Dairy products are an important part of a well-balanced diet, and provide many beneficial nutrients, but a new trend in milk consumption is proving to be dangerous. Raw milk and raw milk products like cheese are being sold in farmers markets and natural food stores, with the disclaimer that they are for animal consumption only. This makes the products legal to sell, but they can be harmful to people and should never be eaten by humans.
Raw milk is milk from cows, goats, or sheep that has not been subject to pasteurization, or the process that kills harmful bacteria such as Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella in dairy products. The CDC reports that unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illnesses than pasteurized, and causes 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy. More than 1500 people in the US alone became sick from consuming raw milk or raw milk products. Raw milk can be especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children (most problems with raw milk involve kids).
From FDA.gov, here are some common myths and proven facts about milk and pasteurization:
- Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
- Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
- Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk's nutritional value.
- Pasteurization DOES NOT mean that it is safe to leave milk out of the refrigerator for extended time, particularly after it has been opened.
- Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
- Pasteurization DOES save lives.
To keep milk products as safe as possible, be sure to buy only pasteurized dairy products, safely store them at the proper temperature, and be mindful about cross-contamination. Click here to learn more about CitroBio Food Wash, a citrus extract wash for meat, fruits, vegetables, cleaning, and more.