Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill any disease-causing bacteria contained in the milk. Numerous dietary studies show that the nutritional effects of pasteurization are minimal while the health risks posed by consuming raw milk are real. Raw milk and its products provide an ideal environment in which bacteria can grow.
From 1993 to 2006, 69 outbreaks of human infections resulting from consumption of raw milk were reported in the U.S. (5 outbreaks per year). These outbreaks resulted in a total of 1,505 illnesses, 185 hospitalizations and 2 deaths. In the first 8 months of 2010, the consumption of raw milk sickened 103 Americans in 10 states. Iowans have become ill after consuming raw milk that was donated for special events.