Drinking it could bring health benefits, but it could also make you seriously sick.
Maybe you grew up on a farm. Or, your parents and grandparents did. (Or, you’re living on one right now!)
If you had dairy cows or goats, drinking milk fresh from the animal could have been a regular, daily thing in your home. If you still do this, you’re likely well aware of the benefits and dangers raw milk can present to those who consume it.
For those who are tempted by the fresh goodness of new milk for the first time, here’s something to consider.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that raw milk can contain bacteria, viruses and parasites that can make you sick, or even kill you. It sounds dire because in extreme cases, it can be.
Unpasteurized milk, (milk that hasn’t been heated to a certain temperature for a certain period of time to kill off the germs), can contain Brucella, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
Just because the milk hasn’t been processed doesn’t mean it’s better for you. As the CDC points out, some types of processing are needed to protect human health. That’s why we cook poultry and other raw protein before eating it.
So, how can you protect yourself? Don’t drink raw milk.
Yes, this all sounds heavy-handed. The CDC is just trying to keep us all as healthy and in good form for as long as possible. It’s true that even otherwise healthy animals can contain damaging and dangerous bacteria in their milk that can make you sick, and so it’s really hard to tell if you’re getting ‘safe’ raw milk or not.
It’s a fact that most of the nutrients you need from milk are still in it after it’s pasteurized.