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Is Pasteurization an Important Safety Measure or an Unnecessary Health Risk?

At, we're committed to bringing you expert insights and recommendations that are not tainted by any outside "influencers" in the six areas of health, safety, relationships, home, career and finances.

That means - unlike almost ALL other publications out there - we don't have any advertising, sponsorship or other such "arrangements" with (that is, commitments to) any corporate or government interest. We are just dedicated to providing you, in an engaging-to-read manner, the truth, however much that may adhere to or deviate from what the "conventional" wisdom out there may be. We are not always perfect, of course, but it is our passion and mission to provide you the insiders' information and tools to most effectively take control of your own life - your own health, your own wellness, the pursuit of your own happiness - through all six of the areas noted above.

We are not surprised, therefore, that we draw readers like you, who are not easily swayed by convention and, in many of the areas we cover, can bring some very important insights of your own to the table. Like no other question we have asked you previously, these traits proved themselves with this question of the necessity of pasteurization ...

Almost unanimously you answered, often shouting (by using CAPITAL LETTERS) to show your passion, that pasteurization is NOT necessary. If it possibly may be necessary in some cases, many of stated that at least consumers should be given the CHOICE of making their own decisions between unpasteurized and pasteurized.

Regarding dairy in particular, unpasteurized dairy is still not available in grocery stores in almost any state, BUT the good news is that - with people learning the incredible health benefits of clean raw dairy - more and more "cowshare" programs are becoming available. In short, in a cowshare program you buy into ownership of a cow along with others and that entitles you to their fresh milk. After reading the selection of reader responses on this issue below, you'll find a link to the best list of cowshare programs in and outside of the United States, if you are interested.

Is Pasteurization an Important Safety Measure or an Unnecessary Health Risk?
Select Reader Responses ...

I think with most things we can buy that the choice should be allowed and the responsibility to know what is best should be left to the individual consumer.
-- Mark Judd, Rochester, NY

I personally would drink raw milk if it was readily available. However, I think that both pasteurized and raw milk should be available to everyone so we can decide which one is right for ourselves and our family.
Donna Rocheleau, Manitowoc, WI

I think I should have the option of drinking raw milk, not the government telling me I cannot. I have the sense to know what is best for me, not the FDA and its cronies.
-- Charlie, Louisville, KY

The research I have done on the subject leads me to believe that we should be using raw milk products or avoid dairy entirely, especially in light of the recent "ultra-pasteurization" process that has overtaken the industry. I have personally used raw milk when ever I have been able to obtain it (the sale of raw milk is illegal in Colorado except for cowshare programs), and it is a health promoting substance. Ultra-pasteurization creates a "dead" substance more harmful that beneficial. I think the FDA should quit "protecting" us from raw milk products and legalize the use for those who want to take the risk.
-- Karen Fischer, Durango, Colorado

Pasteurization is NOT, NOT, NOT an important safety measure--unless you raise or handle the product unsanitarily. My family has consumed ONLY raw cow and goat milk for 3 years now (the goat milk being from our own goat) and have NEVER gotten sick--or died--from it. We also eat a lot of other unpasteurized foods, such as raw egg yolks (from our own hens), unpasteurized juices, raw cheese, etc.
--Lucy C., Redmond, WA

Pasteurization is a health risk because sloppy production and government regulations allow more contamination and because the high heat processing destroys the original nutritional elements, and changes the fat so the end product should not even be called milk or depended upon for good absorption of nutritional needs.
-- Jan Wimberley, Buhl, Idaho

WE agree raw milk is much better and find it to be more easily digested due to enzymes and other components not destroyed in pasteurization. We use raw goat milk and cheese and love it! We will not use pasteurized milk again given a choice!
-- June Pierson, Richmond, VA

I believe that pasteurization is an unnecessary health risk. It is currently fairly difficult to get raw milk in Illinois. Hopefully this can be changed in the future.
-- Mike Albers, Batavia, IL

I believe pasteurization diminishes health in many ways. I feel raw milk should be made available for those who want it. It is an awesome product and feel blessed to have found a share program so I can purchase raw milk for my family.
-- Maggie Beauvais, New Richmond, WI

I am absolutely of the belief that pasteurization is an unnecessary health risk at the least contributing to the epidemic level of "lactose intolerance."
-- Kathleen Sullivan CNC, Forest Park, IL

Pasteurization is unnecessary. I have had my young family on raw milk for almost a year now through a cow share program, and we have not had any problems with it whatsoever. My young son who had an allergic reaction to dairy previously(swollen eyes and red blotches all over his face)has had no reaction to the raw milk.
-- Christine Hannon, Plainfield, IL

