The Risks Outweigh the Benefits: Food Scientists and Nutritionists Warn Against Raw Milk Consumption

by Ella

Despite claims of superior health benefits, the risks associated with consuming raw milk far outweigh any potential advantages, according to food scientists and nutritionists. Here’s why:

Understanding Pasteurization and Its Benefits:

What is pasteurization? Does it destroy nutrients?

Pasteurization involves heating milk to high temperatures (over 145°F or 62.78°C) to eliminate harmful microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This process also deactivates enzymes that contribute to spoilage.


While pasteurization may cause minimal nutrient losses, it significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses without compromising the taste, nutritional value, or quality of milk. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) remain stable, and any potential losses of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C are minor.


Debunking Health Claims of Raw Milk:

Is raw milk healthier than pasteurized milk?

Studies have shown no significant health benefits of raw milk compared to pasteurized milk. Claims of improved lactose intolerance relief or higher vitamin content in raw milk are not supported by strong evidence.


Pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption, which raw milk lacks. Probiotics, often associated with raw milk, are typically added to pasteurized dairy products like yogurt post-pasteurization, not naturally present in raw milk.


Health Risks Associated with Raw Milk:

What are the health risks of consuming raw milk?

Raw milk has been linked to numerous foodborne disease outbreaks, resulting in serious illnesses such as paralysis, kidney failure, and even death.

From 1998 to 2018, regions allowing raw milk sales had over three times more outbreaks compared to regions where it was illegal. Cross-contamination and inadequate processing of raw milk-derived products pose additional risks.
Soft cheeses and other dairy products made from raw milk can harbor pathogens that survive production processes, making them unsafe for consumption.

Safety Concerns and Disease Transmission:

Can pasteurized milk still get you sick?

While extremely rare, outbreaks associated with pasteurized milk are typically due to contamination post-pasteurization.
Proper pasteurization effectively destroys or inactivates heat-sensitive pathogens like H5N1 (avian influenza virus), ensuring milk safety.

Myths and Misconceptions:

Can you gain immunity from H5N1 from drinking raw milk?

Contrary to belief, drinking raw milk does not enhance immunity against diseases. Raw milk containing live H5N1 virus can lead to severe illness and poses risks of virus transmission to others.

Antibodies present in raw milk are likely degraded in stomach acid, providing no protective benefits.

In conclusion, while raw milk advocates tout its purported health benefits, scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the safety and nutritional adequacy of pasteurized milk. Consumers are strongly advised to prioritize safety by choosing pasteurized dairy products to minimize health risks associated with raw milk consumption.



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