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State Pediatricians Oppose Sale of “Raw Milk”: WIAAP Urges Defeat of AB 1531/2 and Senate Bill 306/2

The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) again voices its opposition to pending legislation that would legalize the sale of unpasteurized ("raw") milk. Raw milk is known to expose consumers to food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria capable of causing numerous illnesses and even death, and miscarriage in pregnant women. Numerous public, agricultural and veterinary health groups stand opposed to the sale of unpasteurized milk.

Kimberly, WI, March 24, 2011 --( The Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (WIAAP) again today voiced its strong opposition to AB 1531/2 and SB 306/2 that would legalize the sale of ‘raw milk’ in Wisconsin. Jim Conway, MD, FAAP, chair of the WIAAP Infectious Disease and Immunization committee, said, “These bills represent another attempt to undermine the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance of 1934, which has protected the public’s health for 77 years.” Last year then-governor Jim Doyle vetoed similar legislation as outlined in AB 628 and SB 434.

“Simply put, this legislation would endanger kids,” worries Jeff Lamont, MD, FAAP, President of the WIAAP. “Pasteurization is viewed worldwide as a significant public health breakthrough. As pediatricians we care for and protect children who cannot choose their own diets.” He added, “The financial benefit to a small group of people is not worth the risk and higher health care costs to taxpayers.” Raw milk is known to expose consumers to food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria such as E coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and even tuberculosis. These bacteria are capable of causing diseases as serious as meningitis, kidney failure, severe diarrhea, bone or joint infections, and even death, and can lead to miscarriages in pregnant women.

Conway stated, “Pasteurization has prevented countless cases of infection in children and individuals with compromised immune systems, as well as the general public. There are no scientific reasons to oppose pasteurization, but there are significant risks associated with the practice of drinking raw milk.” He added, “States that permit the sale of raw milk run nearly three times the risk of having raw milk-related outbreaks.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 1,600 illnesses, 202 hospitalizations and two deaths between 1993 and 2006 linked with unpasteurized dairy products. In 2010 alone there were 16 documented disease outbreaks caused by raw milk products in 11 states that do permit these products. "Most importantly," said Conway, “There is no scientific evidence of any health benefits to raw milk, while there are countless publications in peer-reviewed journals clearly proving the benefits of pasteurization.”

Recent testimony by the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) also expressed opposition to the proposed law. Dr. Keith Poulsen of the WVMA said, “Grade A milk is only suitable for human consumption after pasteurization, as there are no acceptable rapid tests to identify harmful bacteria in raw milk, and even healthy cows shed bacteria in their milk.”

Multiple public health and agricultural health agencies oppose the sale of unpasteurized milk products, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, NMC (formerly the National Mastitis Council), the American Veterinary Medical Association, the U.S. Animal Health Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Environmental Health Association, the International Association for Food Protection, the World Health Organization, and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

Comprised of nearly 900 members and a part of the American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”), WIAAP works to assure optimal health and safety for Wisconsin’s children and their families through advocacy and collaboration with child interest groups. WIAAP supports Wisconsin pediatricians, enabling them to continue to be the most effective providers of health care to children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Contact Information
Wisconsin Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Kia LaBracke
563 Carter Court
Kimberly, WI 54136

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