Sometimes called real milk, raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Raw milk has become popular because some people believe it has superior nutrition and can cure ailments.
But this is not true!
Raw milk can be a source of bacteria that causes many food borne illnesses, including Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These pathogens can cause serious illness, and even death, especially in children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems. Cancer patients often have weakened immune systems resulting from the treatments they are receiving. Because of this, raw milk, and any product made from raw milk, is illegal to sell for human consumption in North Carolina.
Raw milk is not nutritionally superior to pasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk is simply milk that has been heated for a short period of time to kill the bacteria that may be in the milk. Usually this process takes about 20 seconds. Another term seen on milk labels is homogenized. This means that the fat has been broken up and suspended within the milk liquid so the fat portion does not separate from the liquid portion. This also does not result in a nutritional difference. Non-homogenized milk is not illegal and can be purchased at a grocery store, but it is still pasteurized.
Some claim that raw milk can cure diseases and actually kill bacteria. Both of these claims are false. No one food can cause or cure any disease. Also, bacteria can live in raw milk. The only way the bacteria in milk can be killed is by heating it up by boiling it or through pasteurization.
Why It’s Not Worth It:
Besides the aforementioned Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, historically, raw milk has been the source of transmission for many food borne illnesses, including tuberculosis. Milk has been safely consumed for years after the implementation of pasteurization.
Today, raw milk is more widely available than you would think considering it is illegal to sell it. Farmers have found a way around this law by labeling raw milk as animal feed, not for human consumption. As long as consumers demand it, suppliers will figure out a way to distribute it. Not to mention that raw milk is sold for $4 a quart in North Carolina. A gallon of milk at the grocery store is $3.50. So you are paying over 4 times as much for illegal milk with no additional nutrition that can make you sick!
The Bottom Line:
Those who consume raw milk are taking a risk with their health. If you are a healthy adult, you may suffer from a very upset stomach for a couple of days, but otherwise might be ok after drinking raw milk. But if you are pregnant or feeding raw milk to your children, you are taking a gamble with their health and even their lives.
Is that a risk you want to take?
Read more here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/consumers/ucm079516.htm
This post really doesn’t have much meat to it, just an FDA link and your opinion. Given the opener, I expected more.
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN says
I will have to defend myself by pointing out that I do answer the question with evidence based info! Whether you like how I answered it is a different question. 🙂
Brian Symons says
In Australia there is now an approved alternative called Cold-Pressed Milk where the milk is subjected to high pressure to kill any organisms. The milk is not heated at all but undergoes the process they call High Pressure Processing (HPP) to remove bacteria. The process is similar to one already used for meat, salads, & juices.
In Australia milk pasteurisation is thermal (heat) pasteurisation that requires milk to be heated to 72C (162F) for 15 seconds to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli, campylobacter & salmonella. Raw milk advocates believe the heating destroys important nutrients & enzymes.
Pasteurization is used for milk, juice, cheese, canned foods, wines & syrups. It is not intended to kill all microorganisms in the food (sterilisation) because that often damages food texture & flavour but reduces the pathogens to an extent that the food is safe to use in the indicated safe use period.
A variation called Flash Pasteurization also called “High-Temperature Short Time” (HTST) Pasteurization is supposed to maintain color & flavor better.
High Pressure Processing (HPP) is sometimes considered a form of pasteurization although it does not use heat.
Cold-Pressed Milk is a more expensive product since it is just a recent invention & caters to a premium “alternative” market but it offers a milk product that hasn’t been subjected to high temperatures.
The company here is “Made by Cow” & their web site explains the process. http://www.madebycow.com.au/
Their blurb states:
Put simply, we’re three Aussies who miss drinking milk like we did when we were growing up. Fetching it from the milking shed with that delicious layer of cream on top. Back then it was pretty much straight from the cow. You could say we’re traditionalists but it’s that nostalgia that’s driven us to find a new, world first method of producing raw milk that is cold pressed, delicious, nutritious and completely safe to drink. The way nature intended. Without resorting to heat pasteurisation, homogenisation and all the other processes most modern milk goes through. We hope you enjoy our milk as much as we do!
Being approved by the New South Wales Food Authority (NSW is a State of Australia), which has similar authority to the US FDA, gives the Cold-Pressed Milk Australia wide approvals.
I do not have food science background but compiled the above from various sources after being interested in the product.