Leche cruda (sin pasteurizar)
Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk | Features | CDC
Raw (Unpasteurized) Milk
Milk and products made from milk need minimal processing, called pasteurization. This process includes:
- Heating the milk briefly (for example, heating it to 161°F for about 15 seconds)
- Rapidly cooling the milk
- Practicing sanitary handling
- Storing milk in clean, closed containers at 40°F or below
The risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is greater for
- young children,
- the elderly, and
- people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, an organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS.
Many people believe that foods with no or minimal processing are better for their health. However, some types of processing are needed to protect health. For example, consumers process raw meat, poultry, and fish for safety by cooking. Similarly, when milk is pasteurized, it is heated just long enough to kill disease-causing germs. Most nutrients remain after milk is pasteurized.
Adherence to good hygienic practices during milking can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of milk contamination. The dairy farm environment is a reservoir for illness-causing germs. No matter what precautions farmers take, and even if their raw milk tests come back negative, they cannot guarantee that their milk, or the products made from their milk, are free of harmful germs.
- Germs such as Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella can contaminate milk during the process of milking dairy animals, including cows, sheep, and goats. Animals that carry these germs usually appear healthy.
Milk contamination may occur from:
- Cow feces coming into direct contact with the milk
- Infection of the cow's udder (mastitis)
- Cow diseases (e.g., bovine tuberculosis)
- Bacteria that live on the skin of cows
- Environment (e.g., feces, dirt, processing equipment)
- Insects, rodents, and other animal vectors
- Humans, for example, by cross-contamination from soiled clothing and boots
States that allow the legal sale of raw milk for human consumption have more raw milk-related outbreaks of illness than states that do not allow raw milk to be sold legally. Experts also found that those sickened in raw milk outbreaks were 13 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who got ill from pasteurized milk during an outbreak.
- Only consume pasteurized milk and milk products. Look for the word "pasteurized" on the dairy labels. If in doubt, don't buy it!
- Keep pasteurized dairy products refrigerated at 40°F or below at home and dispose of any expired products to reduce the risk of illness.
- If you consume soft, fresh, un-aged cheeses like queso fresco, make sure they are made from pasteurized milk. Aged cheeses made from raw milk are generally okay to eat because germs usually die off during the aging process. However, outbreaks associated with these cheeses have been identified.