The Problem with Raw Milk
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The Problem with Raw MilkMany people assume “natural” is better. But when it comes to milk – raw can make you pretty sick.

That’s not what you’d find on websites selling raw milk and touting its superior health benefits. The truth is, raw milk ranks among the riskiest foods because of dangerous pathogens lurking there.

Raw milk can harbor parasites, viruses and a long list of bacteria. One bacterium, Salmonella, can cause severe diarrhea. Others, like Listeria, can spread to the central nervous system and, in pregnant women, can lead to miscarriage, or even stillbirth.

Another bacterium, E. coli 0157:H7, causes diarrhea in normal adults, and ten percent of victims end up in the hospital. They’re usually immunocompromised, elderly or under the age of five, with children being most at risk.

They can develop three complications: bloody diarrhea, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure, or the last, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, which can be deadly.

You may wonder how these pathogens get into the milk? Well, they can be transferred by cow feces, cows with undiagnosed infections or bacteria on their skin, milking equipment, insects or the people working with cows.

There are so many potential sources of contamination, it’s hard for any farm to guarantee their raw milk is safe. That’s why pasteurization is so effective. It kills all pathogens by heating the milk to 161 degrees for 20 seconds.

Some people choose raw milk believing it’s healthier, but many studies show pasteurization has little effect on the nutritional value of milk. The vitamins that are affected, like thiamine, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, can be easily obtained from other foods.

Pasteurization also inactivates some enzymes in milk, but there’s no evidence they’re important to human health. If you’re considering raw milk, talk to your doctor and visit our website for legitimate sources of information.

For more information…

Drinking Raw Milk: More Details on the Risks
Foodsafety.gov website is the gateway to food safety information provided by government agencies. The site has information about food safety, recalls and tips. You can also report incident of food poisoning. There is a blog and frequently asked questions about the consumption of raw milk

Food Safety and Raw Milk
The Centers for Disease Control website, CDC.gov, provides users with credible, reliable health information on a large and diverse issues on health, travel health, workplace safety and much more. This is a great place for health information of many kinds.

For a discussion on “Trying to Decide about Raw Milk”, the CDC has yet another site here as well as two more useful sites regarding raw milk here and here.

Why Raw Milk Should Be Avoided
For another discussion about why raw milk should not be consumed go to Quackwatch, which is run by a physician who tracks many areas fo debate in health.

Got E. coli? Raw Milk's Appeal Grows Despite Health Risks
Scientific American, an excellent magazine that features articles about science and medicine written for the lay person, with the accuracy and balance that we scientists expect, reports on the raw milk debate.