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Raw Milk

There is a good reason why raw (unpasteurized) milk is not permitted for sale in Canada – it is not safe to drink.

Raw or unpasteurized milk is not permitted for sale in Canada according to the federal Food and Drugs Regulation

B.08.002.2 (1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall sell the normal lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of the cow, genus Bos, or of any other animal, or sell a dairy product made with any such secretion, unless the secretion or dairy product has been pasteurized...

Raw milk is unsanitary and may contain feces, urine, and other environmental contaminants from the source animal and its environment. Heat treatment of milk (pasteurization) kills most bacteria in milk. 


Several studies and tests confirm that raw milk can contain a number of disease-causing organisms. The “big four” include: ListeriaSalmonellaE. coli O157:H7, and Campylobacter


Many of these organisms can cause severe illnesses that, in some cases, may have permanent effects. In severe cases, illness resulting from these four organisms can even cause death. People with compromised or undeveloped immune systems - such as the elderly, people with certain chronic diseases, pregnant women, and young children — are particularly vulnerable.


It is true that raw milk can be sold legally in 30 of the 50 US states. However, this does not mean it is safe to consume. Regulation and testing will not guarantee that raw milk is safe to drink. All 30 US states where raw milk is allowed to be sold legally have testing and inspection programs for raw milk dairy farms. Despite this testing and inspection regime, outbreaks and recalls associated with certified raw milk dairy farms continue to occur on a regular basis. 


recent study done in Minnesota (raw milk can legally be sold in this state) by the Minnesota Department of Health estimated that up to 20,502 Minnesotans, or 17.3% of raw milk consumers, became ill with an enteric pathogen during the study period. The study also confirmed that enteric pathogens are much more likely to affect children — 25% of cases (patients) who consumed raw milk in the study were less than 6 years old. Of these children, several cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (kidney failure) were reported including the death of an 11 month old infant.

BC is not immune to illnesses caused by raw milk. Even though the consumption of raw milk in BC is relatively small because of our laws on raw milk sales, there have been several outbreaks caused by the consumption of raw milk in BC. 

In those cases where children have become ill from the consumption of raw milk, it is often the case that these children were given this product by well-intentioned parents. Regarding the purported 'healthiness' of raw milk, there is no credible or scientific evidence that consumption of raw milk produces any measurable health benefits.

SOURCE: Raw Milk ( )
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