cause several serious infectious diseases including listeriosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis and tuberculosis. Recently, cases of tuberculosis in New York City have been linked to consumption of queso fresco style cheeses, either imported from Mexico or consumed in Mexico, contaminated with Mycobacterium bovis, the causative agent.

The raw milk soft cheeses of most concern can originate from Mexico and Central American countries. Queso fresco style cheese, which is soft and white, has been found to be the most popular kind of cheese among the Hispanic community and can include Queso Panela, Asadero, Blanco and Ranchero, among other styles and may be imported or produced in the U.S.

FDA recommends that consumers do not eat any unripened raw milk soft cheeses from Mexico, Nicaragua, or Honduras. Data show that they are often contaminated with pathogens. FDA further recommends that consumers not purchase or consume raw milk soft cheeses from sources such as flea markets, sellers operating door-to-door or out of their trucks or shipped or carried in luggage to them from Mexico, Nicaragua, or Honduras. This includes cheeses made at home by individuals.

FDA further advises that there is some risk of infection from a number of pathogenic bacteria for anyone who eats raw milk soft cheese from any source.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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unfortunately, even as a raw-milk cheese supporter, it must be recognized that there are risks. in southern california, we have outbreaks of listeria from raw milk queso fresco every couple of years. in the best-case scenario, a few folks get really sick. worst case, if i recall, was more than a dozen fatalities back in the 80s.

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unfortunately, even as a raw-milk cheese supporter, it must be recognized that there are risks. in southern california, we have outbreaks of listeria from raw milk queso fresco every couple of years. in the best-case scenario, a few folks get really sick. worst case, if i recall, was more than a dozen fatalities back in the 80s.

Listeria is scary stuff. One of my friends is pregnant and her doctor told her that even a tiny amount of listeria can cause miscarriage. There have been cases where women have miscarried due to listeria exposure without even feeling sick otherwise. To me, the ability to eat raw-milk cheese just isn't worth the risk.

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Listeria is scary stuff. One of my friends is pregnant and her doctor told her that even a tiny amount of listeria can cause miscarriage. There have been cases where women have miscarried due to listeria exposure without even feeling sick otherwise. To me, the ability to eat raw-milk cheese just isn't worth the risk.

Many women restrict their diet during pregnancy as a precaution. Listeria can be scary stuff and I don't recommend ignoring its consequences, but there's a great difference between the immune system of a fetus and someone in the prime of life enjoying great health. There are a number of other potential sources of listeria than anyone planning on being pregnant might want to be aware of. A doctor is probably a better source of information than a web site.

Robert Buxbaum

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Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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For the record, the initial post here deals with the risk of getting TB (bovine TB) from raw milk and raw milk products, not listeriosis. Very different diseases.

[edit to close parenthesis]

Edited by therese (log)

Can you pee in the ocean?

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For the record, the initial post here deals with the risk of getting TB (bovine TB) from raw milk and raw milk products, not listeriosis. Very different diseases.

Right. But the recent FDA advisory, which was prompted by the recent TB cases in New York, pointed that TB is only one of several food-borne illness that can be transmitted via raw milk products, so I would think that discussion of those other illnesses --such as listeria-- is appropriate.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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For the record, the initial post here deals with the risk of getting TB (bovine TB) from raw milk and raw milk products, not listeriosis. Very different diseases.

Right. But the recent FDA advisory, which was prompted by the recent TB cases in New York, pointed that TB is only one of several food-borne illness that can be transmitted via raw milk products, so I would think that discussion of those other illnesses --such as listeria-- is appropriate.

True.

I point out the distinction because the press (in the U.S. at least) tends to consider listeria and salmonella rather than TB, largely because TB's no longer very common in U.S. milk cow herds.

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Good point. I had never even heard of TB transmission via raw milk before this, though I was aware of the other, more widely-known pathogens like salmonella and listeria.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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For the record, the initial post here deals with the risk of getting TB (bovine TB) from raw milk and raw milk products, not listeriosis. Very different diseases.

[edit to close parenthesis]

Yes, I know, but "Bovine TB" does not rhyme with "hysteria", so I took some creative licence.

For the record, let it be known that in the context of this thread whenever I say "listeria" I mean, in fact, "Bovine TB".

--

ID

--

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[To me, the ability to eat raw-milk cheese just isn't worth the risk.

Are you saying that you would not eat raw milk cheese when pregnant, or that pregnant women, and, by implication, everyone, should lose the ability to eat raw milk cheese?

If the latter, I might have to object to your position. As a male with a fairly slim chance of getting pregnant ( :hmmm: ), I'm willing to let any sprog trying to find purchase in my insides take his or her chances as I scarf down my precious, precious reblochon etc. :raz:

edit: forget *getting* pregnant, I can't even fucking spell it. :wacko:

Edited by fimbul (log)

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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Yes, I know, but "Bovine TB" does not rhyme with "hysteria", so I took some creative licence.

For the record, let it be known that in the context of this thread whenever I say "listeria" I mean, in fact, "Bovine TB".

Heh heh.

Let's see... tuberculosis/halitosis? Scrofula/shmofula? Oh, hold it, shmofula isn't a word. This medical rhyming thing's harder than it sounds.

I'm actually a proponent of raw milk and raw milk products, having grown up producing and using them on my grandparents' farm.

It's the "of uncertain provenance" part that's problematic. Bovine TB is no longer a huge risk in the U.S., but non-pasteurized milk from other parts of the world is another issue altogether.

As Bux points out, a healthy adult doesn't have much to worry about when it comes to listeria, and I'm happy to consume raw milk cheeses from regulated sources (or small farms with which I'm personally familiar). He's also correct when he points out that listeria outbreaks in the U.S. aren't necessarily associated with raw milk products but rather with other sorts of foods like pasteurized dairy and deli meats and potato salad and so forth.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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One doesn't hear much about the French dropping dead of cow consumption or listeria. I think I'll take my chances on a good stinky raw-milk cheese.

