Is raw milk really healthy ?

Pro raw milk activists suggest that unpasteurized milk products are completely save and that they can prevent and treat a wide spectrum of deseases including lactose intolerance. Pasteurization (process of heating milk for predetermined time at a predetermined temperature) does not change the concentration of lactose but will destroy lactase-producing bacteria that might be present and that might aid in the tolerance to dairy products among lactase-deficient persons. The milk proteins which cause allergic reactions are also the same in both raw and pasteurized milk.

The main difference between raw milk and pasteurized milk is the amount of bacteria (staphylococcus aureus, campylobacter jejuni, E. coli, listeria monocytogenes....). These bacteria can originate even from clinically healthy animals from which milk is derived or from environmental contamination occurring during collection and storage of milk.

Despite the public health benefits of pasteurization, the demand of raw milk has increased in recent years. Advocates of raw milk believe that it contains substances that can naturally kill off harmful bacteria. There is no scientific evidence to substantiate these assertions. All raw milk products can harbour a variety of microorganisms and be important sources of foodborne pathogens. Therefore it can be dangerous especially for pregnant women, children, elderly or those with weakened immune sytem. Pasteurization remains the best way to reduce the risk of contamination

Date : 05.17.2009