The issue of whether raw milk production should be allowed in the United States has become popular in recent years. Certain consumer groups prefer raw milk products, citing studies that suggest pasteurization poses certain dangers. Individuals who oppose the consumption of raw milk state that the pathogens it can carry are incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening in some instances. Raw milk can contain a wide variety of bacteria and viruses, including E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
This month, CNBC reported that a group of lawmakers who successfully passed a bill relaxing restrictions on raw milk sale and consumption in West Virginia became ill shortly after consuming raw milk in celebration of the bill’s passage. The legislation allows individuals who purchase a share in a milk-producing animal to consume the raw milk produced from that animal. The bill prohibits individuals from selling and distributing that milk to others. These agreements are often referred to as “herd shares” or “cow shares.” A number of states have similar laws facilitating these limited arrangements and allowing raw milk consumption in certain circumstances.
Pasteurization remains a requirement for dairy products at the federal level. This means that products shipped in interstate commerce must comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s pasteurization requirements before they are sold to consumers. If regulators determine that a product has not been pasteurized or that the pasteurization was incomplete, they can initiate a recall of the product to protect consumers from becoming ill.
Recently, JRZ Dairy in Pennsylvania initiated a recall of its Whole Milk Yogurt and Low Fat Yogurt after determining that the products were pasteurized incompletely. Although no incidences of illness associated with the products have been reported so far, the products may contain serious and potentially fatal pathogens.
Individuals who become sick as the result of contaminated food can bring a number of claims against any individual in the food production chain who may be responsible for the contamination. This includes everyone from the farmer to the retailer or the restaurant that sells the product to the consumer.
Under a negligence theory, a plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in preventing food from becoming contaminated. This includes using proper storage and sanitation methods in addition to removing spoiled or contaminated food from the supply chain. The plaintiff also needs to prove that the defendant’s lack of due care was the direct cause of his or her illness. This requires showing that the plaintiff would not have become ill but for the defendant’s negligence.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or illnesses as the result of contaminated food, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have represented food contamination victims throughout the U.S., including in California, New York, and Florida. With our headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, we offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and help you learn about the legal remedies that may be available to you and your family. Call us now at 312-462-1700, or contact us online to set up your appointment.