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Raw milk risks should have been highlighted

DARINA ALLEN (Weekend, June 21) writes that a 2006 study showed “a couple of glasses of unpasteurised milk a week reduced the risk of allergy-related conditions such as eczema and hay fever in children”.

However, conclusions from the study only claim unpasteurised milk “might” be responsible for the positive results.

In addition, EU researchers who carried out a similar 2007 study state: “We cannot recommend consumption of raw (unpasteurised) farm milk as a preventative measure against asthma and allergies” due to the fact that “raw milk may contain pathogens such as salmonella or enterohaemorrhagic E coli and its consumption may have serious health risks.”

Ms Allen’s column fails to highlight the full dangers of unpasteurised milk.

In England and Wales, where some unpasteurised milk is still sold, 10 outbreaks of infectious diseases associated with it were reported between 1992-’96, with 218 people affected, including one death.

Britain’s Food Standard Agency maintains young children, elderly people pregnant women and people who are ill should avoid unpasteurised milk.

In Ireland, where the sale of raw milk is illegal, a 1998 study on the consumption of unpasteurised milk, carried out by the Food Safety Authority and Cork County Council, recommended “families should cease drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk” and that “all milk for human consumption should be purchased through normal retail channels as a pasteurised product, or home pasteurisers should be used”.

Shane Morris

Department of Biochemistry



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