Milk is a crucial part of our diet. From cheese, curd, or just your regular shakes, everything consists of milk in some form or the other. As India is the top producer of milk globally, it also provides an additional source of income to several farmers. Majorly, Indians have a vegetarian diet; hence milk remains the primary source of proteins and vitamins. But did you know the controversies and debates going around the sales of milk? Nevertheless of its health benefits and increased demand, the sales of raw milk are prohibited in several countries. Why is that so? And what are the harmful effects of consuming raw milk? Let us find out!
Why should we legalise the sales of raw milk?
Consuming raw milk can cause severe health degradation and illness. The Federal Government has already banned the sales of raw milk for the same reason. Moreover, various other institutions such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, etc., have also opposed the sales of raw milk.
The primary location of germs is the farms. Some bacteria can store directly in cow’s or goat’s milk from their gut, especially if the animal has a disease similar to mastitis. Bacteria can also contaminate milk during milking, transport, processing, packaging, or storage. Bad hygiene habits increase risks. Farmers who adhere to good hygiene practices during milking help combat the microorganisms to some extend, but will not eliminate the risk of contamination.
Since raw milk is readily available to several people, its consumption has become easy. This reason constitutes at least 3% of the population to consume raw milk. The raw milk drinkers have justified the consumption of raw milk as it tastes ‘better,’ and they enjoy having a direct connection with the food.
Pasteurization is a technique discovered in 1864 by Louis Pasteur. This technique is very much crucial as it kills all the disease-causing microorganisms. It prevents the onset of several life-threatening diseases such as Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Diptheria, etc. The process of pasteurization is done in the milk plants at a specific temperature range for a specific period. This process is done under the surveillance of experts, hence couldn’t be performed at home.
Firstly, the milk is heated at 71.7°C for 15 seconds but no more than 25 seconds. Then it is cooled at 3°C quickly and then packed. This sudden shock of heat and cold treatment kills the disease-causing microorganisms and thus is safe for consumption!
Many people claim that raw milk can be consumed by lactose-intolerant people. Theoretically, raw milk contains a lactase enzyme that assists in digesting the milk easily. However, lactase gets denatured during the pasteurization process.
Even though there are several claims about the benefits of consuming raw milk, none of them is proved scientifically. Moreover, various studies have concluded a similar composition of raw and pasteurized milk (but the pasteurized milk does not contain any disease-causing microorganism).
Even if the raw milk is so beneficial and in its natural state, would you mind risking your health just for the sake of unpasteurized milk? Therefore it is our duty to educate the people around us, especially the small-scale farmers and vendors to stop selling raw milk. It will not only help them to avoid diseases but will also lead to the development of a healthy nation!