To pasteurise or not to pasteurise

The battle over the pasteurisation of milk has a long history and, although the pasteurisers have had it all their own way for a long time, raw-milk enthusiasts are staging a come back both in the UK and the USA.

Most adherents of the burgeoning raw-milk movement in the US - some estimate that they number hundreds of thousands - take the glass-half-full approach to microbes in their milk. Unpasteurised milk, they claim, contains a host of beneficial bacteria, antibodies and enzymes that fight disease and attack harmful bacteria.

Others maintain it reduces the incidence of allergy and cite studies such as that published in the May 2007 issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, which showed that drinking raw milk had a measurable effect on the incidence of childhood asthma and hay fever.

A third group maintain that they can drink raw cow's milk while they cannot tolerate pasteurised cow's milk.

Meanwhile, health regulators cite numerous outbreaks of food-poisoning that suggest that the dangers of unpasteurised milk outweigh its potential benefits.

In the UK if you wish to buy raw milk you can only do so at the farm gate - so-called green top milk. If you want to know more about doing so, a comprehensive website - - offers articles about raw milk (and grass-fed beef), recipes for fermenting it and a list of raw milk suppliers across the UK.

In the US you have to buy it for your pet! Raw milk can be sold as pet food and a brisk trade has developed in some southern states. The alternative is to buy a share in a cow - this means that you can take advantage of a provision that allows you to drink unpasteurised milk from your own animals!


Click here for more research on cow's milk allergy


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