About E. coli

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

About E. coli Blog

E. coli and raw milk – the ongoing debate

Salon.com recently investigated the health benefits some people say they get from drinking it. They also looked into raw milk, cow shares, and organizations that promote raw milk consumption, and came to conclustions about raw milk:

Many people come to raw milk as a last resort; one man I spoke to for this article had terrible asthma, one woman had debilitating arthritis, and another had osteoporosis (which pasteurized milk hadn’t improved) — and all saw complete reversals of their diseases after a few months of drinking it. Their stories were persuasive, but in an age where E. coli is turning up at Taco Bell and even in organic spinach, I wondered: Is it really safe to drink unpasteurized milk?

In a word: No. A scan of the CDC’s Web site turns up several recent bacterial outbreaks traced to raw milk: Last year in Washington and Oregon, four children were sickened by E. coli O157:H7; in 2002, there was a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype typhimurium; and in Wisconsin, in 2001, 70 people were infected with Campylobacter jejuni. Such outbreaks were the reason pasteurization was introduced in the first place, of course (it was only an added benefit that the process also extended milk’s shelf life). As early as 1908, cities such as Chicago and New York required the pasteurization of milk — and in 1948, Michigan became the first state to ban raw milk. Today, though pasteurization is not compulsory on a national level, it is required of any dairy hoping to ship its wares across state lines and has become the law in states that have adopted the Food and Drug Administration’s pasteurized milk ordinance, an operating manual for the handling and production of milk. Public health officials unanimously agree that pasteurization has dramatically reduced infectious diseases.

Marler Clark currently represents children who have become ill with E. coli infections and hemolytic uremic syndrome, requiring extensive medical treatment, after drinking contaminated raw milk. And while advocates claim that there are health benefits to drinking raw milk, the parents of these children would argue otherwise.

Connect with Marler Clark


1012 First Avenue
Fifth Floor
Seattle, WA 98104


M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Pacific

Call toll free:

1 (800) 884-9840

If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.