There are some who call it storytelling: Images matter in talking about raw milk

The internet has become an increasingly important way of communicating with consumers about food risk information. However, relatively little is known about how consumers evaluate and come to trust the information they encounter online.

Using the example of unpasteurized or raw milk this paper presents two studies exploring the trust factors associated with online information about the risks and benefits of raw milk consumption.

In the first study, eye-tracking data was collected from 33 pasteurised milk consumers whilst they viewed six different milk related websites. A descriptive analysis of the eye-tracking data was conducted to explore viewing patterns. Reports revealed the importance of images as a way of capturing initial attention and foregrounding other features and highlighted the significance of introductory text within a homepage.

 In the second, qualitative study, 41 consumers, some of whom drank raw milk, viewed a selection of milk related websites before participating in either a group discussion or interview. Seventeen of the participants also took part in a follow up telephone interview 2 weeks later. The qualitative data supports the importance of good design whilst noting that balance, authorship agenda, the nature of evidence and personal relevance were also key factors affecting consumers trust judgements.

The results of both studies provide support for a staged approach to online trust in which consumers engage in a more rapid, heuristic assessment of a site before moving on to a more in-depth evaluation of the information available. Findings are discussed in relation to the development of trustworthy online food safety resources.

Examining trust factors in online food risk information: The case of unpasteurized or ‘raw’ milk

Appetite Available online 12 January 2016

Elizabeth Sillence, (Dr), Claire Hardy, Lydia C. Medeiros, Jeffrey T. LeJeune

Raw milk legislation gains supporters in Wisconsin, but illegal to sell homemade muffins

An attempt to legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk direct from a farm to consumers has gained some traction in the Wisconsin Legislature, but opponents say they aren’t backing down.

sorenne.doug.muffinAssembly Bill 697 would allow a dairy farmer to sell raw milk, and raw-milk products such as butter and cheese, directly to consumers on the farm where the milk and dairy products were produced. Current law generally prohibits the practice.

AB 697, which now has sponsorship from at least 18 members of the Assembly and three members of the Senate, also exempts dairy farmers from needing a dairy plant or food processing license if the only milk products they process are raw-milk items sold on the farm.

In 2015, state officials suspended for 30 days the Grade-A milk production permit of a Durand dairy farm blamed for a raw-milk illness outbreak that sickened nearly 40 people.

Raw milk advocates say the risks to public health have been exaggerated and the decision to buy an unpasteurized dairy product ought to be left to the consumer.

Wisconsin is one of only two states to ban entrepreneurs from selling cookies, muffins and breads simply because they are made in a home kitchen.

“That means that even if you sell one cookie at a farmers market, to your neighbor, somewhere in your community, you can go to jail for up to six months or even be fined up to $1,000. That’s not only unfair, it’s unconstitutional,” attorney Erica Smith told Wisconsin Watchdog Wednesday on the Vicki McKenna Show , on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA.

Smith is with the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that “fights against unreasonable government restrictions on individuals’ economic liberty,” according to the Virginia organizations website.

Prove that it’s safe.

No more bath milk BS: Australian dairy farmer shuts down

One of the main dairy farmers pushing for the introduction of legal raw drinking milk in Victoria has shut down his farm after sales dropped by 70%.

raw.milk.aust.sep.15The death of a three-year-old boy in 2014, which was linked to the consumption of unpasteurised bath milk, prompted changes to dairy licences in Victoria, including the mandatory addition of bittering agents to stop people drinking what was being marketed as cosmetic milk.

Reg Matthews, from Lakes Entrance in Gippsland, said he had now shut down his Miranda Dale Dairy and sold off his cows because he had not been able to recover from the changes.

“We had a five-year plan put in place, and that came to fruition in late 2014, just about the same time that the raw milk was discontinued,” he said.

‘Bath milk’ claims will not wash: Raw milk stripped from NWS shelves

In Dec. 2014, four children in the Australian state of Victoria developed hemolytic uremic syndrome linked to Shiga-toxin toxin producing E. coli in unpasteurized bath milk produced by Mountain View farm. One child died, and another developed cryptosporidiosis.

