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Is it safe to consume milk?

May 14, 2012|By Alexandra Le Tellier

Last week was all about breast milk -- specifically, a big kid standing on a stool while being nursed by his young, attractive mom on the cover of Time magazine. In all the media hubbub, a story about raw milk infecting 10 people in California with Campylobacterdidn't get the attention it deserved.

In a Grub Street post, Krista Simmons points to a series of recent raw milk mishaps across the country. Never mind the raw milk advocates who swear by its many health benefits. Simmons not only argues against consuming raw milk but also against the push to legalize it.

“Much as we support personal liberty, small farms, and less processed and commodity-raised goods, this raw milk business seems downright dangerous,” she writes, asking: “Wouldn't states like New Jersey, who are currently aiming to legalize the sale of raw milk, be better off fighting elements of the food system that are plaguing the nation? Yeah, we mean you, Big Ag.”  

At least there’s pasteurized milk, right? Wrong. It also presents health risks.

Additionally, wasted milk could speed up climate change, writes Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard. “Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that maybe we should be crying over spilled milk,” says Sheppard, who has made her views against food waste known. “The amount of milk that Brits waste every year -- 360,000 tons -- is responsible for 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That's roughly equivalent to the output of 20,000 cars, and that's just in the United Kingdom.”

Add these two stories to stats that say humans aren’t meant to digest milk past babyhood, and it’s a wonder we continue to compromise our health and screw up the environment. “Being able to digest milk is so strange that scientists say we shouldn't really call lactose intolerance a disease, because that presumes it's abnormal,” writes Elizabeth Weise in a USA Today story. “Instead, they call it lactase persistence, indicating what's really weird is the ability to continue to drink milk.”


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Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier. Follow Opinion L.A. on Twitter and Facebook.

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