But He Defends Your Right To Drink It

Joseph Stromberg questions the safety and value of raw milk:

Raw milk might be more dangerous and no more nutritious than pasteurized milk. But this issue isn’t entirely black-and-white. For a few reasons, it’s unfair to paint raw milk proponents as recklessly anti-science, like those who oppose vaccination. For one, even though raw milk may be riskier than pasteurized milk, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the riskiest food out there. Milk is a relatively low-risk food to begin with, and some researchers estimate that the risk of getting sick from drinking raw milk is still lower than from eating home-cooked chicken or hamburgers.

The CDC provides detailed data on disease outbreaks caused by contaminated food going back to 1998, and during that time, raw milk or cheese have been involved in 149 different incidents (that doesn’t mean it’s the contaminated ingredient in each instance, just that it was suspected). It’s tough to find a good comparison, because raw milk is an uncommonly-consumed food. But raw oysters, for instance, were involved in 144 incidents.