As a kid, I drank raw milk. It didn't kill me. If I got sick from it, I have no idea, kids get sick from lots of things and just want to get back to playing baseball, we weren't thinking about how we got ill.
But you shouldn't drink raw milk, even though I adapted to it just fine, regardless of what someone selling you something tries to claim. There is a reason foodborne illnesses have plummeted from a hundred years ago and that reason is pasteurization. Dr. Hannah Gould, senior epidemiologist with the CDC's Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, noted that even today raw milk is responsible for nearly three times more hospitalizations than any other foodborne disease.
Raw milk advocates use unscientific claims to make their case, like that raw milk increases immunity and beneficial enzymes or is fine for lactose intolerance, but just like someone claiming long-distance healing or turtle blood is some fantastic miracle thing, be suspicious when those claims revolve around the idea that Big Science is oppressing the underdog about milk.
A Food Control paper affirmed what most everyone who understands pasteurization knew; that it doesn't change the nutritional value of milk, but also debunked what raw milk people think they know, like that raw milk has some probiotic benefit or that constant exposure to raw milk from a young age means there is no risk. Like I said, I drank it as a kid - but I can also eat chicken from a street vendor in Hsin-Chu without getting hepatitis, and you should not. Being raised on a farm introduces you to lots of stuff that may protect you in the future. It can also make you really sick.
Contribution of vitaminsa to the recommended daily intake (%RDI)b based on the consumption of one large glass of raw or heat-treated milk (250 ml).a Souci et al. (2008), Andersson and Öste (1995, chap. 13), Schaafsma (1989), Belitz and Grosch (1987, chap. 10), and Walstra and Jeness (1984). bBSHC (2009). No data for vitamins B2, B5, A, D, E, K, niacin and biotin in pasteurized and boiled milk, and for vitamin K in UHT- and sterilized milk. Credit and link: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.09.035
And the farm environment system may be making the difference. Picking one thing, like raw milk, and introducing it as some sort of super-immune system boost is not just dangerous, it lacks an evidence basis. I have no idea what else on a farm , or combination of things, mean I can eat Taiwanese street vendor chicken while most Americans would need to get a shot - but people claiming they know it is raw milk are goofy.
They conclude "consumption of raw milk poses a realistic and unnecessary health threat because of its possible contamination with pathogenic bacteria. It is therefore recommended to heat milk before consumption, especially when served to young children, pregnant women, or any person suffering from a chronic disease or a suppressed immune system."
The only benefit, notes Angela Bowman at DairyHerd.com, is in flavor, but modern processing techniques and packaging materials fix that.
Table 4 in the paper summarizes the tests and risks of raw milk versus the claims about heating nicely.
Benefit to raw milk? I don't think Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli really count. I do like the taste more, though.
Citation: Wendie L. Claeys, Sabine Cardoen, Georges Daube, Jan De Block, Koen Dewettinck, Katelijne Dierick, Lieven De Zutter, André Huyghebaert, Hein Imberechts, Pierre Thiange, Yvan Vandenplas, Lieve Herman, 'Raw or heated cow milk consumption: Review of risks and benefits', Food Control Volume 31, Issue 1, May 2013, Pages 251–262 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2012.09.035
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Amenhotep III: Ancient Egyptian Mummies Didn't Have Spinal Arthritis
- Antibiotics Of The Future
- The Resource Curse: Science Cities Suffer
- #GAMERGATE Style Harassment Does Not Happen in the Male Dominated Sciences
- From Mindless Physics To Physics Of Mind
- No Light Dark Matter In ATLAS Search
- Climate Change: It’s Only Human To Exaggerate, But Science Itself Does Not
- "But it never stands still, how is that boring. To stagnate within a belief like religion that does..."
- "I was hard wired as in raised JW. We switched at the death of 2 of my sisters, when flowers were..."
- "“All I've ever done is defend a fellow scientist who wrote a book and was harassed for it, which..."
- "That's very interesting indeed I'd like to read it, where might I find the learned reference stating..."
- "This kind of nonsense is what I am not a fan of - unfortunately, because hypnosis works so infrequently..."
- Natural Resources Defense Council sues EPA to block rollout of Dow Enlist Duo GMO system
- Enviros file suit to block new Dow AgroSciences GMO herbicide and seeds
- Couples can protect children from devastating mutations with new IVF methods
- Food 2.0: Will farmers be able to meet the ecological challenges ahead?
- General Mills’ Cascadian Farm launches ‘bee-friendly’ campaign, GMO critics unimpressed
- Can genes pass from genetically modified food into our blood, posing dangers?
- Study shows medication is frequently, unintentionally given incorrectly to young children
- Mummy remains refute antiquity of ankylosing spondylitis
- Scientists say national Alzheimer's plan milestones must be strengthened to meet goal by 2025
- Head injury causes the immune system to attack the brain
- Viagra protects the heart beyond the bedroom