Milk Myths: Raw and Pasteurized
When it comes to raw milk, there are some people who believe that raw milk is perfectly safe to drink. In reality, dangerous microorganisms can be found in raw milk, including E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. And these dangerous microorganisms are the very reason why milk is pasteurized. The pasteurization process, which includes heating milk to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time, kills harmful bacteria. The process of pasteurizing milk was invented at a time when people became sick and died from infections and diseases triggered by drinking raw milk. Diseases such as scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever, each associated with drinking raw milk, killed millions of people.
Here are some milk myths.
- Pasteurizing milk causes allergic reactions and lactose intolerance. In reality, both pasteurized milk and raw milk can cause allergic reactions.
- Pasteurizing milk does not kill harmful bacteria. In reality, it’s the pasteurization process that kills harmful bacteria.
- Pasteurized milk is safe to leave out of the refrigerator for extended periods of time. In reality, it is not safe to leave pasteurized milk out for extended periods of time. The most important factor in maintaining the safety of milk is refrigeration, because bacteria can grow in warm temperatures.
- Pasteurizing milk minimizes its nutritional value. Incorrect. Most nutrients remain after milk is pasteurized.
The people most at risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk are infants, young children, people with lowered immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly. Raw milk infections can cause hospitalization, serious illness, and death.