Raw milk can possibly be a source of bacteria causing diseases. Bacteria can do no harm to cows or sheep, nevertheless, humans can be extremely sensitive to some species such as Salmonella or Listeria. Pathogenic microorganisms rapidly multiply in warm milk and may cause such serious conditions as tuberculosis and diphtheria. Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable to pathogenic microorganisms, that is why pasteurization is a must for milk.
Pasteurization is sometimes treated as a damaging processes that increases intolerance and reduces the nutritional value of milk products. The US Food and Drug Administration, however, belied these claims. Pasteurizing milk at a specific temperature, we can be sure that pathogenic bacteria are killed. Normally, non-pathogenic microorganisms remain present after pasteurization, and this is the reason why milk can be easily spoiled if kept out of the refrigerator. If pasteurization is conducted correctly, most essential nutrients are preserved in milk as well.
Though the symptoms of bacterial diseases caused by contaminated raw milk may seem passing, some of these conditions may become chronic or life-threatening. Some people may not feel any discomfort consuming raw milk but it does not mean that this eating habit is safe. Pregnant women especially risk to have a miscarriage or seriously harm a baby becoming infected with Listeria that occurs in raw milk.
Naturally, it is dangerous not only to drink raw milk but also to consume any product with raw milk. It refers to soft cheeses, cottage cheese, cream or yogurt made without previous pasteurization. FDA strongly recommends consuming milk products only if they are labeled as pasteurized.