Influencers Tour Raw Milk Despite FDA Warnings As Bird Flu Spreads In Cows

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Raw milk

Health influencer Paul Saladino, M.D., recently sparked controversy by promoting Raw milk benefits for infants in a video that quickly garnered over 90,000 views before its removal. Saladino, who advocates for an “animal-based” diet, is part of a growing trend among influencers and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, who tout the benefits of raw milk despite increasing health warnings from authorities.

The push for raw milk consumption is critical as the U.S. faces outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in cattle, resulting in ‘bird flu raw milk.’ Health officials, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have intensified their warnings against consuming unpasteurized dairy products due to the risk of contamination with harmful pathogens and, potentially, the bird flu virus.

Public health experts have consistently warned that raw dairy can harbor germs like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, posing severe health risks and even raw milk deaths, particularly to vulnerable groups such as infants, children, and pregnant women. The recent bird flu outbreaks have led to additional concerns, with high viral loads of H5N1 found in raw milk from infected herds across multiple states.

Despite these risks, raw milk’s popularity has seen a resurgence in raw milk TikTok videos, fueled by a mix of wellness advocates and skepticism towards public health guidance, heightened by the divisive climate of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resurgence is bolstered by legislative changes in over six states since 2020, allowing the sale of raw milk, which is now legal in more than 30 states, albeit under varying restrictions.

In response to the growing misinformation, figures like Hank Greene and other content creators have taken to social media to counter the claims made by raw milk proponents. Platforms like Facebook and Truth Social reflect a divided public opinion, with posts both supporting and mocking the use of raw milk, even in light of reports of animal deaths linked to the consumption of contaminated dairy.

The FDA continues to test and monitor the U.S. milk supply, confirming that pasteurization effectively inactivates the bird flu virus, ensuring there’s no bird flu in milk commercially sold. As research continues into how the virus spreads and the potential risks to humans, public health officials maintain that the risk to the general public remains low. Still, caution is urged in light of the unpredictable nature of viral mutations.

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