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Difference between Raw Milk and Pasteurized Milk

Milk is a white liquid formed by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary food source for the infants. It contains almost all major nutrients like fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Raw milk is the milk which we get when we milk a cow, buffalo etc. It is highly susceptible to microbial spoilage and may cause diseases as it contains a number of pathogenic microbes. In order to protect it from spoilage and to make it safe to drink, it is often pasteurized to kill the pathogenic microbes. After pasteurization raw milk becomes pasteurized milk. Let us see how raw milk differs from pasteurized milk!

Raw Milk:

Raw milk is also known as unpasteurized milk. It is the milk which you get when you milk a cow, buffalo, goat, sheep etc and has not been processed or pasteurized to kill the harmful pathogens. The harmful pathogens present in the raw milk tend to reduce the milk's shelf-life and may cause various diseases. Furthermore, raw milk is highly susceptible to microbial spoilage as it is rich nutrients which help microbes grow and reproduce. In some countries, selling raw milk is completely or partially banned. So, raw milk is unpasteurized milk which has not undergone pasteurization or allied process.

Pasteurized Milk:

Pasteurization is a process in which raw milk is heated to a specific temperature and held at that temperature for a specific duration in order to kill the harmful bacteria. These bacteria may expedite milk spoilage or cause diseases. So, the raw milk which undergoes pasteurization in order to kill the pathogenic microbes is known as pasteurized milk. Pasteurization was discovered by a French scientist Louis Pasteur in the 90th century. The heat-treated (pasteurized) milk is not only safe for human consumption but also has a longer shelf life, e.g. UHT pasteurized milk can be stored for about 6 months.

The pasteurized milk should be stored under refrigerated conditions as the heat cannot kill the spores of pathogenic microbes. It is available as a whole, semi-skimmed or fully skimmed milk. The heat treatment may change the taste, colour and nutrients in the milk to some extent.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between raw and pasteurized milk are as follows:

Raw Milk Pasteurized Milk
It is raw milk obtained from cow, buffalo etc which has not been processed or heated to kill the pathogenic microbes. Milk is heated to a high temperature for a specific duration in order to kill pathogenic microbes.
It may cause diseases. It is safe to drink.
It has a shorter shelf life than pasteurized milk. It has a longer shelf life than raw milk.
It is generally consumed after homogenization. It involves various steps.
It contains phosphatase which is required for the absorption of calcium. Phosphatase is destroyed due to heat during pasteurization.
It contains lipase which is required to digest the fat. Lipase is destroyed due to heat during pasteurization.
Organoleptic properties of milk (taste, colour) do not change. Organoleptic properties of the milk changes due to pasteurization.
Available only in liquid form. Available in whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed forms.
It may contain pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria etc. It does not contain pathogenic bacteria but may contain their spores.
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