IAFP - Raw Milk Debate 2016

The International Association for Food Protection had their annual conference this year in St. Louis, Missouri and it was described as an 'amicable exchange of experts'.  This information is meant for research and educational purposes for Food Safety experts, regulators or anyone interested in learning about the opposing sides and perspectives in this long standing debate.  Each speaker was allocated about 20 minutes time. The provision of time markers makes it easier to navigate directly to where you want to be because the entire video is over 2 hours long.  The pro raw milk speakers made some excellent points.



The pro-raw milk speakers were Dr. Joseph Heckman, soil scientist at Rutgers University, New Jersey.  He is affiliated with the Weston A Price project, A Campaign for Real Milk and is chair of the Organic Management Systems Community within the American Society of Agronomy.

And Dr. Ted Beals, MS, MD is a physician and board certified pathologist, who served on the faculty of University of Michigan Medical School. He is now retired after 31 years or clinical and administrative service in the Veterans Health Administration.  He has a personal interest in presenting testimony on dairy safety in North America for the last several years and is a board member of the Farm to Consumer Foundation.

The pro pasteurisation speakers were Jeff Kornacki, a former lab manager who is currently and adjunct faculty member at the University of Georgia Centre for Food Safety and Department of Food Science and the Michigan State University National Centre for Food Safety and Toxicology.

And Jeffrey Farber, Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph.


Dr. Joseph Heckman

Time Markers 6:20  -  21:50 and

Time Markers 35:15  -  43:06


"Current demand for unpasteurised milk has been described as explosive."  

"Surveys have shown that the number one motivation for fresh unprocessed milk is taste... now this is a huge problem for the pasteurised milk because demand is in decline. This trend continues for over three decades. Even after millions spent on advertising and despite negative advertising, current demand for unpasteurised milk has been described as explosive."

"There is no way to guarantee the safety of any food. So my question is why is less than perfectly safe a manageable risk for every kind of food, except in the case of fresh unprocessed milk? No other food is held to a standard of a perfect safety record. So when the largest newspaper in New Jersey called to interview me, I was compelled to say, if you are going to criticise raw milk on the basis of safety, then lets look at pasteurised milk and its record. It's not a perfect record. Raw milk is not in the list of the top most risky foods."

"Pasteurisation is one solution to a problem that can be avoided through good management. Prohibition of a 10,000 year old food tradition is not a safety program, it is bad policy. I urge the young scientists here to look beyond the dogma. We need science based educational programs that work for dairy farmers and for people who choose this food."

"There are no anus on a lettuce plant, yet leafy green vegetables are at the top of the list of food safety risk. If raw milk really was a high risk food, humans would have stopped consuming it a long time ago."


Video:  Uploaded by The Film Perspective on 2016-08-13.

Dr. Ted Beals

Time markers 1:02:44  -  1:22:57

Time markers 1:28:35  -  1:35:58

"Commodity milk is a highly processed, standardised product widely available in grocery stores. This product is produced by the huge dairy industry to their standards, then marketed to the general public. In contrast there is a subset of the public of more that 11 million people in the United States who want fresh, unprocessed, whole milk. This product is made available by dairy farmers who respond to the consumer preferences and produce to satisfy their preferences."

Dr. Theodore Beals

Dr. Theodore Beals

"I assure you that the consumers who choose fresh unpasteurised milk are not making their decision on a casual visual comparison or by the label pasteurised. Processed milk is available in nearly all the grocery stores with wide varieties and very carefully crafted marketing characteristics designed to influence the shoppers choice. The choice to obtain fresh unprocessed whole milk is based on totally different values and here are just a few of them. Milk is unprocessed and whole and a prominent cream line. Milk is from very different and diverse herds, in some herds with very specific genetics and they were not selected for maximum production of milk. All the money goes directly to the farmer and the consumers often pay a premium for that milk. And the consumer respects and enjoys the milk's natural diversity and enjoy drinking it. They like the taste."

"10 Million newborns are allergic to milk, there are 4 million people in the US with persistent milk allergies. There is 30 million people estimated with lactose malabsorption condition and there are a large number (but it's not been documented) who have adverse gastrointestinal symptoms that cause them to avoid milk. There's some people that just don't want to drink milk."

"It does appear that there are large numbers of people in the US who are avoiding the benefits of drinking milk, who if they tried it fresh and unprocessed, might in fact discover that they didn't have the symptoms and they would start to drink milk."

"For those of the thousands of you in the working force, be extremely careful that you do not keep repeating outdated or unsubstantiated dogma, wether it's from textbooks, mentors, bosses or spokesperson. Just because some authority or expert repeatedly says something in a loud and authoritative voice does not make it true."

Jeff Kornacki 

Time markers 21:50  -   35:05

Time markers 41:06  -  47:19


Jeffrey Farber 

Time markers 48:30  -  1:02:18

Time markers 1:23:17  -  1:28:19


Q & A opens

1:36:22  -  end