Junkfood Science: Raw milk: riskier and not more nutritious than pasteurized

November 15, 2006

Raw milk: riskier and not more nutritious than pasteurized

Question: Is raw milk more nutritious than pasteurized milk?

Answer: Federal law requires that all milk for sale at retail stores be pasteurized, which means all milk must be treated with high heat to destroy harmful bacteria. Recently there has been interest in raw, untreated milk. Many states do not permit the sale of raw milk directly to the consumer, but some do.

Proponents claim raw milk is healthier and does everything from calming nerves to preventing tooth decay. They argue that pasteurization interferes with calcium absorption and causes allergies. Further, they believe the high heat of pasteurization destroys beneficial bacteria naturally present in milk.

That’s simply not the science, says John Sheehan, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Division of Dairy and Egg Safety. There are no significant nutritional differences between raw milk and pasteurized milk. Drinking raw milk or eating raw milk products is “like playing Russian roulette with your health,” he says. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that no one consume unpasteurized (raw) milk.

Pasteurization became widespread in the 1920s to destroy bacteria in milk that caused tuberculosis, diphtheria and typhoid fever. Other harmful bacteria, like campylobacter jejuni, E. coli 0157:H7, listeria monocytogenes, and salmonella, that may get into the milk through cross-contamination are also destroyed. As a result, milk-borne outbreaks have been reduced from 25 percent to just 1 percent today.....

To read the rest at Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle, click here.

Bookmark and Share