Banner
    Raw Milk Not Worth The Risk - Study
    By Hank Campbell | October 15th 2013 04:21 PM | 93 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    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

    Comments

    Hank,

    I'm not really trying to defend raw milk, but the CNN Health link you provided says

    "....food poisoning outbreaks from raw milk between 1998 and 2008, resulting in 1,676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and two deaths.

    Raw milk is responsible for nearly three times more hospitalizations than any other foodborne disease outbreak, says Hannah Gould, Ph.D., senior epidemiologist with the CDC's Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch."

    191 hospitalizations over 10 or 11 years represents 3x more hospitalizations than any other foodborne disease outbreak? That can't be true.

    Hank
    Thanks, I added her quote in while editing at the end, so that people were not just seeing me rehash a paper (and I had used her quote before) but the way it is phrased looks clunky in this context. There are 48 million foodborne illnesses per year, I assume you know that and it is the reason you noted that number can't be right. But that is for all food. She is saying that, using the number of consumers of raw milk, the outbreaks are 3X higher. Less than 1% of the milk consumed in the US is raw so it's meaningful from a consumer fad health point of view but not in total illnesses.

    Using 1993-2006 instead, a few years larger range and therefore more data, the CDC says that "the hospitalization rate for patients in outbreaks caused by raw milk was 13 times higher (13% vs. 1%) than the rate for people in outbreaks caused by pasteurized milk."  And almost 3X as many patients were younger people.

    They also add, "the risk of outbreaks caused by raw milk is at least 150 times greater than the risk of outbreaks caused by pasteurized milk."
    What?

    "The way it is phrased looks clunky?" If by clunky you mean completely false, then yeah. And you're whole article is "clunky."

    I found this page that takes a closer look at that study, and found it interesting: http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-dangerous

    I found his page on another subject, and the science was stretched beyond credibility. I'm not going to bother with his raw milk article, because I've already lost faith in his ability to evaluate such topics. Anyone else want to sift through Kessers opinions?

    Hank
    Not me. When it comes to activists, any just-so story is immediately latched onto in some sort of weird, end-oriented-belief haze, while actual science is dismissed as a vast conspiracy. It's no different than reading Moon Landing Hoax and Obama Birther nonsense.
    Already read it a long time ago. He presents the facts and makes a rational analysis. His conclusion after adjusting for consumption rates is that milk is one of the safest things you can drink (whether raw or not), and that the riskiest food by far is seafood (particularly oysters), then poultry, eggs, followed by beef & pork. Even produce is riskier than milk.

    If lazy baby needs a graph to understand it, here it is:
    http://ckresser.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/foodborneilln...

    Regarding raw milk vs. pasteurized milk, he freely admits that raw milk is riskier. He pins it at 10x riskier than pasteurized milk. However, the absolute risk is so small that for most people it will not matter. Also, if you actually know anything about raw milk, you may be able to put yourself on the good side of the average by picking a clean and conscientious farmer with a good track record and who does regular testing.

    The data he uses: "CDC foodborne disease outbreak surveillance tables, an online outbreak database published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), public health reports such as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly (MMWR), a CDC line list produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to CDC by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), and peer-reviewed studies in the scientific literature"

    Whatever his other article may have said that you didn't like, it's really hard to argue with his analysis in this one.

    No mention of enzymes in the study. As my Scottish friend likes to say, it's fokkin bull$hit.

    Hank
    Of course it did. Read the summary in Table 4, as I said.
    This and other "scientific" publications repeatedly state, as you did, "Raw milk advocates use unscientific claims to make their case..." You completely ignore recent large-scale studies that provide convincing scientific evidence that raw milk helps reduce incidence of asthma and allergies in children:
    http://www.organicpastures.com/pdfs/raw_milk_allergy.pdf
    http://www.mnhlrp.org/images/RawMilkStudy.pdf

    Moreover, you accept at face value murky CDC data, which is intentionally murky to promote the notion that raw milk is one of the most unsafe foods around, when in fact, leafy greens and chicken show much more risk, and dairy is one of the lowest-risk foods around.
    http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/06/new-studies-confirm-raw-milk-a-low-ris...

    Personally, I always find it entertaining when authority figures say, to effect, "I grew up drinking raw milk, but it's not the same today..." Agriculture regulators say this all the time--it was great for me, but you ordinary people can't handle it. Arrogance epitomized.

    Hank
    Right, right, the CDC is 'murky' and you are some oppressed underdog being squelched by mean old science. It's nonsense. By all means, live your life how you want, I just think anyone caught giving it to kids should be treated the same way as if they give kids cigarettes and alcohol. 
    Oppressed? Hardly. Fortunately, there's not a single state that embraces your crackpot idea about interfering with parents' right to feed raw milk to their families.

    As for your inaccurate statements about the existence of raw milk research, and then ignoring large-scale studies that contradict your preconceived ideas? I thought it was "Science 2.0", not "Propaganda 2.0".

    Hank
    I'm fine with states' rights - but that is another example of activists trying to make a health claim but needing to fall back on a legal one.  The reason you have to be deceptive that way is because you are selling disease to children. That is not propaganda - propaganda would be selling disease to gullible people under the pretense it will make them healthier - it is fact. 

    As I said in another comment, I am not saying raw milk should be banned - I just think you should go to jail if a child gets ill from it, just like you would with alcohol or cigarettes, which are also not banned, and which I also have not claimed should be banned.
    What happens if a child regularly drinking raw milk recovers from asthma or allergies? Parents get a gold star? This is why lots of parents feed raw milk to their children--out of desperation when the kids don't get relief from conventional treatment. You seem to not want to acknowledge the studies that show significant benefit from raw milk. In case you missed them in my earlier comment:

    http://www.organicpastures.com/pdfs/raw_milk_allergy.pdf
    http://www.mnhlrp.org/images/RawMilkStudy.pdf

    Hank
    Anecdotes are not evidence. Some percentage of people also get better taking sugar pills and homeopathy magic water, that does not make it health care.
    In my opinion healthcare is improving your health so if a sugar pill fixes something that can be great..considering modern medicines addiction to drugs with side effects

    You really can't tell the difference between drugs and milk?

    Wow, you must be a reptile, then. And you must have grown up on a pretty wretched farm too, with really terrible parents who should go to jail for feeding you raw milk--clearly you have suffered brain damage from an unspecified illness that MIGHT be attributable to raw milk and negligence on their part. Maybe you should report this to the CDC?

    Get over yourself; it's not illegal to feed your children.

    Hank
     it's not illegal to feed your children.
    Again, you confuse law and health. Just because the entire world knows something is unhealthy and you shouldn't do it, doesn't mean some people will not do it, you are correct. Unless it is banned. I see no reason to ban it, we are fortunate today that not many people are stupid enough to drink raw milk so it's a tiny market.
    We can't live ourl lives the way we want. The government keeps stepping in and arresting farmers for selling raw milk. I say since pultry pork and produce are more dangerouse then raw milk.... We arrest farmers for selling those things too.

