Can you drink milk straight from a cow?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you drink milk straight from a cow” with an in-depth analysis of the consequences of drinking milk straight from a cow without being treated with any heating or sterilization process. Moreover, we are going to highlight what are the risks of consuming raw milk and how you can pasteurize milk at home.

Can you drink milk straight from a cow?

Yes, you can drink cow milk straight from a cow without any sterilization process. The raw milk that has not been processed is thought to be enriched with nutrients and possesses several benefits but at the same time, it can pose consumers the risk of developing certain food-borne illnesses. Therefore, it is better to pasteurize the milk before consuming it.

Drinking raw milk:

You can surely drink cow milk without any preheating treatment but this is thought to be dangerous for human health and even in some countries, doing such practice is completely prohibited and the organizations take legal actions against those who do such things.

The main reason behind prohibiting the consumption of raw milk contains a huge number of dangerous microorganisms that may cause serious illness when ingested. The consumption of unpasteurized milk has been linked to a lot of disease outbreaks in the past years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Raw milk:

Raw milk is the milk in its first natural state that has not been exposed to any heat treatment, such as pasteurization, boiling, or steaming, and comes from cows, goats, or sheep.

Benefits of raw milk over pasteurized milk:

Some people might think that raw milk is more nutritious and beneficial as compared to processed milk as we all know the fact that heating can damage the nutritional value of food, especially by affecting its micronutrients. Some of the most common health claims for raw milk are as follows.

Raw milk is a complete and natural food that contains vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins, and antimicrobial components in greater amounts as compared to pasteurized or processed milk. This milk is also best suited to people with conditions, including asthma, lactose intolerance, autoimmune and allergic conditions.

Pasteurization can destroy the overall nutrition of the milk. The loss of carbohydrates and minerals is not noticeable but it reduces the level of water-soluble vitamins, such as B1, B6, B9, B12, and C that are already in low amounts and further reduction may pose difficulty to individuals to meet their needs and cause them to depend on some other sources.

The heating treatment can also negatively affect the levels of beneficial proteins naturally present in milk. These proteins are helpful for the growth of muscles, improvement of insulin resistance, and lowering the risk of CVDs. But again, the loss is very minimal and you can easily fulfill your needs by supplementing your diet with some other food sources.

Raw milk is also protective against some allergies and asthma. This is because the raw milk contains microbes whose exposure can make the individuals, especially children resistant to the disease conditions and allergies.

Similarly, lactose intolerance problems can also be reduced as raw milk contains lactase-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria breaks down the lactose present in milk that is the main ingredient responsible for producing symptoms when ingested through milk. These symptoms are produced as lactose intolerant people cannot produce lactase in their gut naturally for digestion of lactose.

Risks of drinking raw milk:

The bacteria, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, that are naturally present in milk can produce severe intestinal illnesses. These diseases can even be fatal and the best way to reduce exposure to these microbes is to pasteurize the milk.

The main symptoms of foodborne illness are vomiting, diarrhea with blood and mucus, abdominal pains, fever, nausea, dehydration, and body aches. Exposure to these entities for even a short time can cause the human to develop chronic and severe life-threatening conditions.


Pasteurization is a process that is used to kill harmful bacteria, yeasts, and molds, naturally present in milk, through heating the milk at a specific temperature for a specific period. This method involves heating the raw milk to 72 degrees Celsius for about 15-40 seconds and results in increasing the shelf life of the milk.

Pasteurization at home:

You can pasteurize your milk at home by following some important steps.

  • Clean and sterilize your hands, utensils, and your working area.
  • Take a double broiler. Pour water in the bottom portion and whole milk in the top part.
  • Turn the heat on. Use a thermometer to observe the temperature.
  • Once the temperature has reached 63 degrees Celsius, heat the milk for at least 30 minutes. You can also heat it at 72 degrees Celsius for about 15 seconds.
  • Cool the milk by placing it in cold water and store it in the fridge.

You can find more about the pasteurization process here.

Other FAQs about Milk that you may be interested in.

Can lactose intolerant babies drink breast milk?

Benefits of drinking milk before bed

Benefits of lactose-free milk


In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you drink milk straight from a cow” with an in-depth analysis of the things that can happen after drinking milk straight from a cow in the context of both beneficial as well as harmful effects.

Moreover, we discussed what happens when you drink raw milk, what are the health claims about drinking raw milk, what is pasteurization, and how you can pasteurize milk at home.


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