What is raw milk?

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.

Distribution of raw milk is illegal in Scotland. While it is legal in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the only registered producers are in England and Wales.

About 200 producers sell raw, or "green top" milk direct to consumers, either at the farm, at a farmers' market, or through a delivery service. The bottle must display the warning "this product has not been heat-treated and may contain organisms harmful to health", and the dairy must conform to higher hygiene standards than dairies producing only pasteurised milk.

As it is only legal to supply unpasteurised milk direct to consumers, it is illegal to be sold on the High Street, via shops or supermarkets.

It is claimed that only raw milk has the following health benefits

  • "Raw milk contains multiple, redundant systems of bioactive components that can reduce or eliminate populations of pathogenic bacteria. One of our customers has a child who had a lump caused by bad bacteria that antibiotics wouldn't clear up. Their consultant suggested raw milk, as part of the child's diet, and within three months, the infection had gone"

  • "Raw milk consists of important enzymes that aid in assimilating the nutrients present in milk. Possibly the most important is lactase enzyme that helps digest lactose milk sugar. We have lots of customers who thought they couldn't have dairy as they are lactose intolerant, really enjoying milk again. Maybe it's a case that they are pasteurized milk intolerant?"

  • "Raw milk serves as one of the best sources for calcium consumption."

  • "One of the major raw milk drinking advantages is that it contains the beneficial bacteria both in terms of gut health and fighting infection, which otherwise get destroyed, when the milk undergoes pasteurisation process."

  • "The British journal The Lancet reported that resistance to tuberculosis increased in children fed raw milk instead of pasteurised."

  • "Drinking raw milk could reduce children's risk of suffering allergy-related conditions such as eczema and hay fever. This seems to be the main medical reason for people wanting raw milk today. Milk straight from the cow is full of bacteria. These all get killed by pasteurization, resulting in pasteurized milk containing lots of dead bacteria. Is it true that as these dead bacteria decompose and breakdown in pasteurized milk they release histamine that can cause eczema? We have lots of customers that have told us that within three weeks of having our raw milk, their eczema has gone."