    Hank
    You are making a libertarian issue out of long-established health data. I assume you won't use a seatbelt because mean old gub'ment tells you that you should - on a percentage basis cars will harm 1/1000th the people raw milk will and yet I don't see you listing that as things you choose not to accept as a risk. Is there truly nothing that society can have as a health and safety standard? Really? 

    And you can't feed children raw pork or they will arrest you. 
    Wearing your seat belt could help you maintain control of the vehicle. It also stops other people from flying into you and preventing you from controlling the car. This affects more then just the driver and occupents. Drinking milk affects only the person consuming the milk. And Yes Libertarian principle applies. If what I'm doing doesn't hurt others, then the government has no business telling me I can't do it.

    Hank
    You're rationalizing seat belts in a way you have chosen not to do about raw milk, even though raw milk causes far more harm. Suddenly, when it comes to one food, the government has no right to interfere with some natural law you have created for yourself. Sorry, it is arbitrary and therefore doesn't hold up.

    I do agree you should be able to buy raw milk and in half the states you can - I said children should not be forced to drink it. But the weird, faux libertarian cult surrounding raw milk insists anything they do to kids is some super-right also.
    After reading some the instances where large numbers of people were sickened by contaminated pasteurized milk, I suspect that many people if they became sick from pasteurized milk would never assume it was the milk that made them sick and would not report it. I always took by faith what is said about pasteurized milk, that it's 100 percent safe to drink. I would never suspect in years past being made sick by it. I would just think I had a terrible case of the flu or the runs. My point is that any sickness related to drinking pasteurized milk is vastly under reported.

    Hank
    No food is 100% safe, if you believed that it isn't because the CDC, the USDA or anyone in microbiology said it. The point of this article is that raw milk has no benefits and a lot more risk. No one ever said any food is 100% safe, pasteurized milk is just far safer than the raw kind.
    I don't have the time to do your homework for you but you have a lot more research to do on the pro raw milk side of the question but you'll first have to open your mind. I've read both sides of the question starting from the point of view that raw milk advocates were nutty. Not so. I've now been drinking raw milk for years with no problems. Ten of thousands of people have been drinking raw milk for decades in CA and Europe and now other states with very few incidents of disease. Some problems that gov't agencies have "associated" with raw milk were not proven to be caused by raw milk but left on the books as "caused" by raw milk. One definite misstatement is that modern techniques take care of taste problems. All you have to do is put some ultra pasteurized milk in your mouth and objectively think about the taste. Swill that dead bacteria around in your mouth and it may not taste bad but it doesn't taste good.

    Hank
    you have a lot more research to do on the pro raw milk side of the question but you'll first have to open your mind. 
    No one is going to take this comment seriously. The entire CDC is stupid but an anonymous commenter on the Internet with no microbiology knowledge overrules them all?
    No one who has looked at both sides of the question will take you seriously. Your conceit in your last statement is the most obvious.

    Hank
    I sleep just fine knowing uninformed, dangerous, conspiratorial, anti-science crackpots don't take me "seriously".
    Good to know that you just admitted you think people who have looked at both sides are "uninformed, dangerous, conspiratorial, anti-science crackpots."

    Very insightful comment! Thanks for sharing.

    What a stupid article.

    I am kicking back with a glass of raw milk as we speak.

    Yes, this is typical moral relativism when applied by a social authoritarian. So, you don't believe raw milk should be banned, but parents should be jailed if a child gets ill. Yes, I can see where you like to draw the line. Apparently you would prefer a scientific dictatorship so that you can reconcile your personal beliefs under the auspices of somehow being "right".

    After all, the scientific position is merely that raw milk is a food that carries a higher risk than pasteurized milk. It is irresponsible and decidedly unscientific to call it dangerous. Yet, there's not much point in being authoritarian if you can't actually throw your weight around, especially with the facts.

    Hank
    Yes, this is typical moral relativism when applied by a social authoritarian. 
    That's the funniest comment I will read today. But you left out "liberal."
    Don't matter. Laugh your ass off, but in the end, it's still you mouthing the platitudes and you're the one willing to invoke your own personal notion of authority to make your point. Your tactics are the typical schoolyard bully. You can't make an intelligible argument, so you call names. You don't have any basis for for disavowing personal responsibility, so you think the government should invoke prison terms.

    You're the worst kind of hypocrite. You think everyone is an idiot, and when you can't get your way, you turn to the government you find so annoying to invoke your will. You're pathetic.

    Hank
    There seems to be a strong correlation between crackpot personal beliefs about health and a lack of manners.  Of course there is no evidence for the idea that raw milk drinkers devolve into uncivilized monkeys snapping and jabbering incoherently, just like there is no evidence raw milk is better for you. The only evidence is that it is dangerous. As I said numerous times, drink it - but your notion about personal rights to enslave children to your mystical, dangerous crank beliefs is fortunately limited. 
    Of course, only a social authoritarian would think that it is merely a "notion" that a parent should have the right to make decisions regarding their children. Enslaving children ... how quaint. Perhaps you think that the government or perhaps even you are the only ones qualified to make such decisions.

    Go Malcolm!!!!

    I'm gonna tear your POS article apart line by line:

    "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."

    That's too bad. Just kidding (?) of course, but you did just throw your whole argument out the window. Your parents gave you raw milk, ostensibly more than once, and you were fine. If you did get sick, it was in no way exceptional and certainly not life-threatening. Well let me tell you something, you are not exceptional yourself, bub. You were not the first kid in history to be raised drinking raw milk with no problem. People been doing it for thousands of years.

    Of course you will counter with your stale "anecdotes aren't evidence" line. By this rationale, every single paper that has a finding that isn't confirmed independently isn't any kind of evidence--they're just anecdotes. (There are lots of these, by the way, in the stupid review this artlce is about.) Also, that would mean you can't use epidemiological data as evidence because such "experiments" can't be reproduced, and usually have countless unverified/unconsidered contributing factors.

    Science is nothing but a big compilation of anecdotes that have been rigorously compared. Get over it.

    "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."

    If you don't want to drink it anymore, that's your problem. Thanks, we'll decide for ourselves whether we want to drink it or not. Most people don't have to sell new customers on it because new customers come looking for it themselves after conducting research and listening to other customers. After experiencing the very obvious differences firsthand, many people choose to stick with it.

    What is fantasy is the idea that you didn't get ill, not because the milk you drank was safe, but because you were some kind of superboy who developed some special immunity to all the yucky stuff in milk. Grow up.

    "There is a reason foodborne illnesses have plummeted from a hundred years ago and that reason is pasteurization."

    Actually there are numerous reasons, not just one. Ubiquity of cheap refrigeration, air-tight packaging, faster shipping, hygienic practices and antibiotics are all other important reasons for the decline of foodborne illness. But then again, we already knew you have no interest in being objective and considering all the facts. (Or maybe you are just a bad writer.)

    But if you want to focus on pasteurization, it was already well known over 100 years ago that "market milk" (not a term of my invention, it was so common that it is found even in the scientific papers of the day) and certified milk were 2 entirely different beasts. One was notorious for causing illness while the other was "GRAS." The problems with milk that you are hinting at were (correctly) attributed to market milk, and it is for market milk that pasteurization was adopted in the dairy industry.

