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The Clash Over Unpasteurized Milk Gets Raw

The battle over unpasteurized milk products is heating up. Advocates of fresh-from-the-farm unprocessed foods tout "raw" milk as the ultimate health food, claiming it is rich in disease-fighting nutrients and healthy enzymes that are lost in pasteurization.

However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are stepping up efforts to warn consumers of what they see as potential dangers, and are urging states to strengthen their regulations to minimize the hazards of raw milk.

Recently, the FDA reported 12 new cases of illness in the Midwest linked to raw milk from a dairy contaminated with a dangerous bacterium, campylobacter. "Raw milk is inherently dangerous and should not be consumed by anyone, at any time, for any reason," says John Sheehan, director of the FDA's division of plant- and dairy-food safety.

Raw-milk advocates, on the other hand, argue that pasteurization kills healthful vitamins, minerals and enzymes in milk, as well as beneficial bacteria.

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