CDC Data: Raw Milk Safe During Pregnancy

by Sarah Raw Milk During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, Raw Milk SafetyComments: 81

raw milk baby

When I was first introduced to the benefits of raw milk nearly 12 years ago, I was newly pregnant with my second child. While I wanted to reap the benefits of this nutrient dense food, I was initially cautious to begin consuming it for fear it might harm my baby.

Everywhere I turned for research and information about the safety of raw milk during pregnancy was negative.

Numerous citations and sources I reviewed warned against consuming raw milk during pregnancy due to the risk of infection with Listeria monocytogenes, a deadly pathogen that can cause fetal death or premature birth.

While the research I uncovered contained dire warnings about infection with Listeria during pregnancy, I couldn’t actually find documentation about anyone who had actually contracted it from drinking raw milk let alone died or miscarried from it!

After much reading and thought, I concluded that the warnings against raw milk were unwarranted and the nutritional benefits to myself and my child vastly outweighed any risk.

I began to consume raw milk along with aged raw cheese, raw cream and raw butter late in the first trimester of my second pregnancy.  I continued this practice throughout my second and third pregnancy with no ill effects.  Both children were born healthy, full term and a normal weight.

Why Does the FDA Warn Against Raw Milk During Pregnancy?

In the 12 years since I began consuming raw milk while newly pregnant, the nonexistence of infection with Listeria monocytogenes for raw milk drinkers has continued.  Analysis of Centers for Disease Control data on raw milk outbreaks listed no cases whatsoever of food-borne illness from raw milk caused by Listeria during the entire 13 year period from 1993-2005.

deaths from raw milk (source: Health Impact News)On the other hand, there have been hundreds of illnesses from Listeria contracted from eating deli meats according to a 2003 USDA/FDA report.

In addition, 147 people across 28 states contracted listeriosis in 2011 from cantaloupes.  33 people died as a result of this outbreak and 1 pregnant woman miscarried.

Even pasteurized milk and cheese carries the very real risk of listeriosis.  From 1998-2012, there were 50 illnesses and 10 deaths (1 fetus) from Listeria contracted from consuming pasteurized milk and cheese in the United States.

Are formal warnings issued to pregnant women regarding the dangers of eating deli meats, pasteurized milk and cheese or cantaloupes while pregnant?


The FDA clearly has a double standard when it warns against consumption of raw milk during pregnancy when no cases or deaths of listeriosis are recorded and yet many have occurred for other foods.

The Dairy That Should be Avoided During Pregnancy

A very real risk of Listeria during pregnancy comes from soft, unaged cheese – both raw and pasteurized.

In Europe, there were 4 deaths from pasteurized soft cheese in 2009.  There have also been a number of illnesses and miscarriages from Mexican style cheese made from raw milk including a few in my home state of Florida.  This cheese is sometimes referred to as “bathtub cheese”.

If you are pregnant, it is wise to avoid soft, unaged cheeses of all kinds due to the very real risk of Listeria.  However, grassfed, raw milk is safe as are aged raw cheeses, raw cream, and raw butter.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Those Pathogens, What You Should Know

Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Whole Cantaloupes

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care

Outbreaks from Foodborne Pathogens in Milk and Cheeses Sold as Pasteurized, United States, 1998-present

Zero Deaths from Raw Milk, Health Impact News

Government Data Proves Raw Milk is Safe

Picture Credit

Comments (81)

  • Elena

    Just today I purchased a local Florida raw milk along with raw kind of a cottage cheese, soft cheese in the plastic container. I am 4 month pregnant and just wondering is it safe to consume this kind of cheese.
    Thank you

    January 8th, 2016 3:10 pm Reply
  • julie

    Thanks for the article. Pregnant and picking my raw milk in a few hours! The only thing I would change is that they very much do warn against deli meats if pregnant.

    August 14th, 2014 2:51 pm Reply
  • Jon

    I would just like to say me and my family have been safely drinking raw milk for over 4 years. Never get sick and rarely get colds, most of the time its just the sniffles that never turns into a full blown cold. We also exercise well and eat mostly organic. Stay away from immunizations,flouride,gmo,prescription drugs,fast food,non organic meats,chlorine,sunscrean/block, mercury in any and every form they try and hopefully we will live a long healthy happy life. That is just the tip of the iceburg and I will teach my newborn these things that are completely necessary today.

