Recently there was a bill submitted to the Arkansas Legislature regarding the legalization of selling raw milk to the public from local (Arkansas) farms. Raw milk has not undergone pasteurization, a process whereby special equipment is used to heat milk to a specified temperature and hold it there for a period of time. Properly done, this destroys any harmful bacteria in the milk. Raw milk, however, does not go through this process, greatly increasing the probability that drinking it may cause food-borne illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), over the past 20 years many cases of Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria and Yersinia infections can be attributed to raw milk consumption. Illness caused by raw milk can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women, infants, young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Pasteurization kills bacteria responsible for these diseases, as well as typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and brucellosis. Therefore, the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the dairy industry itself has recommended not drinking unpasteurized milk. Currently many states have banned the sale of raw milk and federal law prohibits the retail sale of it across state borders.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends consuming three servings of dairy products daily. Low-fat and fat-free milk and its products have numerous health benefits. However, there is no scientific evidence that raw milk is superior in any way, including nutritionally. Keeping this mind, there is no reason to consume raw milk and plenty of good reasons to avoid it!