Melanie Randell from Silver Creek Valley, California writes:
“Hi Kurma, what exactly is wrong with Pasteurization of milk. I mean, I know there are health benefits, but what’s the downside?”
Of course there are the obvious benefits of pasteurization. The process is
meant to accomplish two things: Destruction of certain pathogens and the prevention of souring milk. These results are obtained by keeping the milk at a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F. for half an hour, at least, and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F.
It is undoubtedly beneficial to destroy dangerous bacteria, but pasteurization does more than this – it kills off harmless and useful things alike, and by subjecting the milk to high temperatures, destroys some nutritious constituents.
With regards to the prevention of souring; sour raw milk is very widely
used. It is given to invalids, being easily digested, laxative in its
properties, and not unpleasant to take. But, after pasteurization, the
lactic acid bacilli are killed. The milk, in consequence, cannot become sour
and quickly decomposes, while undesirable germs multiply very quickly.
Pasteurization’s great claim to popularity in its heyday last century was the widespread belief, fostered by its supporters, that tuberculosis in children was caused by the harmful germs found in raw milk.
Experimental figures that were published regarding the spread of tuberculosis by milk were inconclusive, however. And in one test, over a period of five years, during which time 70 children belonging to a special organization received a pint of raw milk daily, one case only of the disease occurred. During a similar period when pasteurized milk had been given, 14 cases were reported.
Besides destroying part of the vitamin C contained in raw milk and
encouraging growth of harmful bacteria, pasteurization turns the sugar of
milk, known as lactose, into beta-lactose, which is far more soluble and
therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system, with the result that the
consumer feels less satiated.
Probably pasteurization’s worst offence is that it makes insoluable the
major part of the calcium contained in raw milk.
Pasteurization also destroys 20 percent of the iodine present in raw milk,
can cause constipation and generally takes from the milk its most vital
So in summary, pasteurization is a destructive process that changes the physical structure of the fragile proteins in milk (especially casein) and converts them into proteins your body was never designed to handle – and that can actually harm you. Additionally, the pasteurization process virtually eliminates the good bacteria normally present in the milk and radically reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content of this healthy food.