Health Canada has issued a warning against drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk.
Due to different kinds of bacteria that can be found in raw milk, including Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, raw milk has the potential to make you seriously ill. These bacteria can result in very serious health conditions ranging from fever, vomiting and diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, miscarriage and death.
While the sale of raw milk is prohibited under the Food and Drug Regulations since 1991, people have become ill after drinking raw milk when visiting farms. Some dairy farmers are also consuming milk from their own animals.
While pasteurized milk is now the standard, there are some Canadians who continue to prefer raw milk because of perceived health benefits. According to Health Canada, any possible benefits are far outweighed by the serious risk of illness from drinking raw milk.
Food and Drug Regulations require that all milk available for sale in Canada be pasteurized. Pasteurization kills the organisms that cause disease while keeping the nutritional properties of milk intact. Raw milk has not been treated to make it safe, but instead has been refrigerated at the farm where it was collected.
Raw milk cheese is allowed for sale and considered safe because the manufacturing process for cheese helps to eliminate many pathogens found in raw milk.
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