Raw milk has been a part of human diets for centuries. It is an unpasteurized, unprocessed and unadulterated form of milk that comes straight from the cow or other mammals. However, in recent years, raw milk has been surrounded by controversy due to its potential health risks. Even though some people swear by the benefits of drinking raw milk, others avoid it altogether because they believe it is dangerous.
The Risks Associated with Raw Milk
The biggest concern with raw milk consumption is bacterial contamination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1993 and 2012 there were close to 200 outbreaks linked to raw dairy products in the United States alone which resulted in over 6,000 illnesses.
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One such bacterium found in raw milk is Escherichia coli (E.coli) which can cause deadly infections leading to kidney failure especially among young children and elderly individuals. Another common bacterium found in contaminated food including raw milk is Salmonella which can lead to serious illness especially among those who have weak immune systems.
Apart from bacteria-related infections, another risk associated with drinking raw milk includes allergic reactions caused by proteins present only in untreated animal-based products like cow’s or goat’s milks.
The Benefits Associated with Drinking Raw Milk
Despite these risks associated with consuming unpasteurized dairy products, many people still choose them for their perceived health benefits such as increased nutrient density when compared against pasteurized alternatives. Supporters claim that heat treatment reduces nutrients like vitamins B12 and C while also destroying beneficial enzymes naturally occurring within fresh whole foods – making these valuable components available only through consuming them “raw.”
Read more: Is Raw Milk Bad for You?
Additionally, proponents argue that pasteurization removes valuable natural microbes present within fresh whole foods essential for maintaining healthy digestion and immunity levels while preventing harmful ones from taking over largely responsible for causing stomach issues after eating highly processed foods.
The Bottom Line
The safety of raw milk is still a matter of debate among scientists, nutritionists and health experts. Raw dairy products may contain high levels of important nutrients that are destroyed during pasteurization, but they also pose significant risks to public health through bacterial contamination.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that individuals with weak immune systems such as the elderly or young children avoid consuming unpasteurized dairy products altogether until more rigorous testing has been conducted in order to determine their safety when compared against pasteurized alternatives which have already undergone strict quality control measures for consumer protection purposes.