    May 24th, 2014 8:43 pm Reply
  • Strong

    Thank you!!!

    April 9th, 2014 5:15 am Reply
  • claire

    We love our raw milk but just had a look on the cdc website, just browsing, and read this: “From 1998 through 2011, 148 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. Most of these illnesses were caused by Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, or Listeria. ”
    They are claiming there were deaths related to raw milk.

    Now I’m confused.

    March 18th, 2014 7:29 pm Reply
    • Emma

      Claire – for that data they grouped raw milk and raw soft cheese (as mentioned in the article) together.

      September 28th, 2014 12:33 pm Reply
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  • Mark mcafee


    Great little assessment. With 625 stores carrying OPDC raw milk and 80,000 people craving it, the safety of raw milk when produced with special care is pretty much proven. The last deaths from dairy was from pasteurized cheese at Cravens Brothers just this year. Three dead. Pasteurized milk killed three in MA in 2007. No deaths from raw milk recorded in the CDC database !!!! Fear and ignorance is perhaps the greatest tool to use to scare people away from rational decisions.

    Mark Mcafee fresno ca

    October 17th, 2013 10:36 pm Reply
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  • Jill May

    I was warned against deli meats too with all three of my pregnancies and soft cheeses.

    June 15th, 2013 5:27 pm Reply
  • Vreni Gurd

    Thought you might be very interested in this presentation to the British Columbia Center for Disease Control done by Nadine Ijaz MSc, who summarized the current research on raw milk brilliantly. And yes, no case of listeria from raw milk in 40 years! Quantitaive Microbial Risk Assessment shows that raw milk is a low risk food.

    June 15th, 2013 1:58 pm Reply
  • Pam

    I found out halfway through my 3rd pregnancy that I wasn’t “supposed” to eat deli meats or soft cheeses. Oops.

    Raw dairy causes days of diarrhea for me. The first tiime I thought it was just becasue I had never had raw dairy before. The second time I thought it was something else I ate. The third time, well… I will never ingest raw dairy ever again no matter how many people tout the benefits. Not to mention it is insanely expensive at $8.50 per HALF gallon. I’ll stick to the pasteurized homogenized hormone free stuff, no routine illness and $2.70 per gallon.

    June 15th, 2013 5:20 am Reply
    • Rachel R.

      Did you drink milk from the same source every time? (Just curious if your source might be bad.)

      FWIW, not everyone pays that much. I pay $4/gallon – as compared to about $3.50/gallon for regular milk at my local supermarket.

      June 15th, 2013 12:35 pm Reply
      • Pam

        None were milk, different sources in different states, 2 times were from prepackaged raw cheeses, one time from homemade whipped cream made from raw milk (at least that’s what my friend/hostess told me); I have noticed that prices fluctuate quite a bit depending on where you live.

        June 17th, 2013 5:45 am Reply
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  • Sarah Chapman

    I milk my own goats and make my own cheese, mostly soft bag cheeses. Should my own soft cheeses still be avoided if I get pregnant? Thanks!

    June 12th, 2013 1:42 pm Reply
  • Rui

    Sarah, I’ve been doing a lot of research on milk and all I can find is that all milk is mucus forming . What’s your opinion on this?

    June 11th, 2013 9:33 pm Reply
  • Rachel R.

    Actually, we ARE warned about deli meats – and I don’t eat them (without cooking them again) while pregnant. But I do drink my raw milk. 😉

    I hear you, though, on the double standard! It’s an obvious intent to vilify a wholesome food.

