Should You Drink Raw Milk? CDC Doesn’t Think So

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The recent evidence of E.Coli’s presence in raw milk has forced the raw milk lovers to ask whether they should drink raw milk or not. After a long spell of prominence and significance attributed to raw milk, it is now being treated like a pariah. It took a study to change the public perception about raw milk and if you read what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to say about the issue, you will think twice before picking up that glass of raw milk.

 


1) CDC Report

 

According to new research studies published by the CDC recently, raw milk and raw milk products have a 150 times greater chance of causing outbreak of food-poisoning as compared to pasteurized milk. The studies were published in the CDC journal “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” The seriousness of the situation is evident from the fact that since the studies were published, the number has gone up to 151 with a new outbreak being reported from consumption of raw milk in Pennsylvania. So far, about 100 people have fallen ill due to consumption of raw milk in four American states.

 


2) Comparative Analysis

 

The researchers are not claiming the pasteurized milk to be 100% safe for consumption but the instance of diseases being caused by raw milk is much higher. For instance between 1993 and 2006, the period for which the research studies were conducted, there were 48 disease outbreaks caused by contamination in pasteurized milk as well as milk products. On the other hand, during the same period, the raw milk consumption caused 73 disease outbreaks as well as two deaths, and several permanent disabilities. The fact that raw milk accounts for just 1 percent of all dairy sales for that period, the figures are very alarming.


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3) The Outbreaks 

 

The Raw milk consumption results in several different types of outbreaks, which are caused by bacteria like Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria. The CDC has said that the outbreaks from raw milk may be on rise without the people realizing so and this can be attributed to the fact that the consumption of raw milk itself is on the rise. Sample this – In 20 American States, the sale of raw milk is banned but consumers are willing to pay any price to buy it, even if they have to do so under the guise of purchasing it for their pet.

 


4) The Causes

 

The raw milk comes to your table direct from the dairy animal’s teat, with hardly any processing involved. Earlier uses of raw milk have been in the form of yogurt, cheese or whey but at present, people are ready to guzzle the milk by the bucketful as if there is no tomorrow. The practice of pasteurization was introduced to maintain the freshness of the milk as well as to protect it from contamination. While the proponents of raw milk may argue that it is a healthier choice than regular milk, the claims are definitely debatable.


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5) Raw Milk Vs Pasteurized Milk

 

For those who say otherwise, pasteurized milk contains almost similar nutritional benefits as the raw milk. There is a group of people who believe that pasteurization steals away the nutrition of the milk but it is not true. Pasteurization has only the slightest effect on the nutritional status of milk. In fact, raw milk doesn’t contain Vitamin D, which is added to the conventional milk during pasteurization.

 

Banning the raw milk may be an extreme step though because raw milk, if had fresh, is not harmful. The harm comes from the contamination. Just like raw vegetables or raw seafood, the raw milk may also be subject to certain regulatory measures so that it can be kept safe for human consumption. Otherwise, there is always the pasteurized milk to have.

 

Image Courtesy: cdc.gov

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