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Health Ministry warns the public not to drink raw milk

Posted on 2 Jul 2021 in Newsroom

DOH bans unpasteurized goat’s milk
from various pet food and supply retailers

HONOLULU – Hawaii Department of Health Food Safety Branch inspectors visit pet food stores and food retailers statewide and issue cease and desist notices to those engaged in the illegal sale of unpasteurized goat’s milk.

An embargo on products made from raw milk, which are not safe for human consumption, is now in force. Pet stores or any other retailer with raw milk in their possession must immediately withdraw the product from sale and destroy or return the product to their supplier. Failure to do so can result in foreclosure and fines of up to $ 10,000 per day.

As of July 1, nearly 20 pet stores in O’ahu were selling unpasteurized goat’s milk. The Ministry of Health continues its inspections today.

Under Hawaiian law, only Grade A pasteurized milk and dairy products may be sold to the end consumer or to restaurants.

“Goat’s milk is touted as ‘pet food’, but the sale of any form of raw milk is a risk to public health as it is easily diverted for human consumption,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the Food Security Department. “There are many in our community who mistakenly believe that drinking raw milk is healthy, but that is simply not true.”

Drinking unpasteurized milk is dangerous because it can lead to serious illness, hospitalizations and even death. Raw milk has the potential to transport and transmit dangerous pathogens, including E. Coli, Salmonella, and a host of other bacteria that can cause disease. It is especially dangerous for our keiki, kupuna, or those with weakened immune systems to drink raw milk, as they may not be able to fend off these pathogens like a normal healthy individual would.

Drinking raw milk is especially dangerous because children infected by drinking raw milk can spread the disease through the fecal-oral route and cause a severe epidemic in other children with whom they come into contact. The consumption of raw milk by a few individuals has the potential to negatively impact our community as a whole by causing an epidemic.

The Food Safety Branch protects and promotes the health of residents and visitors to Hawaii by educating food industry workers and regulating food establishments statewide. The branch performs routine sanitary inspections of food establishments where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed or sold. Management is also investigating sources of foodborne illness and potential adulteration; and is responsible for the prevention or mitigation of foodborne outbreaks. Health inspectors work with business owners, food service workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

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PDF: Health Ministry Warns Public Not To Drink Raw Milk – Unpasteurized Goat Dairy Products Under embargo

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