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Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk products

Consuming raw milk and raw milk products can pose health risks.

Raw milk and A(H5N1) virus‎

CDC recommends against consuming raw milk contaminated with live A(H5N1) virus as a way to develop antibodies against A(H5N1) virus to protect against future disease. Consuming raw milk could make you sick.

Why is Raw Milk Unsafe?

  • Raw milk is milk from animals, typically cows and goats, which has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process of heating raw milk to kill germs from the animal that are present in the raw milk.
  • Some people believe that raw milk is more nutritious than pasteurized milk; however, the major nutrients in milk are not affected by pasteurization.
  • Raw milk and raw milk products, such as cream, cheese and yogurt can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and cause serious infections.
  • People with weakened immune systems, young children, the elderly, and pregnant women are at increased risk for severe infections from raw milk and milk products. It is especially important that young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems consume only pasteurized milk and milk products.
  • Read the label! In Washington state, it is legal to sell raw milk but raw milk products must be clearly labeled.