Who is at risk of getting sick from raw milk?

Dr. Diana K. Blythe, MD

Babies, the elderly or the immunosuppressed are most at risk for getting sick from raw (unpasteurized) milk. However, anyone who drinks raw milk is at risk.

Please make sure your milk is pasteurized to protect yourself from the diseases that raw milk can carry. Even though not all raw milk is contaminated, you cannot be sure and it is much safer to drink milk that is pasteurized.

The risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk (milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful germs including bacteria, viruses, and parasites) is greater for infants and young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), than it is for healthy school-aged children and adults. But, it is important to remember that healthy people of any age can get very sick or even die if they drink raw milk contaminated with harmful germs.

Continue Learning about Milk & Health

The Perfect Postworkout Treat
The Perfect Postworkout Treat
For a postworkout drink that helps you trim, tone, and rehydrate, look to this childhood fave: milk. A study of weight lifters suggested that the bev...
Read More
How common are raw milk-related illness?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
States that allow the legal sale of raw milk (milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful ger...
More Answers
What are some disadvantages of low-fat milk?
Margaret FloydMargaret Floyd
Taking the fat out of the milk makes it difficult for your body to access and use two very impor...
More Answers
Halt Hunger With Milk, Olive Oil and Water
Halt Hunger With Milk, Olive Oil and Water

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.