I raised my children almost entirely on raw milk as a choice over pasteurized milk. As a nutrition major in college, we noted the changes in milk quality with heat. As dairies now have greater ability to be clean in their processing, raw milk should be allowed under inspection that is now required.
-- Laurel, NC

High heat pasteurization kills and changes the composition of milk. Period. This is nothing more than man fiddling with something that has been health-giving throughout time: raw, unhomegenized milk. Nothing tasted better than raw, unhomegenized milk! For those squeamish about completely raw milk, there is another form of pasteurization which does not kill the milk, but does eliminate some rare diseases that could be passed through raw milk. Ask the question: how and why did HOMOGENIZATION begin? The answer is an interesting study in greed, rather than need! Want some answers on raw versus ultra pasteurized versus low heat pasteuriztion? Contact Happy Cow Dairy in South Carolina! Tell Tom Trantham (owner) that Page at Pure-Zing sent you. His number is: 864-243-9699. You will learn more about milk talking to this man, than you can find out anywhere! His grass-fed cows produce the highest CLA (cancer fighting goodies) of any milk in the United States! We need hundreds more dairies like his!!
-- Page Remick Pure-Zing! 904-461-3555 (FL.)

I think it is an unnecessary health risk. As a baby, I was failing health-wise, until I was put on raw milk. At that point I thrived!

Raw milk is by far superior. Pasteurization is a poor substitute for good dairy farming .

Have you ever tasted raw cottage cheese? What a wonderful treat and you never want damaged cottage cheese again.

Cars have killed off more people in the US than all of our past wars combined! And we freely and wilfully drive each and every day with very few government restrictions. And in addition to this, our governments continue to put up large barriers to implementing any type of environmentally friendly, non-fossil fuel burning, electric powered transit system alternatives. So if drinking unpasteurized milk does not kill of people in large numbers as does automobiles, then it should be safe enough to us to drink! :-)

Having grown up drinking raw milk on our summer farm in western MA, I believe pasteurization is now an unnecessary health risk. I want Massachusetts to approve the sale of raw milk, to continue dairy inspections and if necessary carry out the tests you have cited. My mother, dying this summer at 103 with all of her faculties and senses, drank nothing but raw milk during her growing years.

I drank unpasteurized milk as a kid. I now drink unpasteurized now, from my goats. I have never got sick from drinking unpasteurized milk. We had our milk tested, and it has less bacteria, than the legal limit for pasteurized milk. Look at how many thousands of years, the human race has survived, on this earth, drinking unpasteurized milk.

It is definitely an unncecessary health risk propagated by the FDA and the Dairy Industry, all in the name of corporate greed.

An unnecessary health risk!!! My husband has had allergies to pasteurized dairy products his entire life...mucous etc. He can drink 2 gallons of clean raw milk a week plus raw cheese with no problems. Pasteurized dairy does not cross our doorway! The comment by the guy from the FDA stating that drinking raw milk is like playing Russian roulette is ridiculous! He will probably tell you that nothing is wrong with using a microwave either. ;-)

Pasteruization is a measure for profits only so large amounts of milk can make it more miles to more stores and last longer. It has no nutritional benefit and should not qualify as a food! Follow the money, our food industry is full of corruption. Instead of "Got Milk?" The slogan should read, "Got Disease?"

I think unfortunately it is necessary due to unavoidable greed and corruption in all industries, but I personally do not consume milk because I do think pasteurization is harmful. If I had a very reliable source of raw milk I would use that.

I weaned and raised my children on raw milk. They were very healthy at that time. For the past several years we have used pasteurized milk. I am very happy to report I have found an excellent source for raw milk and will continue to use unpasteurized milk as long as I can find it. It is unnecessary to pasteurize milk.

I believe pasteurization is an unnecessary health risk. When I could get raw milk I found it not only tasted better, but neither I nor my family ever had any problems with it. I sure would like it to be more readily available.

Pasteurized milk causes me to break out on my face and I feel sick in my stomach. Raw milk feels great when I am drinking it and no ill effects of any kind afterwards.

I support the idea of making certified raw milk available to consumers. It is strange to me that there should be so much hysteria about consuming a food which people have eaten for thousands of years. I agree that if you have unhealthy cows raised in unhealthy conditions then there is a public health risk, but that goes for any food, and pasteurized milk seems to be more susceptible to contamination than raw. I wish that healthy raw milk from healthy cows could be made available to consumers so that we can make our own decisions about what food to eat.

The best list of cowshare programs within and beyond the United States that we know of is at:

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