jueves, 12 de agosto de 2010

Risks of drinking raw milk

Population should not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk because it may contain bacteria that can cause serious illness.

Several different kinds of bacteria that could be found in raw milk, such as Salmonella spp. , E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, have been linked to foodborne illness. These bacteria can lead to very serious health conditions ranging from fever, vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, miscarriage and death. Children, pregnant women, older adults and people with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk.

Because of these health concerns, the regulations of various countries require that all milk available for sale be pasteurized. Pasteurization kills the organisms that cause disease while keeping the nutritional properties of milk intact. Raw milk has not been treated to make it safe. It also is not fortified with vitamin D.

Unpasteurized milk has historically been linked to many serious diseases. However, the number of foodborne diseases from milk has dramatically decreased with the pasteurization of milk, such as Canada, country in which pasteurization of milk is mandatory since 1991. In this country raw milk cheese is allowed for sale and considered safe because the manufacturing process for cheese helps to eliminate many pathogens found in raw milk.

Despite warnings, people have become ill after drinking raw milk when visiting farms. While pasteurized milk is now the standard, there are people that continue to prefer raw milk because of perceived health benefits. However, any possible benefits are far outweighed by the serious risk of illness from drinking raw milk.

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