    "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."

    That's actually not what the poorly written article you link to says. You left out an important word at the end of the sentence. It says, in full:

    'Raw milk is responsible for nearly three times more hospitalizations than any other foodborne disease OUTBREAK' (emphasis mine)

    Incidentally this makes no sense and is also wrong.

    According to the CDC, about 128,000 people are hospitalized each year from foodborne illness. Also according to the CDC, there were an average of 14 people hospitalized each year between 1993 and 2006 for illnesses "related" to raw milk. That accounts for .01% of hospitalizations in any given year. Meanwhile, a single salmonella outbreak of unknown origin (but not related to dairy) in 2008 caused 203 hospitalizations. This is more than all the hospitalizations related to raw milk during the entire 14 year period they studied!

    In other words, you're just a big fat liar--or you don't know how to read or even to copy and poste properly.

    Next time, link the data, not some stupid unsubstantiated (possible mis)quote.

    "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."

    First, please learn how to write a sentence. "[...] but just like someone claiming long distance healing [...] is some fantastic miracle thing, be suspicious [...]." So we should be suspicious, just like someone claiming long distance healing is some fantastic miracle thing? Learn about words and grammar and maybe then someone will start listening to what you are saying. Your writing is an eye-sore and a headache.

    Second, quit generalizing. I may be able to find 2 pasteurized milk advocates who like swallowing swords but I can't claim that "pasteurized milk advocates like swallowing swords." There are plenty of raw milk advocates that do make scientific claims, so let's focus on them.

    Third, these raw milk advocates that I know do not advocate that "raw milk increases [...] beneficial enzymes." They claim that raw milk has more enzymes to begin with, which is true. In fact, this is even admitted in the stupid review you link:

    ''Milk contains numerous enzymes, of which the biological functions or the beneficial effect is mostly unknown.'
    '(most enzymes are inactivated at pasteurization conditions)'

    Then the review tries to claim that, 'Milk enzymes hardly contribute to the digestibility of milk,' but provide no reference whatever for this, right after admitting that they have no idea what the biological functions or the beneficial effects of the numerous enzymes might be! It's just left as a statement of personal opinion, and is one of the many reasons this review can't be taken seriously. Later on in the same paragraph, they go on to admit that not all enzymes are inactivated by gastric juices. What they fail to mention is that lactic acid bacteria can also survive the digestive tract (they survive at higher pHs than other bacteria), and that such bacteria actually produce lactase.

    Fourth, regarding disease & immunity, again, the paper says it all:

    'Commensal lactic acid bacteria present in raw milk inhibit the multiplication of bacteria, including pathogens.'
    'the elimination of [lactic acid bacteria] in pasteurized milk can have undesirable consequences. Bacterial spores (e.g. B. cereus spores) surviving pasteurization as well as vegetative bacteria that can contaminate milk after pasteurization (post-contamination), grow better in the absence of lactic acid bacteria.'
    'Raw cow milk contains different systems with antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of micro-organisms in raw milk and/or contribute to the immunity of the young calf, amongst which are enzymes (lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, xanthine oxidase) and proteins (lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, bacteriocins) (Table 3). [...] the enzymes are inactivated by pasteurization [...]'

    They dismiss all of this by saying that the bacteria are inhibited from multiplying, and enzyme activity is limited, by low temperatures in the refrigetator (they only rely on one source--Griffiths--for the latter assertion). Well guess what, morons, refrigteration also inhibits multiplication of most pathogenic bacteria. More importantly, not everybody drinks their milk after refrigerating it. I often set my milk out overnight and drink it in the morning, after it has partially clabbered. And there are plenty of people who leave it out for days to make real clabber, which is after all nothing but acidified, coagulated milk. I would never drink milk from a cow that doesn't pass the clabber test. It's perfectly palatable, and yet the authors prove again how ignorant they are when they insert their personal opinions that 'above refrigeration temperature the growth of these bacteria provokes rapid degradation of the milk (acidification, coagulation), rendering the milk unsuitable for consumption.' This kind of editorializing is typical of the review and totally disqualifies it from being considered in any scientific light. CLABBER USED TO BE A STAPLE BREAKFAST ITEM IN AMERICA.

    Fifth, comparing milk to "distance healing" or "turtle blood" just makes you look like an idiot.

    "A Food Control paper affirmed what most everyone who understands pasteurization knew; that it doesn't change the nutritional value of milk,"

    Wrong. It tries to convince the reader of the opposite of what has already been proven by other studies: that pasteurization does have an effect on the nutritional value of milk. It simply leaves out every study that doesn't support its preformed conclusion, and minimizes or dismisses the significance of any data it does include that happens to be contrary to its premise.

    "but also debunked what raw milk people think they know, like that raw milk has some probiotic benefit"

    Wrong again. It is admitted right in the article that raw milk often has probiotic bacteria, and that prebiotic bacteria are beneficial:

    'Raw milk can contain probiotic bacteria.'
    'Probiotic bacteria (specific strains belonging to Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus species), are described as health-promoting micro-organisms (Ishibashi & Yamazaki, 2001).'

    However, they go on to dismiss the value of the probiotic bacteria in raw milk (again invoking Griffiths) that there just aren't enough in the milk. There is no discussion of what levels Griffiths actually found in milk, or how he made those determinations; which is odd because the level can vary quite dramatically depending on the cow's environment, temperature after expression, and how much time has passed since expression. This the second time they quote the work of Griffiths--which is not available online for easy review--on a controversial subject without any other source to back up the claim, i.e. without showing reproducibility of the findings.

    Epic fail on the part of the morons who wrote this paper.

    "or that constant exposure to raw milk from a young age means there is no risk."

    This appears to be your own personal fantasy, as shown below.

    "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.
    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."

    Wow, talk about goofy. Everything you said here lacks evidence. I will repeat, you are not superboy. People who do not get sick from raw milk are not dodging bullets. They do not get sick because there is not a sufficient level of pathogenic bacteria in the milk they drink to make them sick. What is so hard to understand about this?

    "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.""

    Eating spinach poses a "realistic and unnecessary health threat because of its possible pathogenic bacteria." That's life.

    Let's face it: they made their conclusion before they wrote the paper. If you have any doubt of that just read the abstract, look at the authors' titles, and where the paper was published. It's not an unbiased scientific paper--it's a flawed, cherry-picked retrospective, kinda like Ancel Keys' work, which has now all been disproven.

    "The only benefit, notes Angela Bowman at DairyHerd.com, is in flavor, but modern processing techniques and packaging materials fix that."

    LOL. Right, right. Talk about trying to sell something to someone!

    "Table 4 in the paper summarizes the tests and risks of raw milk versus the claims about heating nicely."

    No, you have to actually read the entire review to see how badly they fudged everything.

    "Benefit to raw milk? I don't think Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli really count. I do like the taste more, though."

    Honestly, I hope you get hepatitis from some Chinese street food.

    Hank
    A recurring problem commenters have on this topic is shrieking and insulting because the evidence shows their choice is a dangerous one. It does not make you more correct, it makes you look like raw milk gives drinkers psychological problems - or that only people with psychological problems drink raw milk.