    June 11th, 2013 1:40 pm Reply
  • Janice

    Kudos for pointing to the dichotomy between the CDC’s official statistics and official warnings. The important thing for people to understand, whether it concerns raw milk, vaccines, or any other subject, is that studies and statistics can be shaped to produce ANY desired result. Applying a bit of common sense is essential. It is politics, not safety, that drives the debate about raw milk, and most other things proclaimed as ‘science’.
    For centuries, all around the world, people consumed (and still consume) unprocessed milk, with no refrigeration, no running water, and much lower standards of cleanliness – completely without fear of illness or death. Maybe their practices were an exception, but my mother warns I would be horrified at the level of uncleanliness that was tolerated in her day growing up on the farm.
    It was only when factory farming was introduced, with cows being kept indoors, wallowing in their own manure, and fed distillery waste, grain and who knows what else, that milk in America became suddenly ‘dangerous’ for consumption. Research also reveals other unsavory practices, such as city milk deliverers dipping into public horse watering troughs to water down the milk. (You didn’t think profit driven injustices only happen today?) Nor have I ever seen discussed the fact that antibiotics and vaccines were introduced into circulation at about the same time that milk became ‘dangerous’. There was limited, if any, understanding of the immune functions of the gut or the need to keep the proper balance of bacteria.
    Using logic (as well as genuine modern research) one must conclude that any risk to unprocessed milk has to do with the unnatural and unhealthy environment of the cows and/or the improper handling of the milk. I would certainly never consume raw factory farmed milk; but then, I wouldn’t consume their inferior and unhealthy product after they attempt to sterilize the nasties out of it.
    The facts do not back up the rhetoric concerning raw milk, and independent research will reveal why the same raw milk that is so ‘risky’ in America is safely sold in vending machines across Europe.

    June 11th, 2013 11:59 am Reply
  • Nancy

    Wonderful, informative article. Nice find on the chart as well. The chart really spelled it out with impact.

    June 11th, 2013 10:21 am Reply
  • Kim

    I am writing to ask why ANY raw milk soft cheese is dangerous.
    Are you talking about cheese like ricotta and mozzarella? Please explain why this would be dangerous, as I don’t know and thought these were safe as long as they are handled in a sterile way and always refrigerated. Thank you!

    June 11th, 2013 8:50 am Reply
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  • Hilary

    Thanks so much! I’m going to forward this to my dad, a medical doctor, who thinks giving my child raw milk is liken to child abuse!

    June 11th, 2013 1:02 am Reply
  • John Shafer via Facebook

    we drank it all the time.

    June 10th, 2013 10:12 pm Reply
  • Caty Freeman via Facebook

    It isnt sold in stores…not that i know of. You need to go to a farm to buy it.

    June 10th, 2013 10:02 pm Reply
  • Gretchen Leuck via Facebook

    where would you even find Raw Milk? I’ve NEVER seen it offered any place I shop in Chicago…

    June 10th, 2013 7:43 pm Reply
  • Julie

    Campylobacter is something I’ve experienced along with several other people at a local milk buying club in Wisconsin. The milk was tested by the health dept. who shut down the farmer’s livelihood. The thing is, the milk never had any trace of Campylobacter. I understand that it was found in the feces of the cows. I would like to drink raw milk again but feel very strongly that the dairy operation must be strict with policies regarding how and what comes into contact with the buyers. I wouldn’t want to go through that illness again and in some ways I feel that my health has been comprised ever since and that I’m still on the road back to good digestive health.

    June 10th, 2013 7:14 pm Reply
  • Lori

    Me too.

    June 10th, 2013 5:43 pm Reply
    • Ami

      Me three. By both an OB and a midwife.

      June 11th, 2013 8:31 pm Reply
  • Katherine

    I appreciate the thought behind this but wanted to give my experience. We started drinking raw milk when I was pregnant w/ my 4th (in Canada). Loved the taste but then the horrible diarrhea hit, and wouldn’t go away. I went and got tested out of Listeria fears and it ended up being campylobacter. I was on antibiotics almost a month cuz the first one they gave me didn’t touch it. So as was said, please be aware that raw milk and deli foods can make you sick. My supplier wouldn’t sell me any more raw milk but I would have kept buying it, and just cooked it into eggnog. :)

    June 10th, 2013 5:05 pm Reply
  • Robin Logan

    We cannot live risk free lives and at all times are subject to countless possible infections, accidents etc. Its about weighing up risk. Sure you can get sick from unpasteurised milk as you can from any contaminated food but in my opinion the risks have been blown out of all proportion. If as much (warranted) warning was given about over the counter medicines, foods containing Aspartamine and other toxic substances, carcinogenic household cleaning products, chemical cocktails on our vegetables and drugs in meat, the Nation would be in a constant state of hysteria. I manufacture a skin care product that we went to extraordinary lengths to make safe, natural and life enhancing but we are treated by the FDA in a similar way to raw milk, while products made by people who seemingly dont care about their customers or the environment are the acceptable norm.

