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Is raw milk safe?

Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MD
Pediatrician

Even though not all raw milk is contaminated, there are no assurances it is safe. By pasteurizing milk, many germs that can get you sick are killed. Drinking raw milk is just not safe. Pasteurized milk is a better and safer choice.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful germs. Germs include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It's important to understand the risks of drinking raw milk, especially because you may be hearing claims about the supposed "benefits" of raw milk.

Raw milk contains bacteria, and some of them can be harmful. So, if you're thinking about consuming raw milk because you believe that it is a good source of beneficial bacteria, you need to know that it isn't and you may instead get sick from the harmful bacteria. If you think that certain types of bacteria may be beneficial to your health, consider getting them from foods that don't involve such a high risk. For example, so-called probiotic bacteria are sometimes added to pasteurized fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir.

Remember, you can't look at, smell, or taste a bottle of raw milk and tell if it's safe to drink. Make the best decision for the health of your family. If you want to keep milk in your family's diet, protect them by not giving them raw milk. Even healthy adults can get sick from drinking raw milk. If you're thinking about drinking raw milk because you believe it has health benefits, consider other options.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.