Raw milk is unpasteurized milk, taken straight from the
udder of a cow or goat, bottled, cooled and consumed. Drinking raw
milk was normal before the industrial revolution, then
pasteurization came about to remove potential pathogens that cause
disease. Today, advocates of raw milk argue that it is safe and more
nutritious, and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Foods and Chemistry says
that pasteurization removes some beneficial qualities of milk, such
as antibacterial properties.
The Food and Drug Administration mandated in
1987 that all raw milk be pasteurized to remove harmful pathogens
such as E. coli. Pasteurization heats milk to 145 to 150 degrees F
for 30 minutes., then the milk is cooled to 55 degrees. E. coli is a
bacteria normally found in the intestines and stool of warm-blooded
animals such as cows and goats, and it is argued that even in the
cleanest and healthiest dairy environments, cows can step in their
own fecal matter, then contaminate their udders and the raw milk.
Some strains of E. coli are hazardous to humans. Symptoms include
dehydration, bloody diarrhea. If these symptoms worsen,
hospitalization is needed.
A bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes can be present in raw milk
but it is destroyed in pasteurization. If listeria were passed to
humans in raw milk, gastrointestinal symptoms would occur. You might
experience vomiting, diarrhea and cramps. If this bacteria gets into
the blood system, a condition called septicemia results, which is
Clean and Better Flavor
Raw milk proponents believe raw milk is better tasting that
pasteurized milk because it comes from healthy, pasture-fed animals,
according to the Campaign for Real Milk. Raw milk contains important
enzymes, fats and nutrients that enhance the immune system in
people. Whether these important components of raw milk are destroyed
during pasteurization is still being researched.
Pros for the Digestive
Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria for the human body. This good
bacteria is destroyed during pasteurization, resulting in the
inability to strengthen the immune system in the colon, and
digestive problems, including Crohn's disease, can occur. This is a
condition in which inflammation and scar tissue form throughout the
intestines. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, weight loss and
long-term cancer risks of the colon.