    Why not try acting like an adult and showing actual evidence for your claims? Not some crackpot activism site you happen to like, actual studies. Because the NIH has hundreds showing you are wrong.
    No, not at all. We are not "shrieking and insulting because the evidence shows [our] choice is a dangerous one." It's not. Nobody has ever gotten sick from drinking raw milk from the farm I get it from, and it supplies to the entire state and has so for years. It's actually got a better track record than pasteurized milk in this state.

    The problem is that you are an arrogant and completely incompetent writer who loves to insult people when they don't happen to agree with your moronic conclusions.

    Try learning to read first, then maybe you could start to address any of the numerous holes I just tore in your article, and in the review that your article is about. Nowhere do I link to any raw milk activism site. Anyone who actually read the review this article is about can see that the authors admit to the numerous advantages to raw milk--they just try to play them all down without sufficient references, and through inappropriate insertions of personal opinion. But this is what I would expect from a journal called "FOOD CONTROL."

    Hank
    You didn't tear any holes in anything, you quote mined and made simplistic jabs that probably appeared clever to people who are dumb enough to try and poison their families but no one else. You have the 'choice' to not cook chicken - you shouldn't do it. Even more, you shouldn't feed it to your children. I never said you shouldn't have a choice, I said the evidence shows it has no benefit and a lot more risk - and you went into full-on conspiratorial crank mode along with other people in the comments. Usually, anti-science crackpots about food are on the left - but thanks for showing that nutjobs are bipartisan.
    Well, you've definitely gone off the "Team Science" reservation. Equating higher risk to poison? Then your misguided comparison to raw chicken? You've really lost any sense of science here, since it is your viewpoint that is conspiratorial, if you can make such irrational comparisons.

    Hank
    I'll say again as I have said to others who don't like the results, don't hide behind the slimy intellectual veneer of 'critic' and waste all our time with pointless immature insults, do something positive and show me and the CDC and the authors of the paper that raw milk is healthier and does not have the risks the evidence shows it has.
    Increasingly, studies are finding that the heat treatment of animal products generates oxysterols that are strongly implicated in atherosclerosis. Was this factor considered at all in comparing raw with pasteurized dairy?

    Hank
    What are these increasing studies? There have been no studies showing that oxysterols contributes to atherogenesis. Are you saying you have evidence heating milk will give you plaque but raw milk won't? Because that will revolutionize biology.
    One place to begin might be Kummerow's review article in Am J Cardiovasc Dis 2013 3:17-26 "Interaction between sphingomyelin and oxysterols contributes to atherosclerosis and sudden death". It has its limitations but does provide references. Or you could try the older Valenzuela review in Biol Res 2003 36:291-302 "Cholesterol oxidation: Health hazard and the role of antioxidants in prevention."
    Valenzuela's - and others' research - shows oxysterol formation when dairy and other cholesterol-containing foods are heated. "However, fresh milk contains 0 or only trace amounts of cholesterol oxides, which means that processing (e.g. high temperature) is the main source of oxysterols." A database search will turn up quite a bit more on the topic, of course.
    I clearly did not say I had research comparing the oxysterol content of raw milk. I asked if the comparison study had looked at the oxysterol content in raw versus pasteurized milk but my question remains unanswered.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    This week I decided to buy some organic goats milk from the local health food store, as I've been reading up lately about the Ikarian diet which may be responsible for these Greek islanders often living so very long and part of their diet is that they only drink raw goats milk. Another part is that they drink red wine and often don't get up until 11am after dancing into the wee hours with other old people in their nineties on most nights of the week!

    After reading about the bacterial risks of raw milk here, I personally was not prepared to take that risk so I picked out a 2 litre bottle of organic goats milk from the fridge and on closer scrutiny I found  'pasteurised' written in small letters at the bottom of the label and then I bought it. I was surprised at how expensive it was and made a mental note to try and find goats milk in one of our supermarkets.

    Well it tasted rather different to the organic, pasteurised cows milk that I normally drink but I persevered with drinking it mainly in my tea and on cereal and tried to ignore the not very pleasant (to me) flavour. I've been drinking it for about 2 days now and last night I woke up at about 3 am feeling really quite ill with a bit of a gastric upset. Nothing major just a feeling of abdominal discomfort but no diarhoea or vomiting (yet) and I have a slightly raised temperature. I then went and had a closer look at the label on my goat's milk and found to my amazement that it says 'unpasteurised' not 'pasteurised' in small writing. 

    Just recently I have started to rather reluctantly wear reading glasses for the first time in my life and I wasn't wearing them in the shop, so I obviously misread the small writing.  I still don't feel very well and I've lost my appetite which is a very rare event in my life! I realise that this might be nothing to do with me drinking raw goats milk but I very rarely have anything wrong with my stomach, so I can't help wondering if it is connected? There's no way of knowing one way or another I suppose?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    It's fairly obvious that the author has some strange view about what science is. Instead of acknowledging that raw milk may increase the risk of pathogen exposure, the author has elected to extrapolate this position by claiming that raw milk is poisonous. It is rather obvious where the hysteria is coming from, but this is an extremely poor excuse for a scientific discussion. It simply seems that the author elects to present himself as some sort of contrarian, regardless of what the data say, simply so that he can appear to be controversial. I suspect it's a poor excuse for self-promotion.

    Hank
     regardless of what the data say
    The data say something different than what I wrote? Show us, don't engage in the same casual, I-disagree-with-the-evidence-so-you-are-stupid laziness that others have done. I want to learn, so does the CDC and all of health medicine. Show us that raw milk is healthier and doesn't have the risks I outlined.
    Fine, if you want to see data, how about from the CDC?

    Raw milk was much more likely to cause outbreaks than pasteurized milk.

    During 1993–2006, 121 outbreaks reported to CDC were caused by dairy products where the investigators could determine if the dairy product was pasteurized or unpasteurized (raw). These outbreaks included 4,413 illnesses, 239 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths.
    http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/nonpasteurized-outbreaks.html

    Yet, the actual numbers indicate that 1571 illnesses occurred due to unpasteurized products, while 2,842 occurred from pasteurized products. Hospitalizations certainly occurred at a higher rate, but were primarily instigated by unpasteurized cheese products and not raw milk consumption. Since this table spans a 13 year period, it seems a bit extreme to argue about 2 deaths from unpasteurized products versus 1 death from pasteurized products.
    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/3/11-1370-t1.htm

    There is certainly always going to be a higher pathogen risk in such unprocessed foods and it is certainly proper to make people aware of such risks, especially if the purported benefit is questionable. However, there is nothing scientific about claiming that raw milk is poison. There is nothing scientific in behaving as if pasteurized products are without risk.

    The entire notion of 150 times riskier, is based solely on extrapolating the estimated level of raw milk consumption against pasteurized dairy consumption.

    Personally, I don't care for milk in any form, so I have no vested interest in this debate, however I do care about science and instead of presenting a clear discussion regarding the risks and their causes in raw milk, I am simply reading rhetorical nonsense that is making all kinds of irrational comparisons to raise the hysteria level for even more absurd claims.

