top of page

Raw Concerns

Raw Milk

As farmland owners, producers, and consumers all watch avian flu spread to dairy cattle, they have been assured by health officials that the pasteurization process minimizes the harm of milk sickening humans. But what about raw milk?

NOTE: The USDA has confirmed one dairy cattle employee got sick from avian flu, the only person this year confirmed to be infected. The USDA has not reported any cases of consumers getting sick after drinking raw milk. Track the latest confirmed cases of bird flu in dairy cattle here.

"Anyone can get sick from drinking raw milk, but children under age 5, adults over age 65 and those with weakened immune systems are more at risk for getting sick," Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, said in a statement.  

"Now that HPAI is infecting both cows and birds, it's important to make sure that you are consuming food that is safe, including ensuring that the milk products you eat or drink are pasteurized."  

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration provides this information about why producers started pasteurizing milk for safety reasons decades ago. “Decades ago, pasteurization of milk was adopted as a basic public health measure to kill dangerous bacteria. This measure largely eliminated the risk of getting sick from one of the most important staples of the American diet.”

RELATED: Some Republican-led states have recently passed laws legalizing the direct sale of raw milk from farmers to consumers. Those states include Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Politico explains the politics behind those changes here.

Michigan State University Extension includes this health warning before health officials had confirmed that bird flu spread to dairy cattle:

“Raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms, such as Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, all of which can pose serious health risks. In fact, the risk of an outbreak from drinking raw milk is 150 times higher than if you were to drink pasteurized milk. Older adults, young children, immune-compromised individuals, and people who are pregnant are at the highest risk of contracting these illnesses.” 

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, whose state legalized raw milk consumption last year, told American Farmland Owner, that the spread of avian flu has him thinking about the safety of raw milk consumption. “Raw milk is a concern, to be candid,” Naig said.


American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains


Subscribe to Where Landowners Get Their News® and be the first aware of agricultural insights, analysis, and in-depth interviews.


Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page