There has been a long-running debate between the haters and supporters of raw milk, both of whom make some very good and logical points when it comes to the health risks of the dairy beverage. Despite its importance, this particular health discussion rarely makes the headlines, but the recent activities of some West Virginia lawmakers just reignited the arguments on a much bigger, and queasier, scale.
West Virginia Gov. Early Ray Tomblin recently lifted the ban on unpasteurized milk, allowing people to drink it if they sign a document acknowledging the risks. Although selling and distributing raw milk remains restricted, the lawmakers who advocated for the bill decided to celebrate the legalization by throwing themselves a party — a raw milk party, to be precise.
Hopefully they signed the release because things didn't go as planned.
As the story goes, Republican Del. Scott Cadle brought in some raw milk soon after the bill was passed and offered it to his colleagues, many of who fell sick after drinking it. GOP Rep. Pat McGeehan was one of those unlucky ones.
“I’m not feeling that great,” he told local news station WSAZ. “I think it’s probably just some sort of bad stomach virus.”
But he admitted he is not the only one sick. “There’s definitely some other colleagues that have similar symptoms that I’ve been experiencing.”
Unsurprisingly, McGeehan and his fellow lawmakers are in denial that their celebratory toast is the cause of their illness, even though they only began reporting feeling sick after drinking the raw milk, which harbors dangerous microorganisms that can pose serious health risks, according to the FDA.
“[Cadle] caught me in the hallway, offered a cup to me, and you want to try to be a gentleman,” McGeehan added, claiming he doesn’t regret pushing for the bill. “I had a small sip and walked away and tossed the rest of it.”
Moreover, an anonymous tip to the state's Department of Health and Human Resources, which is currently researching the illness and its cause, suggested Cadle might have distributed the unpasteurized milk illegally.
Talk about irony.