Got Raw Milk? Don’t Drink It
By By Adam Langer, DVM, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
You may have recently heard about people getting sick from raw milk, or milk that has not been pasteurized (heated to kill germs). We have talked about its dangers before on this blog—and we want to give you some important updated information to help keep you and your family members from becoming ill.
New Raw Milk Study
A new CDC study looked at outbreaks related to dairy products over a 14-year period in the U.S. and found:
- Raw milk was much more likely to cause outbreaks than pasteurized milk
- Outbreaks caused by raw milk tended to cause more severe disease
- Younger people were affected more in outbreaks caused by raw milk than in outbreaks caused by pasteurized milk
- States that allow the sale of raw milk had more outbreaks caused by consuming raw milk
Drinking Raw Milk is Not Worth the Risk
Some people claim that there are health benefits of drinking raw milk. They may think that raw milk provides better nutrition than pasteurized milk. This is simply not true. Studies have shown that the nutrients in milk are not significantly affected by pasteurization. In fact, by consuming raw milk rather than fortified, pasteurized milk, consumers miss out on an opportunity to include a good source of vitamin D in their diets.
Even healthy adults can get sick from drinking raw milk. For some, getting sick from raw milk can mean diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting, often for days. For others, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, and even death. Drinking raw milk is not worth the risk.
Although many foods can be enjoyed raw, milk and products made from it should never be one of them. Raw milk is a risky source of entirely preventable foodborne illness and can be contaminated with a variety of germs that can make people sick.
How can raw milk make you sick?
Raw milk and other raw dairy products can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or kill you. Cows and other dairy animals can carry many different types of bacteria that can cause illness in people. These animals usually don’t appear to be sick because often they are not affected by these bacteria. These animals appear healthy and clean, but the bacteria can be present in their feces, in the milk itself, and on their skin, as well as in the environment of the dairy. Pasteurization is absolutely necessary to eliminate these bacteria from the milk and make it safe to consume.
No matter what precautions dairy farmers take or what they feed their animals, and even if laboratory tests for bacteria come back negative, they cannot guarantee that their unpasteurized milk, or products made from it, is free of harmful germs. You can’t look at, smell, or taste a bottle of raw milk and tell if it is safe to drink.
What You Can Do
As a consumer, you can take steps to minimize the risk of getting sick:
- Only consume pasteurized milk and milk products. Look for the word “pasteurized” on the dairy labels. If in doubt, don’t buy it!
- Keep all dairy products refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below at home and dispose of any expired products to reduce the risk of illness.
- If you consume soft, fresh, un-aged cheeses like queso fresco, make sure they are made from pasteurized milk. Aged cheeses made from raw milk are generally okay to eat because germs usually die off during the aging process. However, outbreaks associated with these aged cheeses have been identified.
For more information, check out these resources:
- Myths about Raw Milk
- Food Safety and Raw Milk
- The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk
- Raw or Nonpasteurized Products Can Make You Sick [PODCAST – 9:08 minutes]
- Got Milk? [PODCAST – 5:28 minutes]
Rev.George Malkmus from Hallelujah Acres in North Carolina,www.hacres.com.has been telling people since 1992 that the two most destructive foods that has caused many physical problems for many people is animal flesh and cows milk. 4 months ago CNN had a special presentation of THE LAST HEART ATTACK hosted by DR.Sanjay Gupta.His two guests were Dr.Caldwell Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic and former president Bill Clinton.When Dr.Gupta asked these two gentlemen what they would suggest to the viewers what to eat to improve their health they both replied,"eliminate animal flesh and dairy products" Raw milk or pasteurized milk is not healthy! This would include the "pink slime" more commonly known as hamburg!