    However, with approximately 80,000 alcohol related deaths in the U.S. every year, I would say that your target is considerably more agenda driven than rational. If you wish to call something "poison", then perhaps you might be a bit more relevant in choosing an appropriate item to consume. Yet, instead you wish to write articles about beer, despite knowing that it kills far more people than raw milk ever could.
    http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

    Hank
    Yet, the actual numbers indicate that 1571 illnesses occurred due to unpasteurized products, while 2,842 occurred from pasteurized products. 
    The math there is is simple. Pasteurized milk has 100X as many drinkers and less than 2X the illnesses as raw milk. You are alleging that because all food is somewhat unsafe any obviously unsafe food is okay. That's silly - you cook meat even though not everyone who eats uncooked meat will get sick, I hope.
    I don't have a quarrel with those numbers. However, where does that elevate raw milk to the status of poison? Where does that lend credence to the idea that parents should be jailed for giving it to their children? You're the one that has repeatedly gone to extremes to make a point.

    Yet, the piece that is understated, and is far more dangerous, is the illusion that pasteurized products are necessarily safe. The CDC says that Listeria outbreaks are rare. Fine, no problem, but they are also rare among raw milk consumers although they are at higher risk. In the year following the study, there were three deaths attributed to pasteurized products.
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5740a1.htm

    The primary difference in reporting is that pasteurized products are always rationalized as contamination having occurred afterwards while unpasteurized products are demonized. If the point is merely that there are food-borne risks, then there's no problem in identifying those (including shell-fish, poultry, etc.) and raising awareness. However, when you argue about criminal penalties, bans, and poison you're way out of line.

    "not worth the risk" is a value judgment. Studies are about facts. Facts are not and cannot be value judgments. This article is garbage for this reason.

    Hank
    It's not garbage at all - moral relativism is. The facts are that it is incredibly dangerous, especially for young people. People lacking any facts over the health risks are instead arguing they have some right to place another human being at risk, like their kids - and anyone who disputes their arbitrary relativism is some social authoritarian liberal demagogue. I assume these people are letting their kids run around the swimming pool with scissors and never wear seat belts in the car because, well, government sucks.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat

    I'm not sure where this fits into the discussion about the safety of raw milk versus pasteurised milk but millions of working women around the world use various different kinds of breast pumps to express their breast milk into containers which are then fed to their babies in their absence? 

    I did this when I worked and so did many of my friends especially when their maternity leave ran out and they had to return to work. Many of them pumped and stored milk while they were at work in many different workplaces and occupations in order to keep up their breastmilk supply.

    We were basically leaving raw milk to be fed to our babies in our absence. Does any of this milk subsequently get contaminated by pathogens and cause sicknesses in babies? I suppose sometimes it must as not all women will be equally hygienic on every occasion. Should this pumped milk be pasteurised before it is fed to the babies? If it was pasteurised would this human breast milk then lose any of its well documented benefits for baby?

    This article on breastfeeding called 'pumping and milk storage' gives detailed instructions about how to safely express, store, freeze and defrost breastmilk and it indirectly warns against possible dangers by saying 'Did you know? You can keep germs from getting into the milk by washing your pumping equipment with soap and water and letting it air dry.' Nowhere does this article or the video recommend that women boil the raw milk, only heat it to the required body temperature or not heat it at all. It also gives lengths of time and milk temperatures that are safe for storing raw human breast milk.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    I'm not sure where this fits into the discussion about the safety of raw milk versus pasteurised milk but millions of working women around the world use various different kinds of breast pumps to express their breast milk into containers which are then fed to their babies in their absence? 
    Cows have characteristics most breast feeding mothers don't; mothers tend to bathe and they don't shit next to the breast pump.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Cows have characteristics most breast feeding mothers don't; mothers tend to bathe and they don't shit next to the breast pump.
    Yes, you make a very good point there Hank however a lot of working mothers will still be coming into contact with plenty of bacteria and pathogens in their professions, especially if they are working with plants, animals or children or simply preparing food or working as physiotherapists, masseurs, beauticians, doctors, vets, nurses, carers or teachers or even just using communal equipment at work such as keyboards, phones, and headphones etc.  

    Often when a mother is breastfeeding she has a toddler that is being toilet trained at the same time and that in itself can be rather hazardous in terms of her constant exposure to bacteria and pathogens from the poo of babies and toddlers who still have far from ideal toilet habits but the latter often won't admit it!

    She is also constantly changing nappies, wiping bums and streaming noses as well as clearing up vomit on a regular basis. She often reeks of rancid milk and baby poo! Toddlers and babies can be very unhygienic little people especially when they get together in mother's groups or kindergartens and so also are crawling babies who put absolutely everything they can find into their mouths, including dirt and then happily latch on to a nipple afterwards. You can't rinse a baby or a toddler's mouth out with hygienic mouthwash and many mothers breastfeed their children until they are at least two years old!

    What I thought was interesting in that breast pumping tutorial video that I linked to above was that the nurse did not even hygienically wipe the Mother's breasts beforehand, as even a dairy farmer would wash a cows teats with disinfectant before milking and she also told her just to let her breasts air dry afterwards and to only wash the pump apparatus with organic soap without chemicals! Some organic soaps are even edible and could potentially be a breeding ground for pathogens, surely a chemical disinfectant would be essential for sterilization? 

    At the end of the video they also showed a special breast milk pumping bra to be worn every time the mother expresses milk up to 8 times a day, while using whatever pump she happens to prefer. If that special bra wasn't regularly washed, theoretically at every feed, it could become a dangerous source of bacteria as any spilt milk on the bra would become warm and rancid after a few hours.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Thanks Hank!

    I'm wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard.

    When you're right you're right!

    Wow, such emotion--over unpasteurized milk!

    I'm a small farmer, we have a couple of hobby cows here. We milk them, we drink the milk--raw--because I'm too lazy too heat it and cool it. I just pop the raw milk in the fridge and chill it down. Don't drink it often, but it tastes good.

    As for these raw milk advocates...they're just plain crazy. They're wacko.

    Hank's right on this one.

    I have no problem with farmers selling raw milk, but it should be clearly labeled as possible containing pathogens. It should NOT be touted as some superior product.

    It's just raw milk.

    Really? You think Hank's right on this, so you should go to jail for giving raw milk to your kids because it's poison? That is, after all, what was said.

    Hank
    I think growing up on a farm your kids are safe. I pointed to other health issues I don't have that other people might (eating chicken in Taiwan, where everyone is immune to hepatitis because it's everywhere, while Americans are not) due to a rural upbringing - but that is no reason to let greedy marketing exploit fad food people who don't know any better and claim some health benefit over conventional milk. It is going to make their kids sick far more often, in orders of magnitude, than pasteurized milk will.