    June 10th, 2013 3:38 pm Reply
  • Meredith Reichmann

    I was warned against eating deli meat by my doctor when I was pregnant with my second daughter, but not pasteurized milk or cantaloupe. I drink only raw milk now :)

    June 10th, 2013 3:10 pm Reply
  • Christina Vicari via Facebook

    I’m S0000000 craving raw milk. used to drink it all the time before moving back stateside. its SO MUCH BETTER TASTING!!!

    June 10th, 2013 2:50 pm Reply
  • Lori

    There are many other bacterial risks besides Listeria, though. I understand that you are a big fan of it and has been a safe and nutritional benefit for you and your family. I drank raw for 7 yrs until my entire family got very very sick from a campylobacter infection last January. It can and does happen. Actually way more often than I was told from online sites, blogs, and other natural healthy mamas. After calling the dept of health, I realized the risk is so much higher than I was made to believe. The overwhelming majority of similar infections in our state of PA over the past 20 yrs were linked to raw milk contaminations – 4-5 various bacterias including our horrid campylobacter. I felt so terrible – being in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced my whole life while watching my 2 and 5 yo in the same agony. We suffered. And I mean that. For ten days. Back and forth from toilet to bed every 15 min, 24 hrs a day, nonstop and involuntary, with no treatment, while we shot way more blood and tissue out of our bodies than seemed possible. Couldn’t pay me a billion dollars to go through that again. I could say a lot more, but just want to share the jist of my story. I hope you allow it to stay published along with all the other comments. I don’t argue with anyone nor judge. It is a reality I share when given the chance or I’m asked, and one I would never ever personally risk again, no matter how small the chances. Once you experience that kind of illness, not knowing if you and your children were in fact dying or going to eventually recover…changes your perspective a bit. And I realize now that different people have different ideas on what is “rare”. But no matter, because when it happens to you, it’s no longer any kind of rare. Best…

    June 10th, 2013 2:14 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Lori, I’m not saying you can’t get sick from raw milk. Yes you can. But look at the data. No one has died from it including unborn babies. More fetuses have died from their mothers eating cantaloupe and pasteurized milk than raw milk.

      Any food could make you sick. The data and facts are that raw milk is safer than most any other food including pasteurized milk.

      My family have all had Campylobacter too (not from raw milk .. from a restaurant). It’s all about assessing risks and probabilities. The risk of illness let alone death from raw milk is slim to none compared with other foods.

      June 10th, 2013 3:04 pm Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Funny how it doesn’t make big news when campy outbreaks hits the fast food joints. Again, the double standard against raw milk because it threatens the Big Dairy monopoly. I got a horrible salmonella infection from fast food chicken when I was 13 (have a blog post on this). I got campylobacter from another restaurant a few years ago. Never got anything from raw milk in over 12 years and been drinking it from various farms all over the country. Risk versus benefits. Raw milk is safe and the risks are very small. The CDC data tells the tale. ZERO deaths from raw milk.

          June 10th, 2013 9:24 pm Reply
      • Lori

        Or Huffington Post…

        And, like it points out, there might be more cases linked to other foods, yes. That’s because many millions more people consume those foods than raw milk. Such a small percentage drink raw, it’s unsettling to me that each year so many people get very sick. And those numbers are very un and under reported. It is totally drink at your own risk, and yes, you probably won’t die. But I am glad everyday that I didn’t drop off milk for one of my clients 26 wks pregnant with twins that week we bought our contaminated milk. I would have never forgiven myself. No matter how rare it would have been.

        June 10th, 2013 4:40 pm Reply
        • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

          Campylobacter outbreaks occur all the time … mostly from restaurant food (employees not washing hands). Campy is very rare in raw milk and is not going to kill your baby or you. While it is serious, it is not a reason to avoid the nourishment of grassfed raw milk. Again, weight risks versus benefits. The benefits far outweigh the risks. The risks of campylobacter from a restaurant is far higher .. I don’t see pregnant women eating only at home for the 9 months of pregnancy.