868179-068aae70-8035-11e4-9659-e3748623bf5f-300x168The Victorian government quickly banned the sale of so-called bath milk, which although labeled as not fit for human consumption, was a widely recognized way for Australian consumers to access raw milk.

Now, the neighboring state of New South Wales has stripped raw milk marketed as ‘cosmetic’ or ‘bath’ milk from the shelves of a number of Sydney health food shops following recent inspections.

As part of ongoing actions to address the sale of raw milk, the NSW Food Authority has enacted a range of proactive monitoring and compliance activities, which included the seizure of approximately 68 litres of unpasteurised dairy products in the Sydney area.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, said retailers are on notice that claims the product is used for bathing will not wash.

“While there are no food businesses in NSW licensed by the NSW Food Authority to produce raw milk for cosmetic purposes, we know that some retailing businesses are sourcing this product from elsewhere to sell it,” Mr. Blair said.

“Raw milk is a high food safety risk – the sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Australia and this kind of farcical deception won’t be tolerated. It was apparent to the NSW Food Authority that the sale of raw milk products at these premises was not for cosmetic reasons.

“The NSW Food Authority will continue to address retail businesses selling raw milk as bath milk and the NSW Government is committed to working with other states in an effort to find a national solution to the broader issue of the sale of raw milk.”

colbert.raw_.milk_3-300x212Results from samples taken from the recent product seizures showed elevated levels of E. coli. Unpasteurised milk contains harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria that can result in illness or even death.

The NSW Government will continue removing raw milk from NSW shelves. Random checks of retailers will continue, in line with the Food Authority’s policy of escalated enforcement.

Another area of focus is the practice of ‘herd sharing’, where a person enters into contract and purchase shares in a herd or individual cow to receive raw milk produced by that herd.

Claims that this does not constitute the sale of food are false: the operation of a herd share arrangement can constitute food for sale under the Food Act 2003. Milk for sale in NSW needs to be licensed with the NSW Food Authority to ensure it is subject to the stringent safety requirements of the Dairy Food Safety Scheme.

Are they really ‘dynamic, interactive and arousing adolescents’ interest’ Food safety risk communication in games

Raising consumers’ awareness about food safety issues is one of the primary objectives of Italian public health organizations.

SophiaLorenNew dynamic and interactive tools, based on web applications, are already playing a leading role in health promotion campaigns targeted at adolescents. Among the web-based tools specifically designed for young people, educational videogames have proved especially effective in furthering learning and disseminating information, as they arouse adolescents’ interest and curiosity.

When a number of cases of hemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS) were reported in 2010, particularly among children, the Italian Ministry of Health stressed the need to implement communication initiatives aimed at raising consumers’ awareness of the potential risks associated with raw milk consumption at home.

The pilot study described in the article is a relevant example of educational projects implemented in Italy, oriented to transmit knowledge about food risks to young consumers (aged 16–18). To provide correct information on safe milk handling practices and to reduce health issues, including serious ones, the videogame “A mysterious poisoning” was developed. This tool was administered online to 359 upper secondary school students from four different provinces in Italy. The videogame covered all stages of the milk supply chain, from stable to table, and enabled players to identify the crucial moments when milk can be contaminated and to discover safe milk handling practices. By completing a series of tasks, students helped a detective discover the cause of a food poisoning outbreak. This videogame provided an opportunity for students to test their knowledge of the product and to receive more detailed and accurate information. Data collected through two structured questionnaires that were administered before and after the controlled use of the videogame showed that this serious game was capable of changing players’ perception of risk exposure and their cognitive associations, particularly increasing their levels of knowledge about the risks associated with raw milk consumption.

Food safety and young consumers: Testing a serious game as a risk communication tool

Crovato, A. Pinto, P. Giardullo, G. Mascarello, F. Neresini, L. Ravarotto

The Band last played 39 years ago: Salmonella found in raw milk sold at NY farm

A Tompkins County farm was ordered to stop selling raw milk after a sample tested positive for salmonella last week, according to New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A Ball.

