Pasteurization is a heat-treatment process that destroys pathogenic microorganisms in foods and liquids in order to make them safe to eat. Pasteurization of milk is based on heating the milk to at least 161.5 degrees for at least 15 seconds, and it is able to destroy pathogens such as campylobacter, salmonella, and brucella, which can spoil the milk or cause numerous diseases. Generally, it does not significantly affect milk`s nutritional value. According to CDC reports, in 2001 over 300 people suffered from fever, diarrhea, and nausea as a consequence of drinking raw milk or eating cheese made from raw milk.
In general, we would recommend against drinking any kind of raw milk,” says Seema Jain, MD, medical epidemiologist with the CDC. “Even if you’re drinking milk directly from the cow and following really good hygiene practices, it still won’t eliminate the possibility of contamination.”
On the other hand, many health experts claim that raw milk from healthy cows, grown on clean farms, and carefully stored cannot lead to contamination, particularly because raw milk has natural compounds such as lactoperoxidase which has the ability to destroy pathogens.
Even CDC statistics on raw-milk food poisonings may be deceptive. “It may be that the milk in some cases was improperly handled, or perhaps it wasn’t raw milk at all that caused the outbreaks,” says Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN, a clinical nutritionist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “It’s just not possible to definitively trace the source of an outbreak of foodborne illness.”
When it comes to contaminations, the major cause is believed to be the improper handling of the milk. This problem can occur even if the milk is pasteurized. There are number of food-borne diseases which are associated with pasteurized milk and other milk products.
Generally, we can say that pasteurized milk is safer to use. However, many members of the raw-milk movement disagree with this since they consider that raw milk is much healthier than pasteurized. “Many people who have problems like allergies or lactose intolerance with pasteurized milk will thrive on raw milk products,” Daniel says. “Pasteurization kills the enzymes necessary to digest milk protein, fats, and sugars.” Therefore, she claims that pasteurized milk can lead to certain digestive disorders, including Chron`s disease, IBS, celiac diseases and allergies. Furthermore, process of pasteurization destroys phosphatase, an enzyme which is provides proper absorption of calcium from the milk. Also, raw milk is closer to human breast milk, without hormones and other chemicals which destroy its natural nutritional value.
However, potential contamination should also be taken into consideration. Therefore, it is up to you which option you will choose. Laws are different for each state, but it is recommended that you always buy raw milk from organic farmers.