Most of our milk supply at the store is pasteurized milk. A very small percentage of milk is consumed raw with no further processing after milking the cow or other milk-producing animals.
On the good side, pasteurization eliminates harmful bacterias and reduce some enzymes that turn milk sour. However, the exposure of milk with even a small amount of heat does reduce some essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients.
Although there is wide spread for milk consumption across all age groups, milk is more commonly consumed at a younger age by young children. We knew that at a young age, our children’s immune system is weak and still developing. Other vulnerable populations may include the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. They may get sick due to their inability to fight germs.
Don’t get me wrong, raw milk contains both the bad and the good bacterias. While pasteurization aims to kill all these bacterias (indirectly affecting the nutrient content) in the milk, pasteurization does help to reduce the risk of our children from getting sick. As a bonus, with the bacterias and some enzymes deactivated, the process also helps prolong the shelf life of milk. Thus, keeping them fresh when we need them.
So, why do we still have raw milk and is it harmful to drink raw milk? One of the reasons that we have raw milk is that there is a certain group of people who believe in the benefit of raw milk can outweigh the need for pasteurization. Of course, not all raw milk can make you sick. We get sick usually due to the consumption of a large number of bacterias or a sufficient amount of pathogenic bacterias.
Tips for consuming raw milk:
- Drink them fresh
- Keeping milk at low temperatures below 4°C can help prolong their shelf life.
- Always be aware of the risk of raw milk for yourself and your family.