Officials say the “unpasteurized” raw milk from Jerry Dell Farm on Fall Creek Road in Freeville agreed to stop selling raw milk in light of the results.

The contamination was found during a test on Nov. 18. Sampling is performed every three months, according to the state.

And for no particular reason, today in 1976, The Band made their final performance, “The Last Waltz”, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Not bad for a bunch of kids from around my hometown in southern Ontario, and an amazing drummer and vocalist from Arkansas.

On-line cheese presents risk

Online shopping saves time and provides an enormous product choice, but when buying cheeses, this may lead to a quality compromise, according to a new study from Vetmeduni Vienna.

3294_Cheese shutterstock_117291487According to a German market study, six per cent of all fresh foods sold today are purchased online – and this rate is on the rise. For perishable foods, however, it is necessary to follow certain hygienic rules.

Dagmar Schoder from the Institute of Milk Hygiene at the Vetmeduni Vienna was interested above all in one especially high-risk food – raw milk cheese. Raw milk cheeses are made from unpasteurised milk, which puts them at a higher risk of microbiological contamination.

Ms Schoder and her colleagues ordered 108 different raw milk cheeses from 21 online retailers in seven European countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium).

“We chose raw milk cheese because it is a high-risk product. As raw milk is unpasteurised, it can be easily contaminated with harmful bacteria.

“Even a small amount of bacteria, for which raw milk cheese offers ideal growing conditions, can reach critical proportions after a longer ripening, storage and transport time.

“The product is then no longer edible and may even make consumers ill. For this reason, special care must be taken during production, storage and transport,” said Ms Schoder.

The researchers found Listeria monocytogenes in two cheese products: one from France and one from the Netherlands.

The fecal bacteria Escherichia coli was found in 32 products. It indicates poor conditions of hygiene during production. Salmonella were not found in any of the cheese samples.

“Some of the producers apparently have shortcomings in terms of hygiene,” said first author Ms Schoder. “Furthermore, when making online purchases, I recommend consumers to check if a product is adequately packaged and cooled when it arrives.”

The shipping period of the online products was between one and five days.

“Cheese must be cooled,” Ms Schoder stressed. But this was not the case with 61.5 per cent of the raw milk products purchased.

“If raw milk cheese is not cooled, bacteria will grow more quickly. A longer transport journey and improper packaging increase the risk for consumers.”

Only 19 cheeses fulfilled the EU labelling requirements (Directive 2000/13/EC and Regulation 853/2004). Of the cheeses purchased, 37 were not labelled as “raw milk cheese” and 43 labels had no “use by date”. Information on storage requirements was missing in more than half of the cheeses.


Raw milk bill in Wisconsin back in legislature

The legalize raw milk debate comes down to access, informed choice, risk perception, black markets and oversight. Folks who want to drink raw milk find a way to get it. Maybe they know about the risks, maybe not.

A law maker in Wisconsin is, according to Channel 3000, looking to legalize direct farm sales of raw milk in the state (again). some-like-it-raw1

Rep. Dave Murphy of Greenville introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow dairy farmers to sell raw milk and raw milk products such as butter and cheese directly to consumers on the farm where they’re produced. The farmers wouldn’t need state milk producer licenses or permits. State milk quality rules wouldn’t apply to raw milk products sold on the farms.

Murphy wrote in a memo to his fellow lawmakers seeking co-sponsors that more people want their food directly from farms and consumers would be aware the milk hasn’t been processed.

Being aware the the milk hasn’t been processed isn’t the same as raw milk drinkers making choices based on their personal risk decisions. This list helps me make my raw milk risk decisions.

Farmer in China takes cows to city to sell milk straight from udder

A farmer has made headlines after bringing his two cows to a city and selling fresh milk straight from the udder in Zhangye, Gansu Province over the weekend.

gansu-farmmer-sells-milk-straight_from-cowThe man realized city dwellers have a taste for raw milk, reported the Chinese language China News Service.

People have been queuing in the streets to purchase the milk, which is often in short supply as there are so many customers, the seller said.