Is raw milk from the milk tap healthier than milk from a carton?

What are the differences between carton and tap milk?

Skimmed milk is raw milk that comes straight from the cow’s udder, and has not been heated or processed in any other way. So pure nature. That has advantages. Raw milk contains more natural antibodies, more proteins, more fat and more bacteria than milk from a carton. Milk sold refrigerated in the supermarket is pasteurized. This means that it is heated very briefly to slightly above 70 degrees Celsius. Long-life milk (also called UHT milk) has been heated to 138 degrees Celsius. Pasteurization of milk has been done since the end of the 19th century. Until then, many people got sick from drinking milk. The heating kills harmful bacteria, so that people no longer get sick from milk en masse. But heating also damages enzymes and proteins that may be good for the body.

Raw Milk Benefits

There are several reasons why it is popular to tap your own milk at the farmer. Many consumers recognize that farmers do not receive fair prices for their milk. People are also more aware of buying local products. Some people like to drink their milk fresh from the cow because of the taste, which is full and creamy. According to enthusiasts, this taste is much more intense than the flat taste of milk from a carton. And sometimes people drink raw tap milk purely for its health benefits. For example, the antibodies, vitamins and healthy bacteria in raw milk would strengthen our immune system. Also, drinking raw milk may prevent asthma and certain food allergies. But the studies on the health effects of raw milk are contradictory. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that the extra substances in raw milk really do anything for your health.

Raw Milk Risks

In addition to healthy bacteria, raw milk can also contain several unhealthy bacteria, such as campylobacter, listeria, salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria end up in the milk during the milking of the cow or during the storage of the milk. You cannot taste, smell or see that, and it is not checked for tap milk. You run the risk of a bacterial food infection, which can make you quite ill. Think heavy vomiting and diarrhea. Pregnant women, babies and young children, the elderly and people with a reduced resistance are more susceptible to such food infections. They do not always get better on their own after a food infection. It is therefore really inadvisable for these vulnerable groups to drink raw milk and to eat products that contain raw milk, such as raw milk cheese.

Buy and store raw milk

You can only get raw tap milk from the farmer. And then only directly from a milk tank or a milk vending machine, not prepacked in a bottle or carton. So you have to bring your own bottles for tap milk, or borrow bottles from the farmer. Make sure those bottles are clean, including the caps. And make sure that the milk stays well chilled. So take a cool box with you, and put the bottles in the fridge immediately at home. You can also order draft milk online. If the storage conditions in milk vending machines are not good, or if the companies behind the websites do not follow the correct transport and storage procedures, there is a greater chance that bacteria present will grow into pathogenic quantities. As a consumer you don’t always know what happened to the raw milk. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) therefore advises to boil raw milk first before drinking it or processing it in a dish. This way you can prevent a food infection.

Grab or tap, which is healthier?

Raw milk has advantages and disadvantages. Research doesn’t show that the good bacteria in raw milk really do anything for your health. What we do know for sure is that the risk of a food infection is higher if you drink milk raw. If you buy raw draft milk because of the taste or because you want to buy directly from the farmer, boil the milk first. If you go for safe, choose milk from a carton instead of from the tap.

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