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Raw Milk: Public Education 3.21.24

Per CDC:

What are the risks associated with drinking raw milk?

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Raw milk can be contaminated with harmful germs that can make you very sick. In fact, raw milk is one of the riskiest foods.

People who get sick from raw milk might have many days of diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting. Some people might develop severe or even life-threatening diseases, including:

Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis, and

Hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can result in kidney failure, stroke, and even death.


Here are some things you should know:

Raw milk is linked to a variety of foodborne illnesses. Some of these illnesses can be severe.

Symptoms of foodborne illness depend on the germ swallowed.

People can get ill from the same brand and source of raw milk that they drank previously, even for a long time, without becoming ill.

Pasteurizing milk reduces the chance of illness. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high enough temperature for enough time to kill harmful germs in the milk.

Raw milk can get contaminated many ways. Healthy animals can carry germs that are harmful to people. Germs in these animals’ poop can get into raw milk and contaminate it.

Good safety practices can reduce the chance of germs getting in raw milk, but not completely eliminate it.


Who is at greatest risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk?

People most at risk for severe foodborne illness are adults 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years, and people with weakened immune systems. But healthy people of any age can get very sick after drinking raw milk contaminated with harmful germs.


Can drinking raw milk hurt me or my family?

Yes. Raw milk and products made from raw milk, including soft cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, can be contaminated with germs that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, or death. Make the best decision for your health and the health of your family by always choosing pasteurized milk and products made with it. If you or your family member have consumed raw milk and get sick, seek medical attention immediately.


For more information visit: Raw Milk Questions and Answers | CDC

Raw Milk: Know the Facts PDF: Raw Milk: Know the Facts (cdc.gov)



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