Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Health Canada – Information Update – Risks of Drinking Raw Milk

August 9, 2012

OTTAWA, Aug. 9, 2012 /CNW/ – Health Canada would like to remind
Canadians not to drink raw (unpasteurized) milk because it could
contain bacteria that could make you seriously ill.

Historically, unpasteurized milk has been linked to many serious
diseases. Several kinds of bacteria that can be found in raw milk, such
as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, have been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. These bacteria can
cause serious health conditions, ranging from fever, vomiting and
diarrhea to life-threatening kidney failure, miscarriage and death.
Children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune
systems are at a higher risk.

Due to these health concerns, the Food and Drug Regulations require that all milk sold in Canada be pasteurized. Pasteurization
kills the organisms that may cause disease while keeping the
nutritional properties of milk intact. Raw milk has not been treated to
make it safe. It has also not been fortified with vitamin D.

Pasteurized milk is an important food and contains many nutrients that
are essential for good health, including protein, calcium and vitamin
D. The number of foodborne illness outbreaks from milk has dramatically
decreased since pasteurization was made mandatory by Health Canada in

The sale of raw milk (except for further manufacturing) is prohibited
under the Food and Drugs Act. Raw milk cheese is allowed for sale and considered safe because its
manufacturing process helps to eliminate many pathogens that may be
present in raw milk.

Although raw milk is not allowed to be sold in Canada, people have
become ill after drinking it when visiting farms. While pasteurized
milk is now the standard, there are some Canadians who continue to
prefer raw milk because they believe it is healthier. However, it is
important to note that any possible benefits are far outweighed by the
serious risk of illness from drinking raw milk.

For more information on raw milk and food safety, please visit:

Government of Canada’s Tip sheet on Raw Milk

Government of Canada’s Food Safety Portal

Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education’s Be Food Safe Canada


SOURCE Health Canada

Source: PR Newswire