Advocates for raw milk say that the process of pasteurization kills all that is good about it. They believe that pasteurization is only used to extend how long milk can last on shelves and in transport, not for the benefit of consumers.
Dairies selling pasteurized milk and various governments believe that pasteurization kills bad bacteria and makes milk safer for consumption by most people. Which side is right? Could they both be onto something here? Weigh up the facts for yourself.
Usually, a farmer that markets raw milk raises his cows or goats in an organic farm. His animals are free to roam and are grass-fed but do not receive any hormones or antibiotics. The milk they provide is rich in bacteria: probiotics your body needs to establish a healthy digestive system that eats up bad bacteria. There is also more calcium in raw milk according to raw milk suppliers.
In fact, these individuals say that raw milk contains easily digested protein, amino acids, and other essential minerals besides calcium. It is safe to drink and, to their minds, preferable to pasteurized milk. Meanwhile, by drinking unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, consumers are supporting small local farms instead of giant dairy corporations.
Not all the bacteria in raw milk are good for you. Studies have shown that some of the bacteria found in raw dairy products could make you very sick. In fact, food poisoning can lead to hospitalization in some cases. Proponents of raw milk believe that exposure in small amounts at first leads to a stronger immune system, but many people would prefer not to take that risk.
Pasteurized milk is still regarded as a significant source of calcium and is frequently fortified with Vitamin D as well; a vitamin your body needs in order to absorb calcium effectively. Most beneficial components of milk are still there after it is heated to kill bacteria. Dietitians and doctors continue to promote this food as one of the best sources of calcium for strong bones and teeth.
And the Winner is…
You have to decide for yourself whether one or the other method is better for you, but for a guarantee of safety only pasteurized milk is acceptable. People who are not allergic to milk can consume as much as they want without risk of infection as long as there are no accidents when milk is being heat-treated.
There is always the risk of intolerance to contend with and a few people believe that those with dairy intolerance can digest raw milk better because it contains more probiotic bacteria. Then again, this is not necessarily the case. One can continue to suffer from lactose intolerance which has nothing to do with the method of production.
Raw milk is often more expensive than pasteurized dairy because it is produced in organic dairy farms. These are costlier to run in general and there is no scope for cheap, mass production. On the other hand, there are some organic dairy farms selling pasteurized milk at a slightly higher cost but without antibiotics and hormones.