Raw Milk: Making a Comeback?

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In recent years, organic foods and other natural alternatives to processed foods have been gaining
in popularity with consumers. For a great portion of these products, it is a welcomed transition in
food manufacturing. It has led to better quality control over manufacturing processes, and better end
products. However, when raw milk made the list of upcoming popular food choices, it garnered the
attention of researchers and the FDA.

The FDA published an article in 2006 detailing the health dangers of consuming unpasteurized milk.
Still, there is a strong following of people that claim that the pasteurization process destroys the milks
nutrients. Research has proven this myth false. Perhaps the reason for this misconception is a wide
misunderstanding of how the pasteurization process actually works.

Pasteurization of raw milk simply heats the milk up to a temperature at which bacteria is destroyed. The
milk is then cooled down and bottled. Raw milk is full of bacteria that can cause a myriad of illnesses,
some of which can be fatal. Hundreds die each year due to consuming unpasteurized milk. The risk
to pregnant women is exponential. Women who are pregnant and consume unpasteurized milk are
voluntarily placing their unborn baby at risk of Listeria, which can cause fetal death or deformity.
What’s more frightening is that this damage can be done to the fetus even though you might not feel
any symptoms of illness. Children, elderly, and anyone with a depressed immune system should not
consume unpasteurized milk. Ever.

When consuming milk, be sure to check the package for proper labeling. The label should say
Pasteurized. If it does not, then you should not drink it. This should be your primary concern if
purchasing milk from a local farmer’s market or local dairy. Be sure that you are checking for this on
the ingredients lists of yogurts, ice creams, and other dairy-derived products. Also, make sure that
you refrigerate your milk promptly upon purchase, since the pasteurization process still leaves a small
amount of microbes that could lead to spoilage if not refrigerated. This is why milk comes with an
expiration date.

Simply put, consuming raw milk is an unwise choice, regardless of your stance on organic foods.
Pasteurization heats the milk to kill harmful bacteria. That is all. Many of the same people who claim
unpasteurized milk is a more healthy choice should consider eating their eggs and meats uncooked, as
well. After all, where’s the consistency?


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