Drinking raw milk, instead of pasteurised milk, can increase your risk of getting food-borne illness by over 100 times, warns a new study.
These food-borne illness that consumption of raw milk can cause include diarrhoea, vomiting, cramping, fevers, and sometimes more serious consequences such as kidney failure or death, said the study published in the journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
"The scientific literature showed that the risk of food-borne illness from raw milk is over 100 times greater than the risk of food-borne illness from pasteurised milk," said the study's lead author Benjamin Davis from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF).
Raw milk has become more popular in recent years. Advocates believe that raw milk, which contains more natural antibodies, proteins and bacteria than pasteurised milk, is healthier, cleaner, tastes better and reduces lactose intolerance and allergies in certain people.
But the new study found that microbial contaminants commonly found in milk include infectious Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria species along with the Escherichia coli type O157:H7.
These bacteria can cause foodborne illness in humans, especially among children, pregnant women and the elderly, the researchers warned.
For their study, the researchers screened approximately 1,000 articles and reviewed 81 published journal articles relevant to the health risks and benefits of consuming raw cow's milk.
"The risks of consuming raw milk instead of pasteurised milk are well established in the scientific literature, and in some cases can have severe or even fatal consequences," study co-author Cissy Li from CLF said.
"Based on our findings, we discourage the consumption of raw milk, especially among vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with impaired immune systems, pregnant women, and children," Li said.