My father used to tell me stories how he loved to drink raw milk growing up on the farm. I wish I had that experience. Regardless, the question continues to raise to those who still consume dairy products – are raw milks safe to drink?
The United States still seem to wage war on the safety of consuming raw milk and encourages pasteurization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies show that between 1993 and 2006, more than 1,500 people in the United States became sick from drinking raw milk. In addition, CDC reported that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause food borne illnesses which results in 13 times more in hospitalization. (1)
On the other hand, Europeans have done the opposite and expanded the quality of raw milk production. They believe that raw milk provides exceptional health benefits and are even starting a vending machine line to provide easy access to raw milk for customers. (2)
As reported in Modern Farmer, “Such daring dispensers of unpasteurized dairy can be found in France, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and all over Italy.” (2)
Raw milk versus pasteurized – which is better?
This question continues to raise the debate and it is up to the consumer to decide. Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that raw milk far outweighs in benefits compared to pasteurized milk. He shares that some of the health promoting ingredients in raw milk are the following: (3)
- Valuable enzymes in milk to help hydrolyze and absorb fats.
- A natural source of butterfat.
- A good source of healthy unoxidized cholesterol.
- Includes conjugated linoleum acid (CLA), which fights cancel and may help reduce body fat.
- High omega-3 and low omega-6 ratios.
In addition, Dr. Mercola shares that pasteurizing milk, on the other hand, destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamins, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, and actually promotes pathogens. (4) Other studies show that children who drink raw milk regularly are 40% less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies. (5)
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the other hand, claims that raw milk is a serious issue and can cause illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and body ache. (6) FDA continues to encourage pasteurization of milk. (6)
While the United States is restricting, Europeans are looking to expand.
According to June 2013 reviews, there are few states in the United States that can still sell raw milk. Eleven states can sell raw goat and sheep milk in retail stores with a permit, and seven states can sell raw milk on local farms. (7) While the United States is trying to control the distribution of raw milk, the Europeans are thinking about venturing out to vending machines for raw yogurt. (5) One can only hope to find a local store or farm that sells raw milk, or perhaps raise his or her own cow, goat, or sheep!
Image source: modernfarmer.com