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Little vitamin D in various types of milk – Oct 2012

Raw Or Heated Cow Milk Consumption: Review Of Risks And Benefits

Food Control 12 October 2012
Wendie L. Claeysa, , , Sabine Cardoena, Georges Daubeb, Jan De Blockc, Koen Dewettinckd, e, Katelijne Dierickd, f, Lieven De Zutterd, e, André Huyghebaertd, e, Hein Imberechtsd, f, Pierre Thiangeg, Yvan Vandenplash, Lieve Hermanc, d
a DG Policy Control, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), Brussels, Belgium
b University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
c Flemish Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), 9090 Melle, Belgium
d Scientific Committee, Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC), Brussels, Belgium
e University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
f Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium
g Association Régionale de Santé et de l’Identification Animales (ARSIA), 5590 Ciney, Belgium
h UZ Brussel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1090 Brussels, Belgium

In the context of the prevailing trend towards more natural products, there seems to be an increasing preference for raw milk consumption as raw milk is associated with several perceived health benefits that are believed to be destroyed upon heating. However, many human pathogens can be isolated from raw cow milk. The prevalence of foodborne pathogens in raw cow milk varies, but their presence has been demonstrated in many surveys and foodborne infections have been repeatedly reported for Campylobacter, Salmonella spp. and human pathogenic verocytotoxin producing E. coli. In industrialized countries, milk-borne and milk product-borne outbreaks represent 2 to 6% of the bacterial foodborne outbreaks.

The aim of this review is to present scientifically sound data regarding the risks and benefits related to the consumption of raw and heated cow milk. Both microbiological aspects (e.g., the prevalence of milk-borne pathogens, pathogen growth inhibition by antimicrobial systems and by lactic acid producing bacteria, probiotic bacteria, etc.) and nutritional or health aspects (nutritional value, immunity, allergies, lactose intolerance, diabetes, milk digestibility, etc.) are considered.

As such, it is demonstrated that consumption of raw milk poses a realistic health threat due to a possible contamination with human pathogens. It is therefore strongly recommended that milk should be heated before consumption. With the exception of an altered organoleptic profile, heating (in particularly ultra high temperature and similar treatments) will not substantially change the nutritional value of raw milk or other benefits associated with raw milk consumption.
Figure 1. Contribution of vitamins (a) to the recommended daily intake (%RDI) (b) based on the consumption of one large glass of raw or heat-treated milk (250 ml).

  • A Souci et al. (2008), Andersson & Öste (1995), Schaafsma (1989), Belitz and Grosch, 1987, Walstra and Jeness, 1984.
  • B BSHC (2009). No data for vitamins B2, B5, A, D, E, K, niacin and biotin in pasteurized and boiled milk, and for vitamin K in UHT- and sterilized milk.

Also: very little vitamin K now that the cows are rarely grass fed

See also VitaminDWiki

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