Raw Milk Series

The Raw Milk Series is an open forum for discussion and debate about the greatest challenges facing society today, and how this should guide and influence our scientific work. These events will consist of invited speakers with particular expertise, and international recognition in the field under discussion, followed by a lively open debate. These meetings are open to anyone; academic, industrialist, or members of the public

Next event: February 2020

Upcoming Events

Third event
February 2020 (Dates to be confirmed)

The Institute for Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool will host this third event in our three-part Raw Milk series. These day-long events are open to the public and feature invited speakers, proffered presentations and posters, session on collaborations and proposal opportunities, and open discussion on the advantages and risks of raw milk, use and misuse of statistics, consumer protection regulations, and the challenges of balancing costs and benefits in any decision.

Humans depend on a diverse, protective microflora of bacteria. Some argue that pasteurisation of milk robs consumers of essential health benefits. Others worry that raw milk can carry disease bacteria leading to illness or even death. This event will feature open discussion on the efficacy and ethics of regulating a burgeoning industry whilst protecting public health.

Past events

Second event
Thursday 08th August 2019, 10:00 - 17:00

The Institute for Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool will host this second event in our three-part Raw Milk series. These day-long events are open to the public and feature invited speakers, proffered presentations and posters, session on collaborations and proposal opportunities, and open discussion on the advantages and risks of raw milk, use and misuse of statistics, consumer protection regulations, and the challenges of balancing costs and benefits in any decision.

The event will also feature open discussion on effective and ethical use of communication methods in risk analysis, and the use and abuse of statistics and other communication tools in protecting public health. Communicating risks and uncertainties about risk is famously difficult and fraught by misconceptions. Unintentional—and intentional—confusion can be created by common formatting even when the underlying information is true. People often have undue belief in numbers given by government or advertisers. In the age of lost trust and fake news, it is often difficult to know whom to believe, especially when the messages are complex or include quantitative claims. The famous Churchill quote "The only statistics I believe are the ones I doctored myself" was not actually uttered by Winston Churchill, and the quotation is itself an instance of fake news

Speakers

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Jose Palma-Oliveira
University of Lisbon

A returning speaker and environmental psychologist. Dr. Palma-Oliveira previously spoke on how the health risks of raw milk cheese were communicated to communities that often incorporate it as a staple food in their diets (such as in Portugal). It looked at the interplay between researchers, industry, and local communities to better develop communicative tools and foster understanding.

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Dominic Duckett
James Hutton Institute

A researcher from the James Hutton Institute who specialises in Social Theories of Risk, as well as the Sociology of Food and Agriculture. Having previously worked on topics such as the social amplification of risk, Dr. Duckett now focuses his work on changes in food culture and sustainability as part of a large interdisciplinary team.

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Bronwen Percival

Renowned Author and Chair of the Technical Committee at the RMPA will be discussing the roles of industry bodies such as the RMPA, as well the FSA raw milk policy working group, with the current chair of the RMPA Jonny Crickmore. She will also speak about how these entities help mediate the communication between producers and consumers to ensure that the public are made aware of any potential health concerns and risks.

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Francis Percival
 

Returning for another talk, the renowned Author and co-convener of the London Gastronomy Seminars spoke of the cultural and economic benefits of raw milk cheese and how it fits into British dairy production

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Jorge Hernandez Hormazabal
UoL Management School

Dr. Jorge E. Hernandez is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) and module leader for Operations and Simulation Management and Business Analysis. His main contributions are regarded to the continuous enhancement and delivery of up-to-date subjects in the field of Operations and Supply Chain Management. This, by gathering current and up-to-date challenges, requirements, and constraints from a variety of sector for which, Dr. Hernandez, is directly involved, such as Automotive Industry, HealthCare, and Agriculture

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Scott Ferson
Institute for Risk and Uncertainty

Scott Ferson is director of the Institute for Risk and Uncertainty at the University of Liverpool in the UK. For many years he was senior scientist at Applied Biomathematics in New York and taught risk analysis at Stony Brook University. He has over a hundred publications, mostly in risk analysis and uncertainty propagation, and is a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis. His recent research, funded mostly by NIH and NASA, focuses on reliable statistical tools when empirical information is very sparse, and distribution-free methods for risk analysis.

Schedule

Thursday 08th August 2019

10:00 Scott Ferson                                       Introduction
10:30 Jose Palma-Oliveira How to “Promote" or to “Demonise" Raw milk Consumption: Risk perception and communication strategies
11:45 Dominic Duckett Mala Leche: Societal disagreements about risk
13:00 Lunch Break  
14:15 Bronwen Percival Better Communication, Better Regulation
15:30 Francis Percival Communicating risk or rent-seeking behaviour? When raw milk cheese meets the Establishment

Friday 09th August 2019

11:00 Scott Ferson A case study on Chilean dairy production  
14:00 Panel Discussion on Risk Communication Jorge Hernandez Hormazabal, Dominic Duckett, Bronwen Percival, Alex Wimbush

Abstract

Regulation of unpasteurised milk, like many issues lately, has become controversial. Some argue that pasteurisation of milk robs consumers of essential heath benefits. Others worry that raw milk can carry disease bacteria leading to illness or even death. Scientific evidence documents both benefits and risks associated with drinking raw milk, but public health authorities often emphasise on risks. When should government make the decision for consumers?

  • Should potentially dangerous products be legally available and easily accessible?

  • Should families be free to make their own decisions?

  • Will would-be consumers driven to a black market when products are banned?

  • How should consumer protection regulations be justified?

  • Can we effectively communicate risks and benefits to consumers?
First event: Risk Tradeoffs
Thursday 29th November 2018, 10:00 - 15:00


This Raw Milk Series event, Risk Trade-offs, will discuss the hype, the science, and of course the risks around the consumption of raw (i.e unpasteurised) milk. This topic is the starting point of a wider discussion around what the role of regulation should be in public health.

10:00 Reception & refreshments  
10:15 Prof Scott Ferson, Institute for Risk and Uncertainty Introduction
10:30 Prof George Oikonoumou, Institute of Infection & Global Health Studying the bovine milk microbiome
11:00 Dr John Harris, Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool Raw milk, why risk it?
11:30 Prof José Palma-Oliveira, University of Lisbon To drink or not to drink; beyond the raw risk communication
12:00 Francis Purcival, Co-author of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk and Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese Understanding the benefits of raw milk cheese
12:30 Lunch (provided)  
13:15 Dr Ron Dyer, Management School, University of Liverpool Exploring the Milky ways...
13:45 Open Discussion