Facts on Unpasteurized Milk

Unpasteurized milk, often referred to as "raw milk," is a designation for milk that has come straight from a cow and has not gone through the pasteurization process. Due to the movement of people shying away from processed foods, interest in raw milk has increased.

  1. Pathogens

    • The pasteurization process often kills off dangerous pathogens in the milk. Raw milk does not have the ability to kill these pathogens off on its own, however. The pasteurization process removes these pathogens, which could pose dangers to both adults and children.

    Foodborne Illness

    • Unpasteurized milk can often lead to foodborne illness. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and body aches. Most people will recover from foodborne illness in a short period of time, but others are afflicted differently and may suffer from chronic or severe symptoms for longer periods of time.


    • Pregnant women also should avoid raw milk because of the potential to come in contact with the virus listeria, which they can contract without feeling sick. Consuming raw milk is one way to contract this virus, which can threaten the life of the fetus. Pregnant women should not only avoid raw milk but also products made from raw milk, including soft cheeses or other unpasteurized dairy products.

    Nutritional Value

    • Raw milk does not have any additional nutritional value than pasteurized milk. It will not help strengthen an immune system or ward off other health issues, including allergies, cancer and asthma. According to the American Osteopathic Association, no scientific evidence suggests that raw milk may have more nutritional value than pasteurized milk as of 2011.

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