Raw milk is milk that comes straight from a cow, sheep, or goat. Raw milk is not pasteurized (heated to kill germs) or homogenized (processed to keep the cream from separating from the milk).
Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?
Raw milk is not safe to drink, because it can carry harmful bacteria and other germs. Harmful bacteria include Salmonella, E coli, and Listeria.
Anyone can get sick from drinking raw milk or products made from raw milk.
Products made with raw milk may include:
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
Children, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, or older adults are at greater risk of getting sick.
Symptoms of Illness:
- Stomach cramps
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache
While most healthy people get well, the symptoms can become chronic (long term) or severe or may result in death.
Call the Doctor If...
- Anyone in your family becomes sick after drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk.
- Anyone in your family is pregnant and drinks raw milk or eats products made from raw milk. The bacteria Listeria can cause miscarriage, fetal death, or illness or death of a newborn.
Food Safety Tips
The following are food safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Only drink pasteurized milk.
- Only eat milk products made from pasteurized milk. If "pasteurized" is not on the label or listed in the ingredients, ask to be sure.
- Keep pasteurized dairy products in a refrigerator that is set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Do not eat any expired dairy products. Be sure to throw out expired dairy products.
Facts About Pasteurization
The following are facts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Pasteurizing milk does not cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
- Pasteurizing milk does not reduce its nutritional value.
- Pasteurizing milk does kill harmful bacteria.
- Pasteurizing milk does save lives.