As mentioned in my post – The Many Sides/Positions/Factions in the ‘Raw’ Milk Controversy, I am mapping the different elements, issues, sides, components of the ‘raw’ milk debate / controversy. I am still delving into this complex controversy, but have identified some of the key elements / issues -

  • Scientific – epidemiological surveillance; risk of contracting a food-borne illness; microbiological analysis of ‘raw’ milk, and the standard practise of pasteurisation VS anecdotal / testimonial evidence, and discrediting of epidemiological and scientific evidence
  • Political & Ideological – Government regulation of the sale of ‘raw’ milk; duty to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness and ensure food is safe for consumption, and the presentation of sound scientific and epidemiological evidence about the risks associated with consuming ‘raw’ milk VS discrediting of evidence presented by governments; conspiracy theories; desire to remove government control over food consumption, and citizens’ personal choice
  • Social – the socially accepted idea that milk needs to be pasteurised to make it safe and fit for consumption, and awareness that 100 years ago people used to get really sick from drinking milk and that’s why pasteurisation was bought in VS the raw / natural / organic / whole food / traditional food movement; alternative lifestyles; food lovers, chefs and artisan producers; support for small scale local farming providing traditional food and better conditions for farm animals, and removal of government control over food consumption
  • Industry – Animal Husbandry & Food Manufacturing – modern animal husbandry techniques and mass production and increased risk of contamination of animal products; pasteurisation as standard practise in the dairy industry, and industry driven by greed and profit VS organic farming techniques; small scale farming with better conditions for dairy cattle; more traditional methods; and support for local farmers

With more reading and analysis of this controversy, I am sure I will uncover more key elements and issues.



An interesting post from one of my science communication classmates on biodiversity.

Originally posted on mining 4 science:

Biodiversity Loss

B integrifolia 08 3 (2) B integrifolia 08 1 (2) B integrifolia 08 2 (2)

Biodiversity loss – what is all the fuss about? Perhaps the best place to start is through defining what biodiversity is and what it means across spectrums of environment and human society.  According to the Australian Museum, biodiversity refers to the variety of life, specifically:

“It is the variety of all living things; plants, animals and micro organisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form. Biodiversity is usually explored at three levels – genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. These three levels work together to create the complexity of life on Earth.”

Australia has a high level of endemic biodiversity and is one of seventeen countries described as being ‘megadiverse’. This means that for only a small proportion of the globe’s surface (less than 10%), more than 70% of biological diversity is supported.

Over the last 200 years Australia’s biodiversity has suffered the…

View original 185 more words


I have started mapping out the controversy surrounding ‘raw’ milk. Examining the different elements (scientific, social, political etc.), key ideas, and the different sides / positions / factions. What are the different sides to this controversy and who are the people and organisations involved in the debate around the consumption and sale of ‘raw’ milk?

Below is a last I have compiled so far of the varied sides / positions / factions involved -

  • Public Health Agencies and Departments
  • Local, state, federal and international governments
  • Scientists, public health experts, epidemiologists, medical doctors and regulatory authorities
  • Dairy farmers, milk processors and milk companies
  • Consumers and consumer groups
  • ‘Raw’ milk advocates and advocacy groups
  • ‘Raw’, natural, traditional, organic, whole food food consumers and advocates
  • Victims of food-borne illness due to the consumption of ‘raw’ milk
  • Legal firms who prosecute ‘raw’ milk producers on behalf of victims of food-borne illness through consumption of ‘raw’ milk
  • Conspiracy theorists, groups and individuals who distrust governments
  • Individuals and groups that advocate for less government control over citizens’ lives

The list will surely grow as I explore the controversy further.

A great photo containing a rather interesting quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson courtesy of I Fucking Love Science. Post link – https://www.facebook.com/IFeakingLoveScience/photos/pb.367116489976035.-2207520000.1408660092./910695152284830/?type=1&theaterIMG_1216.PNG

Would you, dear reader, drink ‘raw’ milk? I am curious.

Source - Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons

Source – Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons

The Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the United States’ leading public health authority, defines ‘raw’ milk as – milk that has not been pasteurised to kill harmful germs (Centers of Disease Control, 2013). The CDC then goes on to state that these germs include bacteria, viruses and parasites. I find the use of the term ‘germs’ interesting, as this is a colloquial term. However the article is aimed at a lay audience (the public) and this may explain the use of this and other terms, and even the informal style of the article. But I digress…….

‘Raw’ milk is milk that is not pasteurised. Pasteurisation, is defined by the Collins Dictionary (2014) as the process of heating beverages, such as milk, beer, wine, or cider, or solid foods, such as cheese or crab meat, to destroy harmful or undesirable microorganisms or to limit the rate of fermentation by the application of controlled heat. Dairy Australia describes the process of pasteurisation of milk – milk is heated to approximately 72ºC, held at this temperature for no less than 15 seconds and then cooled immediately to 4ºC or less (Dairy Australia, 2009).

Therefore pasteurisation kills harmful bacteria present in milk. So if ‘raw’ milk is unpasteurised, are pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella species and Escherichia coli (E. coli) present in ‘raw’ milk? And what risk does drinking ‘raw’ milk pose? Are you likely to suffer food poisoning from drinking ‘raw’ milk?

I will delve deeper into these questions.


Centers of Disease Control. (2013). Raw (Unpasteurised) Milk. Retrieved August 16, 2014 from  http://www.cdc.gov/features/rawmilk/

Collins Dictionary. (2014). Pasteurisation. Retrieved August 16, 2014 from http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/pasteurisation

Dairy Australia. (2009). Producing Australian Diary Foods. Retrieved August 16, 2014 from http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/~/media/Documents%20archive/Good%20Health%20Fact%20Sheets%20OLD/Producing%20Dairy%20Foods%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

Source - Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons

Source – Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons


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