TO THE EDITOR:
I am writing in response to yesterday’s published contribution regarding raw-milk cheese being served at the School of Public Health. The idea that raw milk cheese threatens public health is difficult for a Frenchman to take seriously; ask us to pick between democracy, cheese or smiles, and next thing you know we’ll have a frowning King Louis XIV in Versailles, enjoying the finest Camembert.
I could make the (poor) argument that I have never seen raw-milk cheese cause an illness back in the Old World, but I invite the author to consider the following (better) points instead. First, given the prevalence of pasteurized cheese-related hospitalizations, and keeping in mind they likely represent a fraction of all hospitalizations from dairy products, is the FDA’s “13 times” figure for raw milk enough to constitute a health concern?
Furthermore, bear in mind that while certain bacteria are harmful, microbes also flavor and digest our food for us, and they could be dealt with in a more nuanced way than blanket pasteurization.