by Alexandra Preston, Natural Society:
Whether raw milk is safe to drink has been a controversial issue for many years, particularly in countries with more nanny-state tendencies. However, a study published in early 2015 showed that babies given raw cow’s milk instead of ultra-high temperature (UHT) processed formula actually had a reduced risk of common infections, such as colds and ear infections.
This study, known as the PASTURE study, followed 983 babies from 5 countries for the first year of their lives. The babies were from rural areas in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Finland. Even though most European societies discourage raw milk consumption, many farming families who can produce their own raw milk still drink it.
The invention of refrigerators, plus the freshness of the milk, are most likely factors contributing to the lack of tuberculosis, listeriosis, etc. seen in these families. Pasteurization was invented in the 1860’s, while refrigerators appropriate for home use were invented in the 1910’s. Like human breast milk, however, cow’s milk may contain beneficial constituents such as antibodies that assist the immune system.
In this study, parents were instructed to record what types of milk their babies consumed and the occurrence of infections from week 8 to week 53. There were very few “missing values” in the diaries given out; and as most infections are not reported to doctors, parents’ reporting was more likely to be accurate.
UHT milk was used as a control, with pasteurized milk, boiled fresh milk, and raw milk all compared in terms of infection incidence. Raw milk was the most protective against infections, with:
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