Milk is one food item that has a special place in the hearts of us Indians. We don’t just scarf down milk with our meals, but also understand it beyond its nutritional qualities. Some of our favorite memories are associated with milk! Do you remember chugging down a glass of milk, and your mom wiping that milk mustache off your face? Or do you remember how soothing a warm glass of milk on a cold winter night used to taste? Ah, those were the memories! We cannot undermine the nutritional qualities of milk.
And today, the dairy aisle in your neighborhood supermarket stocks an assortment of options. Be it fortified milk, raw milk, flavored milk, pasteurized milk, etc. But nowadays, people are becoming more and more inclined towards buying raw milk. I’m sure you must’ve heard about how raw milk is beneficial for your health and promotes longevity. These are nothing but false claims! Want to know why? Then read on and find out!
The Myths Surrounding Raw Milk Busted!
You must’ve seen that milk brands typically sell pasteurized milk. But do you know what pasteurization is? Pasteurization was developed in the 1800s by a French scientist Louis Pasteur. It is a process in which packaged and non-packaged food items are treated with mild heat (100 degrees Celsius) to eliminate any harmful pathogens. Food brands across the world follow this technique to deliver a better quality product to their customers. But with people going gaga over the health benefits of raw milk, pasteurization has taken a back seat.
Several people claim that raw milk has a higher nutritional value, is better tolerated, and improves immunity as compared to pasteurized milk. However, doctors and scientists across the world believe that these claims have no credibility. In fact, healthcare professionals have left no stone unturned in terms of warning people about the health risks associated with drinking raw milk.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 979 people died between the years 2007-2012 due to consumption of raw milk. Scary right? I’m sure that the latest research done by UC, Davis will definitely open your eyes! The University of California, Davis, analyzed over 2000 milk samples for their bacterial content. And the results truly shocked everybody.
How Can Raw Milk Consumption Harm You?
For the purpose of their research, the scientists stored the samples at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and room temperature for 24 hours. During this slot of 24 hours, they analyzed the bacterial growth in different samples. The results proved that the number of harmful bacteria (especially from the Pseudomondaceae family) outweighs the number of good bacteria in raw milk. The Pseudomondaceae family of bacteria causes severe illnesses in humans.
What’s more frightening is the fact that raw milk also contains antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria which multiplied at room temperature. According to a statement issued by co-author Dr. Michelle Jay-Russel, research microbiologist and manager with the UC Davis Western Center for Food Safety, the antibiotic resistance bacteria multiplied in raw milk with any temperature abuse, whether intentional or not.
Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest enemies that’s staring modern medicine in the face. Harboring bacteria with antibiotic resistance is not only harmful to us as individuals but also for society as a whole. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can exchange their genes with other bacteria, and spread the resistance even further into the bacterial community.
The UC, Davis research has proved that raw milk can be really dangerous for our health if not stored properly. A lot of us make fermented products from milk which require to be kept at a certain temperature for 1-5 days. These products are known as ‘clabber.’ It is important to avoid making clabber with raw milk because it will lead to an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dr. Michelle Jay-Russel says, “we don’t live in an antibiotic-free world anymore. These genes are everywhere, and we need to stop their flow into our bodies.”
The purpose of the study is not to scare people but to spread awareness. However, if you still want to continue drinking raw milk, then keep it refrigerated to minimize the risks. If there’s one lesson that we all need to learn for good, it’s to not fall for false claims. And follow the directions of only trained healthcare professionals and scientists when it comes to our health! Stay safe and stay healthy guys!