Why is Raw Milk Unsafe?

Like most uncooked, unpasteurized, and unwashed foods, raw milk can be a medium for disease-causing organisms (known as pathogens) such as E. coli, salmonella, tuberculosis, and listeria. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage in pregnant women. Many people across Canada, including people in British Columbia, got seriously ill as a result of drinking raw milk. While many of these cases occurred before 1991 when it became illegal to sell raw milk in Canada, cases of serious illness related to drinking raw milk are still reported today (1). This could be prevented by pasteurizing milk, just as one would wash vegetables and fruits, or cook meat to an appropriate temperature to reduce the risk of illness from pathogens. 

(1) Kansas State University, Raw Milk Outbreak Summary, International Food Safety Network. Online at http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/645E77BA-C73C-49DD-BCA5-8FCFD440A590/0/RawMilkOutbreakTable2000_2009Web.pdf accessed March 15, 2010.

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About BC Dairy

BC Dairy is a not-for-profit organization representing BC’s dairy farmers.