Is raw milk safe to drink during an outbreak of a highly infectious disease like the coronavirus? This question was answered recently by Ted Beals MD.
Dr. Beals is a physician and board-certified pathologist, who served on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School. (1)
He is now retired after 31 years of clinical and administrative service in the Veterans Health Administration. A pathologist with an intense personal interest in dairy testing and safety of raw milk, he has been presenting testimony on dairy safety in North America for the last decade.
Dr. Beals’ response to the question of consumption of unpasteurized dairy during an infectious disease outbreak is printed with the permission of Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Fresh Raw Milk and Coronavirus (CoV-19)
From Ted Beals MD, raw milk expert:
The Covid-19 virus belongs to the general group of pathogens that cause “respiratory diseases”. Pathogens in this group prefer the respiratory tract, grow in that environment, and are transmitted in fluids that originate in the respiratory tract. The fluids in coughing serve as the major mechanism to assist their spread to others and infect their respiratory tract. These pathogens cause disease that are categorized as airborne diseases.
The group of pathogens that are of concern to us concerning milk, belong to the “digestive diseases” group. These pathogens prefer the digestive tract, grow in the digestive tract, and are spread to others in fluids from the digestive tract. Infection spreads to others through the food we eat (in or on that food), as a vehicle to spread those pathogens. These pathogens are in the group that causes foodborne diseases.
Those infected with Covid-19 pass their virus to other though coughing. This virus uses the fluid in the cough to move to other people’s respiratory tract. If the Covid-19 existing in the fluid of that cough passes into your mouth or nose the virus could enter your respiratory tract and might, if conditions in your body are susceptible, cause the disease to spread to yourself. Now, it is possible for a person with Covid-19 to cough directly into your glass of milk. That Covid-19 virus in their cough could enter your body using the milk as a vehicle and end up in your digestive system, when you drink that milk. For Covid-19 virus, this is not the most suit able place to enter your body and find a place to grow. So even if someone coughed directly into your glass of milk it would not likely survive in your digestive system. It would not make any difference in this example, if the milk was pasteurized or not. So, it is extremely unlikely that the Covid-19 could spread to you from your milk and cause you to become sick.
If turning that risk/ benefit around and thinking about the benefits of our drinking fresh unpasteurized whole milk “raw milk” this question becomes far more important. I drink fresh unprocessed whole milk because I like it. But I also have it in my daily diet because of the numerous health benefit. Much of these benefits help our immune system. And every bit of assistance to our immune system, specifically right now, can be of help. Furthermore, beside the help to our self and the benefit to our families, there is the benefit to our farmers and their cows or goats, to kept them providing this nutritious food. They need our support to keep operating.
Drink lots of fresh unprocessed whole milk.