Questions and Answers on the Consumption of Raw Milk

BfR FAQ of 13 April 2016

The number of dairy farms selling raw milk via raw milk vending machines is on the increase. Although raw milk vending machines display a notice stating "raw milk - boil before consumption", individual reports on outbreaks of food infections in connection with the consumption of raw milk suggest that consumers do not always follow this advice. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) points out that the consumption of raw milk is associated with health risks. Raw milk can be contaminated by bacteria that can cause illness. Some of the pathogens might be directly excreted by the animal via the mammary gland. Most of the pathogens enter the milk during the milking process due to inadequate hygiene, however. Particularly sensitive groups of the population such as children, pregnant women, elderly or sick persons should therefore refrain from consuming raw milk that has not been boiled beforehand. However, the consumption of non-boiled raw milk also carries an increased risk of food infection for healthy adults and these infections can result in minor to severe illness depending on the type of pathogen involved. The BfR has put together some questions and answers on the topic of raw milk.

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