Exactly. But they used to, at least of bovine TB. Good thing Louis Pasteur was looking out for his countrymen. Cows (and people in many parts of the world but not the U.S.) are immunized against bovine TB (in the hopes that there's some cross immunity to to human TB).

I've still not been able to come up with a cool rhyme, but I did recall a cool factoid about TB that's, um, food-related. TB infections produce a characteristic type of inflammatory response called a granuloma, little walled-off blobs that are sometimes filled with necrotic ick, with the necrotic ick being particularly characteristic of TB. This type of granuloma is called "caseating" because, well, it looks like cheese. Smells like it, too.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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One doesn't hear much about the French dropping dead of cow consumption or listeria. I think I'll take my chances on a good stinky raw-milk cheese.

The risk is certainly very small, just as it is with raw eggs and raw meat. Life is full of risks and its up to you which ones you want to take. But certainly the risk is also real, and certainly there are cases in France where people have become very ill from eating raw milk cheeses. The three examples below report outbreaks in France traced to cheeses:

Desenclos et al, 1996. Large outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype paratyphi B infection caused by goats' milk cheese, France: a case finding and epidemiological study. British Medical Journal 312, 91-94.

Goulet et al, 1995. Listeriosis from consumption of raw-milk cheese. Lancet 345, 1581-1582.

Vaillant et al, 1996. Outbreak of Salmonella dublin infection in France, November-December 1995. Eurosurveillance 1, (2) 9-10.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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One doesn't hear much about the French dropping dead of cow consumption or listeria. I think I'll take my chances on a good stinky raw-milk cheese.

I grew up on the stuff. Drank raw milk even as a wee a tot.

I don't know if I would eat raw milk products made outside of France. I have no scientitic or statistical data to back up my fear. :raz:

EDIT: my post crossed with Patrick. Serendipity?

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

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Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

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I've still not been able to come up with a cool rhyme, but I did recall a cool factoid about TB that's, um, food-related. TB infections produce a characteristic type of inflammatory response called a granuloma, little walled-off blobs that are sometimes filled with necrotic ick, with the necrotic ick being particularly characteristic of TB. This type of granuloma is called "caseating" because, well, it looks like cheese. Smells like it, too.

:blink:

Good lord.

Your knowledge is gross.

Ugh.

:unsure:

A jumped-up pantry boy who never knew his place.

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I grew up on the stuff. Drank raw milk even as a wee a tot.

I don't know if I would eat raw milk products made outside of France. I have no scientitic or statistical data to back up my fear.  :raz:

Me too (vide supra).

You've also likely been immunized with BCG (bacille Calmette Guerin), an attenuated M. bovis that may have afforded you some protection in childhood, probably none now.

The decision to drink unpasteurized dairy is akin to the decision to have unprotected sex: it comes down to the "of uncertain provenance" thing.

Edited by therese (log)

Can you pee in the ocean?

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[To me, the ability to eat raw-milk cheese just isn't worth the risk.

Are you saying that you would not eat raw milk cheese when pregnant, or that pregnant women, and, by implication, everyone, should lose the ability to eat raw milk cheese?

If the latter, I might have to object to your position. As a male with a fairly slim chance of getting pregnant ( :hmmm: ), I'm willing to let any sprog trying to find purchase in my insides take his or her chances as I scarf down my precious, precious reblochon etc. :raz:

edit: forget *getting* pregnant, I can't even fucking spell it. :wacko:

I don't believe I said or even implied either of those things. I said TO ME, the risk is not worth it. Hmmm...to...me...I think the "to" is fairly self-explanatory and as for the "me," I was referring to myself... :raz:

I don't think anyone, pregnant or not, should be prevented from eating anything they want to eat, legally or otherwise. There's a lot of unnecessary hysteria (you know, that thing that rhymes with listeria) over the issue of what pregnant people should or shouldn't eat, IMO. There's ample information out there about the "risks" of pregnant women eating raw-milk cheese or sushi or peanuts or whatever, and as an independent adult the woman should be able to make her own choices, without legal interference or even consternating looks from strangers.

However, I won't be eating raw-milk cheese (or unheated cold cuts either, for that matter) if I ever become pregnant. The prospect of losing a pregnancy because of something I did that I didn't have to do isn't something I could live with. But that's me, other mileage may vary.

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[However, I won't be eating raw-milk cheese (or unheated cold cuts either, for that matter) if I ever become pregnant. The prospect of losing a pregnancy because of something I did that I didn't have to do isn't something I could live with. But that's me, other mileage may vary.

One of the cool and possibly adaptive things about pregnancy is morning sickness. True, it's only in retrospect that I characterize this period as even remotely cool, but it did mean that I was altogether less adventurous than normal, and so foregoing sushi and rare beef and spicy foods was not really a problem.

Let's face it, I lived on plain baked potatoes and chicken broth for the first five months of my second pregnancy,explaining the fact that I was still wearing a U.S. size six at that point.

Bovine TB probably not a big risk to the unborn fetus, actually.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I understand and agree that the FDA's warning is not hyperbole and hysteria, but common sense - for those with compromised immunity or who do not want to take risks with their food. But it is those types of warnings that can have a trickle effect on the day to day practices of inspectors, retailers, and ultimately, legislators, that affects all of us that love our raw milk cheese, no matter what kind or where from.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net

"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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Unlike listeria, risk of disease from bovine TB is not confined to the immunocompromised or pregnant. The magnitude of the risk is not appreciated because we have been largely free of it for many decades now precisely because of those hotheads at the FDA and their like abroad.

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