For the second time in three months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning to people who may be drinking contaminated raw milk.
Unlike the milk many of us buy from the grocery store, which is heated through a process called pasteurization to kill bacteria, raw milk is completely untouched and therefore more risky. Some people believe raw milk is healthier, however, because pasteurization also kills beneficial bacteria.
According to the CDC warning, people who bought raw milk from a company called Udder Milk — which sells in New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut — could potentially be infected with a rare but serious bacteria called Brucella abortus RB51.
Brucella abortus RB51 is especially dangerous for pregnant women, the CDC warning states, and can cause miscarriage and other pregnancy complications. It shows up in symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, lasting fatigue, arthritis, depression, and swelling of the testicles.
If untreated, the infection can cause long-term chronic health problems such as heart disease, enlargement of the spleen or liver, and meningitis.
Since there's no way for the CDC to track which shipments of Udder Milk contained contaminated milk, the agency is urging everyone who drank raw milk from the company within the last six months to go to their doctor and be treated with antibiotics.
This isn't the first time raw milk has been called out in safety warnings. While some people think raw milk is beneficial, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends against drinking it because it can carry other dangerous germs like Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
"While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all," the CDC states.
So, while everyone has a right to decide what to put into their body, keep these warnings in mind. And remember to check in with your doctor if you've consumed raw milk and are feeling off.
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