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Food Safety and Raw Milk

“Back to nature” – that’s what many Americans are trying to do with the foods that we buy and eat. We are shopping at farmer’s markets, purchasing organic food, participating in food cooperatives (or co-ops), and even growing our own food.  In addition, many people are eating food with minimal processing.

However, raw milk and products made from it (including soft cheese, ice cream, and yogurt) can pose severe health risks, including death. That’s because raw milk has not undergone a process called pasteurization that kills disease-causing germs, such as Campylobacter, E. coli, and Salmonella.

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WATCH THIS:
Real Stories About the Dangers of Raw Milk

  Julie Riggs

“My daughter turned into a completely different person just begging people, she would beg anyone that came in to help her with the pain…”

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6 Raw Milk Myths Busted!

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Raw milk is healthier and more nutritious than pasteurized milk.

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Most of the nutritional benefits of drinking raw milk are available from pasteurized milk without the risk of disease that comes with drinking raw milk.


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Drinking raw milk may not be safe, but no harm will come from eating products (soft cheese, ice cream, and yogurt) made from raw milk.

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Unfortunately, this is false. Raw milk made into other products like soft cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, can still cause dangerous infections. When consuming these products, make sure they are made from pasteurized milk.


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Milk is safe as long as it is labeled "organic."

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This is not true. Only organic milk that has been pasteurized is safe to drink.


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Raw milk and products made from it–soft cheese and yogurt–are safe if they come from healthy animals.

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No, even the healthiest animals can carry pathogens, such as Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, and Salmonella that can contaminate milk.


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If animals are raised in sanitary conditions on humane farms, their milk is safe.

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Even dairy farms with very good safety practices can harbor illness-causing germs. And even if a batch of a farm's raw milk tests come back negative, it is no guarantee that the next batch will be free of harmful germs.


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Drinking raw milk can prevent or cure diseases, such as asthma, allergies, heart disease, or cancer.

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There are no known health benefits from drinking raw milk that cannot be obtained from drinking pasteurized milk that is free of disease-causing bacteria. The risks of drinking raw milk outweigh any possible benefits.

Outbreaks Linked to Raw Milk Are More Common in States Where Raw Milk Is Legal

What's the Deal with Raw Milk?

Graphic of a fenceAre you on the fence about raw milk?

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Graphic of a question markGet answers to common questions about raw milk.

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Graphic of two sprocketsHelpful resources on raw milk.

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CDC Feature: Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk

Mother handing daughter glass of milk

Common Pathogens Found in Raw Milk

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