Home » You Guys, Don’t Drink ‘Raw Milk,’ Even If Republicans Tell You To

You Guys, Don’t Drink ‘Raw Milk,’ Even If Republicans Tell You To

A conservative advocacy group headed by scam artist Charlie Kirk is pushing Americans to drink raw milk at a time when a widespread flu outbreak makes this potentially fatal. This is just one of several moves by right-wing groups and media pundits since the Food and Drug Administration cautioned against drinking raw milk following the rapid spread of H5N1 bird flu among dairy cattle.


Charlie Kirk, founder, and executive director of Turning Point USA, speaks at Dream City Church on June 06, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona. Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivered remarks and took questions from the audience during the ‘Chase the Vote’ town hall. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)”


The group, Turning Point USA, is promoting T-shirts that display a “got raw milk?” logo. It is well-established by the FDA that there are absolutely no health benefits from drinking raw milk instead of pasteurized milk. Raw milk was dangerous even before the rapidly spreading flu and is known to spread multiple diseases, including tuberculosis.

Tests indicate that raw milk can transmit the H5N1 flu virus to lab animals, and cats have died from drinking infected milk. Consuming raw milk is a bad idea at any time, and it’s far more dangerous now.

Promoting the drinking of raw milk is, with no qualifications, a profoundly ludicrous idea. But we seem to have reached the stage where an FDA warning against jumping off cliffs would lead to a serious mess at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Not only do Turning Point USA’s T-shirts promote the consumption of raw milk, but they do it with an image that isn’t even a dairy cow. However, there’s an even more glaring issue with the illustration:

Whatever that cow is producing, no one should be drinking it. 

Dairy cattle in at least 12 states have been confirmed to be infected with H5N1 flu, also known as avian flu because it spreads easily among domestic and wild birds. The flu is not only killing cows, but it’s also wiping out millions of poultry. At least one dairy worker in Texas has been infected after handling infected cattle.

Past H5N1 strains have proven deadly for people, with a fatality rate of 56%. That makes this type of flu among the most dangerous and deadly diseases on the planet. By contrast, the fatality rate of COVID-19 stands at just over 1%, with many of the deaths happening early in the pandemic when there was no vaccine and little understanding of how to treat an infection. H5N1 flu is even more deadly than smallpox

It is seriously bad stuff, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to limit opportunities for the virus to become transmissible from person to person.

Since the first grocery store milk tested positive for the flu in April, H5N1 has spread widely through the commercial milk supply, but pasteurization appears to make the milk safe to drink. Raw milk remains one of the few vectors, outside of working with infected cows or poultry, that can spread the disease to humans.

So naturally, Republicans are suddenly huge fans of drinking raw milk, even if they never gave a thought to it before. Raw milk is being promoted by right-wing media, and the FDA’s warning against drinking raw milk during the flu outbreak is being called a conspiracy between the government and “big milk.”

PBS reported that raw milk sales “spiked” 21% in May despite warnings from the FDA and CDC. In most areas, getting raw milk requires a lot more effort than buying pasteurized milk at the grocery store. However, 18 states allow some form of retail sales for raw milk, and 14 others allow direct sales to people who visit dairy farms. Producers peddling raw milk also provide pages of absolute bullshit claiming that pasteurization destroys some health benefits of milk, which could be believable to those already inclined to believe that everything is a government conspiracy.

In other words, raw milk might not be in the fridge at Walmart or Piggly Wiggly, but it is accessible for anyone willing to look for it. It’s just that no one should be looking.

And no one, ever, under any circumstances, should listen to Charlie Kirk.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.


June 2024