News

Lawmakers Celebrate Raw Milk Legalization by Drinking Some and Promptly Getting Sick

Despite the widely known health concerns associated with consuming raw milk, lawmakers in West Virginia recently celebrated the passage of legislation that would end the state's prohibition of raw milk -- by swigging some of it themselves. And now, several lawmakers have fallen ill, according to a report by local news station WSAZ.

At least one of the delegates claims the illness outbreak is merely a coincidence, but an anonymous complaint has prompted the state's Department of Health and Human Resources to launch an investigation into whether unpasteurized dairy is responsible for making the lawmakers sick and if it was illegally sourced, per the report. 

Pat McGeehan, the Republican delegate seen moaning in the station's report, attributes his own awful illness to a stomach bug making the rounds among his colleagues and certainly not the sample of raw milk he accepted from the bill's sponsor, Scott Cadle. Uh huh. Right. So far, it's unclear how many other lawmakers were sickened, but you can probably just follow the trail of vomit around the statehouse.

"[Cadle] caught me in the hallway, offered a cup to me, and you want to try to be a gentleman," McGeehan told WSAZ. "I had a small sip and walked away and tossed the rest of it... I highly doubt raw milk had anything to do with it, in my case." 

Proponents of raw milk claim it offers unique health benefits you won't get from normal milk. In case you were wondering, drinking raw milk is not recommended by public health officials. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention warns that consuming the stuff can pose a "serious health risk" -- that is, it can be riddled with harmful, food borne illness-causing bacteria and parasites like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.

"These harmful bacteria can seriously affect the health of anyone who drinks raw milk, or eats foods made from raw milk. However, the bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, older adults, pregnant women, and children," the CDC said (emphasis theirs). "In fact, the CDC analysis found that foodborne illness from raw milk especially affected children and teenagers."

Apparently, in West Virginia, the milk spoils you. 

h/t Gizmodo

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and freaking loves politics. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.