    The health reasons are why it became law. The data were overwhelming. Now, we have these weird 2013 John Birch Society types arguing they have some natural right to feed their children anything they want regardless of the risks and anyone who argues must be a smelly liberal.  That tells anyone reading that they are not rational.
    Raw milk is not just superior to processed milk because it is not pasteurized, but because it is not processed. Specifically, it is not trucked from the dairy to the processing plant in tanker trucks (with cleaning residue), it is not commingled with milk from several dairies, so you don't know whose milk you are purchasing--you only know the processing plant--so the link between the producer and the consumer is severed. You don't know anything about how the farmer produced the milk--what breed the animals are, what their diet is, etc. Processed milk is separated into milkfat and nonfat solids and then reconstituted at standardized precentages of milkfat. The flavor of processed milk does not vary by time of year and weather conditions. Processed milk is homogenized, so you cannot make butter or use the cream. It will not clabber properly, so you cannot make proper kefir of yogurt unless you inoculate it with some exogenous culture. Processed milk may contain additives, including Vitamins A and D, nonfat milk solids, carageenan, cellulose, and other additives. These additives may be natural or artificial, and the source may be from Asia or elsewhere. What is the higher quality product? Depends on what you are looking for. If you want a uniform white drink, go for the processed milk product from the dairy plant. But my milk comes from a cow--not from a plant.

    Hank
    Raw milk is not just superior to processed milk because it is not pasteurized, but because it is not processed. Specifically, it is not trucked from the dairy to the processing plant in tanker trucks (with cleaning residue)
    And yet it makes far more people sick. 'Superior' does not mean what you think it means.
    Also, milk from a cow is not pumped directly into a milk carton and set on a shelf for you to buy. It too gets stored and processed thru machines and vessels that (ideally) have been sanitized.

    If people are truly interested in how raw milk is handled and some of the concerns (not emotionally, but just the facts) here is an interesting paper called " SOURCES AND CAUSES OF HIGH BACTERIA COUNTS IN RAW MILK:
    AN ABBREVIATED REVIEW" by S.C. Murphy & K.J. Boor, Cornell University. Now there are many studies and papers one can read, but this is short and a pretty good primer on the dairy farm life, raw milk and how to is handled.

    If people want to drink raw milk and claim it superior, it is probably a good idea to know what actually happens.

    My point is that raw milk differs from processed milk not just by the fact that it is not pasteurized. It is a different product, being muck more versatile from a culinary standpoint. Because of that, safety record of raw milk and processed milk is not necessarily the right comparison. Raw milk safety should be placed within the context of other foods in the marketplace and served in restaurants. The dairy plant industry likes to portray raw milk as dangerous to convince lawmakers to limit farmer-to-consumer direct access, which puts upward pressure on the wholesale market price of their input.

    Hank
    I think alleging a conspiracy by the CDC and scientists worldwide is a difficult argument to make. Like all conspiracies, it relies on a network of hundreds of thousands to keep silent when there would be far more benefit to being a whistleblower. There is no more conspiracy against raw milk than there is a conspiracy against letting your kids run around the pool with scissors in their hands; there is just simply no good reason to do it and a lot of bad ones.

    The US government has embraced all kinds of crackpot health notions - a hundred million dollar NCCAM is proof of that - they would not be against raw milk if the data were even close to neutral.
    Not a conspiracy--just your everyday basic targeted lobbying and corruption.

    Hank
    The CDC heads have a set of criteria different than bureaucrats in places like the EPA or other bodies that are political first - they have to be scientists. The head of the NIH is not only a scientist but really religious, so saying he is being bought off by dairy lobbyists or caving into pressure by some Senator in a milk producing state doesn't pass the smell test.
    I saw the title of your article and clicked on to amuse myself with the comments I was sure I would find. It did not disappoint.

    Hank, you cannot convince people who people who have mysteriously invested themselves in something they thinking they have created a whole way of life around it. Today, processing equals bad even if it is for safety. OK maybe not meat (if they eat it). I am guessing few of them are willing to kill and process their own meat even though that control (done correctly of course) can reasonably assure the eater that proper sanitary procedures were followed.

    I think the chart you included is pretty informative and is good news! I wonder if listeria, salmonella and e. coli can pass thru to a baby via breast milk.

    Strangely, the people complaining here are probably the same ones carrying around hand sanitizer in their pocket.

    Hank
    We know that milk even from other mothers causes illness - 75% of tested samples of mail order breast milk had harmful pathogens - so it remains a mystery why anyone would think getting anything right from a cow's udder is magically bereft of risk.

    I am with you on the meat. If I had my way, 100% of the food my family eats would be killed, cleaned, processed and cooked by no one but me - yet my wife thinks something with a government sticker is somehow 'safer'. Now, that doesn't mean I think there should be no safety regulations on meat any more than they should be removed from milk - but meat is fixed by heat, and raw milk people say heat is bad, so they have left common sense at the door of the barn.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    That Sciencecodex link you have provided confirms what I had suspected above that expressed breast milk that is being given to babies as raw milk in their mother's absence can easily become   contaminated with harmful pathogens just like any raw milk. 

    Even this US Federal Government website advising women on how to pump and store their breast milk did not clean the mother's breast with or without any disinfectant beforehand and discouraged the mother from using any 'chemicals' to clean the pumping equipment afterwards. It specifically told the mother to only use organic soap to clean the equipment, which can sometimes be made from ingredients like raw goats milk or highly toxic subtances such as tea tree oil!


    Results from a study led by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital found more than three-fourths of breast milk samples purchased over the Internet contained bacteria that can cause illness, and frequently exhibited signs of poor collection, storage or shipping practices.
    "We were surprised so many samples had such high bacterial counts and even fecal contamination in the milk, most likely from poor hand hygiene. We were also surprised a few samples contained salmonella," said Sarah A. Keim, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health. "Other harmful bacteria may have come from the use of either unclean containers or unsanitary breast milk pump parts."
    Researchers analyzed 101 samples bought online and compared the findings to 20 samples obtained from a milk bank. In the U.S., twelve non-profit milk banks follow the Human Milk Banking Association of North America guidelines and provide pasteurized milk from carefully screened donors to fragile and sick infants. Because the milk banks pasteurize their milk, harmful bacteria are killed before the milk reaches an infant, unlike milk purchased online. Even before pasteurization, the milk bank samples were less likely to contain several types of bacteria and had lower bacterial growth in many instances.
    Milk banks are a safer alternative for breast milk for sick babies if the mother cannot provide milk because donors receive proper instructions and the milk is pasteurized, limiting the risk of bacterial illness, said Dr. Keim. Human breast milk can help strengthen the immune system and has been shown to protect against severe illnesses like necrotizing enterocolitis, a potentially deadly condition affecting thousands of infants each year.
    "Our research results may not apply to situations where milk is shared among friends or relatives or donated rather than sold—the potential risks of those situations are less well understood," said Dr. Keim. Moms pumping for their own child should sanitize the parts of the breast pump that come into contact with the milk, use clean containers and wash their hands before pumping and handling milk. Also, keep milk cold and feed it to the baby soon.
    Hopefully this US Federal Government website will update its training video to give safer instructions to mothers to help them better protect their babies from potentially harmful pathogens in their breast milk.



    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    The breast milk pumping video advising women not to use chemicals and only organic soap appears to have now been removed from that Federal Government website! I can't see it there any more. Maybe they read this Science20 article and its comments or someone complained to them?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Minimal risk and could care less whether people want to drink raw milk or not.

