Raw milk is unpasteurized milk, taken straight from the udder of a cow or goat, bottled, cooled and consumed. Drinking raw milk was normal before the industrial revolution, then pasteurization came about to remove potential pathogens that cause disease. Today, advocates of raw milk argue that it is safe and more nutritious, and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Foods and Chemistry says that pasteurization removes some beneficial qualities of milk, such as antibacterial properties.
The Food and Drug Administration mandated in 1987 that all raw milk be pasteurized to remove harmful pathogens such as E. coli. Pasteurization heats milk to 145 to 150 degrees F for 30 minutes., then the milk is cooled to 55 degrees. E. coli is a bacteria normally found in the intestines and stool of warm-blooded animals such as cows and goats, and it is argued that even in the cleanest and healthiest dairy environments, cows can step in their own fecal matter, then contaminate their udders and the raw milk. Some strains of E. coli are hazardous to humans. Symptoms include dehydration, bloody diarrhea. If these symptoms worsen, hospitalization is needed.
A bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes can be present in raw milk but it is destroyed in pasteurization. If listeria were passed to humans in raw milk, gastrointestinal symptoms would occur. You might experience vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. If this bacteria gets into the blood system, a condition called septicemia results, which is life-threatening.
Clean and Better Flavor
Raw milk proponents believe raw milk is better tasting that pasteurized milk because it comes from healthy, pasture-fed animals, according to the Campaign for Real Milk, as reported by "Scientific American." They explain that raw milk contains important enzymes, fats and nutrients that enhance the immune system in people. Whether these important components of raw milk are destroyed during pasteurization is still being researched, according to the Mayo Clinic, as reported in "Scientific American."
Pros for the Digestive System
Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria for the human body, explains Dr. Joseph Mercola in "Time" magazine. This good bacteria is destroyed during pasteurization, resulting in the inability to strengthen the immune system in the colon, and digestive problems, including Crohn's disease, can occur. This is a condition in which inflammation and scar tissue form throughout the intestines. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, weight loss and long-term cancer risks of the colon.
- Karlloren.com: Health Benefits and Risks From Drinking Raw Milk
- "Scientific American"; Got E. coli? Raw Milk's Appeal Grows Despite Health Risks; Aug. 31, 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Travel Medicine E. coli
- Real Milk: Raw Milk Vs. Pasteurized Milk
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Listeriosis- Overview
- Time: Got Raw Milk? Be Very Quiet