Unpasteurized milk has been increasing in popularity as nutritionists and food activists tout it as a healthier and more delicious option. Though the process of pasteurization (a.k.a. rapidly heating and cooling to kill bacteria) has been standard procedure for milk in the United States for decades, an increasing number of states are now allowing the sale of unpasteurized products.
Unfortunately, as The Washington Post reports, this new trend has lead to some serious health problems for both children and adults.
As the popularity of raw milk has grown, so too have associated outbreaks. They have nearly doubled over the past five years, with eight out of 10 cases occurring in states that have already legalized sales of the unpasteurized product, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Public health officials have also documented how pathogens in raw milk have produced kidney failure in more than a dozen cases and paralysis in at least two.
Even so, proponents of unpasteurized milk continue to grow.
In states where raw milk remains banned, black and “gray” markets have emerged for enthusiasts seeking “moonshine milk” in the belief that bacteria-killing heat from pasteurization also kills powerful enzymes and eliminates other properties that can cure allergies, asthma, even autism.
Though it seems that both sides of the argument have equally valid points, people should be aware of the risks of consuming unpasteurized foods. If unpasteurized milk becomes a widespread option—and that is looking more likely—the public needs to know if they're pouring E. coli on their morning cereal.
[via The Washington Post]