Myth: Raw Milk is More Nutritious Than Pasteurized Milk

Milk Myth

Myth Buster: Raw milk is NOT more nutritious, and is associated with considerable risk.

Raw milk—milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized—has gained in popularity the past few years. Some people believe it tastes better, is more digestible and contains higher levels of nutrients than pasteurized milk. In reality, pasteurization—the process of heating milk for a short period of time at a high temperature to kill any bacteria—has helped provide a safe milk supply for over 120 years and does NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.1

Raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerously high levels of bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria, which can cause serious illnesses and even death. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body ache. Most healthy people will recover from sickness caused by such bacteria, but some people are more susceptible and may develop chronic, severe, life-threatening illness.

The Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other U.S. health agencies  strongly recommend that the public do not consume raw milk or raw milk products.2 Young children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to infections originating in raw milk, therefore in 2013 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement advising pregnant women and children to avoid raw milk products.3,4,5

The CDC reports that more than 2300 people in the United States have become sick from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk since 1998.6 The actual number of those affected is much higher as most cases go unreported. To avoid the risks linked to consuming raw milk, read the label to make sure your milk is pasteurized … and make sure other dairy products—cheese, yogurt, pudding, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream and frozen yogurt—are all made from pasteurized milk.

Click here to read a true story about illness caused by raw milk

Back  |  Next Myth