          June 10th, 2013 9:20 pm Reply
          • Lori

            Hi Sarah,
            I find it concerning that you seem to have chosen not to include my posting about how so many cases went unreported during the outbreak last year and why it’s so easy for that to happen. Among the other comments that were included in that post. I don’t intend to open your mind to the reality my family faced as a result of being misled to believe it is so rare, but there are other readers. And they deserve to read all sides. Is your only purpose to promote the WAP diet or something? Maybe I am too naive for today’s world!

            And I’m sorry, but If I had been pregnant, I absolutely would have had my baby. And I am so grateful my client with 26 wk twins did not consume the milk that week. Those babies she spent 4 years working for probably wouldn’t have made it or they would have very different lives. I know we only have our own experiences to compare things to and I can’t adequately describe what happened to my body in those two wks. But I assure you, my body would not have been able to sustain a pregnancy/baby. I am no dummy in that arena. I spend most of my time with and caring for pregnant and laboring moms. These things can and do happen whether reported in full or not, and it is absolutely more risky than drinking milk that has been pasteurized. I am sad I can’t have it both ways, believe me. The benefits are great, as with eating most things unheated are. But holy heck, from someone who went the illness you couldn’t pay me any amount of money to do again, I urge you to at least include all of my story and perspective. Follow it up with whatever you want, but at least include it to be fair to your readers, especially the more cautious pregnant ones – The ones who want ALL the information and may only be getting some. I understand if you don’t post this or my other that maybe that’s your point.

            June 13th, 2013 12:06 pm
      • Rachel

        Hi Sarah,

        I’ve become a big fan of raw milk since becoming pregnant and doing a lot of research about nutrition. I drink it knowing the risks. However, I feel it’s a little misleading to compare illnesses and deaths from raw milk with that from entirely different foods. I understand the point you’re trying to make, but it’s really not a question of whether we drink raw milk OR eat beef. It’s a question of whether we drink raw OR pasteurised milk. You’ve just said that raw milk is safer than pasteurised milk, but according to a CDC report covering the period from 1993-2006 there were 46 outbreaks of disease attributed to raw milk and only 10 attributed to pasteurised milk. ( Given the relatively small number of people who drink raw milk, this report indicates you are far more likely to become sick from raw milk than from pasteurised milk. I have no idea where the raw milk responsible for the outbreaks came from (I know you have to be careful where you source it from) and I doubt the report provides that kind of detail, but if these figures are accurate then it makes your posts misleading at best. Like you, I’m all for raw dairy products. The reason I say all this is because I’m also for informed choice, which requires comparing apples with apples.

        I really enjoy reading your blog.
        Kind regards,

        June 10th, 2013 5:47 pm Reply
        • B

          It’s interesting to note the CDC cut off the time period at 2006 to avoid including a major outbreak of illness and three deaths due to pasteurized dairy in 2007.

          Excerpt from this article:

          “According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the CDC has manipulated and cherry picked this data to make raw milk look dangerous and to dismiss the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk.

          “What consumers need to realize, first of all,” said Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, “is that the incidence of foodborne illnesses from dairy products, whether pasteurized or not, is extremely low. For the 14-year period that the authors examined, there was an average of 315 illnesses a year from all dairy products for which the pasteurization status was known. Of those, there was an average of 112 illnesses each year attributed to all raw dairy products and 203 associated with pasteurized dairy products.

          “In comparison, there are almost 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year on average. Whether pasteurized or not, dairy products are simply not a high risk product.”

          Because the incidence of illness from dairy products is so low, the authors’ choice of the time period for the study affected the results significantly, yet their decision to stop the analysis with the year 2006 was not explained. The CDC’s data shows that there were significant outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to pasteurized dairy products the very next year, in 2007: 135 people became ill from pasteurized cheese contaminated with e. coli, and three people died from pasteurized milk contaminated with listeria (
          Outbreaks from pasteurized dairy were also a significant problem in the 1980s…” (See link at top to read the rest.)

          June 10th, 2013 11:53 pm Reply
        • Rachel R.

          You might see if you can get your hands on a copy of Raw Milk Revolution. These CDC stats are actually, themselves, misleading. An “outbreak” is very loosely defined. I can’t remember if it’s any time someone gets sick from a food or any time more than one person does, but it’s 1-2+ people, like that. What isn’t shown here is the NUMBERS of people who got sick. So the CDC will sometimes say that (for instance – I’m making up these numbers) there were 40 outbreaks of illness related to raw milk and 10 related to pasteurized milk, but what they don’t say is that that was a total of 42 people who drank the raw milk (out of hundreds who had the same milk as the people who got sick), but 1,000 people who got sick from the pasteurized milk.

