What Does It Mean When Milk is Pasteurized?

Since the 1980s when the milk industry saw a decline in sales, they began campaigning with the slogan “Milk Does a Body Good” before evolving into “Got Milk?” But though the campaign promoted the health benefits, in today’s world consumers have a say in choosing if they want raw milk from a farm.

Raw milk is defined as “milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that have not been pasteurized,” according to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

So, what exactly does pasteurized mean to consumers?

Pasteurization is the process in which milk is heated to a specific temperature for a set period of time in order to kill bacteria and pathogens in the substance. First developed by Louis Pasteur in 1864, pasteurization kills harmful bacteria responsible for such diseases as Listeria, typhoid fever and even tuberculosis.

But though consumers have a firm belief that pasteurized milk is not as wholesome as raw or unpasteurized, researchers show no meaningful difference in the nutritional value between pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.

“Ultimately, the scientific literature showed that the risk of foodborne illness from raw milk is over 100 times greater than the risk of foodborne illness from pasteurized milk,” said Benjamin Davis, a CLF-Lerner Fellow, doctoral candidate and lead author of the Johns Hopkins report. “We believe that from a public health perspective it is a far safer choice to discourage the consumption of raw milk.”

Read More.



(2017). The Dangers of Raw Milk: Unpasteurized Milk Can Pose a Serious Health Risk. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Retrieved from


Maberry, T. (2015). FSM Scoop: Raw Milk. Food Safety Magazine.

Retrieved from


Pearsall, M.J. (2014). Is Raw Milk Increasing Risk in Our Food Supply? Food Safety Magazine.

Retrieved from