Raw milk: What to know about pasteurization and bird flu

The discovery of bird flu virus particles in the commercial milk supply has reignited public interest in the century-long debate over pasteurizing milk.

Sales of raw milk, or milk that has not undergone the heat treatment process to kill harmful bacteria, have spiked in recent weeks since the Department of Agriculture announced in March that herds of dairy cattle had been infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza.

According to the market research firm NIQ, weekly sales of raw cow’s milk have increased by 21% since March 25 and 65% from the same period last year. 

Pasteurization was invented by French scientist Louis Pasteur in the 1860s and involves heating liquids, including milk, to eliminate dangerous bacteria, such as E. coli, camplyobacter, and salmonella. The United States adopted
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