Vegan Health ArticlesMarketing Milk and Disease
A Vegan Health Article from

These vegan health articles are presented to assist you in taking a pro-active part in your own health.

See Health Position and Disclaimer

From John McDougall, MD

Will the UMP Inform You of the Contamination? E. Coli, AIDS and Leukemia Viruses?

Last month I left you with some very disturbing facts about the contamination of milk with loads of bacteria and millions of white blood cells (pus cells) which are there to help fight off the infections found in cows and milk (see the April 2003 Newsletter found at ). Will the 2003 Unified Marketing Plan specify money to inform you of this upsetting information? You will never see an advertisement with a famous movie star proudly wearing a white mustache, properly labeled as containing 300,000 white blood cells and 25,000 bacteria.

Dairy products were the foods most often recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the period October 1, 1993 through September 30, 1998 because of contamination with infectious agents, mostly bacteria.[2] They are commonly tainted with disease-causing bacteria, such as salmonella, staphylococci, listeria, deadly E. coli O157[3] and Mycobacterium paratuberculosis[4] (possibly one of the agents causing Crohn's disease; a form of life-threatening chronic colitis) – as well as viruses known to cause lymphoma and leukemia-like diseases, and immune deficiency in cattle.

AIDS and Leukemia Viruses

Dairy cattle are infected with bovine immunodeficiency viruses (BIV) and bovine leukemia viruses (BLV), worldwide. (Bovine immunodeficiency viruses can also be properly referred to as bovine AIDS viruses.)

  • In the United States, results show an average 40% of beef herds and 64% of dairy herds are infected with BIV.[5]  

  • In Canada6-7, the infection rate is 70% and in Argentina8 the rate is 84% for BLV.  

    Herds infected with the BIV are usually infected with the leukemia virus (BLV) also.[5] 

    Both viruses can cross species lines thus infecting other animals, like sheep, goats, and chimpanzees – and they develop disease.[5]  

  • Nationwide and worldwide, leukemia is more common in the higher dairy consuming populations.[9,10]

  •   An increased incidence of leukemia has been found among dairy farmers in multiple studies.[11-14]   BIV infection has been reported in a person.[15]  

  • The bovine leukemia virus has been classified in the same group as the Human T-cell

  • Leukemia/Lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), which is known to cause leukemia and lymphomas in humans (Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma).[16]  

  • BIV is structurally and genetically closely related to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type-1 (the virus causing human AIDS).[17]

    Pasteurization kills many types of microorganisms, but it is not foolproof. There is also concern that pasteurization may break the viruses into fragments that may become even more dangerous.[18]

Has it been shown that the bovine AIDS and/or leukemia viruses will infect you and cause disease? No. Nor has it been proved that they will not. Compared to the efforts to try to convince you of the bone-building benefits of milk, almost nothing has been spent to establish whether or not it is safe to feed your family dairy products teeming with bovine immunodeficiency and bovine leukemia viruses (and/or viral fragments). Some countries take this matter very seriously. For example, in many European countries, health officials have conducted programs to eradicate infected herds – Finland’s program has successfully eradicated BLV from its cattle.[19]

If you live in a region with a high incidence of herd infection with these viruses you can be pretty sure you will be consuming dairy products containing whole viruses or fragments of these viruses, since the milk from many dairy farms is mixed in large vats at the dairy factory before processing and packaging. Since the industry will not act responsibly in many countries, consumers are left with one choice – eliminate all dairy products from their diet. If eliminating dairy products would prevent even a small risk of human disease, it would be well worthwhile, especially since, as you learned in the April 2003 McDougall Newsletter, they are completely unnecessary for excellent health.

Go on to Will the UMP Market the Pain and Suffering Caused Children?
Return to Marketing Milk and Disease

Return to Vegan Health Articles
Visit Food Hazards in Animal Flesh and By-products Health Position and Disclaimer

We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.