Dangers of Raw Milk- The Benefits May Not Be Worth the Risk
Milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream made from non-pasteurized milk is considered raw milk. There were two deaths in the US from 1998 to 2009. One of these was a relative of a family in our practice who also had a close call with illness caused by raw milk. While rare, these deaths and the 195 hospital visits over this same time are certainly preventable simply by using pasteurized milk. The Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC and FDA all recommend that you avoid raw milk. While I certainly have many families in my practice who use raw milk and have not had any issues, it does fall into one of those categories of health practices that may not be worth the risk.
Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to at least 161 degrees for at least 15-20 seconds followed by rapid cooling. This has been the practice here in the US since the 1920’s so most living in this country have no recollection of raw milk or the diseases it used to cause.
I provide below the links to the various government and AAP statements on the topic. Of course, the counter position is that, if there have only been 2 deaths from raw milk in 10 years, I wonder how many problems there have been from the other milk products consumed in this country?