    I compare it to eating raw greens. It carries a small risk of being contaminated but I'm still eating a freaking salad every once in awhile.

    Hank
    Well, it depends. If you wash lettuce, cool, eat it raw but if you are eating raw sprouts you are magnifying the risk and getting no additional benefit - the same with raw milk.
    I thought you might believe it's not worth the risk and simply cook all greens and/or buy canned pre-cooked.

    Hank
    No, I am more of a food person than 99.9% of the commenters here who refuse to understand basic microbiology. As I have written hundreds of times, given my way nothing my family eats would ever be touched, grown, killed, processed, cleaned and cooked by anyone but me - just not in defiance of health and reason the way raw milk is. Raw sprouts too, and when I have mentioned the risks of those, I get the exact same comments I got here - but from anti-science hippies rather than anti-science libertarians.
    I'm kind of surprised at the level of excitement here. Yes - the article is a bit hyperbolic, that's not a crime. I think the main point of the web site is to make people look at data, not to convince people they should accept the author's word without thinking!

    Anyway - I noticed in the paper that one of the tables (Table 3?) is very consistent with a raw milk presentation I had seen:
    1. There are different standards for pasteurization - eg different temperatures and times at those temperatures
    2. The most recent standard has moved from a pasteurization process to an ultra-high-temperature process (UHT) which degrades a number of complicated enzymes which were not effected by previous pasteurization processes.
    3. Those enzymes DO NOT have causal connections to improved health, but the presenter felt his anecdotal experience was very positive. (He actually described his experience specifically as anecdotal.)
    4. If you can find a local farm that you trust that sells either raw or low temperature pasteurized milk, you could try it for yourself - if you can afford it!

    most scientific studies conclude raw milk is safe. From June 2013:

    "Three quantitative microbial risk assessments (QMRAs) recently published in the Journal of Food Protection have demonstrated that unpasteurized milk is a low-risk food, contrary to previous, inappropriately-evidenced claims suggesting a high-risk profile"

    http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130611-909875.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Hank
    A Weston Price raw milk advocacy group press release based on unpublished, non-peer-reviewed claims made by one graduate student at a conference is not "most scientific studies" concluding raw milk is safe. 

    You'd know that had you actually read their press release.

    That the advocacy group states that there are 'more' foodborne illnesses due to vegetables just shows how unethical and dishonest they are being. As if the numbers of people who eat vegetables and those who drink raw milk are even close - the concern is the rate of illnesses, and raw milk is far more dangerous.
    Is the Journal for Food Protection not a respected journal? I'm sincerely asking as I took it for granted that it was.

    A quick search of PubMed shows scientists have found a strong correlation between drinking raw milk and being protected from allergies, and attention now is on finding the mechanism. I haven't seen any mention of allergies in your article or in any of the comments yet. If there is any causation here I think it could be well worth the risk.

    one example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22939757

    Hank
    The claims in the press release were not made in the Journal for Food Protection, they were made by a college student who did a review of some articles (including 3 that were in  the Journal for Food Protection) and then made the sweeping statement at a conference. There is no way to validate the claim because it isn't published. If you choose to accept an offhand, unpublished claim by a raw milk advocacy group but not an actual peer-reviewed, published paper I am not sure how I can help you.

    I don't mention allergies but there are lots of correlations and causations for lots of things and allergies are way up there in studies; anti-bacterial soap can be found to blame in lots of articles, for example, and I don't buy the stuff - but the notion that introducing campylobacter and salmonella will reduce allergies makes no sense. If you want to believe more allergies today are somehow caused by pasteurized milk, go for it. But it is belief, not science. 
    You are helping Hank. Thank you. I'm trying to track down those articles and see what's actually in them

    Obviously it is more complicated than thinking that introducing campylobacter and salmonella would reduce allergies. Enough scientists seem to think there is enough evidence to have a legit hypothesis that raw milk reduces allergies. Looks like they suspect it has something to do with protein structure.

    Going for raw milk based on the possibility of it protecting against allergies could be low risk speculation based on nascent science, not just unfounded belief.

    Hank
    It's a good exercise to try and duplicate the reasoning behind the conclusions, that's for sure. You don't need to redo any studies, just look at the data in the studies you find and see if their methods were rigorous enough or if they are guilty of the 'look elsewhere' effect. It will take some statistics knowledge if you don't already have it but even a basic course will be fine. Obviously the CDC is not a political body so they have no reason to advocate against raw milk, so the average person would do well assuming the CDC is correct, they are just going by disease results, after all. Beware of proponents who, when one argument is shown to be flawed introduce a new one, like that raw milk prevents allergies - that is plain old 'move the goalposts' logic, the same thing as Loch Ness monster, JFK and moon landing conspiracy theorists do.

    If raw milk ever is shown to have true benefits, much less benefits that outweigh the risks, it won't take corporate press releases and unknown grad students giving obscure talks to get the word out.
    One analysis put the odds of getting sick from raw milk at ~1/100,000, which is 9x higher than pasteurized milk at ~900,000, but still basically negligible:

    http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-dangerous

    And your odds of ending up in the hospital due to raw milk are around ~1/5,000,000,000. Does this assessment sound reasonable?

    If so I think it is a pretty strong conclusion that raw milk is more dangerous than pasteurized milk but the overall risk for both shouldn't impact decision making.

    Hank
    Let's put that in context. The gross number of harms is small because the population using the product is small. But the people behind the raw milk movement want to be able to sell it to everyone. If we know the risk for hospitalizations is far higher (13X says the CDC, who I trust more than an advocacy blog) it makes no sense to place a bunch of people at risk for no benefit - other than 'choice' - but who will be convinced by a clever marketing campaign.

    I agree that 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths is not creating a zombie apocalypse, but no deaths and a fraction of the hospitalizations and illnesses is just better. 

    Of course, we don't evaluate 'risk' as solely as hospitalizations, since most parents don't take kids to the hospital unless it involves paralysis, hemolytic uremic syndrome, kidney failure and stroke, which end up being some of the big things that happen when someone is hospitalized due to raw milk infections.  Most parents would rather spare their children days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting too - though those don't require hospitalization.
    I have been exposed to a fair number of the raw milk advocates because I raise dairy goats. I will only sell raw milk to a few select people, largely in part because of the lunatics that seem to want to buy it but don't appear to have the capability to evaluate the risk, and seem to think it is some sort of magic potion. I do want to point out that much of the risk is not really directly correlated with raw milk per say; I drink raw milk and I give it to my children, but this is milk that hasn't been mixed with hundreds of gallons of milk from a farm, it hasn't traversed a myriad of tubes and tanks and machines before being packaged; it is rapidly cooled and it is consumed within a day of being milked from animals that I personally handle and evaluate the health of daily. In short, raw milk is a great breeding ground for pathogens and it is not suitable to be produced and sold en masse because of the many potential contamination points, and the difficulty in regulating the health and production in typical market sources.

