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Morning Sun
  • EXTENSION CONNECTION: Raw Milk Can Sour Your Health, or Worse

  • Many people are rightly trying to buy and eat healthful foods produced with minimal processing. Milk and dairy products provide many nutrition benefits, such as high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin D, and other important vitamins and minerals. To be safe, milk and milk products need to have minimal processing, called pasteurization. Here’s why:

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  • Many people are rightly trying to buy and eat healthful foods produced with minimal processing. Milk and dairy products provide many nutrition benefits, such as high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin D, and other important vitamins and minerals. To be safe, milk and milk products need to have minimal processing, called pasteurization. Here’s why:
    Pasteurization kills disease-causing germs, such as E. coli. Serious health risks are created by consuming raw or unpasteurized milk or dairy products, such as certain cheeses, ice cream and yogurt, whether they are from cows, sheep or goats. The health dangers are especially high for young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems.
    During pasteurization, milk is heated briefly (for example, to 161° F. for about 15 seconds). The time and temperature used are just long enough to kill the germs in raw milk that cause foodborne illnesses.
    You can’t tell if a particular raw dairy product contains dangerous foodborne illness organisms or not. It won’t look or smell different. It may have been produced on a farm with years of the highest sanitation standards and no record of problems, but life-threatening germs could still be present in the next bottle of milk without the assurance of pasteurization.
    Some people argue that raw milk is more healthful than pasteurized milk, but any benefit does not outweigh the very serious health problems (even death!) that can occur from consuming raw dairy products.
    In Kansas, unpasteurized milk is not sold in stores, but stores can sell cheeses made from raw milk. It is legal to purchase raw milk directly from a dairy. Some who buy raw milk and milk products are not at all aware of the serious health risks it poses. Others who buy raw milk and milk products think that the risk for illness is very small, and that it will just be temporary if they do get sick.
    As you make wholesome and nutritious food choices, study the risks of consuming raw milk or milk products before buying any. It could put you and your loved ones in great jeopardy. The number of people sickened by drinking raw milk and eating raw dairy products has grown in the U.S. Get more information about this debate and watch videos of three women who describe the serious illnesses, hospitalizations and life-long consequences for them and their families that occurred from drinking raw milk, at the website Food Safety and Raw Milk,  www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/rawmilk/raw-milk-index.html

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