          Also, they often don’t bother to verify that raw milk actually was the CAUSE of a food-borne illness. If someone who drinks raw milk comes down with something that CAN be carried by raw milk, it is assumed it was the milk and no one investigates anything else they ate.

          But more significantly, in my opinion, is the fact that we are told, either explicitly or implicitly, that pasteurized milk is SAFE. That is, that raw milk is inherently dangerous and we should, therefore, drink pasteurized, which has had all risk removed. But A) raw milk is no riskier than dozens of other normal foods. (Which is the point of this blog post.) and B) pasteurized milk is not risk-free (If your pasteurized milk IS contaminated, you’re just less able to combat the “bad bugs” because your intestinal tract is so compromised.)

          No one is saying that it’s impossible to get sick from raw milk. Only that there are plenty of foods one CAN get sick from – we can’t just go around not eating! The risk from clean raw milk is not exceptional.

          June 13th, 2013 9:01 am Reply
    • watchmom3

      Lori, as my “goat guru” tells me…you had trouble with the raw milk PROCESSING, not the raw milk. Something was broken in the whole process for either that goat or all the goats. It is abnormal to get sick from raw milk; that tells you that a mistake was made in how it was handled or something the goat/s ate. Having said that, I am very careful how I feed and process my milk. We are constantly exposed to toxins, and MSG can make me deathly ill. There are many safe foods that have MSG. I have to watch every possibility. So sorry you and your family got sick. Give it another try? The stuff you buy in the store is killing your gut…slowly, so you don’t notice immediately, like the bad raw milk you experienced. Your body did what it was supposed to do. Not long ago, a good friend of mine almost died from Clostridium Difficile due to a mistake by a doctor with antibiotics. Most people think antibiotics are safe…

      June 10th, 2013 3:33 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      The Wall Street Journal headlined an article the day after this blog post published identifying raw milk as a low risk food.

      From the article: “The reviewer, Nadine Ijaz, MSc, demonstrated how inappropriate evidence has long been mistakenly used to affirm the “myth” that raw milk is a high-risk food, as it was in the 1930s. Today, green leafy vegetables are the most frequent cause of food-borne illness in the United States. “

      June 13th, 2013 8:12 am Reply
    • Kate

      Hi Lori, It is understandable that you would not want to give a food another chance when you got ill- my mother got put off rabbit for life, and many people get put off fish when they have a bad case of food poisoning. May I suggest a compromise – eating and water down to drink Kefir from raw milk? The good bacteria in Kefir has proven capable of killing tuberculosis and other bacteria within a few hours. It is win win – you get no or mininscule risk and a food with increased nutrition-vitamins, minerals, enzymes as well as the probiotics.

      September 27th, 2015 11:08 pm Reply
  • Joanna Bigras via Facebook

    Examples of soft cheeses are???? Cream cheese? Brie?

    June 10th, 2013 1:48 pm Reply
  • Jason Craig via Facebook

    I am new to all this and have a question about what constitutes soft un-aged cheese. Does cream cheese fall in this category? how about homemade farmers cheese?

    June 10th, 2013 1:44 pm Reply
    • Muah

      I read to stick with grass-fed when it came to un-aged soft cheeses.

      September 1st, 2013 6:00 pm Reply
  • Cindy

    Great article! I’ve gone back & forth over the years because of things I’ve read or heard. I drank it for a while years ago & then read something which made me stop drinking it. Recently, I’ve wanted to start drinking it again, but then I heard something from David Wolfe where he said it had to be clabbered or fermented to be safe. He said that the Amish drink it raw, but that the children all have warts on their hands because of viruses & bacteria in the milk. Sometimes I wish I didn’t read to or listen to others so much.

    June 10th, 2013 12:34 pm Reply
    • Nancy

      My children have been on raw milk for years and nary a one has warts!

      June 10th, 2013 9:47 pm Reply
  • Marilyn

    The other thing to watch is what do the cows eat. For listeriosis specifically, the farmer should either avoid feeding silage or be extremely careful in managing the production of the silage.

