Raw milk lovers are spinning the government's H5N1 warnings into a conspiracy theory

The guy who cuts my hair is one of those live off the grid, paleo, doomsday prepper, anti-science, anti-vaxxer types who loves to pontificate on things like the health benefits of raw milk and how the government is conspiring to control society.

I humor him and goad him into getting all worked up about it but I certainly don’t take him seriously. Why? Cause he’s a barber and not a scientist!!


“This is nothing like that pasteurized, homogenized milk you get in the store, guys.”

You can get pastured, non homogenized milk. Or you can get diarrhea.


Urm. Does he disinfect his tools between uses?


Raw milk is great for all kinds of things. /s


I normally buy raw milk from a milk dispenser in a farm. Then before drinkin it I boil it in this nice manual stainless steel milk boiler:

Besides, on the milk dispensere there’s a warning about boiling milk before use.


Oops almost forgot…


No, that’s a bad idea too.

First of all, nobody benefits when the foolish people cause harm to themselves. But, importantly, the harm will not be limited to just them. What if they get their children sick by giving them raw milk? What if they get sick with something, and pass it to the people around them? What if they ignore the warnings, give raw milk to a pregnant woman without telling her what it is, and she gets a listeriosis threatening her child?



Off the grid, you say?
Don’t tell me, he never really wanted to be a barber anyway, but a lumberjack.

Anyway, you’re a braver man than I. I wouldn’t let someone like this get near me with any kind of cutting implement or sharp instrument. He’ll, I wouldn’t trust him with a hot towel.


We are pleased to share with you this balanced analysis of the risks of H5N1 bird flu from raw milk, from medical microbiologist Peg Coleman. Peg serves on the Advisory Board for Raw Milk Institute

So your balanced, impartial source is a person from the board who promotes the behavior everyone says is really bad? I’m truly shocked they recommend continuing the behavior that their board tells people they should do.

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I’ve been drinking commercial/sometimes legally grey raw milk in the US for close to twenty years.

I don’t believe in/care about all the supposed health benefits, it is just damn tasty.

Same with unpasteurized cheeses, raw beef and eggs, and so many other risky but delicious things.

And no, I would never trust an industrial scale corporation to manage raw milk safely.


Jaywalking is no guarantee of getting mown down by a Mac truck.


Don’t forget survivorship bias.


On a lighter note…


I used to drink raw milk all the time as a kid growing up in farm country in the 1970’s. It tastes great. But I still wouldn’t drink it these days, knowing the risks.

I had raw milk as a child, when on farm holidays. It was still warm, straight out of the cow. I don’t remember the taste as anything special but in those days no-one drank semi-skimmed anyway, because we hadn’t been persuaded it was healthy.

I wouldn’t drink raw milk now, knowing it was brimming with H5N1.

In Europe there are plenty of cheeses made from raw milk. Millions of people eat them and don’t get into trouble because the cheese making process kills off the bacteria and so on. Cheese was invented as a way to preserve milk. Sometimes things go wrong, or the cheese gets re-infected after production.

All that being said, the alarming thing about this story is that it’s another piece of evidence of a perverse, deliberate antl-science belief growing in the general population.



this is a definitely a part of the problem. dairy factories are not clean. not remotely. same with large scale egg production. if people are ingesting raw or undercooked food from industrial farms, it’s really just a matter of time before something goes horribly wrong

no tapeworms, brainworms, or easily preventable diseases for me. no thank you

to echo @lurksnomore, the big worry with this virus is that it will mutate. every partial infection is another chance for a new pandemic.

to me, the “value” in unpasteurized products doesn’t seem worth the very real risk of this thing learning how to jump to humans.


Are they anti-sewage treatment plants, too?


Wow, I can’t believe I get to post a core memory twice in 2 weeks!

Indeed so. Processes etc generally make sure this is safe.

In Japan I have had:

  • raw egg on rice with natto and shoyu - the eggs are much safer than UK/US ones
  • chicken sashimi - this one freaked me out at first, but they carry out a pasteurisation of sorts, then sear the outside of the fillet before slicing
  • wild boar sashimi. This was down on the southern island of Iriomote, which has never had the pathogens introduced to the wild pigs that other areas have

All delicious - but all very specific to the locale and production processes.

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