food risk is interesting.
I buy a lottery ticket because somewhere in my primitive hindbrain I think I can win despite 237,000,000 to 1 odds.
So for me, there's a part of me that says that even very small odds are a possible risk. In the case of lottery tickets, there's a better chance that I'll be eaten by an alligator or killed by a rabid skunk, both of which seem to me to be really unlikely events.
So when I assess the risk of drinking raw milk there's that part of me that says that it can happen with long odds.
What is the risk that you'd be willing to take? 1 in 10? 1 in 100? 1 in 1,000? one in a million? For small kids or folks with compromised immune systems, the consequences can be pretty dire -- kidney failure and lifelong dyalysis or just plan old death.
I figure that raw milk is an adult beverage and a great ingredient for cheese; speaking as someone who's raising a dairy cow and plans to drink raw milk when she calves, next july.
Foundation farms was a small raw milk dairy in oregon; they had an outbreak and the farmers own 4 children came down with it. Four kids spent some quality time in the intensive care ward and three of those four are on kidney support because of kidney failure. Whatever nutritional or health benefits those kids got from it probably is not worth the risk to them. The dairy itself is out of business now.
Whole foods doesn't stock raw milk because a recent trend is that when there is an outbreak the dairy gets sued, the distributor gets sued, and the retail store gets sued. Given that choice,most stores just opt out. And insurance companies are having a hard time pricing policies; when someone dies or requires lifelong care, especially a child, juries are very sympathetic and often award millions of dollars to the bereaved parents.
Small farms love raw milk because of the high margins it affords compared with traditional dairy, but they often don't have the financial backing that a bigger farm would, and in the event of an outbreak, most just quietly fold and auction their cows and then they're gone. That's what foundation farms did. I don't know who's paying the medical costs for that upgrade, but I'm guessing it's us as taxpayers. I'm all for free choice and rugged individualism, but most of the time when this stuff goes bad it's the taxpayer that picks up the bill. A single day in an intensive care unit can cost 30 to 50 thousand dollars. So it looks like a high profit margin item to the individual running the farm, but when you look at the overall cost of treatment, any profit that foundation farms made is probably a drop in the bucket. Society as a whole did not profit from that farm at all. This is the farming equivalent of a superfund cleanup site.
Food risk. What odds are acceptable to you?
6 hours ago