    I think it is important to address some of the real reasons why raw milk isn't safe, because when people can poke holes in your argument because it is too sweeping a judgment or not entirely accurate, it makes them suspicious of the claim in general, even if the general claim is backed up by substantial evidence. The real risk, and where it comes from, needs to be well defined so that people can make good judgments. Claiming it is simply raw milk that is dangerous is not completely genuine, the real risk comes from the inability to handle and market it safely to the public. If people don't understand that, they end up beating back a straw man and are not really put in a position to make good decisions.

    Hank
    This is a good point and I have made it about the illness instances and how widely it should be marketed - selling (cow - don't know how big a market raw goat milk is in the US) milk to friends means farmers are concerned enough about mastitis, bovine tuberculosis and feces to mitigate the risks - but a commercial operation is a different animal (so to speak). Heat keeps a lot of people from getting sick and there is no way to really reduce that without heat, it is why when milk became pasteurized foodborne illnesses from milk plummeted.
    What is more of a problem in our lives, an over-reaching government or raw milk? I say the government. I was raised on raw milk as were all my classmates and never heard of any problems. I think the money trail just might reveal some milk industry influence on our government. The government approves the like of high fructose corn syrup (corn is not even a natural source of fructose) which may lead to obesity due to its easy metabolization, homogenized milk which is harder to digest (and I wouldn't be surprised if it can lead to lactose intolerance) and pink slime (the ground beef additive that we trounced).

    Hank
     I think the money trail just might reveal some milk industry influence on our government. 
    That's goofy paranoia - you think the CDC are elected officials or political functionaries getting swapped out any time there is a chance in power and that is not true.

    Government is not an all or nothing proposition. You think if raw milk is restricted because it's dangerous then government is always bad. It is open season on the public for charlatans and crackpots selling nonsense and tainted food and runaway pollution without some rules. It's a libertarian fairytale to claim all government is bad government or that you have some right to foist any health fad off on kids because you provided some DNA.

    I'd also note again - since 80% of commenters have not read the article - that I also drank raw milk as a kid and suffered no ill that I know of from it. If our personal anecdotes were evidence, then we could simply wish away cancer too. But health does not work that way.
    Sorry you feel that way, you are beginning to rant, while I don't have the freedom to buy raw milk. I value freedom as I know it wasn't free at all.

    Interesting article and comments. I have friends who subscribe to the Weston Price Foundation philosophy and feed their infants raw milk and convinced me I caused my son's autism by vaccinating him and giving him pasteurized milk and grains and so on. I then fell down the rabbit hole of trying to heal my toddler son's autism through snake oil and raw milk kefir -- I figured if there *was* any dangerous bacteria, it would get cultured out. A few weeks ago I actually did my research from non-conspiratorial sources, learned this was not true and that things like e. coli and listeria can still proliferate in raw milk kefir and cause HUS and kidney failure in little children. The risk-reward ratio was too high. I now make my toddler's kefir from low-temp pasteurized non-homogenized grass-fed milk now. (He doesn't like the taste nearly as much, btw.) I am thankful that no permanent harm fell upon him. But I still drink raw milk kefir myself since I'm bigger, not pregnant, not immuno-compromised (that I know of), and I think there still is some health/taste benefits to raw milk. :-\

    Weston A. Pricers like to throw a lot of emotionally charged terms into the mix when talking about pasteurized milk -- it's "dead," it's "poisonous," it's full of dead pathogens that will destroy your immune system. I don't see how it's any different than cooking anything else. All foods have enzymes and probiotic bacteria until they're cooked, which is why you can ferment pretty much anything raw with nothing more than a salt water brine and the bacteria already present on the food.

    Hank
    I'm with you on the taste - when I make cream or butter I also use pasteurized milk rather than the ultra-pasteurized stuff. But I always liked raw milk better when I was a kid. Really, if you know where you're getting your milk and you are not part of an at-risk group, you will be fine. I simply object to anti-science claims that it is somehow nutritionally or health-wise superior and that the risks are what have been exaggerated, all so some people can get rich selling their milk in more places.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I'm surprised that no one here has mentioned the fact that both pasteurized and non-pasteurized milk can become contaminated by microcystins and other cyanotoxins from blue green algal blooms such as BMAA in their drinking water and that these can have very harmful health effects on humans who drink both contaminated milk or drinking water. BMAA  is considered to be a possible cause of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/parkinsonismdementia complex otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's neurodegenerative diseases. Neither BMAA or microcystins are destroyed by pasteurization or boiling of milk or water.  

    'Blooms containing microcystin are a problem worldwide in freshwater ecosystems. Microcystins are cyclic peptides and can be very toxic for plants and animals including humans. They bioaccumulate in the liver of fish, in the hepatopancreas of mussels, and in zooplankton. They are hepatotoxic and can cause serious damage to the liver in humans. In this way they are similar to the nodularins, and together the microcystins and nodularins account for most of the toxic cyanobacterial blooms in fresh and brackish waters.'

    Algal blooms are often clearly visible all over the world in freshwater rivers, lakes and dams and also in the oceans but microscopic toxic blue-green algae are still often present in the absence of visible blooms and are very difficult to manage or even remove completely from contaminated water. This includes the thousands of farm dams that supply cows (and goats) with their drinking water. 

    According to this Australian DPI NSW government website called 'Managing Blue Green Algae in Farm Dams' the cyanotoxins from blue green algae can still be toxic even after they have been killed by algicides which can't be used in rivers and lakes.

    I doubt very much if the relevant authorities are capable of testing milk supplies for BMAA and microcystin contamination but hopefully I am wrong. Blue green algae blooms are seasonal and can appear and disappear over a few weeks. IKOS is not testing krill oil for BMAA and microcystin contamination and governments all over the world cannot provide any assurance that even spirulina is safe for human consumption. 

    'Spirulina is also a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and animals and is made primarily from two species of cyanobacteriaArthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maximaArthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquacultureaquarium and poultry industries.[1]'

    'Spirulina is a form of cyanobacterium, some of which are known to produce toxins such as microcystinsBMAA, and others. Some spirulina supplements have been found to be contaminated with microcystins, albeit at levels below the limit set by the Oregon Health Department.[21]'

    'Microcystins can cause gastrointestinal disturbances and, in the long term, liver cancerThe effects of chronic exposure to even very low levels of microcystins are of concern, because of the potential risk of cancer.[21]'

    'Spirulina is considered a dietary supplement in the U.S., there is no active, industry-wide regulation of its production and no enforced safety standards for its production or purity. The U.S. National Institutes of Health describes spirulina supplements as "possibly safe", provided they are free of microcystin contamination, but "likely unsafe" (especially for children) if contaminated. Given the lack of regulatory standards in the U.S., some public-health researchers have raised the concern that consumers cannot be certain that spirulina and other blue-green algae supplements are free of contamination.'

    There is a worldwide increase in the millions of people suffering from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's MND/ALS and liver disease, maybe cyanotoxins such as BMAA and microcystins from blue green algae contamination in our food, milk and water is one of the reasons why? Not sure what anyone can do about it though. I'm seriously thinking of becoming mainly a vegetarian who also eats grain fed chicken eggs :(
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine