Raw Milk and Weight Loss Supplements Under Fire

Rockville, MD—Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings to consumers about newly popular raw milk and weight-loss supplements.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized, a process that involves heating milk to 161 degrees for 15 seconds. This process kills bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria. Without pasteurization, FDA says, milk could be contaminated with bacteria from soil, animal feces, disease or bacteria on the animal’s skin.
Raw milk enthusiasts believe pasteurization reduces the nutritious value of milk and milk products. Although there is a slight decrease in thiamin, folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin C after pasteurization, FDA says that the prevention of bacteria and food-borne illness is a more pressing issue. The consumer alert is available at www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm232980.htm.

The other products under heat from FDA are fraudulent weight loss supplements (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm246742.htm). Many illegally marketed weight loss supplements promise quick results, shedding inches in days or weeks or claim to magically melt fat away without diet or exercise. In reality, quick results are not healthy when it comes to weight loss and there is no magic weight loss pill, FDA maintains. Some illegal supplements may even be tainted with drug compounds. “These products are not legal dietary supplements,” says Michael Levy, director of FDA’s Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance. “They are actually very powerful drugs masquerading as ‘all-natural’ or ‘herbal’ supplements, and they carry significant risks to unsuspecting consumers.”

FDA advises shoppers not to fall for fraudulent products that promise quick action, use the words “guaranteed or scientific breakthrough,” are labeled in a foreign language, are marketed through mass e-mails or say they are an herbal alternative to a drug. Consumers who are thinking of taking a weight loss supplement should always consult their doctor beforehand.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2011 (online 3/23/11)