Aren’t raw or natural foods better than processed foods?
Many people believe that foods with no or minimal processing are better for their health. Many people also believe that small, local farms are better sources of healthy food. However, some types of processing are needed to protect health. For example, consumers process raw meat, poultry and fish for safety by cooking. Similarly, when milk is pasteurized, it is heated just long enough to kill disease-causing germs. Most nutrients remain after milk is pasteurized.
Does drinking raw milk prevent or cure any diseases, such as asthma, allergies, heart disease, or cancer?
No. There are no health benefits from drinking raw milk (milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful germs) that cannot be obtained from drinking pasteurized milk that is free of disease-causing bacteria. The process of pasteurization of milk has never been found to be the cause of chronic diseases, allergies, or developmental or behavioural problems.
How does pasteurization work in milk?
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high-enough temperature for a long-enough time to kill illness-causing bacteria contained in the milk. As most commonly applied, pasteurization heats milk to a high temperature for a short time, which kills the bacteria that cause illness. It was invented in a time when millions of people became sick and died of diseases like tuberculosis, scarlet fever, typhoid fever and other infections that were transmitted through raw milk. Raw milk contains bacteria, and some of them can be harmful. So, if you’re thinking about consuming raw milk because you believe that it is a good source of beneficial bacteria, you need to know that it isn’t and you may instead get sick from the harmful bacteria. If you think that certain types of bacteria may be beneficial to your health, consider getting them from foods that don’t involve such a high risk. For example, so-called probiotic bacteria are sometimes added to pasteurized fermented foods, such as yogurt.
How does milk get contaminated?
Milk contamination may occur from: