Photo by Maciej Lewandowski
From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Raw milk can carry harmful germs that can make you very sick or kill you. If you’re thinking about drinking raw milk because you believe it has health benefits, consider other options.
Developing a healthy lifestyle requires you to make many decisions. One step you might be thinking about is adding raw milk to your diet. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized (heating to a specific temperature for a set amount of time to kill harmful germs). Germs include bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Making milk safe
Milk and products made from milk need minimal processing, called pasteurization. This process includes:
- Heating the milk briefly (for example, heating it to 161°F for about 15 seconds)
- Rapidly cooling the milk
- Practicing sanitary handling
- Storing milk in clean, closed containers at 40°F or below
While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all.
When milk is pasteurized, disease-causing germs are killed. Harmful germs usually don’t change the look, taste, or smell of milk, so you can only be confident that these germs are not present when milk has been pasteurized.
Remember, you cannot look at, smell, or taste a bottle of raw milk and tell if it’s safe to drink.
Risks of drinking raw milk
Raw milk can carry harmful bacteria and other germs that can make you very sick or even kill you. While it is possible to get foodborne illnesses from many different foods, raw milk is one of the riskiest of all. Getting sick from raw milk can mean many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Less commonly, it can mean kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders, and even death.