Op-Ed Refutes Doctor’s Raw Milk Child Endangerment Claim

by Sarah Raw Milk and Childcare, Raw Milk SafetyComments: 28

Homemade raw milk baby formula ingredients

Last month, board certified infectious diseases and critical care doctor Daniel H. Gervich MD wrote a piece for the Des Moines Register claiming that feeding raw milk to babies is tantamount to child endangerment.

Dr. Gervich’s misinformed and outrageous claim was made in response to House Study Bill 585 which, if passed, would dismantle Iowa’s strict anti-raw milk laws by allowing consumers to purchase it on the farm or have it delivered without restrictions to their homes.

As a Board Member and Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, I felt compelled to write an informed response to Dr. Gervich’s outlandish editorial.  I was delighted to learn yesterday that the Des Moines Register is publishing the raw milk op-ed today both in print and online.

From The Des Moines Register, April 10, 2012 edition

Another View: Health Concerns from Raw Milk are Exaggerated

As a board member for the Weston A. Price Foundation, I have successfully taught and coached hundreds of parents over the past 10 years on how to safely make a raw milk baby formula. I am dismayed by Dr. Daniel H. Gervich’s misinformed opinion on House Study Bill 585, where he contends that feeding unpasteurized milk to babies is tantamount to child endangerment.

Our nutrition education group recommends that only carefully produced unpasteurized milk is suitable for human consumption. Farms produce such milk from healthy cows grazing on pasture. Such farms routinely test for pathogens and are meticulous about food safety.

Parents seek a raw milk formula when their baby is failing to thrive on commercial formula. Many of these children suffer from severe constipation, eczema, reflux and other mild to severe digestive and developmental problems.

Often, these parents feel abandoned by their pediatricians who only suggest a different brand of commercial formula or medications to cover the symptoms without actually resolving the ailment.

Parents are relieved and delighted once they try homemade raw milk formula. Many report that their babies finally begin to sleep through the night. Such problems as reflux and eczema significantly improve and even disappear.

Not even one parent has gone back to commercial formula after trying the homemade formula. The satisfaction rate for parents is at or near 100 percent.

It is wrong to force mothers who cannot breastfeed down the path to commercial formula when there is a clear danger from these unnatural concoctions. A baby recently died from tainted commercial formula purchased at Wal-Mart. Consider also the recent news reports of arsenic in organic baby formula.

Raw milk is a safer and healthier breast milk substitute than any commercial formula. I have never come across even a single report of a baby consuming a raw milk formula suffering from any of the illnesses Dr. Gervich mentions. On the contrary, babies have far fewer health problems on a raw milk formula as compared to commercial formulas.

Gervich gets his facts from a flawed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which claims raw milk is 150 times riskier than pasteurized. The Weston A. Price Foundation rebuts this report in CDC Cherry Picks Data to Make Case Against Raw Milk.

Raw milk is a safer and healthier breast milk substitute than any commercial formula. I have never come across even a single report of a baby consuming a raw milk formula suffering from any of the illnesses Dr. Gervich mentions. On the contrary, babies have far fewer health problems on a raw milk formula as compared to commercial formulas.

Gervich gets his facts from a flawed U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which claims raw milk is 150 times riskier than pasteurized. The Weston A. Price Foundation rebuts this report in “CDC Cherry Picks Data to Make Case Against Raw Milk.”

According to research from Dr. Ted Beals, M.D., who has examined government data on illness and death caused by unpasteurized milk: “It is irresponsible for senior national government officials to oppose raw milk, claiming that it is inherently hazardous. There is no justification for opposing the sale of raw milk or warning against its inclusion in the diets of children and adults.”

Dr. Beals has compiled published reports of illness attributed to unpasteurized (raw) milk from 1999 to 2010. During the 11-year period, illnesses attributed to raw milk averaged only 42 per year. This means a person is 35,000 times more likely to get food borne illness from other foods than from unpasteurized milk.

With over 9 million people currently consuming unpasteurized milk, according to the 2010 census, or about 3 percent of the population, it would seem that if raw milk was as dangerous as Dr. Gervich claims, reports of serious illness from its consumption would be an almost daily occurrence.

It would be wise for physicians to stop issuing shrill warnings against unpasteurized milk using skewed statistics put forth by governmental agencies like the CDC and actually examine the data for themselves to understand the truth. Raw, unpasteurized milk from cows freely grazing on green grass is one of the safest foods anyone, particularly a baby, can consume.

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources:  Letter to the Des Moines Register by Dr. Gervich, March 5, 2012

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