    Know your farmer 😉 We used to all know exactly where our milk came from. We are removed from our food sources today.

    June 10th, 2013 12:25 pm Reply
    • SoCalGT

      Marilyn, do you know specifically what to be careful of when managing silage? Growing up we fed silage to our cows on a regular basis. It was salted as it was put in the silo. I assumed it fermented just like cabbage does for sauerkraut. We drank the milk raw but never had any issues. I know grain feeding is not good for cows but the silage is mostly stalk and leaves and the percentage of actual corn kernels are small so I don’t really consider it grain feeding. Now that I’m off on my own our family is planning on getting a milk cow and am deciding what to feed for the best quality of milk. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

      June 11th, 2013 1:05 am Reply
      • Marilyn

        SoCalGT – apologies, I missed this… The challenge with silage is making sure it has healthy fermenting, which is all anaerobic, and never unhealthy – aerobic. No oxygen allowed. Haylage challenges: the wrapping – how can it be vacuum sealed? If we ignore that, then please be sure the wrapping is never punctured – be careful transporting it, protect it from hungry pests like rats as they will eat a hole in the wrapping. A quick google found this article:

        (hmmm. all one line, no spaces.)

        It doesn’t mention listeriosis; this short article does discuss it well:

        As attractive as haylage / silage are for feed, I’m too much of a nervous nellie to consider ever feeding it to my dairy flock or herd. Maybe to my beeves, but if the risk of messing up is high, I’m not so interested in making them sick either, eh? It’s intriguing – fermented foods are very healthy – but at least at this point I’m not comfortable with haylage and I don’t have space for silage, so I’m looking at other methods of supplementing in the winter.

        June 17th, 2013 1:07 pm Reply
        • SoCalGT

          Thank you for sharing Marilyn. So much to think about!

          June 18th, 2013 3:17 am Reply
  • Brenda Boran via Facebook

    This is my first pregnancy drinking raw milk and had to remind myself of the lies told to me throughout the past 5 pregnancies about raw milk. I’m drinking it without reservations this time.

    June 10th, 2013 12:14 pm Reply
  • Shawna

    Could you provide a list of what counts as a soft non-aged cheese? Are you talking about cream cheese and cottage cheese? Blue cheese? Feta cheese? I’m not a cheesemaker so I’m not sure what’s aged and what’s not.

    June 10th, 2013 12:11 pm Reply
  • Vicky Erb via Facebook

    Actually having a glass as I read this!

    June 10th, 2013 12:04 pm Reply
  • Amanda Alis Volat Propriis via Facebook

    wish we could afford it!

    June 10th, 2013 11:47 am Reply
  • Lanette Scapillato via Facebook

    Wow, what a shock. Raw milk was consumed for centuries with not so good refrigeration…and now the CDC says it’s OK???

    June 10th, 2013 11:42 am Reply
  • Laura Genton via Facebook

    I’m 30 wks and have been drinking it every day throughout my pregnancy. I told my midwife and she just asked if I’d read up on the risks and found a good source, which I assured her I had–I’ve been out to the dairy farm I get it from myself!

    June 10th, 2013 11:29 am Reply
  • Laura Genton via Facebook

    I’m 30 wks and have been drinking it every day throughout my pregnancy. I told my midwife and she just asked if I’d read up on the risks and found a good source, which I assured her I had–I’ve been out to the dairy farm I get it from myself!

    June 10th, 2013 11:29 am Reply
  • Melissa Ramirez via Facebook

    can’t find it in here in germany, but I’ll be guzzling it when I go back to the states to visit! 😀

    June 10th, 2013 11:23 am Reply
    • Rachel

      where do you live? I live in southern Germany and buy fresh raw milk from our local farm… i find getting healthy raw food very easy here in Germany – much easier than in America it would seem!

      June 10th, 2013 1:50 pm Reply
  • Jen

    I wish I had known about, and had access to raw milk when my first child was born! Thankfully, I did for my second child, who was born at 29 weeks by emergency C-section due to a placental abruption. He was in the 95th percentile for weight at 29 weeks, and had no major issues or problems, which I completely contribute to a real food (including raw milk) pregnancy diet. He received breast milk for 3 months, and then switched to the raw milk formula. At 2 1/2, he is now completely caught up, and actually about a year ahead of where my first child (full term, fed breast milk and commercial formula) was with speech at that age.

