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Pasteurized Milk Vs. Raw Milk

Last updated Jan. 19, 2019

Milk has been a staple food of our diet for a long time. However, there has been a recent debate between the health benefits of both pasteurized milk and raw milk. Some consider raw milk to be safe, whereas some find consuming pasteurized milk more beneficial.


Milk has been a staple food of our diet for a long time. However, there has been a recent debate between the health benefits of both pasteurized milk and raw milk. Some consider raw milk to be safe, whereas some find consuming pasteurized milk more beneficial.

Here is a guide to differentiate between pasteurized milk and raw milk that will help you make an informed decision when buying milk in the future:

PASTEURIZED MILK VS. RAW MILK:

  • A small proportion of the general population of United States consumes raw milk. Advocates of raw milk have claimed a variety of health benefits, even though scientists and government organizations have stressed about substantial risks in consuming untreated milk on a regular basis. 
  • Raw milk is obtained from cows and goats and consumed without any kind of physical or chemical treatment to save the original nutrients present in milk, whereas pasteurized milk is obtained from a sanitation process known as pasteurization. 
  • In this process, the milk is heated briefly to a temperature high enough to eradicate harmful pathogens and then followed by rapid cooling. Milk is then tested to confirm the presence of any lethal bacteria that can cause harmful diseases like tuberculosis, listeriosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis, and other food borne illnesses. However, pasteurization, when done extremely (UHT Pasteurization), may not be able to kill some strong and resistant bacteria, leading to spoilage of fresh milk and reduction in essential nutrients. 
  • Opponents of pasteurized milk have argued that raw milk is not only superior in taste and contains more nutrients than those present in treated milk, but it also has certain important health benefits. It has been suggested that while the process of pasteurization kills off harmful bacteria not meant for consumption and increases shelf life of the milk, it also destroys the good bacteria and nutrients present in milk originally, such as calcium.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF PASTEURIZED MILK VS RAW MILK;

  • In a 2009 review published in the Journal of Food Borne Pathogens and Diseases, it was suggested that consuming raw milk has its own set of benefits and health risks. Several documented milk-borne disease outbreaks in the time period between 2000-2008 were traced back to raw milk consumption. In contrast, only a few milk-borne diseases were documented that were associated with consumption of pasteurized milk during the same period. 
  • According to a scientific study published in the 2006 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, milk products consumed directly from animals, without pasteurization, possess potential infectious hazards due to malfunction in handling and storage. This can lead to contamination in milk and resultant widespread infectious diseases. However, this problem can be handled well by pasteurization. Most disease transmission caused by contamination of the milk supply can be eliminated by pasteurization and hygienic storage.
  • Another scientific review published in the 2013 edition of Food Control, it was established that raw milk poses a realistic threat to our health due to contamination with human pathogens. Heating and cooling, which is the method in pasteurization, will not alter the organoleptic properties or the nutritional value of milk.

These differences between raw and pasteurized milk set them apart in numerous ways. By considering these differences, benefits, and health risks, you can decide what kind of milk you would like to consume to stay healthy and fit. 

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 19, 2019
Last updated: Jan. 19, 2019