Food Safety in the Refrigerator: Why Pasteurize Milk?

Nov 15, 2017
Food Safety in the Refrigerator: Why Pasteurize Milk?

Raw milk is popular right now in some circles, but for many who choose raw milk, it may be just a matter of time before they get sick. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness and results in 13 times more hospitalizations than illnesses involving pasteurized dairy products. Raw milk truly is a raw deal.

From farm to fridge, food safety is top of mind for dairy farmers – and pasteurization is an essential part of that process, protecting you and your family from potentially harmful bacteria.

What Is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization is a simple heating and cooling process that destroys harmful bacteria. During pasteurization, the temperature of milk is raised to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or to at least 161 degrees Fahrenheit for over 15 seconds; it is then rapidly cooled. This process also keeps your milk fresher longer. It’s a process that’s been in place for over 100 years and ensures that milk remains a wholesome, safe and delicious food.

All the Same Health Benefits

There’s a common misconception that pasteurization destroys nutrients in milk. The truth: Pasteurized milk offers the same health benefits as raw milk, without the risks. Pasteurized milk is also fortified with vitamin D, essential to many different systems in your body.

What about probiotics? Some people with lactose intolerance believe that probiotics in raw milk help them digest lactose, the sugar in milk. However, there aren’t significant levels of probiotics in raw milk. To get those probiotics, it’s much safer and more effective to eat or drink cultured yogurt or kefir made from pasteurized milk.

According to the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – as well as many health care organizations, including the American Association of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and the World Health Organization – no one should drink raw milk.

How do you help your clients make the best choice? Here are a few resources to share:

Know that when you choose pasteurized milk, you’re making a safe, nutritious and delicious choice.

Learn more about milk’s unique nutrient package.

Explore a few favorite recipes.