    Not only is properly sourced raw milk safe during pregnancy and for infants and children, in my opinion, it is far superior to any formula or foods the FDA or USDA has approved for them.

    June 10th, 2013 11:21 am Reply
  • Nichelle Sneed via Facebook

    Jenifer Jones this would b great nutrition for u and your growing babies!

    June 10th, 2013 11:14 am Reply
  • Hope Bruce Harrison via Facebook

    I did it

    June 10th, 2013 11:11 am Reply
  • michelle

    My twins are 6.5 months old. When I introduce them to milk at 1 year, is it okay if it’s raw milk? I can only find negative literature on this also.

    June 10th, 2013 11:10 am Reply
    • Alison

      Michelle, this comment is very late and may not be helpful for you but in case it is for someone else…I fed my little boy raw goat’s milk starting at 1 year since he was not into “regular” whole milk. We have never had any issues with it. It is far healthier and tastes far better than grocery-store milk. I agree with others that knowing the source is important. The farmer is a friend of mine and I have toured the farm.

      August 19th, 2014 11:22 am Reply
  • Kristi

    What are your thoughts on small batch homemade raw cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream? The only info I could find beyond the global “avoid soft cheese” recommendation was that cleanliness of the cheesemaking environment and length of time before consumption (the faster the better so any listeria bacteria would not have time to multiply to high levels) were the most important factors.

    June 10th, 2013 11:08 am Reply
  • Cathy

    35 years ago, when I marrried my dairy farmer husband, I didn’t think twice about drinking raw milk….drank raw milk all through six terriffic pregnancies, raised six great kids now adults on raw milk, and now the grandbabies all drink raw after they are weaned. What do you suppose women/mothers drank 100 years ago!!!!!

    June 10th, 2013 11:08 am Reply
  • Autumn

    Thank you for this article. I have recently had some different questions pertaining to raw milk and I’m wondering if you could answer them…I am trying to conceive, have been for 2 years now. I recently found out I have endometriosis. My question is do you know if raw milk is unhealthy for a woman with endo? I have read in numerous places that dairy should be avoided, however I’m wondering if like with lactose intolerance raw milk is actually okay and isn’t a problem. Do you know anything about this? Thank you so much!


    June 10th, 2013 10:52 am Reply
    • Peggy

      I have endo as well and I drink raw milk every day. If anything my symptoms have gotten better since I started drinking it.

      June 10th, 2013 12:08 pm Reply
    • Marilyn

      Autumn – I suffered from endo for decades and was so relieved to reach menopause ;-). I think any warnings relative to food and endo would be keeping an eye on reducing inflammation in your system. If you drink milk from cows that are fed mostly grain, you will be consuming something that raises your inflammation level. If you drink milk from cows that are grass-fed, it seems to me that you would be fine. Not an expert. Know your farmer.

      June 10th, 2013 12:21 pm Reply
    • watchmom3

      Autumn, if you have a naturopath nearby, they could really help you with endo. There is so much more available now, than when my sister in law had it 20 yrs ago. God bless.

      June 10th, 2013 3:24 pm Reply
  • Sarah @ Politically Incorrect Health

    That is comforting to know that the CDC’s own data shows the safety of drinking raw milk! Too bad they don’t like admitting that…

    June 10th, 2013 10:47 am Reply
  • Karen

    One of the things that bother me about “food risks” is that they tell you what it is but they don’t tell you the odds you will get it. Not so strangely, it seems the odds of having an adverse reaction to legal prescription drugs and foods the USDA approves are often moderate to high whereas man of their more natural and closer to source counterparts are often deemed dangerous, illegal, etc and the risks of contraindication are very low. It would be like winning a lottery jackpot or being hit by lightning. I’m not holding my breath for that one but eating less healthy “approved foods” and taking less than natural medications rather than healthy mineral supplements and eating farm fresh food is like holding one’s breath and hoping health will hit you.

    June 10th, 2013 10:39 am Reply
  • Robin

    Anther interesting article thanks. I was fortunate to be able to drink raw milk for a couple of years some time ago. I miss not being able to. It was one of those foods that I instinctively knew was good for me. It tasted great too.

    June 10th, 2013 9:48 am Reply

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